Sydney Cove, early painting

EARLY MILLERS POINT

Prior to European settlement, land in the Millers point area was occupied and utilized by the people of the Cadigal tribe. Millers Point and most foreshore area and Port Jackson and its waterways were rich in marine resources and provided an ideal environment in which to live and gather food for its original inhabitants.

The principal focus of early harbour settlement by the First Fleeter was Sydney Cove and in particular "The Rocks", which was the rocky, western promontory of Sydney Cove. By the 1820s, as the population grow, many new arrivals spread out into the Millers Point area.

The name 'Millers Point' appears to have arisen about this time, reflecting the social and visual significance of the early milling industry represented by the prominent windmills that had been constructed in the area by that time.

Cuthberts Shipyard, Millers Point, c.1860

Lower Fort Street was still in its infancy in the 1830 and was little more than a widened access track, but throughout this decade it became a desirable place to build, particularly for the merchant elite associated with the maritime trade.

 
sydney_harbour_bridge_from_lower_fort_street
Sydney Harbour Bridge from Lower Fort Street

 THE "OLIFFE TERRACE"

The first building on this site appears to have been built around 1880 by wool and tallow broker named William Oliffe. Known for years as the "Oliffe Terrace", it is likely to have been a relatively upper middle class residence, given its prime Lower Fort Street location and Oliffe's profession as a commodities merchant. By the end of the 19th century and following occupation by a succession of owners/tenants, the terrace eventually reflected the social change occurring in the urban areas as middle class families began to move out of inner Sydney into the mushrooming suburbs, leaving the working class behind.

THE 1900s, PLAGUE AND THE SYDNEY HARBOUR TRUST

What changed Millers Point and the face of the Sydney Harbour Foreshore forever was the arrival of the plague in 1900 and the subsequent Government response to the disease. The Sydney Harbour Trust was established in 1900 to take over and clean up the wharves and the government set about resuming large tracts of harbour-side land. The Oliffe Terrace was resumed, along with neighbouring properties, but survived demolition until the 1920.

 TWO HOTELS

The history of the hotel is often confused by the presence of in earlier hotel with the same name. However the earlier Harbour View Hotel, which was on the corner of George and Lower Fort Streets, was demolished to make way for the Harbour Bridge.

The first Harbour View Hotel, George Street

The present Hotel during bridge construction

The present Harbour View Hotel, 1927

A NEW HARBOUR VIEW

The construction of the present Harbour View Hotel in 1924 was a joint venture between the Government, who owned the land and Tooth & Co., who provided the capital. Architects were Prevost and Waterman. By 1927 it provided a convenient watering hole for the thirsty workers constructing the Harbour Bridge.

REFURBISHMENT

As with many hotels in the urban area, the hotel gradually felt into a poor reflection of its more illustrious past, but it has now been completely refurbished by its new owner, Mr Brian Perry, to reflect the standard of amenity generally applying to this area of modern day Sydney.

Project Manager: J&H Mothersole Pty Limited 

Conservation Architects: Back & Riggs

Architects: Wayne McPhee & Associates 

 A RECOGNISED LOCAL LANDMARK

The building's significance has been recognized by the various authorities, having an order placed on it in 1989 by the Heritage Office and listing Permanent Conservation by the same authority in 1999 on the State Heritage register. The Council of the City of Sydney has included the hotel in its Local Environment Plan as a building of local Significance.