Adjoining and on part of the site of premises of this firm on the corner of Market street was at one time the butchering premises of Charles Smith, But Mr. Smith was more than a butcher; he was one of the leading sportsmen of his day. His racehorse, Emancipation was the only horse that ever ran Whisker (referred to earlier in this chapter) a close race. In the reminiscences of Mr. J. B. Martin, published some years ago, he writes of Mr. Smith:—
“One of the greatest promoters of horse-breeding is Charles Smith, a sporting butcher, who carried on his trade on a large plot of land where Kidman’s and Lassetter’s stores are, but taking in the whole square into York street. His neighbour in York street was John Booth Jones, a fine specimen of an Englishman, sturdy and honest, and who used to dress in hunting coat and tops. . . Charlie Smith, I think, ought to rank as the most eminent horse-breeder in the colonies; he had a marvellous judgment, and was a frequent winner. At the time of the races near Sydney he had his horses paraded through the streets in handsome clothing, each winner carrying a blue cap embroidered with figures of its winnings worked in yellow braid. He had a stud farm at Bungarribbee, and an establishment at Camperdown. He owned more blood stock of the highest type than any other breeder at the one time.”
For many years the corner shop was tenanted by Kidman’s grocery store, and in the illustration on page 29 may be seen the shop on the site before the present buildings were erected.
The building of today had in 1894 two distinguished tenants in one of the rooms. They were not distinguished then, only two young men running a paper called “The New Order,” and their names were W. M. Hughes and W. A. Holman. A few years ago Mr. Hughes wrote a humorous account of the rise and fall of the “New order.”
The paper lived only for twenty-three numbers, but while it was in being life was not monotonous for its proprietors. During its short existence, it acquired libel actions to the tune of about £30,000. “Desmond” (writes Mr. Hughes) “was our regular poet. His command of scarifying language was appalling. When anything had to be said that could not be safely said in prose, it was entrusted to Desmond. He would say anything and find a good rhyme to it too. He was a poet and a most excellent man. He contrived to land the ‘New Order’ in libels during its short sojourn on this journalistic earth for about £30,000! Death, indeed, when it came, was from this standpoint a happy release.
Desmond was our regular poet. Poetry oozed out of him at every pore. He could not help being a poet any more than he could help cursing the capitalist. He was born that way. Our other poet was Mr. W. A. Holman, Premier of New South Wales. He was the occasional poet. When Desmond was away assassinating individual capitalists, or indulging in day-dreams of life in the New Jerusalem, Mr. Holman would be turned on. Mr. Holman was not a natural poet. Whereas Desmond could have written poetry sitting on an ant-heap in the wilderness, Holman had to have his ‘atmosphere’ and his accessories just right, or he couldn’t do anything. But when these were right he was wonderful! He wrote poetry straight off on to the typewriter.
To see that gifted man sitting on a box whacking out poetry on a hired typewriter (that might at any moment be seized by the myrmidons of capital) was a sight for the gods! As he habitually worked the machine with one finger, his output was necessarily small, but its quality was superb.”
On the south-east corner of George and Market streets (where Hunter’s shop stands), there stood for some 60 years a large building, which was a monument to a man who also came from obscurity to greatness; but in this case, he became a power in the financial, not the political, world. This gentleman was Mr. Daniel Cooper, the proprietor of the Waterloo warehouse. Portions of the old building still form part of the “Evening News” offices.
The warehouse, then known as the Lachlan and Waterloo Stores, the proprietors of which were Messrs. Cooper and Levy, was situated at first on the corner of King and George streets, but in the “Sydney Gazette” of May 6, 1821, it was announced that the warehouse had been removed to George and Market streets. This latter site comprised the greater part of an allotment leased by Governor Macquarie to James Smith, on January 2, 1819, for 14 years. It was sold by auction on February 13, 1821, and purchased by Daniel Cooper.
Cooper and Levy called for tenders at the end of that year for the stone and brickwork of a new warehouse. Mr. Levy afterwards dropped out as a partner, and was replaced by Mr. Holt. The firm did a large country business, supplemented by banking and money-lending. They issued what were known as Waterloo notes, one of the few paper currencies which were always worth their face value.
Sir Daniel Cooper, a nephew of the original Cooper, was afterwards a partner in the firm. When Anthony Trollope visited Australia, in 1871, he dined at Woollahra House one night with Sir Daniel Cooper, and said of Woollahra:
“It is a magnificent property, covered with villas and gardens, all looking down upon a glorious sea. In England, it would be worth half a million of money, and as things go on it will soon be worth as much in New South Wales. And perhaps some future Cooper will be Duke Cooper or Marquis Cooper, and Woollahra will be as famous as Lowther or Chatsworth. It is infinitely more lovely than either. I envied the young man, and almost hated him for having it—although he had just given me an excellent dinner.”
We have not yet arrived at the Duke Cooper, but have reached the stage of Sir Daniel Cooper, Bart.
A little south of the Waterloo Stores, in George Street, was a small one-storied building, where Lancelot Iredale, the founder of the firm of F. Lassetter and Company, Limited, had his shop, and three doors south of that, in 1848, was the bootmaking establishment of Joseph Vickery. On the site of the Royal-arcade stood the Bull’s Head Inn. The site originally was a lease to Sergeant Daniel Humm, who, on July 6, 1814, transferred his interest to Robert McIntosh, the bandmaster of the 46th Regiment.
About midway between that and Park street, Mr. George Wilkie united the professions of ship biscuit maker and proprietor of the London Tavern.