Campbell Street – Additional History Items.

This page has a number of items of historical interest:

(1) District Constable’s Notebook 1822;

(2) Old Sydney. Haymarket in 1858;

(3) From the Hordernian Monthly January 1938 (Australia’s 150th Anniversary Number)

(4) The Old Haymarket. – . From the Hordernian Monthly May 1938






Each Constable had to go through his district, to every house and farm, and take a note of the inhabitants, especially children, and other information which was required for the Muster. This was to be done just before the muster was taken, and was to provide a check for the actual muster.

The books for Sydney give: name, children’s ages, came free or born in the colony, whether convict or free by servitude, absolute pardon, conditional pardon or ticket of leave, ship’s name, sentence and by whom employed.

John Holmes  FS  Gorgon 1791 (Parker) 7 yrs

Eleanor Stores FS  Nile  (Panton) 7 yrs  Wife

William Davis  (No ship) Convict 14 yrs  GOVT SERVANT

John Parks  FS  Barwell 1798 (Cameron) 7 yrs

Margaret Suthers FS Experiment 1804 (Withers) 7 yrs Wife

Mary 15

Sarah 13

John 12

Ann 10                        All born in the Colony.

Joseph 8

Esther 7

James 6

William 3

Isaac 1 ¼

William Taylor Convict GOVT SERVANT to Dr Stephenson

George Marshall CP ‘Indian’ 1810 (Barclay) Life 

Mary McCarroll FS ‘Catherine’ 1814 (Symonds) 7yrs (sic) Wife 

Mary 7           Born in the Colony 

Charles 5      Born in the Colony 

Robert Hudson Convict ‘Prince Orange’ Life GOVT SERVANT

John Blackburn Convict ‘John Barry’ (Ellerby) 7 yrs GOVT SERVANT

Christopher Gilligan ‘Daphne’ 1819 (Mattison) 7 yrs GOVT SERVANT

John Baines TL or FS? Fame 1816 (Dale) Life (No GOVT SERVANT notation.. FCM.)

Thomas Bate FS Hillsborough’ 1799 (Hingston) 7 yrs

Hannah Field    Wife

Thomas 12

Jacob 7

Note 1. ‘Brickfields’ and ‘Benevolent Asylum’ nearby were listed separately.

Note 2. I have added the date of arrival of each ship.

[SRNSW REEL 1254 Book 5. 1822…at the earliest mid 1822.]



(2)     From SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, Saturday 19 January, 1929

OLD SYDNEY.      –     HAYMARKET IN 1858.


As the premises in George-street, near the Haymarket, now occupied by Messrs. Palrner and Son, Ltd .. are to be sold by auction to- day, a timely interest attaches to tho oil painting, illustrated elsewhere in this isssue, showing the same premises and their surroundings in 1858. The original painting, which is by G. Verdau~ belongs to Mr. Alfred Byrne, who was born in 1848, close to this very spot. :Mr. William Byrne, his father, had shifted his business premises thence in 1836 from the site of the present Haymarket Theatre, so as to be within the toll bar. The toll bar at that time stood where the Square, and Compass Hotel is situated now.

Mr. Alfred Byrne can remember vividly the “hay days” and the sales of wild horses, when the crowds ranged round the saleyard fence went into transports of delight at seeing some buckjumper meet his match, or some fiery animal being roped securely with a noose and prop.

At that time the Haymarket proper was a space of land extending between George, Elizabeth, Hay.and Campbell streets. The selling building shown in the painting had arches to allow drays to enter, and was surmounted by four large clock faces. On the George-street frontage there was a pump and a large water-trough cut out of stone. The weighbridge stood on the site of the present Capitol Theatre.

“Between Pitt and Elizabeth streets,” went on Mr. Byrne, -ran a line of stockyards, with a passage up the middle of them. The first of these yards, close to Pitt-street, was Sydney pound. On fine sale days the spectators had fun enough, but if it had rained recently the spot became twice as entertaining, for then the men holding on to the horses would be dragged inglorlously through thick mud. I had to pass by these yards on my wa y to school; but on sale days I am afraid that instead of passing I went and sat on the fence with the rest.

In Campbell-street, between George and Pitt streets, there were no fewer than five hotels – the Packhorse, the Irish Harp, the Beehive, the Picton Arms . and the Peacock Inn. The premises of :Mick Simmons Ltd., are on the Woolpack Inn site, and the old Alhambra Theatre was on the site of the Peacock Inn.

HAYMARKET 1858 by G Verdau. On the left of the picture stands the Peacock Inn. This was later demolished, to make way for the premises occupied in 1858 by Messrs Palmer and Son, Ltd. Here stood the old Alhambra Theatre. The street parallel with the lower frame of the painting is George Street, and the street at right angles between the Peacock Inn and the Haymarket, is Campbell street. Next, on the right, is the residence of Dr Fullerton and next again, the Wesleyan Church in Hay Street. [SMH 19 Jan 1929.


(3) From the Hordernian Monthly January 1938 (Australia’s 150th Anniversary Number)

………….After the early gold rushes had spent themselves somewhat, the development of the agricultural and pastoral resources of the rich lands that lay beyond the Blue Mountains went steadily on, .and gradually the settlers increased their flocks and herds, and the value of their crops of various. kinds. The local capacity to provide for the wants of the farmers being quite inadequate to meet the demands, teams were sent regularly to Sydney to procure supplies, and Anthony Hordern, with his enterprise, and sound method of trading, that .is, selling for cash, which permitted a more reasonable margin of profit than was possible where credit was given, acquired a great reputation amongst the country folk for fair dealing, and his business grew steadily to good proportions. He held inflexibly to this method, against all importunities, It is related on good authority that a settler who brought a bullock . team to Sydney for supplies, called on Mr. Francis McMahon, Grocer, 553 George Street, an uncle of Mr. Louis Murray, the present Buyer of the Mercery Department, whose business was opposite Mr. Hordern’s, and offered to place a substantial order if credit were given. He was told that it could not be done, but replied that he could get the necessary terms from Mr. Hordern opposite. Mr. McMahon offered to bet him a new hat that he could. not succeed, and both went over to the Hordern shop to settle the wager. The settler made his request, but the reply he received from Mr. Hordern was that it could not be granted, because, if it were, he would be unable to sell his goods at the low prices he did. The settler paid his bet in sporting fashion by buying the hat from Mr. Hordern, and handing it over to Mr. McMahon. It was this firm adherence to the principle of cash trading, with its benefit to purchasers, of low prices, that laid the foundations of the Hordern business so securely. That, and th.e enterprise of the proprietor in widening the extent of his stock, established its reputation as a reliable firm throughout the rapidly developing country districts.

In addition, the suburbs of Sydney were also growing into large settlements, and regular service of ‘buses brought people into the town, to purchase their needs. In this connection an anecdote may be related. A ‘bus ran from Botany and Alexandria along George Street, and up Brickfield Hill, to the centre of the town. Mr. Hordern had started the method. of holding two sales a year to clean up his stock, and at one of these periodical disposals of goods, as Mr. Hordern was standing at his shop door, the ‘bus-man pulled up his conveyance and called out: “All out for Horderns’ Sale.” At least two-thirds of the passengers alighted and went into the shop. Mr. Hordern walked across to the driver and. handed him a sovereign, and said: “If you continue to do that every time you pass while the Sale lasts, there will be a like amount for you each week.”


(4)  From the HORDERNIAN MONTHLY May 1938


Several readers of the History (of Anthony Hordern’s, published in the magazine in January 1938), having expressed interest in the photograph of the Haymarket in 1858, which appears therein, was the means of inducing the writer to make some further research into the history of this part of the city, and he thinks that the additional particulars he has obtained regarding the area in which Anthony Horderns grew to maturity, and which was the scene of the most tragic incident in their long story – the Fire – would be of general interest. Two years before the oil painting, a photograph of which is produced here, was executed by the artist , G Verdau, namely in 1856. Anthony Hordern the second built a commodious shop of three storeys at 756 George Street, Haymarket  and for some years Mr and Mrs Anthony resided there until Retford Hall at Darling Point was built. In connection with this mansion, the Rev. Mr. Reeve, formerly incumbent of St. Luke’s, Mosman, told the writer that, as a very small boy, he went with his father, at the invitation of Mr. Hordern, to see the grand new house , and he remembers how very proud he was of the floors with concealed nailing, which was then a novelty in the colony.

To return to Verdau’s painting, this will give a graphic idea of the primitive character of the area at the time it was executed. The painting belongs to Mr. Alfred Byrne who was born in 1848 close to this very spot. Mr. William Byrne, his father, had shifted his business premises thence in 1836, from the site of the present Haymarket Theatre, so as to be within the Toll Bar, which at that time stood where the Square and Compass Hotel is now situated. According to Low’s Directory, 1847, Mr. Andrew Byrne appears as the licensee of the Peacock Inn which was numbered 158 George Street. This is the large building at the left of the picture, which faces Campbell Street.

However. Mr. Alfred Byrne can remember vividly the “hay days,” and the sales of the wild horses. when the crowds ranged round the saleyard fence, went into transports of delight at seeing a buckjumper meet his match in some “wild colonial boy” or some fiery animal being roped securely with a noose and prop. At that time, the Haymarket proper was an area of land bounded by Campbell, Elizabeth, Hay and George Streets. The selling building shown m the middle of the picture had arches to allow drays to enter, and was surmounted by four large clock faces. On the George Street front there was a pump and a large water trough cut out of stone. The weighbridge stood on the site of the present Capitol Theatre.

“Between Pitt and Elizabeth Streets.” said Mr. Byrne to a Herald reporter which is the source of the present article. “ran a line of stockyards. with a passage up the mrddle of them. The first of these yards close to Pitt Street. was the Sydney Pound On tine sale days. the spectators had fun enough. but If it rained recently. the sport became twice as entertaining. for then the men holding on to the horses would be dragged ingloriously through the thick mud.. I had to pass by these yards on my way to school: but on sale days, I am afraid that, instead of passing. I went and sat on the fence with the rest.”

In Campbell Street, between George and Pitt Streets, there were no fewer than five hotels-the Packhorse, the Irish Harp, the Beehive, the Picton Arms, and the Peacock Inn. The. premises of Mick Simmons, Limited, are on the Woolpack Inn site, and the old Alhambra Theatre was on the site of the Peacock Inn. Apart from indicating strikingly the thirstiness of the old colonials, the existence of five hotels so close together proves clearly that the Haymarket was an important business centre in the early days, with plenty of people about, and shows the acumen of Anthony Hordern in establishing his shop there, to cater for the trade of the country people who entered the town, either by way of George Street West or by the’ “new-fangled’ railway, the terminus of which was only a short distance away, at Devonshire Street, opposite the Sandhills Cemetery.

To go back to Campbell Street, the writer has elicited the interesting fact that Mr. Louis. Murray the Buyer of the Mercery department-and an”old colonial,” descended on his mother’s side from George Marshall who lived in Campbell Street up to the time of his death in 1828. He was a weaver by trade.and is believed to have manufactured the first tweed in the colony, although Simeon Lord is generally credited with this honour. His house and factory were on the site of what used to be O’Neill’s Building. erected in 1884. and is now the Capitol Store, shown in the small photograph reproduced here. George Marshall owned all the land on the northern side of Campbell Street. between George and Elizabeth Streets. and his will discloses that he devised and bequeathed it to his children Charles and Mary Ann. The son Charles died at Milton a few years after his father’s death, but his daughter married Edward Conyngham. sometimes called Cunningham. from whom Cunningham Lane derives its name[1]. Conyngham was an English lad who arrived in Sydney sometime in the twenties. The children of this marriage were Elizabeth. who married Charles Murray, the father of Louis Murrav, and Kate, who married Francis MacMahon. who was a grocer at 209 George Street, Brickfield Hill, in premises opposite the old Hordern shop. and who is mentioned in an incident related in the History of Anrhony Hordern and Sons. Charles Murrav. who came out from Ireland m 1833. at one time kept a hotel on The Rocks. but after a few years in Sydney, bought a farm at Yatta Yatta on the South Coast, where all his children were born and brought up. At that time, there were many aborigines in the district, and Charles Murray could speak their dialect, as well as his own language.

Another photograph reproduced in this issue shows Campbell Street re-day. The long building at the left was the front of the old Alhambra Music Hall run by  Frank Smith, who also conducted the old hotel the Sir Joseph Banks Sir ]oseph Banks. and famous running grounds at Botany fiftv vears ago. Some famous old music hall stars made their debut here, including Charlie Fanning, and the performances always started with the old time nigger minstrel show, with interlocutors, corner men and “bones.”

A few yards up the lane which is visible at the right of the Alhambra, can still be seen the stage door on which the name Alhambra is still visible. It was at the top of this lane that Anthonv Hordern stabled his first horses arid vans. The Alhambra building was sold about thirty vears ago to the late F.J Palmer. The founder of F. J. Palmer & Sons of Park Street.who conducted a successful mercery and clothing business there until about ten vears ago. lt was then decided to close the shop and concentrate on the Park Street store. Mr. Palmer worked in Anthony Horderns mercery department about fifty years ago, until he and his wife started manufacturing straw hats (boaters) in Regent Street, Redfern, from whence they branched out in several directions.

It may be mentioned that the character of the Haymarket as a business centre, changed completely in the ‘seventies and ‘eighties of last century, when the buildings shown m the modern picture were erected; but there were still three hotels in Campbell Street, where Mr. Byrne states there were five in 1858, in the ‘nineties, until a new licensing act was responsible for closing up two of them. The Capitol Theatre was erected in recent times on land which, fifty years ago, was occupied by the primitive weather-board buildings in which Paddy’s Market used to be held on Saturday nights. The Municipal Council leased all this land on which were erected modern buildings, and the present fruit and vegetable markets in Engine Street were erected to take the place of the old Belmore Markets.

Thus the old order changeth, and the past imperceptibly slips into the present, leaving only the dimmest memories of an ancient order that is the foundation of our existing institutions. The SesquiCentenary Celebrations have been the means of reviving an interest in olden times, and bringing to light many forgotten facts about the origins of our city and its enterprises, in which our own great organisation takes a worthy place.


Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)

  1.  This may be incorrect. The Sydney City website providing the history of street names gives a different story.