View of the first Union Club (formerly Robert Campbell junior’s residence), Bligh Street, Sydney.
Circa 1868. Albumen print photograph, 123 x 163 mm, laid down on a section cut from an album page, with a contemporary inscription in ink above the image ‘Union Club, Sydney, N.S.W.’; a strong print in fine condition.
From an album of Sydney views compiled during Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh’s Australian visit of 1867-68, which included a number of shots taken by John Hubert Newman of the temporary welcome arches that were constructed around Sydney in the Prince’s honour.
Sydney’s exclusive Union Club was founded in 1857, with James Macarthur, the son of John Macarthur, as its first president. It originally occupied the former Bligh Street house of merchant and pastoralist Robert Campbell junior (1789-1851). This magnificent residence was replaced in 1884 by a Classical Revival style building designed by William Wardell at 2 Bligh Street, which was in turn demolished in 1955.
In this rare photograph we can clearly make out four wealthy-looking Union Club members standing on the footpath in front of the building’s sandstone wall, waiting for a hansom cab. Three youthful porters stand over to the right. Another two club members pose for the photographer inside the garden’s perimeter on the steps leading to the front portico.