Saturday, 16 May 2009

Mortuary Station


Close to the western edge of Central Station there is a singular line servicing just one platform, the Mortuary Station aka Regent Street Station.

Opened in 1869 it ran special funeral trains to Rookwood Cemetery to the West, to Woronora Cemetery to the South and to Sandgate Cemetery to the North. It ceased this function in the mid-1930s, being used for animals until falling into general disuse. It has been restored and is listed by the National Trust - but stands idle. Locked. Patrolled.


These two images were printed in the Sydney Mail in 1901 just as the cemeteries were being "dismantled" in preparation for the 3rd incarnation of Central Station. On the left is the main entry to the Presbyterian Section which fronted Pitt Street and on the right is a view across the cemetery from Devonshire Street. The cemetery occupied the area bounded by Devonshire, Pitt/Regent, Chalmers and Eddy Avenue. Eddy Avenue is only 200m long and was named in 1898 after the recently deceased (1851 - 1897) Commissioner for Railways, Edward Eddy.

I can find no association between this line (built in 1869) and the Devonshire Street Cemetery (Brickfield Hill) which operated adjacent to it from 1820 until just before 1900. But the proximity is just too coincidental.

9 comments:

Joan Elizabeth said...

I really like this building and I also like the mural that you can see from the train -- of the female architect who designed it.
It still has a life, as an event venue for weddings, product launches, etc.

brattcat said...

The idea of a mortuary station, a station connecting the living with the dead, is intriguing. It is excellent fodder for the novel writer, don't you think?

altadenahiker said...

Product launches? That's rather ironic.

Lois said...

Too bad it is not being used, but at least it has been restored. It is a beautiful building!

Jacob said...

Fascinating photos and a fascinating tale. One wonders what goes through the minds of bureaucrats who fix up something and then lock it up and let it sit idle? Sheesh!

I did a double-take on "Mortuary Station" until I read your commentary.

JM said...

Gorgeous building!

Julie said...

Thank you for your comments.

Joan: I have tried to get a photo of the mural of the woman but only from the Chalmers Street side. I can see that I am going to have to clamber through the barbed wire on the Regent Street side.

BC: You have given me an idea! In our coming Spring I am doing a Creative Writing course and this idea will be my work-in-progress.

Lois & Jacob: As JE indicates, it IS used periodically. About 20 years ago a couple of guys tried to set up a restaurant in it but it failed. It is in a "dead" pocket of the city.

Karin: You make me grin ...

Anonymous said...

The stations of the mortuary line were constructed initially to serve The Necropolis at Rookwood, and later Woronora General Cemetery. They never had any useful link with Devonshire Street Cemetery. Most other inner city area cemeteries were well served with tram lines.

Julie said...

I think that is what I said.