The Works Diary of William Stronach Thom

From Engineering Heritage New South Wales

Wednesday 12 July 1916

Called to see Mr Pryde[1] with reference to the method they will adopt for the removal of spoil from the City Railway; if the Dept. decides to supply spoil for making up the embankments at Sydenham on the Sydenham Botany Railway.[2]

Hauling the spoil this distance (3½ to 4½ miles) with motor lorries, Mr Pryde thought would cost 8/- c.y .[3] (eight) to haul & provide for tipping etc. He considered it a very costly means of getting rid of the spoil. Six ton tip lorries would be used he thought. He referred to giving all spoil from the City Railway to the Harbour Trust to take away in punts & he considered it the best way to dispose of the spoil.

Friday 14 July 1916

Saw Mr Pryde at 9.15 a.m. to discuss means for delivering spoil to Punts provided by the Harbour Trust. The haulage would, he thought, be done by 6 ton Motor Lorries, as the original suggestion to use traction engines & 10 ton trailers would probably be abandoned owing to the difficulty in getting traction engines. The City Surveyor does not like the idea of Traction Engines, on account of damage to roads etc, & the grooved wheels would not be allowed. Mr Pryde thought that it would end in their only using 6 ton lorries for all carting of spoil.

SHB 2023.04 Truck Fleet Photo 24.jpg
Although taken a few years later, these images probably depict the type of vehicles which were envisaged as the frontline earth-movers in 1916.[4]

He also stated that he would like it to be quite understood that they must be provided with sufficient punts by the H.T. & a punt must be taken away when full, also an empty punt place in its place at once, so as to avoid keeping the lorries waiting to unload etc. He remarked that they (N.G & Co)[5] would never hold a punt more than 2 days to fill it. He will employ a special man to take charge of all lorries & see that the punts are properly & promptly loaded, & delayed prevented as much as possible. He intends to work 3 shifts, but during the Dog shift no work would be done, only repairs etc attended to. He wishes to avoid paying overtime for the 2nd shift & intends to only work the night shift 5 shifts per week & pay them for 6 shifts; & change the shifts each week. He did not expect any trouble in obtaining suitable labour.

Monday 17 July 1916

Went with Mr Bradfield[6] and Mr Lodge[7] to meet Mr Pryde at the old Oddfellows[8] Hall[9] to discuss the best means of getting the alterations and & pulling down portion of the building. It was agreed that the new wall should be built first & then the condemned portion be removed. The whole of the work to be done by N.G & Co. Portion of the old bricks, if suitable, be kept for concrete, and the other materials sold by auction.

4. The Oddfellows Hall in the block bounded by Elizabeth, Castlereagh, Goulburn and Campbell Streets. This photo is slightly later than Thom's diary and shows the building divided by a new wall ready for the left part to be demolished. 17 November 1916
5. This fence, in Hyde Park, may represent the style which Pryde wanted to use, but which was questioned by Bradfield and Maiden as an unnecessary expense.

Mr Bradfield then left us & Mr Pryde, Mr Lodge & myself went over the building again. Mr Lodge and myself also inspected the basement of the Tobacco Co Building[10]. It will be an easy matter to underpin this building as the brickwork is very strong and easily got at.

Wednesday 26th July 1916

At 2.30 p.m. met Mr Bradfield. Mr Pryde and Mr Maiden[11] on the Bot[anic] Gardens[12] to discuss the best way of enclosing the railway etc from the rest of the gardens & to hand over the land to N.G & Co.

It was decided to fence in a certain portion & protect certain trees, & stack grass & earth at an agreed place near the Govt. House gates & the Conservatorium of Music. Mr Pryde stated that he proposed to erect a fence with panels & paint it green. Mr B. thought it expensive & Mr Maiden stated that he did not wish to put His Majesty’s Govt. to any unnecessary expense.

Mr Pryde asked for the Care Takers cottage to be given him for an office etc, but it was decided to not do so for the present. Mr B. did not think it necessary to interfere with the building, but if Mr Pryde could at a later date show strong reasons for removing this cottage, or handing it over to N.G. steps might be taken to arrange the matter.

Out to State Brickworks, Homebush with Mr Hutton[13], who went over the works with me & talks over matters generally as regards the delivery of bricks for the City Railway. Mr Hutton informed me that common bricks are charged out from the works @ 35/- p 1000. Ready for loading, or in other words 35/- in the kiln. As regards delivery to the City Railway, Mr Hutton gave me to understand that unless he was allowed to deliver the bricks with the plant he has obtained & maintains at great expense, we would not get bricks from him. He was very emphatic on this point & mentioned that if we proposed to ask him to sell bricks @ 35/- 1000, & we do our own carting & delivering, we would not get a single brick from him. He quoted Mr Bruce asking for bricks & saving 2/- 1000 by his own delivering, & forgetting that the 35/- a 1000 is far away cheaper then he could get them elsewhere. Mr Hutton requests orders early, & early instructions as to the number required at each place, where these places are, & when will they be required. He would like a minimum & maximum daily supply quoted, & requests to be informed if cranes will be used for the unloading from his lorries at the several sites. A lorry carries 1000 bricks, in 3 boxes of 334 each. The delivery will probably be by water to their depot & then by lorries. The bricks I saw were good & suitable for tunnel work.

7. The short sections of tunnels built under Thom's supervision, but not in the period covered by his surviving diary, were of brick.

Friday 28 July 1916

Saw Mr Pryde at 9.15 a.m. to ascertain the whereabouts of a tip he knows of at Rushcutters Bay, for spoil from the City Railway. He mentioned that it could be obtained for 6d c.y, & (on Wed 26th) Mr B. & myself pointed out that we pay nothing as a rule for tips.

Mr Pryde did not wish to let me know at present where this tip is as he thought if I saw it, the people would probably require more than 6d c.y. He informed me that he wished to send one of his officers to see it & see if the owner would take the spoil for nothing; and then he would arrange with me to see the site. I also mentioned that it might be arranged for N.G. to get punts etc & take away their spoil & tip in the Harbour. He remarked that it would not cost them more than 2/- c.y. the price the Harbour Trust are asking.

Mr Pryde asked me if I had anything to do with the plans at (H.O.) I told him no, my duties were to look after the outside work. He then remarked that I would be like an Inspecting Engineer on the works. I replied yes.

Monday 31 July 1916

Called on Town Clerk to discuss the question of Disposal of spoil from the City Railway; with Alderman McElhone & Mr Briggs to ascertain if they could suggest any place where they consider spoil could be dumped. Alderman McElhone mentioned Fowlers old brick quarry at Camperdown; he also though the suggestion to fill in Farm Cove a good plan & to hand over the increased area (about 5 acres) to the Botanical[14] Gardens[15]. The City Surveyor could not suggest any places; & pointed out the great difficulty he experienced to find places for their own spoil. He considered a good plan would be to resume useless land & fill it in, & sell the land again. It was pointed out that to dump spoil in the Prince Alfred Park would be objected to by the Public; & if the Park was used for spoil, the trees might be damaged, and it would also be necessary for us to remake all the footpaths.

The University Grounds were also mentioned as a good place to put spoil.

No new suggestions were made as to the disposal of the spoil, & I think these Gentlemen cannot assist us, & they have no knowledge of suitable places for spoil close to the City Railway.

City Trams 4d[16]

Tuesday 1 August 1916

Wet all day. At Macquarie Bond, re removal of shed; Manning promised to remove it without fail on Thursday.

9.This demolished building at the eastern end of Circular Quay may be the area referred to by Thom as 'Macquarie Bond'. There were certainly several bond stores in the area, and the street above is Macquarie Street. Eventually the tunnels toward St James will penetrate this cliff.
10. A remarkable series of photographs, probably taken by Degotardi as arranged by Thom, document the demolition of Oddfellows Hall. 14 December 1916

Office work, reports to Chief Engineer etc., & at Head Office to see Mr Hutchinson[17] ; & got passes to Tullamore.

City Trams 2d

Wednesday 2 August 1916

Office work; & at Harbour Trust Office re disposal of spoil. Mr Adams promised to see the report & map etc. was sent on; he remarked that it was ready and should have been received by us by this.

At Macquarie Bond, re removal of shed & at Head Office on several matters re Tullamore Line. Left for Tullamore at 8.50 p.m. City Trams 2d

Thursday 3 August 1916

At Tullamore

Friday 4 August 1916

At Tullamore

Saturday 5 August 1916

Returned from Tullamore & at office, reports etc. for Tullamore – Tottenham Ry.

Tuesday 8 August 1916

Office Work

At Mrs Macquaries Chair to see what is available on the shores for spoil; also at Centennial Park[18] with Mr Dawes to see sites for spoil; also at University Grounds to see site for spoil.

Had use of car from 10 a.m. to 12.45 a.m.(sic)

At Water Board re rates water & sewerage at Oddfellows Hall.

City Trams 4d

Wednesday 9 August 1916

Office work, reports re disposal of spoil at Centennial Park & Mrs Macquaries Chair[19] ; also re materials required for completion of T to T Railway.

Inspected works at Macquarie Bond, The Gardens & Oddfellows Hall. At Stores Supply Dept re furniture etc.

City Trams 3d

Mr Gibson (N.G.& Co) at Oddfellows Hall remarked that they expected to start concrete in foundations on Sat next?

11..Oddfellows Hall 26 December 1916.
12..Oddfellows Hall. 11 January 1917.

Thursday 10 August 1916

Inspecting & reporting on site for spoil at Military Reserves bottom of Regent Street Paddington; along Park Road. Also inspecting works at Macquarie Bond & Oddfellows Hall;

At Head Office to see Mr Bradfield; also at Lands Office get map of Military Reserve

Trams City 4d

Paddington 4d

Friday 11 August 1916

With Mr. Bradfield inspecting site for spoil at Mrs Macquaries Chair; also inspecting works at Oddfellows Hall.

Foreman stated ready for concrete Monday. Men (N.G.& Co) burning Tel. wires (old) to get the copper; they informed me the wire would be used to fix up light at the stores (York St.).

Inspecting properties 369 & 371 Elizabeth Street, 369 A.F.Grace, 371 Chung Iron, with a view to fencing off their yards.

Called (twice) at Res. Properties Office to see Mr F.F. Hall (manager) re above properties.

Trams City 4d

Saturday 12 August 1916

Inspecting founds[20] at Oddfellows Hall with Mr Lodge & arranged to see them on Tuesday.

Office work Tullamore Extension

Mentioned to N.G. officer at Oddfellows Hall that the Electric materials being taken out should be locked up & when all are ready for removal, a list taken with Mr Lodge present

13.The properties mentioned in Elizabeth Street could be those depicted here backing onto the route of the proposed railway. 25 January 1917.
14. Oddfellows Hall 8 March 1917

City Trams 2d

Monday 14 August 1916

With Mr Adams inspecting sites for spoil, as suggested in their letter. See N.G. 16/842 dated 3/8/16; & reporting on same, also see my report of 14/8/16

Inspecting work at Macquarie Bond & office work Tullamore Extension

City Trams 2d

Tuesday 15 August 1916

Inspecting work at Oddfellows Hall, & Macquarie Bond, also at Town Hall re removal of urinals, Belmore Park. Office work, City Rly & Tullamore extension.

City Trams 2d

Wednesday 16 August 1916

Saw Mr Pryde re tip for spoil at Rushcutters Bay; & got details etc. He informed me that the quantity at the site would not be as much as he expected; also that the owner would not pay anything for our filling it in.

Mr Pryde mentioned that he thought it would be some time before they could get plant to start work.

Saw City Surveyor re urinals at Belmore Park, & he said they would start removing it tomorrow; they are only moving it to a new site in Hay St. Inspecting founds to Oddfellows Hall & told Mr Gibson I would let him know tomorrow if the depth of foundations were altered. Office work; also inspected J Gentles brick pits at St Peters, view of placing spoil there.

Train St Peters 4d

City 4d

Thursday 17 August 1916

Inspecting sites for spoil at Rushcutters Bay & at Blenheim St. Bondi. Used car 9.15 to 11.30. Inspecting & measuring foundations at Oddfellows Hall. Office work, Reports Tullamore Line & on Brick Pits at St Peters (Gentles)

City Trams 4d

Friday 18 August 1916

Office work reporting on sites for spoil at S.Cr.S. Sports grounds, & Boundary Street Rushcutters Bay. Office work for Tullamore Extension.

Saturday 19 August 1916

Inspecting Timber at Long Bay with Inspector Chessell. Had car 9.15 to 11.00 a.m.

Tuesday 22 August 1916

Inspecting works at Oddfellows Hall & urinals, Hay St, also Macquarie Bond.

17.These 'urinals etc' are probably not those mentioned as situated in Hay Street, but are a remarkable testimony to Degotardi's, (and Thom’s), thoroughness in documenting the work by photography. 17 November 1916

Saw Mr Pryde in street, he asked me when they were going to get more plans. At Head Office re Tullamore matters. Also spoil surveys. Had 1½ hours off went to R[oseville]., met Mr Hutchinson & Mr Hankin[21] also saw a gardener.

Arranged with Mr Burfort to inspect Atlas Rock Drill at Harbour Trust’s quarry, Glebe Island. Found bricks to be very poor quality at Oddfellows Hall, complaint made by Mr Gibson about them. N.G. have 4 men sorting  out the bricks to get suitable ones for face brick for new wall, very expensive.

City Trams 4d

Wednesday 23 August 1916

Inspecting & making a test of the Atlas air drill at Harbour Trust’s quarry, Glebe Island. Test made by Mr Burfort of Messrs Harrisons Ramsay Prop Ltd. Inspecting at Macquarie Bond, also bricks at Oddfellows Hall with Mr Lodge. At Head Office, also Stores Supply Dept re cabinets.

18. Oddfellows Hall 8 April 1917
19. Oddfellows Hall 19 April 1917

Trams City 4d

Glebe Island 4d

Thursday 24 August 1916

Inspecting work at Oddfellows Hall, also Macquarie Bond & Bot. Gardens. Timber for fencing at Gov. House grounds delivered (first loads). Office work, half day off moving to Roseville.

City Trams 4d

Friday 25 August 1916

Moving to Roseville.

Saturday 26 August 1916

Inspecting Oddfellows Hall & office work Tullamore Extension.

City Trams 2d

Inspector Jones 2/- for trams (Tickets) on 28th.

Monday 28 August 1916

Office work (raining) Meas. Tottenham Extension. Inspecting Oddfellows Hall.

City Trams 2d

Tuesday 29 August 1916

Head Office re spoil; saw Mr Bradfield & he decided refer papers back to Mr Forster[22] for correct quantities. Saw Mr Adams re spoil for Garden Island. Inspecting at Bot. Gardens re fencing. Office work quantities & measurements (final) for Tullamore Extension.

City Trams 2d

Wednesday 30 August 1916

Called at 58 Pitt St. See Mr W.F. Walls re derrick crane on two occasions. Did not see him. Also called at 49 Clarence St to see him but he was out. At Head Office re Tullamore Extension.

Inspecting stores & workshops. N.G. & Co at York Street North; tried to see Mr Caldwell who is in charge there, but was out. Inspecting at Macquarie Bond; the erection of machinery is going ahead slowly. Inspecting at Oddfellows Hall. Brickwork is in progress, also the alterations to Elizabeth St portion is well in hand.

Trams City 2d

Thursday 31 August 1916

Office work Tullamore Extension, also writing Progress Report City Extension.

Left for State Brick works at 10.00 a.m. with Mr Lodge to inspect bricks & see inspector Riddell. Mr Lodge stated that he was quite surprised to see so many bad bricks about the place. Arranged with Inspector Riddell to pass next lot of bricks ordered for Oddfellows Hall. Ascertained that to date he had not passed any of the bricks supplied to N.G. & Co. for this work. Insp Riddell pointed out how many bad bricks there really are & he thinks, as I do, that the reason is the bad mixing & not proper care to see that the correct mixture comes up from the quarry. He referred to Mr Hutton as a big bully & that he has had one or two disputes with him. I am sure we can get much better bricks for our work, if stuck & careful inspection is made at the brick works.

Arranged with Mr Lodge to try to get N.G. to order more bricks at once for the Oddfellows Hall work; & check the quantity when they are delivered and report. Inspecting fencing Bot. Gardens, & Hyde Park & at Con. Of Music[23] to enquire re complaint of row made by machinery if erected there. Received card cabinets.

Tram City 2d

Friday 1 September 1916

Inspecting fencing at Bot. Gardens; work of erecting is slow, I consider & more expense than necessary is going on.

20.The proximity of the tunnel works to the Conservatorium of Music (top right) are apparent. 8 February 1917.
21. .An unimaginable find to illustrate Thom’s questioning of the length the palings ordered for the fences and the need to trim them by hand-saw.

Fencing at Hyde Park was referred to by Mr A. and he let me see the plan of same; he asked who to refer to re getting the iron railing removed from the “Pond”.

Inspected urinals, Belmore Park. They are nearing completion; At Oddfellows Hall, wall is now about 4ft above ground level. City 4d Tram

Saturday 2 September 1916

With Mr Pryde & Mr Ackland at Bot. Gardens to fix site for urinals, & arrange re fencing at Care Takers cottage, Con. of Music. I suggested a site for urinals etc at the corner of brick wall of yards to Con. Of Music. Also arranged for gate to Care Takers cottage. Mr Pryde decided to place the air-compressors some distance from Con. of Music & on low side of grounds & towards Gov. House end of enclosure.

Inspecting Church grounds at Marion St Leichhardt & ascertained that rubbish is tipped from back yards of 45 to 51 Marion St into church lands by the tenants. The cottages are the property of Mr R.T.B. Andrews “Uralla”, Copeland St Beecroft. Phone Epping 233.

Tram Leichhardt 6d

City 2d

Monday 4 September 1916

Inspecting Crane (7 ton hand crane) at Haberfield with Mr W.F. Walls. The crane in question appears to be in good order, but owing to covered up with a quantity of timber & portions of other cranes I was unable to get a good inspection. It will be necessary to inspect again in the event of the Dept deciding to purchase the crane.

At Town Hall, re water pipes & sewer for urinals at Bathurst St.

22. Thom spent some of his time inspecting urinals. This is a much later photo at Museum, but the urinal is still prominent in the distance. 9 September 1925.
23. Another urinal near the future Queens Square entrance to St James station. 13 July 1925.

Haberfield 6d Tram

City 4d

Tuesday 5 September 1916

At City Council, saw Mr Layton re removal of iron fence at “Ponds” “Hyde Park”. He has arranged for his foreman to remove the rails when N.G. get to the “Ponds” with their fencing. Arranged for the use of water pipes at Bathurst St for No. 9 urinals, Hyde Park, also arranged with W & Sewerage Dept re connection to sewer at Bathurst St Signal Box.

They request the permission of the R. Dept to connect to the Signal Box, also they require a sketch showing the position of the urinals & Signal Box.

I arranged with Mr Ackland (N.G.) to send me a sketch when I would report & get the R. Dept approval to connect to sewer. At Raine & Horns re suggestion to get rid of spoil at “Alexandria”, McEvoy Street & along the “Canal”. Mr Raine pointed out that they would sell the land for £500 p.a.[24] & if we filled it in they would sell it without a doubt at not less than £1000 p.a.

I estimate that it would cost at least £1200 p.a. (4800 c.y. p.a.) (3 feet deep of filling) to fill this land in. Perhaps we could purchase land for £400 p.a. by taking a large area, & sell at £1100 p.a. = a gain of £700 p.a. & it would cost £1200 p.a. to fill, or say it would cost us £500 p.a. for 4800 c.y. = 2/1 c.y. it would cost City Railway to carry out this scheme

City Tram 4d

Wednesday 6 September

With Mr Bradfield inspecting all sites for the disposal of spoil from City & Eastern Suburbs Railway.

Had car from 9.45 to 1.15 p.m.

At Head Office re spoil.

Mr Bradfield considered filling of Cent. Park & resuming land at Alexandria (Raine & Horn) & filling at University Grounds the best schemes.

At Head Office to see Mr Brad. Re spoil also to see Mr Seivers & Mr Allman, Mr Dwyer. Saw Mr Riggs, W & Sewerage Dept. re connections for N.G. & Co.

City Trams 2d

Thursday 7 September

At Bot. Gardens to see Mr Maiden re connecting to Water & Sewer pipes at Guard House, Bot. Gardens. Mr Maiden stated that he did not consider it necessary for Mr Bradfield to write to him a general letter asking for permission etc. to do any necessary small thing in connection with the work in the Bot. Gardens. He considers it sufficient if we inform him of what is required before hand, & he desires that everything comes through Mr Bradfield & not through N.G.

At Head Office re spoil, & bores for Eastern Suburbs. Foreman Jones returned from Pitt Town Bottoms.

Office work Tullamore to Tottenham & reports re spoil for City Railway. At Raine & Horn’s re Mr Raine’s suggestion for disposal of spoil.

City Trams 2d

Friday 8 September 1916

Reporting re sewer connections Bot. Gardens & Bathurst St, Hyde Park for temporary urinals etc for workmen N.G. Co. Inspecting work at Bot. Gardens, Hyde Park & Oddfellows Hall.

Office Work Tullamore Line.

Reporting on sites for spoil (Raine & Horn) suggestions at Alexandria.

City Trams 4d

Saturday 9 September 1916

Inspecting bricks at Blackwattle Bay. Saw Mr Hutton re Inspector Riddell inspecting bricks for City Railway. Reporting on bricks & office work.

At Mr Pryde’s office to see Mr Ackland re sewer connections Bot Gardens & obtained sketch of same.

Had car from 5.30 to 11.30 a.m.

Monday 11 September 1916

Inspecting works at Bot. Gardens, Hyde Park and Macquarie Bond, also office work Tullamore Extension; & at Head Office to see Mr Bradfield re spoil. At Lands Office to get papers re Rose Bay reclamation work.

Reporting re spoil Iron Cove & inspect site.

Tram City 4d

Tuesday 12 September 1916

Inspecting buildings 369 & 371 Eliz. St with Mr Lodge; & at Hyde Park & Bot Gardens.

Office work Tullamore Line & reporting on sites for spoil.

At Head Office see Mr Bradfield re spoil sites. At Oddfellows Hall inspecting works.

City Trams 2d

Wednesday 13 September 1913

Reporting all sites for disposal of spoil, & with Mr Bradfield re same matter.

Office work in connection with Tullamore to Tottenham Railway.

Arranged to meet Mr Lodge to inspect buildings, but quite forgot all about the appointment, owing to Mr Bradfield’s request for the spoil report early.

Trams City 2d

Thursday 14 September 1916

24. Thom’s studies of the options for spoil disposal seem to be trending towards Darling Harbour as the solution, as was indeed the case. Here in 1923 a light truck tips another load in the massive reclamation.

.25 A wider view gives an appreciation of the large area of Darling Harbour which was ultimately reclaimed as a result of tipping City Railway spoil. To the left is the ‘Iron Wharf’ and at top right Pyrmont Bridge. 12 March 1923

At Head Office re arrangements for disposal of spoil & arrange papers & plans etc. prior to Board meeting at 2.30. Saw Mr Hutchinson (Mr Stawell)[25] re completion of Tullamore Line & Final Inspection.

At Board meeting at 2.30 p.m. till 4.30 p.m. Office work Tullamore Line.

City Trams 2d

Friday 15 September 1916

At Head Office, then 1.30 a.m. went with Brad. to inspect Lyne Park scheme[26]. Harbour Trust launch took party to Rose Bay, then to Darling Harbour. Cars were then used to inspect sites at Cent. Park & Alexandria.

Inspecting borings at Hyde park; & at Head Office re spoil in afternoon office work for Tullamore Line.

Used City Council & Mr Kendall’s[27] cars for inspection of sites.

At Robertsons (sic) to ascertain if plan of Darling Harbour (up to date) could be obtained.

Saw Mr Hutchinson re turntable & completion of works; Received instructions to get fish plates sent away for Turntable Ring Rail. This was done; plates supplied by Mr Conyers.[28]

City Trams 4d

Saturday 16 September 1916

At Head Office obtaining information re plans of Darling Harbour, & to see Mr Bradfield re report on sites available & considered suitable for further reports & investigation. At Harbour Trust to see if they could give us plan of Darling Harbour up to date. Arranged with Mr Smith to get plan from Robertsons (sic) 4 chs to an inch.

City Trams 2d

Monday 18 September 1916

Office work Tullamore Line. Trim reports ring rails & fish plates have been received. At Robertsons (sic) to order map of Darling Harbour.

At Head Office re photos & endeavoured to see Mr Degotardi but he was away on special work for Mr Percy Allan. Inspecting works at Bot. Gardens. Fencing ¾ completed above Govt House gates & a start is being made to fence below Govt House gates. A start has been made to put down foundations for Air plant, also pipes are being put in for urinals etc. Inspecting work at Hyde Park & Oddfellows Hall.

City Trams 2d

Tuesday 19 September 1916

Office work Tullamore Line. Drafting report for City Railway spoil & with Mr Bradfield re same & to discuss spoil matters.

Received plan from Robinsons Darling Harbour £2 charged.

Inspecting at Oddfellows Hall.

City Trams 2d

Wednesday 20 September 1916

Office work. Report re spoil for Chief Engineer. Inspecting works at Bot. Gardens, Hyde Park & Oddfellows Hall. Obtaining plan of Darling Harbour from Ry Dept & H. Trust, also a 4 chain map from Robinsons of Darling Harbour. Arranging to get map plotted showing H. Trust proposals for new wharfs & Ry Dept new approach to yard.[29]

Saw Chief Engineer at H.O. in afternoon re bricks & Mr Hutchins [Hutton?] request to have orders sent to him at early date. Mr B. instructed Mr Forster to get out quantity of bricks required. Mr B. also remarked that no bricks would be required within 3 months.

City Trams 2d

Thursday 21 September 1916

Office work Tullamore Line. Mr Lodge called & discussed matters re photos of City Route & matters at Oddfellows Hall, especially the ”stopping” of work of fixing the Lighting wires. Inspected borings at Woolloomooloo as far as Dowling St.[30]

At Head Office to see photographer & how plan of Darling Harbour is progressing. Mr Bradfield at Richmond.

Saw Mr Degotardi with Mr Lodge present to arrange re taking of photos & extra assistance required. Mr D. decided that at present he did not require assistance.

Woolloomooloo Trams 4d

Friday 22 September 1916

With Mr Degotardi taking Photos at Alexandria, Cent. Park & Darling Harbour. Very bad day for photo work, windy & dusty to the extreme. Had car 7701 9.30 to 4.00 p.m.

Office work Tullamore Line.

City Tram 2d

Saturday 23 September 1916

Saturday at Head Office re Darling Harbour scheme. Getting plan of Darling Harbour showing scheme for filling in.

Monday 25 September 1916

Writing report re disposal of spoil for Mr Bradfield. Inspecting works at Bot. Gardens and Oddfellows Hall.

City Trams 2d

Tuesday 26 September 1916

At Head Office & with Mr Bradfield re spoil matters.

Attended Board meeting re disposal of spoil. Office work Tullamore Line.

Wednesday 27 September 1916

At Head Office & with Mr Bradfield re spoil matters & Rose Bay resumption.

Office work Tullamore Line; reports re water supply & rats.

Writing up notes re Board’s meeting re spoil. At H. Trust office to see Mr Walsh. He was out.


City Trams 2d

Thursday 28 September 1916

At Head Office to see Mr B re report on spoil & to get quantities etc from Mr Boyd[31]. Again in afternoon at H.O. to see Mr B. re sale of buildings G. St North[32] & drawing up agreement of sale. At H. Trust Office to see Mr Walsh.


City Trains 4d

At Town Hall, re water pipes & sewer for urinals at Bathurst St.

26. Never mentioned by Thom is the possibility of tipping spoil as part of the Sydney Harbour Bridge approaches. This photo was taken just after the period of the diary and the site of this tip is now directly under the bridge roadway. The spoil must have been moved again as there are now three large concrete arches, used as the base for ‘BridgeClimb’. 20 November 1916.

Friday 29 September 1916


Office work, conditions of sale for buildings 156 to 162 Geo St North[33]. Tullamore Line. Inspecting work at Bot. Gardens, Hyde Park & Oddfellows Hall

City Trams 4d

Saturday 30 September 1916

Office work, Monthly Report, & Tullamore Line; Pay Sheets etc.


  1. J. Pryde was employed as an agent by the contractors Norton Griffiths and Company. With the NSW Government unable to raise loans to fund public works, John Norton Griffiths, an English contractor, was engaged to raise the loans for a small margin and undertake wide range of railway work across the state, again at small margin over costs. The arrangement collapsed in May 1917.
  2. This option was not pursued. The embankment in question, for which there was no adjacent cut available as a source of material, was filled with sand brought from the terminus of the line and tipped through a temporary trestle.
  3. cubic yard.
  4. All illustrations in this article are from NSW State Archives and Records NRS16669, City Railway Progress Photographs.
  5. Norton Griffiths and Company.
  6. John Job Crew Bradfield was the designer of the whole City Railway and Harbour Crossing scheme. At this time his job title was Chief Engineer, Metropolitan Railway Construction. On both this project and the later bridge his lines of command were short, hence Thom’s frequent direct reporting to Bradfield.
  7. Edwin H.E. Lodge, Architectural Draftsman, Metropolitan Railway Construction.
  8. The Grand United Order of Oddfellows(sic) (GUOOF) operated these premises which included a residential service for country members visiting Sydney. Once their building was resumed they relocated but did not continue the residential aspect of the organisation. The Sun 26 June 1916 p3
  9. The Oddfellows Hall stood between Elizabeth Street and Castlereagh Streets, approximately on the site of the modern Goulburn Street Parking Station. In the 1916 plans for the City Railway only four lines were to be taken into the city from Central station, so only part of the wide building needed to be cleared. The building was divided by a new brick wall before demolition of the western part. For the next few years the remnant building was used for railway offices, but ultimately when work resumed on the City Railway in 1922 after a hiatus since 1918, six lines were taken into the city and the whole of the Oddfellows Hall was demolished
  10. The Wills building in Castlereagh Street was ultimately under-pinned as four lines of railway were placed under it between the Goulburn Street portal and Town Hall station. This work was not undertaken until a decade after the dates in this diary.
  11. Director of the Botanic Gardens
  12. Although work on the City Railway began enthusiastically in 1916 little was actually achieved when work was practically abandoned in 1917. The only area where very substantial work was undertaken was at the eastern end of Circular Quay where the open cuts for the dual tunnels were made through the Botanic Gardens. These remained abandoned and flooded until about 1930.
  13. Sydney Edward Hutton, General Manager State Brickworks, Homebush.
  14. In contemporary documents both ‘Botanic’ and ‘Botanical’ are used. Modern usage is ‘Botanic’.
  15. The Botanic Gardens were extended by reclamation of Farm Cove over a thirty-year period.
  16. The superscript ‘d’ signifies pennies, the currency of the time, approximately equal to one cent as a direct conversion.
  17. William Hutchinson, Chief Engineer, Railway and Tramway Construction.
  18. A large area well to the east of the city originally set aside for water supply, but once that use was superseded by the Upper Nepean Scheme, dedicated as parkland in 1888.
  19. A headland adjacent to the Botanic Gardens.
  20. Foundations.
  21. Real estate agent, Blake & Hankins, Roseville.
  22. Alfred D.J. Forster Principal Designing Engineer, Metropolitan Railway Construction.
  23. The Conservatorium of Music was only newly established in the converted stables of Government House in 1916. The cut and cover railway tunnels through the Botanic Gardens are immediately adjacent to it.
  24. Per acre?
  25. Jonas Stawell, Deputy Chief Engineer, Railway and Tramway Construction.
  26. Lyne Park, Rose Bay, is land reclaimed from tidal flats in 1902. Further reclamation may have been considered in 1916.
  27. Robert Kendall, Engineer-in-Chief, Existing Lines.
  28. Sidney W. Conyers, Engineer, Railway and Tramway Construction.
  29. The filling of substantial sections of Darling Harbour was the eventual solution to Thom’s search for a disposal site for the spoil from the City Railway.
  30. These would be for the proposed Eastern Suburbs Railway which at that time branched off the City Railway under the Botanic Gardens and crossed Woolloomooloo Bay.
  31. Robert J. Boyd, at this time Draftsman, but later Design Engineer for the Metropolitan Railway Construction.
  32. George Street North.
  33. This address would be on the railway route near Circular Quay station and viaduct.
Cookies help us deliver our services. By using our services, you agree to our use of cookies.