First Impressions Sculpture

 First Impressions Sculpture, The Rocks, Public Art

Public Art : First Impressions Sculpture

Sculptor : © Bud Dumas

Date Unveiled : The First Impressions sculpture was unveiled in 1979.

Description : The sandstone relief is a memorial to the convicts, soldiers and settlers who made up the original settlement at The Rocks.

Location: First Impressions sculpture is located in Playfair St, The Rocks, Sydney (right near Biggles).

Inscriptions : 

The Settlers

Governor Phillip (1788-1792) was given the power to grant land in
small parcels to ex convicts. His instructions also suggested that "every reasonable encouragement" be given to soldiers and other free persons wanting to settle. In 1789 James Ruse was given a free pardon, supplied with seed, livestock, farm implements , convict labour and a few acres at Rose Hill and thus became Australia's first settler.

Australia's first eleven free immigrants landed in Sydney in 1793 in response to repeated requests for experienced farmers, mechanics and convict supervisors. 63,000 convicts and 14,000 free immigrants arrived in Australia between 1788 and 1830. Land grants were abolished in 1831. Thereafter Crown land was sold at fixed prices with the income going to England to subsidise schemes of free or inexpensive immigration.

Between 1830 and 1850, 83,000 convicts and 173,000 free settlers arrived bringing Australia's population to 100,000. At this time there were only 7 women for each 10 en with most people living outside the towns and engaged in some form of primary production. Th 1850-60 Gold Rush perios swelled the population to, 1,145,000, established a decentralised pattern of inland towns and signalled the beginning of the immigration of the diverse range of nationalities that make up today's Australia.

"First Impressions" was commissioned by the Sydney Cove Redevelopment Authority in 1979.

This plaque was presented by the Fellowship of First Fleeters


First Impressions Sculpture, The Rocks, Sydney, public art

The Soldier

The First Fleet arrived with 211 Marines whose primary duties were to protect the settlement and preserve good order anomg the convicts. Recognising the need for a permanent body of tropps adaptable to the conditions of the new penal colony, the British Government raised the NSW Corps of which the first 100 strong detachment arrived with the Second Fleet in June, 1790. The Soldier represented here is modelled on the NSW Corps.

The "Rum Corps", as they later came to be known, and their commanders administered the settlement between Governor Phillip's departure (1792) and Governor Hunter's arrival (1795). The Corps officers began to receive land grants and farm land in 1793. Shortly thereafter the colony achieved self sufficiency in its grain production.

The Corps members embodied the first cohesive, large group of freely come settlers with the rights, privileges and duties of British citizens not limited by criminal conviction or exile. They strongly influenced the colony's political development asserting their rights as both soldiers and citizens.

Twenty seven British line regiments served in Australia between 1810 and their complete withdrawal in 1870. The original George Street Barracks were the largest Army Barracks in the British Colonial empire at that time. All governors between Captain Phillip (1788) and Major- General Bourke (1837) were of Naval or Military background.



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