Monday 22 February 2021

Steam Trams and The Bridge Street Yard

The Bridge Street Yard from a nearby building (looking north). Taken c. 1899 and sourced from the "Trams Downunder" website.

Marty McFly knew all about going backwards to make any progress. Sydney goes backwards. Sydney goes around in circles. And sometimes just this propulsive need, pushes the city forward. At the moment, we are constructing a tramway system through the retail and financial heart of the city. But, hang on a tick, some of you may cry. Didn't Sydney have an extensive tramways system... shhh ... shh ... backwards, remember. One must go backwards to get to the future.

The first tramway in Sydney lasted from 1861 until 1866. It closed down because other "road" users were inconvenienced by the rails .. and the competition. Just like in the mid-1950s, the NRMA set up a hue'n'cry about the trams, and how they inconvenienced citizens devoted to the family car, and the supremacy of the individual vs the collective. So that second go at a tramway in Sydney lasted from 1879 until 1961. Steam trams pulled the carriages from 1879 until about 1905, when electricity took over. Coal fired, got it?

Top - This photo is off-putting as it distorts the intersection. The telegraph polein Bridge St and it goes up'n'over and continues on to the top right. Meanwhile, Phillip St comes in from cenrtre left and goes out the bottom right (before 1902, sourced from SR-NSW)
Bottom Left - This is a Henry King photo held by the PHM and dated 1890. It shows one steam tram going into the yard, and another coming around the corner of the Colonial Secretary's building ready to cut diagonally across the intersection and follow suit.
Bottom right - This image is undated, and is sourced from John Cowper's Flickr A/C. We are looking straight up Phillip St (south) and the steam tram is disappearing into the yard on our left.

Steam trams came into the city on their various routes, and had to wait somewhere before the return jpourney. Their crew needed facilities. This yard was their waiting shed.

Now Sydney is a very beautiful city, situated as it is on a harbour. But that harbour occupies a drowned valley, a very deep drowned valley. Sydney has been built on all the ridges and valleys that remeined. It is very tortuous. Beautiful, but rugged. Not all lines could adapt to the steam-tram as they were too steep. The Edgecliff to Erskineville Street Wharf tram had to be pulled by cable to get it up and over William Street.

Saturday 2 July 2016

Theme Day - Looking Down

Taken from the top of the southern pylon of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Looking due east, down the harbour, out to the Pacific Ocean.

This post is my contribution to the City Daily Photo Monthly Theme Day. To see the contribution of other members of CDP please visit the portal.

Tuesday 31 May 2016

Theme Day - Shadow & Highlight

Last weekend, I tramped around beneath the southern approaches to the Harbour Bridge, in an attempt to reproduce the attached 1927 image. I think the photographer had been on the first floor balcony of a terrace behind me to get his elevation. Where I captured the Opera House on Bennelong Point, he captured the Tram Sheds! The icing on the cake for me was the troupe of "Bridge Climbers".

Southern Pillars (1927)(State Records, New South Wales)

This post is my contribution to the City Daily Photo Monthly Theme Day. To see the contribution of other members of CDP please visit the portal.

Thursday 19 May 2016

Mostly Man O'Peace

Above: Image by Charles Bayliss (1881)(sourced from Blue Mountains Local Studies Centre)
Below: Image by Julie Storry (May 2016)

We refer to this pier, and these steps as "Man O'War Steps". Although originally constructed during the governorship of Lachlan Macquarie (1810-1821), he only named the little enclosed beach as Port Lachlan, after his son. The current name stuck from about the 1860s. Even so, the name has lasted longer than the original jetty.

Above: Man O'War Steps, with HMS Royalist in foreground (from The Phillips Collectiuon housed at the Power House Museum)(c. 1900)
Below: Image by Julie Sytorry (May 2016)

As you can see, from just three historical images, both the shape and the accessories, morph over time. Pontoons have been added, and removed. Sheds have been constructed; sheds have been demolished. Gates have been installed; gates have been moved.

Above: HMAS Australia I at Man O'War Steps (Image by Harold Cazneaux) (c. 1919)(NLA)
Below: Image by Julie Storry (May 2016)

Taking my share of these images, I had my back to the Sydney Opera House. When it was constructed - during the 1960s and early 1970s- the Man O'War area was devastated, save for the steps. The safe-harbour for the watermen and their pointy-skiffs, never returned. Neither did the (naval) waiting sheds, regardless of whether the waiting was done by sailors wives, or by prostitutes.

Saturday 30 April 2016

Theme Day - Smell

The past has a musty, stuffy smell of windows not opened enough, of sunlight not streaming enough, and fresh air not wafting enough.

The main entrance, on Bridge Street, of The Industrial Relations Commission of NSW, in part of the Chief Secretary's Building, constructed between 1873 and 1893..

This post is my contribution to the City Daily Photo Monthly Theme Day. To see the contribution of other members of CDP please visit the portal.