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

Can you date this photograph [Circular Quay]

Here we are on Alfred Street in Sydney’s Circular Quay. The Paragon Hotel can be seen on left hand side.

Are there any clues as to when this image might have been taken?

Can you date this photograph?

Larger version on Flickr

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

  • Anna Gray says:

    See Flickr for the first couple of comments related to this one:

    March 26, 2012 at 3:29 pm
  • Under_Exposed says:

    The Mark Foys sign suggests its 1909 at the earliest

    March 26, 2012 at 4:45 pm
  • Anna Gray says:

    But it may be pre 1909. Mark Foy had a presence in Sydney before the existence of 1909 store that is today the District Cout!

    “Most Sydneysiders associate Mark Foy’s with its impressive former home, now used as the District Court, covering almost a complete block of the city on the corners of Liverpool, Elizabeth and Castlereagh Streets. But Mark Foy’s first retail outlet in Sydney was a short stroll up the road in Oxford Street. It was established in 1885 by Francis (1856?-1918) and his brother Mark Foy (1865-1950) and named in honour of their father who had run a drapers store in Bendigo and then Melbourne.”,_1890-1960/mark_foys

    March 27, 2012 at 3:46 pm
  • Robert Mills says:

    Well the ornate tramway metal span poles are still present in the street which means the photo is taken before 1909. I think they were removed about mid 1908 to make way for newer (wider) trams operating along the George Street routes.

    So the photo dates from the period Dec 1899 (start of electrification) to say mid 1908.

    The street is rather empty of people and vehicles (taken on a weekend ?). Several buildings are yet to be built facing Alfred St …. hence the hoardings …


    March 27, 2012 at 4:16 pm
  • Philip Booker says:

    I have a large format photo taken from the western side looking east purportedly showing the arrival of Lord Beauchamp in 1899. The Watson’s Paragon Hotel appears to have gained another storey and there is a massive Mark Foy”s hoarding to the west of the Paragon. A building may be under construction behind the sign. A three storey building with verandahs is further to the west and does not appear to be in the undated photo. It has the name David Lynch and Lynch’s Ship on the side. There are also cranes and scaffolding on the roof of the custom’s house. Thus the undated photo could have been taken a year or more prior to 1899.

    April 5, 2012 at 10:22 pm
  • Philip Booker says:

    I just had a look at the 1920s picture of the Customs House and realised the building had gained in height. My 1899 picture shows the clock at the top of the roof. The crane and scaffolding may indicate more floors were being added at this time. Does this help?

    April 5, 2012 at 10:37 pm