This is a photograph of the narrow gauge, bogie, railway goods van No. 4 built by the Clyde Engineering Pty Ltd in the Sydney suburb of Granville. It is seen fitted with a temporary lifting frame to enable handling by an overhead crane or derrick.
The goods van was made for the Colonial Sugar Refinery Co.'s Rarawai to Kavanagasau narrow gauge light railway in Fiji. It operated on the free, twice-weekly, return passenger train that commenced service in December 1914 as well as the weekly public goods trains, that carried food supplies, pipes for the manganese mines, potatoes, onions, rice and maize. Movement of cattle was added in the early 1950s. The van was withdrawn in 1969 when the Wainikoro road opened.
The photograph has been printed from a rectangular black and white silver gelatine glass negative in landscape format. It is part of the Clyde Engineering collection of photographs (see also object 88/289-63). Almost all of the glass plate negatives in the Clyde photograph collection were taken at the Clyde works in Granville, and depict both the workers and the machinery they manufactured. Subjects covered include: railway locomotives and rolling stock; agricultural equipment; large engineering projects funded by Australian State and Federal governments; airplane maintenance and construction and Clyde's contribution to the first and second World Wars. Some photographs date back to the 1880s but most were taken between 1898 and 1945.
This collection of photographs is an archive of national significance due to its unique relationship to the industrial technology, engineering and commerce of New South Wales. In Australia few collections of this nature have survived to the present day especially ones which cover one company's activities from the 1880s through to the 1950s in such depth.
The photographs are also significant in their illustration of the important contribution made by Clyde Engineering to the social fabric of New South Wales. By 1923 Clyde had 2,200 employees working round the clock on eight hour shifts. Some of these lived in houses specially built by the company in Granville and the works had its own fire brigade, ambulance service, gun club and was home to Australia's first soccer club.
Dyer, Hodge, 'Cane train: Sugar Railways of Fiji', New Zealand Railway & Locomotive Society, Wellington, New Zealand, 1988.
'Phoenix to the World; the Story of Clyde Industries and Sir Raymond Purves', Murray, J. CBE, Playright Publishing Pty Ltd., 1992
'Catalogue of General Engineering, Section 1, No 1'
Clyde Engineering Company Limited. 1904
'The Clyde Engineering Company Limited, Visit to Clyde Works of the delegates of Chambers of Commerce of the British Empire, 21 September 1909', Cumberland Argus Printing Works, 1909?
'Steam Locomotives Built by the Clyde Engineering Co. Pty. Ltd., Granville, Australia', Australian Railway Historical Society, New South Wales, date unknown
Geoff Barker, Assistant Curator, Total Asset Management Project,
Ken Williams, Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences Volunteer, under the supervision of Margaret Simpson, Curator