Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Portobello Caffe, Circular Quay

At the furthest end of Opera House Walk, just before the slight rise to the beginning of the forecourt and before you descend to the noisy decadence of Opera Bar, stands this quaint cafe with views to die for. What is intruiging my poor little head, is its purpose in life before succumbing to being a watering hole for the cappucino crowd.

Hunting through the "Photo Investigator" kept by the State Records of NSW, the following three vintage photos lead me to suppose that this structure was used as a tramway building. Unable to find an image of the structure itself, I post images around CQ that appear to be similar. If you have a conclusion based on this photographic evidence - or other evidence - I would value hearing from you.
Top left: East CQ showing the tram tracks out to Fort Macquarie with similar buildings close to the site
Top right: Further along showing Fort Macquarie in 1906 and the French boat "Yarra" at the wharves with similar structures close to the site
Bottom: The base of CQ (southern end) showing a collection of tramways ticketing and staff buildings in the foreground.

Thanks to Ann from Sydney Meandering, the puzzle is resolved.

This is the Harbour Masters cottage constructed in 1910 under the purview of the newly established Sydney Harbour Trust which was charged with rebuilding the Quay after the bubonic plague decimated in in the first decade of the new century. In 1988 it was converted to a Cafe and Oyster Bar in time for the Bicentennial celebrations.

19 comments:

Ken Mac said...

love your shots and all the history!

brattcat said...

All six of these are shots you can spend so much time with. I particularly love that expression on the boy's face as he watches you taking the photograph. And the Yarra...what an interesting boat. These are excellent, Julie, packed with information.

Sean said...

Now that looks like a happy place!

J Bar said...

Very interesting Julie. I always wondered what that building could have been used for, in its previous life. I thought it might have had something to do with the ferries and the quay but your explanation makes perfect sense.
Sydney - City and Suburbs

Lois said...

I think you are right Julie! It certainly is a cute little building and I'm glad it survived. I really like the roof.

Stephany said...

Wow, that's really going back in time. It's so nice that something survived the wrecking balls. The building is beautiful. Great photos!

Ann said...

http://www.shfa.nsw.gov.au/sydney-About_us-Our_heritage_role-Heritage_and_Conservation_Register.htm&objectid=4500090

Sydney Harbour Foreshores Authority says it was the Harbour Master's office - interesting. Its a beautiful little building.

J Bar said...

Good detective work there Ann.
Sydney - City and Suburbs

DelBoy said...

Your photos always make me want to jump on a plane to Sydney for a visit. What a beautiful city!

Julie said...

Thanks DB: but whatever happened to all that interstate rivalry!!

As you can see this morning, it has been a collaborative effort. That is one of the really wonderful things about blogging: all the beaut people you meet who are interested in very similar things to yourself.

Mirela said...

Wonderful photos and the history! Now I'm dying for cappuccino....

Hilda said...

A harbor master's cottage — okay, that makes a lot of sense. Its brick makes it very striking amidst all the gray stone and white umbrellas.

Joan Elizabeth said...

Doesn't it look enticing. Sunny days lazing by the harbour ... delicious.

Tim Pasqualone said...

Love reading your blog Julie. Your doing a amazing job.

Vogon Poet said...

Love this minor historical quest and its conclusion. Beautiful images of today and vintage pictures from the past.

BlossomFlowerGirl said...

I love that little cafe. It reminds me a bit of the David Winter Cottages.

Julie said...

Thank you for your comments, Friends. As you may guess, this sort of semi-historical post is a particular favourite of mine. I appreciate the time taken to read the text as well as the images.

BFG: I had to look up DWC but now understand and can see the similarity.

Leif Hagen said...

That was then, this is now! I like now better! Happy weekend, Julie!

Julie said...

Leif: I like to be able to see the then in the now and pay due deference to those who came before.