Walking The Rocks

Scott-Free’s blog
Steve & Chris
Fri 18 Dec 2015 23:00

We spent many enjoyable hours wandering the streets in The Rocks.  It seemed that there was something interesting to see around every corner, be it an old pub, a bustling street market, a row of colonial Georgian cottages, archaeological digs, a pissoir, street sculptures, old wharf machinery or a newly developed green space with wonderful views out over the harbour.  There was so much to see, and we soaked it all in.


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We revisited Cadman’s Cottage hoping to find it open, but no.                   A painting of Sydney in 1842 showing the cottage, centre.


We walked through Argyle Cut, begun with convict manual labour in 1843 to provide access to Miller Point, and finished using explosives and council labour in 1859. 


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The marks remain on the roughly-hewn rock from the convicts tools....      and lines for laying the explosives.


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Now a hotel, with old machinery still in the bar/restaurant in the courtyard.


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Georgian terraced houses in Argyle Place.                                                            The Garrison Church – first military church built.


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The Lord Nelson Hotel – claims to be oldest pub.                                                                An old style postbox.


At Barangaroo, on the western tip of The Rocks, a new green space has been laid out for public use.  It makes another oasis of peace and calm on the edge of the city, though it was not busy when we were there. 


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Patterns on the rocks in the park.                                                                             Yet another view of the bridge – this one from Barangaroo.


We wandered along the harbour’s edge, where the old wharf buildings are now very expensive homes with private docks, or coffee shops and restaurants.  Around every corner there are reminders of the area’s history.


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Des res – will cost you a cool $3 million.                                                                  Old wharf machinery around every corner.


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Street sculpture, in the middle of a roundabout!                                                                The streets are on 3 or 4 levels here.


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More old houses, many of them threatened by redevelopment of the area.



Nurses’ Walk, constructed in 1979 near the site of

the first Sydney Hospital.


Beneath the huge YHA building on Cumberland Street, is The Big Dig archaeological site.  All the houses, pubs and shops on this site were demolished between 1902 and 1915 by the New South Wales government following growing unhappiness about the slum conditions and an outbreak of bubonic plague.  The site was then covered over and used for industrial purposes and parking.  In the early 1990’s, The Big Dig archaeological excavation began, and since then the footings of 44 buildings and over a thousand artefacts have been uncovered.


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Beneath the YHA building lies the remains of original 1800’s housing.     


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Carahers Lane today...                                                                  ...and around 1900.



This well was built in the back garden of one of the houses c1810.  By 1818 it was being used as a dump for household

rubbish, possibly because it had been poisoned by the runoff from a nearby slaughterhouse.


The oldest road in Sydney is George Street, the northern end of which runs through The Rocks.  We found an elaborate piece of ironwork within a few metres of its end, which turned out to be a public urinal!


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A surprise find – a 19th century cast iron pissoir in George Street.                                Beneath the harbour bridge road.


We finished off one of our walks at The Harbour View Hotel, where we met up with other members, both local and foreign, of the Ocean Cruising Club.  It was an enjoyable evening spent swapping sailing stories over a drink and a pleasant meal.  We rounded off the evening with a stroll along the water’s edge in Sydney Cove, where we got our first view of the Opera House at night. Lovely!


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The Harbour View Hotel at the end of George Street.                                       An enjoyable evening with Ocean Cruising Club members.



Just as good to look at after dark!