The man whose name comes irresistibly into one’s mind as one looks down on the wharfs stretching towards the city, had he lived in the spacious days of Queen Elizabeth, would have appeared without a doubt in the records of the worthy Richard Hakluyt. Robert Campbell was a true merchant-venturer. He came, like Caleb, to view a promised land, and, like Caesar, he could say: “I came, I saw, I conquered.”
It was no easy conquest when Robert Campbell arrived in Sydney in 1798 the officers of the settlement had a monopoly of the trade—a monopoly they fought to retain; and when in 1805 Campbell essayed to open up an export trade with England he came in conflict with the East India Company’s monopoly.
He lost some thousands of pounds in the conflict with the company, but it drew attention to the evils of the monopoly, and within a few years this incubus was removed. Mr. Campbell purchased when he settled here the house and garden of one John Baughan. Subsequently, he purchased the grants of Captain Waterhouse adjoining.
The garden was continued, and up to the ‘fifties one could look down from George street on to a very pleasant array of flowers and fruit trees.