Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Convict Bricks

Yesterday, as part of our current project on early Sydney monuments, we visited the Kings Cross area. We discovered an interesting sandstone wall (in photo above) in a little park just near the El Alamein fountain.

It included a carved stone which was recovered in 1969 from the landscaped gardens of Elizabeth Bay House (built by the Hon Alexander Macleay, Second Colonial Secretary, on a 54 acre land grant given to him in 1828 at Elizabeth Bay).

The wall was also made up of some sandstone bricks from the early days of the Colony. Several of them contained interesting imprints, such as hearts, diamonds and animal footprints (as in the photo at right)

This put us in mind of a similar wall in the Sydney Fernery in the Royal Botanic Gardens (photo at left below). The sandstone used used in this wall is believed to have been quarried locally around 1826 when it was used for the construction of the Governor's Bath House at Farm Cove. Many of the stone blocks have "banker's marks" (photo at right below). These marks identify the convict mason's work for payment. The marks were usually made in the visible face, rather that in the bedding face, in convict brick work prior to 1850's.

If you are interested in Australian history or are researching a convict ancestor, go to our web site at: http://www.historyservices.com.au/