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

Can you date this photograph? (Pier One, Walsh Bay)

A moment in time……

We return to a maritime theme with this image which is from NRS9856  Maritime Services Board glass negative collection. The vessel at the wharf  has previously been identified as the steam lighter ‘Star’….. hopefully there are enough clues in the image to narrow down a time period when the image was taken.

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.

  • Melissa says:

    Just to get the ball rolling …. pier one started being used from January 1913 but wasn’t fully complete until 1914.

    October 5, 2010 at 6:16 pm
  • Anthea Brown says:

    Thanks for getting us started, Melissa.

    October 6, 2010 at 10:53 am
  • Melissa says:

    No problem Anthea.

    Although its a bit hard to tell for sure, there doesn’t look like there’s much construction going on in the background which suggests the photo was taken before the Harbour Bridge/Bradfield Hwy started construction.

    October 6, 2010 at 6:55 pm
  • enno says:

    Its before the Habour Bridge was built.

    October 6, 2010 at 10:16 pm
  • enno says:

    I see three lots of horses and carts and no vehicles at all, which would suggest earlier in the 1913-1928 range, than later.

    October 6, 2010 at 10:17 pm
  • enno says:

    I think the chimney visible, is the one on the building which was the “Earth Exchange” museum which closed in 1996.

    Here’s a photo of it
    about 3/4 of the way down the page.

    Looking the the photo, it seemed to me that from the viewpoint of Pier One, that chimney should be out of shot on the left of the photo, but checking the orientation of the streets, it seems that impression was wrong and that is indeed the correct chimney.

    Someone else may recall what the original use of that building was, and when the chimney was built.

    October 6, 2010 at 10:38 pm
  • Zehra Gurler says:

    I’m thinking its around 1913-14. Judging by the ships funnels.

    October 7, 2010 at 8:22 pm
  • beachcomberaustralia says:

    @ enno – chimney c.1903 for a powerhouse. View from top –

    I posted more over on the Flickr page.

    [Note from Anthea: here is the Flickr comment]

    The State Library NSW has several prints of this image – one of them is dated “Approx.1917”.

    And . . . there is another ‘half’ to this photo (also dated “c.1917”) showing the stern of the ‘Star’, the west side of the new wharf, and an unidentified liner.

    I wonder if State Records have this other photo in their collection in a better condition and resolution, so that the liner’s name can be read. I have a hunch that this ship could be the RMS Niagara which was an early visitor to the new wharf in July 1913. Just a hunch!

    October 7, 2010 at 8:50 pm
  • beachcomberaustralia says:

    I am fairly sure the ship in the companion photo is the ‘Niagara’ when the stern is compared with this photo at full zoom – . The ship, at the time named “The Titanic of the Pacific” and on her maiden voyage, had enough history for a couple of movies.

    It makes sense that a Maritime Services Board (Sydney Harbour Trust?) photographer would take a photo of the new wharf with a new large ship alongside. So imho the July 1913 date is accurate. And the ‘Star’ is not really the star of this show!

    October 13, 2010 at 7:21 pm
  • Anthea Brown says:

    @beachcomberaustralia No luck so far on finding a copy of this “other half” but will keep an eye out.

    It looks like c.1913 is the date most people are gravitating towards.

    October 18, 2010 at 7:33 am