Connecting Dawes Point and The Rocks and
Celebrating William Dawes and Patyegarang
George Street, the first street of Sydney, once ended at Dawes’ observatory, a safe and welcoming place for Aboriginal and English people to share knowledge and friendship, where Dawes and Patyegarang recorded indigenous language and customs.
More than a century later George Street terminates beneath the Harbour Bridge, forming the Archway that links The Rocks and Dawes Point, and signaling the entrance to Dawes Point and its unique heritage and stories.
Marked by changes in paving and perimeter kerbside garden beds, the Archway will reclaim pedestrian zones from unused roadway and slow traffic while still allowing full vehicle access to George Street, only narrowing it to the width it is in The Rocks.
The Archway will provide a fabulous space for visitors to come up close to the Harbour Bridge, to connect with the history of a place of national significance, and to be linked to the heritage precinct of Dawes Point and on to the Cliff Top Walk and the Arts Precinct of Walsh Bay.
Archway proposal produced by John Dunn, Anne Warr and Tim Schwager
At the request of the Board of Longitude, William Dawes built an observatory in 1788 on what is now known as Dawes Point at the southern end of Sydney Harbour Bridge.
The observatory was built to make observations that it was hoped would solve some of the principal problems of navigation. Its isolated location provided a safe and welcoming place for Aboriginal and English people to share knowledge and friendship, and it was where Dawes and Patyegarang recorded indigenous language and customs.
The only visual record of the observatory are these sketches by Dawes in a letter to Nevil Maskelyne.
The Secret Garden in the 1920s
The sandstone civic buildings and secret garden faced a pedestrian area. The buildings and gardens survived the building of the Bridge, but the pedestrian area was lost.
The secret Garden today
The secret garden survives but the pedestrian area in front of it has been turned over to vehicles and is a favourite place for tourist coaches to double park, making the space unusable as a shared space for people to enjoy.
For more than a century, Milton Terrace has been described as the finest terrace in Sydney. Its heritage is tied to Dawes Point and looking over to Milton Terrace from Dawes Point Park Tar-ra is recorded as a signficant aspect of both the park and the terrace.
Plan for the Archway