Photo Library

Sydney Hotel, North Terrace, Adelaide, 1841

Photo taken 31 December 1840

State Library Catalogue Reference: B 2803

The Sydney Hotel was a short lived establishment that opened as Deacon's Hotel and Coffee House in January 1838 and changed its name to the Sydney Hotel in March 1839 until it closed in early 1842. This is a sketch copied from a lithograph. A key published in the 'Register' newspaper, 26 March 1910, page 6, identifies the buildings in the sketch, using a numbering system. The title is 'Key to a View of North Terrace'. Then as follows: 1. Old theatre, 2. Sidney hotel (note variant spelling), 3. Residence of Mr. J. Morphett, 4. Morphett street, 5. Trinity Church, 6. Residence of Rev. C. B. Howard, 7. South Australian Bank, 8. King William Street, 9. Post Office, 10. Stephens place, 11. South Australian School, 12. Bank of Australasia, 13. Office of South Australian Record, 14. Beck & Co.'s warehouses, 15. Auction rooms, 16. Wesleyan Chapel, Gawler place, 17. Rev. T. Q. Stow's Congregational Chapel, 18. Police station, 19. British Society's Schoolhouse, 20. Government House.

'To the Editor of the South Australian Gazette.
SIR - Finding that the Southern Australian of this day has not reported the conduct of some of our friendly natives at a fire which unfortunately broke out on Monday last, in the thatch of the Sydney Hotel, North-terrace, and supposing the case may escape your notice also, I feel myself bound, as one of the many eyewitnesses of the fire, to remove that possibility by reporting the following particulars:— On the day mentioned an alarm of fire was given. I ran immediately to the place, and found the flames spreading rapidly around a chimney at the back of the Sydney Hotel. The most fearful apprehensions were for some time entertained, as may be imagined by those who know the premises. They and some of the adjoining houses are among the first that were built in the colony, all of which are covered with an immense body of dry thatch. Great praise is due to the colonists assembled, who vied with each other in their exertions to stay the threatened ruin. But to the abused and misrepresented blacks is mainly to be attributed the salvation of the whole range of buildings. Their noble and manly efforts to save the property from destruction could not have been more efficiently or more willingly used had they been offered thousands of sheep and bullocks to do so. The well-known, civil, and intelligent Bob, Captain Jack, and Old William were the most conspicuous. They mounted the roof and ripped off the thatch. Bob was seen through a cloud of smoke beating down the flames with his broad brimmed straw hat, until water could be handed up, and thus were the premises saved. Some native women were all the time most actively employed in carrying to a distance the thatch thrown from the roof. I could not but admire the heartfelt satisfaction that beamed on their dark countenances when they saw the fire a conquered foe. They waited till the fire was extinct, then moved off to a distance, looking not for the reward they merited. The applauding colonists, however, distributed a few sixpences among them, and my friend Bob soon afterwards showed me some bread and a few fishes he had bought, and he felt himself rich with three sixpences remaining. I leave these facts in the hands of your readers and trust they will have due weight.
I am. Sir, Your obedient servant, H. CALTON. Hindley-st., May 8, 1839.'
South Australian Gazette and Colonial Register, Saturday 11 May 1839, p3

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