A sandstone building erected as a warehouse in the 1830s on Millers Point, Moore's Stores is one of the few buildings in Sydney that stood in the way of progress but survived by being moved.
The stores were built of locally quarried sandstone and used from 1840 by Captain Joseph Moore to conduct his import and export business. Moore and his son established an agency for the P&O shipping line. Its mail steamer, the SS Chusan, berthed at Moore's Wharf in 1852, commencing a service that began a tradition of carriage of the Royal Mail which continued for over a century.
During the early years of the 20th century, the landscape of Millers Point was totally changed subsequent to its resumption by the Government as part of the eradication of the Bubonic plague. The redevelopment included the creation of Hickson Road around the shoreline from Cockle Bay to Sydney Cove, but Moore's Stores on the tip of Millers Point stood in the way. Being a building of historic significance, it was dismantled and rebuilt stone by stone some two metres further back to make room for the new road and dock extensions. Moore's Stores are located at the end of Towns Place.
Buran Space Shuttle
The day a Russian space shuttle came to Sydney
Not too many people know that, not only did Russia had their own space shuttle, and that it came to Sydney in 2000. Back in June 1974, the success of the US Apollo space missions and the failure of their own programs pointed to serious deficiencies in the technology base of the Soviet Union. The time-honoured Soviet method of rectifying such situations was to copy the foreign technology, which is exactly what they did. The result of their efforts; the Buran ("Snowstorm" in Russian) Space Shuttle.
It looked a lot like the US space shuttle, with some technical differences. Unlike the US test orbiter, which was lifted by a modified Boeing 747, the Buran-analogue was equipped with four turbojet engines enabling it to take off and climb to altitude under its own power. After reaching approximately 16,000 feet (5,000 meters), the engines would be shut off and the landing test would proceed. v
A full-scale test version - Buran 002 - was completed in 1984 to assist in the development of an automatic landing system. Although it made its take off and landing as a conventional aircraft, the atmospheric Buran 002 was constructed of the same materials and used the same technology as the space-rated craft. Four were built, one of which made 25 sub orbital missions for the elite of Russia's Space Program. Russians scrapped the project after Perestroika and a lack of funding in 1990. After its last flight, the atmospheric Buran 002 was retired to an open hanger at Zhukovsky Air Base outside of Moscow. Although periodically rolled out for air shows, the vehicle was generally disregarded.
In order to recoup a bit of the money spent on it, the Buran 002 was offered for sale. Listed at $10 million, the shuttle was also posted at least once to the popular online auction site E-Bay, though no serious offers were received. Prior to the Sydney 2000 Olympics, a couple of enterprising Australians negotiated a nine year lease to take it on a world tour, starting with Australia. They brought with it an exhibition featuring a high-tech audio-visuals presentation and a range of displays, artefacts and merchandise.
More than a few heads were turned when the Buran Space Shuttle was offloaded, then re-assembled and placed on display in a tent-like structure in June 2000 at Wharf 12, Pyrmont alongside the then abandoned Sydney Harbour Casino building, a former passenger terminal. The Buran was expected to stay in Sydney for a number of years, but a lack of interest in it led to its leaving Sydney after less than a year on display. Buran 002 never flew in space, in fact, only one of the four ever did.
26th January is a date that has a prominent place in Sydney's history. It was on that day in 1788 that the colony of New South Wales was established. On that day 20 years later in Lt. Colonel George Johnston marched down Parramatta Road into Sydney town with his troops and arrested Gov. William Bligh in what has gone down in history as the Rum rebellion. Gov. Macquarie was the first governor to celebrate Australia Day officially (it was then called Foundation Day), ordering a 30 gun salute on Dawes Point followed by a dinner and ball at Government House afterwards. The Australia Day public holiday was inaugurated in 1838, the colony's 50th anniversary.
It was on 26th January, 1900 the source of the Bubonic plague that had engulfed parts of Sydney was isolated to a house in Ferry Lane, Millers Point, a turning point in the eradication of the disease.
Fishwick house, Castlecrag
Secret wartime messages
No. 15 The Citadel at Castlecrag, also known as the Fishwick House, is one of the most celebrated of the houses designed by Walter Burley Griffin in the suburb. Its owner, Thomas Wilson Fishwick, gave Griffin a free rein in its design. Griffin rose to the occasion, producing a house with a castle-like appearance. One feature is a large counterbalanced window that raises completely out of view providing a link with the bushland and harbour view. During World War II the house's occupants were visited by the security police who accused them of sending signals through the Heads - until they were shown how light reflected off a full length mirror on their wardrobe door through their giant window, down Middle Harbour and out to sea!
Fishwick house window
Barrow wheeling policemen
In 1837, wheel barrows were issued to Sydney's police, so that they could convey drunks to the lock-ups. A Sydney Gazette of 1837 contained an article: "On Tuesday afternoon, a constable in a state of intoxication, was observed wheeling a man in a barrow to the watch-house, who was also drunk. Instead of taking the man to the nearest watchhouse, the intoxicated policemen wheeled him over half of Sydney; every now and then capsizing him onto the road, to the mirth of the citizens, and the gratification of his own drunken propensities".
Wonderland City at Tamarama
In December 1906 a fun park named Wonderland City opened at Tamarama Beach. Run on the same lines as Coney Island and Luna Park, it was was covered with thousands of gaily coloured electric lamps powered by its own steam plant. Attractions included a large railway; the 'Katzenjammer Castle', a place of surprises; and a slippery-slide. An airship ran across the beach on a solid steel cable, supported on the cliffs at both ends by massive wooden structures. Around the cliff-top ran a steam driven miniature railway, operated on two miles of track.
Complaints at the noise by local residents, charges of cruelty to animals, and an accident to the airship led to a decline in visitors. Poor crowds and low revenue forced Wonderland City to close in 1911. Its creator, William Anderson is said to have lost £15,000 on the venture. There is no evidence of the fun park at Tamarama Beach today.
A pathway through bushland at Thornleigh, Lorna Pass, recalls Lorna Brandt, the blonde curly haired daughter of a railway ganger who worked on the northern railway line. Lorna worked at a cake shop in Thornleigh and saw the distress of the many unemployed people who walked by the shop during the 1930s depression. Eager to help them, she joined numerous relief committees and became actively involved in raising money from the residents of Thornleigh, Pennant Hills and Beecroft. The money raised was used to finance the building of reserves and walking trails, one of which leads from Thornleigh Oval to the valley of the Lane Cove River. This trail was named Lorna Pass in her honour at the suggestion of the men who built it. They also carved the face of Sir Bertram Stevens, the Premier of NSW (1932-39), into the rock face beside the walking trail.
Mysterious artefacts found in The Rocks
In 1989 on the site of the ANA Hotel in Cumberland Street, The Rocks, three intriguing artefacts were found - not at all what you would expect from the remains of houses dating back to the 1820s. There was an Egyptian "ushabti" figure made around 400BC, a topaz ring inset made in the fist century BC, and a Roman coin dated 123BC. It is unclear how these pieces were brought to Australia by the 1820s. The most likely explanation is that they are related to the maritime population of The Rocks, and may be part of sailors personal mementoes or gifts brought back for their family.
"The Queer House"
Towards the end of the First World War, Sgt. Joe Chuck investigated a complaint that women were being held captive in a house in Carrington Street opposite Wynyard Park. The complainant said that although in the evening she saw three stylishly-dressed women and three men go out, during the day only men emerged from the house. Three of the women turned out to be men.
The ETA Foods brand was produced by Marrickville Margarine Co Ltd. which was established at Edinburgh Road, Marrickville, in 1908 by Charles Abel. ETA Foods was the first major user of peanuts in Australia with Abel encouraging farmers at Kingaroy, Queensland to grow commercial quantities of the nut from which ETA's peanut putter was manufactured.
Ben Singleton's millstones (circa 1810), which have been adopted as the Kurrajong Historical Society's logo because they are the oldest European relic in "the Kurrajong", have received chequered treatment. They have been dumped in the creek (1860), retrieved and used as a war memorial (1920), discarded during road widening (1945), rescued (1958), forgotten, rescued again (1988), a history which the Society believes is symbolic of how Kurrajong's history has been treated.
James Angus, who introduced modern wine-making technology to his Minchinbury Estate vineyard and winery, was killed at Rooty Hill station by a train on 12th April 1916, four years after he sold his vineyard to Penfold's Wines. Penfolds Angus Brut is named after him.
One could be excused for thinking you are walking backwards if you take the walking track through Royal National Park from Heathcote to Waterfall. At Uloola Falls a sign points down the main track stating "Waterfall 5.5km". But if you take the track, about 500 metres along it another sign reassuringly says "Waterfall 6km". But at least you will reach your destination, nor like some poor bushwalker who carved this statement on one of these signposts: "U smile. That's easy for you to say. You're not the one who's been roaming around the bush for 3 hours looking for Uloola Falls. Where's the ##$#@ water?"
What size John?
Records held at the Windsor Courthouse show that, in the 1860s, a witty constable, Tiernan, rounded up a jury at an inquest consisting of John Short, John Long, John Small and John Large.
Bondi is Sydney's only south facing beach. Behind the beach is one of Sydney's biggest sand dunes, running from the high-water mark to the heights of Bellevue Hill. These days the sand dunes are built on but for many years they provided a natural barrier to Sydneysiders. For this reason, Bondi was one of the last of Sydney's eastern beaches to be developed.
The area bounded by Old Grand Drive, Anzac Parade and Robertson Drive, Moore Park was originally a marshlands - known as Billygoat Swamp. After the swamp was filled, it was used as the site of the Moore Park Zoological Gardens. Opened in 1881, the zoo featured a variety of animals including Jessie the elephant, a gift from the King of Siam (Thailand). The zoo was transferred to the Taronga site at Manly in 1912. The animals were shipped across the harbour by vehicular ferry.
The suburb of Wollstonecraft recalls Edward Wollstonecraft, an early settler, who was related to Mary Wollstonecraft, writer of 'Vindication of the Rights of Women' and the first feminist of the industrial era. Her daughter was Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, the author of Frankenstein and the second wife of the English poet, Percy Bryce Shelley.
Change of heart
As the First Fleet approached Van Diemen's Land in "very heavy gales and a violent tumbling sea" on the way to establishing Sydney, Lieut. Ralph Clark, on the Supply, wrote, "Oh I wish I had never come . . . I am going to sit down to the poorest dinner that ever I sat down to on a New Year's Day, a piece of hard salt beef and a few musty pancakes."
Clark's diary entry of 26 January 1788 reflected a somewhat more optimistic view: "blessed be to God that we have got Save [safe] to Anchor in one of the finest harbours in the world - I never Saw any like it - the River Thames is not to be mentioned to it and I that I thought was the finest in the world - this Said Port Jackson is the most beautiful place - I cannot compare any think to come nearer to it than about 3 miles above Saltash to the Wair - here we make the Ships fast to the Trees on Shore both Sides of Governours Cove [Sydney Cove]."
Great Hall, University of Sydney
The Royal Window
The Royal Window of the Great Hall of the University of Sydney, which is a pictorial representation of the Kings and Queens of England, had to be approved by Queen Victoria. Before it was allowed to be shipped to Australia, she had it assembled in the Waterloo Gallery of Windsor Castle for the inspection, then after her approval was give, it was disassembled and sent by ship to Australia.
Cows in George Street
A letter from a Sydneysider to a friend in England, written in 1856, tells of the day when cows grazed in George Street: "Near to where my parents dwelt in Clarence Street, there was a dairy, kept by a man called McCrory. He owned about six cows that he used to drive from Clarence Street into Druitt Street, (past where the Town Hall now stands, although it was a burial ground then), thence across George Street, through Park Street, to the Racecourse, which is now Hyde Park, and go back and drive them by the same route at about 5 o'clock in the afternoon. Needless to remark, the traffic was not like what it is today."
Hooray for Hollywood
The Hollywood Hotel at 2 Foster Street Surry Hills is thus named because its owner, Australian born actress Doris Goddard, has had her fare share of Hollywood fame, with roles in such movies as The Iron Petticoat, Robbery Under Arms, Tim and Hostage alongside actors like Bob Hope, Sid James, Peter Finch, Robert Helpmann, Katherine Hepburn, Robert Mitchum, Jill Ireland and David McCallum.
After her stint in Hollywood she returned to Australia and played Margo Campbell in Number 96. retired and in her 70s, she often lets the pub out as a movie set - it has appeared in Erskineville Kings and a few episodes of the TV shows Wildside and Water Rats.
In the 1920s and '30s the stretch of George Street from Circular Quay to King Street was known as "Salt-meat Alley" by homosexuals who cruised there in search of sailors and other men in uniform. The Belfields Hotel (now Darrell Lea's) was the southernmost end of Salt-meat Alley. Further up King St., Repin's Coffee Shop provided a more middle-class somewhat 'arty' meeting place.
Wife Sale at Windsor
Many unjust and wicked things are sanctioned by custom, and in 1811 Governor Macquarie struck a deathblow to the custom of wife-selling. In September, 1811, he added to the population of Newcastle a woman named Malkins, who had on 28th August, 1811, been led by her husband, Ralph Malkins, into the public street of Windsor with a rope round her neck, and publicly exposed for sale, when Thomas Quire actually purchased and paid for her the sum of sixteen pounds in money and some yards of cloth.
The woman acknowledged to the assembled multitude that she was agreeable to the bargain, and on payment of the purchase money on the spot, went off with the purchaser, after telling the crowd she had no doubt her new possessor would make her a better husband than the one who had sold her. As the infamous transaction outraged all laws, human and divine, the bench of magistrates, consisting of Mr. W. Cox, Dr. Mileham and Rev. Mr. Cartwright, investigated the affair, and the culprits confessed their guilt. The Bench sentenced Malkins, to receive 50 lashes, and to be worked in the Sydney Gaol gang for three months. Mrs. Malkins, was transported to Newcastle for an indefinite period. (Windsor and Richmond Gazette - 6th January, 1928.)
Painting The Coathanger
The Sydney Harbour Bridge (affectionately dubbed 'The Coathanger') requires regular paint jobs as part of its maintenance. The surface area to be painted is equal to about the surface area of 60 sports fields.
Opera House visits
Approximately 4.5 million people visit the Sydney Opera House each year. This is about a quarter of Australia's total population and more than twice the number of yearly visitors to America's White House.
Sydney's First Railway Accident
Australia's first major railway accident occurred on 10th July, 1858 at Haslam's Creek at about 9 o'clock. The morning train from Parramatta ran off the line at a spot near the present Auburn Swim Centre, some of the carriages turned over and fell down the embankment. Two passengers were killed, and several were injured including Mr. Charles Boynton who later became the first station master at Haslam's Creek.
The only fatal accident on the Lithgow Zig Zag occurred on the night of 8th December, 1908 when an overloaded goods train stopped short of Clarence Tunnel, unable to lift its haul to the top. On dividing the train, the rear portion rolled to Top Points where it demolished the cab of a locomotive on a train about to leave for Penrith. Sadly, the driver died in Penrith hospital. The runaway brake van had as passengers some 20 navvies, miraculously none were injured. Fire in the wreckage and a snow storm added to the chaos and confusion.
The Day Waverton Park Caught Fire
The foreshore area of Waverton Park, where the playing fields are located today, is mostly reclaimed mud flat. The area was used for many years as a tip by North Sydney Council and then converted to playing fields, as were many of the mudflats at the head of bays on Sydney Harbour prior to modern concerns of contamination and environmental protection. To create the park and form the playing fields in 1944, tailings from the nearby Oyster Cove Gasworks was used. However, this fill soon required replacement when the gases from it ignited and smoke was seen coming out of the ground.
BMA House in Macquarie Street is a fine heritage-listed example of Art Deco architecture. A novel addition to the building's decorations are koala statues perched among traditional gargoyles and stone knights on the building's upper exterior walls. Kangaroo gargoyles were used on the towers of the major buildings of the University of Sydney, Camperdown. Kangaroo gargoyles on the Main Tower are visible from the Main Quadrangle.
A rum barrel is carved over an entranceway on the west side of the University of Sydney Great Court, Camperdown. The significance of the barrel is not known, one can assume it has to do with the fact that rum played an important part in life in 1850s when the University was built.
Sydney boundary riders: Under the first City of Sydney Act, 1842, the Mayor had to set up boundary markers for all the wards of the city. Once a year the aldermen were supposed to walk or ride around all of these markers - "beat the bounds" - so that the boundary would become fixed in people's minds. This medieval practice evolved in the days when not many could read and no one had maps. Some of these boundary markers still exist. There's one in Sydney Square, outside the Town Hall on George Street.
Built By The Book
Toxteth Lodge, Glebe, was built as a gatehouse for a larger property, the plans for the cottage were lifted from the Tarbuck Encyclopedia of Practical Carpentry and Joinery, 1860. It is one of only a handful of 19th century Gothic style cottages surviving in Sydney.
Coats of Arms
Following federation in 1901, the Commonwealth Government created the Commonwealth Bank in 1911, which was considered a great social reform of the time. The first branch opened in Melbourne in 1912, and in that same year a site was acquired in Pitt Street, Sydney, for the erection of a head office for the bank. The original building was constructed between 1913 and 1916 and was intended to be one of the most modern banking establishments in the world, echoing New York style skyscrapers.
The facade of the building is divided into nine bays by pilasters, each bearing a representation of a State coat of arms within a cartouche. The NSW Arms, as shown in the picture, are perhaps the earliest representation of the Arms on the exterior of a public building. In this case the Arms are displayed to emphasise the federal nature of the Commonwealth government, the owner of the bank and of the building. At the time of construction only three of the states had officially granted Arms (Queensland 1893, NSW 1906 and Victoria 1910), and the Arms for the other states were essentially a form of their State badge on a shield shape. None of the territories are represented. All of the Arms on the facade were carved by William P. Macintosh.
Seven Year Itch
One of the most iconic images ever created by Hollywood was shot in September 1954. It is of Marilyn Monroe standing with Tom Ewell, her co-star in the movie Seven Year Itch, on Lexington Avenue at 52nd Street in New York City. As subway trains run back and forth and her skirt billows up, she says her lines from which we get some famous quotes such as, "Don't you feel the breeze from the subway? Isn't it delicious?" and "Ooohhh! This feels just elegant!" A large crowd watched as director Billy Wilder ordered the scene to be re-filmed many times.
If the film had been set in Sydney, then Marilyn's famous skirt billowing scene would have to have been shot in Hyde Park. Behind the cafe on the corner of Elizabeth and George Streets is a similar grate, where air blows up from the underground railway below, pushed up through the vent by trains entering and leaving Museum station nearby.
Sydney Tower cables
Sydney Tower is stabilised by 56 cables each weighing seven tonnes. If these cables were laid end to end they would stretch from Sydney to Alice Springs or Sydney to New Zealand.
The Sydney suburb of Greenwich is one of the few places in Australia where a fish has been shot out of a tree. During an expedition Phillip up the Parramatta River in March 1788 by Gov. Arthur, one of his crew members shot a hawk in a tree on what is today the Greenwich shoreline. The shot missed the bird, but hit a fish the bird was carrying in its beak. Frightened by the gunfire, the bird took off, dropping the fish, which was recovered and eaten by the boat's crew.
There's a Lighthouse in Our Garden
Nos. 12 and 80 Wentworth Road, Vaucluse are believed to be the only houses in Australia to have fully functional lighthouses in their gardens. The light in the front garden of No. 12 Wentworth Road, known officially as Vaucluse Bay Rear Light, lines up with the Vaucluse Bay Front Light in the rear garden of No. 80 Wentworth Avenue, Vaucluse, to define the eastern channel of Port Jackson south from inside The Heads. Both 8 metre high lights run off mains electricity. Vaucluse Bay Front Light has an elevation of 16 metres, Vaucluse Bay Rear Light has an elevation of 84 metres.