Three (formerly) Unidentified Scenes of Newcastle (c.1878)

SLNSW X981 32

This post was created on the 3 September 2018 in response to email below, to assist our colleagues at NSW State Archives and Records to identify and date a number of Newcastle images in their collection. See comments below for discussion relating to the dating of the images. Thanks for your help!

“Date: Monday, 3 September 2018 at 12:06 pm
Subject: Newcastle scenes – 1880

Dear Cultural Collections team

NSW State Archives is developing an exhibition featuring ‘The Queen’s Album’  – an album of photographs of 64 scenes of New South Wales, put together by the Government Printing Office in 1880 and presented to Queen Victoria in 1882. The majority of the images are part of the Government Printing Office glass negatives collection held by NSW State Archives. There are a handful of images, like those attached, that we have not as yet located as part of the GPO collection. The description of the album states that most of the images come from GPO, but that others might come from other collections.

I was wondering, therefore, if the attached images were familiar to you and whether you had come across them in your work or as part of your collection. I apologise for the poor quality of the images attached – they are taken from an early example of the album held by the State Library of New South Wales.

Thank you in advance for taking a look – it is much appreciated.

Kind regards

Bonnie Wildie | Assistant Curator, Exhibitions”


Annotated by Russell Rigby 4 September 2018


SLNSW X981 33


Annotated by Russell Rigby 4 September 2018


SLNSW X981 33 Detail 1


NRS- 7420 1065_1 detail


SLNSW X981 34


Annotated by Russell Rigby 4 September 2018


SLNSW X981 34 – Detail


SLNSW X981 34 – Detail 2

7 thoughts on “Three (formerly) Unidentified Scenes of Newcastle (c.1878)

  1. Is the first photo looking down Tyrrell Street? As if you look closely on the left hand edge of the photo half way up you can see a row of narrow terraces on Laman Street, which I think are those located next to the Conservatorium carpark.

  2. (SLNSW X981 32) junction of the Main Northern Line (on right) and Bullock Island Branch coal line (on left).; The branch line was the original rail line to the Dyke coal loading facilities, via the Cowper St bridge. The branch line came into use in late 1870s. It was superceded by the rail lines and marshalling yards through Port Waratah.

    (SLNSW X981 32.) looking west down Sydney Street (now Tyrrell St) from The Hill near current site of Newcastle East Public School. McCormack St and the Baptist Church are on the right. The AA Co railway from Hamilton has ponds of water on both sides (now part of Civic Park). Photo probably taken in late 1870s-early 1880s, after Woods Brewery constructed but before Sea Pit Railway The photo was taken before the construction of St Andrews Presbyterian Church (1890) at the corner of Laman and Auckland St, near the Burwood railway line.

    (SLNSW X981 34) looking east from near Market St toward the Customs House (completed 1877) – shipping at Queens Wharf on the left, Newcastle Railway Station just out of photo on the right, Signal Hill in the background, with Fort Scratchley on the summit (construction started 1879)

  3. Photo X981 34

    Time Ball went up on the customs house in 1877.

    Tender for installation of clocks was advertised 1878.

    Fort Scratchley is not seen in the photo as Russel has pointed out it had not been built.

    What you can see on “Signal Hill” is the Harbour Masters residence that was removed to allow the construction of the fort.

    Every other photo is easily identified so why the “mystery” in stating the photos could not be identified.

  4. Graeme – no mystery – the scenes were not identified in the State Library records that accompanied the images.

    1. “Three Unidentified Scenes of Newcastle in the 1880s”

      So having provided the above title with no further information “Justin” seems to validate that there is a “mystery” in identifying the locations and dates of the photographs!!

      The three scenes have been identified and the date provided as 1878 give or take a year.

      No mystery other than why is the website not updated to reflect the results of the publics input??

      “Three identified scenes of Newcastle possibly from 1878 would be more accurate.”

      This website reflects abandonment in regards to what it provides.

      While I appreciate the information supplied and the challange it provides nothing is ever done with the information.

      This website has no more purpose than a crossword puzzle that seeks answers but never utilises them.

  5. Sorrry Russell but there is a mystery as to why the title states the scenes are unidentified .

    Clearly they have been identified and I beleive dated.

    The new mystery is why you have stated they “were not identified in the State Library” past tense rather than acknowledge that they have been identified present tense hence the title is incorrect.

    So would I be correct in stating the photos can be dated to 1878 or does this information have no value in regards to discussion?

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