Milson's Point street scene with horses and carts

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Format: Glass plate negative.

Rights Info: No known restrictions on publication.

Repository: Phillips Glass Plate Negative Collection, Powerhouse Museum _Plate_Negative

Part Of: Powerhouse Museum Collection

General information about the Powerhouse Museum Collection is available at

Persistent URL:

Acquisition credit line: Gift of the Estate of Raymond W Phillips, 2008

jilske, Iso.dp, The Limp Petunia, and 27 other people added this photo to their favorites.

  1. 95 months ago | reply

    Hi, I'm an admin for a group called Sydney's Inner West, and we'd love to have this added to the group!

  2. opsbooks 93 months ago | reply

    Looks like a tram line in the centre of the road but no sign of the cable trough, so this may be Darling St prior to the installation of the cable tram.

  3. beachcomberaustralia 86 months ago | reply

    My vote goes to this being Alfred Street, Milson's Point. Not Balmain as in the title. See Persistent URL. But I can't see the "GPO Tower visible across the harbour". I can see Government House, and (?) St Marks Darling Point steeple.

  4. Zacha Rosen 86 months ago | reply

    I agree - this probably isn't Balmain. The shop on the corner looks right, but if so there should probably be a street on the right corresponding with a street on the right. And most of the buildings down the street appear to be shops, whereas the surviving buildings down Darling Street near the wharf are mostly terraces and houses.

  5. beachcomberaustralia 86 months ago | reply

    There are a couple of really small street signs on the C.M. Stewart Grocer's building, which identify the corner as Alfred and Fitzroy Streets. You have to look at the Persistent URL at full Zoom with a large magnifying glass and a bit of imagination!

    More easy to identify is the dome and arch of the "[North Sho]re Steam Ferry Co." with a cable tram in front. Alfred Street was also a cable tram route (opened 22 May 1886), and I reckon I can see the six lines at bottom left of the image.

    The picturesque street was the victim of the Sydney Harbour Bridge approaches in the 1920s. It is almost a shame to look at the Google street view -

  6. Alvin, Maisie, Bec and James 86 months ago | reply

    Yes, it doesn't look like Darling St, agreed. But if its Alfred St, what is the background (see note "What's this?"). If the street is Alfred Street then the background should be from Bennelong Point east to Mrs Macquarie's Chair. Is it?

  7. beachcomberaustralia 86 months ago | reply

    @ James and Rebecca - Not quite - a bit to the right. Your box goes from the southern edge of Fort Macquarie (now the Opera House) on the left, to the northern end of the warehouses (toaster) at Circular Quay to the right. Near to far I see a steam ship, wharf, warehouse, cliff face (Tarpeian Way), a house, Government House (flag flying), trees of the Botanical Gardens, and on the ridge in the distance St Marks Darling Point and a chimney belching out smoke somewhere in Paddington.

    It is not easy to visualize with the tall buildings of today, but this interactive 1890 map makes it a lot clearer. (Just ignore the child graffiti of the Harbour Bridge). - roughly contemporary with this photo, it also shows the route of the 1886 cable tram to St Leonards Park. -

    I hope this helps.

  8. beachcomberaustralia 85 months ago | reply

    @ PhMC - I cannot find 'Milson's Point' anywhere on the negative; only in your persistently UnReliable bLurb. The above discussion is bewildering without knowing this image was once called "BALMAIN street scene with horses and carts". It would help to put a note on the Flickr site to say if new or changed information is available at the Persistent URL; it would help advance discussion and knowledge, and avoid wasting time and effort.

    I recently found out this particular cable tram line was electrified in February 1900, so this photo is before then (my guess is about 1895); the people are not in "Edwardian dress". From the angle and length of the shadows, I would say it is about 2pm on a winter's day. With some image enhancement of the tobacconist's shop newspaper posters it should be possible to get a date too.

  9. BobMeade 85 months ago | reply

    Good information and inquiries from all. There is much more written information than usual in this photograph with the street, commencial and newspaper signage which is a big help when determining a precise location - and with the newspaper posters probably a precise date too.

    Aside from those factual elements - I like the composition here. Commerce, street life, burgeoning development of Sydney - it's all here.

  10. beachcomberaustralia 66 months ago | reply

    Wonder of wonders - Arthur K. Syer photographed this earlier - I wonder why the interest in this corner of the suburbs -

    Street scene from Sydney, ca. 1885-1890 / photographed by Arthur K. Syer

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