photos and stories from the Powerhouse Museum
This image was taken around 1906 and is looking across Railway Square northwards where you can just see George Street branching of to the left.
The people and the vehicles may look very different from the ones tou would now see there but surprisingly the area still plays a similar role in city’s infrastructure. Currently it serves as a departure point for buses but over a hundred years ago it was a central point for catching trams.
In this detail from the photo we can see the still recognisable rectangular shape of the James Nangle designed flat-iron building commissioned by Marcus Clark & Co.in 1906. This can still be seen dwarfed by the surrounding high rises but at the time the photograph was taken it was the tallest building in Sydney and must have made a striking impact on new arrivals getting off the trains.
To the left is the spire of the Christ Church St. Laurence which is still on George Street although without the scaffolding. This was almost certainly erected to repair the damage done by a fire in the church the previous year.
In this detail we can see can see a N type ’626′ electric tram which worked the Balmain line. Next to it are passengers, some with sun umbrellas waiting to get on the tram, while the driver stands, hands on the controls, at the front of the tram. Windshields for these trams weren’t introduced until 1913.
The first experimental electric trams were run in Sydney in 1890. Before this horse trams were introduced in 1861, steam trams in 1879, and on some steep lines, cable trams from 1893.
On the left, and lining Broadway, are two hotels side-by-side, ‘Murcotts Railway Family Hotel’, and ‘The Grand Hotel’ both of which no longer exist.
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