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The Sydney Town Hall is situated on George Street

George Street is one of Sydney's most notable city streets. There are more high rise buildings and more ASX 100 companies located here than anywhere else in the country, and is well known for being busy round-the-clock. It begins in the north end of Sydney in The Rocks, near the Sydney Harbour Bridge and extends to the southern end of the city, near Central Station and Ultimo, where it leads into Railway Square. From here Broadway is the continuation of George Street turning westwards, leading to the western suburbs as Parramatta Road.

Contents

History

George Street, Haymarket, Sydney from The Powerhouse Museum Collection
George Street, looking south
Sydney Town Hall as it appeared in the early 1900s facing north with St. Andrew's Cathedral to the left.

The origins of George Street lie in the layout of the Sydney Cove colony. Captain Arthur Phillip placed the convicts and marines on the rocky western slopes of the bay. A track leading from the convicts' encampment in the area of The Rocks, past the marine barracks and alongside the banks of a stream to a brick pit, located near to the present location of Central Station. This track that eventually became George Street is one of the two original thoroughfares, along with the track that became Bridge Street. It is possible that George Street was the first street in Australia.

Until 1810 George Street was generally referred to as High Street in the English custom. George Street was named for King George III of the United Kingdom by Governor Lachlan Macquarie in 1810.

Landmarks

There are a number of attractions along George Street, which are listed here from south to north:

  • Chinatown - Bordering the south-western end of George Street, Sydney Chinatown has many restaurants and shops; at the corner with Hay Street there is a tree stump gilded in gold, which is said to bring good fortune to the Chinese community. Opposite the tree is the magnificent Capitol Theatre, where some of the world's finest musicals are staged.
  • Cinema District - Situated on the hill overlooking Chinatown, this area used to feature the three largest cinemas in Sydney, however the three cinemas (Hoyts, Greater Union and Village) merged their theatres into one complex, which was ultimately bought out by Greater Union in December 2005. The Cinema District also houses many arcades, Internet cafes, fast food restaurants and pubs and is certainly the most popular part of George Street after dark.
  • Wynyard - This is an area of office buildings. At the eastern side one can see the Cenotaph at Martin Place, surrounded by old banking headquarters and the General Post Office, part of which is now a hotel. The Wynyard Railway Station is located here.
  • The Rocks - At the northern end of George Street is The Rocks, the place where British settlement in Australia began in 1788. There are many souvenir shops and pubs, as well as the Museum of Contemporary Art. From here one can see the magnificent Port Jackson (Sydney Harbour), dominated by the Sydney Opera House. The Circular Quay Railway Station and Ferry Terminal are located nearby.

Transport

Trams on George St, early 1900's

On 8 December 1899 an electric tramway was opened along George Street to Harris Street.[1] This reduced the traditional dependence on horses and human feet. In 1959 the trams were replaced by diesel buses. George Street is still the busiest street in Sydney in terms of number of buses per hour; most bus services to the inner western and north-western suburbs travel along part of or most of George Street.

In 1932, as part of the construction of the City Circle, the George Street roadway was opened outside the Sydney Town Hall and Town Hall underground station was constructed. Further north, Wynyard underground station was constructed with a major entrance to George Street near Hunter Street.


References

  1. ^ Keenan,D. Tramways of Sydney. Transit Press 1979

External links

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