Australian Sugar Company's Works, Canterbury, c1842 by Frederick Garling (State Library of NSW, DG SV1A / 13)
Australian Sugar Company’s Works, Canterbury, c1842 by Frederick Garling (State Library of NSW, DG SV1A / 13)

Sydneysiders have had a long love affair with sugar.

Sugar first came to Sydney with the First Fleet and was part of the convict rations. It was in demand for use as a sweetener but also as a key ingredient in alcohol.

Sugar cane was first grown experimentally at the Royal Botanic Gardens in 1817, although it wasn’t a successful crop. It took a while longer for it be manufactured in Sydney. In the early 1840s, Australia’s first sugar refinery was built at Canterbury on the Cooks River – it was one of the first industrial complexes built in NSW and it’s still standing – although it’s an apartment block these days. Within a few years, the Colonial Sugar Refining company (CSR) was formed.

CSR originally took over the Canterbury sugar refinery, but later moved to Chippendale and then, by the 1870s, to the tip of Pyrmont Point.

Colonial Sugar Refining Company's works at Pyrmont, c1880s (ANU Collections, Z303-A5.1-1-30 - http://hdl.handle.net/1885/49169)
Colonial Sugar Refining Company’s works at Pyrmont, c1880s (ANU Collections, Z303-A5.1-1-30 – http://hdl.handle.net/1885/49169)

The CSR’s refinery, distillery and other associated factories dominated the Pyrmont peninsula for almost 100 years.

When CSR relocated in the 1980s, the site was later redeveloped for housing and renamed as “Jackson’s Landing”. Some of the original sugar-refinery buildings have been retained; other new buildings (i.e. Sugar Dock) are named for the previous industrial use of this part of Pyrmont.

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