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Can you date this photograph? [Crows Nest Junction]

A Moment in Time……

The lay of the land may not have changed a great deal in Crows Nest, but the streetscape has had a few updates.

Can you date this photograph?

Larger version 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.

  • JennysOldCars says:

    Early 1920s?. The very nice and seemingly fairly new commercial roadster/coupe utility/light truck/buckboard with rego plate 1987 has the pre-1924 black lettering on a white background, but I cannot make out the NSW lettering that should be there – maybe a homemade plate which was not that uncommon.

    Can’t make out the make or model. Most makes were imported into Aust. at that time as knock-down kits (ie engine, chassis, mudguards, cowl, windscreen, running board) and then bodies built locally as ordered/as required. The basic shape of the vehicle at this photo angle fits a variety of makes but the elements are there for 1920-1925ish model.

    This utility looks like a purpose-built professional coacbuilders style for perhaps a commercial traveller – esp. with that rather spiffy luggage rack over the rear tray area.

    The photo contradicts that popular myth that veteran & vintage car utes are always later conversions – here’s a vintage period photo of a custom-built ute body on a new car.

    October 24, 2011 at 1:16 pm
  • Vee says:

    Yes…the RTA lists 1910 as when their first number plates were issued with numerals only. Then in 1937 they were replaced with 2 letter and 3 numeral black plates with white characters.

    October 24, 2011 at 3:06 pm
  • Vee says:

    Oh…first time I’ve done this and it’s fun! Took a calculated guess and bingo…the studios advertised above the car in the foreground are Dalmar Photographic Studios, and the first ad I could find on Trove was for a receptionist in 1920, the last entry being in 1948. Not to be confused with Talma & Co who were in George St!

    October 24, 2011 at 3:36 pm
  • enno says:

    You can compare it to this other photo. Actually this other photo doesn’t look like Crows Nest at all to me because the angles of the streets are wrong. This other photo is dated 1/1/1900 which is obviously a guess.

    October 24, 2011 at 4:24 pm
  • enno says:

    Actually the other one could be Crows Nest, it is looking north on Willoughby Road. The shop labelled Manchester, Dresses in the first photo is the same shop as the one labelled Draper in the second photo.

    There is a sign saying “Xmas Fair” on the right hand side.

    October 24, 2011 at 4:29 pm
  • enno says:

    To get that second photo the photographer must have climbed partway up the power pole which you can see in the middle of the road in the first photo.

    October 24, 2011 at 4:31 pm
  • enno says:

    The photos were not taken at the same time, in the second photo, the bubbler and some of the verandah posts visible in the first photo have been removed.

    October 24, 2011 at 4:39 pm
  • Vee says:

    uh oh…i found that pic too on another website dated C1920 and thought the draper was the same but opposite the circular building on the corner has obviously been demolished. Could it be looking up Pacific Highway when they did the new connection between Chatswood and Lane Cove via Crows Nest to McMahons Pt?

    October 24, 2011 at 5:07 pm
  • Vee says:

    well this was confusing…but think I have the aspect sorted now! This shot is taken from Pacific Highway ( also known as Lane Cove Rd ) looking south with the Commercial Bank on the right ( cnr Pacific Highway and Shirley Rd ) and Falcon St off to the left. Willoughby Rd is tucked around the other side of Dalmar Studios building. The shot Enno posted is looking down Willoughby Rd. Looks like it’s pre 1919 but much to my doggie’s dismay have to do a bit more work on this!

    October 25, 2011 at 11:10 am
  • Anthea Brown says:

    @JennyOldCars Thanks for getting us started. I had a quick look at an even larger version of this photo and there isn’t a sign of “NSW” anywhere on the licence plate – just “1987”. So we are possibly looking at pre-1924.

    @Vee Welcome to the wacky world that is Moments in Time! Great research on Trove, isn’t it a wonderful resource. Along with @JennysOldCars tip it may just have narrowed the date range to 1920-1924. Your helper doesn’t sound too enthusiastic ;-)

    @enno You have superior eyesight to spot that “Xmas Fair” sign!

    October 26, 2011 at 9:58 am
  • Robert Mills says:

    On page 37 of D Keenans book ‘The North Sydney Lines of the Sydney Tramway System’ a photograph of track relaying works at Crows Nest junction appears from a slightly different angle looking down Falcon St.

    Keenan dates the image as c1920.

    This photo is most likely taken on the same day as your image as the same group of tramway staff appear to be clustered near the pole at the centre of the Junction. It looks like an engineering inspection of the works…. hence the elevated view.


    October 26, 2011 at 5:35 pm
  • Vee says:

    That’s interesting Robert…I’ve been wondering why these tracks are exposed as they originally went down in 1898. Then I found in the 1922 SMH an article from the North Sydney Council detailing plans to concrete the roads because of poor condition.
    I also found a great set of Crows Nest pics in the North Sydney Council Heritage photo database and one in particular was taken from almost the same spot as this pic. It is dated 1924 and shows a new building on the vacant block on the right next to the electrician ( cnr of Shirley Rd and then named Lane cove rd, opposite the Commercial Bank shown in pic).
    So…that puts the resurfacing works of willoughby road and the junction between the end of 1922 and 1924…probably 1923.
    Also put my dad in NZ on the case who’s a vintage car buff and he comments that the car looks like an American
    T-Ford 1918-23 with an australian built ute where the rumble seat used to be.
    That’s it from me…my doggie’s very happy!

    October 27, 2011 at 7:41 pm
  • Mick Reed says:

    Wot no shadows? What’s a bloke supposed to do?

    The draper’s shop is AE Finch & Sons (formerly Holt and Ibbotson)

    There’s a lot of mainly low quality pics of Crow’s Nest Junction at various times here

    then put crows nest junction into the search box



    October 29, 2011 at 7:16 pm
  • Anthea Brown says:

    @Mick Reed haha! We’ll make sure to look for a shadowy one next week. A brilliant demo, by the way, of the dating photos using shadows technique at our Open Day. Thanks for adding that North Sydney Council website link.

    @Robert Mills thanks for checking the book, that’s very useful information about the same staff being present. And c.1920 is pretty spot on with all the other contributions.

    @Vee Doggie sounds like s/he now knows the game! Great research, it’s really narrowed down the possibilities and the date range.

    November 2, 2011 at 8:42 am
  • enno says:

    I would agree with early 1920’s for the car. I think the comment that both photos were taken on the same day, could well be right.
    The date of 1900 for the other photo is clearly wrong as far as the car in this photo is concerned.

    November 12, 2011 at 3:20 pm
  • Anna Gray says:

    The general consensus for this one looks like its the early 1920s! Thanks everyone.

    November 28, 2011 at 4:28 pm
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