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

Can you date this photograph? [Hamilton Railway Station]

We head back to regional NSW this week to Hamilton, a suburb of Newcastle, with the hope that our friendly train enthusiasts, clothing experts and Novocastrians will be able to help date this photograph.

What we do know, from Wikipedia, is that Hamilton Station opened in 1872.

View larger version on Flickr

Hamilton Railway Station - Digital ID 17420_a014_a014000788.

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.

  • Robert Mills says:

    This view has been isssued as a postcard during the time prior to WW1. So I think we can say the image was taken some time between 1900 and 1910 for starters. The presence of gas lights on the platforms and the signal arrangement may also assist in narrowing down the date.


    March 28, 2011 at 2:12 pm
  • Robert Mills says:

    According to,_New_South_Wales

    …. the signal box appears in 1897.

    … reputed to be one the oldest surviving mechanical signal boxes in Australia.

    March 28, 2011 at 2:20 pm
  • beachcomberaustralia says:

    I think it was a Thursday in April . . .

    March 28, 2011 at 3:41 pm
  • beachcomberaustralia says:

    . . . and the photographer was round and cold . . .

    March 28, 2011 at 5:04 pm
  • Debbie says:


    Aah, funny guy :), I was thinking “what the?” then I got it!

    Thanks for my first laugh of the day.

    So 12 Apr 1906 by Ralph Snowball?

    March 29, 2011 at 10:32 am
  • Debbie says:

    Sorry, I think I posted the wrong link in my last message (was the station but without the people). The one with people is at:

    The station is heritage listed (with historical details described):

    Looking at Google Streetview, the tree behind the building on the left still exists – a great feat today!

    Across the road at 8 Beaumont Street is the Sydney Junction Hotel (J S Woodley as at 1901), which looks as if it was replaced around 1941 with a new building (still Sydney Junction Hotel). This snippet is from Newcastle Morning Herald Index 1869-1943 at Newcastle Local Studies Library, article title “New Sydney Junction Hotel”, Sat 1 Feb 1941, pg 12. I wonder what (& when) happened to the old building pictured in the 1906 photo? The heritage listing for the current building is no help at present with no historical notes.

    link to Newcastle Morning Herald Index

    March 29, 2011 at 3:45 pm
  • beachcomberaustralia says:

    Well done Debbie – those are some interesting details you have found.

    The photo seems to be one of a triptych – see links over on Flickr. The original sizes there show amazing detail.

    It is bugging me that I cannot find a station clock to get the exact time on 12/4/1906. I think it is about 11 am, from the shadows of the verandahs, the NW-SE orientation of the railway line, and the April time of year. Opinions anyone?

    March 29, 2011 at 5:33 pm
  • Anthea Brown says:

    D’oh, this one was too easy for you all!

    Well done, another one dated down to the the day, if not time @beachcomberaustralia :-)

    @Debbie Good on your for interpreting those cryptic comments, it all makes sense now. Thanks also for the extra detail.

    @RobertMills Like you, we hadn’t spotted this one in the UoN photostream; your initial guesstimate was spot on! It’s also interesting to know this photo was a postcard at some stage.

    Date of photo is 12 April 1906.

    March 30, 2011 at 7:25 am
  • Robert Watson says:

    The photo is taken from a high place. Does that mean there were 2 pedestrian bridges at Hamilton Station?
    There are kids sitting on the bridge at the top of the stairs.
    The poster on the platform at the left says something like Saxton and I can see the word Sydney.
    In the distance is a steam loco.

    August 19, 2012 at 10:42 pm