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?