Happy 164th birthday to us!
By the mid-1850s, Sydney resembled a bustling English seaport.
Sydney had adopted a tone of Victorian sobriety, and spending time in Sydney was in no sense roughing it. Sydney’s residents had museums and zoos to visit, and on Sunday’s horse-drawn omnibuses and ferries took them on trips to the ‘countryside’, to Botany, the Cooks River, down the Parramatta River, to Manly, or to Watsons Bay. Promenading in late summer afternoons down Lovers Walk in Hyde Park was also popular.
This was except for maybe the Rocks where an enthusiastic social observer WS Jevons, engaged in a survey of Sydney housing, commented “I am acquainted with most of the notorious parts of London… but in none of these places perhaps, would lower forms of vice and misery be seen than Sydney can produce. Nowhere too is there a more complete abandonment of all the requirements of health and decency than in a few parts of Sydney.”
It was also where, at the Mayor Hotel, run by proprietor WJ Obrien that the Tattersalls Subscription Room was officially opened. As a reflection on that day, it was said Notwithstanding the unusual inclemency of the weather, upwards of 40 gentlemen subscribers celebrated the formal inauguration of this most desirable institution.
164 years on, the weather remains unusually inclement, and your Club forges on!