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Sydney Harbour History & Obelisk Discovery around Australia's Great North Walk

A pleasant stroll introduces the Macquarie Obelisk (one end of Australia's Great North Walk) & some other Sydney history
Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Easy
Length: 0.2 miles
Duration: Less than 1 hour
Family Friendly


Walk just a few hundred metres from Circular Quay on Sydney Harbour... more »

The Australian 'Great North Walk' runs 250 km between two impressive and historically important... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Writers Walk

Writers’ Walk: follow the metal plaques, starting from the International Passenger Terminal on West Circular Quay around the walkway that runs between the ferry jetties and Circular Quay railway station, and then all the way along East Circular Quay to the side of the Sydney Opera House forecourt — on the Great North Walk.

You will see a plaque... More

2. Plaque about Arthur Phillip and the First Fleet

The so-called ‘First Fleet’ was sent from Britain in 1787 to deliver convicts and British settlers to the newly claimed land of Australia. The plaque commemorates their landing in Sydney Harbour -- which was first called Port Jackson. The fleet actually first landed in Botany Bay, not here but Governor Arthur Phillip wanted a better and safer... More

3. First Fleet Anchor

The credit for the discovery of Port Jackson is given to Arthur Phillip who, on 21 January 1788, led a team of three boats from Botany Bay to explore what Cook had noted as merely an inlet or small bay and named to honour Sir George Jackson, then one of the Lord Commissioners of the British Admiralty. That Cook passed this wonderful harbour... More

4. Macquarie Obelisk (One End of the Great North Walk)

Macquarie (or Road Builders’) Obelisk: Macquarie’s Obelisk is located in the oldest planned town square and urban park in Australia: the tiny Macquarie Place on Bridge Street in central Sydney. It marks the start of the Great North Walk and is the oldest true obelisk on this journey dating to 1818. Built of locally quarried white sandstone, this... More

5. Sydney : Macquarie Place Park

This is a tiny park. Its main claim to fame now is the Macquarie Obelisk designed and built by Francis Greenway. Governor Macquarie and Francis Greenway were a formidable team here in downtown Sydney. In 1816, Greenway had been commissioned by Macquarie to design an extension to the now elderly Governor Phillip‘s house and add a ballroom. You ... More

A visit to the Museum of Sydney is recommended to all. The Museum is on the site of the first Government House, at the corner of Phillip and Bridge Streets, Sydney, NSW, 100 m from Macquarie Place — the start of the Great North Walk. If you search a little you will locate another obelisk - pictured.

There is another Sydney obelisk which is well... More

7. Obelisk Hyde Park

Smelliest Obelisk: (33° 52′ 29″S 151° 12′ 36″E ) referred to as Thornton’s Scent Bottle because it was designed as a vent for the Sydney city sewerage, this obelisk is a sight for visitors to Sydney’s Hyde Park. Modelled on Cleopatra’s Needle, the ancient Egyptian obelisk moved to the banks of London’s Thames River, this obelisk stands on a... More