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North view of Sydney

Date: 1825
Overall: 178 x 280 mm
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Print
Object No: 00000881
Place Manufactured:London

User Terms

    This aquatint was printed in 'Views in Australia or New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land' (1825) by Joseph Lycett. It was first published in thirteen parts on a subscription basis by J Souter and subsequently as one volume.

    In the decades after the first English settlement of Sydney there was a steady clearing of the land to allow for the growth of housing and farming needs. This aquatint shows a thriving colony with Fort Macquarie, Sydney Cove, Dawes Point and numerous windmills depicted.

    Little remains in present day Sydney from this view. Fort Macquarie was demolished in 1901, initially for tram depot and then for the construction of the Sydney Opera House in the 1960s. The defenses at Dawes Point Battery were moved during the 19th century and the area was cleared in the 1920s for the construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Sydney Cove has been developed during the 20th century; however, efforts in the 1970s ensured that many historical buildings from early settlement in the The Rocks area remained.
    SignificanceThis aquatint provides a visual record of early settlement in Sydney Cove, illustrating the type of dwellings that were established in the colony by 1825.
    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.

    Dawes Point was the site of the first battery and fort, established in 1791. During the 1800s the defence system was transferred to the headlands of Sydney Harbour and in the 1920s Dawes Point Battery was demolished to allow for the construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

    Joseph Lycett, a professional painter of portraits and miniatures, was transported to New South Wales, as a convict, for forgery in 1814. Following his conditional discharge in 1819 he travelled and painted landscapes in the two colonies of New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land, adopting the role of unofficial government artist (Wantrup) After gaining an absolute pardon in 1821, he returned to England, and found a publisher to produce his views in 13 monthly parts between July 1824 and June 1825. Demand immediately proved strong enough for the proposed lithographic plates to be replaced by aquatints. On completion of the parts issue, the work was published in book form. Wantrup calls Lycett 'the outstanding artist of his period in Australia’ and his publication 'a landmark in the development of the Australian illustrated book'.

    Additional Titles

    Primary title: North view of Sydney

    Web title: North view of Sydney

    Related People
    Publisher: J Souter

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