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Birds-Eye View of Sydney Harbour

Date: c 1889
532 x 712 mm, 1 mm
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Thomas Arthur Mills
Object Name: Map
Object No: 00027965
Place Manufactured:Sydney

User Terms

    A birds-eye view of Sydney Harbour seen from outside Sydney Heads looking west up the harbour with diminishing perspective.

    The map is likely over 100 years old and published by Stewaet & Co. It was owned by Thomas Acton a marine engineer who worked for the Adelaide Steamship Co for all of his working years.
    SignificanceThis view gives a different perspective of Sydney in the late C19th. Although the city and surrounding suburbs are not detailed, it does clearly show the extent of industry and population already along the harbour foreshore.
    HistoryThe image is a sketch showing an aerial view of Sydney Harbour and surrounds, from a view point outside Sydney Heads looking west up the harbour and rivers with diminishing perspective.The Blue Mountains are slightly suggested on the horizon.
    The foreground extends to Manly to the north and Bondi to the south, while foreshore names are shown as far as Bantry Bay on Middle Harbour, and Homebush Bay on the Parramatta River. Blackwattle Bay is shown as 'Blackwater Cove'.
    Shipping and harbour craft are shown as small silhouettes; major buildings and the spread of housing are represented but with diminishing presence according to perspective.
    The date of the view is probably between 1885 and 1890, because of the presence of Sydney's 'Five Bridges'- Pyrmont, Glebe Island, Iron Cove, Gladesville and Fig Tree, which were built between 1881 and 1885, and also the Suspension Bridge at Northbridge which was begun in 1889. However the general appearance gives a first impression of an earlier date, reminiscent of about 1870, because of the type face used,the forms of names given (eg Mossman's Bay, Hunter's Bay [Balmoral], Hen & Chicken's Bay). The simple depiction of shipping which is a mixture of steam and sail supports this, as does the absence of housing in areas like the lower north shore and the eastern suburbs. The view was apparently published in a Melbourne newspaper, the Record, whose name appears underneath the image, but was printed in Sydney. It may be that an old version was updated for the purpose, or perhaps that the bridges were not yet built but were planned.
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