Sunday History Photo / NSW

Submitted: Sunday, May 25, 2014 at 05:13
ThreadID: 107936 Views:3252 Replies:4 FollowUps:1
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The first railway line in Sydney opened in 1855 and operated between Sydney and Parramatta. The Sydney terminal station was built in September 1855 on the site of the ‘Cleveland Paddock’, situated between Devonshire and Cleveland streets. The station was commonly referred to as Redfern Station as it was located close to Redfern. The station has been described as a “temporary tin shed” ), due to the fact it was a single 30m long wooden platform in a corrugated iron shed . In 1856 additional railway sheds and yards were added to the site but by the early 1870s the station was unable to meet the demands of the rapidly growing railway network in Sydney.

The second terminal station was designed by the Railways Chief Engineer John Whitton (who designed the Zig Zag railway in the Blue Mountains). It opened in 1874 on the same site as the first station and continued to be known as Redfern. Whitton described the station as a through station to allow for the future expansion of the railways. While the brick and stone building was impressive when first built, by the 1880s platforms (upto 13 in total) had spread to the forecourt area.
The new station's design incorporated stone and brick and was considered one of the most impressive public buildings in Sydney at the time. It was designed for through trains to allow for future expansion of the railway network into the City. This was never realised however, and the restricted site was soon under pressure to cope with traffic levels well beyond its capacity.

The goods yard and sheds to the east of the station added to the chaotic activity at the congested site which by the late 1890s was becoming acute, with 25 million passengers passing through the station in 1899. In addition, the increased length of the trains using the station was severely hampering its effectiveness, while its distance from the city centre required commuters to change to crowded trams for the remainder of their journey through the congested streets of the central business district.

Sydney's Central Station - the third and current 'Sydney' station
The plan to shift the Sydney terminal station to the north side of Devonshire Street was proposed by the Minister for Public Works, E.W. O’Sullivan. Government Architect W.L. Vernon designed a 15 platform steel-framed and concrete station . Parliament approved the Act for its construction on 11 December 1900 at an estimated cost of £561, 000 . The design for the station included a large arched roof to cover the main concourse area, with covered platforms and pedestrian access through subways between George St West and Strawberry Hills. Railway Square became a major tram interchange point. The sandstone used in the construction came from the Pyrmont Quarry, they supplied the sandstone for piers, ramps and walls; to face more than 2.5 kilometres of platforms, 3,800,000 bricks would be needed. Hand carved cedar surmounted the main doorways while stained glass windows ornately displayed the New South Wales Government Railway's insignia. The decorative marble came from Brenore, near Orange and the ticket office was made of Tasmanian blackwood. The clocktower (construction began on this in 1915) stands 85.6m above mean sea level and includes four clock faces that are 4.77m in diameter .

Laying the foundation stone of Central Station's clock tower, 26 September 1903.W.L. Vernon, the New South Wales Government Architect in charge of design, and Henry Deane, Engineer in Chief of the New South Wales Government Railways, signed the completed plan for the new 15-platform steel framed and concrete station on 2 November 1901.

Before construction could begin the site had to be cleared of the rail sheds and yards. Property resumption included the Benevolent Asylum, Devonshire Street Cemetery, Christ Church Parsonage, Police Barracks, Sydney Female Refuge, Convent of the Good Samaritan and the South Sydney Morgue . At the Devonshire Street Cemetery site, £27, 890 was spent on relocating the remains and headstones to a new cemetery site at Botany and around Sydney

One of the first trams to use the new colonnade platform.When the new station was constructed, the Pitt and Castlereagh streets tramway loop was relocated so the trams could terminate in a colonnade across the front of the main concourse at platform level, providing a convenient means of transfer between the two transport modes. The trams approached the terminus by way of a ramp from the corner of Pitt and Hay streets.
The tramline to the colonnade ceased on 29 September 1957, however, in 1997 trams made a welcome comeback with the opening of the light rail line servicing Wentworth Park and later Lilyfield. Railway Square was also a large tram interchange point being only a short walk from Central Station or through the Devonshire Street Tunnel. Today, Railway Square interchange is for buses.

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Reply By: Member - Alan H (QLD) - Sunday, May 25, 2014 at 07:05

Sunday, May 25, 2014 at 07:05
Thanks again Doug

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Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Sunday, May 25, 2014 at 08:24

Sunday, May 25, 2014 at 08:24
Interesting read, Doug.

Passed through Central many times, back in the school days. Always a hive of activity, and often saw some "unusual sights" :-)

Also reminded me of a joke for next Friday too.


Seen it all, Done it all.
Can't remember most of it.

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AnswerID: 533125

Reply By: duck - Sunday, May 25, 2014 at 19:32

Sunday, May 25, 2014 at 19:32
Doug most of the head stones were moved to St Stevens church in Australia st Newtown & are are still around the stone walls a very interesting walk & read & a real shame that so much history is so neglected, but we'll worth a visit if you like early Sydney history

St Stevens church was for many years the highest point between the coast & Penrith
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Reply By: DBN05 (tas) - Sunday, May 25, 2014 at 20:05

Sunday, May 25, 2014 at 20:05
Thanks Doug,

spent a bit of time in central yard as fireman on the steam, them two years in and out of central station and the underground as driver on the electric trains.
bought back thoughts of walking back through Redfern at 2am to get back to my depot to sign off and get car. although the depot no longer there would hate to do that walk now.
Once again great read thanks.

Harvey (DBN05) Tas
I NEVER get lost, but don't i see a lot of NEW places.

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Follow Up By: Member - Peter H1 (NSW) - Wednesday, May 28, 2014 at 20:17

Wednesday, May 28, 2014 at 20:17
I recall doing Mutton deliveries to the RRR [railway refreshment rooms] in a meat wagon, backing up a covered laneway in Eddy Avenue [ where the bus terminal is now] back in the 50's.
They made all the pies etc that went on to the country trains.

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