Bondi Bay, Sydney

Format: Glass plate negative.


Rights Info: No known restrictions on publication.


Repository: Tyrrell Photographic Collection, Powerhouse Museum


Part Of: Powerhouse Museum Collection


General information about the Powerhouse Museum Collection is available at


Persistent URL:


Acquisition credit line: Gift of Australian Consolidated Press under the Taxation Incentives for the Arts Scheme, 1985

  • AussieGold PRO 7y

    How nice it would be if it still looked like this!

    No fast food stores, no luxury apartments, no carpark....
  • Pamla J. Eisenberg PRO 7y

    Could this be a group of orphan children at the beach on a Sunday, or a field trip of school or church children? They don't seem to be with their separate families - One can see a few adults in the background standing guard, watching. Only one child is completely bare standing at the edge of the waves, another in underwear. I get the feeling they aren't even with this group of children at all. Very few seem to be taking advantage of the ocean. Most all of the children (students ?) are wearing full public dress. Girls are wearing standard white dresses, some with smock aprons, hats, stockings and shoes are on. Boys in full dress and hats as well. Where are their bathing costumes? This group seem to be observing the water rather than enjoying it for seaside activities, early 1900s to 1910s...
  • seLusava photographer Carioca Copacabana PRO 7y

  • Kingkongphoto & PRO 6y

    Hi, I'm an admin for a group called Best Vintage Images on Flickr, and we'd love to have this added to the group!
  • beachcomberaustralia 4y

    Henry King (the photographer) took another photograph minutes earlier a little to the left -

    "No.1440 Bondi Bay Sydney (H.King Syd:)" NAA, Dated 1894

  • Jonathan Berry PRO 4y

    Shark proof swimming costumes..... choke hazard :-)
  • beachcomberaustralia 4y

    The other photo's glass negative ("No. 1440" as above) is also in the Tyrrell Collection -

    Also the the reverse view ("No. 1439") -

    Powerhouse Museum These additional images found via a Trove search for "Bondi Bay". Great that the PhM has at last joined Trove !

    Trying to confirm the date for the three images - I think "1894" (see NAA photo above - they also have "1884" which must be wrong due to the BOOS) may be a bit late - more like 1890? Maybe a fashion expert will know when boater straw hats etc became fashionable?
  • pellethepoet PRO 4y

    beachcomberaustralia I'm a little confused. PhM joined PictureAustralia in December 2002. PictureAustralia images became searchable on Trove in July 2010. Therefore PhM and all other contributors to PictureAustralia "joined" Trove by default at that time.

    I think the NAA date of 1894 may be the date their print was made from the negative? This would explain why they would have a date at all. If so, this would date the photo to before 1894 as you suggest.
  • quasymody PRO 3y

    This Sydney Mail pictorial shows how much things had changed by 1906 (photos are on previous pages) -

    Here's a 1907 T&CJ pictorial on the 'Bondi Surf-Bathers' Life-Saving Club' - - Sydney Mail 1907...if you've led a sheltered life (or come from back of beyond) don't miss the illustrated instruction piece titled 'Shooting the Breakers and How to Do it' (p. 155)
  • beachcomberaustralia 11mo

    Interesting to compare with Mr Hall's slightly later photo ...
    Bondi Beach /  photograph by Hall & Co. by State Library of New South Wales collection
  • beachcomberaustralia 6mo

    Re the 1894 date - evidently the tram line extension to Bondi opened in February 1894, bringing with it the crowds seen in these wonderful photos. Evening News 19/2/1894, p.5 .
    But the tram did not quite reach the beach (as in the Hall photo). See this 1894 interactive map -
  • quasymody PRO 6mo

    beachcomberaustralia You're a genius (as usual)!

    Pamla J. Eisenberg I think your theory re the orphan children might be correct! The digitised newspapers mention two children's outings to Bondi Beach in 1894...a smaller outing involving about 30 children (?which appears to have been a children's party of some sorts)...and a larger outing involving the Sydney Ragged Schools. Per the SMH the Sydney Ragged Schools held their annual picnic to Bondi Beach on 16 March, 1894...the four schools involved were Harrington St, Brisbane St, Glebe and Waterloo...there were evidently quite a few children there...and per the SMH report, they were conveyed to Bondi by special tram...All up I'd say there's a good chance that in this pic we'e looking at the Sydney Ragged Schools 1894 picnic at Bondi Beach...see the brief SMH report in column 3

    Just looking at the digitised newspapers, the Sydney Ragged Schools annual picnic excursions to Bondi Beach appear to have been something of a fixture in the 1890s and first decade or so of the 20th century.
  • quasymody PRO 6mo

    I might well be barking up the wrong tree with my Ragged Schools picnic theory...but regardless, see comments here from the brains trust for background on the Ragged Schools
    Ragged School, Harrington Street, The Rocks by State Records NSW

    Also see Eureka Henrich's 2013 Sydney Journal article
  • beachcomberaustralia 6mo

    Round the Ragged Rocks the Ragged Rascals Ran !
    [someone had to say it]
  • quasymody PRO 6mo

  • beachcomberaustralia 6mo

    SLIGHT CORRECTION - The tram did reach the beach in February 1894, but as a steam-driven tram, hence no electric poles (catenaries) which happened in 1902 (visible in the Hall photo).
    "Regarding the tramways, it was reported that the extension Denham-street to Bondi Beach, a distance of 45 chains [905.256 metres], was opened for traffic on 19th February last. ... " - SMH 2/5/1894 p.6 -

    Which gives even more validity to the 1894 date, as the ragged rascals would have to walk a kilometre to and fro the previous tram terminus near the Aquarium.
  • beachcomberaustralia 6mo

    This photo has to be earliest 1894 because of the tram loop embankment - see the dark man-made earthworks on the companion photo , slightly out-of-frame to the left here, and fully visible on the Hall photo.
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Taken circa 1900
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