The Sydney soup kitchen.

Colonial engraving of Sydney’s second soup kitchen which was at is known as the Judge’s House at 529 – 531 Kent Street. In 1868 a group of Sydney citizens came together through the efforts of Captain D.C. Scott, a police … Read Full Description


S/N: AS-NS-830604096–412868
(DRW 08)
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Full Title:

The Sydney soup kitchen.




In good condition.



Image Size: 

x 337mm
The Sydney soup kitchen. - Antique Print from 1883

Genuine antique



Colonial engraving of Sydney’s second soup kitchen which was at is known as the Judge’s House at 529 – 531 Kent Street.

In 1868 a group of Sydney citizens came together through the efforts of Captain D.C. Scott, a police magistrate at the Central Police Court, to consider a proposal for the setting up of a night refuge for homeless men in Sydney. There was an urgent need at the time as there was no social welfare. Poverty and destitution were widespread as the population swelled following the gold rushes, when many returned to seek employment in the towns. Unemployment soared in Sydney and many of its victims were charged with vagrancy by the Courts. The foundation meeting of the new venture, held on 28 May 1868, soon reached consensus on the need “to establish a Night Refuge in this city for houseless poor”. A provisional committee agreed to amalgamate the new venture with the Dixon Street Soup Kitchen, which had opened a year earlier, and it rented suitable premises at 535 Kent Street, the site of Harper’s original cottage at a rent was of £100 per annum for a term of two years.

A Ticket system was used to dispense relief. Subscribers to the Refuge received tickets at 3s per dozen, which they handed to people applying to them for help. Three times a day “a good wholesome meal” was served, Dinner [being] given to all presenting a ticket; Breakfast and Supper only on the condition that the recipient worked during the afternoon. The dining room, which accommodated fifty at a time, was fitted with shelves and tables, but in the early years no seats were provided. During the Refuge’s first year of operation approximately 65,000 meals and 12,000 nights’ shelter were given.

In the 1970s some of the outbuildings were demolished and the house sold to commercial owners and converted for use as a restaurant.

From the original edition of the Australasian Sketcher.


State Library Victoria: PCINF AS 04-06-83 P.96

Julian Rossi Ashton (1851 - 1942)

Ashton was born in England, the elder son of a wealthy American, Thomas Briggs Ashton and his wife Henrietta, daughter of Count Carlo Rossi, a Sardinian diplomat. Soon after his birth the family moved to Cornwall, where his father, an amateur painter, encouraged the artistic leanings of Julian and his brother George. About 1862 the Ashtons moved to Totnes on the River Dart, where Julian attended the local grammar school, but his father died and the family, now in financial straits, went to London. Julian had art lessons from an old friend of his father whose teaching he described as 'the most helpful I ever had'. At 15 he took a job in the civil engineering branch of the Great Eastern Railway and attended the West London School of Art at night. After three years he joined a firm of ironmongers as a draftsman, but soon left to become a successful illustrator for such journals as Chatterbox and Cassell's Magazine. In 1873 he spent a few months at the new Académie Julian in Paris, and subsequently had work accepted by the Royal Academy of Arts. Ashton emigrated to Melbourne in 1878 to work as an artist for the Illustrated Australian News. In 1881 he worked at the Australasian Sketcher and in 1883 moved to Sydney to work on the Picturesque Atlas of Australasia and the Bulletin. Ashton became an influential patron and supporter of Australian through his roles as trustee of the National Art Gallery of New South Wales and numerous associations that he belonged to. He was awarded the Society of Artists' medal for distinguished services to Australian art in 1924, appointed C.B.E. in 1930, and won the Sydney sesquicentennial prize for a water-colour in 1938.

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