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'First Impressions' Sculpture at The Rocks

Home > Sydney > Outdoor | Misc | Free | Art
by Vanessa M (subscribe)
I am always looking out for new experiences, wherever I may find myself.
Published September 15th 2013
I've been in The Rocks a lot lately and while I always knew the area had a strong history, it's only recently that I've finally started to appreciate all the little relics and references to the past that can be discovered around here. One feature that I had noticed before, but had never had the time to get a good look at, is the First Impressions Sculpture.

This piece is located at the end of Playfair Street, near where it meets George Street. It's an area that brims with people every weekend when The Rocks Markets take place and if you're already in the area to do some shopping, make sure you check it out.

There are three sides to the sculpture and each has a figure (or group of figures) carved into it. There's room to stand in front of these shapes, so that you're within the outlines of the figures, which makes for a very popular photo opportunity (part of the reason I had never been able to get a good look at it before - there was always people around).

first impressions sculpture, settlers, the rocks, playfair
The First Impressions Sculpture


On one weekday morning, when there were few people around, I took the time to actually take a look at what the work was all about. It turns out the figures on each side represent a particular group of people that helped to establish early Sydney--the convicts, the settlers and the soldiers--while the piece was designed and sculpted by Bud Dumas during 1979, on commission from the Sydney Cove Redevelopment Authority.

first impressions sculpture, convict, the rocks, playfair
On one side there's a convict


first impressions sculpture, soldier, the rocks, playfair
Around another side there's the soldier


In addition to finally understanding the significance of the work (there are also panels on each side where you can get further information on each category of people), on this particular morning I also noticed some of the other features of the area that reference the area's heritage. For example, there's a section of road not far away on George Street that is made of woodbricks and is a recreation of the early roads in the area.

george street, the rocks,
This section of George Street uses woodblocks in a recreation of the early roads in The Rocks


With so much to see around here, it's no wonder that walking tours are offered around The Rocks. If you're interested in the area's history, you might also want to check out The Rocks Discovery Museum, which covers all phases of the area's past and includes real artefacts that have been discovered around here.

first impressions sculpture, the rocks, playfair
A tour group learn about the First Impressions Sculpture
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Why? Understand the heritage of The Rocks and the rest of Sydney
When: Any day
Where: At the end of Playfair Street, near where it meets George Street
Cost: Free
Your Comment
I've never seen carvings like that quite before. They're really neat.
by Bryony Harrison (score: 4|12521) 2318 days ago
My dad is an amazing man. Seeing his artwork still there is special.
by bless (score: 0|2) 135 days ago
My dad is an amazing man. Seeing his artwork still there is special.
by bless (score: 0|2) 135 days ago
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