Saturday, December 4, 2010

A place in The Rocks

The first European settlement in Sydney was on the sandstone stepped area later referred to as The Rocks. Over the years many small houses and tenements were built in this area, initially timber to be replaced by stone. This book recalls a number of distinct stages in the history of The Rocks and the establishment of a house museum consisting of a terrace of four houses, known as Susannah Place, located at 58, 60, 62 and 64 Gloucester Street.

Susannah Place was built in 1844. Each house had two rooms on two floors and, because the houses were constructed on a slope, another room was dug out of rock at the back of the house.

Susannah Place survived the slum clearances as a result of bubonic plague in 1900, the clearance of land for the building of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in the 1930s and other land clearances for 'development' in the 1970s and the 1980s. The Historic Houses Trust of New South Wales has converted the Susannah Place building into a house museum to record the lives of the many people who lived in this area and this important part of Sydney's social history. The stories of people recorded in the book are the result of an oral history project. Photographs throughout the book are from a variety of collections. There is also a tenant list providing the names of families who lived in the four houses from 1845.

  Susannah Place Museum

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