Campbells CoveThe first use by the colonials of the land on which the Campbell's Bond Stores were built appears to have been to graze sheep on the shores of what had yet to be named Campbell's Cove. The land was leased to Henry Waterhouse, commander of the Reliance, in 1794. Two years later he went to the Cape of Good Hope and brought back a flock of sheep from Spain, which were the first merinos to arrive in New South Wales.
The cove takes its name from Robert Campbell Snr, a a Scottish merchant who is sometimes referred to as the "father of Australian commerce." Campbell broke the stranglehold that the British East India Company exercised over seal and whale products, which were New South Wales's only exports in those early days. He began trade with the colony in 1798, taking up residence in 1800 and leading the way for free enterprise in Sydney. Such was the volume of goods that he brought through Sydney Cove, the place where his ships loaded and unloaded their cargo became known by his name.
The handsome sandstone bond stores on Campbells Cove were built by the sons of pioneer merchant Robert Campbell to house the tea, coffee, sugar, spirits and cloth their family business imported from India. Originally a two storey structure comprising of 11 bays, the first 5 bays were completed in 1842, the rest were built two at a time in 1858, 1861. The top storey was added in 1890 along with a new brick bay at the northern end by its new owner, the State Government. Ten of the original bays survive today along with the brick addition, and house a number of shops, galleries and restaurants.
The most southern bay was demolished in 1958 to make way for the northern access ramp to the Overseas Passenger Terminal. Attached to one of the walls is the remains of an hydraulic whip, a device fitted in 1890 to enable goods to be raised to the upper levels at great speed. It was powered by high pressure water pumped through pipes from a pumping station at Darling Harbour. The pulleys that were used to hoist cargoes still hang on the upper level of the warehouses.
The cove is the mooring for Sydney's fully operational tall ships which conduct theme cruises around the harbor. Experience the unforgettable thrill of cruising Sydney harbour on a tall ship. You are welcome to get involved and help hoist the sails, take a turn steering the ship or simply sit back and relax. Experience the 'Mast Climb' for the ultimate exhilaration and be rewarded with awe inspiring views. If you'd like to heave on a rope you can - otherwise simply sit back, relax and enjoy the entertainment provided by the crew, captain, chef and bar service.