Old Sydney: Historical Photos Show Street Scenes And Everyday Life From Late 19th and Early 20th Century

Sydney is the most populous city in Australia, located on the southeastern coast. From 1788 to 1900, Sydney was the capital of the British colony of New South Wales. It has one of the most important ports in the South Pacific. The first human settlement in the area dates back to at least 30,000 years when Australian Aboriginals inhabited in this area. The modern history of the city began with the foundation of a penal colony by Great Britain in 1788.

Sydney grew rapidly in the mid-19th century the population was over 56,000 residents, and it was a flourishing town. The first railroad from Sydney to Parramatta was constructed in 1855. As the city exploded in size, many new buildings and suburbs were built. Horse-drawn trams began functional, and they were replaced with steam trams in the 1880s and at the beginning of the 20th century by electric trams. By 1900 Sydney had a population of 481,000, which reached the million mark in 1914.

These historical photos of old Sydney from the late 19th and early 20th-century show street scenes, cityscapes, landmarks, and everyday life of people.

#1 Bridge Street, from Government House gates, Sydney, 1904

#2 A men pushing another person along in a wheelchair at Circular Quay, circa 1885-1890. Signs advertising the ferry to Watsons Bay are visible, as vendors sell bananas and fruit from stalls on the side of the street .

#3 The Queen Victoria Building and n George Street with trams running through the centre, circa 1920

#5 A police officer in a horse and cart outside the Civil Ambulance and Transport Brigade on the corner of George and Pitt Street in 1900.

#6 A group of pedestrians on George Street with elaborate bonnets, hats and umbrellas, taken circa 1900

#7 Women and children are seen being escorted across the road by an officer in uniform in Sydney, circa 1940

#8 An extensions in Martin Place circa 1933 show it is almost unrecognisable from what it looks like today

#9 A pedestrians on Phillip Street leading down to the harbour, taken circa 1885-1890

#10 Trams and automobiles racing through the streets and around a corner during rush hour in Kings Cross in 1938

#11 A street vendor transporting goods in baskets stacked on top of each other hanging off either end of a pole balanced on the man’s shoulder, taken circa 1885-1890

#12 A photograph taken in 1932 overlooking over the Royal Botanic Gardens and the old Government House shows a large passenger ship in Sydney Harbour

#13 A brick railway workshop in Sydney taken in March 1871 showing parked carriages and horses and carts transporting goods to and from the workshop

#14 People on the side of Sussex Street outside a workshop for a tinsmith and cannister maker in Sydney during a quarantine period, taken sometime in the early 1900s

#15 Horses and carts stacked with what appear to be bales of wool being transported through the city, while women in long dresses shaded with umbrellas cross the street, circa 1885-1890.

#16 Four children playing in the street in Sydney with a little wooden cart, wearing dresses and hats with ribbons, circa 1885-1890.

#17 Two men are seen looking at advertisements on a wall in the city circa 1885-1890

#18 A woman wearing a bonnet and apron is pictured selling fruit from a small wicker barrow with large metal wheels in Sydney circa 1885-1890

#19 A group of people is seen walking through the streets of Sydney circa 1885-1890, with the men and boys wearing top hats and suits and the women in long dresses carrying umbrellas

#20 Two men, one holding a basket, are seen standing outside the brick Volunteer Hotel on Pitt Street in Sydney, circa 1870

#21 An official parade with horses and carriages is pictured taking place in the city near Sydney Harbour, with ships visible in the background, circa 1885-1890

#25 Electric Tram, George Street, David Jones Corner, Sydney, 1906

#33 A girl in a dress, stockings and a hat with her pet duck on a leash in the garden, taken circa 1885-1890.

#34 Two men sweeping the dirt street, while horse and carriages and horse and carts trundle past, circa 1885-1890.

#35 Road workers are pictured digging trenches on the side of a street in Sydney, with horses and carts parked nearby, and tramlines visible in the foreground. Photo taken circa 1885-1890

#36 A woman in a bonnet and apron inside an aviary in Sydney circa 1885-1890, watching small birds eating seeds from a handmade feeder

#37 Men on horseback have been photographed at the corner of King and Elizabeth Street in Sydney in 1890, as women watch on from the side of the street and trams go past in the background

#38 Coogee Beach circa 1905 shows a tram line running down the hill to the sandy beachfront, and Coogee Pavilion in the distance at one end of the beach

#39 A small child in a frilly white smock is seen grinning as she balances on the back of a pet sheep near a white picket fence, as as a women leans over to stead her balance, circa 1885-1890

#43 St Andrew’s Cathedral and Town Hall, Sydney, 1901

#44 St Mary’s Cathedral and entrance to Domain, Sydney, 1907

#51 A street in the city in 1947 shows the Rural and Commonwealth Banks on one side, while automobiles driving past and pedestrians crossing the street and on the footpaths

#52 Mosmans Bay circa 1905 shows a tram travelling down a hill and around a corner down towards a wharf, with a passenger ferry parked in the background

#61 Elizabeth Street showing Jewish Synagogue, Sydney, 1909

#72 King Street looking east from George Street, Sydney, 1909

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Written by Aung Budhh

Husband + Father + librarian + Poet + Traveler + Proud Buddhist. I love you with the breath, the smiles and the tears of all my life.

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