This collection includes selected items relating to Observatory Hill which is the highest point overlooking Sydney Harbour. It was formerly known as Windmill Hill and Flagstaff Hill. The park on Observatory Hill is known as Observatory Park.
In 1796 Observatory Hill was the site of one of Sydney’s first windmills. In 1800, it became home to the fully armed Fort Phillip before it was partially demolished later in the century and the site became a signal station for passing ships. The observatory and astronomer’s residence from which it bears its current name were built in 1857 and 1859. A hospital built in 1825 was extant for twenty-three years before being converted into the Fort Street Model School. After several permutations, it operates today as Fort Street Public School, and its edifice also includes the headquarters of the National Trust of Australia (New South Wales). Other notable structures on the Observatory Hill site include the Boer War Memorial; The Rotunda (once residence of The Metropolitan Band); and the Sydney Bureau of Meteorology.
This collection includes a small sample of related items ranging from the late 1800’s onwards, including plans, correspondence, and photographs taken in and around the area.
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Letter - Department of Lands advising on use of land adjacent to the Observatory, Millers Point, 1869