Long’s group of paintings of the Rocks area of Sydney are oddities in his oeuvre. He painted them as part of a push to commemorate this historic area, which was due for demolition following an outbreak of bubonic plague in 1901.
Long, along with other artists involved in this exercise, showed his work in the Exhibition of pictures of old Sydney held in March 1902.
In these paintings Long not only turned to a very different theme, but also adopted a more representational approach. He maintained an interest in decorative design by focusing on the strong forms and patterns of the buildings and streets.
In Ferry Lane and Argyle Street and Cut he used a light palette with low contrasting colours that assist in conveying the stifling heat in the unsanitary streets.