Sydney: The Blackwall Passenger Ship “Parramatta” Alongside Circular Quay in 1872


Sydney has one of the biggest and most beautiful harbors in the world. Protected by the “Heads,” high rock formations at either side of its entrance, Sydney Harbor enjoys a hundred miles of inland coastline and semitropical climate year round.

This scene, looking north on the west side of Circular Quay, was-and still is today-the major berth for arriving passenger ships and is the promontory from which the famous Sydney Harbor Bridge crosses the harbor to Milson’s Point on the opposite shore. Circular Quay continues to another promontory to the right of this scene, at the end of which now stands Sydney’s famous Opera House.

The Blackwell passenger ship Parramatta is the key vessel in this painting because the Blackwallers, passenger vessels built for the Australian run at Blackwall, on London’s lower Thames River, were ever present at this location. Sometimes three or four of them would be berthed at a given time around the curved wharf of this most ideal natural cove.

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