Sydney Architecture Images- Gone but not forgotten

The Lumber Yard Plaque 48 of the Green Plaques

architect

n/a

location

Bridge St.

date

Built-    Demolished-

style

n/a

construction

Rendered brick Stone

type

Government
1812 Bridge St View of Lumber Yard
The Government Convict lumber yard was established by Governor Phillip on the southwest corner of Bridge
Street and George Street (High Street) around 1800. Along with the dockyard, it became one of the biggest
centres of convict employment in the early days of Sydney.
1854 Bridge St Terraces and Colonnade
Lots 7 to 11 Bridge Street of the former Lumber yard subdivision were granted to William Macdonald 1835.
Here he built a row of 5 three storey terraces on the site. These substantial and elegant terraces had a rear
yard backing onto Bridge Lane and the ground floor was used as a shop.
1867 Bridge Street Explosion
In March 1866, a terrible nitro-glycerine explosion at No. 17 Bridge street caused this building to be
completely demolished and the surrounding buildings to be damaged. The blast from the explosion was so
severe that every pane of glass between Pitt and George St was shattered.
Heritage Branch site describes the lumber yard vicinity : - The Government Convict Lumber Yard, established by Governor Phillip, was established on the south-west side of the ‘Bridgeway’ (Bridge Street) over the Tank Stream and east of ‘High Street’ (George Street). It extended to the bank of the Tank Stream. In 1806 part of the yard was leased to Garnham Blaxcell, a merchant and trader who entered into partnership with John McArthur who leased property across the road in George Street. In 1810 the new governor, Lachlan Macquarie, gave Blaxcell, Alexander Riley and D’Arcy Wentworth a contract to build a general hospital to be completed in 1816, in return for the right to import 45,000 gallons of spirits over the next three years. An 1813 engraving of the area shows a substantial building within the confines of the lumber yard which provided useful short-term accommodation for female immigrants after the yard was closed in 1832.
The Bridgeway today.
 
Bridge Street Lumber Yard

Now I must ask readers to go back with me to Bridge street, and we shall take the other side of the street. We are standing at the intersection of Bridge street with George street, looking towards Pitt street, and if, in some previous existence, we were standing there, say in the year 1820, it was a strange sight that met our eyes on the right-hand side of Bridge street, between George and Pitt streets. The place was called the Lumber Yard, and in and out of the buildings that skirted the yard we would see men come dressed in a bizarre costume, half black and half yellow. For these were the convict workshops where the artisans unfortunate enough to be of that company were employed.

The trades carried on in the Lumber Yard, as given in a list of the day were those of blacksmiths, lock-smiths, nailers, iron and brass founders, bellows makers, coopers, sawyers, painters, lead casters, harness and collar makers, tailors and shoemakers, carpenters, joiners and cabinetmakers. It is no wonder that the large landholders complained bitterly that they could get no mechanics out of Macquarie as assigned servants. That canny Scotch gentleman was the Australian forerunner of the exponents of state-owned industries. Dean Cowper, in his interesting reminiscences of early Sydney, writes of the Lumber Yard: "And here let me mention, though it is painful to call it to mind, an evil which existed for many years in the heart of the town in connection with the gang system.

There was at the corner of George and Bridge streets a yard called the Lumber Yard, where the convicts in the Hyde Park Barracks were employed. It reached down to the Tank Stream. The men were employed in sawing timber, in carpentering, and making articles of furniture for the Government establishment. They were marched down to the yard in their clanging chains every morning, and back every evening. During the flay, but more especially in the forenoon, one frequently heard the cries and moans of men suffering from the infliction of corporal punishment. It must have had a hardening and exasperating effect upon those who suffered it, and I fear that it was often very hastily administered, without a trial."

The place of flogging of the convicts was afterwards moved to the Hyde Park Barracks, because, as an official report states, it was found at the Lumber Yard that the flogger was either brined or intimidated into sparing the rod, and (in the eyes of officialdom) spoiling the convict. The site of the Lumber Yard was cut up and sold in 1830.

From-
THE STORY OF OLD GEORGE STREET
A CHAPTER IN OLD SYDNEY BY CHARLES H. BERTIE
Fellow Royal Australian Historical Society
TYRRELL'S LIMITED
1920

With thanks to- http://www.oldgeorgestreet.com/

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Bridge Street, formerly Bridgeway, derived its name from the first bridge erected in the colony of Sydney over the Tank Stream. The stream and its run of clear water was the main reason that Governor Phillip decided to move from Botany Bay to Sydney Cove as it provided the only supply of drinking water for the first settlers. The first timber bridge was built over Tank Stream by convicts in 1788 and was later replaced by a more permanent stone structure.

By 1807 Bridge Street had become Sydney’s most prestigious residential area. Macquarie Place reserve was the focus of the colony with the city’s elite residing in properties adjoining the grounds of Government House. The Governor’s Domain, the grounds associated with the First Government House, was built in 1788 and occupied by successive Governors of New South Wales until 1845. Bridge Street consisted of the public thoroughfare from George Street to Macquarie Place, and the public right of way stopped at the entrance to the grounds of Government House at the east side of Macquarie Place. With the construction of new stables for Government Houses (now the Conservatorium of Music) in 1817, up the hill to the east of the house, a carriageway to the stables appears to have been opened up, roughly along the line of the present eastern end of Bridge Street, but this was not a public thoroughfare.

The Government Convict Lumber Yard, established by Governor Phillip, was established on the south-west side of the ‘Bridgeway’ (Bridge Street) over the Tank Stream and east of ‘High Street’ (George Street). It extended to the bank of the Tank Stream. In 1806 part of the yard was leased to Garnham Blaxcell, a merchant and trader who entered into partnership with John McArthur who leased property across the road in George Street. In 1810 the new governor, Lachlan Macquarie, gave Blaxcell, Alexander Riley and D’Arcy Wentworth a contract to build a general hospital to be completed in 1816, in return for the right to import 45,000 gallons of spirits over the next three years. An 1813 engraving of the area shows a substantial building within the confines of the lumber yard which provided useful short-term accommodation for female immigrants after the yard was closed in 1832.

 

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links

http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/heritageapp/ViewHeritageItemDetails.aspx?ID=2424714