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McMahons Point

Date: 1937
Dimensions:
Overall: 525 x 1265 mm, 5.22 kg
Medium: Wood, oil paints
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Classification:Art
Object Name: Painting
Object No: 00037893
Place Manufactured:Sydney
Related Place:McMahons Point,

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    Description
    This is an unusual view of McMahons Point, on Sydney Harbour's North Shore, just west of the Bridge. It is seen from off shore on the eastern side. Balls Head can be seen beyond, and on the left, the end wharves of Millers Point across the harbour. McMahons Point ferry wharf is seen at the left, and a double decked ferry is heading towards it. W Holmes' boat building yard, the name clearly visible, and two other boat or timberyards are depicted along the foreshore.
    This was the tail end of the time when McMahons Point and Lavender Bay were a boatbuilding area-the slipways and some remains of a local boat yard are preserved today in the head of the cove.
    SignificanceThe foreshores of McMahons Point were popular for boat building and other maritime activity before becoming a residential enclave in the 1950's.
    HistoryThis is an unusual and charming view of McMahons Point, on Sydney Harbour's North Shore, just west of the Bridge. It is seen from off shore on the eastern side. Balls Head can be seen beyond, and on the left, the end wharves of Millers Point across the harbour. McMahons Point ferry wharf is seen at the left, and a double decked ferry is heading towards it.
    W .Holmes' boatbuilding yard, the name clearly visible, and two or three other boat or timber yards are depicted along the foreshore.This was the tail end of the time when McMahons Point and Lavender Bay were a boat building area - the slipways and some remains of a local boatyard are preserved today in the head of the cove, commemorating this part of local history.
    An interesting detail is a brig with black and white painted ports and high stern castle lying off shore near the ferry wharf. This is the replica of the brig SUPPLY, used in 1938 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the landing of the First Fleet. It was actually a lightship named the BRAMBLE which the Maritime Services Board rebuilt as the
    replica SUPPLY for the re-enactment, and later converted back to its original purpose and configuration.

    The picture shows McMahons Point as it must have been just before harbour views achieved enormous prices, and developers moved into build high rise apartments, most notably Blues Point Tower of the 1960s which today dominates the scene. Some of the 1920s apartments and houses in the painting are still recognisable today.

    The overall character is naive, but the unknown artist appears to have had a practised architectural eye, because the buildings and detail are exceptionally finely observed and detailed, suggesting a skilled draughtsman's technique. The same meticulous observation is brought to small craft and a ferry, and tiny human figures here and there. The colours, particularly reflections in the water, are often delicate and appealing.

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