Crossing the Sydney Harbour Bridge

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Passengers on first train across the Bridge - Milsons Point station
Dated: 19/01/1932
Digital ID: 12685_a007_a00704_8723000174r
Rights: www.records.nsw.gov.au/about-us/rights-and-permissions

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Owner: NSW State Archives and Records
Source: Flickr Commons
Views: 12579
archives staterecordsnsw newsouthwales blackandwhite sydneyharbourbridge people passengers train drinkingfountain waterbubbler milsons point station

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  • profile

    BeachcomberAustralia

    • 06/May/2011 10:17:41

    That must be at (the new) Milson's Point Station.

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    BobMeade

    • 06/May/2011 11:19:18

    Well, the caption says it was the first train across the Bridge, but certainly there were test runs. The first passengers across the Bridge were actually the Rev G. McChesney Clark and the Rev. B. Bentley who had the lucky chance to board a train as the only passengers on Friday 18 March, 1932 and travel across the Bridge. They travelled the day before the first OFFICIAL trip was scheduled. Here is the story from Monday 21 March, 1932: nla.gov.au/nla.news-article16849340 Therefore, the date presently shown for this photograph of 19/01/1932 is incorrect, it would correctly be dated 19/03/1932 the date when the first official passenger train crossed the bridge. Here is an advertisement selling tickets for the train scheduled to depart Wynyard Station for North Sydney station at 12.30pm on Saturday March 19, 1932: nla.gov.au/nla.news-article16847415

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    BobMeade

    • 06/May/2011 11:22:44

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/beachcomberaustralia Given the train travelled from Wynyard to North Sydney, do you think this photo could have been taken at North Sydney station?

  • profile

    BeachcomberAustralia

    • 07/May/2011 10:31:58

    [http://www.flickr.com/photos/lifeasdaddy] There are several newspaper reports and photos of this "first train" on Tuesday 19 January 1932 - trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/16834951 trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/32387789 trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/29940464 The second link mentions that the journey was from Kirribilli (ie Milsons Point). The third link mentions the trip was "from north to south, and back again" I think the Bridge pylons are too close in the above photo for it to have been North Sydney. I wonder if the water bubbler is still there on the platform?

  • profile

    BobMeade

    • 07/May/2011 13:00:19

    Yes, I think you're right and it is Milson's Point. I just made some measurements on a map which also suggest you are correct.

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    albert3801

    • 07/May/2011 14:16:40

    The discrepancies betweein 19/1/1932 and 19/3/1932 are easily explained. The train in the photo would have been either ther 18/1/1932 or 19/1/1932 train. This was not the first public official train which ran on 19/3/1932 and is the one for which tickets were being adveritsed above and travelling from Wynyard to North Sydney. The train in the photo (19/1/1932) would NOT have operated into Wynyard station. Steam trains did not operate under their own power to and from Wynyard Station due to the problem the exhaust smoke causes in the confines of the tunnels leading to suffocation of the crew and passengers particularly on the return trip due to the steep grade. The train in the photo would have operated only between Milson's Point and the Sydney end of the Harbour Bridge and then reversed back to Milson's Point station. Further evidence to support this is the fact that the train in the photo is running "wrong road" - heading south (Up) on the Northbound (Down) track, indicating it was shuttling backwards and forwards across the bridge. Signalling/and works at North Sydney would not have been complete. The train that ran on 19/3/1932 between North Sydney and Wynyard was an electric train that could proceed all the way into Wynyard Station.

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    mich_sydney_2007

    • 13/May/2011 13:00:42

    I think it is north sydney. From milsons point there is not such a large angle to the line of the bridge.

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    mich_sydney_2007

    • 13/May/2011 13:03:05

    No i was mistaken, its milson's point. I have a photo taken almost the exact same spot and the angle is the same.

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    Highranger

    • 20/May/2011 04:39:30

    Bradfield was the original "Where's Wally" he pops up all over the place!

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    NSW State Archives and Records

    • 22/May/2011 23:16:24

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/highranger Indeed, we need a Where's Bradfield Gallery, I think! AB

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    GrenadierGuardsDmr

    • 22/Jul/2011 14:05:28

    They all look thirsty, eyeing that water bubbler..

  • profile

    pmh_100

    • 03/Apr/2012 14:22:16

    I think Dr Bradfield always made sure he was in whatever photographs were to be taken. To do him justice, he took an intense interest in every aspect of the Bridge's construction. I read somewhere he even got up at 3 in the morning so he could be at the first concrete pouring of the day.

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    GrenadierGuardsDmr

    • 04/Apr/2012 07:43:02

    There is still scaffolding around the top of the bridge pylons, so it is definitely close to opening day, and therefore in January 1932 as the caption and albert3801 suggests. That bubbler was there right up until the last Milsons Point Station upgrade, now gone. It was a little feature right at eye-level for passing buses.

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    Anthony Farr

    • 12/Jun/2012 16:41:57

    This picture, also from this collection: www.flickr.com/photos/state-records-nsw/6809532427/ shows the same location 15 days earlier when there were still cranes and scaffolding between the Harbour Bridge pylons. That picture is titled "Overhead-wiring erection train at Milsons Point Station" and shows a very similar but not identical locomotive looking suitably grimy as befits a work train. By the time this picture was made the platform surface had been cleaned up and was almost ready for the public. Although my memory tells me that NSW suburban platforms were surfaced with crushed sandstone at least until my high school years in the 1970s, this platform looks a little too loose and sandy for public use in my opinion. The trip hazard near the bubbler also tells me that it wasn't 100% ready for the public. This picture from the same day: www.flickr.com/photos/state-records-nsw/6057732596/ shows Dr Bradfield riding the locomotive of this very same train as it crossed the bridge. This loco was well cleaned and fit for a V.I.P. to rest his coat sleeve upon. So, while I agree with the date shown, the title needs some clarification. It was clearly not the first train across the bridge, as work trains had already been shuttling back and forth putting up wires and such. It wasn't the first passenger train in the sense of it being a public conveyance. This was a V.I.P. party of some kind on an inspection tour, possibly commemorating the completion of a stage of construction.

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    john cowper

    • 21/Nov/2012 12:00:48

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/state-records-nsw AB: "The Ubiquitous Dr Bradfield" Gallery I and II have been established this evening. John C