An image of The Tank Stream, Sydney

John Skinner Prout

(England, Australia 19 Dec 1805 – 29 Sep 1876)

The Tank Stream, Sydney

Other titles:
Old Pitt Street, Sydney, The tank stream, Pitt St., Sydney, Tank Stream
Not on display
Further information

The original Tank Stream was early Sydney's main water supply. The stream ran from the western slopes of Hyde Park, forming a channel on the south side of King Street, crossing the site of Martin Place and the former General Post Office building and running by way of Ash, Pitt and Hamilton streets down to Sydney Cove. A plaque now in the footpath at the corner of Tank Stream Way and Bridge Street marks where the original Tank Stream flowed. Quoting Watkin Tench, a captain of the early colony's marines, it reads:

"Into the head of the cove, on which our establishment is fixed, runs a small stream of fresh water, which serves to divide the adjacent country to a little distance, in the direction of north and south".

The Gallery also has a smaller version or preliminary study of the subject, purchased at auction in Sydney in 1965; another version of 'The Tank Stream' is in the State Library of New South Wales, Dixson collection. A steel engraving by Thomas Heawood (active 1850-79) after Skinner Prout, is included in Edwin Carton Booth's 'Australia illustrated' (1873-76) opposite pg. 100.

excerpt from Hendrik Kolenberg, Anne Ryan and Patricia James, '19th century Australian watercolours, drawings & pastels in the Gallery's collection', Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 2005

(circa 1842)
pencil, watercolour, opaque white highlights
25.5 x 37.5 cm
Signature & date

Signed l.l. corner, brown watercolour "SKINNER PROUT -". Not dated.

Purchased 1913
Accession number