I've passed it many times on my way to and from this St Patrick's church where I sometimes attend Mass and other religious observances without realising its significance to me and my family history.
I am not sure if what the inscription says is strictly correct. The first Church of England erected in Sydney, built of wattle and daub, burnt down on 1 October 1798. It was replaced by a new stone church, called St Philip's (one 'l' not two) and named after Captain Arthur Phillip who had led the First Fleet from England and founded a convict settlement in Sydney Cove.
The original St Philip's did not open until 1810. When it was found to be structurally unsound, the foundation stone for its replacement was laid in 1848. This church was not consecrated until 1856.
In this monochrome painting by Fleury, what looked like what I think was an observatory on the right hand side of St Philip's Church of England, has gone.
Astronomy has played a big part in Australia's history. Captain James Cook was in the Southern hemisphere to observe the transit of Venus when he decided to claim the east coast of New Holland on behalf of Britain.
There was an official astronomer, Leiutenant William Dawes, who came on the Sirius with the First Fleet and established the first observatory at Dawes Point west of Sydney Cove. The present Sydney Observatory located on Observatory Hill near the southern approach to the Sydney Harbour Bridge was built in 1858.
St Patrick's Catholic church on Church Hill was dedicated in 1844.