Cadman's Cottage

Location: 110 George Street, near Circular Quay
The oldest surviving residence in the City of Sydney, this four-room sandstone cottage (above) was built as offices for the Governor's 52-man boat crew and is very much a basic, no-frills colonial cottage. It was built as part of the Government Dockyard and was known as the Coxwain's Barracks. The cottage was built on a flat rock, the front door (harbour side) standing immediately above the high water mark at the head of a small beach between two rocky outcrops. In 1827, it became the home of the fourth Government Coxwain, John Cadman, a former convict, after whom it is named.



After Cadman's retirement in 1845, the post of Government Coxwain was abolished and the cottage was given to the Water Police as their headquarters. Originally a single storey house attributed to colonial architect Francis Greenway, the second storey was added at this time by Colonial Architect Mortimer Lewis in the 1850s. By 1859, the sea wall being constructed around Sydney Cove had reached the Government Dockyard and the Water Police were preparing to move to new accommodation on Alfred Street (Police Museum building). The little beach in front of the cottage disappeared in the reclamation work associated with the project and in 1890, when the timber wharves of the East Circular Quay were replaced, further groundfill was added, raising the ground level in front of the cottage to its present height.

In 1926, the cottage was extended as part of the Sailor's Home next door. By the 1950s it was overgrown and derelict and largely lost behind the taller buildings which surrounded it. The cottage was renovated in 1972 and regained its prominence on the waterfront in 1988 when the Passenger Terminal was remodelled and shortened. At that time the garden around the cottage was removed and replaced by a courtyard. Cadman's restored cottage is now a National Parks and Wildlife Information Centre.



A stone retaining wall was built by Gov Lachlan Macquarie in 1812 along the eastern side of George Street behind the Kings Wharf and Government Shipyard on Sydney Cove . A section of this wall has survived and is visible behind Cadmans Cottage. The stone for the wall was quarried on site.
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