Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Charles Bertie Photograph Albums – Cumberland Street 1901

This is the second in a series featuring the historic photographs of The Rocks taken in 1901 and collected by Charles Bertie (1875–1952), then the Sydney Council librarian and a prominent member of the Royal Australian Historical Society. In 1998 the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority acquired two albums of these photographs taken by the NSW Government photographer John Degotardi.

The photos documented what were considered some of the more run-down parts of Sydney, prior to their proposed demolition after the outbreak of the bubonic plague.

They provide a wonderful insight into life in The Rocks over one hundred years ago; a time when domestic life was not confined behind closed doors, washing was strung up to flap between buildings, animals roamed the streets, and scores of barefoot kids played in the dust in middle of the road.

Cumberland Street has been realigned and levelled over the years. The amount of levelling can be seen in the first image, the three story terrace still stands but it is now around two meters above the street level.

Click on the images below to enlarge:


  1. These are wonderful composite images showing life before and after in The Rocks. Can you please advise if copyright allows them to be used in a thesis if referenced accordingly or if written permission is required? If written permission is required can you please advise who to contact regarding these images.

  2. The images are available to be used. The Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority holds the copyright on them. Please contact the Authority for more information:

    Telephone: (02) 9240 8500 or 1300 655 995
    Facsimile: (02) 9240 8899