This collection includes selected items relating to Millers Point. Millers Point is part of Cadigal territory and, prior to European settlement, was know to its inhabitants as Coodyee.
With the completion of the first government windmill on today’s Observatory Hill in 1797, the area became known as Windmill Hill. By the 1820s ex-convict John Leighton - Jack the Miller - had three more wooden mills on the point, solidifying the area’s new name, Millers Point.
Up until the 1830s Millers Point was a sparsely settled back block shaped by the ‘cutting down’ of the area’s sandstone for building lots, road formation and port facilities. By the 1840s a village began to take shape with workers' cottages near the wharves and the fine houses of wharf owners and merchants on the elevated streets. However, with access to town still difficult, Millers Point remained isolated from, and socially a cut above, its neighbour, The Rocks. Access improved with the creation of the Argyle Cut in 1846.
By the 1850s Millers Point was the most intensely maritime area in Sydney, with the fortunes of the people tied to the wharves. By 1861 there were six large bonded warehouses in Millers Point, about 400 houses and a number of hotels.
The 1900 plague outbreak led the government to resume the wharves and the streets behind them and to start a massive redevelopment project which included the construction of a bridge across the harbour. The new Sydney Harbour Trust oversaw the transformation of houses and wharves in Millers Point, cutting down cliffs, re-organising roads and building the finger wharves.
Major port activities were moved to Botany Bay from the mid-1970s. Many people championed the value of Millers Point as a relatively untouched heritage enclave.
In recent years Millers Point has become attractive to wealthy investors and pressure on the public housing is intense. A protest movement developed from 2008 when various governments announced plans to lease and sell properties in the area and move existing public housing tenants.
Millers Point Conservation Area was listed on the NSW State Heritage Register in 1999 as an intact residential and maritime precinct of outstanding state and national significance.
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ReferencesCollectionVillages and Suburbs
Memorial - Request for the City to tender for cutting of the rock at Argyle Street Dawes Point, 1844
Letter - Request by Dalgety and Company Limited to remove sewer silt box, Kent Street Millers Point, 1888
Letter - Department of Lands giving provisional permission to extend Clyde Street, Millers Point, 1877
Memorandum - Richard Seymour reporting on the dangerous state of Kent Street North, Millers Point, 1866
Letter - Department of Lands advising on use of land adjacent to the Observatory, Millers Point, 1869
Letter - Notification of conditions for transfer of land, Argyle and Crown Streets Millers Point, 1855