When Lachlan Macquarie began his term as governor of NSW in 1810, Sydney was in desperate need of a new hospital. The hospital was the first project in Macquarie’s ambitious building program.
When Francis Greenway was appointed Civil Architect by Governor Lachlan Macquarie in March 1816, he became the first government architect of New South Wales, a post which celebrates its 200th anniversary in 2016.
During archaeological excavations at the Rum Hospital south wing (now The Mint) on Sydney’s Macquarie Street in 1980-81, a few small traces of the site’s dark and often painful past were discovered.
Convicts who were lucky enough to survive the transportation voyage, often arrived at Sydney Cove suffering infectious disease or other illness, and were admitted directly to the colony’s General 'Rum' Hospital.
When Sydney’s Rum Hospital was completed in 1816, the buildings were already showing signs of potential collapse, but newly-appointed Civil Architect Francis Greenway came to the rescue.
From the earliest days of the colony, Sydney-siders smoked them, broke them, and discarded them into drains, rubbish piles, work sites and hidden cracks and crevices of buildings.
If you’ve ever visited The Mint on Sydney’s Macquarie Street, chances are you have walked in the footsteps of an infamous Australian bushranger, ‘Captain Moonlite’.
Charles Miller, Frederick Sydney Hoptroff, Arthur Kilgour, Edgar Upton, Oliver Whiting, Theophilus (Theo) Bowmaker and John Gilchrist were all employees of the Royal Mint’s Sydney branch.
Architect Richard Francis-Jones pieces together the epic transformation of, in his words, this 'extraordinary and hidden ruin, shy to the public gaze' into a vibrant centre, an inviting public place open to all.
Meet the fascinating Robert Hunt, a senior Mint official, chemist and, according to Megan Martin, 'one of a new breed of formally qualified practical scientists', who also found time to take beautiful photographs of Sydney and its harbour.