Ultimo Power Station

Wool train along side R.R. Power Station on Hay St. Australian Mercantile L. and F. Co. Ltd. Wool storage beyond power plant.

Wool train along side R.R. Power Station on Hay St. Australian Mercantile L. and F. Co. Ltd. Wool storage beyond power plant.

This week, in honour of History Week, which this year focuses on photographs in Australia, The Past Present is showcasing one of the striking photos in the collection. With ‘Picture This’ in mind . . .

This photograph, taken in Ultimo in 1936 is a stunning snapshot, capturing a Sydney which is now long gone.

In the foreground of the photograph, a train is waiting. The train was a wool train, carrying one of our most significant agricultural products at the time. Australia was the nation which rode the sheep’s back, with some of the largest flocks in the world and our wool trade was extremely lucrative. It has been many years since Sydney has seen a wool train like this!

The image in the photograph above also shows a building which has, and continues to play an important role in Sydney’s history. Built between 1899 and 1902 the building was specially constructed as a power station to supply the tram network of Sydney with electricity. The power station was the first major power station to be built in Sydney but when the tram services ceased in 1961, the building was abandoned, standing derelict like so many of the other old industrial buildings. In 1979 the building was given a new purpose and new lease on life when the NSW State Government announced that the Museum of Applied Arts And Sciences would move into the old building. Today, many might recognize the building as The Powerhouse Museum.

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4 comments on “Ultimo Power Station

  1. Lignum Draco says:

    Thanks for the history behind this.

    Years ago, you wouldn’t want to live in or near ultimo. How times change.

  2. Tom Hinds says:

    The photo takes me back to when I started there in March 1956 as an apprentice

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