Restoration to start on Australia’s oldest surviving colonial monument

City of Sydney will this week commence work on the restoration of the Obelisk of Distances – the earliest surviving public monument of Australia’s colonisation.

Designed by Francis Greenway and erected in Macquarie Place on Bridge Street, Sydney in 1818, the large sandstone structure functioned as the zero point for the measurement of early roads in NSW.

The intricate and painstaking restoration project is expected to take a team of heritage experts up to three years to complete, at a cost of up to $500,000.

Comprehensive testing on the 188 year old relic has been undertaken over many months to ensure the integrity of the restoration task.

Work will include: Drainage improvements and rectification to prevent future salt and moisture damage; treatments on the sandstone; mortar repairs and replacement; and reinstatement of the capstone.

City of Sydney Councillor Phillip Black said the work is part of the City’s commitment to maintaining Sydney’s historical monuments.

“The careful and methodical restoration of the obelisk is being undertaken in consultation with the NSW Heritage Office to ensure it is restored to a prime condition,” Cr Black said.

“The obelisk was instrumental as a surveying device used for Sydney’s earliest roads as part of the Governor and Mrs Macquarie’s civic improvements.

“It is located in the same park as the newly-restored Sirius Cannon that formed part of the 20 gun armament of the HMS Sirius – the flagship of the First Fleet, which entered Port Jackson in 1788,” Councillor Black said.

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