Roland Wakelin

Barrack Street, Sydney

About this item: 

Roland Wakelin, born in New Zealand in 1887, moved to Sydney in his twenties to study at the Royal Art Society School. He worked for many years as a commercial artist.

This streetscape records a dramatic episode in Sydney’s wartime history. The General Post Office clock tower, at 210 feet, was one of the city’s tallest structures at the time. It was dismantled in mid-June 1942 as a precautionary measure, following the entry of Japanese midget submarines into Sydney Harbour on the night of 31 May to 1 June 1942.

During the dismantling of the clock tower, each of the stones was marked to facilitate its rebuilding which did not take place until March 1964.