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North and South Heads in Port Jackson

Date: c 1818
Overall: 183 x 275 mm
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Engraving
Object No: 00000871
Place Manufactured:London

User Terms

    View of Sydney Harbour from Vaucluse towards the north - c. 1818; based on drawings by Captain James Wallis of the 46th Regiment.

    Shark Island, Bradley's Head and North Head are distinct in the middle distance.

    After entering the harbour, vessels sometimes had to anchor in Watson's Bay if they were becalmed or had to wait for a berth in Sydney Cove to become available. The vessel on the left appears to be under tow to Sydney Cove by two rowed boats; however, the configuration of the tow hawsers from the bow sprit is puzzling. Calm wind conditions are indicated by vertical smoke plumes from Aboriginal campfires in the foreground.
    SignificanceNorth and South Heads are the defining landmarks for the entrance into Sydney Harbour. This work captures a view from the early years of European settlement, and highlights the obvious presence of the Indigenous people.
    HistoryWhen Captain Arthur Phillip arrived at Botany Bay in January 1788 he found a lack of fresh water and unsuitable soil. He therefore moved the site of the British settlement to a harbour further north, Port Jackson, where the colony of Sydney was established on 26th January, 1788.

    The settlement was named in honour of the British Home Secretary, Thomas Townsend, Lord Sydney. Phillip described Sydney Cove as having 'the best spring of water, and in which the ships can anchor so close to the shore that at a very small expense quays may be made at which the largest ships may unload'. He aimed to establish a flourishing colony not just a penal site and supported plans to build a structured orderly town plan.

    Early development in the cove consisted of basic housing and some public buildings. Convicts lived in timber huts and tents prior to the construction of the Hyde Park Barracks in 1819. A stone quarry was established where the male convicts worked and a number of farming plots were cultivated.

    James Wallis was an officer in the 46th Regiment and arrived in NSW in 1814 onboard the GENERAL HEWITT, the ship which brought convict artist Joseph Lycett to Sydney. Both men were in Newcastle where Wallis ran the settlement from 1816-1818 and they used Walter Preston to engrave their drawings.
    Additional Titles

    Label title: Smallpox

    Web title: North and South Heads in Port Jackson

    Primary title: North and South Heads in Port Jackson (NSW) showing a vessel under tow

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