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A View of Woolloomooloo ~ 1864


 


Dear Grandpa Pencil looks at early Australian development through journals, official reports and newspaper excerpts of the day. Readers should remember that these accounts are based on personal observations at the time and some have, since, been shown to be flawed.

'A view of Woolloomooloo' is drawn from an article in The Illustrated Sydney News: 15th October, 1864

The City of Sydney, which according to the Police Act of 1833, comprises the whole of the lands contained within a 'line drawn from the head of Blackwater Swamp to Rushcutters Bay, and thence to the waters of Port Jackson', has of late been sub-divided under the provisions of the Municipalities Act, as to lead persons unacquainted with the city, to suppose that Woolloomooloo is a distant portion of the suburbs, instead of an integral part of the city proper.

During the past few years Woolloomooloo has progressed rapidly from the few residences which ten years ago lay scattered between the South Head and the Bay.

It has risen to a densely inhabited locality.

The situation is all that could be desired, and the only drawback to its position has been the miasmatic vapours arising from drainage of the district being spread over the swampy shore of the harbour; but this complaint will soon be remedied by the 'tabooed' ground being filled up to the level of the new circular wharf now in progress of construction.

A work of this kind has been urged for several years, but it was the session before last that a Bill was brought before Legislature for the reclamation of Woolloomooloo Bay.

On its being passed, Mr. Robertson, the then Minister for Lands, took immediate steps to carry out the requisite works.

In a few months a fine wooden quay spanned the Harbour from the Domain to Fairfax's Mill.

A tramway was then constructed. by which large blocks of stone were carried from the quarries and deposited on the inner side of the quay so as to form a breakwater, and since that time the space lying between it and the former high water mark has been filled up rapidly with the deposit of large quantities of silt delivered by the dredging punts and alluvial matter from the sand hills.

A large space of available land has thus been formed, the sale of which will repay the whole amount expended on its formation.

The fever breeding swamp, to which we have previously referred, will soon be covered with places of business, and the admirable facilities provided for shipping must shortly give the place a commercial importance, to which it has not, hitherto, aspired; and its beautiful harbour will contain a more important fleet than the numerous yachts, and other miniature craft, belonging to the Australian Boat Club and other kindred establishments, which have been, for years, almost its only occupants.

 


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Published by Robin A Cartledge ~ ABN 19 924 273 138 ~ Low Head, Tasmania ~ Contact/Comment