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Archives Outside - For people who love, use and manage archives

Can you date this photograph? [WWI]

A slightly different Can you date? with an ANZAC theme.

These photos have been identified as ‘Army movement from Campbelltown 1914-1918 War’. They are part of a very diverse series of photographs, NRS 17420 State Rail Authority Archives Photographic Reference Print Collection.

We’d like to try and narrow down the date of these WWI photographs and if possible glean some more information about the uniforms being worn.

What are peoples thoughts? Can you date these photographs?

Larger versions on Flickr








We have many other undated photographs in Photo Investigator and on our Flickr account. If you know the dates or any other interesting facts about these images please let us know.

  • Ian Willis says:

    These images are likely to be connected with the establishment of Australian Light Horse Camp at Menangle Park Raceway. I would speculate that they unloaded at Campbelltown because Menangle Park was a very small wooden platform. The camp was established in Feb 1916 and closed in May 1918

    April 28, 2014 at 11:24 am
  • JennysOldCars says:

    1914-1918 War is certainly not the date for the first photo above
    The cars are very much 1930s, in the foreground right is the distinctive front of a 1933-34 Vauxhall. 2 cars nearest the picket fence are 1930s models, other two cars visible are both post-WW1.

    April 28, 2014 at 11:44 am
  • Dave says:

    These are certainly now WW1 era. As JennysOldCars says the motor vehicles in the first one date from the 1930s.
    In this one the railway wagon shows the date it was last serviced – 10/35 (just to the bottom right of the open door).
    In this one the wagon in the left, CW 20930, is a type built after 1921. The second and fourth wagons have internal metal bracing, which was first fitted to such wagons in 1930.

    April 28, 2014 at 2:02 pm
  • Dave says:

    now = not.

    April 28, 2014 at 2:02 pm
  • Anna Gray says:

    Wow, some great comments from which even more questions are arising! If they are not WWI and instead possibly from the early to mid 1930s what was going on? Anyone got any ideas? Might be time to consult Trove!

    April 28, 2014 at 3:59 pm
  • Peter arfanis says:

    In the third photo the soldiers are wearing kilts so they may be the volunteer militia 30th battalion Scottish regiment. They were active in 1930s. Even helped fight bush fires in campbelltown in 1936

    April 29, 2014 at 7:34 am
  • Anna Gray says:

    Curiouser and curiouser. Thanks Peter looks like you might be onto something here! This article from Trove dated 6th November 1936 includes pictures of the 30th Battalion and they do appear to be wearing very similar uniforms to the kilted uniforms worn in the images above! Wonder what else we can find out about these battle manouevres.

    April 29, 2014 at 9:39 am
  • bernie delaney says:

    Peter arfanis ..I think your right and spot on..Why have they got white helmets on.?.may be to fight fires..why have they got numbers on the helmets,? Their shirts do not look like AIF.

    April 29, 2014 at 12:31 pm
  • Allan says:

    Whilst I cannot make much contribution, I wonder whether the troops which appear to be in some form of parade uniform are going to the opening of the “old” Canberra parliament house. The cars are certainly not from the WW1 period. The white helmets might be something to do with
    their uniform.

    April 29, 2014 at 3:12 pm
  • Allan says:

    Further to my earlier comment. Naturally my previous comment related to the second and third photographs. The other photographs look like a mounted contingent perhaps the Light Horse of later periods. I am perplexed by the 1930’s period vehicles which to my mind exclude WW1 for the first photograph.

    April 29, 2014 at 3:26 pm
  • Allan says:

    The white helmets I am told by my father was part of Scottish uniform.

    April 29, 2014 at 3:36 pm
  • Peter arfanis says:

    My guess is the photos are November 1936 and relate to war manoeuvres which I loved Liverpool a Horse transport see this Trove article

    April 29, 2014 at 4:20 pm
  • Peter arfanis says:

    Sorry about that…auto correct… Should read which involved Liverpool Horse transport

    April 29, 2014 at 4:22 pm
  • Anna Gray says:

    Yes! I think you’re right – the photos date from November 1936 and show preperations for battle manoeuvres near Campbelltown by the volunteer militia of the 30th Battalion (NSW Scottish Regiment) and the Eighth Infantry Brigade of the First Division. Excellent result – thanks for everyone’s contributions. I will update the captions of the photos on Flickr and Photo Investigator.

    April 30, 2014 at 8:40 am
  • Allan says:

    I found it interesting to look at some of the photographs accessible via the Trove search page at the right. Some of the men are wearing aprons
    as are some of the men in the third photograph. Also I noted that there was a highland gathering at Moore Park in 1935. I was interested that the third photograph also shows some overhead electric pickup wires. When did electrification reach Campbelltown ? I understand that electrification went as far as Liverpool by 1929.

    April 30, 2014 at 7:14 pm
  • Graeme Henderson says:

    There are three Liverpool photos in the mix: – in the Up Yard – train is in No. 5 road – the train is on the Down Main at the platform – same location as the first shot but looking the other way

    The rest are of Campbelltown..

    Now to the date – there are telling factors in both the Liverpool and Campbelltown shots
    Liverpool – the shot from the Up Yard looking towards the station does not show the pre-1929 signal box – that was located at the Up end of the Down platform. So based on this the photos of Liverpool are post August 1929 (by a period because there is no trace of the old box).

    There is also overhead electrification in the Liverpool shots – electric service started running to Liverpool in September 1929.

    One of the Campbelltown shots is also helpful. The train is on the Down Main and the trailing crossover in the distance is beyond the points into the (right or Up) yard. The 1924 working sketch has this crossover north of the entrance to the yard. Whereas the December 1935 signal diagram has this crossover to the south of the entrance. A peruse of the weekly notices sees that in WN1935/51/p26 details the movement of this crossover some 280 feet nearer to Goulburn. There is zero evidence in the ballast (ie – it has weathered) of the previous crossover suggesting that the crossover had been moved a little while.
    So to summarise the date: It is post December 1936 and I would suggest at least late 1936 possibly 1937 or even 1938 – I think it is before the seonf world war.

    At Campbelltown the horses are being unloaded in the Goods siding and the ‘vehicles’ are being unloaded in the down dock siding that was behind the Down Main Platform.

    May 3, 2014 at 9:34 pm
  • garry says:

    Menangle was used for military training from the boer war right through till the early 50s in 1952 the paceway (Trotting)took over the site. The Menangle Park Station did not exist untill the late 30s before this date the station was further south behind the pines and it was called North Menangle. Also there are about 3 large earthen platforms at Menangle. If these troops are enroute to menangle it would seem strange they would embak or disembark at Campbelltown.
    the pic with the soldiers wearing kilts is Not Campbelltown.

    March 12, 2015 at 4:07 pm