A Catch-up at Moore’s Wharf

Photo: Margo, Robert, their daughter Sarah and me at Moore’s Wharf

Both Robert and I decided that meeting at the ‘front door of our family Bond Store at Moore’s Wharf’ would be the appropriate place to meet in Sydney. Robert and Margo would be there and their daughter Sarah would also be joining us. Steve and I caught the train to Wynyard Station and walked the rest of the way to Moore’s Wharf. We’d only visited the area a couple of times before and because of the vast Barangaroo Development on Sydney’s foreshore, it took us quite a while to get our bearings. We must have looked like a couple of ‘lost’ tourists because a most accommodating passerby stopped and pointed us in the right direction. The Barangaroo Development is absolutely astonishing, and although I was somewhat apprehensive about what the development would do to Sydney, my favourite city in the world, I have to say I was very pleasantly surprised. It’s stunning!

Barangaroo_Development_April2017Aerial image of Barangaroo Reserve with Moore’s Wharf on the left (Courtesy of barangaroo.sydney)

Robert, Margo and Sarah were there promptly at 11:00am. I hadn’t met Sarah before, and she was just lovely. The conversation flowed and I think we were all moved in some way by the enormity of being in each other’s company, in front of our ancestors, Captain Joseph Moore and his son Henry Moore’s place of business, during the mid to late 1800s.

A bit of history about Moore’s Wharf…

Captain Robert Towns had commissioned a number of 3-story sandstone warehouses over a period of nearly 20 years during the early 1830s to the late 1840s. Unfortunately, only Moore’s Wharf and Stores still stand as the other warehouses were demolished in the late Victorian era. Moore’s Stores were built in 1836-37 by William Long and James Wright and the buildings were constructed from local sandstone which was quarried at the site. Around 1838 Joseph and Henry Moore bought these buildings and added another section to accommodate their burgeoning business as the colony’s first P&O Agents.

The first shipment of Australian gold to leave the colony for England was loaded onto the clipper Phoenician at Moore’s Wharf in 1851 and in 1952 , the contracted P&O steamship called the Chusan arrived in Sydney from England with Australia’s first batch of mail. I can only imagine the excitement of the people when they received mail from their loved-ones back home! In 1855 the first locomotive in Australia was unloaded at Moore’s Wharf and for the next 60 years Moore’s Wharf became one of Sydney’s busiest wharfs.

In 1978 because of redevelopment of Darling Harbour and because Moore’s Store building was of such historical significance, it was decided that it had to be moved. So stone by stone the building was dismantled and reconstructed some 46 metres west across the dock facing Walsh Bay. In 1981 it was reopened and is now home to the Port Authority of NSW.

We were unable to go into the Moore’s Wharf and Stores area as you require a permit to get in, it was obviously also undergoing some refurbishment as there was scaffolding around the building. We did, however, get to read the ‘blurb’ which appeared on the sign outside the building and fenced-off area. Robert and I were devastated that the text bore no reference to our ‘famous’ ancestors, the Moores, and we decided that this should be put right!

Moore'sWharfandStores_13June2017  Moore’s Wharf (Image Courtesy of sydney-city.blogspot.com)

We took a number of photographs and then wandered through the Barangaroo Reserve and up the hill to where the Harbour Control Tower once stood. The tower was built in 1974 and its purpose was to monitor and control shipping movements in and out of Port Jackson. It overlooked Walsh Bay and Darling Harbour, and provided lines of sight for all major wharfage areas in Sydney Harbour. It became redundant in 2011 when the vessel control services were transferred to Port Botany, and in July 2015 it was deemed not of heritage state significance and was to be deconstructed. It was also not part of the overall vision for the Barangaroo Reserve which was to restore a naturalistic look and feel for the headland.

Our next port of call was Clyde Bank House which is No 43, Lower Fort Street, Dawe’s Point. Sarah, Steve and I decided to take a leisurely walk whilst Robert and Margo decided to take their car. On the way and on the spur of the moment, I knocked on the door of  No 37, Lower Fort Street and John Dunn answered the door and very kindly allowed us to have a look around. The restoration of No 37 is coming along nicely and we didn’t stay for long as the builders were on-site.  We walked down the road to Clyde Bank House and once again we were standing outside a building of historical significance to us, as in 1837, it became home to our ancestors, Joseph and Ann Moore. It is a beautiful example of Old Colonial Regency and Georgian style architecture and I felt so privileged to be standing there with Steve and my newly-found Cousin Robert and his family.


Photo: Sarah, Margo, Robert, me and Steve outside Clyde Bank House

It was lunchtime and on the recommendation of Robert and Margo we decided to have lunch at The Lord Nelson Brewery Hotel. It was a wonderful end to a lovely day! We had a scrumptious meal and raised our glasses to our fascinating ancestors and then said our goodbyes with promises of getting together again soon. I look forward to that!

Below is an article about Moore’s Wharf that appeared in the Australian Town and Country Journal on Saturday 5 October 1878 (Courtesy of http://trove.nla.gov.au)


Some of the information for this blog post comes courtesy of: barangaroo.com; visitsydneyaustralia.com.au and a paper by Robert Ouvrier



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s