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George Street, Sydney1883

by Alfred Tischbauer

Alfred Tischbauer was a scene painter at the Paris Opera, but was displaced by the radical revolutionary government of Paris in 1871, the Paris Commune. After coming to Sydney in around 1880, Tischbauer taught perspective at East Sydney Technical College and was an active participant in Sydney’s arts community.

This painting of George Street, taken from just north of the GPO, is likely to have been based on a photograph. Thompson & Giles’ fabric shop, on the left, was demolished in 1890 to make way for Martin Place. George Street bustles with well-dressed, prosperous crowds — working people are entirely absent.

George Street is dominated by telegraph poles, which were multiplying rapidly during this period, with the growth of telephony.