Macquarie Street and Royal Botanic Gardens

Macquarie Street runs through the Central Business District from Hyde Park to Circular Quay. It is named after Lachlan Macquarie, the influential governor of New South Wales from 1810 to 1821; he oversaw the transition of Australia into more than just a penal colony. In so doing, he founded a number of public buildings at the Hyde Park end of the street, notably the Hyde Park Barracks (formerly housing male convicts, now home to a museum about convict life), and the St James Church, which was recently listed as one of the world's great buildings by Dan Cruickshank, in his television series 'Around the World in 80 Treasures'. Both of these buildings were designed by Francis Greenway, a British-born architect convicted for forgery and transported to Australia in 1814.

Macquarie also founded the Rum Hospital, which still has Sydney Hospital in the central section; the south wing became the Mint Building, where money was minted from 1854 to 1926, and north wing became Parliament House, which contains the legislative chambers of the parliament of New South Wales.

Macquarie Street is also the location of the splendid neo-Gothic Government House (built 1837–45), with its surrounding historic garden. Adjacent to this is the Royal Botanic Garden, 24 hectares (60 acres) of open green space. Founded in 1816, it presents a wide variety of plants from around the world, as well as uniquely Australian plants and flowers. The glass pyramid of the Sydney Tropical Centre contains exotic ferns, orchids, carnivorous plants and many other hot-climate species. Mrs Macquarie's Chair, carved out of a rock ledge in these gardens, is a famous viewpoint overlooking Sydney Harbour.

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