Sunday, August 6, 2017

New Albion

Bill Bryson in the travelogue Down Under raises the interesting point that Sydney town was first named as "New Albion".  The name was bestowed by officer of the Royal Navy Captain Arthur Phillip as he arrived with the eleven ships of the First Fleet.

Image credit: First Fleet

Albion is the oldest name attributed to the island of Great Britain.  It is a name that is almost only used in poetry.  "New Albion" must have been a logical choice from Philip, just as the naming of the southern land "New South Wales" was logical as a choice for Captain Cook.

Philip named Sydney's stately 55 kilometer squared harbor as Port Jackson - and that name has stuck, and he named the final port as Sydney Cove, and that name has survived over two hundred years.  Indeed, Philip's official choice of "New Albion" was overturned popularly by the people's "Sydney".

But, what remains in Sydney of "New Albion" or "Albion".  What buildings and parks and monuments bear the name?  A search of places in Sydney city revealed surprisingly few locations.

There is:

  • Albion Terraces Pty Ltd - a place of accommodation in Surry Hills some 3.3km from Philip's landing place.
  • Albion House Worldwide - a business in Pitt Street, Sydney a kilometre from where convicts first stepped ashore.
  • Albion House - an education consultant in York Street, Sydney, a bull's roar distance from Sydney Cove.
  • Albion Sexual Health Centre - a health facility in Surry Hills.
  • Albion Street and Little Albion Street, Surry Hills.
  • Albion Place in Sydney's movie district, and,
  • Albion Place Hotel, where Philip may enjoy a drink if he ever passes through.

That's a fairly poor list of Albions.  The name Sydney certainly stuck fast.


Note: all links good as at 6 August 2017

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