Tuesday, 19 July 2011

The devil is in the detail


Here I go, leading you off down the garden path to 'geekdom' again. I have excelled myself this time ... hee hee hee!

You're dying to know what that daft little metal thingamejig is, aren't you? I can just sense the excitement bubbling to the surface ...

Once long ago, when politicians were even more daft than they are now, the city of Sydney did away with trams. After a century, and with one of the most extensive tramway systems in the world ... poof ... overnight ...

But, if you look really, really hard, you can find little bits they forgot.


The old photograph was taken in 1960 and shows a tram going down the hill from Kings Cross and just before Rushcutters Bay park. See all those cables that supply the electricity to power the trams? Well those cables had to be anchored somewhere.

The modern photograph shows an early Bank of New South Wales building in Castlereagh Street. Look carefully on the left-hand-side (LHS) just above the anchor point for the awning.


This old photograph is of College Street, with St Mary's Cathedral on the RHS and the Department of Births, Deaths & Marriages straight ahead. Judging from the style of GM-Holdens on the road, I would date this pre-1958. See all the overhead wires? They have to be anchored somewhere. I wonder if any anchor points are still lodged in the sandstone of St Mary's?

The photograph on the RHS is of the David Jones Market St store (the snooty department store mentioned over the weekend). This is the corner of Market St and Castlereagh St. See the rounded art-deco wrap-round window. Look just to the left of it. Bingo, an anchor point.


The old photograph was taken somewhere in Balmain and that model Holden came out in 1959. See all the overhead wires? If the photo was good enough, we could enlarge it and tell the difference between the anchor points for the tram cables and the anchor points for the awnings. Bet there are many still there.

The new photograph is along Oxford Street, Paddington. Victoria Barracks was at my back. See the old Greenwood Tree pub. It is now apartments for DINKS. Have a look above each anchor for the awning, and you will find an anchor for a tram cable. They can also be see on the next building if you enlarge the image.


So, figured out where the top photograph was taken yet? Yep, the main entrance to the Queen Victoria Building along George Street, just where the main inward bus interchange is. Criminal isn't it? Drilling into that lovely sandstone to support cables. But a city has to adapt to growth.

12 comments:

Luis Gomez said...

Wonderful post Julie! Thanks for the info and the beautiful images. What a pity to have lost the trams in a city like Sydney.

Alan said...

Well I can unplug for the evening now. I've learnt my interesting fact for the day. Great post, Julie. You have an eagle eye. Bring back the trams!

Ann said...

I thought the top photo WAS St Marys. How DO you see these things?

Jayne said...

Pity the trams were lost to Sydney - and a shame Andrew (High Riser) is on hols, he'd have loved this post ;)

Dianne said...

Ah ha! now I won't need to stay awake wondering what that little thingamejig is - I should have known -it's to stop people going off the rails!! or is it to pull trams up hill - very useful that little silver latch.

J Bar said...

Fascinating, Julie. I had noticed those on the QVB but wrongly assumed they were leftovers from an old awning support.

Lew said...

Interesting reminder of times past. In Washington, DC the city government has bought new trolleys and started tracks on one street. Overhead wires are illegal in the Federal district so there is now a squabble about where the trolleys can run.

Thérèse said...

No trams in Sydney anymore?
One more great post Julie.

PerthDailyPhoto said...

Absolutely fantastic detective work Julie, such an interesting post, loved all the old photos.

Joan Elizabeth said...

What a great detective story. Is it possible that politicians were more daft than today. They get sillier by the week - where will it end?

Peter said...

Best post of the year. Thank goodness you revealed all at the end!

diane b said...

How did you find out what it was and why don't they remove it now? Great detail.