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Published: February 19th 2014
Monday 10th February, 2014. The Rocks, Sydney, NSW, Australia
After breakfast we arranged to hook up with Will and Ash at Circular Quay. We met outside McD's and then strolled around to The Rocks. D had his tour guide hat on - which was great as neither Will nor Ash knew Sydney particularly well. First we took them to The Australian Pub where we had spent part of Australia Day.
The Australian Hotel was originally located on George Street, next to where the Museum of Contemporary Art now stands. The Sydney Gazette announced that the Australian was open for business on 12th August 1824, making it the oldest continuously licensed pub in the City of Sydney. When the plague hit Sydney in 1900, many of the buildings were pulled down to prevent further outbreaks, including the Australian Hotel.
The license was transferred to a new building located on the Archaeological site nearby at 116 Cumberland Street. In 1913 the present building was constructed and remains to this day, one of the most intact pubs in Sydney, still retaining its original features and unique split level bars. The Australian today looks much the same as it did when soldiers
drank here after the First World War in 1918, during the Great Depression of the 1930's or when patrons witnessed the gangland- style murder of John William Manners outside the hotel in 1956. The building is still an attractive and well preserved example of Edwardian style architecture with quality and taste present throughout the hotel, from the tiling through to the tap faucets. The Australian Heritage Hotel still has many of its pre-existing features, such as the metal awnings, etched signage and saloon style bar doors. The hotel is listed on the State Heritage register and the Conservation and Heritage Register for Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority. We all had a drink and passed away an hour just chatting and generally catching up.
After the drink we strolled around The Rocks until we arrived at Jack Mundey Place. D knew this guy personally from his days working at the Centre for Environmental Studies (CES). Jack Mundey (born 17 October 1929 in Malanda, Queensland) is a distinguished Australian union and environmental activist. He came to prominence during the 1970s for leading the New South Wales Builders' Labourers Federation (BLF) in the famous Green Bans, whereby the BLF led a successful campaign
to protect the built and natural environment of Sydney from excessive and inappropriate development. Mundey is now Chair of the Historic Houses Trust of NSW. D worked at CES in the late 1970's and Jack was a sebattical visitor there - they (and others) used to share a beer or two. It is thanks to this bloke that The Rocks wasn't demolished and replaced with modern urban buildings.
D continued with the tour and we eventually ended up at the Hero of Waterloo Hotel which was Established 1843. We hadn't been in this pub before but had read about it in the Rough Guide. The History of the Hero of Waterloo Hotel, 81 Lower Fort Street, The Rocks, Sydney, begins in 1843. George Paton, builder of the Garrison Church in 1840, bought the adjoining land from Johnathon Clarke (The Shipwrights Arms, 1831). Paton, a stonemason, built The Hero from sandstone brought up from the Argyle Cut. A favourite drinking spot for the Garrison Troops of the Colonial days, this lovely hotel with its burning open log fires, well stocked bar and warm hospitality is a must for any tourist visiting The Rocks.
There are many stories surrounding The
Hero. The best known is that of the tunnel which runs from the cellars of the hotel to the Harbour. The tunnel was used for rum smuggling and involuntary recruitment of sailors (press ganging). A young man might find himself drunk at the bar, dropped through a trap door into the cellar, dragged through the tunnel, to awake next morning at sea shanghaied aboard a clipper, or so legend goes. A maze of stone cellars under The Hero bear silent witness to its nefarious past. This Historic Australian landmark is classified by the Heritage Council and The National Trust. We had another drink here and sat outside on the pavement as it was a nice day.
We continued on D's 'tour' by passing the Garrison Church (real name Church of the Holy Trinity). The foundation and cornerstone for this church was laid on 23rd June 1840. The church is more popularly known as the Garrison Church and it stands at the southern end of Lower Fort Street, cornering Argyle place The Rocks. The church was built from stone from the Argyle Cut, so it can truly be said that church was quarried out of its immediate surroundings. The builder
was Edward Flood and accepted price for materials is interesting, bricks were 2/15 a thousand. A labourer worked 10 hours for 5/- a week while the bricklayer for the same period received 8/6. Henry Ginn, the architect of the basic structure, estimated that the church would house 250 adults and 50 children and in his original design his calculations were not far wrong. Rev. John Couch Grylls was Rector of the new parish, and on August 7th 1843 services began. On September 10th 1843, the first baptism was performed, while the first marriage took place on October 23rd of that same year. Perhaps the oldest document held in the Garrison Church is a letter dated march 17th 1832, advising “Archdeacon Broughton” that the allotment at the north end of princes Street was to be intended for a school. Fourteen years latter, a new school house was built next to the church. This building, with walls 2ft 6ins. thick, today is the Parish Hall. One interesting feature – and there are many, a boy named Edmund Barton, who later became Australia’s first Prime Minister, was one of the pupils. Built to contain comfortably, a congregation of 600, the church recaptures much
of the early days, and extends a silent account of the manners, customs and identities of those times.
Although officially named the church of the Holy Trinity, it has from its foundation, been more popularly known as The Garrison Church, simply because of the numerous regiments at the nearby Garrison worshiped there. One can envisage the colourful; black on grey, white on navy blue, red on white with gold trimming. This building, among others, is testament to the skill, fierce concentration and determination in the work involved.
We continued on to Cadman's Cottage Which is the oldest surviving residential building in Sydney, having been built in 1816 for the use of the governmental coxswains and their crews. The building is heavily steeped in the history of Sydney, also claiming the title as the first building to have been built on the shoreline of The Rocks area. It is claimed that during high tide, the water would come within 8 feet (2.4 m) of Cadman's Cottage, however, due to the reclamation of land during the building of Circular Quay, the waterline has moved about 100 metres away since 1816. The building has had several different uses in its lifetime
- first and foremost as the abode of the four governmental coxswains (from 1816 until 1845), the headquarters of the Sydney Water Police (from 1845 to 1864) and as the Sailor's Home (from 1865 to 1970). Restoration of Cadman's Cottage began in 1972 after it was proclaimed a Heritage site under the National Parks and Wildlife Act and control of the site was handed over to the Sydney Cove Redevelopment Authority. A major archaeological investigation occurred in 1988 (in preparation for the bicentennial redevelopment) and since then, only minor maintenance works have been completed on the building. The building is now used as the home for the Sydney Harbour National Parks Information Centre and can be viewed by the public. We didn't go inside as we were running out of time. Will and Ashley were flying out at 5.00 pm.
We returned to Circular Quay and found some cheap burritos for lunch in a food hall in a shopping mall just behind the quay. We all walked together along George Street until we broke off to do some shopping in Woolworths, leaving Will and Ashley to continue on to meet up with his colleagues and fly back to Hobart.
We will hook up with them again in a few weeks time in Tasmania.
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