This week, The Past Present is turning its attention to the laneways, byways, roads and streets which make up Sydney. Sydney has an extraordinary range of streets, lanes and roads, many of which have a fascinating history. The image above, from a postcard dated circa 1905,shows one such street – Barrack Street.
Although other early colonial barracks in Sydney, like the Hyde Park barracks, are perhaps more famous, the earliest colonial military barracks complex was known as Wynyard Barracks. They were built on the eastern, southern and western sides of what is today Wynyard Park. The park itself was left as an open square in the centre of the barrack complex and became known as Barracks Square, or sometimes the Parade Ground. These barracks played a role in one of the more famous events of early colonial history. In 1808 an event later known as The Rum Rebellion occurred. During this event the New South Wales Corps arrested Governor Bligh. The corp was stationed at the Wynyard Barracks, and it was from here that they marched on the governor.
In 1848 though, new barracks, known as the Victoria Barracks, opened in Paddington. Wynyard Barracks were closed and the land surrounding the old Barracks Square was subdivided. Yet an echo of these earliest barracks remains – Barrack Street itself.