Sunday, February 3, 2008

Northbridge - the "suspension" bridge

It looks like it should be a suspension bridge but it sits on an arch.. and yes, trams ran here as well... this is Northbridge in the mid-1970s.

Another tram reservation lost


Trams ran along here on a dedicated track near Coogee. This shot is mid-1970s but shows anti-Liberal graffiti dating back to the Menzies era...

The tram reservation down to Balmoral Beach

Overgrown with weeds in 1976, this cutting is at the bottom of reserved track leading to the tram terminus at Balmoral.

AEC 3242 on Route 417, 1976

It's a government bus heading to Circular Quay from Central Station, 1976.

Trams and buses in Randwick

Tracks and catenary are clearly visible in this 1976 shot of Randwick Bus Workshop, formerly a major tram depot. A substantial stretch of track was reserved for trams only in this area, including track alongside Alison Road and an extensive "tram station" at Randwick Racecourse. The bottom shot shows the remains of a tram reservation heading south from the depot, now a park. Much of this dedicated line is now developed, sadly removing this reserved transport corridor from Sydney's transport mix.

The queue for Runway 25, 1975

It was once a common sight. Strong westerly winds drew pilots to land and take off on runway 25, rather than use the main north-south runway. In fact this strip was the main runway up until the north-south runway was extended into Botany Bay in the late 1960s. This east-west strip exposed more people to aircraft noise and its use has been subsequently curtailed. Note the TAA 727, shortly to be renamed Australian Airlines before disappearing with a merger into Qantas. The Ansett F27 also represents a brand no longer in the air.

Norton Street Leichhardt in 1975

A view of Norton Street in 1975, including a front-engined single-deck government bus of a type that was soon to be withdrawn.

Sydney Airport's "new" control tower

Well it was fairly new in the 1970s, anyway. Replacing the old tower near the intersection of the east-west and north-south runways, this "new" tower sat on the edge of Botany Bay, next to the Cook's River. It had the advantage of seeing to the end of the newly-extended north-south runway (which has a slight hill in the middle). Later replaced by a taller, more dramatic structure on the other side of the main runway when the parallel north-south runway was built.

It's worth noting that the Cook's River was diverted to make more room for these runways at Sydney, originally emptying into Botany Bay on the other side of the north-south runway. The current runways themselves were settled upon only in the 1950s, earlier grass and gravel strips having a more north-east/south-west orientation. One strip was actually crossed by a railway line (later diverted to the north), a DC-3 famously colliding with a train and illustrating the obvious dangers in that arrangement...

Concorde visits Sydney, 1972

Not the last visit but certainly the first. The Anglo-French Concorde prototype sits at Sydney's International terminal in 1972, framed by a QANTAS 707 "V-jet". Security was certainly more relaxed in those days, as evidenced by this then 14 year old photographer (armed with a Kodak Instamatic) wandering up to the edge of the hardstanding...

Metal tram poles

You'll still find a few of these around, but not many. Iron poles that formerly held up the tram catenary, the lines that fed electric power to the trams. These metal poles remained in place on the old tram route to Bunnerong in the mid-70s.

The tram to Bondi

Up until 1961 there was an extensive tramway network in Sydney, the largest in the Southern Hemisphere and 2nd only to London amongst Commonwealth countries. London changed to buses and Sydney sadly followed. Here are some shots of the cuttings through which the trams made their way down to Bondi beach. These shots were taken in the mid-1970s, just before developers moved in and robbed Sydney of dedicated tramway land.

Remember Amaroo Park?

Sydney used to have a multitude of car race circuits, speedways and the like. There was a speedway in the sandhills at Maroubra, and another near Penrith. There was a race circuit called Catalina Park at Katoomba and another called Amaroo Park at Kenthurst. Here's a shot of racing at Amaroo, 1970's style.