photos and stories from the Powerhouse Museum
If you were standing on the corner of George Street and Broadway and looked back towards the station you would be in a similar position to one from which this photo was taken. Of course you would also need to elevate yourself up a few stories to really get the same view but it does give you an idea of how much more built up the area around Railway Square is now.
The station in this photo is the ‘old’ Redfern Railway Station which was demolished to make way for the opening of Central Station in 1960. It used to be located at end of Devonshire Street, 200 meters south of current Central Station. Confusingly this ‘Redfern Station’ is not the same as the current Redfern Railway Station which was transferred to Lawson Street when Central Station opened in 1906. The Redfern Station we know today was formerly known as Eveleigh Station.
The station shown here was the terminus of the Sydney Railway system from 1855 until a the new central station was built. The camera was looking in a roughly south-easterly direction across Railway Square and shows the tower of St Paul’s Church on Cleveland Street on the extreme right on the horizon.
The Central terminus was designed as a vital transport interchange where people and goods moved between trains, trams, cabs and carts. Although the vehicles have changed, Central Station still serves thousands of people very well each day.
While this photo was obviously taken during one of the station’s quieter moments you can get an idea of how busy the place became from the large number of horse-drawn cabs lined up above the wall in the centre of the image. Behind them is an early steam tram waiting to take on passengers.