Macquarie's Obelisk

Macquarie's Obelisk, Macquarie Place, Sydney

Public Art : Macquarie's Obelisk

Sculptor : The obelisk was designed by Francis Greenway and built by stonemason Edward Cureton.

Date Unveiled : 1818

Description : A locally quarried (believed to be from Sydney Cove) fine grained white sandstone obelisk, designed in the Georgian period and detailed in the Greek revival style. The elongated pyramid, which was a milestone for measuring of roads, lies on a narrow square pedestal decorated by projecting cornice. The pedestal also has the original inscription on it, written in Roman typeface (which was a typical Georgian style).

Location : Macquarie's Obelisk is located in the oldest planned town square and urban park in Australia, Macquarie Place, Bridge Street, Sydney.

Inscription :

This Obelisk
was erected in
Macquarie Place
A.D. 1818
To record that all the
Public Roads
Leading to the interior
of the Colony
are measured from it.
L. Macquarie Esq


Principal Roads
Distance from Sydney
to Bathurst } 157m
From Sydney to Windsor 35 D
to Paramatta 15 1/2
to Liverpool 20
to Macquarie Tower
at the south head } 7
To the North Head
of Botany Bay } 14

History of Macquarie's Obelisk : The 'symbolic peg', known as Macquarie's Obelisk, marks the oldest milestone for measuring roads and the oldest urban park (along with Hyde Park) in Australia. The stone was ordered by Governor Lachlan Macquarie and was designed by Colonial architect Francis Greenway and built by stonemason, Edward Cureton and a bunch of convicts. On completion, poor old Governor Macquarie came under a bit of flak for the stone monument by Commissioner Bigge (representative of the British Government) who declared it far too expensive and unworthy for a colony town such as Sydney. Harsh words indeed. This may well have been the straw that broke the camel's back because it wasn't long after that Macquarie decided to call it quits as Governor.

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