Kent Street Quarry

The hillsides on both sides of Kent Street, Millers Point, were major source of sandstone for building constructed in the western end of Sydney during the Macquarie and late colonial eras. The area quarried began in Argyle Street below Observatory Hill and continued alongside Kent Street for about a kilometre. Most of the surviving sandstone buildings of Millers Point from the early 19th century, such as the Hero of Waterloo and Lord Nelson Hotels, are believed to have been created from sandstone quarried here. These sites were work by a team of quarrymen brought out from Scotland by Presbyterian minister Rev. Dr. John Dunmore Lang in 1831. The quarry continued to be used until the early 1860s.

Buildings made from its sandstone



Hero of Waterloo Hotel , 81 Lower Fort Street, Millers Point (1844): One of 14 hotels scattered throughout the Millers Point section of The Rocks, it was a favourite drinking place of the military garrison stationed nearby. Built from sandstone excavated from the Argyle Cut, legend has it that the hotel was used by sea captains to recruit crew members - unsuspecting patrons who had drunk themselves into a stupor are said to have been pushed through a trap door and carried away through underground tunnels to waiting ships in nearby Walsh Bay.




The Garrison Church, 60-62 Lower Fort Street, Millers Point (1840): Built to a design by Henry Ginn, the Holy Trinity Church (it's correct name) was Australia's first military church, being constructed as a place of worship for the British regiment stationed at nearby Dawes Point. Architect Edmund Blackett was commissioned to enlarge the church to accommodate 600 people in 1855, his additions being finally completed in 1878, some 18 years after the military ceased using it for morning prayers. The church features regimental plaques recalling its military associations, a carved red cedar pulpit and a brightly coloured east window donated by a parishioner, Dr. James Mitchell, the father of David Scott Mitchell who was the principal benefactor of the Mitchell Library wing of the State Library of New South Wales.




Lord Nelson Hotel, 19 Kent Street, Millers Point (1836): The oldest working licensed hotel in the city (the license was first granted in June 1842), and one of only two hotels in the immediate area to be retained by the Sydney Harbour Trust when Millers Point was resumed during the time of the plague in 1900. The Lord Nelson Hotel, the Hero of Waterloo and a commercial terrace at 246 George Street are the only remaining examples of hotel buildings in the Old Colonial Regency style, which once were prolific in the inner city area. It was part of a network of corner hotels in the northern end of the city which provided social and recreational venues and budget accommodation. It is a smooth faced, three storey sandstone building with a hipped, corrugated asbestos cement roof, following the 'L-shaped' form of the building. The land on which the Hotel is situated was originally part of the Crown Grant to the plasterer William Wells dated 14th May 1836 and part of the Grant (in trust) to Richard Driver dated 30th November 1840. The hotel was constructed during the late 1830s by either Wells or a relative to a design by architect Michael Lehane. The sandstone blocks are believed to have been quarried at Kent Street quarry from the area at the base of Observatory Hill. The hotel's name recalls Vice Admiral Lord Viscount Nelson who was killed at the Battle of Trafalgar. This naval battle was won by Nelson's forces in Cadiz over a contingent of thirty three Spanish and French ships under Admirals Villeneuve and Gravina.




Glover Cottages, 124-34 Kent Street, Millers Point (1826): Built by and for Thomas Glover, the mason responsible for much of the stonework of the buildings commissioned by Gov. Macquarie. Glover, a miner from Somerset, was transported to New South Wales for seven years. In the colony he worked as a stonemason and later became the landlord of the Sailor's Return. The cottages were claimed for the support of Glover's children by their uncle who had helped Glover to build them. It is believed that the stone for the two cottages was quarried locally. After Glover died his widow remarried and left the country. The cottages are also known as Noah's Ark, as the roadway of Kent Street has been lowered at this point to reduce the steepness of the hill for road traffic, leaving them high and dry above the new level of the road.




Unwin's Stores, 77-85 George Street, The Rocks (1843-1846): Believed to be the longest continually occupied row of shops in Sydney and Australia, they played an integral role in the development of Sydney's first commercial area. These five sandstone buildings, originally built as shops and dwellings, were erected by Frederick Wright Unwin between 1843 and 1846. They were constructed during a depression in the Colony's economy, in the decade prior to the discovery of gold, hence their relative austerity. The land on which Unwin's stores stand was originally part of Sydney's first hospital and gardens.




The Judge's House, 521 Kent Street, Sydney (1821-22): The cottage was designed and built by William Harper, a Scottish migrant who worked as an Assistant Surveyor. Ill health and eventual blindness caused him to retire when still young and his home was rented to Supreme Court Judge Justice James Dowling (after whom Dowling Street was named) at an annual rental of 200 pounds. The house once enjoyed 'delightful and healthful views of Darling Harbour'. It was described as having 'a large garden at the back, the property being surrounded by paddocks'.




22-32 Argyle Place, Millers Point (1830s): This mostly intact row of two storey Colonial Georgian Terraces is part of the streetscape element facing Argyle Place, an historic streetscape comprised of a row of terrace, a central park and a dominant church, giving Argyle Place the appearance of a typical London Square. Work on Argyle Place was commenced by Governor Macquarie however, this area was not fully formed until after cessation of quarrying at nearby rockface. It was commenced by Governor Macquarie but not fully formed until after quarrying of the adjacent rock face had ceased in about 1865. This row of terraces appears much as it did in the mid 19th century. With a construction date that appears to predate 1832, this terrace is of stone construction, with simple stone parapet, shingle roof and rendered stone facade. Window sills are simple stone slab and simple fan light over doorway consists of twelve small panes of glass.


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