A vast array of horse-drawn vehicles are seen in this photograph of Pyrmont Bridge in Sydney. In 1894 a tally was taken of the horse-drawn vehicles crossing the bridge between 10 am and 6 pm. It comprised:
10 horse cabs (Hansom cabs)
10 horse buses
2521 two-wheeled horse-drawn carts
395 four wheel wagons
40 meat vans
360 animals alone
The bridge opened 14 times and 30 vessels passed through. Even before there were motor cars, large cities had to deal with transport-related pollution. The horses that powered most of Sydney's transport vehicles produced tonnes of manure each day.
On the far right of this photo of Pyrmont Bridge, Sydney, you can see a person in a white shirt sweeping the gutter. The council paid boys, nicknamed 'sparrow starvers', to collect manure because it was a marketable commodity. As late as the 1930s, horse manure was collected from Sydney's streets and sold as garden fertiliser.
Sandra McEwen, Curatorial, 2008
This photographic negative was published by the Sydney firm Charles Kerry & Co. and is part of the Powerhouse Museum's Tyrrell collection which contains over 2,900 glass plate negatives by Kerry & Co. Although a few appear to be from the 1880s most were produced between 1892 and 1917. Over this period, and well into the early 1900s, prints from these negatives appeared in many Australian publications and albums of views. In 1903 the company began producing postcards from these negatives, further establishing the images as some of the most significant and best known early views of New South Wales.
Some of the more significant themes covered by the collection include; views of New South Wales, Queensland, country towns, Sydney, Indigenous Australians, the South Pacific, rural life, native flora and fauna, and sentimental views. In addition there are a number of significant events from the 1900s covered by the collection including; Embarkation of troops for the Boer War, Hordens fire and the Inauguration of the Commonwealth in 1901, the arrival of the Great White Fleet and the Burns verses Johnson boxing match at Rushcutters Bay in 1908.
Geoff Barker, Curatorial, November 2008
David, Millar, Charles Kerry's Federation Australia, Sydney, David Ell Press, 1981
Valdon, 'Our Artistic Workers; Mr. George Bell', Australian Photographic Journal, Volume 17, Number 199, December 21, 1908