Sunday History Photo / NSW

Submitted: Sunday, Sep 16, 2012 at 06:25
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Governor Lachlan Macquarie directed that a fort be built between December 1817 to February 1821 at Bennelong Point under the direction of Francis Greenway. The fort was named after Governor Lachlan Macquarie was a square fort with circular bastions at each corner and a castellated square tower.
The battery consisted of fifteen pieces of ordnance: ten 24-pounders and five 6-pounders. Three sides of the fort abutted Sydney Harbour.



The two-storey tower in the middle of the fort, housed a guardroom and storehouse. The tower was 90 ft in circumference. A powder magazine capable of storing 350 barrels of gunpowder was constructed underneath and the tower could provide accommodation for a small military detachment of 1 officer and 18 men, with stores for the battery.
A drawbridge, on the landward side, over a small channel leading to a gate beneath the tower provided entry to the fort.
Fort Macquarie was demolished in 1901 to make way for new electric tramway sheds named Fort Macquarie Tram Depot
Before the Opera House, the Fort Macquarie Tram Depot occupied this site. It was a huge shed with brick walls, built like a gothic castle, with fabulous harbour views and tram tracks everywhere.




Next, the Opera House was a wonderful fantasy from a 1950s Labor Government who thought the masses should become more cultured. Especially after they had just destroyed the largest tram network in the Southern Hemisphere, with transport experts now saying this was the worst transport planning decision in the history of Australia.

The Fort Macquarie Tram Depot or Sydney Tram Depot was built on Bennelong Point in Sydney in 1901, on the site of the old Fort Macquarie. The depot was constructed in the design of a fortress with castellated ramparts in homage to the previous building. The depot operated from 1902 to 1955 before being demolished in 1958 to make way for the construction of the Sydney Opera House, the site's current occupant.

The depot consisted of a 12 road shed, with loop line laid around the outside. The loop and sidings on the western side of the depot were an important lay-over point for trams serving many lines. This took pressure away from Circular Quay during busy periods. Entry to the depot and loop line was controlled from a signal box located adjacent to the tracks. Nothing remains of the depot; the buildings were totally razed to make way for the Opera House.



Services from Fort Macquarie (some of these services also commenced at Circular Quay and Millers Point) were: Fort Macquarie to Rozelle Drummoyne Gladesville and Ryde
Fort Macquarie to Forest Lodge, Balmain and Birchgrove
Fort Macquarie to Haberfield, Five Dock and Abbotsford
Fort Macquarie to Leichhardt
Fort Macquarie to Glebe Point
Fort Macquarie to West Kensington
Fort Macquarie to Rosebery
Circular Quay to Railway Colonnade

With the closing of Fort Macquarie depot on 1955-10-22 most of the services were transferred to Dowling Street depot.

I was down in Sydney last weekend and took these next two photo's in the area.





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Reply By: Member - Fred B (NT) - Sunday, Sep 16, 2012 at 08:05

Sunday, Sep 16, 2012 at 08:05
Hi Doug,
I had no idea the original fort was so impressive. I think Sydney is still paying the price for getting rid of the trams.
regards
Fred B
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Reply By: Member - Bruce C (NSW) - Sunday, Sep 16, 2012 at 09:08

Sunday, Sep 16, 2012 at 09:08
Hi Doug,
Another good one in the bag mate. Well done.

I remember a bit of the Circular Quay area from when I was a kid, specifically when they were building the overhead railway otherwise known as the city loop which connected the 2 seperate lines of Sydneys underground railway via the loop which runs above the wharves at the Quay. (could be a story in that one too some day)

I also clearly remember the early stages of construction of the Opera House as I was an apprentice plumber by that time and used to look at it from the back of an old 1948 Ford 1.5 ton truck as we drove by on the way to a job. Being the apprentice I got to ride out the back amongst all the tools. I thought it was great unless it was a cold morning.

Thanks again Doug. Greatly appreciated.

Cheers, Bruce.
At home and at ease on a track that I know not and
restless and lost on a track that I know. HL.

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Reply By: Member - Tony H (touring oz) - Sunday, Sep 16, 2012 at 09:40

Sunday, Sep 16, 2012 at 09:40
Hi Doug,
Born & bred in Sydney, & this is news to me..... But then I'm just a youngster compared to you ha ha....... Thanks for another great story
Insanity doesnt run in my family.... it gallops!

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Reply By: Member - Don & Kathie M (TAS) - Sunday, Sep 16, 2012 at 11:37

Sunday, Sep 16, 2012 at 11:37
Thanks again Doug for triggering nostalgic memories. Kathie
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