J. Heath, By water to Parramatta, with a distant view of the western mountains, taken from the Windmill-hill at Sydney


The modern landscape, society and economy of Pyrmont were shaped mainly by two industry groups: sandstone quarrying and the Colonial Sugar Refinery complex. They did not tame a wilderness. Fish, shell

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Saxton’s steam saw mills,  Illustrated Sydney News, 25 July 1889, p15


No sooner had the First Fleet landed, than its members needed timber. Since Aboriginal land management favoured more grass than trees, the timber-getters had to range far and wide. Across Cockle Bay,

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The Brothers

Shipbuilding and Metalworking

Deep water facilitated ship-builders, as early as 1851. The biggest were Thomas Chowne’s shipyard next to Goodlet & Smith, and the Australasian Steam Navigation Company. Chowne’s yard built th

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John Thompson, View from Sydney of the Haunted Mill in Cockle Bay 1832, in Sketches in New South Wales and Tasmania, 1827-1832.


Agriculture was unpromising, but related processes flourished. Macarthur’s windmill (built in 1807) was built from wood on his Pyrmont grant, but languished. Millers were not discouraged: Victoria S

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View of the seat of Ultimo, near Sydney, in New South Wales

Animal Husbandry

Animal husbandry was more promising. Responding to the quality of his land grant, Surgeon Harris committed much of Ultimo to a deer park – a bold display of wealth in a hungry settlement. Small-scal

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H.Grant Lloyd, 1863, Slaughter houses Glebe Island

Abattoirs and Wool stores

Abattoirs opened on Glebe Island in the 1850s (once the land was flattened and linked to the mainland) and slaughtering expanded to Bank Street (known as Abattoir Road until 1905), butchering cattle d

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Perier, A. J., Queen Victoria Market viewed from Town Hall at the time of the Market’s opening.


Quarrying was carried out on a modest scale by the 1830s, when sailing ships could take on ballast at the tip of the peninsula, anchored in deep water and loading local stone. O’Brien quarries speci

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Horse teams going up and down Jones Street 1920s


CSR and Saunders, like most other heavy industry in the nineteenth century, relied on horse-power for haulage. Quarries like Saunders used Clydesdales to pull blocks of stone to building sites: it was

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Tindall, CSR 1906-08


This was the dense industrial landscape entered by the Colonial Sugar Refining Company, building its sugar refinery in 1875. Refining began in 1877, producing sugar, molasses and syrup. So well placed

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Distillery vats on Jones Street 1961


It was a long tradition for sugar plantations to distil rum and other by-products of sugar. In 1900, however, CSR closed its small Fijian distillery and built a modern, large scale plant near the refi

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Cane-Ite factory


Eventually (from the 1930s) Caneite and other building materials were processed, using bagasse, the cane from which sucrose had been extracted. More synergy developed when animal bones were burned in

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Interior of powerhouse – Pyrmont, NSW 1900


The other landmarks with which the peninsula was identified were power stations. Ultimo Power House was built in 1899, to power the city’s trams (trams began to serve Pyrmont Point in 1901) and the

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