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Across the curator's desk: A report on the colony’s public buildings, 1824

Standish Lawrence Harris - Report & Estimate of the Value of the Improvements which have taken place in the Public Buildings of Sydney, Paramatta, Windsor, Liverpool and Campbelltown..., 1824
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What is this item?

A report on the colony’s public buildings of Sydney, Paramatta, Windsor, Liverpool and Campbelltown, between the 25th of December 1822 & the 24th of December 1823, produced by Standish Lawrence Harris in 1824. Harris arrived in Sydney in 1822 and was appointed civil architect to replace first Government Architect, Francis Greenway. The Harris report was critical of Greenway and was based on unfounded comments and inaccurate drawings. The fees that Harris claimed for the report were considered by Governor Brisbane to be excessive and Harris did also not get along with the Chief Engineer, Major Ovens. Owens dismissed Harris later in October 1824.

Why is it important?

These rare reports show indicative plans, elevations and cost estimates of the colonies early public buildings designed Francis Greenway. The plans include those of Parramatta Female Factory, Government Domain and Observatory. Windsor old hospital and courthouse, Campbelltown church and school house and the Hyde Park Barracks, Orphan School & Lumber yard in Sydney.

Why is it on the desk?

It was selected for a display illustrating a talk  on the Paramatta Female Factory given by author  Gay Hendrickson. This is the 200th anniversary year of the founding of the Female Factory.

How did it get here?

The two volumes of the report are part of the Mitchell collections and were bound by the Mitchell Library bindery in 1931. View the fully digitised volumes through the Library catalogue.


Anni Turnbull, Curator, Research and Discovery