Transported to the Past
Australians can now pinpoint the actual birthplace of their nation in the centre of modern Sydney.
The foundations of First Government House have been unearthed and archaeologists have recorded a wealth of facts about the house built by Governor Phillip in 1788-89 within months of the first fleet’s landing. ‘These are the only in situ historical remains known from the first year of settlement’, writes the authors of a new book, Australia’s First Government House, being published this summer.
The dig began in 1983 on a site bounded by Phillip and Bridge Streets and over the following years revealed stages of building and the way of life the early governors lived - Phillip, Bligh and Macquarie to name three. The house was replaced by a grander establishment in 1845 and later demolished. Being in bad condition, the loss was not regretted, though a contemporary report expressed an unfashionable interest in the past. 'The building is linked... with all the earlier associations of the Colony - which some may possibly say it would be as well to forget, but not so I.’