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The Sydney Harbour Bridge amazingly described: a 1788 prediction.

A poem written by Erasmus Darwin published in 1789 gave a description of the great city which would arise on the shores of the wonderful harbour. This poem is well known but less known is the description of the bridge which spans the harbour. It is imaginative because Sydney harbour was not known in 1789 until the first account of the establishment of the new colony was sent back to London and printed in Watkin Tench's Narrative of the Voyage to Botany Bay.

The vision for the spanning of Sydney Harbour was expressed in a poem--The Visit of Hope to Sydney Cove--written by Erasmus Darwin (the grandfather of naturalist Charles Darwin) in 1789. The poem was said to be a response to the scene depicted on a medallion created by Josiah Wedgwood from clay sent to England from Sydney by Governor Arthur Phillip. The allegorical scene represented Phillip's vision for Sydney beyond its role as a penal settlement and as a future source of imperial pride and wealth--a sentiment reflected in Darwin's poem with its images of architecture and urban expansion.

Did Darwin have a vision of the Sydney Harbour Bridge?

Sub section quote, page 3--"Proud Arch"
 "Hear me," she cried, "ye raising realms! Record
 Time's opening scenes, and Truth's unerring word--There
 shall broad streets their stately walls extend,
 The circus widen and the crescent bend;
 There, ray'd from cities o'er the cultured land,
 Shall bright canals and solid roads expand.
 There the proud arch, colossus-like, bestride
 Yon glittering stream and bound the chafing tide;
 Embellished villas crown the landscape scene,
 Farms wave with gold and orchards blush between.
 There shall tall spires and dome cap't towers ascend,
 And piers and quays their massy structures blend;
 While with each breeze approaching vessels glide,
 And northern treasures dance on every tide!"
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Title Annotation:'The Visit of Hope to Sydney Cove'- poem
Publication:M A R G I N: life & letters in early Australia
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:8AUST
Date:Jul 1, 2006
Previous Article:Catherine Helen Spence.
Next Article:Henry Lawson's early start as a writer.

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