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2008/165/1-38 Glass plate negative (1 of 193), cable tram set from North Shore Cable Tram Service based at North Sydney, shown at St Leonards Park, Sydney, glass, photographer possibly Arthur Phillips, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1886-1900. Click to enlarge.

Glass plate negative of Sydney cable tram, Number 9 at St Leonards Park

Photographed
This photograph taken between 1886 and 1900 shows a cable tram set, comprising grip and trailer cars, from the North Shore Cable Tram Service based at North Sydney on route at St Leonards Park. The photo is one of the glass plate negatives acquired by the Museum in the 1980s and appears to have been made by a Sydney based photographic studio from around 1880 through to 1920. The images are on both whole and half plate negatives and many of the larger images are of a high quality.

The subjects …

Summary

Object No.

2008/165/1-38

Object Statement

Glass plate negative (1 of 193), cable tram set from North Shore Cable Tram Service based at North Sydney, shown at St Leonards Park, Sydney, glass, photographer possibly Arthur Phillips, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1886-1900

Physical Description

Landscape-format, black and white glass plate negative depicting a view of cable grip tram car Number 9 with trailer car Number 17 at St. Leonards Park. Men and women in Edwardian dress are seated in the tram and posed in front. Terrace houses are visible in the background, with small boy in front of picket fence. A sign for the Terminus Refreshment Rooms can be partly seen on the far right.

Marks

The number '118' is scratched on the reverse side of the negative.

Dimensions

Height

165 mm

Width

215 mm

Production

Notes

The photographic glass plate negative was photographed in Sydney, New South Wales and produced in Australia, c. 1910. There have been suggestions that the Phillips collection of photographs was created by Harry Phillips, (1873-1944), an early twentieth century photographer born in Ballarat and best known for his photographs of the Blue Mountains. Recent museum research has shown that the photographer Harry J. Phillips, the uncle of Raymond W. Phillips, was born in Sydney in 1872. There does not appear to be any connection between the families of the Ballarat-born Harry Phillips and Harry J. Phillips.

The donor Raymond Phillips was a rotograver and for many years was responsible for the Australian Women's Weekly cover. His father, Arthur Phillips, was a gold and silver merchant and was possibly the photographer of the glass plate negatives. In 1920, the family moved from Willoughby to Latimer Road, Bellevue Hill. A bachelor, Raymond Phillips remained in the house after his parents' death. The slides were found in a deal box in the garage

History

Notes

Steam trams were introduced into Sydney in 1879 and their popularity ensured a rapid extension of routes to nearby suburbs. In North Sydney, however, since steam trams and horse trams could not be used on the steep grades leading up from the Milsons Point ferry terminus, another system was required. Following the North American example, cable traction was adopted, the first practical application of which was made in 1873 on the steep hills of San Francisco, where this type of tram is still in operation.

The operating principle of cable trams involved the movement of an endless cable at constant speed in a shallow channel between the rails. The cable was pulled by a steam winding engine in a winder house and the trams were of two types, the grip car and the trailer. On the grip car, the driver or gripman operated the tram with two levers: one was like an iron hand which gripped the cable below, through a slit in the floor of the car, while the other lever was a brake.

Between 1883 and 1885 the NSW Railway Commissioners acquired land on the corner of Ridge and Miller Streets, North Sydney, to build a cable-tram terminus and depot. The site fell steeply away at the rear, enabling the powerhouse to be located at basement level and the brick car shed at road level above. A traverser in the street entrance enabled tramcars to be manually turned in and out of the shed. The power-generating equipment to haul the cable comprised two John Fowler & Co. steam winding engines and two 90 psi boilers driving a 10 foot diameter drum with a cable speed of 8 miles per hour.

The North Shore Cable Tramway Service was officially opened on 22 May 1886 by the Governor, Lord Carrington, and the Premier, Sir Henry Parkes. Operating from the Milsons Point ferry wharves, the route covered Alfred, Junction, Blue and Miller Streets and terminated near the tram shed.

The depot was altered and extended prior to the opening of the line to Crows Nest in 1893 and new steam engines and boilers were installed. The cable haulage gear ceased to operate in 1900 with the installation of electric generating equipment and an electric substation in the depot basement. Electric tram cars then replaced the cable trams. Three years later a submarine cable was laid under Sydney Harbour to bring electricity from Ultimo power station, now the Museum, and the generating equipment was removed.

Once a new electric tram depot was established at Neutral Bay all the tramcars were removed there in 1909 and the North Sydney depot closed. It was subsequently converted into a variety theatre and eventually became the Independent Theatre.

Simpson, Margaret, 'Old Sydney Buildings: A Social History', Kangaroo Press, Kenthurst, NSW, pp.183-4.

Cite this Object

Harvard

Glass plate negative of Sydney cable tram, Number 9 at St Leonards Park 2021, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 16 October 2021, <https://ma.as/385716>

Wikipedia

{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/385716 |title=Glass plate negative of Sydney cable tram, Number 9 at St Leonards Park |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=16 October 2021 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}