Monday, 25 May 2015

Pyrmont Bridge - Then & Now - 1

The first Pymont Bridge, across Darling Harbour, was opened in 1858. It was wooden. It was replaced in 1902 by this steel bridge. Both versions had a swing span which opened to allow the passage of tall ships.

The "Then" shot was taken by Charles Kerry, and is part of the Tyrrell Photographic Collection at the Powerhouse Museum. They estimate it was taken between 1902 and 1917. I walked across on a most blustery day, and the span swung open behind me. My shots were taken facing east. The structure across the bridge(the little house) is the control room for the opening span.

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Sussex Street Pubs - 2 - The Dundee arms

The Dundee Arms started life adjacent to the Corn Exchange in Sussex Street North. It backed onto the Market Street Wharf, which was by far the biggest wharf in Darling Harbour of that time. It is now a part of the Sheraton Four Points hotel, which refurbished it in 1991. Prior to that and for most of the 20th century it was in a very poor state. In 1907 it was converted into office space, and the first floor verandah removed. Between 1927 and the early 1970s (when the wrecking ball for the Western Distributor started to swing), it was known as Kermac House.

The Dundee Arms was built by John Robertson in 1860, who hailed from Scotland. A timber merchant, he had purchased the plot in 1847 for just over ₤212. Where the deck is now (along the southern wall) which is a quasi beer-garden, was Wharf Lane which joined to the currently non-existing Wharf Street which disappeared with the creation of Day Street in 1906, as a consequence of the massive demolitions caused by the bubonic plague.

The left 1860 image shows the Robertson family posing with their newly-built hotel. John is sitting on the stoop. Note the steep fall-away of Wharf Lane, as it then was. The right 1983 image shows Wharf Lane, and the nearly unrecognisable "Dundee Arms" dressed in its very sad guise as KERMAC House. Wharf Lane is still there behind the cyclone fencing. Wharf Lane is still there today, just beneath some decking, otherwise the lower cellars are inaccessible.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Sussex Street Pubs - 1 - The Bristol Arms

"The Bristol Arms Hotel" has been at 81 Sussex Street since 1898. The area along the western side of Sussex Street was occupied from an early date with houses. The Sands Directory records the site of the Bristol Arms occupied by Henry Ash (carpenter) in 1860. "The Bristol Arms Hotel" first appeared in 1865-66 at No. 69 Sussex Street. The area immediately behind the hotel was the Darling Harbour waterfront occupied by the Patent Slip Wharf since c.1833. Sussex Street was the main thoroughfare between the wharves and the town.

The Sands Directory lists John Booth as licensee (1865-66), then James Blair (1867-69). Francis Blair succeeded him between 1870-1886. The hotel was operated by a succession of publicans between 1887 to 1905. In 1906-08 the hotel was run by Ellen Keyes and named "Keyes Hotel", but reverted to the name Bristol Arms in 1907. The building continued to function as a hotel until 1969, when the property was resumed by the Department of Main Roads as part of the realignment of Day Street. From this point it became known as the Welcome Inn Hotel. The property was put up for sale after 1984 and once again, renamed "The Bristol Arms Hotel".

Text sourced from NSW Office of Environment and Heritage

Next post: "The Dundee Arms"

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

The Three Bridges - 3

The Sydney Harbour Bridge has 8 lanes for vehicular traffis, the direction of some being altered depending upon morning or evening peak. There are two tracks for trains, one in each direction, which are on the western edge of the structure. There used to be only six vehicular lanes, until the late 1950s when the two eastern-most tram lanes were converted to cars and buses, when the state government, in its immense wisdom, did away with trams. On the western side, next to the trains, there is a dedicated lane for bicycles. On the eastern side, there is a dedicated lane for pedestrians.

There is both a toll for crossing the structure, and a BridgeClimb. Time-of-Day tolling is in effect with tolls ranging from $2 to $4, in an attempt to smooth out the 43 million crosses poer annum. Tolls are collected electronically, via an e-tag. Tolls are levied only for the trip south. The Bridge Climb is a raving little money spinner. To climb the span at dawn on a week-end is $358. Full climbs take 3.5 hours, including preparation. Cameras are not allowed.

The Tyne Bridge is two lanes in each direction, and from a traffic-service PoV, it appears small and cramped, which goes a way to explaining the six other bridges in close proximity, although one of them, at least, is a pedestrian-only bridge. It is used as a city-icon i n a similar way to the bridge in Sydney, displaying the Olympic Rings and fire-works. There is no toll for crossing the Tyne Bridge, nor is there a "bridge climb".

The Hell Gate Bridge is a railway bridge which started with two tracks for passenger trains, and two tracks for freight trains. Of the four original tracks,one was decommissioned in the 1970s. It is not a bridge whose use and location captures the imagination, except for its name, perhaps. There is no specific toll as such, and no bridge-climb.

The eastern most lane is a pedestrian only walkway, which overlooks the Opera House, Sydney Cove, and Circular Quay. The SE pylon contains a lookout which provides a wonderful view, and cameras are encouraged! The walkway is heavily secured with barbed-wire. This started as a form of self-protection as too many people were taking swan-dives from the structure to farewell this troublesome world. However, nowadays it is more a security method in case of concerted terrorist attacks. Security guards patrol the walkway.

Finally, the SHB has a dedicated bike lane. No pedestrians permitted. This image was taken from the southern most point of Milson's Point railway station.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

The Three Bridges - 2

The Hell Gate Bridge, 1916. The Tyne Bridge, 1928. The Sydney Harbour Bridge 1932. But parentage is confusing. The Tyne Bridge and the SHB were both built by Dorman, Long and Company of Middlesborough in the UK. The Tyne having been designed by Mott, Hoy and Anderson, Civil Engineers, based in the UK. The SHB was designed by Dr JJC Bradfield, NSW Public Works, and Ralph Freeman, Dorman Long in cohort. The Hell Gate was designed by Gustav Lindenthal. It is claimed that the SHB is "based on" HG. Yet it is not claimed that Tyne is based on HG, even though Dorman Long was involved in both, and HG was over a decade earlier. All very incestuous. But suffuce to say, that some of the info in Wiki is contradictory, and just plain wrong.

Three locality shots, showing the terrain for each bridge. SHB was an obvious promontory to promontory. There was already a massively patronised ferry service running the route of the bridge. And note, to this day, there is no additional bridge to interrupot the "eye-ful". You see, our city planners built a tunnel on the harbour floor when bridge capacity was strained. If you stood on the SHB and spat (to keep the analogy going), you could reach the water over the tunnel. It is between the SHB and the SOH.

However, the other two bridges have not scored so well in the beauty stakes. HG had the Triborough Bridge go up alongside it in 1938. Sure they were trying to connect a whole bunch of islands in that through-put way that motor-ways have. But, ugly comes to mind. As for the red, known as "Hell Gate Red", the paint job in recent years was lousy by all reports. And the Tyne Bridge? Not sure why it is that blue/green tone. But that is more appealing than the red. But Tyne is one of seven bridges within spitting distance, some of which were already there in 1928. And Paris, Newcastle-Gateshead ain't.

There are some terrific albums available online showing the construction of each bridge. Although they are similar shapes, the way to that shape was quite different. Once again, the large image is the SHB. The image on the left is Hell Gate, and on the right is Tyne.

More on the Three Bridges in my next post: the type of traffic each bridge caters for, tolls, and tourism.