The “Civic Heart” of Sydney – Martin Place

This photo is courtesy of the State Library of NSW and is a view of Martin Place from 1912/13 as it was then open to traffic. You can see that at the time it was shared between horse drawn and motorised vehicles.

Martin Place runs between George and Macquarie Streets in the CBD and has been described as the “civic heart” of Sydney. It has been home to many of Sydney’s longest standing financial institutions such as the Commonwealth Bank, Westpac and the Reserve Bank of Australia. Other landmarks include the General Post Office (GPO) (the building with the clock tower), the MLC Centre and the 1927 WWI ANZAC Cenotaph.

Martin Place was created in sections. During the early 1800s the section between Pitt and Castlereagh Streets was the only section to look anything like it does today. Prior to this the section between George and Pitt Streets was just a small laneway. The construction of the GPO coincided with the widening of the lane. In 1892 the GPO was completed and the widened street was officially opened as Martin Place, named in honour of three time Premier of NSW and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of NSW, Sir James Martin.

After another 40 or so years (in 1935) the final section was added such that the thoroughfare stretched all the way from George Street to Macquarie Street as it does today. Between the years of 1971 and 1979 Martin Place became pedestrian only as it was closed off to traffic in sections. This coincided with the construction of the train station which opened in 1979.

Martin Place is now a thriving centre with an amphitheatre that hosts many events including cultural events and political protests. In more recent times it has hosted exhibits from the Vivid festival, broadcasts of the 2000 Sydney Olympics and the apology to the Stolen Generation in 2008.

I also need to mention the Sydney Siege which very sadly took place in the Lindt Café in December 2014 and resulted in 3 persons losing their lives including the gunman and two of his hostages.

Note: I try to be as accurate as possible but make no guarantees. Please use this information at your own risk.


Martin Place Sydney

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