The Library is open over the October long weekend, with reduced hours on Monday 2 October 2023. View the long weekend opening hours here.

Ferry Lanec 1902

by Sydney Long

Born in 1871, Sydney Long studied under Julian Ashton at the Art Society of NSW School and later became a teacher at his Sydney Art School.

This painting shows Ferry Lane which served as the main pedestrian thoroughfare between The Rocks and Millers Point, leading to the ferry wharf at Walsh Bay.

An outbreak of bubonic plague in Sydney in 1900 saw a home at 10 Ferry Lane isolated as the source of the infection sweeping through the area. As a result, many buildings in and around The Rocks and Millers Point were scheduled for demolition.

This news prompted artist, illustrator and art teacher Julian Ashton to rally his fellow artists together to capture the precinct before it disappeared. Ashton secured a government grant of £250 to acquire drawings and paintings, and the resulting exhibition Old Sydney in 1902, displayed 145 artworks by 37 artists.