200 George Street

Stocking Up

Case 10

A peculiar range of goods were recovered across the site that were made or sold by the many businesses that operated here in the nineteenth century.

The letter ‘s’ pehaps relates to the printers that operated here; first Stephen and Stokes, then the Sydney Morning Herald. Sewing equipment like buttons, needles and cotton reels, and a good deal of fabric was found. In 1880, the Robinson Clothing Factory was established here, with a shop fronting George Street. These objects maybe from a dump of their rubbish. As well as professional seamstresses, it’s also likely that the women who lived here were sewing and mending for their families. It was common for women to take in extra sewing work to supplement the family income.

The origins of other items are less certain. Could the hinges and furniture fixtures represent the work of Ah Toy’s cabinetmakers? Items like the boot and harness polish within the many blacking bottles could relate to both the daily lives of the merchants and the stock they sold.

A range of strange and unknown tools were also found. Are these remnants of the light industries people operated in their yards, like Frederick Felton’s ironmongering shop? Or are they perhaps a selection of the goods sold by Nock and Kirby’s large emporium, operating here until 1945? What do you think?

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