Cast iron railings, palisade fence and gate posts
Statement of SignificanceFurther to the analysis presented above, it is deemed that the current statements of significance should be integrated into a single statement, to read: Sydney Cove Railings are of State heritage significance for historical reasons and reasons of representativeness, and of local significance for The Rocks and Sydney area for aesthetic, associative and reasons of rarity. Sydney Cove Railings demonstrate evidence of historic public works and, through the ongoing changes, of improvements of the public domain in Sydney, including the work of the Sydney Harbour Trust, the Maritime Services Board, the NSW Maritime Authority and the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority. Sydney Cove Railings have associations with each of these public authorities and agencies. In addition to their historical significance, Sydney Cove Railings make an important contribution to the remnant historic character of the Sydney Cove, and an aesthetic significance for its visual appeal as an example of blacksmith's craftwork of the past.
Transport - Water
Construction Years: 1898 - 1898
Physical Description: Much of the sea wall at Sydney Cove is edged by cast iron fencing comprising vertical posts of two alternating patterns joined by horizontal railings at top and bottom with diagonal bracing and a central medallion at the cross point between. This fencing continues from around Dawes Point along Circular Quay West to the main concourse giving access to the ferry wharves, and resumes at Circular Quay East, terminating at the Portobello Café. The fencing at Campbell's Cove is slightly different to the majority and is discussed below.The posts are of cast iron while the rails are in steel. The fencing was reproduced and extended for the improvements undertaken in the Bicentennial of 1988. In addition, when they were damaged they were replaced over the years. It is noted that the same railing pattern has been used in the fencing at Pyrmont Point Park, completed in 1997. The Circular Quay Concourse has a different style of fencing with smaller posts and vertical railings enclosed by horizontal railings at the top and bottom, with the top two horizontal rails decorated by a sea horse set in a circle with a sea horse motif. It is noted that sea horses form part of the ironwork decorative scheme of the railway station at Circular Quay. These railings continue along the concourse and return for 2-3 metres at the access to each ferry wharf.Campbell's Wharf is fenced by palisade fencing and gates flanked on each side by two cast iron gateposts with decorative copings, and are approximately 2m high. The taller, central posts have the date 1899 on their landward side and the letters VR on the seaward side, while the smaller, flanking posts are inscribed with the letters CQ facing the harbour.There are two similar gateposts at the mooring point at the north end of the Overseas Passenger Terminal, both having a medallion at their base inscribed "J Connolly. Engineer and Blacksmith Cowper Wharf", and have the letters "VR" facing towards the water. The palisade fencing in this location is approximately 1m high and appears to be new.There are a series of similar gate posts and palisade fences and gates to the south of the Overseas Passenger Terminal, all c 2m high.
Historic Notes and Themes
Historical notes: The railings and sandstone gate posts are relics of the main steamer wharf and previous schemes of improvement to Circular Quay. They are some of the last remaining from the 19th century. (City of Sydney 1989)Railings of this pattern are shown on an historic photograph dated 1894-98, continuing from Circular Quay around to Circular Quay West. The configuration of both Circular Quay and Circular Quay West have changed since that date, which would have involved the moving of sections of the railings. As well, additional railings of the same pattern were made as part of the Circular Quay improvement works for the 1988 Bicentennial. Identification of the location of the original railings requires further research and should be clearly recorded. A different railing pattern featuring seahorses has been used along Circular Quay Concourse to the end of Wharf 2, when the same pattern used at Circular Quay West is used along the sea wall at East Circular Quay, terminating at the Portobello Café. It is noted that the same railing pattern has also been used at Pyrmont Point Park and Jones Bay c 1996.The railings were introduced as part of various schemes for urban improvements in the late 19th and early 20th century, by the Sydney Harbour Trust at the turn of the century, by the Maritime Services Board at the time of refurbishment of the ferry wharves and building of the Cahill Expressway in the 1950s-60s, and for the 1988 Bicentennial.
Historical significance: The Sydney Cove Railings, as a group of elements, have historic significance as part of the urban improvements undertaken at Sydney Cove in three main phases: As part of its urban improvements at the turn of the 20th century, As part of the refurbishment of the Wharves in the mid-20th Century, and In the c.2000 improvements of the Campbells Cove and the OPT areas and theseawall generally.Sydney Cove Railings and the associated elements provide evidence of public works and, through the ongoing changes, of improvements of the public domain in Sydney, including the work of Sydney Harbour Trust, Maritime Services Board, NSW Maritime Authority and Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority. Sydney Cove Railings meets this criterion on State level.
Historical association: The Sydney Cove Railings and the associated group of elements provide evidence ofmajor urban improvements at Sydney Cove by several public authorities and agencies: By Sydney Harbour Trust at the turn of the 20th century, By Maritime Services Board at Circular Quay Concourse as part of the mid-20th Century refurbishment of the Wharves, and By NSW Maritime Authority and Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority in the c.2000 improvements of the Campbells Cove and the OPT areas and the seawall. Sydney Cove Railings meets this criterion on local level.
Aesthetic significance: The item consists of cast-iron railing panels located around Circular Quay East and West and the Dawes Point, and the associated: Historic gate-posts, railings and fences at Campbells Cove and in the OPT area, Cast iron railings of different design located between the Circular Quay Wharfs, and The historic seawall built in sandstone blocks, where extant.Each of these components contributes to the historic setting of the Sydney Cove and visitor experience, particularly when viewed from the Harbour or vessels entering the Circular Quay.Sydney Cove Railings meets this criterion on local level.
Rare assessment: The Sydney Cove Railings and associated elements are unique in the Sydney context, however, the 1890s panels and the belonging portions of the seawall can also be seen as are in State context. Sydney Cove Railings meets this criterion on local level.
Representative assessment: The Sydney Cove Railings and associated elements are representative of this type of public facilities of their type and date of creation in the Sydney and State context. Sydney Cove Railings meets this criterion on State level.
|Australian Theme||NSW Theme||Local Theme|
|Building settlements, towns and cities||Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages.|
|Heritage Listing||Listing Title||Listing Number||Gazette Date||Gazette Number||Gazette Page|
|Local Environmental Plan|
|Heritage study||8009||City of Sydney Heritage Inventory||09/02/1989|
|Heritage study||Circular Quay||01/01/1985|
|Heritage Act - State Heritage Register||01572|
|Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage register||Place Management NSW|
|Written||City of Sydney||1989||City of Sydney Heritage Inventory|