By: Sydney Harbour Trust

Date: 1913 (published) Sydney

In 1913 an official handbook entitled Port of Sydney, New South Wales, 1913 was published by The Sydney Harbour Trust Commissioners, of Sydney.  It is a remarkably detailed and useful publication with which were published three folding maps depicting various perspectives of the same region, and which contains numerous historically interesting photos of the entire area. The handbook starts with the founding of the Port, whose geographic location Captain Cook had not laid eyes on. He did claim the continent for the crown but did not sail far enough to discover the best harbour.

The handbook covers the history of the area and provides information regarding it during   its most active period of development, with separate headings and chapters for each point of import on the map. A sample of chapter headings includes Foundation and Development, Growth of the Port, Development of Shipping, Trade of the Port, Wharfage of the Port, Local Industries, etc. It also contains three long fold-out photos of the harbour in lovely condition along with a number of additional black and white photos (sepia).  

Book condition: Hardcover, original binding with gold embossed lettering. Very Good. Second Edition, notation free. Spine bumped top and bottom with little loss. Corners slightly bumped. Some slight soiling to the inside covers. Interior very nice with only minor blemishes. Section sewn with minor separation at stitching. The linen-backed maps on watermarked paper are all in A condition and all are coloured.

Map 1: Map of the Wharf Accommodation of the Port of Sydney

Dimensions: 15.75 x 29.25 inches (40 x 74.3 cm)

The first map is a bird’s eye view of the wharf accommodation of the Port of Sydney. The territory covered by the maps starts with Balmain in the west, and stretches to Rushcutters Bay in the southeast. It is highly detailed, depicting public spaces such as botanical gardens and cricket grounds, government house grounds, parks and football grounds. In addition, it highlights wharves, piers and jetties and other maritime related buildings, and railways.

Map 2: Sydney Harbour Trust Birds Eye View of General Wharfage Scheme West of Dawes Point As It Will Appear When Completed

Dimensions: 24.5 x 29.5 inches (62.23 x 74.9 cm)

From the official handbook of the Port of Sydney is a birds eye view depicting the general wharfage scheme west of Dawes Point as it would appear on completion of construction. The map is oriented south, and shows much of the industrial development of the Sydney Harbour area. Interesting notes on the map under the heading Berthing Accommodation include Deep Sea Vessels 600 to 700 feet in length – 54; Interstate – 31; Coastal – 42; for a total berthage of 127 vessels. The total length of wharfage is 62,878 Ft Lin; 11 – 90 miles. The map is illustrated with ships, railways, industrial buildings, factories and residential areas and parks. All major roads, streets and thoroughfares are depicted. The title cartouche is in scrolls.

Map 3: Sydney Harbour Trust Birds Eye View of the Port of Sydney

Dimensions: 24.5 x 29.5 inches (62.23 x 74.9 cm)

From the official handbook of the Port of Sydney is another birds eye view which depicts the area’s topographical features. All ports, bay and other aquatic features are named. Depth soundings of all waterways are given, with ships of myriad kinds dotting the surfaces. Regions are delineated and named, vegetation and elevations are depicted pictorially, and all railways are denoted. This map is oriented west. The title cartouche is in scrolls.  The combination of the maps being oriented differently presents a fairly thorough understanding of the region’s topography. All three of these handsome maps are backed with linen and in A condition.

Between 1890 and 1910, rail lines were built to service the area and reclamation walls were built. Throughout the 19th century, most of Sydney’s wharves were privately owned, and there was increasing need for regulation due to poor sewerage, infestation of rats and an outbreak of bubonic plague. Finally in 1901 the first port authority was created, the Sydney Harbout Trust. One of its first undertakings was the production of guides for maritime industries, such as the handbook and the maps which accompanied it. In addition, the Trust eventually came to oversee all maritime activities at the port and had legal authority on the land comprising it as well. The Trust was active till 1936 at which time its responsibilities were assumed by the Maritime Services Board.

Condition of Maps: Maps are in B+ condition, issued folded and bound into the original book, they have since been removed and any tears have been repaired through linen-backing, a completely reversible process.

Inventory #11724

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