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88/289-464 Photographic glass plate negative of a two-cylinder petrol motor truck carrying a winnower outisde Central railway station, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, made byThe Clyde Engineering Co Ltd, Granville, New South Wales, Australia, 1900-1920. Click to enlarge.

Photograph of a motor vehicle outside Central Station

Made 1900-1920
This photograph from the Clyde Engineering collection shows a winnower sitting on a light truck outside the Eddy Avenue entrance to Central Railway Station, the main railway terminus in Sydney. The white sign on the side of the winnower states it is ?SOLD.?

Both the winnower and truck were made by the large Australian firm, The Clyde Engineering Co. Ltd at Granville, a Sydney suburb. The firm made agricultural machinery, engineering equipment, and railway rolling stock during the first half of the twentieth century.

A winnower separated wheat grains from chaff and dirt before being bagged. Within the machine, fans directed air through the grains as it fell from the hopper on top of the machine (this process is known as winnowing). The dirt and chaff was blown out the back while small grains, weed seed and more dirt were shaken out of the wheat grains through a sieve in the bottom. Small grains were separated out in order to produce a standard size.

The first modern winnower was produced in England in 1710, while the first winnower in Australia was made in 1838 by John Bagshaw. This machine was welcomed in Australia because hand winnowing with a flail was very labour intensive, dusty and efficient especially during the hot Australian summers.

This photograph was printed from a large series of Works photographs in the collection, ?The Clyde Photograph Collection.? Almost all of the glass plate negatives that make up this 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.

Geoff Barker, Assistant Curator, Total Asset Management Project, February, 2008
Sidney Wilkinson-Flicker, Museum Studies Intern, January 2011.


Murray, J., Phoenix to the World; the Story of Clyde Industries and Sir Raymond Purves, CBE, Playright Publishing Pty Ltd., 1992

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?

Australian Railway Historical Society, New South Wales Division, Steam Locomotives Built by the Clyde Engineering Co. Pty. Ltd., Granville, Australia, Australian Railway Historical Society, New South Wales, date unknown

Blandford, Percy, ?Old Farm Tools and Machinery: An Illustrated History?, David and Charles, London, 1976, p. 129.

Culpin, C., ?Farm Machinery?, Crosby Lockwood & Son, London, 1947, p. 315.

Simpson, Margaret and Phillip, ?Old Farm Machinery in Australia: A Fieldguide & Sourcebook?, Kangaroo Press, Kenthurst, 1991, p. 61-62.


Object No.


Object Statement

Photographic glass plate negative of a two-cylinder petrol motor truck carrying a winnower outisde Central railway station, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, made byThe Clyde Engineering Co Ltd, Granville, New South Wales, Australia, 1900-1920

Physical Description

A rectangular black and white silver gelatin glass plate negative in landscape format. The image depicts a two cylinder petrol motor lorry on solid rubber tyres outside Eddy Avenue entrance to Central Station, Sydney, cast iron garden seat and grain winnower on truck tray, sign on the lorry 'MOTOR LORRY / DESIGNED and MANUFACTURED / ENTIRELY BY / The CLYDE ENGINEERING CO LTD / GRANVILLE / SPECIALLY FOR N.S.W. REQUIREMENTS.'



164 mm


215 mm


1.5 mm





The Clyde Engineering Company photograph collection is made up of around 1300 half plate glass negatives and approximately 4000 triacetate negatives.

The origins of the collection can be dated back to 1855 when William Henry Hudson set up the firm of Hudson Brothers in a small shop in Redfern, Sydney. Initially the company specialised in woodworking and the first major contracts undertaken by the Hudson Brothers included woodwork for the 'Great Hall' at Sydney University and building the Sydney 'Garden Palace' in 1879.

In 1876 Hudson Brothers won a lucrative contract to build rolling stock for the New South Wales government and as a result the business began to move toward metal-work rather than wood-work. The business was a success and twenty five years later had expanded to such a degree that a new work shop was needed to accommodate staff and equipment. In 1881 Hudson Brothers moved onto two hundred acres of land at Granville in the Western suburbs of Sydney and the new factory opened two years later in July 1883.

Unfortunately the recession of the 1890s hit Hudson Brothers hard and by 1898 it was forced into receivership. It was then that the newly formed Clyde Engineering Company took over the Hudson Brothers, although William Hudson continued to remain a board member and motivating force behind Clyde Engineering. Given the new company arose out of the old Hudson Brothers it is not surprising to find Clyde Engineering adopted a phoenix as its logo. The choice was apt for the new company did rise out of the ashes of the old and by 1950 Clyde Engineering had become the largest engineering enterprise in New South Wales.

In 1901, soon after it had become Clyde Engineering Ltd., the company began making carriages for the Federal Government and in 1903 began making them for the West Australian Government as well. In 1905 Clyde won a major contract with the New South Wales State Government to make railway locomotives.

Clyde Engineering was a large operation and took on contract work for major state government projects, mainly in New South Wales. These included prefabricated steel work for the Hawkesbury Bridge and the northern approach to the Sydney Harbour Bridge. In 1932 the company also built and supplied steel work for the Clarence River Bridge at Grafton and the Manning River Bridge at Taree.

Clyde Engineering made agricultural equipment for many parts of New South Wales, continuing the work of Hudson Brothers who began to manufacture windmills and ploughs made to their own unique designs in 1884.

During the Second World War it was an integral part of 'Workshop Australia'. In this period Clyde Engineering took on a new field, the repair of Hudson and Wirraway aircraft. In addition it provided munitions; 25-pounder field gun parts; locomotives and rolling stock to the war effort.

The triacetate collection appears to date from the late 1930s through to 1960s the glass plates from around 1900-1950. Most of the photographs are commissioned works taken around the Clyde Works in Granville, Sydney. Others are copies of original photographic prints, blueprints and pages from books. These are hard to accurately date it is almost certain that the collection is the work of numerous photographers; unfortunately their identity is at present unknown.

Glass plates were first used to support photographic emulsions in the late 1840s and remained in continuous use right through until the middle of the twentieth century. While the earliest plates supported 'dry' and 'wet' collodion emulsions these were replaced with silver gelatin emulsions in the 1880s. Unlike earlier plates these were mass produced on a huge scale and were capable of fast speeds even at half and full plate sizes.

One drawback of this process was that larger plate sizes required a correspondingly large camera to fit the plate. These were relatively cumbersome and when you take into consideration the weight of the glass plates it is no surprise to find they were mainly used for studio and commercial work. However they were still favoured by many professionals for a long time after roll film was introduced by Kodak in the late 1880s. This was because the large plates could be more easily worked on for masking and their contact prints provided better results than some of the early enlarging equipment

Geoff Barker, Assistant Curator, Total Asset Management Project, February, 2008

Gernsheim, H. and Gernsheim A., The History of Photography from the Earliest Use of the Camera Obscura in the Eleventh Century up to 1914. London, New York: Oxford University Press, 1955.



This photograph appears in the publication "Appears in Phoenix to the World."

Cite this Object


Photograph of a motor vehicle outside Central Station 2019, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 9 July 2020, <>


{{cite web |url= |title=Photograph of a motor vehicle outside Central Station |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=9 July 2020 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}

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