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NOTES AND ANECDOTES ABOUT OLD PITT STREET: FROM ONE OfIr.C. H. BERTIE'S ARRESTING ARTICLES*

. ' - .' ln a PaPer rea-* before the Royal Australian Historical Society, Mr. C. H. B erfcia reconstructs old Pitt-street. We ' ? - ~ are sure .otir readers wm welcome the folio wiiig. extracts from a precious rein of facts about the houses and the -? ' ' , - Qitjzens of the Sydney our fathers kngW- ? . . i

f ; ^ t*itt-street is the oldest named street

m Australia. un9 would naturally suppose that George-street, the first ; street to be brought into being, would ? have this honor j but it was not until 1810 that Macquarie bestowed the name of George upon it. Prior to that it was known ab different times as Spring Row, Sergeant-Major Row and. High-street. . _ If one looks over Meehan's map. of. Sydney dated October 31, 1807,, one will find there is only one street name . on the map that survives to-day, and - that survival is Pitt-street. In two of the pictures,_ which were drawn about 1795, illustrating Collins' Account of N.S.W. (1798) the street is referred -v to aa Pitts' Row. This leads up to the derivation of the name. On© would be tempted to jump at the conclusion that it was named after Wiliam Pitt the younger, but I very much doubt that derivation. When one considers that not a street in the Sydn3y.of the very early days was named after a person but simply acquired a local name as Spring Row, Barrack Row, Soldiers' Back Row, Bell-str-eet, Church-street, Chapel-street, it would be a very remarkable proceeding^ to select, not the main, avenue, but a row. of mean convict huts and bestow on -it the great man's name. The . Earl of Chatham, would certainly not have been gratified. Collins records that- the Hon. Thomas Pitt was in /Sydney in April, 1794, and white here he received news that he had become Lord Camelford. This is a possible source of the name; another theory is that the name arose from the proximity of the tanks cut in The Tank Stream in 1792 in the vicinity of Pitt and Hunter streets. It will be ob ; ' served that the street names I quoted earlier all have to do with some local feature— a barracks, a church or a spring, and it is possible that the taiiks were referred to as the pits. The first mention I can find of Pitt street is- in the two pictures in Collins' to which I have made reference. The first of thase is 'a south-east view in Sydney extending from the old to the new barracks including the Church,' Pitt and Spring Rows.' Spring Row is One of the early. names of George street — rPitt-street is shown . ? as a row of huts occupying the eastern side* of Pitt-street from Hunter-street to the vicinity of Moore-street. The huts have gardens in front extending down to the Tank Stream. The other pic ture is entitled 'The north view of Sydney. Cove taken from the end of : Pittfs Jtow.' To begin Our history of the street at ;....? its commencement, wa shall, have to tfttb out to eea, for wh^re Pitt-street boginc was in 1788- hj».«*- of Strdney Cove, and the tramway in Pitt-street aorth traverses a route that in other times was traversed hy ships — in fact a ship was launched midway betweon the_j-resent Bridge-street and the Quay in 1805. OLD SYDNEY COVE. Sydney Cove:, or- as we now know it, . Circular Quay, extended in the begin ning as far as Bridge-street, and on the western shore, wharves were erect ed which as late as the, thirties were the centime of the inter-State trade. Where Underwood-street joins Pitt street was the site of Underwood's Bhip-building yard, and in 1905 when excavations were being made for the premises of Messrs. G. E. Crane and Sons, on the corner of these streets, an old three-cornered bayonet and a marline spike were found at a depth of about 15 feet;' they were lying on sand which once formed one of the beaches of the Cove. The mast of a ship and some beds of shells were ajso discovered, and almost parallel with Pitt-street an old retaining wall was unearthed. The part of tho cove -we. are dealing, with gradually silted up, aijd a witness giving evidence before a Select Committee on the Circular- Quay, Bill of 1847 tells us that as the waters receded' the wharves were pushed out to deep water, and in this way quite a comfortable area was added to tho original holdings. A comparison of Meehan's map of 1807 with later plans '??will show that in. some cawew the area;

OLD PITT-STREET IN 'THE 'SIXTIES,

of the original grant has been doubled . in this inexpensive manner. \.;\;^-;.:; IN/1853. ' / . : The extension of the street near the Quay was not completed in 1953. In a letter of data May 26, 1853, tne Acting-Dep-Surveyor-General states that before he can have Pitt-street from Hunter-street to the Quay opened as a thoroughfare 'it will be necessary to complete the Quay at the entrance to the Tank Stream. The walling of the Quay had been commenced some years before on the eastern side, but when it reached the vicinity of. the present North Sydney ferry buildings the work was stopped, and it was the continuation of the wall across what is now the end of Pitt-streat that the Deputy-Surveyor-General urged. The work was put in hand, but was not completed Until about April or May, 1855, and later in that year a Select Committee sat to discuss the unauthor ised expenditure of £14,000 in com pleting the Circular Quay from the east side of the Tank Stream to Camp bell's Wharf. Until this work was completed the opening was spanned by the Bon Accord bridge. The bridge was erected in 1847 by Morehead and Young, but in 1853 the Government bought it at the price of the materials in the bridge, less cost of removal. Vhe bridge did not run from the Har lour Trust office, as has been stated, 6ut started from what is now tha eastern side of Pitt-street in the vicin ity of the Trust's office, and ran diag onally across to the vicinity of the Sydney Ferry Go's. North Shore ferry. While the old Tank Stream is lost to sight it has left a legacy which can be regarded as a permanent reminder. When the present Ship Inn at the Qua.y, which stands right in the course of the stream, was being built, no foundation could be found, and it be cama necessary to drive piles to a depth of 100 feet, and on them erect the building. There was, prior to the opening of Pitt-street from Bridge-street north erly, quite a good class of building fronting the western side of what is now Pitt-street. , On the northern end —the tramway in Barlow-street now passes over the site — was the Oriental Hotel, which was built behind the house of Isaac Nichols, on land 'ac quired' in the gentle manner I have previously alluded to. In the vicinity of Underwood-street was, as I have stated the shipbuilding yard of Mr. James Underwood. ' Until 1882 the wall of the dock could be seen'stand ing dose to Ebsworth's wool store. .His grant ran from the water to George-street, and on the latter front age Mr. Underwood 'built a fine man sion. In the yard he built a number of vessels, a.nd\ Fowles in. his 'Sydney jn 1848' states that 'the first Colonial ship, nainod the King George,', .was

launched here on April 19, 1805. For many years there was an old vessel called The Fame belonging to the Un derwoods lying on the mud nearly op posite the Tank Stream. - A LOOK NOW FROM BRIDGE STREET. ' Proceeding along Pitt-street we arrive at Bridge-street, and from this vantage point we shall! take, a look round. We are standing on the site of the first bridge in Australia. In October, 1788, Governor Phillip, to permit of. ? the crossing of. the Tank Stream, built a timber bridge at this spot, and in 1804 Governor King re placed the wooden bridge with one in stone. At that time Bridge-street was only about half its present width, and the bridge occupied only the northern half of the present roadway. It was not untili April, 1834, that Bridge street was gazetted to its full width. On our right hand at one time stood the mansion of Simeon Lord. His grant' ran from Macquarie. Place to the waters of the Cove. On the Mac quai-ie Place front he erected about 1805 the house which at the time was the finest mansion on the continent. It was pulled down in 1908. Mr. Lord's property was subdivided and sold in December, 1842. Turning round and looking towards Hunter-street on the eastern corner will be found the Exchange Building. The building was designed .. by .Mr. Hilly ; the ~ foundation-stone was laid by the Governor, Sir Charles Fitzroy, on August 25, 1853, and opened on December 30, 1857. Until 1870 Uie Exchange took things very leisurely, '? but in that year a rival body, Greville's Commercial Rooms, came into existence, and promised to overshadow the pa rent body. The directors of the . Ex change, however, ros3 to the occasion by stealing the. young man who was making such a success of Greville's rooms, and installing him as secretary of the Exchange. This young man was Mr. Charles Hayes, so long and honorably known in that position. A little further on, and now occupied by the Commercial Banking Co., will be seen a building with a fine Tudor front. This was at one time the home of the A.M.P. Society. On Meehan's map of 1807, and on the 1822 map of Sydney, Spring street is shown, crossing Pitt-street, and emerging in 'Hunter-street near Hamil ton-street. It often- puzzled -me what liad become of that portion of the street between Pitt and Hunter streets, and it was not until I began my re searches in Pitt-street that I discover ed that on October 21, 1854., an Act -(18 Yip. No. 20) was-papssd to close this portion of Spring-street, after the prolongation of Pitt-street. At the corner of Hunter-street \v-i reach tho '... ' -.' .' ? #y ???- ?

1 'Sydney Morning Her aid' ' building, the northern portion of which was at one time one of the auction, marts of the city. It was built by Mr. William Dean, afterwards known as Watkins and .Dean, and later on became the business house of Messrs. Bradley, Newtown and Lamb. It was in this building that the 'Evening News' was born on July 29, 1867, and here was printed also the 'Empire.' The. 'News' was first printed on a Napier machine, which was fed in single sheets, and had an output of 1000 an hour. There was only one edition, and the printing was straight off the type. On the site of the 'Herald.' office, which stands on portion of ? -a; 'grant to S. A. Bryant, stood an old cottage, and in front of this in the early days an oIcT apple woman was one of the landmarks of Sydney. The 'Sydney Morning Herald' was first issued from the present premises on June 30, 1856. It is a curious coincidence in these days of the Peace Conference that the first publication from this office: was connected with the declaration of peace. The plant had been remov ed from George-street to the new pre mises on Saturday, June 28. On Sun day, Messrs-. Charles and James Fair fax, sons of Mr. John Fairfax, were in the office when news arrived of the signing of peace between England, France and Russia after the Crimean war. A slip announcing the news was promptly printed on a galley press and sent round to all the churches, and Sydney heard from the pulpit that night the glorious news of peace. The Union Bank site, i.e., the S.E. corner of Pitt and Hunter streets, was leased, according to Meehan's map of 1807, to Captain Nichols, but it passed into the possession of Captain Richard Brooks. THE HORSE TRAM. We cannot do better at this point than introduce the Pitt-street horse tram. This tramway consisted of two caa-s, one called 'Old England,' and the other 'Young Australia,' and ran from the Railway to Circular Quay. The fai*e was 3d and each carried 60. It was opened on December. 23, 1861, and very soon murmurs of discontent arose, but it was nof until November, 1866, that the tramway was finally abolished. The trouble arose over the tram rails used. These were known as 'Train's patent tram rail's.' When the rails arrived it was discovered that tho step of the rail from the flaaige was only | of a.n.inch, while the fia-nge of. the wheel intended to run between the step and the flange of the rail was one inch. The remarkable expedient was tried of reversing the rails, with the oonssquenoe that about one inch was above the surf ace,- The shop keepers complained of the inconveni ence tuiti.1 the tram was removed. Dur ing its. life th« tramway claimed at

least one victim. On the afternooti of January 15, 1864, Mr. Isaac Na than, the celebrated composer, alighted from the tram at the corner of Goui burn-street with the intention of pro ceeding to his home at No. 442 Pitt street, but before he got clear of the rails the tram started, and Mr. Na than was crushed to death beneath one of the wheels. Mr. Nathan was the composer of the music set to the He brew melodies of Lord Byron. THE SITE OF A GOVERNMENT HOUSE. Now. let us pass up the east, i.e., the left hand side of Pitt-street to ward King-street. The first site of interest is that whereon Vickery's buildings now stand, and I would charge you on no account to miss the kangaroos decorating the southern chambers, erected in 1873. Such kan garoos never were on land or sea. The chief claim for notice in this portion, of the chambers is that it JLs the site of what was alleged to be at one time a Government House. One is apt at the outset to scout any such sugges tion, but one finds that behind the claim is a long line of tradition and

the older Igrow the more my respect for tradition grows. In the 'Sydney - Morning Herald' of March 13, 1899, Mr. John Taylor, of Parramatta, states that Mrs. Oakes, who was born on September 22, 1789, claimed that she was born in this house, and that at the time it was the Government House. Mr. J. P. M'Guanne states that ex-Governor Bligh while living ashore' in Sydney after the arrival^f Governor Macquarie, resided in the cottage, but he gives no authority for the statement. In th.& 'Illustrated Sydney News' of July 16, 1864, the building is pictured as an old Govern ment House. Of course, the claim that it- was the Government House at 'che time Mrs. Oakes was born cannot be entertained, but it may have been some official building at the time. If that were so it had ceased to be a Govern ment building in 1821, as in, the- MS 8. ....- Appendix to Biggs' s --report there is a return of the number of buildings m Sydney on January 12, 1821j and m Pitt-street there was one stone build ing, 36 brick buildings, 87 weather board buildings. These are all return ed as 'private' buildings. On the site where the reputed Government House stood were afterwards the busi ness premises of Messrs. Christopher Newton and Co., warehousemen. A good friend of mine in his younger days was a commercial traveller for this firm. In those days there were but few railways, and the travellers journeyed in almost regal state. After his return from his first journey, of some months' duration he presented himself to Mr. Newton, and laid befere him a bundle of bills showing his ex penses. 'What are thess?' said Mr. Newton. 'Receipts for my expenses, sir,' said my friend. Mr. Newton took up the bundle and threw it into the waste paper basket. 'Do not in« suit me again Mr. E— ,' said he, 'by showing me- these. Our travel lers are beyond suspicion.' I supposa modern business demands different mea sures, but I do know that that was - the way to breed loyal and devoted ser vants. (To be continued.)

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