Memorial to Lieutenant Colonel George Barney
Statement of SignificanceThe memorial and site are of State heritage significance for their historical and scientific cultural values. The site is also of State heritage significance for its contribution to The Rocks area which is of State Heritage significance in its own right (see item no. 4500458). The memorial to Lieutenant Colonel George Barney is significant as it celebrates the achievements of a man who was responsible for a range of important public works in the early colony, most of which are still remaining and which are recognized heritage items and highly regarded to this day. A number of these are in The Rocks, including the land reclamation at Circular Quay West and the Dawes Point Battery. The memorial has associations with other memorials in the nearby vicinity, including the statue of Governor Bligh and the bust of Captain Arthur Phillip. The memorial has social significance as a reminder of the significant public works carried out by Lt Col Barney and the Royal Engineers. As such it has significance to the wider community and to members of the Royal Engineers and the Royal Australian Engineers.
Movable / Collection
Monuments and Memorials
Construction Years: 1979 - 0
Physical Description: The memorial to Lieutenant Colonel George Barney is located in the park adjoining Cadmans Cottage and is sited below George Street. The memorial consists of a vertical rectangular slab of stone, standing asymmetrically on a stone slab plinth. The insignia of the Royal Engineers is on one side of the slab, and of the Royal Australian Engineers on the other. On the main face is a circular bronze high relief bust of Barney, with a bronze plaque below which reads; " Lieutenant Colonel George Barney RE Commanded Royal Engineers 1835 - 1843 Colonial Engineer 1835 - 1844 Superintendent North Australia 1846 - 1847 Chief Commissioner Crown Lands 1849 - 1855 Member of the Legislative Assembly 1851 - 1856 Surveyor General 1855 - 1859 During his term of office was responsible for fortifications maritime buildings and road works constructed in the Colony of New South Wales. Among the most important were Fortifications at Middle, South, Bradleys and Georges Heads, Dawes Point Battery and Fort Dennison, Customs House, Garrison Church, Newcastle Breakwater, Admiralty House, New Government House and Victoria Barracks, from whence came these stones. Erected by the Royal Australian Engineers and SCRA, unveiled 19.11.1979"
|Lot/Volume Number||Section Number||Plan Folio Code||Plan Folio Number|
Historic Notes and Themes
Historical notes: Lieutenant Colonel George Barney was a soldier and engineer, born in England in 1792. He was commissioned in the Royal Engineers in1808 and served in the Peninsula war and the West Indies, before arriving in Sydney with his wife and three children in 1835 with a detachment of Royal Engineers. Governor Bourke proposed that the post of civil engineer be added to his military duties, and this was eventually approved by the Colonial Office in 1837. One project which he proposed that Barney work on was a Circular Quay at Sydney Cove. Extensive reclamation work was undertaken at West Circular Quay between 1837 and 1844 under the guidance of Lt Col Barney. (Casey 1991: 4) He was also responsible for building a breakwater at Newcastle, clearing the Parramatta River of obstructions, Pier Harbours at Wollongong and elsewhere and the repair of roads and bridges throughout the colony. Barney worked on improving the defences at Sydney Harbour in the 1840s and supervised the building of Victoria Barracks in Paddington from 1841until his return to England in 1844. He returned to Sydney in 1847 and was appointed successively chief commissioner of crown lands (1849), to the Legislative Council (1851) and as surveyor-general in succession to Sir Thomas Mitchell (1855). In 1847 Barney was chosen as the superintendent of a new colony of North Australia and selected Port Curtis as the centre for the new settlement. The colonists were tormented by the heat, mosquitoes, and the continual rain. The local Aboriginal groups were hostile and the project was lampooned from Sydney by the press and others and the cost caused the colony to be abandoned. In 1853 he was appointed by Governor Fitzroy to commence work to improve harbour defences at Kirribilli, Fort Macquarie and Dawes Point Battery in view of the threat of war with Russia. (SHFA 1999: 88) Fort Denison was completed to Barney's design in 1856. He died in 1862. (Pike ed. 1966: 60-61)
Historical significance: The memorial to Lieutenant Colonel George Barney is significant as it celebrates the achievements of a man who was responsible for a range of important public works in the early colony, most of which are still remaining and which are recognised heritage items and highly regarded to this day. A number of these sites are in The Rocks, including the land reclamation at Circular Quay West and the Dawes Point Battery.
Historical association: The memorial has associations with other memorials in the nearby vicinity, including the statue of Governor Bligh and the bust of Captain Arthur Phillip. The memorial has association with the Royal Engineers and the Royal Australian Engineers.
Social significance: The memorial has social significance as a reminder of the significant public works carried out by Lt Col Barney and the Royal Engineers. As such it has significance to the wider community and to members of the Royal Engineers and the Royal Australian Engineers.
Research significance: See historical
Intact assessment: Memorial in very good conditon
|Australian Theme||NSW Theme||Local Theme|
|Developing cultural institutions and ways of life||Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities.|
|Governing||Activities associated with defending places from hostile takeover and occupation.|
|Governing||Activities associated with the governance of local areas, regions, the State and the nation, and the administration of public programs - includes both principled and corrupt activities.|
|Marking the phases of life||Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups.|
|Heritage Listing||Listing Title||Listing Number||Gazette Date||Gazette Number||Gazette Page|
|Institution of Engineers (NSW) Historic Engineering Marker|
|Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage register||Place Management NSW|
|Written||Mary Casey||1991||Museum of Contemporary Art and First Fleet Park - Archaeological Monitoring|
|Written||SHFA||1999||Dawes Point Conservation Management Plan, The Rocks, Sydney|
|Written||Douglas Pike, General Editor||1966||Australian Dictionary of Biography Volume 1, 1788-1850 A-H|