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On this day, 23rd June 1810, Governor Lachlan Macquarie opened Australia’s first post office.
In 1809, Lieutenant Colonel Lachlan Macquarie arrived in Sydney to take up the position of Governor of the New South Wales colony, which he held from 1810 to 1821. One of Macquarie’s earliest duties was to appoint an official postmaster. The first postmaster of Sydney was Isaac Nichols, an ex-convict who took up the post in 1809. Australia’s first post office was opened the following year by Governor Macquarie, in 1810, and it operated from Isaac Nichols’ own home, in Lower George St, Circular Quay, Sydney.
The photograph from the collections of the State Library of New South Wales was taken a few years before the building was demolished in 1889.
This work shows the site of present-day Martin Place looking across to David Jones’ first store on the corner of George and Barrack Streets. On the left-hand side is the then General Post Office, the main meeting place in the town. The foreground is taken up with a lively rendition of everyday activities: people gather by the Post Office; two Aborigines look on; a bullock dray and team of brewery horses transport loads towards Sydney Cove; two groups rest against the Barracks wall.