I am always looking out for new experiences, wherever I may find myself.
Published June 8th 2015
This wander around Millers Point is part of a larger walk created by the City of Sydney that focuses on the early history of Sydney and also includes explorations of Circular Quay and The Rocks. The Millers Point section falls in the middle of the tour (which is self-guided and takes 1-2 hours) and you can find instructions for the whole thing here.
The walk starts at Observatory Hill Park, and if you're coming here from the tour of The Rocks, you will access it via a tunnel under the Harbour Bridge Stairs off Cumberland Street. The park is named after the sandstone Sydney Observatory, which was built in 1858 and is open from 10.00am to 5.00pm daily.
Next on the tour, the road behind the observatory takes you to the National Trust Centre. Entering through the car park doesn't do the building justice; you really need to go round to the front and see it from the expressway side.
The white National Trust Centre was once a military hospital.
The back of the building houses the S H Ervin Gallery and its Australian art. This gallery is named after Samuel Henry Irvin, a collector who bequeathed some of his works to the National Trust, along with money for the gallery. It's open Tuesday to Sunday, 11.00am to 5.00pm.
Just outside the gallery's car park are the Agar Steps. Down near the bottom (but still on the steps) are some terrace houses. It's here that you start to appreciate the tiered road system of Millers Point, a result of swathes cut into the rock. The smaller sandstone buildings also create a village atmosphere distinct from the surrounding city areas (if you've done the first section of this tour, you'll know that over near Circular Quay, most of the old buildings are now surrounded by high-rises).
Turning right up Kent Street towards Walsh Bay you will pass St Brigids Church School, relatively plain-looking, but the oldest Roman Catholic building in Australia (built in 1834-35). Next to it is the post office and diagonally across the road is the Lord Nelson Hotel, one of Sydney's oldest pubs.
At this stage, you can go in two directions; towards the harbour bridge, or, if you've got time, make a quick trip in other direction for a detour to the Palisade Hotel and clyne reserve. However, be aware that the latter route takes you to an area that is undergoing a lot of development and might not be the prettiest sight, or even resemble what the tour suggests it will anymore.
If you skip the detour, you'll need to go right down Argyle Place (there's also Argyle Street, so don't get confused) where you'll find Garrison Church, the state's first official military church. Then, down Lower Fort Street, there's the Hero of Waterloo, built in 1843.
From here you can keep going down Lower Fort Street to George Street, where you'll pick up the third part of the tour, through The Rocks. Or, you can navigate through the alleys for the last few points-of-interest, which include old houses, the Walsh Bay wharves and more.
If it's just Millers Point that you're interested in exploring, you might also consider doing the Walsh Bay Sculpture Walk down near the wharves.
For the other walking tours offered by the City of Sydney, click here. An overview of one of these, the hidden laneways tour, can be found here.