Hotel & History

Historical data of the Russell Hotel site dates back to 1790. A “Moveable Hospital for His Majesty’s Distant Possessions” was erected on this site during July 1790. The portable hospital was removed in 1816 after the Rum Hospital was established in that same year.

Samuel Terry built on this land between 1820-1835 erecting shops and houses. In 1845 the Sydney Municipal Council listed the property as a house and shop constructed of stone, roofed with shingles, of 2 floors and 7 rooms with a back kitchen, and by 1853 it had become a Public house trading under the name of “Patent Slip Inn” with Robert Whitemore the licensee.

In 1858 John Gallagher was listed as the licensee and remained as such until about 1870. During 1887 the “Patent Slip Inn” was demolished and Thomas Brennan erected a new hotel, called the “Port Jackson Hotel”, of brick and stone walls and with a slate roof. It had 3 floors and 12 rooms with a net income of 450 pounds.

In 1900 W Russell became the licensee with Tooth & Co. becoming the proprietors. Tooth & Co. also purchased the properties to the rear of the hotel, 6-10 Globe Street, and extended the hotel by rebuilding the properties during 1910-1920. During the following years, the Russell Hotel lost some of its charisma when it was converted to a rooming house.  Restoration work was undertaken in 1981 and transformed into a delightful small hotel, with personal touches and service in keeping with its origins.

Russell hotel side
The Russell Hotel has been a longstanding accommodation of choice for travellers. The atmosphere at the Russell is welcoming and rich with history.

The History of The Rocks

The Rocks is one of Sydney’s most historic areas, a favourite of tourists and locals alike. As the oldest area of Sydney, The Rocks features a wonderful mix of past and present. The Russell was one of the first hotels in the rocks and maintains our emphasis on old world charm and personable service to this day.

The Rocks was the first European settlement in Australia, established by Captain Arthur Phillip of England in 1788. Originally settled as a penal colony, convicts were tasked with the job of erecting government buildings and housing for officials. These original buildings were built using hand-made bricks or blocks of local sandstone – hence the name “The Rocks.”

Cadman’s Cottage

The Rocks has the most historic buildings in Sydney. The oldest building in the Rocks is the Cadman’s Cottage – one of only a few remaining buildings from the first 30 years of the colony. The cottage is named after John Cadman, a convict later employed by the Government as a Coxswain that lived there for 19 years. The Cadman Cottage now operates as a museum and home of the Sydney Harbour National Park Information Centre.

Plague Strikes The Rocks

In 1900, the bubonic plague struck Sydney. Many worried that the historic and densely populated Rocks area would be the worst hit. Although only three people in The Rocks died of plague, the Government bought the area and resumed it. Parts of The Rocks were demolished, but luckily many remained.

Changing Face of The Rocks

The construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in the 1920’s required the demolition of hundreds more building in The Rocks. Further construction developments, such as the Cahill Expressway in the 1950’s, caused more alteration to character and landscape of The Rocks.

In 1970, the Government turned The Rocks over to the Sydney Cove Redevelopment Authority. The Authority planned to demolish and redevelop The Rocks. Local residents formed The Rocks Residents Group in opposition, putting forth a plan to preserve and rebuild the historic Rocks. The Rocks Residents Group ultimately won in the end – instead of redeveloping The Rocks and losing countless historic sites, The Rocks has been renovated and preserved as a premier historical area.