Period covered by this chapter - 24th February 1838 to 30th April 1901
Governors of Victorian Sydney 24th February, 1838 to July 11, 1846: Sir George Gipps, Captain-General and Governor-in-Chief of NSW and Van Dieman's Land and their dependencies.
12th July, 1846 to 17th January, 1855: Sir Charles Augustus Fitzroy. Civilian Administrator, Captain- General and Governor-in-Chief of NSW, Van Diemen's Land and South Australia and their dependencies. 20th January, 1855 to 21st January, 1861: Sir William Thomas Denison, Governor-General of her Majesty's colonies of NSW, Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia.
22nd January to 21st March, 1861: Lieutenant- Colonel John Francis Kempt administered.
22nd March, 1861 to 7th January, 1868: Sir John
PYoung ( later Lord Lisgar ), Captain- General, Governor-General-in-Chief and Vice-Admiral of NSW and its dependencies.
8th January, 1868 to 22nd February, 1872: Earl of Belmore (Sir Somerset Richard Lowry-Corry), Governor, Commander-in-Chief and Vice-Admiral of NSW.
23rd February to 2nd June, 1872: Sir Alfred Stephen administered.
3rd June, 1872 to 19th March, 1879: Sir Hercules George Robert Robinson ( later Lord Rosemead), Governor.
20th March to 3rd August, 1879: Sir Alfred Stephen administered.
4th August, 1870 to 9th November, 1885: Baron Loftus (Augustus William Frederick Spencer), Governor-in-Chief of NSW and its dependencies.
10th November, 1885 to 11th December, 1885: Sir Alfred Stephen administered.
12th December, 1885 to 2nd November, 1890: Baron Carrington (Charles Robert Wynn-Carrington), Governor.
3rd November, 1890 to
14th January, 1891: Sir Alfred Stephen administered.
15th January, 1891 to 2nd March, 1893: Earl of Jersey (Rt Hon Albert George Child Villliers) Governor.
3rd March to 28th May, 1893: Hon Sir Frederick Matthew Darley administered.
29th May, 1893 to 15th March, 1895: Rt Hon Sir Robert William Duff, Governor.
16th March to 21st November, 1895: Hon Sir Frederick Matthew Darley administered.
22nd November, 1895 to 4th March, 1899: Viscount Hampden (Rt Hon Henry Robert Brand), Governor.
5th March to 17th May, 1899: Hon Sir Frederick Matthew Darley administered.
18th May, 1899 to 30th April, 1901: Earl Beauchamp (Rt Hon William Lygon), Governor.
The reign of Queen Victoria (1837-1901) marked a period of extraordinary growth and change for Sydney and indeed for New South Wales and Australia as a whole. During the early years of this period, Sydney was declared a city, New South Wales was granted self government and convict transportation was abolished. At its end, New South Wales joined with the other states in nationhood when the Commonwealth of Australia came into being on 1st January 1901. The 1870s and 1880s were boom times, brought on by the discovery of gold which gave the economy the shot in the arm needed for the states to be able to stand on their own feet and establish trading relations with each other and with the rest of the world.
The gold rushes of the 1850s had a major effect on immigration. Between 1850 and 1860 the population of Australia grew from 400,000 to 1.145 million. Between 1861 and 1870, over 167,000 new arrivals were recorded. During the 1870s the figure was 192,000. In the 1880s it rose to 383,000, half of whom arrived on assisted passages between 1891 and 1900. While the gold rush brought prosperity to Australia, its immediate effect on Sydney and other major Australian cities was devastating. The lure of gold lead to a mass exodus of a large percentage of the blue collar workforce to the diggings. Many public works ground to a halt, factories closed down because of their inability to produce manufactured goods due of the shortage of labour. The economies of Sydney and Melbourne stalled and remained in a depressed state until the early 1860s when the gold began to peter out. Those who had enjoyed success on the Goldfields brought their new found wealth back to the cities with them, spending it on goods and services that would be produced by the out of luck miners who were drifting back and looking for work.
The lack of manpower during the early years of Victorian Sydney was the only factor in delaying the growth that would be experienced during the last three decades of the 19th century. By 1844, the Busby's Bore water scheme had brought an adequate water supply to the townsfolk and businesses of Sydney. Three years earlier a gas works had been established on the east shore of Darling Harbour which was powered by Coal from the Hunter Valley. The availability of gas and water on tap reversed an earlier trend which had seen an exodus of people and businesses leaving inner Sydney for outlying areas like Alexandria and the Botany Bay area where Simeon Lord had established woolen mills.
Balmain and Pyrmont further established themselves as the home of shipbuilding in Sydney and the whole of Australia for that matter. Sydney Cove, with its new Semi Circular Quay, and the newly developed wharves around Wooloomooloo Bay continued to handle international trade, whereas Darling Harbour catered solely for coastal trade with wheat arriving from Van Dieman's Land (Tasmania), farm produce and fresh vegetables from the Lane Cove, Parramatta and the Illawarra regions, and timber, wool, wheat and meat from the coastal regions to the north and south of Sydney. It was not until the latter years of the Victorian era that the maritime activities of the Pyrmont peninsula would spill over into neighbouring Johnstons Bay, White Bay and Glebe Island.
The influx of thousands of ex-goldminers into Sydney in the 1860s and 70s ushered in an era of growth and prosperity that was to transform Sydney from a struggling backwater town into an international city and major regional centre. In 1851, the City of Sydney was home to 42,700 people with a further 9,700 living in the Òsuburbs'. Ten years later, the population population had doubled. A decade later, it had doubled again, with the suburban population having swelled from the 9,700 of 1851 to 65,200 at a rate twice as fast as that of the city centre. By 1881, 100,150 lived in the inner city with 124,800 more in the suburbs, the major concentrations being Wooloomooloo, Darlinghurst, Glebe, Pyrmont, Balmain, Darlington, Strawberry Hills, Camperdown, Redfern, Surry Hills, Newtown and St Peters.
Suburban Sydney experienced a land sales boom in the 1870s the likes of which had never been seen before. Acreage in the inner southern and western districts of Sydney, much of which had been cleared and was in use for farming, was snapped up by land developers who subdivided and sold it to eager buyers as fast as they could get their hands on it. The development of Sydney's suburban area went hand in hand with the development of the public transport system. As tram, bus, train and ferry services were extended, so new home buyers followed. The major subdivisions of the decade were at Bankstown, Canterbury, Five Dock, John Young's Annandale estate, Underwood Estate, Point Piper, Harnett's Mosman Estate, Lachlan Mills (Rosebery), Waterloo Estate, Dobroyd Estate (Ashfield), Summer Hill, Burwood, Strathfield, Marrickville and the Illawarra suburbs of Arncliffe, West Botany (Rockdale), Kogarah and Hurstville.
Development of the North Shore was slow, St. Leonards (today's North Sydney) being the only majorly populated area. In 1871, the total pop ulation on the North Shore from Ryde to Manly and North Sydney to Hornsby was 1,871. By 1891, a year after the railway arrived, it had grown to 30,611, but this was still small in comparison to other areas of Sydney like Surry hills and Chippendale which singularly had as many residents as the whole of the North Shore combined. Cremorne was still a ridge of virgin bush, North Sydney was the most densely populated area with 17,000 residents, but the further north one travelled, the sparser the population became. Turramurra had 142 residents, Gordon 360, Pymble 125 and Wahroonga 52. The railway was a major stepping stone in bringing people to live on Sydney's North Shore but its real boom time did not come until the arrival of a direct rail and road link to the city centre when the harbour bridge was opened some 40 years later.
Whereas the 1870s spelt boom times for land developers on the southern shore, the 1880s was a decade of prosperity for the building industry. Suburbs seemed to spring up overnight. In 1880, suburban Sydney was home to 224,900 people. A decade later, the numbers had swelled to 383,283. Inner suburbs like Paddington, Surry Hills, Darlington, Wooloomooloo, Balmain, Glebe, Newtown and Ultimo saw the demand for cheap housing outstripping supply. To cope with the demand, developers opted for very high density housing, which led to rows and rows of terrace houses being built. Population density in these areas grew to around 18 persons per ha compared to 10 per ha for the whole of Sydney. Aware of the repercussions of such development on a city, the Master Builders Association warned the Government that the land was unnecessarily being exploited to a level approaching slum development, and that the problems it was starting to face with crime and disease in The Rocks and Surry Hills would be duplicated elsewhere if action was not taken to stop it.
Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, the development boom died in the 1890s and Australia slid into a period of economic depression. Land sales and home construction slowed down to a crawl, and the influx of migrants to Australia plummeted, with arrivals in that decade exceeding departures by only 24,000. But the prospect of a new millennium and the realisation of a new national identity as the states approached Federation kindled a hope in the future and a determination to move forward into another era of growth and prosperity.
It was during the latter decades of the Victorian era that the natural landscape of the Sydney metropolitan area first came under major attack from developers, an attack which was to change forever the face of the city from that of a settlement in a bushland setting to one of concrete and bitumen, surrounded by brick and tile urban areas in which only a few pockets of virgin bush would remain to give future generations like ours an inkling of what Sydney was like in its natural state. Sandstone hillsides were hacked to pieces, their ridges dissected or levelled to improve access and create usable sites for new factories and houses as well as provide stone for buildings. Previously picturesque areas like Pyrmont were hideously scarred. Swamps and marches were drained to create waterside parks, gardens and playing fields. Reclamation of the harbour foreshore saw the size of the harbour itself shrink alarmingly, an activity that was to continue well into the 20th century.
Fortifications at Middle Head
IN DEFENCE OF SYDNEY
On 29th November 1839, the unheralded arrival of a squadron of US Navy ships caused a furor. They entered the harbour under cover of darkness and no one knew of their arrival until morning, when the population rose to see them at anchor in the harbour. Fear of the repercussions had the new arrivals been unfriendly was enough to push the military authorities into re-assessing Sydney's defence strategies immediately. Their review resulted in Governor Gipps commencing work on what would become Fort Denison without waiting for British Government approval. In 1848 Lieutenant-Colonel James Gordon developed a definitive plan for the defence of Sydney town which involved 30 heavy guns located at Inner South Head and Middle Head, 9 heavy guns at Sow and Pigs Reef, 2 heavy guns at Pinchgut, work at Bradley's Head and changes to the Dawes Point Battery. The plan was only instigated in part.
The 1850s were heady days for Australia, the goldrushes of inland New South Wales and Victoria bringing unbelievable wealth to both individuals and the country itself. This influx of wealth, coupled with the knowledge that Australia's coastal towns were still vulnerable to attack by sea, led the authorities to fear that raids by foreign ships to plunder the colony's gold reserves were a distinct possibility. Rumours began to circulate that such an attack by American pirates was imminent, and with the outbreak of the American Civil War, there were additional fears that the North may declare war on England and her colonies for aiding the Southern States.
In 1853 a Government Committee on the Defence of Port Jackson recommended harbour defenses be upgraded immediately in view of the threat of an European war with Russia which escalated into the Crimean War (1854-56). Governor FitzRoy appointed Col. Barney to improve harbour defenses. He based his plans on Gordon's recommendations of 1848 which included the arming of the outer harbour utilising fortifications at North, Middle and South Heads. The project was to be short lived. Governor Denison, who arrived in the middle of the building program, abandoned it, shifting the emphasis back on the inner harbour by reinforcing existing works as well as an upgrade of Fort Denison.
In the early 1870s, it was noted that a seemingly never ending stream of Russian naval vessels on long distance Òtraining expeditions' were visiting Australian ports. They seemed to be taking more than a passing interest in Australia, and whilst there was no evidence that an invasion was in the wind, the visits were enough to make the local authorities re-think their defence strategies again. As a result of what became known as the Russian scare, more strategic harbourside land was set aside for military use and a series of fortifications built on them. These defence upgrades reflect the scares that largely controlled the colonial reaction to events involving England. When a crisis or war scare occurred in England, the colony also felt threatened, and in a knee-jerk reaction, a lot of work was done - more often than not poorly - upgrading the city's defences until the threat of war dissipated or the Government ran out of money - or both. Either way, the job was more or less left unfinished until the next scare.
1855-57 - Fort Denison Seven decades of colonial settlement were to pass before Pinchgut Island off Mrs Macquaries Point was changed from a jagged rocky outcrop in the middle of Sydney Harbour into the island fortress we see today. Used by the early colonial Governors as a place of solitary confinement for particularly unruly convicts, it became part of Sydney's defences when in 1855 it was razed to sea level and its gun batteries, barracks and Martello tower were built by the Chief Engineer of Public Works, Colonel Barney. It was he who suggested that the fort be named after the Governor, Sir William Denison.
The tower and buildings were constructed from 8,000 tonnes of sandstone quarried nearby at Kurraba Point, Neutral Bay. The fort's armoury includes two 10-inch guns and ten 8-inch 32 pounders, three of which were mounted in the tower's gunroom before it was finished and cannot be removed unless the tower is first dismantled around them. Though never involved in a military conflict, the fort was hit by a naval shell fired from the American cruiser USS Chicago during a raid on Sydney Harbour by Japanese mini-submarines in May 1942 during World War II. A chip on the stonework of the tower is a reminder of the incident.
Fort Denison incorporates one of the last Martello Towers to be built in the world, following their proliferation in southern England after the design's defensive capabilities had been proven at Cape Mortella, Corsica, in 1794. From the time of its completion until the present day, a gun has been fired at 1pm each day to which mariners may set their ship's chronometers. It is also used to record tidal movements in Sydney Harbour.
A small gun pit had been built on the hummocks of Garden Island by the First Fleeters, but it had soon become overgrown and quickly fell into disrepair. It was removed in 1811 when Gov. Macquarie declared Garden Island a civilian establishment and determined to transfer what remained of the Garden Island fort to a new fort on Bennelong Point. Another event which occurred in the aftermath of the visit of the squadron of US Navy ships in November 1839 was the return of Garden Island to its former state as restricted military land. In 1856 the island was set aside for use by the Royal Navy as a base. Since that time, the base has grown in a ramshackle manner with the addition of a plethora of new buildings and facilities over the course of the next century. Today it remains a restricted area and houses the Fleet Base of the Royal Australian Navy and the Garden Island Dockyard.
Because of its strategic location opposite the entrance to Sydney Cove, the Government of 1856 decided to take temporary control of a house built in 1842 by Sir George Gipps to take advantage of the sweeping views of Sydney Harbour. Cannons were mounted in the grounds though they were never used. For some time, the house was used as the official residence of the resident Admiral commanding the British Naval Squadron stationed in Sydney and it became known as Admiralty House. It has remained Commonwealth Government property ever since and is now the Sydney residence of the Governor General.
South Head Fortifications Built in 1859 and known as the outer battery, the fortifications on South head near the Hornby light and old lighthouse keeper's residence are located on the site of a signal station established there in 1790. The purpose of the station was to relay news of incoming shipping by the raising of a flag.
South Head Outer Battery
South Head Bunkers and Tunnels
The original Outer Battery, which is the earliest of the fortifications on South head near the Hornby light and old lighthouse keeper's residences, were built in 1859. They are the only fortifications erected on South Head as per Gordon's recommendations at that time and included a tunnel lined with brick, later covered with concrete.
The Cardwell territorial reforms of 1870 within the British Army resulted in the withdrawal of British garrison troops from Australia. The British Colonial Office insisted that wealthier colonies such as New South Wales and Victoria should pay more of their own defence costs and thus begin to take full responsibility for their own defence. The negotiations and stances taken by both parties in the second half of the 19th century were somewhat convoluted, but nevertheless resulted in Britain giving the Australian states a helping hand in getting themselves started. A fallout from this was the construction of numerous new defence fortifications. In 1871 the first fortifications designed to defend the outer harbour were constructed. These were at Outer and Inner Middle Head, Georges Head, South Head, Steel Point and Bradleys Head. They remained operational but totally ineffective - fortunately they were never required to be put to the test to prove this - until well after World War I.
A pair of military defence advisers were sent out from England in 1877 to co-ordinate the defensive efforts of the colonies. They were Lieutenant Colonel Peter Scratchley and Lieutenant General Sir William Francis Drummond Jervois, both being Royal Engineers with expertise in defence fortifications. Both men advised the Queensland and Tasmanian Government on defence matters. Jervois, who had built military fortiftications in Canada, India, South Afrrica and the Malay peninsula, took responsibility for the creation of defence solutions for Port Phillip. Lt. Scratchley was appointed the Commissioner for Defences in New South Wales. After completion of his duties, Jervois stayed in Australia to become the Governor of South Australia from 2nd October, 1877 to 9th January, 1883, followed by a term as Governor of New Zealand.
During his term of office, Scratchley recommended a series of additional fortifications for Sydney, all of which were outdated even before they were finished. These included additional batteries which built in the 1890s in the Eastern Suburbs to prevent shelling of the residential areas to the east of Sydney and a self-contained fort designed by Scratchley for Bare Island to defend Botany Bay, it being supported by two disappearing guns at Henry Head.
Georges Head Fortifications
Georges Head Fortifications
Back in 1801, Governor King established a small battery at Georges Head on land later given to an aboriginal family by Gov. Macquarie as an experiment to introduce them to the farming methods of the white man. The tunnels, lookouts and gun emplacements seen today above the rocks between Obelisk Bay and Georges Head were added in the 1871. The armoury included massive 68 pounder and 18 ton guns.
Middle Head Fortifications
Middle Head Fortifications
The point of Middle Head is riddled with a network of lookouts, gun placements, and ammunition stores, all interlinked by tunnels and passages. Most were constructed in 1871 and remained untouched until the second world war. Spurred on by Japanese midget submarine attack on Sydney Harbour, the Middle Head Fortifications were re-opened and upgraded. The nine guns mounted at Middle head were never fired in anger, but four men were killed in April 1891 in the accidental detonation of a mine.
Steel Point Fortifications A single gun emplacement was constructed here in 1871 as part of the harbour's defence system. All that remains today is the stonework on the point above Shark Beach.
South Head Fortifications
The cobblestoned roadway near the top of the steps above Camp Cove is a remnant of the original road constructed in 1871 along which military hardware was transported to the various installation points on South Head. An Inner Battery was built in 1873 and consisted of a series of five gunpits and numerous lookout points on the headland from Green Point and Lady Bay. Five guns were aimed across Watsons Bay. A new Outer Battery was erected beyond the Hornby light and facing the ocean. A series of tunnels connecting the inner and outer batteries were cut.
Bare Island Fortifications
One of the earliest geographical features to be recorded by Europeans on the east coast of NSW, Bare Island was thus described and marked on his chart by Lt. James Cook in 1770. Banks visited the island and retrieved shells for his collections and study. In 1870, after the last British garrison troops left NSW, Botany Bay was seen as a potential landing ground but it only received the protection of a small gun battery position and Gov. Macquarie's tower for catching smugglers. It was not until 1877 when Scratchley and Jervois arrived in Sydney that Bare Island began to figure in Sydney's defence plans. Their recommendations included a fort on Bare Island as the sole defence for Botany Bay. Scratchley designed the Fort and the control of construction, which began in 1881, was in the hands of the Colonial Architect, James Barnet. James MacLeod, a Sydney builder, was contracted to carry out the work. An unusual feature of the design was the use of concrete - until then rarely used in such quantity and at the time a building material not well understood.
At the completion of the main works in 1889, faults began to be found in the fort and in another gun battery built by the same contractor. A Board of Enquiry, followed by a Royal Commission found that the work had been poorly supervised, was often inadequate and below acceptable standard, and that there was likely to have been corruption involved. Barnet resigned in disgrace, his fort on Bare Island a white elephant. Ironically it was its poor construction that has kept Bare Island preserved in its original condition, rather than having been upgraded as it would otherwise have been. Apart from the installation of one Ôdisappearing' gun and the eventual building of the Barracks, it is almost identical to when it was built.
Despite its reputation as a deathtrap, troops were garrisoned at the fort and operated its five guns from the time of its completion though at gradually reduced levels until 1912. It was then given over to the Veteran's Home Committee to house veterans who had fought in the various wars of the British Empire, including the Sudan, Maori and Indian Wars. The Veterans stayed on the island until 1963, though they did experience a brief period of eviction during World War II. In 1987, Bare Island, now a museum, was gazetted as a Historic Site.
Bradley's Head fortifications
Bradley's Head fortifications
The fortifications at Bradleys Head are the best preserved of all those to be found around the shores of Sydney Harbour. Most of the older fortifications which located alongside the mast and crows nest of HMAS Sydney and consisting of a firing wall and a single cannon mount, were built in the 1840s by Gov. Gipps without British Government approval. The fortifications located up the hill towards the Taronga Zoo entrance were built in the 1870s. This installation, comprised of a series of tunnels, a powder magazine, gun emplacements complete with three mounted cannon, and later a firing wall, were built under the supervision of James Barnet and played a major role in opening up the Mosman area for development. Its guns were offloaded from a ship at Neutral Bay and rolled through the bush to the fortifications site. Locals were paid ten shillings for each stump they removed as they made a path through the undergrowth along which the cannon would be rolled. The path became what we now know as Military Road.
North Bondi fortifications The fortifications at North Bondi were installed in 1893 as part of Sydney's coastal defence system. A team of 35 horses took three weeks to drag the 22-tonne breach loading gun for the installation from the Victoria Barracks to the site. It was one of three pop-up guns erected along the coast at that time. The works are today located under a large circular metal cover in a fenced area 1km north of Ben Buckler.
THE SLUMS OF SYDNEY
Up until the arrival of trams and trains, the working class population of Sydney, having no means by which to travel to their place of employment other than on foot or by hackney cab, had no choice but to settle in the densely populated pockets on the outskirts of Sydney close to where they worked in areas like Balmain, The Rocks, Surry Hills, Glebe and Ultimo. By 1891, the section of Surry Hills bounded by Elizabeth, Riley, Campbell, Oxford and Liverpool Streets had become a notorious slum area known as the Robin Hood Lane area. It contained 776 houses, which were home to over 2,500 people, an incredible amount for an area no bigger than 1.5 hectares. Typical of the slums of Surry Hills and the lower parts of The Rocks, they became home to the undesirables of Sydney. A section of Surry Hills along Riley Street between Foveaux and Reservoir Streets, known as Frog Hollow, was a notorious criminal area. A steep bowl-shaped gully beneath the Riley Street escarpment, it was a maze of dirty lanes and back alleys surrounded by a ramshackle collection of badly lit and ventilated homes built on top of each other. Sydney's criminal elements ran their sly grog and cocaine distribution operations from it, prostitution was rife and street gangs called Pushes terrorised anyone who they believed had no business to be in the area.
The depression of the 1890s only made things worse, but it was the massive rat infestations and outbreaks of the Bubonic plague around the turn of the century that forced the authorities to clean up these black spots. Whole communities had to be quarantined and their neighbourhoods disinfected. The most crowded sections of Ultimo, The Rocks and parts of Surry Hills such as that described above were resumed, the buildings demolished and the landscape re-modelled, which is why the buildings and streets in many sections of these older inner suburbs date from around the turn of the Century and not earlier as one would expect. Wentworth Avenue, which replaced a dirty back alley called Wexford Street, came into existence in the early 1900s when the Robin Hood Lane area was resumed and redeveloped.
Part of the redevelopment programme included the encouragement of highly labour-intensive industries such as food and clothing manufacture to move into the area to provide work for the residents after they moved back into the area after its reconstruction. The location of today's thriving fashion industry in and around Redfern and Surry Hills came about as a result of these redevelopment programmes of the late 1890s/early 1900s.
Goods yard of the second station at Redfern. Photo: State Records
TRANSPORT: THE RAILWAYS
The first public railway to be constructed in Sydney roughly followed the route of the first rural road built in the colony 60 years previous, linking Sydney and Parramatta. It was a single track line, built by a private company which went bankrupt 23 days before the inaugural train journey was scheduled to be made. The Government stepped in, enabling the project to be completed on time and the line to begin taking traffic in 1855. From thereon, the railway was to play a significant role in suburban development in Sydney's inner and outer west, and later the south and north.
The railway, which got the green light in 1849, was by far the largest and most ambitious engineering project embarked upon in Sydney. Railway design and construction, however, was still in its infancy. Only 20 years earlier, George Stephenson had become the winner in the Rainhill trials - a competition sponsored by the Liverpool to Manchester railway to obtain a locomotive for carrying both passengers and freight. His steam engine, the Rocket, which pulled a load three times its own weight at the rate of 20 km/hr and hauled a coach filled with passengers at 39 km/hr, had transformed railways into a viable means of transport.
British civil engineers William Randle and James Wallace, who worked with Stephenson and had become leaders in railway construction in Europe, were contracted to oversee the construction of Sydney's first railway. A British company owned by Randle's father was given the task of recruiting 500 artisans and navvies whose fares to Australia were paid for by the Government. By January 1854, 650 men were working on the project forming what was the biggest single free labour force the colony had seen. The project commenced with clearing the right-of-way and included fencing, building 27 bridges and 50 culverts, establishing a sandstone quarry at Lewisham, creating seven brickyards along the route, cutting tunnels under Cleveland Street and Parramatta Road, building workshops at Cleveland Paddocks (Redfern) and terminal stations at Redfern and Parramatta plus the four stations in between (Newtown, Ashfield, Burwood and Homebush). A branch line from the Sydney terminus to Darling Harbour was built simultaneously and involved the building of a bridge under Parramatta Road.
The Governor of the day, Sir William Denison, did not want the railway to take the form it did. Believing himself to be an authority on such matters and having had some experience in civil engineering, Denison argued that a heavy rail system using steam locomotives would be uneconomical and inappropriate in a country as vast and rugged as Australia. As an alternative, he suggested light rail tracks be laid down the centre of Sydney's main roads for use by horse drawn trams and that a similar system be applied in rural areas, but with tracks built alongside the roa
ds. The civil engineers of his day scoffed at the idea, pointing out that such a system would be totally inadequate to haul primary produce back to the major cities for distribution from rural areas. In places like the Blue Mountains where it was envisaged that railways would be implemented to replace the horse and cart, it would be a case of the replacement being no different to the method being replaced, except that it used rails rather than roads. Fortunately, sanity prevailed and the Legislative Assembly backed their civil engineers.
The first sod for the Sydney to Parramatta railway was ceremonially turned by Gov. FitzRoy's daughter on 3rd July 1850. There is some doubt as to whether this ceremony took place near the hay market in Campbell Street or at Cleveland Paddocks (Redfern), an area south of today's Central Station now occupied by the multi-level crossovers which was the site of the line's first Sydney Terminal. The station was originally to be built near the hay market but it was moved closer to Redfern so that a branch line could be built north from the station to Darling Harbour. It was not for some decades that Central station was moved to its present location. Historic records indicate that the soil breaking ceremony took place at Cleveland Paddocks but on the day the ceremony took place discussions about moving the site to this location were still in progress, so the truth of where this event took place remains in doubt.
The first two steam locomotives, brought out from Newcastle-upon-Tyne, arrived on 13th January 1855 and had to be pulled by 20 horses from a wharf at Darling Harbour to their shed at Slade's dairy paddock, the site of the present-day Eveleigh railway workshops. The first train to use the line carried the Governor, Sir William Denison, and members of the Legislative Council as far as the Lewisham viaduct, which had yet to be completed. The line was officially opened on 26th September 1855, though it only went as far as the temporary Parramatta Junction terminus (Granville) at Dog Trap Road (Woodville Road).
The gauge originally chosen was the English Ôstandard' gauge of 1.435 metres. Victoria and South Australia were about to build railways of their own and followed Whitton's lead, settling on standard guage for their railways. Sydney's city surveyor, Francis Shields, then successfully lobbied for the Sydney railway to be changed to the wider, Irish Ôbroad' gauge of 1.6 metres. Victoria and South Australia, which had already started laying standard guage track, reluctantly carried the cost of changing their existing track to the broad 1.6 metre gauge to remain consistent with NSW. After the original Sydney to Parramatta line had been laid as broad guage,
James Wallace insisted the track be lifted and changed back to the 1.435 metre gauge, because it was cheaper and was being adopted universally as the standard guage for railways. Victoria and South Australia refused to change theirs back again, leaving NSW out of step with all other existing railways on the Australian continent. This precipated the ludicrous situation of there being three different gauges used across Australia (Western Australia settled on another, even narrower guage when they built their railways) and the inconvenience of passengers having to change trains at state borders before a standard gauge for interstate services was adopted.
Over the next four decades, other lines were opened and extended under the guidance of John Whitton, the Chief Engineer of New South Wales Railways, who instigated the plan for a metropolitan railway system built around three main lines to the north, west and south. Foreign-built steam locomotives, most of which were built by Bayer Peacock of Manchester, England, hauled all trains in New South Wales until 1907, when the Eveleigh Workshops at Redfern and the Clyde plant at Granville began building locomotives alongside rolling stock. At that time, the process of electrification of the suburban railway system had commenced. By 1926, all suburban lines had been electrified and steam locomotives ceased to be used for suburban passenger services. Their replacements, known affectionately as Òred rattlers' but correctly named Bradfield cars, were built by Waddingtons at the old English Electric Company factory in Berry Street, Clyde to a design by the Chief Engineer of the Harbour Bridge and Railways, John J.C. Bradfield. The red rattlers held their own until the 1950s, when they were gradually replaced by quieter, more comfortable double decker units which were nicknamed Sputniks after the pioneer Russian satellite which was launched in the same year the new cars were brought into service.
Lewisham Viaduct, 1886. Photo: State Records
Main Western Line
The first railway line laid in Sydney was a single track serice between Sydney to Parramatta (22.2km). It commenced on 26th September, 1855. Duplicated 1857. Quadrupled 1869. It was designed as the first stage in the Great Western Railway, which was to link Sydney with the towns of the Bathurst plains.
Parramatta Junction (Granville) to Blacktown (13.4km) opened 7th July 1862. Stations were Blacktown Road (Blacktown), South Creek (St. Marys), Parkes Platform (Werrington).
Blacktown to Rooty Hill (6.0km) opened 23rd December 1861
Rooty Hill to St Marys (6.3km) opened 1st May 1862
St Marys to Kingswood (5.5km) opened 7th July 1862
Kingswood to Penrith (2.4km) opened
19th January 1863. Granville to Penrith duplicated Duplicated 1867.
Penrith - Weatherboard [Wentworth Falls] (46.0km) completed 11th July 1867. Duplicated 1913.
Weatherboard to Mt. Victoria (25.6km) opened 1st May, 1868. Duplicated 1913.
Mt Victoria to Bowenfels via the Great Zig Zag (31.5km) opened 18th October, 1869. Duplicated with opening of the Great Zig Zag deviation 1913.
Rookwood Cemetery Branchline: Junction to No. 1 Mortuary Station (1.1km) opened 22nd October 1864. Extended to No. 3 Mortuary Station (1.3km) 26th May 1897. Extended to Mortuary Station No. 4 19th June 1908. Lines closed 29th December 1948. Lifted.
Blacktown to Richmond
Although there had been agitation for the proposal of a rail service to Richmond from 1846, it wasn't until April 1856 that a successful public meeting took place at the Fitzroy Hotel, Windsor. A petition prepared by William Walker, the local Member of Parliament, was presented and 1,600 signatures were collected. Finally, funds became available in 1862 to extend the line to Richmond, using horse-operated power, at a cost of £60,000. There is some confusion about the mandatory turning of the first sod. This misunderstanding came about with two contractors constructing different parts of the line. William Walker, the local member, officiated on 14 January 1863 but the following day, contractor Randle had organised the Minister of Works, Mr. Arnold, to turn the obligatory first sod.
The line (26.1km) was officially opened on 1st December 1864 by the Governor of New South Wales, Sir John Young. The function was held in the newly completed goods shed. The line opened with stations at Riverstone, Mulgrave, Windsor and Richmond. In 1870 a station was opened between Windsor and Richmond called Racecourse, but this was renamed Clarendon in 1876. In June 1867, the Hawkesbury River flooded, and reached an all-time peak of 63 feet above the mean river level at Windsor. The original South Creek viaduct - often the last land link between the town of Windsor and the outside world during flooding - was replaced by the present wooden trestle structure in 1876. On 22 May 1975, the electric train arrived at Riverstone, and electrification was finally extended to Richmond and opened on 17 August 1991.
The line was extended by 2.0km to Nepean Sand & Gravel on 18th April 1925. A further 9.2km extension to Kurrajong was opened on 8th November 1926.
Carlingford Branch Line
Carlingford branch line [originally called Pennant Hills station] (5.4km)
Clyde to Carlingford opened 20th April 1896 as a private line. The idea of a line to Dural was first raised in 1881. A deputation of property owners in the district submitted a plan for a light railway from Parramatta to Castle Hill, Dural and Pennant Hills.
TA spur line was constructed from Clyde to Sandown to the Parramatta River in 1888. Bennett's Railway Act of 1886 gave permission for the construction of a railway line into the lands of John Bennett and the Australian Kerosene Oil and Mineral Company, terminating at Sundown. The 2.0km line was opened on 17th November 1888.
The Simpson Railway Act of 1893 authorised the construction of a railway line in three sections to Dural, from a point on Bennett's railway line just north of the Rosehill Racecourse platform. The first section terminated at Carlingford, which was opened on the 20th April 1896. Because of the poor returns on both the freight and passenger services, the second (to Castle Hill) and third (to Dural) stages were never begun. The government purchased the Carlingford branch line in 1900, and public services began on 1 August 1
901, It was affectionately known as the "Apricot Express". Plans are now in progress to extend the line to Chatswood via Epping.
Darling Harbour/Rozelle goods lines
Sydney terminal to Darling Island (1.7km) opened November 1855. Closed 6 June 1993. Lifted.
Darling Island to to Darling Harbour (0.7km) opened 22nd January 1900. Closed 6 June 1993. Lifted.
Darling Island to Balmain Road Junction (4.1km) opened 23rd January 1922. Closed 22nd January 1966. Lifted.
Wardell Road Junction to Rozelle (6.1km) opened 29th May 1916.
Main Southern Line
The section between Haslem's Creek (Lidcombe) and Liverpool (13.5km) opened 26th September 1856. Fairfield was the only intermediate station. It was the first section of the Great Southern Railway, which reached Goulburn in 1869 and the Victorian border at Albury on 3rd February 1881.
Liverpool - Campbelltown (19.0km) completed 10th May 1858.
By 1st September 1862, had reached a temporar
y terminus at North Menangle (9.5km). The only intermediate station was at Ingleburn (at that time, Ingleburn station was called Macquarie Fields).
Regents Park to Liverpool branch line (9 km Regents Park to Cabramatta) opened 8th October 1924
Warwick Farm Racecourse private branchline - Junction to Warwick Farm DE (1.6km) opened 2nd June 1889, closed 19th November 1977. Reopened 17th February 1979. Last train ran 18th August 1990, line closed 7th December 1991, lifted.
Illawarra Junction [nr Macdonaldtown] to Hurstville (12.6km) opened 15th October, 1884. Duplicated 1895. Sydney to Sydenham quadrupled 1912. This was the first section of the Illawarra railway, which connects Sydney to the Illawarra district. The original stations on the line were St Peters, Cooks River (Tempe), Arncliffe (Arncliffe Hill), West Botany (Rockdale), Kogarah and Hurstville.
Hurstville to Sutherland (9.8km) opened 26th December 1885. Duplicated 1895.
Sutherland to Waterfall (14.1 km) opened 9th March
1886. Duplicated 1895.
Waterfall to Coal Cliff (20.6km) opened 3rd October 1888. This section was by far the most demanding section of railway line built in Australia at that time, and included the cutting of 8 tunnels south of Helensburgh. Four tunnels were eliminated in 1915 when a section of the line was re-routed.
Waterfall to Coal Cliff (20.6km) opened 3rd October 1888.
Coal Cliff to Wollongong (19.2km) opened 21st June 1887
Coal Cliff to Clifton (4.4km) opened 23rd July 1888
Wollongong to Bombo (34.8km) opened 9th November 1887.
Bombo to Bomaderry (36.2km) opened 2nd June 1893.
Royal National Park Branch Line: Loftus to Royal National Park (1.9km) opened 9 March 1886. Closed 11th June 1991. Re-opened 1st May 1993.
Main North Line (Central Coast)
Redmyre (Strathfield) to Hornsby (21.8km) opened 17th September 1886. This was the first stage of the what was known officially as the Homebush to Waratah line, a rail link to the Hawkesbury district which necessitated
the building of the 5 Bononia tunnels, a tunnel under Mt Wondabyne (at that time, Australia's longest tunnel) and the first Hawkesbury Bridge.
Hornsby to Hawkesbury River (23.5km) opened 7th April 1887. Duplicated 1909.
Hawkesbury River to Wondabyne (8.3km) opened 1st May 1889. Duplicated 1912.
North Shore Line
St Leonards to Hornsby (17.0km) opened 1st January 1890.
St Leonards to Waverton (2.5km) opened 1st May 1893
The initial section, Waverton to Milsons Point [the original station was located on site of Luna Park and not in its present position] (2.4km), was opened 1st May 1893. This section of line was used until the new Milsons Point station was opened and connected to Wynyard via the Harbour Bridge in February 1932. It is now the North Sydney car sidings line.
Waverton to Lindfield duplicated 1896. Lindfield to Hornsby duplicated 1910.
Wynyard to Waverton (3.8km) via the present Milsons Point station opened 28th February 1932.
The first section of the north shore line to be built was between St Leonards and Hornsby. The stations on the line upon opening were Chat's Wood (Chatswood), Roseville, Lindfield, Killara, Gordon, Pymble, Eastern Road (Turramurra) and Pearce's Corner (Wahroonga). Even as the line was being constructed a question yet to be answered was how the north shore railway would be linked to the transport infrastructure on the southern shore. Milsons Point, Balls Head, Cremorne and Blues Point were all considered as viable termination points of the service. John Whitton, chief engineer of the Railways Department, reduced the options to two alternatives:
a St Leonards to Milson's Point option to cost £350,000 (excluding the necessary land resumptions)
a more fanciful option of a line to Balls Head at £710,000 (including the wharves required). The Ball's Head extension was given serious consideration in light of the burgeoning industries at Pyrmont and Darling Harbour. Commercial interests saw Balls Head Bay developing as another Darling Harbour.
As the railway line and harbour crossing debates ran concurrently, the ideas put forward often included large and grandiose schemes including bridges and tunnels. A cross harbour rail link from Balls Head to the Darling Harbour Goods Yard was considered as part of the Balls Head option. Its proponents envisaged a series of three bridges linking Balls Head with Goat Island, the tip of the Balmain Peninsula and Darling Island.
The route finally chosen terminated at Milson's Point Ferry Arcade and provided a transport interchange for rail, ferry, bus and tram commuters from the north. Today, it is the branch line which links Waverton station to the sidings on Lavender Bay, the original Milsons Point station being located on the site of Luna Park. This extension opened in 1893 to much fanfare but not without disruption to the area. There was much public debate about the difficult topography of the lower north shore and
the great costs involved. Besides its lower cost, the Milsons Point option allowed for the line's connection to the city via a bridge between Dawes Point and Milsons Point which at the time was being given serious consideration by the State Government, though it would not eventuate for another 40 years. When it did, the line which now links Waverton and the Sydney Harbour Bridge via North Sydney station was created to allow the north shore line to be joined to the City Circle.
Sydenham to Belmore (8.2km) opened 1st February 1895.
Belmore to Bankstown (5.4km) opened 14th April 1909.
Bankstown to Sefton Park East Junction [nr. Regents Park] (4.1km) opened 1914.
Sefton Park East Junction to Sefton Park North Junction [nr. Lidcombe] - opened October 1924.
Botany Goods line
Marrickville Junction to Botany DE (8.6km) opened 14th October 1925.
Botany DE to Bunnerong (2.3km) opened 1927. Closed 1979
Jctn to Port Botany & ANL Termi
nal (2.2km) opened 21st December 1979
Campsie - Flemington Goods Line
Campsie to Lidcombe Goods Junction and Flemington Goods Junctions (9.8km) opened 11th April 1916.
Central to St James via Museum (2.0km) opened 20th December 1926.
Central to Wynyard via Town Hall (2.6km) opened 28th February 1932.
Wynyard to St James via Circular Quay (1.2km) opened 22nd January 1956.
East Hills Line
Wolli Creek Junction to Kingsgrove (5.3km) opened 21st September 1931
Kingsgrove to East Hills (11.4km) opened 21st December 1931
East Hills to Glenfield Junction (8.3km) opened 21st December 1987
Eastern Suburbs Line
Town Hall to Bondi Junction - opened 23rd June 1979.
Without question, the arrival of the railway was a turning point in the history of every township or village on a railway route. It brought a substantial rise in real estate values and an influx of new people which would bring growth and prosperity to the local community. But initially, the arrival of the railways was very much a mixed blessing. Many local councils were brought to the brink of ruin, their limited financial resources unable to meet the cost of supplying the essential services required as farms were bought, subdivided and sold, often within the space of a few weeks.
As the early colonial governments had not reserved corridors of crown land to cope with future transport needs, the Government had no choice but to embark on the compulsory resumption of all land needed for the railway. The purchase price and the routes taken were set and there was no compromise. For some land owners, particularly those who intended to sell out to a developer, it was an opportunity to make some quick money. As their property was right on the railway line, they could demand and get the best price. For others, like those who worked the land and wanted to continue to do so, it often brought great hardship. Many a farmer had their property cut in half by the railway, leaving them with no means of access to that part of their property cut off from their homes by the railway, rendering it useless. Others had their access way to the nearest main road cut by the railway, leaving their homes totally isolated, hemmed in on all other sides by neighbouring properties. In the St. George district alone, ten homes were in the direct path of the railway. Their owners had no choice but to move out and build elsewhere.
If the railway passed through undulating country, cuttings and embankments had to be created. In such instances, very little thought was given to the effect this would have on the drainage of the area, and such problems were left to the local councils and landowners themselves to work out. In the Kogarah district, one house was left underwater when a newly erected railway embankment acted a dam wall, collecting the runoff from nearby hillsides, forming a temporary lake behind the embankment after the first heavy rain.
The first areas to develop as a direct result of the arrival of the railways were in Sydney's west (Ashfield to Parramatta), south east (Sydenham to Bankstown), south (Arncliffe to Hurstville), north east (Meadowbank to Thornleigh) and north shore (Chatswood to Hornsby). The latter, due to its isolation from the city, was the slowest to develop, and did not really come into its own until the harbour bridge provided the first direct rail and road link into the city in 1932.
Australia's first major railway accident occurred on 10th July, 1858 at Haslam's Creek at about 9 o'clock. The morning train from Parramatta ran off the line at a spot near the present Auburn Swim Centre, some of the carriages turned over and fell down the embankment. Two passengers were killed, and several were injured including Mr. Charles Boynton who later became the first station master at Haslam's Creek.
Whilst the railways brought easy access to the communities on the outskirts of Sydney, buses and trams provided the necessary transport to the inner suburbs. Horse buses were the only form of public transport until the advent of trams - first horse drawn, and later electric powered - in the 1860s, when the two locked horns in a battle for supremacy. A survey of Sydney's public transport system in 1889 showed that 45 companies ran horse buses, operating services linking Sydney with Alexandria, Balmain, Pyrmont, Glebe, Roselle, Macdonaldtown, Redfern, Eveleigh, Forest Lodge, Darlington, Chippendale, Newtown, Erskineville, Belmore, Canterbury and Ryde. The Belmore and Canterbury horse buses were both essentially country services and were vital links for the small farms in their areas. The Canterbury service operated twice daily, but the Belmore bus operated once a day; in the morning it made the trip into Sydney, and at night returned with the day's mail, supplies and passengers. At the time the survey was taken, trams covered all these routes, with extended services from a terminus at Tea Gardens (later known as Bondi Junction) to Bondi Beach, Clovelly, Coogee, Waverley, Bronte, Randwick and Maroubra.
North shore bus services operated from a terminus in Alfred Street where the swimming pool is today. Run in conjunction with ferry services to Sydney which operated from the same spot, horse buses serviced Mosman, St Leonards (the whole area from Neutral Bay to Artarmon was then known as St Leonards), North Willoughby, Gordon and Hornsby.
Pitt Street tram
Up until the introduction of horse drawn trams, Sydney's inner suburbs population relied on privately owned horse-drawn vehicles, around a thousand hackney cabs and travel by horseback or on foot to get around. Hackney cabs had been the sole means of public transport for many decades but the end of this era began with the arrival of trams. Horse drawn trams made their entry into Sydney in 1861 with the installation of a service along Pitt Street from the Railway Station at Redfern to Circular Quay. The engineers who installed the tracks which had been brought in from England, believed they would cause less havoc to horse drawn vehicular traffic if they were installed upside down. The delays resulting from derailments because the lines had been installed incorrectly was a major factor in the service's quick demise. By the end of 1865, the tracks had been pulled up and the fate of trams in Sydney appeared sealeds.
During the planning for the Australian International Exhibition, held in the Garden Palace Exhibition Building in the Botanical Gardens (it was destroyed by fire soon after the exhbition closed), the question of the transport of the expected crowds from the Railway Terminal to the Garden Palace was considered and it was decided to install a steam-powered tramline for this purpose. Mindful of the earlier unpopularity of the horse tram line, it was intended that this facility would to be removed at the close of the exhibition. This line opened in 1879, being worked for its first two weeks by horses till the steam motor cars arrived from the United States.
The service was so popular, calls were made for an immediate expansion of the tramlines. In 1880, the Tramways Extension Act was passed Parliament and construction of additional tramlines along the major transport routes to the city was commenced. The first tramway line operated from adjacent to the Redfern Railway Terminal to Elizabeth Street at Hunter Street, with crossing loops at either end. One of the first modifications to this line occurred in 1880 when the Elizabeth Street terminus was extended from Hunter Street to Bridge Street, and a terminal yard was created on land behind the former Treasury Building, on the corner of Bridge and Phillip Streets. This terminal grew into a minor depot, with seven storage sidings and coke and water facilities.
In September of that year, the first suburban line opened for traffic between Alison Road, Randwick (at the Racecourse) and Bridge Street. This line was extended into Randwick town centre in March 1881, whilst a branch was built from Taylor Square along Oxford Street to Ocean Street (known as the Waverley Line). The Randwick Line was extended to Coogee in 1883. By the end of 1881, another branch line led to Surry Hills from Oxford Street along Crown Street to Cleveland Street. A Woollahra Branch line was opened from Oxford Street along Queen Street to Ocean Street, and an isolated section of track was opened between Newtown Bridge along Enmore, Victoria and Marrickville Roads to Illawarra Road, Marrickville.
In 1882, a line opened from the Redfern Railway Terminal along Devonshire, Chalmers, Castlereagh, Redfern and Regent Streets, then Botany Road to a Depot at the Terminus in Banksmeadow Park. The Newtown to Marrickville line was connected to the City lines via King Street and City Road to Parramatta Road, where it branched from a new line to Glebe Point from Bridge Street. All were fuly operational by September, 1882. A new line to Forest Lodge was opened which ran along Parramatta Road to Derwent Street, Glebe, then via Catherine Street, Mount Vernon Street, St Johns Road to Ross Street at Pyrmont Bridge Road.
In the following year, a line opened to Annandale along Parramatta Road which was extended to Short Street, Leichhardt via Norton Street in 1884 and to Darley Road via Norton Street in 1887. In 1884 the Waverley Line was extended to Bondi Junction and to Bondi Aquarium in 1887. Another service opened in 1887, connecting the Coogee Line at Randwick to the Waverley Line at Waverley, with services from Randwick to Bondi Junction. This line was used to experiment with electrification of the Sydney tram system between 1890 to 1892. It reverted to steam operation when the electrical equipment was transferred to the North Shore.
Development of new lines and extensions to existing lines continued through the 1890s. The Marrickville Line was extended to Dulwich Hill in 1889; the Waverley Line to St Thomas Street, Waverley in 1890; the Forest Lodge Line became the Balmain Line when extended through Annan
dale and Rozelle to Darling Street, Balmain, and then to Gladstone Park two years later; the Bondi Line was extended to Bondi Beach in 1894 and the Glebe Line to Glebe Point in 1896. New lines included one from Leichhardt to Abbotsford (1890) which was extended to Abbotsford Point in 1893. Another new line which left the Railway Terminal for Moore Park via Cleveland Street was opened in 1891. Also added were lines from Newtown Bridge to St Peters Station via King Street in 1891 and from Allison Road via Anzac Parade to Randwick Rifle Range in 1900. This line was extended to Little Bay in 1901 and to La Perouse in 1902. Within the space of 9 years the system had grown to offer 64 services travelling on 74km of track. A further 37km of track was added by the turn of the century with patronage just under half a million in 1901.
Cable Tram, Balmain
The first cable Tramway was opened between Milson's Point Wharf and North Sydney in 1886. It passed through the centre of the North Sydney township along Miller Street and terminated at a Depot and powerhouse on the corner of Miller and Ridge Streets. The line was important in connecting the township with the main ferry wharf for the North Shore, the land in between being a steep rise from the waterfront to the ridge. The line was extended to Crows Nest along Falcon Street in 1893, enlarging the residential catchment area. In the same year, an experimental electric tram line was opened in the opposite direction to Spit Junction from the Ridge Street depot. This line was extended to Mosman Wharf in 1897. The ultimate success of electric trams led to their taking over the cable tram lines, first the Crows Nest line, which was extended to Willoughby in April 1898, followed by the conversion of the original line to Milsons Point in February, 1900. The Spit Junction service was extended to Hay
es Street, Neutral Bay and to The Spit in the same year.
The Ridge Street Powerhouse, as well as housing the Cable Haulage engine, contained the engine and generator for the electric tramlines (From 1895, the generator was driven off the Cable Haulage Engine). In 1903, electric cables were laid across the harbour and connected to the substation established in the former Cable Haulage Room and the Ridge Street Power plant ceased to function. The Depot Car Shed continued in use till replaced in 1909.
A line north towards the as yet undeveloped area now known as Northbridge was first proposed in the 1880s with the launching of the North Sydney Tramway and development Company. This company was formed to sell land and develop the area beyond Flat Rock Creek . A major tool in its marketing strategy was the construction of the Cammeray Suspension Bridge over the creek. It was an ornate structure, the largest of its type in Australia and the fourth largest in the world. Unfortunately, the hype and publicity surrounding the bridge was not enough to keep the company afloat, and having opened the bridge in January 1892, the company went into liquidation.
The tramway which was to pass over it had not yet been built. It was later constructed from North Sydney as far as the bridge, opening in May 1909. The tramway service was extended over the bridge in 1914. When the bridge was closed to traffic in 1936 after serious faults were discovered in the steel work and cables, the tram service was reduced to as far as the bridge. The bridge's cables were removed and the roadway supported by a reinforced concrete arch. When the bridge was re-opened in September 1939, patronage had fallen off so much tram services were withdrawn completely. The whole lower north shore tramway system was closed in June 1958 to be replaced by buses.
A second cable tramway had been established in Sydney in 1894, running from the Darling Harbour end of King Street, along St James Road, College, Boomerang and William Streets then Bayswater Road and New South Head Road to Ocean Street, Edgecliff. The depot and Powerhouse were located at Rushcutters Bay, adjacent to Rushcutters Bay Park. This line was extended to Rose Bay in 1898, the extension being of electrified track, with electric services commenced in October. Power was generated in the Cable Tram Powerhouse and electric cars were hauled to this t
rack over the cable line by the cable cars. In 1900, the electric track was extended east to Dover Road and the cable line to the Depot electrified, enabling self-propelled journeys to the Depot. From 1902, these journeys were incorporated into the normal schedules and passengers were carried. This coincided with the decision to replace the cable trams with electric and the whole line was electrified by March, 1903. It was January, 1904 before regular services were operated and the last cable tram ran on January 5, 1905.
The ultimate success of electric trams led to their taking over the North Shore cable tram lines, first the Depot to Crows Nest exten
%sion in 1898, followed by the original line to Milsons Point in February, 1900. In 1903, electric cables were laid across the harbour and connected to the substation established in the former Cable Haulage Room and the Ridge Street Power plant ceased to function. The Depot Car Shed continued in use till replaced in 1909. Competition between the horses buses and trams throughout Sydney was always intense, but when the electrification of the tramways was completed in 1900, their speed and efficiency could not be matched by the horse drawn vehicles - both trams and hackney cabs - and they were gradually phased out.
At its peak, Sydney's tram service operated on 324km of track, with 7,531 services a day, to carry over 430,000 passengers a day. Eventually, when the tram system was in need of a major injection of funds to keep it viable, the Government decided to replace them with diesel powered buses. The last Sydney tram, No. 1995, left from Elizabeth Street to the eastern suburbs on the afternoon of 25th February, 1961. It carried over 200 passengers on its final historic journey.
FERRIES ON THE HARBOUR
Just as the growth of the railway network reflected the growth of inland suburbs like Ashfield, Petersham and Rockdale, so the development of ferry services reflected the growth of residential areas around the harbour's lower north shore. Whilst the working class people lived closed to their place of work, such was not the case with the more affluent. They took advantage of the cheap harbourside land on offer at places like Manly, Mosman, Neutral Bay, Cremorne, Hunters Hill, Drummoyne and Lane Cove, and later Watsons Bay and Double Bay, which offered picturesque, secluded locations for their homes that were close to the city centre by boat.
Many of the people who struck it rich on the goldfields in the 1850s bought land on the shores of Sydney harbour and built gracious harbourside homes in which to retire or life. Ferry services, many of which had been operative since the turn of the century, were upgraded and extended, and played a vital role in the development of these areas. Some, like Hunter's Hill, Cremorne, Mosman and Manly, had to wait many decades until the urban sprawl reached their doors before land access improved to a level that a visit to Sydney by land was no longer an arduous chore.
In colonial days, Parramatta was the tradition destination for Sydney's ferries. The arrival of the Parramatta to Sydney passenger rail service in 1855 led to a rapid decline in the passenger ferry service which remained slow until the 1880s when the tourist potential of the Parramatta River was first realised and tapped. During that decade the Parramatta River Steamer and Tramway Company built the tourist trade up to such a level that it operated thirteen ferries making numerous trips daily. Their service was suspended during World War I but never regained its popularity in peacetime. The company's last ferry ran in 1928. In 1993 the current Parramatta Rivercat went into service, substantially rejuvenating the river's tourist potential.
The Manly Ferry
Very few cities in the world can boast an institution as unique as the Manly ferry, a service which takes passengers on a 30 minute ride up one of the most beautiful harbours in the world, past historic sites, a naval dockyard and hundreds of beautiful homes, then gives a taste of the open sea before berthing at one of the world's most delightful seaside suburbs. The journey back is even better, the sight of the Sydney skyline rolling into view as the ferry rounds Bradleys Head and heads for home, particularly at sunset, is quite spectacular.
This most memorable of ferry trips was born in the 1850s when a successful Sydney businessman, Henry Gilbert Smith, had a dream of developing Manly into a resort, modeling it on Brighton in England. At that time Manly was nothing more than a strip of low scrub between the Pacific Ocean and Manly Cove beaches, whose main claim to fame was it being named ahead of Sydney and the place where Sydney's first Governor, Arthur Phillip, was speared by an aborigine. Smith's dream was to develop Manly as both a high class residential area as well as a tourist resort. He bought and subdivided the land that today constitutes the Manly town centre, and using the catch phrase ÒManly - 12 miles from Sydney ... a thousand miles from care' set the direction in which Manly was to grow.
Because of its isolation, Smith knew he wouldn't be able to sell a single block of land or entice one tourist to Manly without a reliable ferry service. The first Manly ferry, the steamer PS Nora Creina, which was custom built by Smith for the Sydney to Manly run, made its first voyage on Boxing Day 1854, and started a tradition that continues until today. Smith did his best to attract residents, holidaymakers and day trippers to Manly. German bands played on board the ferry, and at Manly, everything was laid on to make sure visitors came back.
It was not until the opening of the Spit Bridge in 1924 that the Manly ferry service received competition from any other form transport, though a train or tram service which was first mooted in the 1880s and again in 1915 when the Harbour Bridge was being planned brought more than a little concern to the various ferry operators. From 1924, the ferry service fell into gradual decline, and it was not until the 1970s, when the Government introduced a new fleet of faster ferries , that patronage began to increase as a new generation of Sydneysiders discovered the pleasure of harbour travel.
The Botany Swamps Scheme
Until the inception of the Botany Swamps in 1859, Sydney had no service reservoirs. The advent of that scheme led to the progressive construction (over a 40 year period) of five reservoirs which have since become the oldest in the Sydney water supply system. These are;
1.Crown Street reservoir, 1859, capacity 15 megalitres, 44 metres above sea level;,
2. Paddington Reservoir, 1864, capacity 9 megalitres, 65 metres above sea level;,
3. Woollahra Reservoir, 1880, capacity 4.6 megalitres, 86 metres above sea level;,
4. Waverley Reservoir No1, 1887, capacity 4.9 megalitres, 110 metres above sea level;,
5. Centennial Park Reservoir No1, 1899, capacity 81 megalitres, 75 metres above sea level., Waverley Reservoir was at the "end of the line" and built at the highest elevation.
The Botany Swamps, named Lachlan Swamps by Gov. Macquarie, were first utilised by the colony as a local water supply by pioneer merchant Simeon Lord who built a dam in 1815. He built a second dam just above the high water mark of Botany Bay and a flour mill and associated buildings at the northern end of the dam. 30 hectares of Lord's property were resumed for the procurement of the colony's water supply in 1855 and was to be supplemented by Long Swamp, Veteran's Swamp and Shea's Creek. The scheme was brought into operation in 1859 and remained as Sydney's main water supply until the completion of the Nepean Water Scheme in the 1880s. The main built as part of the scheme is still used to pump water to Centennial Park Reservoir when it requires a boost. Much of the Botany Swamps came under Commonwealth Government control when the area was acquired for the expansion of Mascot Airport in 1947.
1899 - Centennial Park Reservoirs
16 metres high and almost the size of Sydney Cricket Ground, this reservoir is without doubt the biggest underground space in Sydney. Built as part of the third water supply source for Sydney which was the the Upper Nepean scheme, it uses special bricks and cement imported from England. Like all similar underground reservoirs in Sydney, its roof is supported by lines of brick columns. The reservoir's roof was grassed as an anti-fouling device and to provide for an uninterrupted view of the Botany valley and Centennial Lakes in the relatively new Centennial Park. A pavilion was built around the central access tower and ventilating shafts of the res ervoir. This had an ornate roof and spires and would have been a landmark at the time of construction. Only the central part of this structure remains. This reservoir continues to supply water by gravitation to the higher levels of the city and a large part of the eastern suburbs. Centennial Park also provides suction water for a modern electric pumping station built in 1964, which pumps to Woollahra Reservoir and to another large reservoir at Dover Heights. It currently receives water from Warragamba and the Shoalhaven scheme.
1858-59 - Crown Street Reservoir
Crown Street, Surry Hills
Crown Street Reservoir is located at the corner of Crown and Reservoir Streets, less than two kilometres from the GP
O, and is the oldest water supply reservoir still in service in New South Wales. It continues to supply gravity water to the low lying areas of the City, and suction water form Crown Street pumping station to supply the higher areas of the eastern suburbs. It was built by the City Council 1858-59 to receive water from Sydney's third water supply source, the Botany Swamps. The main feature of the Botany Swamps scheme was the transfer of water from the low dams via seven kilometers of 750mm main to the Crown Street Reservoir, and later to an additional reservoir at Paddington. The Botany Swamps were superseded by the Upper Nepean Scheme during the 1880's, at which time the Reservoir ceased to receive water from the Botany Swamps. It continues to function as an important component of Sydney's water supply system with water derived from the Warragamba Dam.
The elegant design reflects the ingenuity of the designers and skilled artisans who worked on the structure. The bricks with which the reservoir
a was constructed were imported from England, totalling some three hundred thousand simple bricks.
Constructed of bricks and with a 15 megalitre capacity, it features a turfed roof. The walls are lined to water level with glazed impervious bricks. The structure is supported by approximately 400mm square iron bark columns, each resting on a sandstone plinth. An internal dividing wall 4 metres high runs in an east/west direction, effectively dividing the reservoir into a northern and a southern section each of which is further divided by an east/west dwarf wall 1.5 metres high. The roof is composed of series of brick 'jack' arches which ruin at right angles to the internal dividing walls. It supported by cast iron girders with barreled brick infill, and is turf covered. The cast iron girders have a heavier a wider section in the middle of the spans where the bending moment is greatest, whilst the hardwood columns taper from a 356mm square section at the bottom to a 254mm octagonal section at the top on which sit matching cast iron caps to support the ends of the cast iron arch support beams. The arches are covered with a layer of concrete and about 450mm of soil sown with grass.
1864/1876 - Paddington Reservoir
255a Oxford Street, Paddington
Like the Crown Street reservoir, the Paddington reservoir "plays an important role as an open space in an otherwise densely built-up city suburb. Although perhaps not initially intended as a welcome respite of green space, the grassed surface became the Walter Read Reserve in 1953 and was a popular recreational space, used by the local residents. Since the 1950s there have been a number of attempts to demolish the reservoir and/or use the space for carparking but these have all failed due to community support for its retention.
The original reservoir was constructed in 1864 and was basically duplicated to the west in 1876. The structure comprises two main chambers measuring approximately 33.4 metres by 31.2 metres each. The two chambers are separated by a division wall to enable either of the chambers to be emptied. Within each chamber a second lower masonry wall, with piers over, divides the chamber in half. The reservoir was decommissioned in the late nineteenth century and subsequently used for storage and latterly as a mechanical workshop associated with a service station on Oxford Street. After a roof collapse behind the garage in 1990 the reservoir site was fenced off and disused, but has been turned into a popular public space.
1880/1917 - Waverley Reservoirs
Waverley Park, Waverley
The progressive advances in reservoir design and construction are evidenced in this reservoir, which along with Crown Street Reservoir (1859), Paddington Reservoir (1864), Woollahra Reservoir (1880), and the Centennial Park Reservoir No1, is one of the oldest service reservoirs still in active use in Sydney.
Waverley Reservoir No1, is a circular concrete tank 32.5 metres in diameter. The roof is an unusual design and consists of three concentric concrete barrel arches built around a central circular concrete access pier, which was then covered in earth and sown with grass.
For the first six years it received water which was pumped from Woollahra reservoir by a pumping station and rising main. In 1893, Crown Street Pumping Station subsumed this function. It continued to supply Waverley using steam driven pumps until 1927, when a new major electric pumping station took over. At this time, Waverley No.2 was commissioned (built 1917). It became clear by 1894 however, that elevation would need to be increased and thus two elevated steel tanks with a combined capacity of 182,000 litres were erected with a water level 6 metres higher than that of the surface reservoir. These tanks were eventually superseded by the present concrete elevated reservoir. It is now filled by pumpage from Waterloo. The Reservoir is still in service and has a capacity of 4.59 megalitres. It is situated on the highest point of Waverley Park and is similar in design to the Petersham Reservoir (both forming part of the Upper Nepean Scheme).
Gladstone Park in the inner west suburb of Balmain covers an old, abandoned water storage reservoir. Rectangular in shape and around the size of a football field, the concrete reservoir, which has been close to empty for many years, about 15m high, given the appearance of a gigantic subterranean cavern according to those who have accessed it. A sealed stairway leads down to a central causeway which has ladders descending to the floor on either side. An overflow, and inlet valve, float operated. The many, regularly spaced concrete columns no doubt were responsible for the exceptional echo characteristics of the empty facility. A matted veil of tree roots drape along the end wall. Rusting pipes, valves and pieces of machinery fill the adjacent pumping machine room.
The Upper Nepean Nepean System
The Upper Nepean Scheme was commenced in 1880 after it was realised that the Botany Scheme was insufficient to meet Sydney's water supply needs. The Nepean project consisted of the construction of a weir across the Nepean River to divert of the rivers, Cataract, Cordeaux, Avon and Nepean, to the Prospect Reservoir. The Upper Nepean Scheme, completed 1888, was Sydney's fourth water supply. The scheme tapped the headwaters of the Nepean River and its tributaries, the Cataract, Cordeaux, and Avon Rivers. The system consisted of a number of diversion weirs which traversed streams and fed into a collection of tunnels, canals and aqueducts known as the Upper Canal. The canal transported the water to Prospect reservoir. From here, the Lower Canal, which moved the water to a basin at Guildford, now known as Pipehead. At this point, the water was piped to a service reservoir at Pott's Hill, thence to Crown Street and a group of minor service reservoirs located around the City.
By 1902, the population of Sydney had grown to 523,000 and a severe drought caused the water level in Prospect Reservoir to drop below the limit of gravitational flow to the canal. The seriousness of the situation moved the Government in March 1902 to appoint a Royal Commission to inquire into and report upon the Sydney water supply system. The major finding was that a storage dam be constructed to a point just below the junction of Cataract Creek with Cataract River.
The Act authorising the construction of the Cataract Dam am was passed in 1902, providing for a wall 48.7m high. The dam was built by the Public Works Department and the construction contract was let to Lane and Peters. The Principal Assistant Engineer, EM DeBurgh, was given special responsibility for construction. By June 1903, much of the area to be submerged had been cleared of timber and by the end of the year the foundation excavations were in progress.
Construction of the Cataract Dam was completed in 1907. The site for a second storage dam, to be built on the Cordeaux River, was selected by the Water Board in the latter part of 1911 and a gauging weir was constructed. The dam was not begun until 1918 and was completed in 1926. In November of 1918 a Special Board of Experts recommended the construction of the Avon and Nepean Dams as well. The Cordeaux Dam was built by the Public Works Departments.
The Pumping Station at the Prospect Reservoir is a central controlling structure in the Upper Nepean Scheme, regulating the release of water from Prospect Reservoir (maximum rate 450 megalitres/day) to the Lower Canal for conveyance to Pipe Head, thence to Sydney. Since 1960, Prospect has been supplied by Warragamba, rather than the Upper Nepean Dams.
1902 - 07. Cataract Dam, Cataract Dam Road
Construction of the Cataract Dam was the major step towards the ultimate provision of a reliable water supply for Sydney. It is the first of the major water supply dams to be built in Australia, being larger than both of the earlier Avon and Nepean Dams. The dam was a testing ground for engineering innovation and structural technology, being the first water storage apparatus constructed within Australia to utilise the cyclopean masonry civil engineering technique. Further to this, the building team made extensive use of electricity as a powerful new construction tool, and used production line techniques for the quarrying of stone blocks for the first time.
The dam is built of cyclopean masonry, composed of sandstone blocks weighing from two to four and a half tons. These were quarried at the site and bedded in cement mortar. The vertical joints were filled with basalt or sandstone concrete. The upstream face consisted of basalt concrete moulded blocks set in a cement mortar. The downstream face was of basalt concrete, 1.8m thick in the lower section and 0.9m thick in the upper section. There were two lines of 122cm diameter pipes which passed through the dam and discharged water into the river. The flow is controlled by a Larner Johnson Needle valve. The upstream parapet was castellated with sandstone blocks while the top of the downstream wall was corbelled in concrete. The water from Cataract is discharged into the Cataract River downstream to Broughton's Pass. From here it is diverted into the Cataract tunnel, the first of the Upper Canal structures by which it is conveyed to Prospect reservoir. The total cost of construction of the dam was £329,136
The reservoir was filled to capacity for the first time on 13 January 1911. However, it was realised that the spillway should be widened to avoid the risk of floodwaters overtopping the wall. This work was completed in 1915. Cataract Dam presently serves the suburbs to the west of Sydney and those of Wollongong, and remains a symbol of engineering innovation at the turn of the century. It provides a venue for passive recreation within the cartilage of the dam and its immediate surrounding catchment.
The Cordeaux Dam was the second major storage dam built during the second stage of the Upper Nepean Water Supply Scheme.
An arched dam, it is primarily composed of cyclopean masonry consisting of sandstone blocks quarried from the site and embedded in concrete. Each end of the Dam wall is flanked by sandstone pylons in the Federation Egyptian style, of giant scale. These are adorned with a decorative motif (lotus columns) and contribute to overall aesthetic. The upstream face consists of hard basaltic stone, used in preference to softer sandstone, 0.6m thick, merging into sandstone concrete 1.8m in width at lower levels and 1.2m at higher levels. The downstream face consists of sandstone concrete 1.2m thick. Most of the plant machinery on the dam site was operated electronically, and the current was supplied from the State Power Station at Port Kembla by transmission lines 22.5km in length. Cordeaux Dam currently stores water for the South Coast and Wollongong regions.
1926 - 35. Nepean Dam, Avon Dam Road, Bargo
The last of the Upper Nepean supply dams to be built, Nepean Dam was completed in 1935, signalling the conclusion of the Upper Nepean Scheme. During the period, major advances in engineering technology had been made and the dam represents the culmination of innovation in civil infrastructure, epitomising the first thirty years of the 20th century. The Dam presently serves suburbs of greater Sydney, and remains a symbol of engineering innovation at the turn of the century.
The dam wall is curved in plan and the body built of cyclopean masonry. This consists of large blocks of sandstone quarried at the site, embedded in and surrounded by sandstone concrete. To ensure water tightness, all construction joints are grouted. The upstream face consists of blue metal concrete 1.3m thick while the downstream face is of similar material 0.9m thick. Inspection galleries are set within the wall, with pressure and drainage pipes from the foundations and rubble drains lead into them. Provision is made for any leakage of water past the copper seals in the contraction joints to be conducted into the galleries and thence drained away. Water is discharged by means of two 0.9m diameter outlet pipes controlled by 0.9m Glenfield-Kennedy needle valves. Although the capacity is similar to the Cataract and Cordeaux Dams, its catchment basin is two to three times greater than those two respectively.
1921 - 27. Avon Dam, Avon Dam Road
Avon Dam was the third and largest of the four water supply dams built in the development of the Upper Nepean Water Supply Scheme. Designed to impound a huge volume of water, it was large by international standards of the time. The dam remains the second largest in the Sydney water supply system. Like the others in the Nepean Scheme, it is valued esthetically for the fine execution of its decorative Egyptian pylons which flank the entrances to the dam wall.
The dam wall is curved in plan and has a spillway channel constructed as an open cut through a ridge between the Reservoir and a watercourse. It discharges into the Avon River approximately 0.8km below the dam. In 1971, work was commenced in order to alleviate uplift pressure and leakage through the foundations of the dam wall. This was carried out in accordance with modern design and engineering techniques, involving the support of the downstream face of the wall with an embankment of quarried sandstone blocks and sandstone fill, the latter being compacted by grid and vibratory rollers. The spillway was also modified from the original 1.2 m high mass concrete weir, and transformed into a sawtooth shape.
Work on the dam commenced in 1921. It was completed in 1927 and handed over to the Water Board in 1928. The Dam currently serves the Wollongong area. An electrical pumping station located at Flying Fox Creek, facilitates the transfer of water over the Great Dividing Range to the Wollongong and Shell Harbour areas.
North Shore Water Supply
The Upper Nepean system met the need for supplying water to the districts surrounding the railway along the North Shore line. Water was conveyed to the North Shore via the Upper Canal and distributed from Pipehead. The basin at Pipehead was used to supply suction water to a major new steam pumping station built at Ryde (the forebear of the current Ryde pumping station) which pumped water to the two reservoirs WS024 and WS025 at Chatswood. Built in 1888, these reservoirs were a key component in the supply of water to the Chatswood area. As their top water level was 113 metres above sea level, the pair were able to service the suburbs of Chatswood, North Sydney, Mosman, and a small portion of Ryde by gravity. Supply to Manly could also be obtained from the reservoirs by means of gravitation through Mosman reservoir after it was built in 1904. The reservoirs also supplied suction water to a steam pumping station, constructed adjacent to them in 1895. This was pumped to two 90 kilolitre elevated steel tanks at Wahroonga for supply to the Upper North Shore. In 1972, a 54 megalitre welded steel reservoir was constructed adjacent to R024 and R025.
1888 - Chatswood Reservoirs, 559 Pacific Highway, Artarmon
Chatswood Reservoirs were key structures in the provision of the North Shore's first substantial water supply, made possible by
the commissioning in 1888 of the Upper Nepean Scheme. They reflect construction methodology common to reservoirs built around the turn of the century, in that they are the riveted wrought iron style favoured by engineers of the Public Works Department at the time. Reservoirs WS024 and WS025 are each constructed of riveted cast iron, and are 30.5 metres in diameter, with a water depth of 9.6 metres and are seated on concrete floors. They are painted a dark olive green and are surrounded by numerous mature tree species.
1900 - Pymble Reservoir
The only other totally in-ground water reservoirs on Sydney's north shore are at Pymble. Pymble Reservoir No. 1, a circular brick covered reservoir, was constructed in 1900 to meet local supply. Pymble Reservoir No.2 is a fine example of a concrete covered reservoir in an earthen embankment, or partly excavated into rock. The roof of the reservoir is grassed over and is now used as bowling greens by Pymble Bowling Club.
Botany Swamps sewerage works
WASTE WATER MANAGEMENT
In the early 1850s, Sydney had a rudimentary sewerage system consisting of five sewers draining to the Harbour and serving an area little larger than what is now the Central Business District. In 1873, Sydney Harbour was found to be grossly polluted with water-borne diseases. After a severe outbreak of typhoid fever in 1875 the government created the Sydney City and Suburban Health Board to investigate an alternative means of disposing of the City's growing sewage waste. This led to the construction of the Bondi Ocean Outfall Sewer (BOOS) and the Southern and Western Suburbs Ocean Outfall System (SWSOOS) and the creation of the low level sewage pumping station system to transfer sewage against gravitation in low lying areas around the Harbour. More than 115 pumping stations were in operation by the late 1950s'. The physical manifestations of the first 50 years of this system are the station superstructures, the majority of which are still functioning today.
The White's Creek and Johnson's Creek Aqueducts, an essential part of the Southern and Western Suburbs Ocean Outfall System (SWSOOS), were the first large reinforced concrete structures to be built in NSW. The method used for their design was the "Monier System". Plans were drawn up in 1890. On his own initiative, the Chief Engineer, Baltzer, modified the proposal to incorporate Monier concrete arches supporting a reinforced concrete conduit. In 1895, owing to a downturn in the economy, he was retrenched. However, the structure was highly successful, evidenced by its durability, as it is currently in very good condition and still in use within the BOOS system. The Johnson's Creek Aqueduct and the White's Creek Aqueduct were the first civil engineering structures in NSW to be designed using the Monier technique, and are among the first within Australia.
Whites Creek Aqueduct
Johnston's Creek Sewer Aqueduct, Hogan Park, Off Taylor Street, Annandale/ Glebe
Along with the White's creek Aqueduct, the Johnson's Creek Aqueduct was one of the first major reinforced concrete structures to be built in Australia. It is testimony to the foresight of W.J.Baltzer, the Chief Engineer whom instigated the use of the Monier reinforced concrete technique, which gave the structure durability and strength. It was a key component of the first extension of the BOOS system, constructed eight years after the System became operational. The Aqueduct presently carries the sewage derived from the Glebe/Balmain/ Annandale areas across White's Creek on its journey to the ocean at Bondi. Externally, it has a rectangular conduit with an internal U shape approx 0.9m wide by approx. 1.2m deep, and is carried by eight main brick arches, each of 25.6m centre to centre, and a number of minor arches. The total length of the span is 15 chains.
Whites Creek Aqueduct, Piper Street, Leichhardt
Close to the Johnson's Creek Aqueduct, the White's creek Aqueduct was one of the first major reinforced concrete structures to be built in Australia.
MAn original key component of the upstream extension of the BOOS (then called the Main Northern Sewer), it presently carries the sewage derived from the Balmain/ Annandale areas across White's Creek on its journey to the ocean at Bondi. It has similar specifications to the Johnston's Creek Sewer Aqueduct.
The Bondi System is Sydney's oldest ocean outfall system, it was built to serve the inner city area and nearby suburbs and to intercept the original sewers then draining to the harbour. The system now drains an area of some 3560 hectares immediately south of Port Jackson and extending fr
om the coast to Balmain, including the city commercial centre. Begun in 1880, the original Northern Bondi Sewer Outfall was built by the Government and transferred to the Board of Water Supply and Sewerage in 1889. At that time, sewage treatment was virtually unknown, surf bathing was against the law between 8.00 a.m. and 8.00 p.m., and Bondi was a wasteland of scrub, sand hills and lagoons.
The brick lined oviform (egg shaped) sewer runs from the outfall, near the Bondi Golf Links, directly under Blair Street. It continues in a straight line through Bellevue Hill, crossing beneath Blaxland, Bellevue and Manning Roads to the corner of Ocean and Trelawney Streets where it curves gently to run beneath Liverpool Street into the City. Blair Street originally had the unsavoury, but practical, name of "Sewer Road". In March 1914, two residents living in nearby Old South Head Road wrote to Waverley Council "suggesting that a new name be given to Sewer Road".
Sewage Pumping Station 271, Carrington Road, Marrickville
In 1889, the newly constructed Board of Water Supply and Sewerage assumed responsibility for the water and sewerage service from the City Council. This instigated a gradual move away from the practice of combining sewerage and stormwater and led to the commencement of the BOOS which discharged into the ocean at Bondi and the South Western system which drained to a sewage farm at Botany. A series of low level sewage pumping stations were constructed to transport waste against gravity by means of a series of rising mains. The low level portions of Marrickville, Newtown, Erskineville, Alexandria and St.Peters are still serviced by a low level sewer which discharges into the wells of Marrickville Pumping Station. The sewage is then pumped to the high level of the Eastern Branch of the SWOOS. Marrickville SPS also receives stormwater discharge from the Central stormwater channel during certain high tides in the Cooks River.
SPS 271 is one of the oldest SPS's still functioning, and presently discharges into the SWOOS. The Marrickville SPS complex consists of a combined boiler house and engine room, a large chimney stack and a residence. The residence is an unadorned two storey brick building designed in Federation Queen Anne style. The pumping station/ boiler house is designed in classic Federation Romanesque style decorated with Gothic buttresses.
Sewage Pumping Station 42, Bennelong Road, Homebush Bay
SPS 42 is a representative example of a simple, robust, purpose-built industrial building which displays architectural details in Federation Free style. The station, located within the grounds of the Former State Brickworks, still performs its original use, serving the Western Sewer.
1896 - Sewage Pumping Station 2 , Pyrmont Bridge Rd & Wattle Street, Pyrmont
The Station is a conventional Low Level Sewage Pumping Station (LLSPS) serving the Bondi Ocean Outfall Sewer (BOOS). Housed within a small, one storey building constructed in Federation Queen Anne style, it continues to function as a Low Level Sewage Pumping Station. The station is one of twenty similar stations built in the first generation of LLSPSs late in the 19th century. In the subsequent development of other Ocean Outfall Sewers to serve the southern, western and northern suburbs, more than 115 pumping stations were in operation by the late 1950s.
Whites Creek Aqueduct
1897 - Lewisham Aqueduct, Grosvenor Crescent East, Lewisham
The Lewisham Aqueduct remains a key functioning component of the Southern and Western Suburbs Ocean Outfall Sewer system and made possible the progressive development of municipal services to the southern and western suburbs. It is unique within Australia and possibly the world in its style of construction, using an oviform section rather a conventional circular section. This was a significant technological advance as it enabled the velocity of the flow to be maintained even in lower volume levels. In addition to this, architectural detailing is finely executed and displays a high level of craftsmanship in the riveted ironwork.
The Lewisham Aqueduct is a component of the Dobroyd "Sub-branch," carrying sewage across Lane Cove Creek at the upstream end of the Hawthorne canal, near to Lewisham Railway Station. The Aqueduct carries the sewage derived from the densely populated suburbs of Dobroyd Point, Haberfield and parts of Ashfield, including some which is pumped by low level pumping station. It consists of an oviform cast iron pipe 1.4m x 1.1m and supported on five well executed stonework faced concrete piers.
The Gold rushes of the 1850's brought prosperity to Victoria and New South Wales and the buildings of the 19th Century reflect the confidence and wealth of the Victorian era in Australia. Whilst brick was the most commonly used building material for homes, sandstone reigned supreme in the construction of commercial and government buildings. By the 1850's the quarries of Sydney had been built in and it was no longer possible to use them. Not only that, the sandstone now being extracted from Pyrmont, Glebe and Balmain was a far harder rock which did not erode and crumble as easily as stone from sites like Kent Street and Bennelong Point.
When, in 1855, the Colonial Architect Edmund Blackett insisted that the stone for the replacement steps and entrance to the Australian Museum had to come from the best bed of the Pyrmont quarries', Pyrmont's quarries were placed 'on the map'. Blackett gave up his job to build Sydney's new university at Grose Farm, Over half of the 44 quarry men registered as working the Pyrmont sandstone were kept busy for the best part of the decade supplying stone for the Great Hall, Library, Lecture block and early colleges of the university. The rest of Pyrmont's quarry men were by no means idle. Contemporary records show that 130 to 140 loads of stone were being carted off to Sydney each day for use as ballast in ships, in the building of road and railway bridges, and road side kerbing, much of which still lines Sydney's streets.
Many of the quarry men were among the workers recruited from Clyde in Scotland by Presbyterian Minister Dr John Dunmore Lang in 1831. Initially, the settled them in Millers Point where they worked the Kent Street Quarry, but as the superior Pyrmont stone became more widely known and the preferred choice of builders, they moved to Pyrmont. Their stone was to win 1st prize in exhibitions in Melbourne, Amsterdam, India and Chicago between 1880 and 1893. It was some of the best sandstone in the world, and was tested to withstand pressure of up to 100,00 pounds per square inch.
Of the quarry men who worked the Pyrmont/Ultimo peninsula, two came into prominence during the 1850's and by the 1870's had swallowed up most of the smaller operations into their business empires. Devonshire born Charles Saunders had married his boss's daughter when he was a stone mason's labourer before he migrated to Australia with his family in 1852, age 28. At the time, there were 15 quarries operating on the Pyrmont Peninsula, most of which were supplying ballast for ships and the new railway being built between Sydney to Parramatta. Saunders began working the cliffs above what is now Wentworth Park, supplying railway ballast as a supplement to his income from the Quarryman's Arms, an inn which he operated with his wife. As his quarry was one of the closest to Blackett's University construction site, he became the main supplier of stone for the project. In 1855, the Australian Steam Navigation Company acquired Darling Island upon which it would build one of Australia's foremost slipways and engineering workshops. In preparation for it's construction, they contracted Saunders to level the island and connect it to the mainland.
The appointment of John Barnet to the post of Colonial Architect heralded the start of a boom era in public building construction in Sydney in which Pyrmont sandstone was to feature prominently. Builder John Young, hired by Barnet to supervise construction of many of the projects, took out a quarrying lease on the escarpment just north of Fig Street so that he could supply the stone for Barnet's projects. Young quickly found himself out of his depth and turned to neighbouring lessee, Saunders, for assistance. He began to establish a dominance that the family business was to hold over the area for a number of decades and to extend their operations from Saunders' original Wattle Street site initially up to Miller Street and in future decades around the peninsula to Johnston Bay.
Paradise Quarry site - north Bank Street to the west of Miller and Jones Street
Over the next 50 years, Saunders had 300 men in him employ and enjoyed such financial success he was able to retire early. He passed the business over to son Robert. John, Robert and Thomas McCredie enjoyed similar success though, being builders first and foremost, they had a knowledge to succeed in doing what Young had failed to do. In 1868, Thomas leased land on the northern tip of the peninsula from Edward Macarthur and from the quarries he established there was able to supply the family company with stone used for the many buildings erected during Sydney's 1860s public building boom. these included the General Post Office and offices of the Colonial Secretary's and Public Works Department. Not all the stone for their building projects came from McCredie's however. Even working at maximum capacity, their quarries could supply less than a quarter of the stone needed, so great was the demand.
When the CSR began moving into Pyrmont in 1877 they turned to the quarry men to level their land and provide building materials for their refinery. Robert Saunders began introducing new technologies which led to the re-opening of many quarries which had been abandoned where all the rock to ground level had been extracted. By using steam-powered cranes and specially imported sawing machines with steam driven iron blades, Saunders was able to extract the harder stone found below ground level from the abandoned sites.
He began with his father's quarry at the foot of Miller Street which was nicknamed 'Paradise' and its neighbour 'Half-way' because of the degree of difficulty encountered in extracting the harder rock. Officially known as the Saunders Quarry, it operated from the mid
-1800s until the 1920s and provided the building blocks and decorative carvings for the GPO, the Queen Victoria Building and Sydney Town Hall, among others. It was called 'Paradise' because its stone was strong enough to use as structural material but could easily be manipulated into any shape the mason wanted for intricate, decorative work. It cut easily when it was soft and grey out of the ground but hardened and turned a golden brown over time. 'Purgatory', to the south between Fig and Quarry Streets in Wattle Street, was an old family site. It was more recently used as a Council works depot. 'Hell Hole' was the quarry where Young had attempted to work the rock more than two decades before, which produced a similarly high quality stone.
By the beginning of the 1880s, Saunders had abandoned quarrying sites on the western side of the peninsular and he moved on to the harder stone to the north, leaving gaping holes in the landscape which filled with stagnant water. Eventually he worked practically the whole of the north east end of the peninsula which produced stone blocks used in the construction of many of Sydney's sandstone buildings of the late Victoria era. In 1883, when the McCredie brothers purchased stone from Saunders for the Pitt Street extension of the General Post Office, he employed 27 cranes, 100 men and over 50 horses at work in the quarry on their project alone.
The activities of Pyrmont's quarryman began to lessen as steel and concrete became the preferred building materials and ind
ustry quickly enveloped Pyrmont. Off the rock extracted in the early 1900s, much was fashioned into kerbstones for Sydney's streets and for trimmings like window sills and doorsteps. After the Great War, quarrying projects were more often for site clearance and levelling than for the extraction building material. Saunders' last major quarrying project was the levelling of Glebe Island to make way for grain silos. In 1905, the City Council leased from him a hole at the corner of Wattle and Fig Streets for a tar distillation plant. It was from this site that Saunders had supplied them with most of their kerbstones over the previous four decades.
Lands Department building, Bridge Street - built from Pyrmont sandstone
POPULAR ARCHITECTURAL STYLES
Sailor's Home, 106 George Street, The Rocks
Campbell's Storehouses, Circular Quay West, The Rocks (1839-61)
Garryowen House, Rozelle Hospital, Balmain Road, Lilyfield (1840)
Westpac Bank Museum, 47 George Street, The Rocks (1842
; John Bibb)
Hero of Waterloo - 81 Lower Fort Street, Millers Point (1844)
Single-storey terrace houses, Burton Street, Darlinghurst (c1845)
Two-storey terrace houses, Albion Street, Surry Hills (1847)
Formerly Lily Cottage, 176 Cumberland Street, Sydney (1847)
Victoria Barracks, Oxford Street, Paddington (1848; George Barney)
145 Macquarie Street, Sydney (1848; John Bibb)
Margaretta Cottage, 6 Leichhardt Street, Glebe (1848)
Sexton's Cottage, 250 West Street, Crows Nest (1850)
Former Forth & Clyde Hotel, 101 Mort Street, Balmain (1850s)
133 Macquarie Street, Sydney (1856)
Bidura Children's Court, 357 Glebe Point Road, Glebe (1858; Edmund Blacket)
Sailor's Home, 106 George Street, The Rocks (1864)
EF House, 5-7 Young Street, The Rocks (1864)
Manor House Restaurant, 393 Darling Street, Balmain (1870; Edmund Blacket)
The Gallipoli Club, 12-14 Loftus Street, Sydney (1876)
A continuation of the Colonial Regency style, which was to remain popular throughout the Victorian period.
Similar to Colonial Regency, often with exposed brick and masonry on corners, cantilevered balconies, windows and doors surmounted by external entablatures, cast iron verandah posts.
Macquarie Field House, Macquarie Fields (1840; Samuel Perry?)
The Priory, Gladesville Hospital, Gladesville (1840s)
Terrace houses, Lower Fort Street, Sydney (1840s)
Australian Youth Hostel, Bay Street, Glebe (1852)
Loretto College, 85-87 Carabella Street, Kirribilli (1852)
Strickland House, Carrara Road, Vaucluse (1856; John Frederick Tilly)
Margaretta Cottage, 6 Leichhardt Street, Glebe Point (1860; Michael Golden)
Woollahra House Stables, 4 Longworth Avenue, Point Piper (1862)
Fiona, 188-190 New South Head Road, Edgecliff (1864; J.F. Tilly)
Colonial Secretary's Office, 121 Macquarie Street, Sydney (1875)
A scholarly architectural style used almost exclusively in non residen
tial building design. Based on the extroverted pomp and grandeur of imperial Rome, it revives various elements of European Renaissance architecture with both Roman and Grecian influences.
Grandiose and monumental in style, with richly modelled masonry, stucco, pediments featured. Evident in numerous forms: Italianate, Free Classical and Academic Classical, the latter being the more conservative, saw columns, balustrades and free flowing steps given predominance. Towers, vaults and onion domes were predominant features of Free Classical. Italianate style followed the traditions of the Roman villa, with towers and wings, and was deemed particularly suited to post offices, public schools, hospitals etc).
Academic Classical examples:
Congregational Church, 264 Pitt Street, Sydney (1846: John Bibb)
Commonwealth Bank, 11 Barrack Street, Sydney (1850; John Bibb)
Treasury Building, 117 - 119 Macquarie Street, Sydney (1851; Mortimer Lewis)
Colonial Secretary's Office, 121 Macquarie Street, Sydney (1875)
Customs House, Alfred Street, Sydney (1887; James Barnet)
Harbour Rocks Hotel, 34-52 Harrington Street, The Rocks (1890)
Free Classical examples:
General Post Office, Martin Place, Sydney (1866; James Barnet)
The Corn Exchange; 173-85 Sussex Street, Sydney (1887; George McRae)
North Sydney Town Hall, Pacific Highway, North Sydney
Dept. of Lands, Bridge Street, Sydney (1891; James Barnet)
Capitol Theatre (Former New Belmore Markets), Campbell Street, Sydney (1893; George McRae)
Rawson House (Cranbrook), Victoria Road, Bellevue Hill (1860)
Nightingale Wing, Sydney Hospital, Macquarie Street, Sydney (1869; Thomas Rowe)
Former Police Station, 129 George Street, Sydney (1882; James Barnet)
Redfern Post Office, Redfern Street, Redfern (
1882; James Barnet)
Bourke Street School, Bourke Street, Surry Hills (1883; William E Kemp)
New South Wales Club, 31 Bligh Street, Sydney (1884; William Wardell)
Paddington Town Hall, Oxford street, Paddington (1891; William E Kemp)
Technology Museum, Harris Street, Ultimo (1892; William E Kemp)
Central Police Court, 112 Liverpool Street, Sydney (1892; James Barnet)
179 Bridge Road, Glebe (terrace)
1 - 9 Arcadia Road, Glebe (1895)
High Victorian examples:
Wybalena, 3 Jeannert Avenue, Hunters Hill (1874)
Waiwera, 9 Woolwich Road, Hunters Hill (1876) - semi
337 - 345 Liverpool Street, Sydney (1863-64) - 3 storey terraces
The Australian Museum, 8 College Street, Sydney
By 1830, Greek Revival was the height of fashion in Europe and America. Inspired by the temples of ancient Greece, its was a style based on symetrical restraint and geometrical proportion and featured stone Doric, Ionic or Corinthian order and pediments, often with gabled roof and colonnades. In Australia, Greek Revival was often created by adding Greek portico to Georgian style buildings. The Grecian style was introduced into the Australian streetscape by Mortimer Lewis with the Darlinghurst Courthouse. It had a dramatic effect, and received immediate acceptance. It seemed totally appropriate for courthouses, libraries and museums, all of which are associated with the ideals of learning and justice, to reflect the architecture of ancient Greece, the culture which first championed those ideals. As a result, the Grecian style was adopted almost universally across New South Wales for buildings of that nature from the 1840s right through to the beginning of the 20th Century.
Cell Block, Gladesville Hospital, Gladesville (1838; Mortimer Lewis)
Darlinghurst Court House, Forners Street, Darlinghurst (1844: Mortimer Lewis)
43 George Street, The Rocks (1848; John Bibb)
The Australian Museum, 8 College Street, Sydney (1854; Mortimer Lewis)
Boronia House, 624-632 Military Road, Mosman
The tightly packed terrace houses of the inner suburbs are the most common examples of this style, their elaborate and finely detailed ironwork on verandahs being a symbol of the opulent Victorian era. Filigree came into its own at a time when the gold rushes brought sudden wealth and sudden increases in population, leading to its application in all aspects of residential buildings, from single-storey workers cottages and to multi-storey mansions and terraces to house everyone from the poor to the rich. Extended into the Federation era when it used extensively for rambling corner hotels in country towns.
The final extension of the Colonial Georgian style, in which the verandah, with its intricately textured screens, fringes and columns, was the dominant feature.
Playfair House & terraces, 2-14 Ridge Street, North Sydney (1881)
Boronia House, 624-632 Military Road, Mosman (1885)
Braeside, Elliott Street, Balmain (1887; Albert Bond)
Terrace houses, Merriman Street, Sydney (1870s)
Camden Cottage, Hereford Street, Glebe (1889)
533 Bridge Road, Glebe (1874)
Keribree, 55 Bridge Road, Glebe
Greycliffe House, Nielsen Park, Vaucluse
An extension of Gothick architecture, revived in the late Victorian era in the form of Academic Gothic (mainly ecclesiastical in character), Rustic Gothic and Free Gothic.
Academic Gothic examples:
The Dower house, 188-190 New South Head Road, Edgecliff (1840s)
St Patricks Church, 20 Grosvenor Street, Sydney (1844; John Frederick Hilly)
Carthona, 5 Carthona Avenue, Darling Point (1844)
Greycliffe House, Nielsen Park, Vaucluse (1844?; John Hilly)
Government House, Botanical Gardens, Sydney (1845; Edward Blore, Mortimer Lewis)
St Thomas's Church, The Boulevard, Enfield (1847; John Frederick Hilly)
Richmond Villa, 120 Kent Street, Millers Point (1849; Mortimer Lewis)
St Mark's Church, Darling point Road, Darling Point (1852; Edmund Blacket)
Justice & Police Museum, Phillip Street, Sydney (1856; Edmund Blacket)
Great Hall and Main Quadrangle, University of Sydney, Darlington (1859; Edmund Blacket)
The Abbey, 272 Johnston Street, Annandale (1881; John young)
St Mary's Cathedral, College Street, Sydney (1882; William Wardell)
St Patrick's Seminary, Darley Road, Manly (1885; Sheerin & Hennessy)
Hunter Baillie Presbyterian Church, Johnstone Street, Annandale (1888; Cyril & Arthur Blacket)
Free Gothic examples:
Kirribilli House, Kirribilli Point (1855)
Redfern Mortuary Terminal, Regent Street, Redfern (1868; James Barnet)
St Stephen's Church, Church Street, Newtown (1874; Edmund Blacket)
The Hermitage, 22 Vaucluse Avenue, Vaucluse (1870s)
Greenwood Hotel, 36 Blue Street, North Sydney (1877; G.A. Mansfield)
The Great Synagogue, Elizabeth Street, Sydney (1878; Thomas Rowe)
Former Public School, Sussex Street, Sydney (1878; G.A. Mansfield)
The Five Bells, 131-135 George Street, The Rocks (1886; William Wardell)
Rustic Gothic examples:
Roslyndale, 38 Roslyndale Avenue, Woollahra (1856; Francis Clarke)
St Mark's Rectory, Darling Point Road, Darling Point (1873; Edmund Blacket)
Toxteth Lodge, Toxteth Road, Glebe (1877; G.A. Mansfield)
Reussdale Terrace, 152 Bridge Road, Glebe (1868)
Hamilton, 156 Bridge Road, Glebe (1869)
ASN Building, 1 - 5 Hickson Road, The Rocks (1883)
Ruperra, Darling Point Road, Darling Point (1885)
Hardware House, 72 York Street, Sydney
An extension of the Classical style which was influenced by the Mannerist style of 16th and early 17th century Italy. Seen in public and commercial buildings only. Used to great effect for public buildings and banks in country towns.
Heavy, symmetrical and monumental in style, featuring belted columns, layered pilasters and piers, undulating facades and prominent skyline features such as pediments and towers.
City Bank House, Pitt Street, Sydney (1893; G.A. Mansfield)
Hardware House, 72 York Street, Sydney (1880s)
Sydney Town Hall, George Street, Sydney
Named after the style of luxurious, opulent buildings constructed in Paris by Lou
is Napoleon in the 1860s to surpass the grandeur of Napoleon Bonaparte's empire.
Heavily ornamented, pavilion style public and commercial buildings, featuring segmental pediments, dormers, balustraded balconies and high mansard roofs with square and truncated pyramid domes.
Sydney Town Hall, George Street, Sydney (comm. 1868; John Henry Wilson)
The Swifts, Darling Point
Revival of a style that was distinctly British, reflecting English and Scottish architecture of the 16th century and the nostalgic times of Merrie England, Henry VIII and Sir Francis Drake. Its continued popularity in Australia reflected the strong tie between Mother England and its antipodean colonies. Sometimes known as Elizabethan.
Irregular facades, use of medieval motifs, tall chimneys, plain or cantilevered gables, battlemented parapets, towers.
Former Registry Office, Elizabeth Street, Sydney (1859; Alexander Dawson)
St Andrew's College, University of Sydney (1876; William Munro)
The Swifts, Darling Point Road, Darling Point (1882; G.A. Morrell)
O'Connell Gatehouse, Parramatta Park, Parramatta (1885; George McKinnon)
Rockleigh house, 40 Edward Street, North Sydney (1895)
Kilmory, 6 Wentworth Street, Point Piper (1912; J.W. Manson & R.W. Pickering)
Forbes Hotel, 30 York street, Sydney
Inspired by domestic architecture of Europe's Low Countries. Like Tudor, it was a welcome alternative to Classical and Gothic, the predominant styles, and carried over into the Federation period.
Simple, elegant style, almost always in brick, featuring decorated pediments, scrolled or parapeted gables, candle snuffer roofs and towers, arc
Railway Institute, Devonshire Street, Sydney (1890; H.M. Robinson)
Corporation Building, Hay Street, Sydney (1893; George McRae)
Post Office, King Street, Newtown (1894; W.L. Vernon)
Main Building, Santa Sabina Convent, The Boulevard, Strathfield (1897; Sherrin & Hennessy)
Forbes Hotel, 30 York street, Sydney (1901; Sherrin & Hennessy)
Chamberlain Hotel, 420-428 Pitt Street, Sydney (1904)
Braemar, 29 Madeline Street, Hunters Hill
1839-40 - La Renaissance Patisserie (Michael Gannon's House ), 45-47 Argyle Street, The Rocks.
A two storey structure located on land that had originally been part of the Hospital grounds, and then the site of the surgeons residence and garden. The two houses were built by Michael Gannon. Gannon's workshops (builder, manufacturer of coffins) and timber yard occupied the rear of the premises, as did a number of other tenants.
c1842 - Kirribilli House - Mirradong Place, Kirribilli.
Gracious home built by Lieut. Col. J.G.N. Gipps. Because of its strategic location opposite the entrance to Sydney Cove, the Government of 1856 decided to take temporary control of the house and use it as part of its habour defense system. Cannons were mounted in the grounds though they were never used. For some time, the house was used as the official residence of Admirals commanding the British Naval Squadron stationed in Sydney and became known as Admiralty House. It has remained Commonwealth Government property ever since and is now the Sydney residence of the Prime Minister of Australia.
1843 - Admiralty House - Kirribilli Avenue, Kirribilli
This, the larger of the two gracious houses which occupy the prominent north shore headland opposite Sydney Cove, is a single storey sandstone residence built by merchant Robert Campbell. In 1874 it was known as Wotonga. The house was extended and renovated in 1885 in order for it to serve as the residence of the commanding officer of the British Royal Navy's Pacific Squadron. The fancy upper floor lacework was added at this time. Believed by many Sydneysiders to be the city's finest address, Admiralty House is today the Sydney home of Australia's Governor General.
Susannah Place, The Rocks
1844 - Susannah Place, The Rocks
This terrace of four houses and a corner shop is one of the few surviving working class dwellings of its era, and is unique in having a history of domestic occupancy from its construction to 1990. Built for Edward and Mary Riley, who arrived from Ireland with their niece Susannah in 1838, the brick and sandstone houses feature basement kitchens and backyard outhouses. The buildings, which today house a museum o
n working-class history, have survived numerous demolition threats - in 1900 when a Bubonic plague led to hundreds of neighbouring properties being razed; in the 1920s when a three street wide section of The Rocks was cleared to make way for the Harbour Bridge approaches, and the 1970's when ÒGreen bans' imposed by the Builders Labourer's Federation halted numerous demolition and redevelopment projects which would have seen many historic sites such as this lost forever.
1848 - 43 George Street, The Rocks
Designed by architect John Bibb for James Combes and John Martyn, painters, glaziers and plumbers of colonial Sydney who ran their business from the premises. Constructed of local sandstone, hardwood and cedar, it is of Greek Revival design. The building was restored by the National Trust and is run by that body as an historic house. It is built on a site originally owned by merchant Robert Campbell that was sold to Messrs Combes and Martyn in 1841.
Merchants House, The Rocks
1848 - Merchants House (Former Counting House), 43-45 George Street, The Rocks.
A Greek Revival style merchant's town house and office consisting of five levels including basement kitchen, ground floor dining room, first floor drawing room, bedrooms and servants quarters. The planning is typical of a late Georgian period townhouse with kitchen, scullery, and cellars in the basement; ground floor dining room, parlour, and entrance hall; first floor drawing room with french doors onto a cantilevered balcony, and bedrooms on the upper two floors.
1849 - Richmond Villa, 120 Kent Street, Observatory Hill
This gabled sandstone gothic villa was erected for Colonial Architect Mortimer Lewis in 1849 as his private residence, but not on its present site. It was built behind Parliament House facing the Domain from local sandstone and there it sat for over a century, during which time it was taken over as accommodation for parliamentary members. In 1976 the land on which it stood was required for additions to Parliament House, so Richmond Villa was dismantled stone by stone and re-erected on its present site. Today it functions as the headquarters of the Society of Australian Genealogists. Like Glover Cottages next door, it stands on land that marks the original elevation of Kent Street before it was lowered to make the grade of the street easier for bullock drays taking goods to the wharves of Darling Harbour to negotiate. Consequently, Glover Cottages and Richmond Villa stand high and dry above the roadway, which is why the cottages have been nicknamed Noah's Ark.
c.1850. terraces. 46, 48 Argyle Place, Millers Point
Stone Victorian three bedroom Italianate terrace featuring an asymmetrical facade. Constructed of painted stuccoed masonry walls, corrugated galvanised iron roof with decorative cast iron friezes, balustrades and painted timber joinery. Forms part of the significant streetscape element facing Argyle Place.
1863-65 - 37, 39, 41, 43, 45, 47 Kent Street, Millers Point
This residence is one of a group of six two-storey Georgian style, mid Victorian face sandstone terraces, in mostly intact condition, built in Georgian Style. The terraces feature face stone walls painted, slate roofs, basements, a projecting parapet cornice and 12 pane windows. This site was vacant in 1862 and these six terraces were constructed before 1865. They remain largely intact.
1860s - Hexam Terrace, 59, 61, 63 Kent Street, Millers Point
This residence is one of three Victorian two storey terraces forming an important streetscape element. It is part of the Millers Point Conservation Area, an intact residential and maritime precinct that contains residential buildings and civic spaces dating from the 1830's. This is a simple, two storey, two bedroom Victorian stuccoed terrace having arched top sash windows, fanlights above doorways at entrance and above French door to a cantilevered cast iron balcony structure. Features rendered masonry walls and chimney, corrugated galvanised iron roof, cantilevered cast iron bracketed balconies.
Argyle Place, Millers Point
1864 terrace , 62, 64 Argyle Place, Millers Point
A fine two storey mid Victorian terrace house in mostly original external condition which forms part of a significant streetscape element facing Argyle Place. The building features paint finished rendered masonry with decorative window box ledges, and key stones above arched first floor windows. Corrugated galvanised iron roof, cast iron lace columns and ground floor balustrading in Victorian Italianate style.
1866 - Glen Rock Terrace, High Street, Waverley
A set of working class stone cottages, originally with shingled roofs, which were built by Ebeneezer Vickery for the workers at his tannery nearby. All the houses feature stone privies or dunnies on the rear lane which have been remodelled in a variety of different ways. Numbers 10 and 14 are the only ones that remain in their original condition, the rest have been substantially altered.
1877 - Toxteth Lodge, 9 Toxteth Road, Glebe
This cottage was built as a gatehouse for a larger property, Toxteth Park, the home of George Allen who built the mansion in 1831. The mansion still exists and is today St Scolastica's College. The plans for the cottage were lifted from the Tarbuck Encyclopedia of Practical Carpentry and Joinery, 1860, its builder being G.A. Mansfield who completed the task for the sum of £270. It is one of only a handful of 19th century Gothic style cottages surviving in Sydney, another being The Sanctuary, in nearby Campbell Street, Balmain. Originally called L'Ornee, it was built in 1840s and features its own stone gatehouse.
1878 - Lyndcote, Stanley Street, Hunters Hill
The elegant stonework, decorated white bargeboards and shutters are typical of the fine sandstone homes built in Hunters Hill during the Federation era by French stonemasons. The suburb was subdivided and developed by two French brother Jules and Didier Joubert, who were responsible for setting the high class tone of the subdivision and creating the first of many sandstone homes which give this suburb its unique character. Other Frenchmen followed the Joubert's lead, bringing out stonemasons from Italy to build the homes they designed and sold. Lyncote, originally called Windermere, was built by Charles Jeanneret, an Englishman of French Hugeonut extraction who bought eleven acres in the 1870s and over the next twenty years built sixteen homes on the peninsular, one of which was Windermere.
Wybalena, a huge mansion in Jeanneret Avenue, Hunters Hill, was built by Jeanneret in 1874 as the family home. Named after the settlement on Flinders Island, Tasmania, where he had spent his youth, the sixteen room house, with a separate summer house attached, was this size because Jeanneret had eleven children. One of his daughters wrote her name on the wall in pencil. This inscription still exists.
The Abbey, Annandale
1881-82 - The Abbey, 272 Johnston Street, Annandale
Remarkable, extravagant, unusual house built in Federation Gothic style. The original building, a simple cottage, was added to with a front and rear building as well as a tower all made of Pyrmont sandstone. The number of steps, arrangement of the rooms, windows as well as the floor patterns and decorations indicate strong Masonic influences, being obviously patterned on the Scottish Abbey of Kilwinning, though no records exist to indicate it was ever used as a Masonic Lodge. It is believed that the building incorporates part of the old St Marys Cathedral. The Abbey, along with three whimsical houses next door which are known as The Witches Houses because of their witches-hat roofs, was built by architect John Young on land purchased from Commander Robert Johnston in 1876. The man known as the Father of Federation, Sir Henry Parkes, who lived in one of the Witches Houses, died there in 1896.
1890 - 18 Kenilworth Street
, Bondi Junction
A fine example of an essentially intact late Victorian villa incorporating many features that would become the hallmarks of the Federation era home. The L-shaped home featured a long corrugated iron verandah with cast iron columns, lacework (since removed) and a hipped, patterned slate roof, stucco walls, an excellent bay window, eaves brackets and imitation stone quoining. The palisade fence is original.
G1841 - Circular Quay
As shipping increased in Sydney Harbour, it became apparent that the wharves on the western shores of Sydney Cove would soon become incapable of carrying the increased traffic they would be required to take. The harbour itself was deep enough to take the larger ships being built but the jetties and wharves were barely adequate. In 1836, a plan was mooted to reclaim the mudflats at the head of the cove and install a semi-circular seawall around the cove to allow bigger ships to enter and berth there. As the project required the reclamation of land attached to Government House, it received considerable opposition and took five years to win Government and public approval.
Work commenced in 1841, first on the eastern side and later on the western and southern sides (1854) after reclamation of the mudflats had been completed. It was the last major public work to utilise convict labour. Rubble from the Argyle Cut, which at the time was still being carved out of the hillsides of the Rocks, was used as fill behind the stone retaining wall, an area of just under a hectare. The wall was cut from rock quarried on Cockatoo Island and brought to the site by boat. It remains intact today, though parts of it are covered by wharves and concrete. The section of seawall around Farm Cove became known as the 30 year wall because that is how long it took for it to be built (1848 - 1879).
The Argyle Cut
1843 - The Argyle Cut
This hand cut accessway through the peak of the ridge to the west of Sydney was a major engineering feat of its day. Up until the time the cut was completed, The Rocks was a divided community, separated by a rugged and steep rocky outcrop which forms the ridge of the peninsular to the east of Sydney Cove. Building had taken place on either side of the ridge, but people wishing to travel from one side to the other had to either go the long way around Dawes Point or climb a series of rickety stairs.
In 1816, Governor Macquarie floated the idea of cutting a passage through the rock face to join the east and west sides of The Rocks community. As complaints were being voiced both in England and Sydney that Macquarie was wasting precious funds on unnecessary public utilities, Macquarie attempted to raise finance from local business. The only person who showed any interest in the project was fellow Scotsman, James Campbell, the
! colony's most successful merchant who operated his business from premises in The Rocks. In spite of Campbell's enthusiasm, his funds were not forthcoming and Macquarie's attempts to borrow money from the newly formed Bank of New South Wales fell on deaf ears.
The program languished until 1843 when convict chain gangs began their assault on the rock face with whatever hand tool could be found. It was completed in 1864. The rubble from the cut was used to construct many of The Rock's stone buildings of the era including the Hero of Waterloo Hotel (1844), and in the reclamation and construction of the walls of Circular Quay. The Argyle Stairs were built as part of the Cut, which was widened to its present size around the turn of the 20th century.
Dawn Fraser Swimming Pool, Balmain
1881 - Dawn Fraser Swimming Pool
(also known as Elkington Park Baths, Balmain Baths, Corporation Baths, Whitehorse Point Baths), Glassop Street, Balmain
Balmain Council acquired land at White Horse Point for public baths in 1880. When the baths were opened January 1882, men only could use them during daylight hours and at limited times they were opened for women. The pool is irregularly shaped, being enclosed by a timber structure, supported by timber piles where it is above the harbour. The entrance to the baths is marked by a squat tower, which separates two timber buildings following the curve of the foreshore and contain the changing rooms for men and women and the swimming pool office. Nearby, in Elkington Park, is a brick cottage for the manager of the baths.
The complex was refurbished in 1983 and at that time much of the fabric of the building was replaced, the lattice was rebuilt and reinstated and the exterior cladding around the edge of the baths above the water was changed from corrugated iron to timber. In 1964 the pool was renamed in honour of Dawn Fraser, a local resident and Olympic Swimming Champion at three consecutive Olympic Games. Dawn Fraser learnt to swim at the baths and swam with the Leichhardt-Balmain League of Swimmers as a child. She then had two seasons with the Balmain Ladies Club and won two New South Wales Championships.
Eveleigh Railway Workshops
1884-1917 - Eveleigh Railway Workshops, Cornwallis, Burren, Eveleigh, Garden and Wilson Streets, Redfern
The Eveleigh Railway Yards are some of the finest historic railway engineering workshops in the world and Eveleigh contains one of the most complete late 19th century and early 20th century forge installations, collection of cranes and power systems, in particular the hydraulic system. The main purpose of the workshops was to provide the maintenance and repair of locomotives and railway stock and the manufacture of rolling stock such as wagons and passenger carriages. The site for the Eveleigh railway yards was chosen in 1875, resumed in 1878 and the compensation price settled in 1880. Approximately £100,000 was paid for 64.5 acres of land. Clearance began two years later.
Much work went into the design and construction of the buildings because of the sandy nature of the soil. The workshops were set up on both the north and the south sides of the main western and southern railway lines. The Engine Running Shed, now demolished, was the first building completed. The yards continued to grow and expand, and functions were continually changing. In later years workshops at Chullora in 1937 and later Clyde took over aspects of work formerly performed at Eveleigh and functions were rearranged accordingly. Re-organisation and attempts at modernisation in the 1970s came too late. Too much of the machinery was suited only to the steam locomotive era. Buildings containing old equipment, machinery which had become progressively inappropriate to a modern transport era saw the yards decline gradually until their closure in 1988.
In 1991 the NSW Government announced the creation of a technology park at Eveleigh in association with the University of NSW, the University of Sydney and the University of Technology. Decontamination works were carried out to cleared areas of the site progressively. In 1994 Paddy's Markets returned to Haymarket. City West Development Corporation took ownership of the Locomotive Workshops, bays 1-15, in addition to the New Locomotive Shed and the Manager's Office.
Locomotive Workshop: The external walls are of sandstock brickwork laid in English bond with arched window and door openings picked out in white bricks. The pediments have circular vents filled with louvres. The brickwork is modulated into bays forming piers which strengthen the walls. Externally, brick walls feature sandstone cornices, parapets, sills and base courses. The stone generally extends the full depth of the wall. Along the south side of the building are a series of annexes of varying dates of construction. Along the south of the building are two sets of tracks and several associated turntables. To the east in the space between the Loco Shop and the new Loco Shed a track lays parallel to the building, sections of which are now exposed. (State Projects 1995: 60-65)
Carriage Workshops: The construction of these workshops are essentially the same as the Locomotive Workshops.
Paint Shop: A large single storey building containing 8 roads in the brick section and 5 roads in the adjacent metal clad section. Each road is separated by a single row of cast iron columns which support the saw tooth south light roof.
Turntable & Workshop: This is located west of the Large Erecting Shop. Air Raid Shelters: These are scattered along the existing rail corridor, generally located along embankments or cuttings. There are numerous collections of machinery within the buildings on the site, including equipment adjacent to the Locomotive Workshops, and machinery inside the buildings.
Old Ford Road, Kentlyn
1891 - Old Ford Road, Kentlyn
At the end of Georges River Road are the relics of one of the oldest roads in the area and one of three historical routes crossing the upper reaches of the Georges River. The road, which was constructed in the 1890s as part of an employment programme, brought access to the settlements of Eckersley and Holsworthy from Campbelltown and Minto. The settlements on the eastern side of the Georges River were established in 1884 and were the site of numerous vineyards and orchards until 1913 when the land was resumed for the Holsworthy field firing range. The remnants of the settlement are today within the Holsworthy Military Area.
The road was surveyed in 1886 and constructed between 1889 and 1891 at a cost of £1,200. Many of the cuttings, box culverts, sandstone dish drains and buttresses built to support the road as it winds its way through a picturesque wooden valley still exis
St though the causeway/bridge across the river has long gone. Drill hooks are evident in the rock face where quarrying and blasting took place. An illegal whiskey still operated near the ford across the river. The road continues up the hillside on the eastern side of the Georges River though public access to this section of road is denied as it is within the Holsworthy Military Area.
What is today termed the Old Ford Road is part of the original Georges River Road (the section which passes through Holsworthy Army Reserve was later named National Park Road), parts of which still exist. It began near the corner of Liverpool Road (Hume Highway) and Henry Lawson Drive, Milperra and passed in a south westerly direction through the middle of what is now the Holsworthy Military Area to a ford at the junction of Peter Meadows Creek and the Georges River. The section of the road beyond the ford has retained its original name, becoming Broughton Street when it reaches Campbelltown.
A more substantial ford across the Georges River was later built at Frere's Crossing to provide access for a number of families living in that part of the settlement. This deviation quickly replaced the original section of road now contained in the Georges River Nature Reserve. Frere's Crossing got its name from George Pierre Frere, a Frenchman who took up land at Eckersley between the Georges River and Punchbowl Creek. Here he built a house and established a vineyard that later supplied his wine cellar in Sydney. The remains of George Frere's two houses and wine vats at Eckersley still exist.
PUBLIC AND COMMERCIAL BUILDINGS
1840 - Moore's Stores, Towns Place, Millers Point
A sandstone building erected as a warehouse. The stores were built of locally quarried sandstone and used from 1840 by Captain Joseph Moore to conduct his import and export business. Moore and his son established an agency for the P&O shipping line. Its mail steamer, the SS Chusan, berthed at Moore's Wharf in 1852, commencing a service that began a tradition of carriage of the Royal Mail which continued for over a century.
During the early years of the 20th century, the landscape of Millers Point was totally changed subsequent to its resumption by the Government as part of the eradicatation of the Bubonic plague. The redevelopment included the creation of Hickson Road around the shoreline from Cockle Bay to Sydney Cove, but Moore's Stores on the tip of Millers Point stood in the way. Being a building of historic significance, it was dismantled and rebuilt stone by stone some two metres further back to make room for the new road and dock extensions.
1841-48 - Victoria Barracks, Oxford Street, Paddington
The construction of this military barracks was the catalyst to the opening up of Paddington as a residential area. The area over the road from the barracks, originally granted to the Australian Subscription Library by Governor Darling, was used to build cottages for the workmen who built the barracks, which were the first dwellings in the area. Work commenced on the structure on February 8, 1841 with labour being from 150 convicts, 50 stone masons and builders and 5 carpenters. The convicts were all French-Canadians transported to Australia following rebellions in Canada in 1837-38. New South Wales first Commander of Royal Engineers and Colonial Engineer, Lieutenant Colonel George Barney (§1792 - 1862), designed and supervised its construction until 1843 when Lieutenant Colonel James Gordon took over. The stone for the structures was quarried on the 29 acre site and nearby areas. The slate for the roofs, iron columns of the verandahs and cedar for the interior fittings and joinery were all imported from England.
The first building to be completed was the officers' quarters at the eastern end in 1842. The 11th ( North Devonshire ) Regiment, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel H. K. Bloomfield, were the first permanent occupants. During both World Wars, the Barracks was headquarters for military staff engaged in war planning and administration.
Guard House: Has been maintained in its near original state and has been continuously manned since 1848.
Officers Original Quarters: Located at the eastern end of the site in the first building completed and bear the Royal Cipher and the date 1842 on the central fascia. The building also housed the Royal Military College during the depression years between the two World Wars. The veranda on the central part of the building was added towards the end of the last century.
Main Barracks Block: Considered historically and architecturally one of the most outstanding military barracks in the British Commonwealth, it was for many years Australia's longest building. The central archway is an excellent example of Regency masonry.
Rear of Main Block: Houses two former kitchens for troops at the rear of each wing, with a two storied canteen centrally behind the archway. The canteen cellar has a beautifully arched roof. Nearby, an underground water supply was filled by drainage from the higher ground, which provided an emergency water supply.
Q Block: Formerly the garrison prison. The cell block and the jailers quarters are at the southern end of the structure and reputed to be haunted. The north eastern corner of the building covers a shaft from Busby's Bore from which the Barracks' water supply was drawn.
Officers' Mess: Originally constructed as the garrison hospital. It was converted into the mess when the Royal Military College moved into the Barracks in the 1930s. A small brass cannon at the entrance to the mess grounds is dated 1779 and believed to have been brought to Sydney with the First Fleet on the supply ship " Sirius ".
Commandant's Bungalow: This structure has been occupied by successive commanders of the Barracks.
1844 - St Patricks Church, 20 Grosvenor Street, Sydney
The home of William Davis, who was convicted and transported to Australia for his part in the Irish uprising of 1798, was located opposite St Phillips Church of England on Church Hill and became a centre for Catholic prayer before the church was built. At a time when Catholicism was not officially recognised in New South Wales, a request was made for a grant of land for a Catholic church but only a grant of money was forthcoming. Davis and his wife donated some of their land for the erection of what was to be St Patricks Church. The laying of the foundation stone took place on 25 August 1840, after a procession from St Mary's Cathedral. Bishop Polding, as he then was, preached while standing on the foundation stone itself in order to be seen and heard by the immense crowd. The building proceeded under architect John Frederick Hilly, using adapted plans from an English model. Polding performed the opening ceremony on 17 March 1844. Davis had died the previous year.
Hero of Waterloo, Millers Point
1844 - Hero of Waterloo - 81 Lower Fort Street, Millers Point
One of 14 hotels scattered throughout the Millers Point section of The Rocks, it was a favourite drinking place of the military garrison stationed nearby. Built from sandstone excavated from the Argyle Cut, legend has it that the hotel was used by sea captains to recruit crew members - unsuspecting patrons who had drunk themselves into a stupor are said to have been pushed through a trap door and carried away through underground tunnels to waiting ships in nearby Walsh Bay.
1846-1868 - St Andrew's Cathedral, Sydney Square, Cnr George & Bathurst Sts., Sydney
The foundation stone to Australia's oldest cathedral was laid in 1819, but not on its present site. Its life began in 1817 when Gov. Macquarie commissioned Francis Greenway to design a magnificent cathedral to be known as the Metropolitan Church. Commissioner Bigge had other ideas, and put the cathedral on hold and ordered Greenway to modify his half built school and make it a church (it became St James church). The foundation stone for St Andrew's Cathedral had already been laid and it remained in the ground on the site of St Mary's Cathedral until 1837 when Governor Bourke had it dug up and relaid on its present, somewhat more cramped site. Architect James Hume directed the construction of the cathedral, which slowed to a halt when funds ran out during the 1840s financial depression. Work re-commenced in 1846 under Edmund Blackett who made considerable modifications to Hume's design, creating a Gothic Revival cathedral inspired by York Minister in the old Roman city of York, England. It was completed in 1868 and consecrated on St Andrews Day of that year. Its twin towers were completed in 1874.
In keeping with traditional church orientation, the building's front faced west and fronted a roadway parallel to George Street which was a continuation of Clarence Street. In 1949, it was felt inappropriate that the cathedral should back onto Sydney's main thoroughfare, George Street, and so the main entrance was moved to the eastern end, leaving the imposing front to face a blind alley off Bathurst Street. The cathedral houses memorials to early Sydney dignitaries and pioneers as well as a 1539 bible and beads made from seeds collected in the Holy Land. The southern wall incorporates stone from St Paul's Cathedral, Westminster Abbey and the House of Lords, London.
1848, 1877 - Sydney Observatory, Observatory Hill
Early in 1796, the first windmill in New South Wales was built on what became known as Windmill Hill. It was used to grind grain into flour and was one of the colony's first steps towards self sufficiency. The mill tower was built of stone and the machinery and grindstone were imported from England. But they did not work for long. The canvas sails were stolen, the machinery was damaged in a storm, and by 1800 the foundations were giving way. Before it was ten years old, the mill was useless.
In 1803 Governor Hunter ordered a fort to be built on the site of the mill to defend the colony from rebellious convicts and possible French attack. The fort called Fort Phillip, was never fully completed and never fired a single shot in anger. In 1825 the eastern wall of the fort was converted to a signal station. From here flags sent messages to ships in the harbour and the signal station on the South Head of the harbour.
In 1840 the fort was partially demolished. A new signal station designed by the colonial architect Mortimer Lewis, was built on the east wall in1848. This is now the oldest building on the hill. Sydney Observatory began as a simple time-ball tower built near the signal station. Every day at exactly 1.00 pm, the time ball on top of the tower would drop to signal the correct time to the city and harbour below. At the same time a cannon on Fort Denison was fired. The tower was soon expanded into a full observatory. Designed by Alexander Dawson, the building consisted of a domed chamber to house the equatorial telescope, a room with long, narrow windows for the transit telescope a computing room or office, and a residence for the astronomer. In 1877, a western wing was added to provide office and library space and a second domed chamber for telescopes.
After federation in 1901, meteorological observations became a Commonwealth government responsibility, but astronomy remained with the states. Sydney Observatory continued working on the Astrographic catalogue, keeping time, making observations and providing information to the public. Everyday, for example, the Observatory supplied Sydney newspapers with the rising and setting times of the sun, moon and planets. By the mid 1970's the increasing problems of air pollution and city light made work at the observatory more and more difficult. In 1982, Sydney Observatory was converted into a museum of astronomy and related fields.
1856, 1858, 1885 - Justice and Police Museum, 8 Phillip Street, Sydney
The museum is housed in a collection of historic buildings associated with justice and the police. The first to be built was the Water Police Court, completed to the design of Colonial Architect Edmund Blackett in 1856. The Water Police Station, designed by Alexander Dawson, was added in 1858; the Police Court was designed by James Barnet in 1885. The complex of buildings housed the people put in charge of maintaining law and order quayside and tackling the problem of organised crime in The Rocks district of Victorian Sydney.
1864 - Sailor's Home, 106 George Street, The Rocks
Built in 1864 as lodgings for visiting sailors as an alternative to the seedy inns and brothels of which proliferated the The Rocks at that time. It was used for that purpose until 1980. The L-shaped wing facing George Street was added in 1926. The building now houses The Rocks Visitors Centre.
General Post Office
1864-1887 - General Post Office, Martin Place, Sydney
At the opening of the first stage, the GPO was described by the Postmaster General as a building that 'will not be surpassed by any other similar structure in the southern hemisphere'. Built on a grand scale and at huge expense, it dominated the streetscape and skyline for decades and symbolised the prosperity Australia was enjoying in the wake of the gold rush and the economic boom it had fostered. For Sydneysiders, it symbolised their city in the same way that the Houses of Parliament symbolise London and the Eiffel Tower, Paris, and remained its most well known landmark until the Sydney Harbour Bridge (1932) and the Sydney Opera House (1971) stole the limelight. When its tower was completed in the 1870s it became Sydney's tallest structure (73 metres) and remained so until 1939 when the AWA Tower, at 111 metres, took over the honour. Built of stone quarried from the rocky escarpments of Pyrmont in grand Renaissance style. the Martin Place section was constructed between 1866 and 1874, the Pitt Street section being added between 1881 and 1885. The controversial relief figures in the stonework were created by Tomaso Sani, and were intended to represent Australians.
1868 - Australian Museum, College Street, Sydney
Colonial Architect Mortimer Lewis designed this impressive sandstone building, however its rising cost to a level well above its budget led to his resignation both as Colonial Architect and as supervisor of this building project. His resignation led to years of delay in the building's completion, James Barnet finally finished the task in 1868.
St Mary's Cathedral
1868-1928 - St Mary's Cathedral, Cathedral Street, Sydney
In 1821, Governor Macquarie laid the foundation stone to St Mary's Chapel in Cathedral Street, Sydney, on the site of the first land grant to the Catholic Church in Australia. In 1835 it became Sydney's cathedral but burnt down in June 1865. It's replacement, which remained unfinished for a further 119 years, was the cathedral we see to day. It is the work of architect William Wardell, the Anglican church's architect and then Inspector of Public Buildings in Victoria. The foundation stone for his Gothic Revival style cathedral was blessed by Archbishop Polding in 1868. It was built and opened in stages, the first, the northern section, in 1882. Archbishop Michael Kelly laid the foundation stone for the final stage in 1913, which was completed in 1928. Statues of the two men, which are the work of sculptor Berbridge MacKennal, adorn the entrance steps. The Celtic-inspired terrazzo mosaic floor of the crypt took 15 years to complete in 1961.
The twin southern spires proposed by Wardell were included as part of the final stage but were never erected for financial reasons. The towers stood minus their spires for the best part of a century until a fundraising drive paid for their construction in 2000 along with the purchase of a new organ and renovations to the cathedral's stonework. To comply with modern Earthquake bracing requirements, the spires have steel frames which were placed by helicopter and then used as cranes to lift the stone cladding.
Sydney Town Hall
1869 - 89 - Sydney Town Hall, George Street, Sydney
One of Sydney's most elaborate buildings, a remarkable feat considering it was created by a succession of architects who strove to outdo each other with their own individual ideas of what the end result should be. The first was RJ Wilson who was replaced initially by Albert Bond when Wilson's design proved impiractical. Bond completed the vestibule with its crystal chandelier, stained glass windows and ornate plaster work; the Bradridge brothers added the clock tower in 1884 and three other architects were employed to complete the Centennial Hall with its coffered zinc ceiling and mighty 8,500 pipe organ. The exterior stonework includes a number of sandstone lions, one of which, near the main entrance facing George Street, has one eye shut. This oddity, not discovered until the building was completed, recalls the head stonemason's habit of closing one eye when checking the line of stonework.
1877-1890 - Lands Department Building, Bridge Street, Sydney
An extravagant Government building which originally featured four iron staircases and lifts operated by water power. Built to the design of Colonial Architect James Barnet, the three-storey Free Italian Renaissance style building was built around a framework of reinforced concrete and steel girders. Inside walls are brick, the floors and ceilings are concrete and the exterior is made from stone quarried at Pyrmont. Its facade features 48 niches, 23 of which are filled with statues of prominent figures in Australia's early history including explorers Hume & Hovell, Sir Thomas Mitchell, Blaxland, Lawson & Wentworth, George Bass, Matthew Flinders and Sir Joseph Banks, the botanist who accompanied Captain James Cook on his journey of discovery in 1770. 25 niches remain unfilled. The central copper dome of the building, often called The Onion because of its shape, was designed to take a telescope though one was never installed. The domed roof can be revolved to aid celestial tracking. The telescop
Ce guide and window for the telescope lens can be seen when the building is viewed from cnr of Bridge and Young Streets.
1878 - The Great Synagogue, 187 Elizabeth Street, Sydney
Acknowledged as the finest work of architect Thomas Rowe who also designed the Sydney Hospital, this Jewish synagogue features wrought iron gates, carved porch columns of Pyrmont sandstone and panelled ceilings decorated with tiny gold leaf stars which symbolise God's command at creation ÒLet there be light'. Believed to have been inspired by the English synagogues of London and Liverpool.
1885 - Customs House, Alfred Street, Sydney
Located on land reclaimed from the harbour in the 1850s near where Tank Stream entered Sydney Cove, Customs House in Alfred Street is of Classical Revival design. It stands on the site of the first jetty built by the pioneer colonists in 1788. The building, made of Pyrmont sandstone, is an enlarged and redesigned version of the original much smaller Customs House which features polished granite columns, a coat of arms and the face of Queen Victoria carved in the stone above the main entrance. The elaborate clock face was placed when the side wings were added in 1897. The top floor was added in 1900. The Royal Coat of Arms over the portico, carved by Robert Paton, is considered one of the finest stone carvings in Australia.
1886 - 88 - Royal Hotel, Glenmore Road, Paddington
A mix of Victorian and Classical Revival, this fine three-storey building with its intricate cast iron lace screen balcony is typical of Sydney's hotel architecture of the Victorian era. Typical of many corner shops and pubs in the district, it stands at the end of a row of terrace houses. Not far away is The London Tavern, which, having opened for business in 1876, has the distinction of being Paddington's oldest pub.
1888-1901 - Woolwich Dock, Clarkes Point, Woolwich
In 1888, the 10 acre eastern portion of Clarkes Point was sold to Davy & Co., iron founders. In 1883 it was sold to Atlas Engineering who favoured the site for shipwright work because of its deep water frontage and close proximity to shipbuilding works on Cockatoo Island. A floating dock was imported from England, areas of foreshore land were reclaimed and slipways were created on the southern side (now Clarke's Point Reserve).
The Atlas Company went into liquidation in 1893 though work at the site continued until June 1898 when it was purchased by Morts Dock and Engineering Company of Balmain who began work on a planned new dry dock. This included reclamation work and sea wall construction. The dock was cut 175 metres directly into the sandstone, some 30 metres wide. 85,000 cubic metres of sandstone was excavated to create the dock.
On 4 December 1901 the dock was officially opened and used for the repair and fitting-out of large ships. Several extensions were carried out between 1902 and 1918 which saw the dock lengthened to its present 260 metres. After the Depression of the 1930s work did not pick up until World War II. At its busiest, the dock employed 1,500 people. New work declined again after the war and in 1958 the company ceased operations and went into voluntary liquidation. The site lay idle until the Army purchased it in 1963 for its water based transport operations. The Army erected a number of prefabricated buildings and added timber fender piers, timber wharves and a travelling crane to the dock itself. In 1997-8 the 35 Water Transport Division was relocated to Townsville. The future of the site is now the responsibility of the Harbour Trust who are re-developing Clarkes Point as a recreation of a maritime village.
1891 - Strand Arcade, Pitt Street, Sydney
Featuring a glass roof, chandeliers and cast iron ornamentation, this shopping arcade is the design of J.B. Spencer. It was one of the first Sydney buildings to feature hydraulic lifts and gas and electric lighting. It has been restored to its former glory after being gutted by fire in 1976.
1891 - Millers Point Post Office, 12 Kent Street, Millers Point
A rare and strong example of the Federation Free Classical architectural style. A simply detailed, square, two-storey Victorian reddish-pink Flemish and stretcher bond brick building, its architectural style and prominent location has also made it a local landmark. The NSW Government Architect, Walter Liberty Vernon, is believed to have designed the building as a post office and postmaster's residence. After it opened it soon became evident that the size of this building was not quiet enough for a residence and it was passed over for use as a post office on condition that more suitable premises in a quieter location be provided for the Sub Inspector. The building was opened as the new Millers Point Post Office on 31st December 1900, and remained so until the 1990s.
1891-93 - The Capitol Theatre, Campbell Street, Haymarket
The Capitol Theatre has undergone more changes, modifications and reconstructions than any other building in Sydney as its various owners adapted what was essentially a very sound building to a variety of needs over the passing of more than a century in time. Strange as it may seem today, it began life as a single storey building to house a fruit and vegetable market. During the 1880s facilities for the bulk sale of fruit and vegetables came under increasing pressure. In March 1891, Sydney Council appointed a committee to recommend a new site for a major covered mrarket. They suggested the adjacent space of the Haymarket and this proposal was adopted. Alexander Allen of Summer Hill won the contract with his tender of 24,902 pounds to build the new Belmore Markets, which opened in July 1893. Designed by George McRae, the facade incorporated thirty-six arched bays to the streets: eleven to Campbell and Hay Streets and seven to Parker and Pitt Streets.
The Markets did not attain the commercial success expected, and in 1912, a new function was found for the building, to rent it to the Wirth Bros as a venue for its circus and hippodrome. In September of the same year, approval was given for the building to undergo major modifications to give it a more theatrical look and feel. The facade was dismantled and re-erected above a new ground storey which was in turn mounted on the old footings. Completed in April 1916, the building's new tenants did not achieve financial success either, and by 1926 the building had been remodelled as a picture palace. Plans for the work were completed by Henry White in February 1927 for 'Capitol Theatre Sydney Limited' and the same month Wirths wrote to the Sydney City Council requesting a 'remodelling' of the building for its proposed new function. The plans included an atmospheric auditorium were very much like Eberson's Riviera at Omaha, Nebraska. The conversion involved remodelling the interior and raising the roof trusses to make room for the atmospheric ceiling and extended slope of the new gallery. In May 1927, the Sydney City Council approved Wirth's proposed alterations, which, upon completion, saw the building in operate successfully as a theatre and cinema until November 1932, then the Depression left its operators, Greater Union Theatres, with no choice but to close the Capitol Theatre down.
As the economy began to improve, the theatre was re-opened to screen movies. All the theatrical machinery, lighting and stage equipment fell into disuse and was eventually removed. In 1972 the theatre lease was removed from Greater Union Theatres and awarded to Harry M. Miller for the production of Jesus Christ Superstar where it again echoed to the sound of live theatre. In the 1990s, as a result of a transfer of its lease, the Capitol Theatre underwent a detailed restoration and reconstruction to recover the original 1928 experience. It has now been returned to its original grandeur.
Art Gallery of NSW
1896-1909 - Art Gallery of NSW, Art Gallery Road, Sydney
When it was constructed, what is today the Art Gallery's main building in the Domain was known as The National Gallery. It was designed by G
overnment Architect Walter Liberty Vernon, who was assigned the task by the Government instead of the preferred choice of the Trustees of the Art Gallery, private architect John Horbury Hunt, who has designed a temporary brick building erected in 1884. Veron followed the Trustees' brief for a Classic Greek-temple style building, complete with portico and columns, not unlike William Playfair's fine gallery in Edinburgh, however the building's present form is a little more austere and undecorated than Vernon had originally intended and is only part of the complex envisaged by him.
The main building we see today, which was to be the first wing of a much larger Gallery, was built in 5 stages. In 1902 midway through construction, Vernon gave an eight page presentation album to the Trustees which illustrated his proposed designs for the completed Gallery complex. He proposed that his oval lobby which had just been opened would lead into an equally imposing Central Court. His plans, which included a northern gallery intended to correspond with the southern watercolour gallery, were rejected. Consequently, until 1969 his lobby lead, by a short descent from the entrance level, to the existing three northern galleries housed in Hunt's temporary building.
After 1909 nothing more was built of Vernon's designs and his ground plan remained incomplete. In the 1930s the NSW Government decided to complete it but the Depression and other financial constraints lead to the plan's abandonment. In 1968 the Government approved the addition of a new Gallery as a major part of the Captain Cook Bicentenary celebrations. Andrew Anderson was the Architect entrusted with the design of the new building, which opened to the public in November 1970.
Queen Victoria Building
1898 - Queen Victoria Building, George Street, Sydney
Designed by City Architect George McRae in 1898, this spacious and ornate building of Romanesque design was created as a produce market and functioned as such for two decades. After surviving numerous threats of demolition and various uses including that of the City Library, it was refurbished at a cost of $75 million and reopened in its present form in 1986.
The building was constructed around a steel girder frame with brick vaulting between the beams. 75 columns made of Bowral trachyte support rows of the arches. The grand staircase is made of Bowral basalt, the decorative exterior is of Pyrmont sandstone. The roof features a 20-metre diameter copper dome which is surrounded by twenty smaller copper cupolas. Prior to the erection of the Queen Victoria Building, the site was occupied by a Police Station (1810) designed by Francis Greenway which was converted into the Sydney Post Office and Magistrate's Court in 1846. The site was purchased at a cost of £124,000 in 1882 by the City Council for the construction of the market building.
Summary of Other Buildings and Structures in the Sydney Region
1841 - Glenalvon and stables, 8 Lithgow Street, Campbelltown. Fine two storey Georgian sandstone residence, being one of the oldest urban townhouses in Campbelltown. Believed to have been built by publican Michael Byrne.
Late 1840s - Springfield, 38 Darling Point Road, Darling Point. Built as a single storey stone cottage surrounded by a broad verandah, it featured long front windows with cedar shutters and an eight panelled front door under a diamond patterned fanlight. The second story was added in the 1870s.
1841 - Brooksby, 45 Ocean Avenue, Darling Point. Built for Merchant James Maclehose and his wife from stone quarried on the site by convict labour. Brooksby was famous for its gardens. Imported English flowers and trees figured prominently and the gardens featured two large ornamental ponds.
1847 - St Thomas's Church, The Boulevard, Enfield. Architect: John Frederick Hilly.
1840 - Fernhill, Mulgoa Road, Mulgoa. Single storey sandstone house, the home of Edward Cox, son of pioneer William Cox. One of the last buildings completed in the colonial period of NSW architecture, possibly designed by Mortimer Lewis or John Verge.
1840 - Hermitage, Hermitage Road, The Oaks. Homestead built by the first Anglican minister appointed to the district, Rev. Frederick Wilkinson. site contains homestead, garden, stone terracing and convict graves.
1843 - Walter Lawry Methodist Park, Cnr Ross & Buller Sts, Parramatta. Site of the Parramatta Weslyan Cemetery, established in 1843 to serve Parramatta's first Methodist Church. Early pioneer graves include James Richard Parker, John W Pass and Francis & George Oakes.
1840s - All Saints Cemetery, Cnr Brickfield & Fennell Sts, Parramatta. Cemetery of All Saints Church. Local residents and pioneers buried there include explorer Gregory Blaxland.
Kirkbride block, built in 1885
1839 - Callan Park House, Balmain Road, Rozelle. Originally built as a small cottage, known as ÔGarry Owen', being the original house on the Garry Owen estate. It was purchased by Henry Parkes and extended and adapted as a hospital in 1875/76 prior to the building of the Kirkbride block of the Rozelle Hospital.
1842 - Broughton Hall, Rozelle Hospital, Balmain Road, Rozelle. Two storey Victorian Georgian residence
. added to in 1880s. It was the main house of the Broughton Hall estate.
1838-42 - The Hermitage, 1 - 13 Pennant Hills Road, Ryde. Much altered example of a colonial house of the early Victorian period built for John Blaxland, son of Blue Mountains pioneer explorer Gregory Blaxland. Single storey with stone foundations and brick walls. Rare known surviving domestic work of notable mid-nineteenth century colonial architect John Bibb.
1847 - Ryde Wesley Uniting Church, 25-27 Church Street, Ryde. The second church in the Ryde district. A new church building was opened in 1870. The original building is a hall for the current church.
1842 - Willandra, 770 Victoria Road, Ryde. Colonial Georgian style home built for pioneer settler James Devlin. It is now the home of Ryde District Historical Society Inc. and City of Ryde Art Society Inc. Contains a small museum and has a continuous art exhibitions.
1847 - Terrace houses, 197-99 Albion Street, Surry Hills. Earliest surviving example of terrace housing in inner suburbs.
1839 - Horbury Terrace, Macquarie Street, Sydney.
1842 - Westpac Bank Museum (former Union Bond Store), 47 George Street, The Rocks. Three storey stone store with slate roof was erected for traders Martyn & Combes. Architect: John Bibb.
1847 - Lilyvale Cottage, 176 Cumberland Street, Sydney. 1845. A three storey double fronted brick residence, and a fine, free standing example of the Colonial Regency style. It was the home of Michael Farrell, an inkeeper.
1843-1844, 1920 and 1931 - Orient Hotel, 87-89 George Street, The Rocks. Typical late Colonial Georgian corner sited two storey building, constructed of stuccoed brick walls, timber floors, roof and joinery. Originally called the Marine Hotel.
1842 (front facade, 1927-28) - Ken Duncan Gallery (former Ambulance Station), 73 George Street, The Rocks. Originally a public house built by Matthias Hooper, called the 'Kings Head'. The three storey building containing ten rooms was constructed with Brick Walls and a slated roof.
1844 - Sampson's Cottage, 8 Kendall Lane, The Rocks. The original two storey cottage had stone and brick walls and a shingle roof and was pulled down in 1883, however parts of the northern, western and southern walls of the building still remain. Built for stevedore William Samson.
1848 - 145 Macquarie Street, Sydney.
The 30 Year Wall, Farm Cove
1848-78 - The 30 Year Wall, Farm Cove, Sydney. A section of seawall which was built around Farm Cove with stone quarried on Cockatoo Island. It became known as the 30 year wall because that is how long it took for it to be built.
1840 - Dawesleigh, 37 Lower Fort Street, Millers Point. Two storey Georgian town house with basement and attic. Once in a row of similar homes boasting sweeping harbour views.
1840s - Linsley Terrace, 21, 23 Lower Fort Street, Millers Point. Five bedroom two storey Regency style terrace which is part of an intact residential and maritime precinct.
1849 - Richmond Villa, 120 Kent Street, Millers Point.
1844(?) - Greycliff House, Vaucluse Road, Nielsen Park, Vaucluse.
Railway Bridges and Tunnels
In the days when Sydney's railway system was being put into place, there were no mechanical engineering devices such as front end loaders, graders or giant cranes to remove piles of earth or to swing steel girders into position. When a culvert or bank had to be built, the job was done by a gang of men wielding picks and shovels, with horse drawn carts the only method of earth removal. Dynamite was often used to blast the rock in tunnel construction, but in places where it was considered too dangerous the workers had to resort to chipping their way through the rock with pick axes.
Construction of the bridges was equally difficult and in the case of those spanning large stretches of water, they were also very expensive. In the 19th century, there were no steel mills established in Australia to manufacture the iron and steel girders required to build substantial bridges. They had to be made overseas and then shipped out to Australia, often in pieces, where they would be re-assembled on site. The Como bridge, which takes the Illawarra railway line across the Georges River between Oatley and Como, is one of a number of wrought iron lattice girder bridges designed by John Whitton, Engineer-in-Chief of the NSW Railways, but fabricated overseas, and used at a number of locations around the state. The iron members of the bridge were supplied by Cochrane & Co. of Pennsylvania, USA.
By the time the bridgework had arrived by sea, a tent village had been built on the Como bank of the Georges River to house the 200 men employed in cutting the path through bush and levelling the ground in preparation for the laying of the single line track. In the midst of all this activity, stonemasons where forming the piers now encased in concrete that would carry the spans. When the bridge components were landed at Botany, there were assembled on platforms mounted on barges. The platforms were built to a height where at high tide they would be marginally higher than the piers on which the spans would eventually rest. As each span was completed, the barge on which it had been constructed was towed to Como and positioned at high tide between the piers upon which the span would eventually rest. As the tide fell, the span lowered itself onto the piers at which time a team of men maneuvered the span into place by hauling ropes attached to each end of the span. Once in its correct position, the span was bolted securely to the piers and the following day the next span was brought upstream and the process repeated. Constructed under the supervision of Thomas Firth, the 2,195 tonne, 290m long bridge cost a total of £66,000. It was stress tested with three heavy steam locomotives in January 1886 before being brought into service a week later.
But the Como Bridge was small in comparison to the railway bridge across the Hawkesbury River near Dangar Island. The river is almost a kilometre wide at the point chosen for the crossing which begs the question why this site was chosen as there were far easier ones upstream. The width of the passage necessitated a much larger bridge than at Como and for this reason an American Whipple style truss design was chosen. The bridge had seven spans, each weighting 1,000 tonnes and extending to a length of 1,265m. The spans were mounted on 6 caissons topped with sandstone piers 13.7 metres above the water level. Built by the Union Bridge Co. of Pennsylvania, USA, the steel was fabricated by Arrol Bros. of Glasgow, Scotland, who were engaged in similar work on the Forth Bridge in Scotland. The base of the piers were of Bowral trachyte topped with locally quarried sandstone.
Commenced in April 1887 and completed 2 years later, a workforce of 800 men housed in a tent village on Dangar Island was needed to complete the task. As well as steelwork, 10 million bricks, 10,000 bags of cement, 110 tonnes of blasting powder and 10 tonnes of dynamite were used to construct the bridge and its approaches. These were almost as expensive and difficult to build as the bridge itself. It involved cutting numerous tunnels, the one under Mt Wondabyne, at 1,925 metres, was Australia's longest.
The bridge was built in a similar manner to Como Bridge in that the spans were erected on Dangar Island on pontoons and floated into position. It was a far more dangerous exercise than the Como Bridge, however, as the builders had strong tides and shark-infested waters to contend with. The third and sixth spans were almost lost when both broke free during the maneuvering process and came perilously close to smashing into the abutments. The bridge was tested on 24th April 1889 and the line was opened to traffic by Lord Carrington on 1st May 1889. The final cost of the bridge was £327,000. By the 1930s, the piers had decayed to such a degree that trains using the bridge were reduced to a crawl as a safety measure, therefore it was decided to build a replacement bridge alongside it. The new bridge, which was of a similar design, came into service in 1946 at which time the older bridge was dismantled. The earlier bridge's sandstone piers remain.
Darling Harbour Railway Tunnel
1855 - Darling Harbour Railway Tunnel
Beyond Railway Square just before it becomes Broadway, George Street crosses over what used to be a branch line to a major goods yard which once existed on the eastern shores of Darling Harbour. The is not only the oldest railway tunnel to be constructed in NSW, it is the only remaining on-site relic of Sydney's first railway line of the 1850s (the first steam locomotive to use the line is preserved in the Powerhouse Museum; a ticket for passage on the line's first train journey is part of the Mitchell Library's collection). In 1855, this tunnel was cut under what was then known as Parramatta Street to carry a spur line from the newly completed Sydney Station to Darling Harbour where a goods yards and rail off loading facilities for ships were being built.
Like the Darling Harbour goods line, the tunnel remained busy until after World War II when freight that traditionally came through Darling Harbour began to be redirected to newly developing facilities at Port Botany. In the 1980s the section of the line between Balmain Rd Signal box and the main line at Redfern, which was no longer in regular use, was closed to allow the building of the Sydney Casino. The line's corridor lay dormant for a time, a small section through Pyrmont between the back of The Powerhouse Museum and Wentworth Park then being used by the Light Rail B. The line was extended as far as Catherine St Lilyfield on 13th August 2000 for use by the Light Rail Network, using the goods line's corridor and tracks.
The original stone-clad tunnel still exists, though it has been extended to many times its original length by the addition of concrete structures which form the foundations of buildings on either side of George Street in the vicinity. It is located at the end of a fenced off, disused corridor (the tracks were pulled up years ago) behind the ABC building and beyond a steel railway bridge which carried the line over Ultimo Street.
1863 - Menangle Railway Viaduct
The oldest surviving bridge on the state railway system, it takes the Main Southern Railway across the Nepean River near Manangle. It is one of two identical bridges, the other being over the Nepean River at Penrith. It features three iron girder spans mounted on four sandstone piers built high above the river valley to circumvent problems through flooding. The ironwork was fully imported from Birkenhead, England. One of the two spans was lost at sea en route and had to be replaced, causing a one year delay in the opening of the line to Picton. The Menangle and Penrith bridges are the only railway overbridges still in use in the Sydney metropolitan area that are not replacements of former structures.
1863, 1892 - Glenbrook & Lapstone Railway Relics
It was Chief Engineer for NSW Railways, John Whitton, the father of NSW Railways, who brought the Great Western Line over the Blue Mountains. Commenced in 1863, the first section, between Penrith and Weatherboard (now Wentworth Falls), was brought into service on 13th July 1867. Whitton wanted to tunnel through the hill but a tight budget meant that a zig zag (or switch-back) was constructed. Opened in 1867 it was sometimes known as the Little Zig Zag, being the first and smallest of Whitton's two Zig Zags on the route. The earthworks were carried out by William Watkins, and the track laid by Larkin and Wakeford. The device necessitated reversing the train up or down one of the three legs of the zig zag route. Gradients ranged from a steep 1 in 30 to 1 in 33.
The Little Zig Zag remained in use until 1892 when it was bypassed via the Glenbrook tunnel with the same grade but it considerably speeded up travel times. The single track tunnel itself became a bottleneck and was replaced by the Lapstone Gorge Deviation in 1913 with a grade of 1 in 60. The cuttings for the zig zag still exist and can be reached by a path at the end of Knapsack Street, Lapstone. The site may be reached by a walking track at the end of Knapsack Street, Lapstone. This takes walkers along Top Road to Top Points, and thence to Middle Road. Highway upgrading has obliterated the site of Bottom Points, but a set of stairs and a walk along the new highway leads to Knapsack Viaduct.
The Knapsack Viaduct: The route adopted by Whitton incorporated an impressive sandstone viaduct over Knapsack Gully. When opened in July 1867, the 5 span viaduct was the largest in Australia, being 104 metres long with the centre arch rising to around 38 m above the creek bed. The contract for its construction was let to W. Watkins in March 1863 and the work was completed in 1865. It was originally built to carry a single railway track. In 1913 the railway line was diverted to its current path through Glenbrook Gorge and the bridge was abandoned. Downstream is another viaduct across Knapsack Gully which was built in 1913 to take the railway along its new route which it still follows today. This brick viaduct has eight arches.
With the development of the Great Western Road the earlier sandstone viaduct was purchased by the Main Roads Board and incorporated into the Road. It was reopened for two lanes of vehicular traffic on October 23, 1926. In 1938-39 the bridge was carefully widened to ensure that its appearance was not altered. Its use as a road bridge ceased in the 1980s when the highway was diverted to its existing route. A magnificent piece of workmanship, the bridge can now be viewed at close range via a walking track which crosses the bridge along where once ran the railway and later the roadway. Walking tracks through the bush in Glenbrook Reserve along the path taken by the railway lead to a memorial to John Whitton and the Lapstone Zig Zag.
Old Glenbrook Tunnel: This 660.3m long tunnel was built between April 1891 and December 1892 as part of a deviation which bypassed the Lapstone Zig Zag. To save money, a ventilation shaft was not included as it was believed the current of air passing through it would provide sufficient ventilation. This soon proved to be not the case. The gradient of the S-shaped single-line tunnel was, at 1 in 33, quite steep. Seepage kept the rails wet, leading to slipping and stalling. These shortcomings and the growing need for a second line led to the establishment of a new route through Glenbrook Gorge in 1913 which included a replacement tunnel. The old tunnel was leased for mushroom growing. During World War 2 it was used by the RAAF to store 500lb bombs and chemical weapons including mustard gas. A spur line was run from the main line near the eastern portal of old Glenbrook tunnel to the edge of Glenbrook Gorge, where a cable incline descended to the works site of a coal and shale mine. The spur line route is now a walking track which crosses Explorers Rd just below the primary school. The remains of the winding h ouse and incline are signposted. Just west of Bluff lookout are the remains of the funicular railway descending into Glenbrook Gorge.
The Old Glenbrook Tunnel is closed and access to the entrances is difficult. The eastern portal can be reached via a walking track which commences at a reservoir alongside where Governors Drive branches off Great Western Highway. The track follows the path taken by the line to a point where the ground is too swampy and the undergrowth too thick to continue. It then leads up the side of the bank and across the top of the portal.
1867 - Victoria Bridge, Penrith (Railway)
The Victoria Bridge across the Hawkesbury River near Penrith was built as part of the Western Railway. Featuring multiple spans made of wrought-iron of a cellular construction, each 57m in length, it was designed by John Whitton and is similar to other railway bridges built by Whitton around that time. The bridge was shared by single lanes of road and rail traffic until 1907, when double line railway trusses were completed alongside and it became a two-lane road bridge for the Western Highway.
Long Cove Creek Railway Bridge
1880, 1886, 1926, 1956 - Long Cove Creek Railway Bridge, Lewisham
The first bridge to carry the railway across Long Cove Creek (which enters Long Cove via Hawthorne Canal) was a tall sandstone structure, constructed as part of the original Sydney to Parramatta Railway, which opened to traffic opened in 1855. It was one of a series
hof 27 bridges and 50 culverts built by the biggest single free labour force the colony has seen, comprising of 650 men. Its stone and that of other bridges built as part of the project came from a nearby quarry.
The Long Cove Creek Railway Viaduct was by far the largest construction work on the line and its completion was seen in its day as a major achievement. By 1880, the cement which bound the sandstone blocks of the viaduct together was starting to crumble, and a replacement bridge was built to carry the newly duplicated line. Designed by R. Kendall, who retired as State Rail's Engineer-in-Chief in 1922, a the new three-span Whipple Truss bridge came into service in 1886 when the line was quadruplicated. These were subsequently added to in 1926 by Warren Trusses when sextruplication occurred. The bridge was replaced by a steel girder structure in 1956. An important piece of Sydney railway history has been preserved at the site of the viaduct. The site is a showcase for four different types of bridges representing most of the eras. On the down or south side are a pair of pin-jointed Whipple Trusses on display. Next to them and carrying the local trains are three pairs of welded plate web girders, Next, and carrying the suburban trains are three Lattice Trusses. On the north and carrying the mains are three pairs of Warren Trusses, completing this on site working museum which recalls 138 years of railway bridge construction technology.
1885 - Gasworks Bridge, Parramatta
Built to carry Macarthur Street over the Parramatta River, it is one of 32 lattice girder bridges designed and built by Railways Engineer John Whitton between 1870 and 1893 throughout NSW. Twenty were road bridges, twelve were railway bridges (Meadowbank and Como Bridges, detailed below, were two such bridges). Built to carry a road and not a railway as is commonly thought, Gasworks Bridge remains the only Whitton designed lattice girder bridge in the Sydney metropolitan area that is still in use for the purpose it was designed.
Just east of the Gasworks Bridge is the site of the first official landing place in Parramatta where Governor Phillip and a small party of Marines arrived in 1788 to establish the colony's second settlement. Once-thriving industries such as flour and woollen mills, a gasworks (after which the bridge was named), boatsheds and inns were located on the riverfront here to support the settlement.
1885 - Meadowbank Railway Bridge
The existing structure replaces the orginal railway bridge alongside it, a John Whitton designed lattice girder bridge built as part of the Sydney to the Hawkesbury railway line. Being less than 10 metres above water level at high tide, the newer bridge effectively stops the passage of large vessels upstream beyond this point. Work started on it in 1947 but work was abandoned in 1954 due to a lack of funds. Work resumed in 1975, but to a different design which incorporated the abutments and piers erected earlier.
Como Railway Bridge
1885 - Como Railway Bridge
Similar to the Meadowbank Railway Bridge, it is one of a number of Lattice Girder railway bridges built to take railway lines over rivers in the Sydney metropolitan area. Part of the Sydney to Illawarra railway, the single line Como bridge remained in use until 1972 when the new double line, pre-stressed concrete structure alongside it began taking rail traffic. The old bridge was saved from demolition as it carries the pipeline from Woronora Dam to the reservoirs at Penshurst, a function that commenced in 1945 and continues today. The bridge is today used as a footbridge and cycleway.
Soon after the opening of the Illawarra railway line, train drivers found that the grade up the hill from original bridge to Mortdale was too steep for fully loaded coal trains. A deviation was built around the centre of Oatley in 1905 to reduce the grade for Sydney bound trains to a maximum of 1 in 80. The route taken by the original line is still clearly visible at both end
s of the bridge. At the Oatley end, the walking path follows the line of the original tracks. From the beginning of the houses, the line continued north, occupying the narrow strip of land between Oatley Parade and Oatley Avenue. It crossed Hurstville Road near the roundabout and proceeded over the rise to Mortdale station. This section of the original line remains and is visible from Hurstville Road. The two platforms of the original Oatley station are now buried under James Oatley Memorial Park.
Como station was originally built just beyond the bridge alongside the Como Pleasure Grounds, a convenient location considering the popularity of Como as a picnic and holiday destination in the first half of the 20th century. When the new bridge was built, Como station was moved some half a kilometre south. The disused station platform still exists and can be seen beyond the fencing where the line left the bridge.
1889-94 Cammeray Bridge
The North Sydney Tramway and Development Company was formed in 1889 to develop and sell land in the area beyond Flat Rock Creek. In 1889 work commenced on the construction of the bridge across Long Bay gully. It was to carry traffic and trams, opening up the north and increasing the value of residential land on both sides. The resulting suspension bridge was seen as an engineering masterpiece. It was an ornate structure, with castellated sandstone towers, and was the largest of its type in Australia and the fourth largest in the world. It was completed in January 1892, two years, nine months and £42,000 after commencement.
It was opened with much acclaim, becoming an instant tourist attraction featured on postcards and in many glossy publications of the day. Initially it operated as a foot bridge only with a toll charge of threepence return for adults and one penny for children. Due to the 1890's depression, both companies involved in build ing the bridge went into liquidation before the tramway had reached the bridge. More than a decade later it was extended from North Sydney as far as the bridge, opening in May 1909. This line assisted the development of the area beyond the bridge which was then known as Suspension Bridge.
In 1912 the bridge was given free of charge to the State Government. Repairs were made, the tramway was extended to the north side and the toll was removed. In the following year the subdivision beyond the bridge was named Northbridge, after the famous construction. The bridge carried the first tram in February 1914. It had to be closed to traffic in 1936 after serious faults were discovered in the steel work and cables. Its cables were removed and the roadway was supported by a reinforced concrete arch. The bridge was re-opened in September 1939, however trams did not use the bridge any more, this service being withdrawn and replaced by buses at that time.
The Five Bridges
1870s Sydney experienced a land sales boom never before seen with huge slabs of farming land on the fringes of Sydney being subdivided into suburban lots and sold off. These land sales started a building boom that continued for two decades and led to the opening up of development of areas further afield. The boom brought such an increase in road, rail and ferry traffic, the existing services proved totally inadequate. To cope with the increased traffic in and out of Sydney and to allow faster access to land on the north shore for suburban development, the Government instigated its Five Bridges Programme. Under the plan it would take over a number of privately owned toll bridges and add two new structures. These were linked by a series of roads. The five bridges were at Pyrmont, Glebe Island, Iron Cove, Gladesville and Fig Tree.
1885-1902 - Pyrmont Bridge
The first Pyrmont Bridge was a privately owned timber structure which was opened on 17th March 1858. A toll was charged to use it, and needless to say, it made its owner very rich. Following the adoption of the Five Bridges Plan, the bridge was purchased by the government in 1884 for $52,500 and the toll was abolished. As it was a major traffic bottleneck, plans for a replacement bridge were quickly approved and construction commenced. The new Pyrmont bridge was opened to traffic on 28th June 1902. The bridge and its neighbour at Glebe Island were the world's first electrically operated swingspan bridges. Driven by power from the Ultimo Power Station which now houses the Powerhouse Museum, they follows the design of Percy Allan, who achieved international acclaim for them and went on to design 583 more bridges worldwide. John JC Bradfield, who masterminded the Sydney Harbour Bridge, was a junior member of Allan's design team. Twelve of the bridge's 369 metre spans are made of ironbark; the two opening central spans are made of steel. The opening spans are still driven by their original motors which are in fact tram motors as used by Sydney's trams. The bridge was closed to traffic in 1981 following the completion of the Western Distributor but was restored and opened to pedestrian traffic on the opening of the Darling Harbour precinct in 1988.
1885-1901 - Glebe Island Bridge
In the early days of Sydney, a punt operated across the entrance to Rozelle and Blackwattle Bays. This was replaced in March 1857 by a timber bridge which had a hand cranked lift span on the south side. In the 1880s, major development of the wharves of Rozelle and Blackwattle Bays was planned, resulting in the need for a new bridge which would allow access to the bays by larger vessels than the original bridge allowed. The second bridge, which was opened to traffic in 1901, is similar in design to the Pyrmont Bridge at Darling Harbour. It had an electrically operated swingspan driven by an electric tram engine which gave simultaneous inward and outward access to two ships. Though plans to replace it with a tunnel were proposed in 1924, this project never eventuated and the bridge remained in service until the 1990s when Anzac Bridge replaced it. Ironically, the deck of the new bridge was made high enough to allow access to a number of vessels which regularly berthed in Blackwattle Bay, however, those ships were withdrawn from service during the building of the bridge, removing the need for such a high structure.