Central Station Sydney
Central Station, Sydney
We left the red tour of the hop-on hop-off bus at Central Station.
1900 plan and the foundation stone being laid in 1903.
Devonshire Street Cemetery 1902
History: There have been three terminal stations in Sydney. The original Sydney station was opened on the 26th of September 1855 in an area known as Cleveland Fields. This station (one wooden platform in a corrugated iron shed), called Redfern, had Devonshire Street as its northern boundary.
When this station became inadequate for the traffic it carried, a new station was built in 1874 on the same site and also called Redfern. This was a brick building with two platforms. It grew to fourteen platforms before it was replaced by the present-day station to the north of Devonshire Street. The new station was built on a site previously occupied by the Devonshire Street Cemetery, a convent, a female refuge, a police barracks, a parsonage, and a Benevolent Society. The remains exhumed from the cemetery were re-interred at several other Sydney cemeteries including Rookwood and Waverley cemeteries. Bodies were moved to Botany by steam tram motors and flat cars.
The present station was officially opened on the 4th of August 1906 and opening for passengers the following day. The new station included the previous Mortuary railway station used to transport funeral parties to Rookwood Cemetery. The last train departed platform 5 of the 1874 station at midnight. During the remainder of that night, the passenger concourse was demolished and the line extended through the old station into the new station. The Western Mail arrived at 05:50 on the 5th of August 1906 at the new station. Devonshire Street, which separated the two stations, became a pedestrian underpass to allow people to cross the railway line and is now known by many as the Devonshire Street Tunnel.
A 75-metre clock tower in the Free Classical style was added at the north-western corner of the station, opening on the 3rd of March 1921. Central station was designed by the Government Architect, Walter Liberty Vernon. As it was being built, it was reported that "Everything in connection with the new station appears to have been designed on a grand scale, from the great elevated approaches down to the system of handling luggage underground." It is listed on the Register of the National Estate.
A riot, dubbed the Battle of Central Station, took place in 1916. Soldiers rebelling against camp conditions had raided hotels in Liverpool and travelled to the city by commandeered trains. The number of protesters reached as many as 15,000. They invaded a number of local hotels, drinking the bars dry, refusing to pay and started to vandalise buildings. Soldiers then gained control of Liverpool train station, overpowered the engineers and commandeered trains heading towards Sydney, where they began a rampage, destroying the station facilities, and fire was exchanged between rampaging rioters and military police. Police reinforcements were called in and at Central, armed military guards found a group of over a hundred drunken soldiers destroying a toilet block and demanded they surrender. One soldier was killed in the melee and another eight seriously injured.
The riot was described as the “most disgraceful episode in Australian military history” and a thousand soldiers were court-martialled and either jailed or discharged from the army.
The only remaining evidence of the gun battle is a small bullet-hole in the marble by the entrance to platform 1. The incident had a direct influence on the introduction of 6 o'clock closing of hotels in 1916, which lasted in New South Wales until 1955.
New and old photographs (courtesy of the NSW Archives Library) and a couple of postcards to begin with.......
After a good bimble around upstairs, it was time to go downstairs to the bus stop for the blue tour.
ALL IN ALL RATHER LOVELY