Cumberland Street was named by Gov. Macquarie in 1810 after the Duke of Cumberland and Teviotdale, The Prince Ernest Augustus (1771–1851), fifth son of George III, who became King of Hanover in 1837. Up until 1810 it had been known as Church Row. In the 1830s it was treated as an extension of York Street and began to be known by that name. In 1912, it was officially gazetted as York Street North, however its former name was re-adopted seven years later.
Comprising a series of flights of steps and landings, Cumberland Place is one of the oldest known pedestrian streets in The Rocks, and probably Australia, being continuously in use since at least 1808 when it was part of Cribbs Lane. The laneway may have existed earlier as a walking track, however its recorded history begins when convict butcher, George Cribb, purchased a house in 1809 that lay along the alignment of the laneway. By 1825, similar through lanes (e.g. Longs Lane), were well established, and their names recorded on contemporary maps. These maps indicate that the steps and landings that make climbing its steep grade easier were built between 1865 and 1887. The lane’s name was changed in 1896 by the Sydney City Council. It is thought that significant archaeological relics may survive under the step’s protective layers of concrete and asphalt.
Cumberland Place Steps
Cumberland Street, The Rocks. A public thoroughfare from Harrington to Cumberland Street, comprising a series of flights of steps and landings. The section of steps from Harrrington Street between Nos 55 and 57 with stone stone steps that are worn and uneven date from 1807.
Cahill Walk Lookout, Circular Quay
If you plan to take a walk across the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the walkway is approached from Argyle Street in The Rocks by walking to the top of Argyle Stairs, walking along Cumberland Street across the bridge over Argyle Street, then crossing the road and climbing the stairs up to the Harbour Bridge deck level. On the way to the top you will reach a number of landings which offer panoramic views across Circular Quay.
176 Cumberland Street, Sydney (1845). A three storey double fronted brick residence, it is a fine, free standing example of the Colonial Regency style and a rare example in he central city area. The cottage is adorned with a verandah at ground floor level and a prominent gabled roof which contains attic rooms rising above the front elevation. Lilyvale was built as a town house for Michael Farrell, an inkeeper on land in Cumberland Street that he had purchased in 1838 from Robert Fopp, a butcher. The house replaced a single storey brick dwelling which was on the site in 1845. Originally intended as a town house, Lilyvale seems to have quickly assumed the role of a tavern and a boarding house. In 1885 it was known as Cumberland Hotel and in the following years was known as Clare Tavern and Athol Blair. The origin of the name Lilyvale is unknown, but was in use when the property was surveyed in 1928.
100-102 Cumberland St, The Rocks. One of the few survivors of the literally hundreds of pubs that once traded in The Rocks area. Australia Hotel is a two storey corner building in a restrained Neo Classical style. Constructed in brick, plastered and painted in terracotta with detailing in cream. The continuous awning at string course level is supported on scroll brackets. All the windows of the upper storey are double hung with nine panels in the upper sash and one panel in the lower. The ground floor entrance doors to both streets have original glass and gold lettering. Its form and siting reflects the 1903 Hickson, Davis and Vernon planning scheme, designed to improve the hygiene and amenity of The Rocks inhabitants following the 1900 plague outbreak. It has landmark qualities on a prominent site at the corner of Cumberland and Gloucester Streets. The site is known to have been built upon by the 1820s, although it is likely that, like the other ridges of The Rocks, it was occupied by the encampment of settlers in the first weeks of the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788. Terrace houses occupied the site from the c1840s until the construction of the hotel complex in 1914.
96-98 Cumberland Street, The Rocks. The Glenmore Hotel was constructed c.1921 by prominent Sydney brewery Tooth & Co and was designed in the Inter War Georgian Revival style of architecture by a Tooth & Co resident architect. As with most hotels, the Glenmore Hotel has been altered with the removal of the original façade balconies, parapet and bar although, the internal spaces have remained largely intact. The fabric of the building remained remarkably intact until the 1950’s when significant interior alterations were made, especially the removal of the canopy to the Bar.
212-218 Cumberland Street, The Rocks. Also known as Cadbury-Fry Building and Lawson Menzies Building, Lawson House is a robust Inter-War Free Classical style warehouse building, that still remains in commercial operation. Lawson House was constructed c1924 as the Sydney Depot for the Cadbury-Fry confectionary company and designed in the Inter War Free Classical style by architects Burcham Clamp and Finch. Lawson House is also associated with the well known Sydney architectural firm Burcham Clamp and Finch. The entrance foyer appears to be in original condition, with marble floors, threshold and wall lining, and original timber doors.
Shop and Residence
182 Cumberland Street, The Rocks. An excellent example of small-scale Classic Free Style Edwardian architecture and one of the most intact of such buildings in The Rocks (the others being the former morgue in George Street, the facade of the Brooklyn Hotel and the facade of the former Chamber of Commerce building on the corner of George and Grosvenor Streets). The shop and dwelling at 182 Cumberland Street was designed in 1911 and possibly being completed in 1912.
Longs Lane Terraces
140-142 Cumberland Street, The Rocks. Long’s Lane is a cluster of nineteenth and early-twentieth houses, rear yards, and laneways between Gloucester and Cumberland Streets, the Rocks. Numbers 117-119 Gloucester and 140-142 Cumberland Streets are rare examples of the early-twentieth century government built worker’s housing project initiated by the Housing Board Act of 1912. Numbers 140-142 are the remaining pair of a larger contemporary group, now demolished, that fronted Cumberland , Little Essex and Gloucester Streets.
The name recalls William Long who was formally granted the land on which the terraces stand in 1839. A former convict, Long arrived in Sydney aboard the Baring in 1815, but by 1829 was a successful wine and spirits merchant as well as being licensee of pubs in Miller’s Point and Lower George Street. By 1845, a two-storey, three room building with a shingled roof had been erected upon the site at the corner of Long’s Lane and Cumberland Street, possibly on the site of two of Long’s 1830 tenements. The building was variously described as a house, a shop, or a pub, having either seven or eight rooms. The pub was known as the Erin-go-Bragh (‘Ireland for Ever’) from 1871, with a name change to the Emerald between 1879 and 1882. Until 1853 the landlord for the property was James Wright, the trustee for Long’s daughter Isabella. Wright was the proprietor of the Australian Brewery at the corner of Bathurst and George Streets, Sydney. In 1853 Long’s daughter Isabella married James Martin, who subsequently became the registered owner of the property. Martin later served as Chief Justice of the N.S.W. Supreme Court, and is the person after whom Martin Place is named.
The Butchery Building
178-180 Cumberland Street, The Rocks. The Buildings (Lilyvale, The Butchery Building (178-180 Cumberland St) and Hart’s Building (10-14 Essex St) as a group of surviving buildings occupying the block bounded by Cumberland, Essex and Gloucester Streets, south of the Cahill expressway, collectively illustrate the range and diversity of small scale development in this area of The Rocks between 1840 and the First World War. Each house has a basement area to take up the sloping nature of the site. No. 180 contained a ground floor corner shop. There is evidence on the eastern or end wall of these buildings of the terraced house(s) which were originally built to the Essex Street frontage but were demolished when Gloucester Lane was created before the First World War.