Circular Quay and Sydney
Customs House is one of Sydney's historic landmark buildings, which has featured in the working and
cultural life of the city since it was constructed in 1845.
“For over 150 years, Customs House played an active role as the primary trade
gateway for goods and people flowing into Sydney and Australia.”
Customs House is located on a significant site where the local Eora people are
said to have watched the First Fleet land. The Aboriginal flag is now permanently flown from the
The Australian Customs Service occupied Customs House until 1990. In
1994, the City of Sydney was given the building to operate by the Federal Government
Circular Quay encroaches over the natural shoreline of Sydney Cove. At East
Circular Quay the 1788 shoreline is indicated in the granite paving by cast bronze discs. The first constructed
shoreline, reclaimed to form Circular Quay, is mapped by a continuous band of white granite.
European settlement commenced at Sydney Cove in 1788. The Aboriginal flag is flown
at the beautifully restored Customs House in recognition that it was built on the site where Australia's indigenous
people reportedly watched the arrival of the First Fleet and where the British Flag was raised.
Initially used to unload sailing ships from England, Sydney Cove became the
embarkation point for cargo and passenger ships, wool clippers, government and private boats.
Bennelong Point is the
location of the Sydney Opera House in. It was called Tubowghule by the local Indigenous Australians.
The point was originally a small tidal island, Bennelong Island,
that largely consisted of rocks with a small beach on the western side. The island was located on the tip of
the eastern arm of Sydney Cove and was apparently separated from the mainland at high tide. For a brief period
in 1788, this relatively isolated protrusion into Port Jackson (Sydney's natural harbour) was called Cattle
Point as it was used to confine the few cattle and horses that had been brought from Cape Town by Governor
Phillip with the First Fleet.
Milsons Point on
the opposite side of the harbour, is now the home to Luna Park fairground that opened in 1935, which in turn
is host to a steam driven galloping horse carousel that was built in England around 1900. The Sydney's Coney
Island is a fun park, almost all intact from the opening of the Park in 1935. The current park buildings
covers the ground occupied by the station from 1915 to 1932.
James Milson (1783-1872), wes born in Lincolnshire, England. He arrived in Sydney
in the Albion in August 1806 and obtained employment on a farm at the Field of Mars (near Ryde). In 1810 he married
Elizabeth Kilpack his employer's daughter; he then described himself as 'servant and labourer'. His eldest son,
also James, was born at the Field of Mars and went on to become one of Sydneys most progressive businessmen. Keenly
interested in charities of various kinds, Milson was a director of the Sydney Sailors' Home and of the Benevolent
Asylum. In 1881 he founded the Oberlin Friendly Aid Society 'to give friendly aid to cultured persons now
indigent'. Like his father he was an enthusiastic yachtsman from the 1830s onwards and in 1862 was first
vice-commodore of the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron and commodore in 1863.
The terminus of the finest ferry service in the world is written on the front of the card.
Sydney Ferries can trace its roots as far
back as the arrival of the First Fleet at Sydney Cove where in 1789, the first ferry service was
established from the Cove to the farming settlement of Parramatta. The first ferry, officially named
the Rose Hill Packet (otherwise known as 'The Lump'), was crafted by convicts and powered by sails and
oars. Trips inland from Sydney Cove to Parramatta typically took up to one week to complete. As time progressed,
a series of rowboat ferrymen set up small operations to transport people from either side of Sydney
In 1861, the
North Shore Ferry Company was established which operated the very first commercial ferry service across Sydney
In 1899, ferry
services were integrated into Sydney Ferries Limited, which became the world's largest ferry operator by fleet
size. After the Sydney Harbour Bridge opened in March 1932, ferry patronage dropped almost overnight,
decreasing from 30 to 13 million passengers per year.