It was fitting then that the day we visited Sydney was the first day of new legislation abandoning Sunday penalty rates for hospitality workers and a variety of other retail occupations. No doubt Edward would've approved this legislation introduced by the government of fellow Australian Club member Malcolm Turnbull. It would seem that Australia needs the occasional mining boom to keep our wages on an even keel!
What can be said is that in 1854, Sydney was a town with a population of just over 40,000, similar to many medium sized regional centres of today. Now it has a population just over 5 million and would be unrecognisable to Edward. Central Sydney today is a maze of skyscrapers which would undoubtedly impress him.
Once his horses were secure, Edward now found himself hastening to Bent St, soon found myself enjoying all the agreeable ease and comfort of the Australian Club. Founded in 1838, this club on the corner of Macquarie and Bent Sts is Australia's oldest gentleman's club and while much has changed in Australia since Edward's time, one thing has not. Only gentlemen can be members of the Australia Club. I'm not sure how Edward would've felt about this. He clearly had an eye for the ladies as his journal often contains descriptive passages of women in all the places he visits. He also became father to eight daughters who for the most part appeared to have a reciprocally fond relationship with him but whether he would have enjoyed ladies cluttering up his club. Who knows?
|This image describes itself as Australian Club and Creswick Hotel, Bent St, c1870. The Club archivist advises that the original Club was down Bent St from todays location so presumably the larger building was the Club.|
|This photo of the club clearly shows the still existing terraces to the left and is dated mid 1870's. However, the Club archivist advised that the Club moved into what had been the Pultney Hotel in the current location in 1891 so this is probably a later picture. However Edward would've been familiar with this building in the latter years of his life.|
|The 1840s terraces that still stand beside the Australian Club and would have been familiar to Edward.|
Edward then spent another month or so in Sydney, reuniting with his parents who were also travelling to England with him, but he mentions little of what he did. He was pleased with the prices he got for his horses the best of the day, ranging from 75pounds downward. Given that that was probably a years wages for one of those insubordinate seamen, he had every right to be pleased.
From Sydney it was then off along the south coast of Australia before heading north to Ceylon, which I have covered in previous posts, and then the middle east and Europe beyond.