Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Forgotten Nooks - Brickfield Hill

Top: George St looking north up to the monorail crossing at Liverpool Street. Below Left: Looking south down George St in 1873. Below Right: Looking south down George Street in 1900.
At the end of February in 1788, one of the journals kept on board the ‘Sirius’ recorded that a useful deposit of clay had been uncovered not far from the settlement near a small creek that ran into Cockle Bay. This was a red letter day: the settlement was on the verge of moving from canvas to something more substantial. To the north ran a steady rise, and up and over and down the other side – about a mile – lay the new settlement on Sydney Cove. Callooh! Callay!

Looking south down George Street where the monorail crosses at Liverpool Street.
So came into being an area called ‘Brickfield Hill’ which was a Sydney postal address until postcodes were introduced in 1967. Covering the area roughly between Paddy’s Markets, Elizabeth Street, George , Bathurst and Goulburn Streets, Brickfield Hill was a rough and tough area with many public houses and other establishments of ill-repute. The area was used for brick making up until the 1840s when the value of land rose in line with the spread of the township. This industrial area was too close to the residential terraces bordering Hyde Park and had to be moved further out.

The above map 'Plan de la Ville de Sydney', drawn by a visiting French artist, Charles-Alexandre Lesueur, in November 1802, shows the vicinity. I have indicated some current landmarks to help you orient yourself.

Above: Close to the intersection of George & Bathurst looking south.
George Street is the main thoroughfare of the modern city. Brickfield Hill is pretty much the area between the Town Hall and Central Station. Today, it is a congested, busy, thriving metropolis abundant with retail-therapy opportunities, towering modern apartment blocks and hotels in addition the sights sounds and smells of both the Spanish Quarter and Chinatown. Until recently it was an entertainment area based upon cinemas with Greater Union, Hoyts and Village all having complexes on George Street. However, it the last ten years cinemas have moved into the suburbs and the area is replete with pinball parlors, adult bookshops, downstairs clubs and massage parlors. What goes around, comes around.

Top: Both these shots are from close to the same spot which is the intersection of George & Liverpool facing south now crossed by the monorail. The left shot was 1930, the right was 1957. Below: Taken from the intersection of George with Park & Druitt streets in front of the Town Hall facing south looking in the direction of Brickfield Hill.


Luis Gomez said...

Wonderful post Julie. Thank you for your great city images and info.

brattcat said...

This is a very weird response, Julie, but these shots make me think of Toronto.

Bruce Caspersonn said...

Great posting Julie. Yes, I am sure that I was born far too late. I like Sydney better the way it was.

J Bar said...

So familiar. I walk past here every morning, on the way to work. Thanks for the history.

Rinkly Rimes said...

You certainly know your city like the back of your hand!

Chris said...

I note that the pub on the corner, The Sir John Young is still there, corner of George and Liverpool, and visible in the older photos.