Stone and history

Cockatoo Island is made of sandstone – the same beautiful sandstone from which many old Sydney buildings are fashioned, quarried mostly from Pyrmont in the early days.

Convicts hewed the stone to make barracks and residences for their overseers, and many of these residences are well preserved and available for tourist hire. Other buildings did not fare so well. Their decay is often just as artistic as many of the Biennale projects.

Here are more photos of textures and patterns …

Convicts constructed the military barracks in 1841. The poles in the wall were for hanging guards’ rifles …

The convicts were made to dig grain storage pits out of the sandstone. Twenty were dug originally, about 7 metres wide and 6 metres deep. Two convicts suffocated in them. This is one of the thirteen that survive …

Inside one of the industrial warehouses …

There’s much more to explore on Cockatoo Island and I’m keen to go back some time.

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One Response to Stone and history

  1. kathy says:

    Hi Joy,
    Thanks for explaining some of those features. I have seen them, but pondered what they were used for at the time I visited. There is so much history in one spot. I did not see the grain store – how tragic. It’s one thing to wander about dressed in warm modern clothing with food in your belly, and another story to be a convict with no luxuries, trapped on that island during bad weather.

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