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Across the curator’s desk: A map of the town of Sydney

Map of Sydney, 1831 What is it?

Map of the town of Sydney, 1831 in the volume, The New South Wales calendar and General Post office directory, 1832, C 585

Why is it important?

This map illustrates the settlement of Sydney as at 1831; detailing public buildings, outlining the boundaries of the parishes of St Phillip, St James, St Lawrence and St Andrew and highlighting in green government owned land. We can see various landmarks such as Fort Macquarie at Bennelong Point, Fort Phillip above The Rocks (Observatory Hill), Barrack Square and the military barracks (Wynyard), the wharves of Darling Harbour and the extensive Hyde Park and Government Domain. At the far left of the map, past the Brickfields and the cattle market is the burial ground for the town.

Why is it on your desk?

I am researching the history of the Devonshire Street cemetery (also known as the Sandhills cemetery) which was located where Central Station now stands. Placing cemeteries on the outskirts of towns and cities echoed the European practice. This map illustrates that Sydney was keeping with this tradition as the burial grounds were located well beyond the bounds of the city settlement. By 1831 the cemetery had been divided into various denominations and religion; Protestant, Presbyterian, Catholic and Jewish. Across from the cemetery, on Elizabeth St, was the Albion Brewery.

By the latter half of the century, the city had grown to completely surround the cemetery.

How did it get here?

This volume is part of the Mitchell Library collection, it was acquired by the Library in February 1934.

Elise Edmonds, Senior Curator, Research & Discovery

Visit the Library catalogue to view this collection item

Cemetery detail

Cemetery detail