Monday, 20 January 2014

Governor of New South Wales # 2 - Captain John Hunter, RN

Officially, Hunter was the second governor, his term running from 11 September 1795 – 27 September 1800. I say "officially" in that painfully knowing way because the term of the first governor, Phillip, ended on 10 December 1792. So there is a hiatus of well-nigh three years. Lieutenant-Governor Francis Grose stepped in upon Arthur Phillip's departure due to ill-health. Grose was a bit of a slacker, and delegated nearly everything, and then returned to England in the December 1794. People like John MacArthur, and Samuel Marsden, and Richard Johnstone were having a field-day. Upon Grose's departure the colony was administered by Captain Patterson until the arrival of Hunter. But, Hunter is officially our second governor.

One of the aims of this series on governors, was to find a statue of each gentleman. I failed with Hunter. Perhaps there is one in Newcastle which is based on the Hunter River, and is the port which heads the Hunter Valley. However, in Sydney there is a "Hunter Street".In 1810, at the very beginning of his term, Governor Macquarie straightened a bunch of streets up, ordered they be given signs, and changed many names. Hunter Street was one such. It is one of the many streets in the CBD which run east-west, from the Macquarie Street ridge down the gully through which runs the Tank Stream, and up the next ridge along which runs York Street. Hunter Street stops at George Street though because of the military barracks that used to front the main city thoroughfare.

Up towards the Macquarie Street ridge, where Hunter intersects with Bligh Street, stands this little treasure. We are a wierd mob, us Aussies. We take great delight in under-whelming with our nationalism. And long may it reign, says I. This is the memorial to the first christian church service held in the colony, on 3rd February 1788 by Richard Johnson. The first St Phillip's was later erected on this spot. Being a wattle'n'daub shack, in reality, it did not take long for our fine upstanding citizens to burn it down. Need I remind you of the other St Phillip's churches ... nah, thought not.

As governors go, Hunter opened up land: the Hawkesbury, the Hunter region (not initially called that). However, some of the settlers, and some of the military, by now, had a taste of doing things THEIR way, and were a smidge "rowdy" shall we say.

The four images in the middle of this post:
First row shows the terrain that Hunter Street traverses. On the left, I am looking down the slope from the George Street - western - end. On the right, I am looking down the slope from the Macquarie Strret - eastern - end.

Second row shows two landmark buildings from their Hunter Street frontage. On the left is the 1856 Fairfax Building which now houses The Raddison Hotel. Fairfax publishes the "Sydney Moaning Herald". On the right is the 1936 art-deco City Mutual Building.

13 comments:

Birdman said...

Love your text today. Quite informative too. Could sit in that warm spot in your shot.

Stefan Jansson said...

Nice bit of local history here.

Joe said...

How unusual that there was no statue of Hunter to be found and what a wonderful quest you have set for yourself.

Kay L. Davies said...

I love the way you understate things in such a wonderfully wry way, Julie.
Interesting gap between governors.
K

Joan Elizabeth said...

Interesting leaving a jail without a keeper.

Julie said...

AAhh .. but the gaol was an island down the bottom of the known world. Most of the convicts lived in the community until Macquarie built HP Barracks. Those who escaped did not live long.

Robyn said...

Julie, there is a bust of John Hunter in Hunter Park in Balmoral. There is also a statue in Scone and one in his birthplace in Leith, Scotland.

Jim said...

Very interesting post once again.

Julie said...

Robyn, are you the Robyn I think you are? I knew about the statue in Leith, Scotland. Scone. Scone, NSW or Scone, Scotland? I will check out Balmoral.

Julie said...

The Scone one looks like a replica of the Leith statue.

Julie said...

I can find a Hunter Park in Bondi, but not Balmoral. However, cannot find (using google streetview) a statue of Hunter in that Bondi park.

Robyn said...

Yes, I am that Robyn! The park is off The Esplanade, Balmoral. You can see the statue on street view at the corner with Hunter Road.

Shopprice Sydney said...

Oh in short NSW that's beautiful.
Now I'm in Sydney and I'm work for SHOPPRICE