Macquarie Place Including Road and Park Reserve, Obelisk, Canon, Anchor… | NSW Environment & Heritage

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Macquarie Place Including Road and Park Reserve, Obelisk, Canon, Anchor…

Item details

Name of item: Macquarie Place Including Road and Park Reserve, Obelisk, Canon, Anchor…
Other name/s: Macquarie Place, Macquarie Place Park
Type of item: Archaeological-Terrestrial
Group/Collection: Parks, Gardens and Trees
Category: Urban Park
Primary address: Macquarie Place, Sydney , NSW 2000
Local govt. area: Sydney
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Macquarie PlaceSydney Sydney  Primary Address

Statement of significance:

Macquarie Place has historic significance, for its ability to contribute to understanding of the early colony in the evidence it provides of the original Government Domain and the centre of the city in the Georgian period, as being the location of the Obelisk, the measuring datum for the colony established by Governor Macquarie, and for its ability to contribute to understanding the early nineteenth century town planning intention for Circular Quay. Macquarie Place also has historic significance for its association with Governor Macquarie, and with pioneers of commerce including Andrew Thompson, Mary Reiby and Simeon Lord.
Macquarie Place has aesthetic significance for its collection of memorials and institutional buildings designed by distinguished architects. The area retains evidence of its establishment by Governor Macquarie as the geographic and administrative centre of the colony, with the sandstone obelisk placed at the centre of Macquarie Place to mark the point from which all distances in the colony
were measured.
Macquarie Place has archaeological significance for its research potential as being part of the original Government Domain, as the site of the Town Lease of Shadrach Shaw, for remaining evidence of the the occupation of town allotments dating to prior 1814, for a section of the Bennelong Sewer, and below ground features in its immediate vicinty including the original foreshore of Sydney Cove, the Dry store , and the pre 1807 guardhouse building which lies beneath Loftus St, Site of Town Lease of Shadrach Shaw and for occupation of town allotments dating to prior 1814 including the vaulted brick cellar of a c1801 house (constructed by Andrew Thompson ?) which survives beneath the footpath of Macquarie Place. This cellar of former No 11-15 Macquarie Place is a fine and rare example of traditional building technology. The Bennelong sewer possesses scientific (archaeological) significance as an example of mid 19th century sewerage and drainage technology, discharging straight into Sydney harbour at Bennelong Point. The sewer illustrates a stage in the evolution of the sewerage and drainage system for Sydney.

Macquarie Place is a fine example of a public park which collectively illustrates a network of public parks within Sydney.
Date significance updated: 21 Dec 11
Note: The State Heritage Inventory provides information about heritage items listed by local and State government agencies. The State Heritage Inventory is continually being updated by local and State agencies as new information becomes available. Read the OEH copyright and disclaimer.

Description

Construction years: 1810-
Physical description: Macquarie Place including road reserve, park reserve, Macquarie Obelisk, Sirius anchor and canon, T S Mort statue, public conveniences, John Christie Wright memorial fountain by Lewers, memorial gate pillars, sandstone fence, and archaeology. The archaeology includes a section of the Bennelong Sewer, and remains of various buildings dating from throughout the 19th century. Land originally located near the foreshore of Sydney Cove, the Dry store was located on land adjacent to the site
It is important to note that important archaeological features are locted beneath the adjacent roadways. . The pre 1807 guardhouse building lies beneath Loftus St. The vaulted brick cellar of a c1801 house (constructed by Andrew Thompson ?) survives beneath the footpath of Macquarie Place.
Also refer to the Ted Higginbotham excavation report and assessment of no 7-15 (Reiby House) & 17-25 (Joint Coal Board site) Macquarie Place, Gateway Plaza and Benelong Sewer inventory. A number of test trenches were excavated in Macquarie Place in 1983, as part of the First Government House excavations. The intention was to locate undisturbed soil profiles. Modified soil profiles and artefact scatters (pre 1850) were excavated.
Further information: Category:AG_Movable Category:AG_Remnant Category:BG_ArchSite Rating:PartialDisturubance Rating:MinimalDisturubance TestExcavationText:As part of FGH 1983 ZoningPlan:Yes Assessment:Yes Impact:Yes TestExcavation:Yes Survey:Yes In_Situ:Yes

Heritage Inventory sheets are often not comprehensive, and should be regarded as a general guide only. Inventory sheets are based on information available, and often do not include the social history of sites and buildings. Inventory sheets are constantly updated by the City as further information becomes available. An inventory sheet with little information may simply indicate that there has been no building work done to the item recently: it does not mean that items are not significant. Further research is always recommended as part of preparation of development proposals for heritage items, and is necessary in preparation of Heritage Impact Assessments and Conservation Management Plans, so that the significance of heritage items can be fully assessed prior to submitting development applications.
Current use: Commercial Utilities Recreation

History

Historical notes: The "Eora people" was the name given to the coastal Aborigines around Sydney. Central Sydney is therefore often referred to as "Eora Country". Within the City of Sydney local government area, the traditional owners are the Cadigal and Wangal bands of the Eora. There is no written record of the name of the language spoken and currently there are debates as whether the coastal peoples spoke a separate language "Eora" or whether this was actually a dialect of the Dharug language. Remnant bushland in places like Blackwattle Bay retain elements of traditional plant, bird and animal life, including fish and rock oysters.

With the invasion of the Sydney region, the Cadigal and Wangal people were decimated but there are descendants still living in Sydney today. All cities include many immigrants in their population. Aboriginal people from across the state have been attracted to suburbs such as Pyrmont, Balmain, Rozelle, Glebe and Redfern since the 1930s. Changes in government legislation in the 1960s provided freedom of movement enabling more Aboriginal people to choose to live in Sydney.

(Information sourced from Anita Heiss, "Aboriginal People and Place", Barani: Indigenous History of Sydney City http://www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/barani )

Originally adjacent to original shoreline, lease to Shadrach Shaw by 1800. Shaw sold the lease to Simeon Lord. Macquarie recalls the land and instructed Francis Greenway to construct an obelisk and fountain, the area became a public reserve. By the 1850s the extensions of roads in the area reduce the site to its present configuration.
Macquarie Place occupies the land riginally adjacent to original shoreline that was once the eastern bank of the Tank Stream near where it flowed into Sydney Cove. Artists’ sketches from as early as 1793 show the land that was to become Macquarie Place as a triangular area adjoining the garden of the First Government House. The triangle of Macquarie Place and the alignment of Bridge Street are also visible on plans of Sydney dated from as early as 1800. Meehan's Plan of the Town of Sydney of 1807 shows this triangular area of land to comprise part of the vegetable garden of Government Domain in the northeast ern corner, part lease to Shadrach Shaw in the southwestern corner (lease established by 1800) and the guardhouse in the southeastern corner of the triangle. Shaw sold this lease to Simeon Lord. Macquarie recalls the land and instructed Francis Greenway to construct an obelisk and fountain, the area became a public reserve. Macquarie Place was named and dedicated as a park by Governor Macquarie in the Government and General Order in October, 1810. The sandstone obelisk was constructed by Macquarie in 1818 to mark the point from which all distances in the colony.were measured. Macquarie Place was proclaimed on December 31, 1834.
By the 1850s the extensions of roads in the area reduce the site to its present configuration.
Several reports exist providing detailed historical evidence. These include Lester Tropman & Associates, Masterplan and Plan of Management Macquarie Place. Council of the City of Sydney, 1990.
Ted Higginbotham. Historical research for the Macquarie Place urban design study area. Conybeare Morrison & Partners. 1984.
Heritage Group, State Projects, NSW Public Works. Conservation plan, The obelisk, Macquarie Place, Sydney. NSW. Sydey City Council, 1995.

By 1807 Bridge Street had become Sydney’s most prestigious residential area. Macquarie Place reserve was the focus of the colony with the city’s elite residing in properties adjoining the grounds of Government House. The Governor’s Domain, the grounds associated with the First Government House, was built in 1788 and occupied by successive Governors of New South Wales until 1845. Bridge Street consisted of the public thoroughfare from George Street to Macquarie Place, and the public right of way stopped at the entrance to the grounds of Government House at the east side of Macquarie Place. With the construction of new stables for Government Houses (now the Conservatorium of Music) in 1817, up the hill to the east of the house, a carriageway to the stables appears to have been opened up, roughly along the line of the present eastern end of Bridge Street, but this was not a public thoroughfare.

In 1840’s the city grid was extended in the North-South direction and Government House was relocated to the Domain. The topography of this area was changed due to the filling of the Tank Stream and the formation of Circular Quay. Wells Map of 1843 notes Government House in its Bridge Street location. In 1845 the old Government House complex of buildings was demolished opening up Bridge Street to the original Domain around Macquarie Place, Pitt, Phillip and Macquarie Streets were extended north to the harbour and the Macquarie Place reserve reduced in size to the present area.

In 1845 Governor Gipps moved into the new Government House. This newly created city block was bounded by Macquarie, Bent, Phillip and Bridge Streets. Allotments in Macquarie Street were sold in the late 1840s and this became a fashionable residential area. In a plan of 1850 showing the Macquarie Street side of this subdivision, the Bridge Street frontage of the block is shown subdivided into allotments which were not sold. This northern part of the city block remained vacant until the construction of the Public Works and Colonial (Chief) Secretary’s offices in 1873. A system of lanes provided the rear lane access between the Macquarie Street and Phillip Street houses.

The obelisk erected at Macquarie Place by Governor Macquarie in 1818 was the datum point for all distances within the colony. Governor Macquarie in 1818 commissioned convict stonemason, Edward Cureton to cut an obelisk. The first whale oil street lamp was lit in Macquarie Place in 1826. It is also believed to be the place where Captain Phillip first hoisted the flagstaff of the new colony. The anchor and the cannon from the flagship of the First Fleet, HMS Sirius was laid to rest here in 1907.

The western side of the triangular reserve was available for private purchase, while the south side was occupied by official buildings and on the east was the Government Domain. Macquarie Place looked into the Tank Stream.

Macquarie Place was once a lively centre of commercial, civic and domestic activity. It was later displaced by Martin Place as the centre of Sydney. Three of the four pioneers of commerce who located to the western side of Macquarie Place were convicts, Andrew Thompson, Mary Reiby and Simeon Lord. Thompson’s building straddled Bulletin Place at Macquarie Place and housed pioneers merchants, Thompson later became Justice of the Peace and Chief Magistrate. Mary Reiby and Simeon Lord also bought land on the west side. Mary Reibys cottage was sold to the Bank of New South Wales, Australia’s oldest continuous commercial enterprise. Sergeant Jeremiah Murphy of the 46th regiment, Surgeon John Harris of Ultimo and Dr Williams Redfern were the first clients of the Bank. The Royal Exchange branch of the bank maintains the Macquarie Place link with its premises on the site of Simeon Lord’s famous three-storied sandstone mansion with its warehouse next to the Tank Stream occupying the site of the future Kyle House. In 1803, Lord constructed his residence and warehouse at the property on Macquarie Place known as “Lord’s Mansion” and “The White House”. Lord’s residence was an elegant three-storey sandstone mansion with a verandah overlooking Macquarie Place. Behind it stood his warehouse, the western boundary being the Tank Stream. It survived until 1908 and was considered one of the most stylish houses in the colony. Dean Cowper’s description of Macquarie Place during Macquarie’s reign. Uther’s Beaver Hat originally set up by Lord. Parsonage House which later formed part of the Customs House Hotel. The north was Brown’s stores and counting house with Reiby Cottage ending the block at what is now named Reiby Lane. Simeon Lord convict, servant, auctioneer, beaver hat maker, woolscourer, merchant and ship-owner, forged his way to wealth and prominence. Lord was responsible for the first woollen mills to be run under private enterprise, the first manufacture from his house in Macquarie Place around 1815. At one time Lord owned the whole of Macquarie Place. In 1811, Governor Macquarie asked Lord to surrender half an acre of his land in Macquarie Place to enable the laying out of the present Park. This was to be exchanged for land near Customs House. This land proved to be unavailable and Lord was finally awarded a grant of 17,813 acres of rural land.

In 1843 fighting between candidates for election to the new Legislative Council broke out in Macquarie Place. Wentworth-Bland and O’Connell factions fought, and Dr Bland was borne away unconscious. In 1849, at Macquarie Place, citizens voted their opposition to the last convict ship Hashemy and its unwelcome cargo of transportees.


Several reports exist providing detailed historical evidence. These include Lester Tropman & Associates, Masterplan and Plan of Management Macquarie Place. Council of the City of Sydney, 1990.
Ted Higginbotham. Historical research for the Macquarie Place urban design study area. Conybeare Morrison & Partners. 1984.
Heritage Group, State Projects, NSW Public Works. Conservation plan, The obelisk, Macquarie Place, Sydney. NSW. Sydey City Council, 1995.

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
Site demonstrates a high rate of below ground survival of archaeolgical features (as evidenced by the 1983 test trenches). And possesses the ability to demostrate and contribute to our knowledge of pre 1820s sites in Sydney (Shaws leasehold).
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
Cellar of former No 11-15 Macquarie Place is a fine and rare example of traditional building technology. Assessed as rare historicaly Assessed as scientifically rare. Assessed as rare by the AHC. Assessed as rare (other).
Assessment criteria: Items are assessed against the PDF State Heritage Register (SHR) Criteria to determine the level of significance. Refer to the Listings below for the level of statutory protection.

Recommended management:

6 pages of recommendations in the 1995 Higginbotham report (pp42-47), summarized (for the below ground items): If future site redevelopment includes soil disturbance application for an excavation permit under the NSW Heritage Act is required. Where possible excavation for new works should be limited to existing service and foundation trenches to minimize disturbance on intact archaeological deposits. Conservation and interpretation for public display of archaeological features should be investigated. The surrounding streets and footpaths should be included within the listings of the site in Conservation instruments (eg LEP) in order that the various significant archaeological remains (Shaws allotment, Thompsons Cellar, Bennelong Sewer etc) be awarded greater statutory protection. This would give them greater protection from being damaged by the installation of new services within roadways and footpaths. Further historical research (specific and detailed) should be undertaken of the Shaw allotment and a research design prior to the commencement of archaeological works. A Conservation Management Plan, should be prepared for the park.

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental PlanSydney LEP 2012I185614 Dec 12   
Archaeological zoning plan     
Heritage study     

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Written  See Previous reports for further bibliographical detail. Historical and Archaeological Assessment report of Macquarie Place, Sydney. Ted Higginbotham for Sydney City Council. November 1995.
WrittenAnita Heiss Aboriginal People and Place, Barani: Indigenous History of Sydney City
WrittenSiobhan1992(Unknown)

Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Local Government
Database number: 2424811


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