Search the Collection
Advanced Search
Image Not Available

The heads of Port Jackson

Date: 1876
Overall: 182 x 268 mm
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Engraving
Object No: 00000862
Related Place:Sydney,

User Terms

    This vista of Sydney Heads by John Skinner Prout was drawn from a location to the south of Outer South Head, with views along the cliff face and across the opening to Port Jackson (Sydney) towards the Outer North Head. Originally completed in 1842 it was published in this form in Edwin Carton Booth's 'Australia' (also known as 'Australia Illustrated') in 1876.
    SignificanceThis engraving offers an early view of the first Macquarie lighthouse on South Head as well as detailing the precipitous cliffs that mark the entrance to Sydney Harbour.
    HistoryThe first Macquarie Lighthouse, as seen in this artwork, was built in 1818 near the site of a signal station (flagstaff) that had been in place on the Outer South Head since 1791. Governor Macquarie ordered the construction of a permanent structure that was designed by convict architect Francis Greenway. However, the sandstone used to build the lighthouse deteriorated quickly and a replacement, an almost identical lighthouse constructed in stronger materials, was built in 1883. It is still functioning today.

    The entrance to Sydney through North and South Heads is the first view that the majority of people coming to the colony would have been greeted with. The large cliffs loom over the entrance and the rugged nature of the terrain and the cliffs are evident. The first building they noticed would have been the lighthouse.

    The Macquarie Lighthouse and the signal tower and flagstaff on Signal Hill are clearly shown, as is the precipitous nature of the headland, the height of the cliffs being nearly 80m above sea level.

    A solitary figure, standing on a jutting rock, is shown looking down over the sheer drop, as if to accentuate the height of the headland. A brig is shown under full sail in the middle distance entering Port Jackson. Two more vessels (a steamer and sailing vessel) are shown in the north, well clear of North Head.

    Additional Titles

    Primary title: The heads of Port Jackson

    Web title: The heads of Port Jackson

    Related People

    Discuss this Object


    Please log in to add a comment.