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Barrack Street, Sydney1942

by Roland Wakelin

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.