Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Trams: changing the demographic of Randwick (1)


From 1870 to February 1961 trams rattled on three routes through Randwick: the Coogee line, the Clovelly line and the cross-country Bronte line. Through reservations, around smoke stacks, between elegant terraces, 18 of us trundled behind Grahame on a three hour trek through the suburb on a glorious Sunday afternoon.

As with the Watson's Bay Tram walking tour, without a knowledgeable guide, it would have been well nigh impossible to discover that trams had for 80 years been the life-blood of this area, changing it from an exclusive, isolated upper class village which the eccentric Simeon Pearse (1821 - 1886) had modelled on Randwick in Gloustershire UK, into a densely populated suburb of Sydney teeming with the dreaded hoi-polloi. And why choose Randwick? It was the site of the largest public race-course in Sydney and the biggest beneficiary of public gambling, then as now, is government.

Grahame Spindler is an Education Officer at State Parliament House in Macquarie Street and the author of numerous slim volumes of walking tours all over Sydney. The image below shows an autumn jog northwards along a old tram embankment close to the location of the Dive Platform opposite the entrance to Randwick Racecourse and the last stop before the Tram Workshops in King Street. One of the older images (above) shows trams waiting along the Moore Park sidings ready to service the upwards of 70,000 Sydneysiders in the Easter exodus from the Autumn Racing Carnival and the Royal Easter Show. This was achieved efficiently by 480 trams servicing 6 platforms.

Next: The Doncaster Avenue Loop

7 comments:

Abe Lincoln said...

Our railroad system that passed through our city is now a bike trail and well used at that. I enjoyed your tram photos and liked reading the narrative. My dad used to tell me about the "electric" car he rode to work that, he said, the engineer would open it up and dad imagined it was going 100 miles per hour.

Coşkun said...

Thanks for sharing your nice photos.
I will follow you. bye.

Lois said...

They are so colorful and look like they would be fun to ride! I like the old picture of them that you posted too.

Clueless in Boston said...

Nice history of the trams. I don't know too many people who aren't fascinated by trains of any kind, myself included:)

That is the chicken said...

The trams are great but I love your shot of the runner...it really evokes the feel of early morning runs for me. Thanks for that!

Joan Elizabeth said...

I really like the bottom shot, made richer by the history you have described.

J Bar said...

Great history lesson and photos. Thanks Julie.
Sydney - City and Suburbs