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North view of Sydney Cove from Pitt's Row

Date: 25 May 1798
Overall: 1850 x 2480 mm
Medium: Copper engraving on paper.
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Engraving
Object No: 00000873
Place Manufactured:England

User Terms

    The northern view of Sydney Cove is depicted in this engraving, taken from the end of Pitt's Row (present day Pitt Street). It shows the small settlement of Sydney 10 years after the First Fleet arrived in 1788. The copper engraving was published in England and featured in David Collins' book 'An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales'.
    SignificanceThis engraving provides a visual record of early settlement in Sydney Cove, demonstrating the type of dwellings that were established in the colony by 1798.
    HistorySydney Cove was established by Governor Arthur Phillip when he arrived with the First Fleet on 26 January 1788. The cove was named in honour of the British Home Secretary, Thomas Townsend, Lord Sydney and chosen as the site of settlement over Botany Bay because it offered both fresh water and a secure place for ships to anchor.

    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.

    This image was engraved by James Heath (1757-1834) after a watercolour by Edward Dayes (1763-1804) which in turn was based on a painting by Thomas Watling (1762-1814). Pitt's Row was said to have been named after the British Prime Minister Sir William Pitt, but more reasonably is named after the pits dug for fresh water from the Tank Stream.
    Additional Titles

    Primary title: The north view of Sydney Cove, taken from the end of Pitt's Row

    Web title: North view of Sydney Cove from Pitt's Row

    Related People
    Engraver: James Heath

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