Sydney was born at Wraysbury, Buckinghamshire, England.
He never married.
At age 16 (1875) he was indentured to the Merchant Navy. By 1881 he was a general bank clerk.
It is not known when he travelled to NZ. In 1902 he is Wellington as a carpenter, then to Pahiatua as a photographer then to Taihape. At one stage he was in Levin as a phoographer as his rented shop was completely destroyed in a fire in 1915. By 1925 he is back in Wellington where he retires.