Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Taronga before the chair-lift


The good ole days weren't really, you know. I don't reckon.

Taronga Zoo has been clinging to a harbour cliffside since 1916, and from then until the very late '50s it was serviced by trams, either that or shanks's pony. Getting over there was the easy part: you went by ferry to bottom gate, or by car to top gate. If you went down, you had to clamber back up to your car. If you came by ferry it was the hard yards as you viewed the animals.


So, Taronga Zoo was serviced by a tram route that took visitors from the Athol Wharf up to the top gate, facilitating an easy ramble one-way only. As I meandered down the other day, I saw remnants of the tramway down Athol Wharf Road. See the image of the black bike? Look at the upper right quadrant and you will see a hook in the rockface for keeping the electric cabelling in place as the trams rattled along. I can find these everywhere now!


But Athol Wharf Road comes off Bradleys Head Road at top gate, and is a very steep incline as some of these images attest. More so than some of the trams could cope with. Three times they careered on down the road, past the wharf and into the harbour, having to be ignominously dredged out by crane. This happened in 1942, 1952 and 1958. This image shows the 1958 plunge.


The trams finished in the late '50s and buses took over the same route. They are still there, the buses. Plying their way from bottom gate to top gate, and thence to Mosman or to Balmoral Beach. I am unable to date the commencement of the chairlift, but here it is in all its glory.

23 comments:

Luis Gomez said...

These are great images Julie. Thank you for posting them.

Rosemary said...

That certainly brings back memories. I grew up in Mosman where we had a longish walk to the zoo and well remember the trams. The best way to handle the zoo was to go in the top gate, go downhill from there (keeping 1d spare) and use your 1d for the tram to the op gate up the hill. I was there a couple of years ago and we still went in the top gate but caught the lift back up this time.

Kay L. Davies said...

Very interesting, Julie.
I remember visiting the Taronga Zoo in 1982 but have no idea how we got there. There certainly wasn't a tram at that time, and I don't remember the chairlift, so it must have been a bus.
— K

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

diane b said...

Love the city peeping through the trees. I remember walking up and going by bus. I'm not sure I remember the trams but I did go as a child in the fifties so I must have used one. I have never been on the chairlift. A must do for next visit to the Emerald City. (Why is it called that?"

Alan said...

Very interesting post and pics. Did you also take the 1958 shot?:-)

Julie said...

Cheeky!

Julie said...

Don't know really, Diane.

Because we're a jewel in the crown ... ?

Because of the colour of the water in the harbour ... ?

Because David Williamson decreed so ... ?

No idea, actually.

Julie said...

Bastards! I was robbed overnight. The police (who are lovely) call it 'Break and Enter'. Not much taken really. Cash. Left the cards. But ...

They took my camera and my zoom lens, which were sitting on the bench behind me. I didn't even download yesterday's 'Brickfield Hill' shoot.

Bastards ...

brattcat said...

the best vehicle to travel in by far is the time machine you've built for us. thank you, julie. now if only you could use that same time-machine to go back and nab the perps that invaded your home. so sorry. what an awful thing to have happened.

Ann said...

Oh, Julie that's terrible. Do you want my 400D to keep you going?

Andrew said...

The trams slipping on fallen leaves was the reason for at least one tram bath. Sorry about your robbery. Futile I suppose, but http://www.ifoundyourcamera.net/

Peter said...

Very sorry to hear about the break-in Julie. It is a bastard of a thing to happen. I have been through it a few times and it is upsetting. Best wishes. (Love the tram crash shot - where did you source it?)

Julie said...

on flikr, search for Lindsay Bridge

freefalling said...

Geez - you weren't there, were you?
Bloody bastards.

Julie said...

Letty: yep, I was there. I was sound asleep. they opened draws in the bedside table.

One of my brothers is staying tonight and tomorrow. My uncle died on Sunday and his funeral is tomorrow.

I had a long talk with a female constable about physical things to change, and behavioural things to change.

Kirsten is not so good today. Face blown up again. They are trying to work it out, without going back to hospital.

Joe said...

Julie .. So sorry to hear about your recent troubles. I hope things improve for you. Take care.

Rae Walter said...

Julie, I hope that Kirsten's health has improved. Very sorry to hear about the break in. Really upsetting. I hope that things improve for you. Thinking of you. Take care.

cara said...

Arhhhgg! how painful and frustrating for you, Julie. Sending best wishes your way.

freefalling said...

OMG!!!!
THEY WERE RIGHT NEXT TO YOU??!!
HOLY (you know)!

I was just talking to Mum on Mon. night about how she and Dad are getting the Dick Johnson stuff (you know, um....crimsafe)on their bedroom windows and courtyard door so they can sleep with them open at night. I said - nah, you don't need that - you always wake up when something is up. Mum said - not any more!!! (she's 62). Anyway $6000 later ..... (for like 2 windows and a door!!! Spending my inheritance!! Far out!).

I'm glad they didn't take a hatchet to you! I probably shouldn't say that to you, right? But - phew.

Poor Kirsten. Sometimes when you are on the way up and you hit a pot-hole it can be very dispiriting. But I'm sure she'll navigate back onto the straight and narrow in no time - I can't see her putting up with too much nonsense from her lumpage.

I was just reading about how our actual heads have evolved - how they don't wobble much when we run (not like pigs, apparently!) and also about our jaws and teeth and how we have more problems with them now - and that reminded me of you and Kirsten.

It's here if you are interested:
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/23/science/23conversation.html?ref=science

I'm sorry to hear about your uncle passing - was it Uncle Gordon?

2011 is turning out to be a pretty tough year for you.
Good thing you're made of stern stuff.

Joan Elizabeth said...

Oh Julie, I am glad I read through the comments. The news of the break in is just awful ... beside you when you were asleep, that is just unimaginably horrifying to think about and fortunate that you did not wake up.

I also found the police wonderfully helpful and lock our house all the time, goodbye careless days for us too. It takes a while to get over it.

My thoughts are with you on that and the other news on the family front too.

J Bar said...

Amazing. Never knew this happened.

Stafford Ray said...

I recommend ferry to the chairlift. An overview can be obtained before commencing the long delightful stroll down. Great pics as usual.

Winsome said...

Julie, so sorry about this. I've only just now read through these comments. 2011 has really been one of those testing years for you hasn't it.