Wednesday, 21 April 2010

How exact do you need to be?


Sydney was established in January 1788 as a convict settlement by the United Kingdom. Arthur Phillip sailed his eleven ships and his 1,500 people into the harbour and claimed it for King George III. As he read his proclamation, the flag of the United Kingdom was raised.

But where, just where, did he raise that flag? I was told, via a throw-a-way line, ‘Oh, down in Loftus Street somewhere.’ Pardon? A significant event like this is ‘down Loftus street somewhere.’

BUT, IT'S TRUE!

There’s a Union Flag stuck on a flag-pole down Loftus Street somewhere.


And it didn’t manage to be stuck on that pole until 26th January 1967, after a Committee of Enquiry determined a definitive location. The two paintings above were executed 149 years apart, the one on the left being painted by William Bradley in 1788 and the one on the right, by Algernon Talmage in 1937. This and official correspondence was their evidence.

The final image is as much as I am prepared to show you of the flag and its location. I am sure that the Committee got the location right as much as absolutely possible - but it’s on a footpath outside the Customs House bar, and opposite the Paragon Pub.

On the other side of Loftus street there is a small park, the Jesse Street Park, and on the corner of Loftus and Bridge Street is Macquarie Place, the colony’s first town square. Either would have been preferable.

So, how exact do you need to be?

23 comments:

Sean said...

Why so cryptic on the position Julie? Now I need to know.... I like the angle of the flag above btw!

byron said...

Julie, your shot from under the flag is outstanding. The historical tale is quite interesting, as well...

TheChieftess said...

Love the flag...wherever it is!!!

J Bar said...

That's another fascinating story and landmark that I wasn't aware of. I really like the perspective of the flag in the first shot too.
Sydney - City and Suburbs

Clytie said...

The flag photo is awesome - I love the angle as well. And the history behind the flag "down Loftus street somewhere" is quite interesting.

Magpie said...

We have to wonder if all the other "facts" we know as history are this accurate. Great angle on the flag!

Bruce Caspersonn said...

Get all the flags ready for Sunday.

Julie said...

I am spending a lot of Sunday with my father, Bruce. He has a special ceremony to attend. I shall go into the city after that. I have already prepared a post to commemorate his WW2 service.

Julie said...

Why so crypic on the location, Sean?

Because it is embarrassing ... the plinth looks more like a large garbage bin and ... the whole thing is ... bedraggled.

Neither the Americans nor the Brits would countenance such a tawdry memorial for such an important spot - the indigenous issue I acknowledge, but that is NOT an excuse.

The Lord Mayor has her minions landscaping Macquarie Place right now - and it needed it. But it is well-used and has the anchor and gun from Sirius. I reckon this flag pole should be incorporated.

I am not one for exactitude that shoots itself in the foot!

brattcat said...

My interest didn't flag for a moment as I read this well researched post. Thanks for the history, Julie.

Vicki said...

The flag photo is fantastic.

Kaori said...

Funny! Beautiful photo of your flag :D

Joan Elizabeth said...

History presented in a very appealing way as well a bringing up issues of today. You are so good at this.

I had no idea about the existence of that flag. We Aussies do have a funny way with our history ... I quite like it.

Shelle said...

i know the flag but had no idea why it was there.

Serge Cornillet said...

I like the movement and composition of the flag, flighting like a bird, making a "S" like Serge, he, he...
Have a good day and I always smile when I read your comments. Thanks Julie.
Serge

Bill said...

There you are Julie, Captain Phillip hoisted the Union Jack opposite a pub when he arrived in January 1788. Onya Arthur!

Lachezar said...

Great story, well told and beautifully illustrated as always!

diane said...

I agree with your comment Julie. More should be made of this monument of such an important event. As others have said the flag shot is great, with the way you use the light.

Mary Ann said...

I had no idea of any of this, so thanks for all the details. The photo of the flag is a delight, as is the name Algernon.

Virginia said...

Just how long did you stand under that flag with your camera poised waiting for that "decisive moment" when the wind caught it just perfectly???
V

Julie said...

A long time, VJ ... a long time ... I guess I took maybe 6 shots all told ... there was not much wind around and the flag is surrounded by buildings ... photographers need oodles of patience ... you know that!

tikno said...

Nice photographs !

jingleyanqiu said...

Hello,
what eye opening post,
lovely blog,
cheers!
Nice to meet.