Monday, 28 August 2017

MILESTONE: Sydney Harbour Tunnel turns 25 (1992)

Another milestone to celebrate this week. This week we celebrate 25 years of service of the Sydney Harbour Tunnel to the citizens of Sydney.

With congestion increasing on the Sydney Harbour Bridge in the 1980s, the need for a second harbour crossing was pushed further.

Plans for a harbour tunnel evolved throughout the 1980s, but it was not until 1986 where concrete plans were proposed. Initially, the tunnel was to run from Hickson Road, Millers Point and run west of the Harbour Bridge. Like the final plans, it would meet the Warringah Freeway at Mount Street, North Sydney.

Source: Coultan, M. 1986. "Tunnel: how pipedream will become pipeline". The Sydney Morning Herald, March 14: 1. 

Several months later, the proposal we see today was conceived in an attempt to reduce construction costs. While the motives might not be just, the decision had a long run outcome - The Harbour Tunnel would form a piece in what has evolved into Sydney's orbital network of freeways. Under the Hickson Road plan, this would not be possible.

Source: Coultan, M. 1986. "Slimmer Harbour tunnel to save $35 million. The Sydney Morning Herald, December 17: 1 & 2. 

There was one proposal that was tendered by a firm that for around $100 million, four lanes could be constructed above the existing road deck to increase road capacity. This was published in The Daily Telegraph Mirror on August 27, 1992, in a special supplement to mark the opening of the tunnel.

Plans to proceed with construction were announced by the NSW State Government on April 27, 1987. This included increasing the Harbour Bridge toll from 20 cents to $1 to fund its construction. It rose to $2 by 1992.

Kirribilli residents objected to the tunnel, particularly as the air ventilation stack would be located at Bradfield Park. Today, anyone using the park would be unaware of its presence, landscaped into the terrain.

Transfield and Kumagai Gumi were awarded the contract to construct the tunnel. Construction largely took place off-site with tunnel sections built at Port Kembla, before being towed into Sydney where they were sunk into place at the bottom of Sydney Harbour. Official work commenced in 1988.

On August 29, 1992, NSW Premier John Fahey officially opened the tunnel. The opening was marred by protestors that wanted to disrupt the event. The following day, the public was invited to walk through the tunnel. The walk acted as a fundraiser for charity.

Source: Wilkins, M. 1992. "Light at the end of the tunnel...Greenies 'crash' the party". The Sunday Telegraph, August 30: 4.  

The tunnel was opened to traffic at 3am on August 31, 1992. It survived its first peak hour test without glitches.

Source: de Vine, B & Toy, N. 1992. "It's Perfect: Tunnel opens with dream run". The Daily Telegraph Mirror, August 31: 1 & 2. 

Like any expansion to a road, a new road will only take the pressure off an existing road for a short period of time before traffic levels return to previous levels. It's not uncommon for traffic on the Warringah Freeway to be banked "past the channel nine tower" at Willoughby in morning peak hour irrespective of whether you are bridge-bound or tunnel bound. Add the congestion once you cross the bridge, and trek down the Eastern Distributor towards Sydney Airport. An estimated 200 000 cars crossed the Sydney Harbour Bridge daily at the time of opening in 1992. Today, it is estimated to be around 165 000 cars that cross the bridge. When combined with RMS data of approximately 90 000 cars that access the Harbour Tunnel, 245 000 cars cross the harbour each day. 

Statistics of Interest:

  • Construction costs amounted to $560 million.
  • Estimated savings in travel time - 10 minutes.
  • 4500 workers involved in construction along with 300 contractors.

The Daily Telegraph Mirror to mark the opening provided its readers with a special poster outlining construction. 

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Property Advert of the Week: Heathcote Land Release (1966)

In 1966, blocks of land in Cassandra Cresent and part of Cornith Road in Heathcote were on sale. Even though it was advertised in October, agents were still allowed to advertise in pounds until early 1968.

 Heathcote Land Release Ad October 14 1966 the sun 65

Source: Anon. 1966. "Land-Sutherland Shire-Heatchote" (Advertisement). The Sun, October 14: 65.

Monday, 21 August 2017

MILESTONE: 20 Years of Light Rail in Sydney (1997)

Source: Stuart, S. 1997. "All aboard the city streetcars tomorrow: Trams right on track". The Sunday Telegraph, August 10: 9.

This month is 20 years since the return of trams to Sydney. In August 1997, the first services commenced operation from Central Station through Pyrmont to Wentworth Park at Glebe.
The first services began on August 11 but were limited in frequency until the end of the month.


Source: Rogers, J. 1997. "Back on Track: After 36 years, the trams return to Sydney". The Daily Telegraph, August 11, 3. 

However, the grand opening was not until August 31, 1997, with festivities at all stations along the line.


Source: Sydney Light Rail. 1997. "Don't miss our 4 kilometre party!" (Advertisement). The Daily Telegraph, August 28: 26 & 27. 

The following day (September 1) saw the commencement of full services.

Sydney light rail opens september 1 1997 daily telegraph 17

Source:  Birch, S & Robinson, M. 1997. "One passenger, 8 minutes late". The Daily Telegraph, September 1, 17. 

The return of trams to Sydney was not without its problems. One concern was the speed of the trams as they made their way through Haymarket. They were merely too slow.

Source: Skelsey, K. 1997. "Slow tram coming: Delays force review of 20km/h speed limit". The Daily Telegraph, September 22: 17.

Motorists faced fines blocking trams.


Source: Bissett, K. 1997. "Trams bring new road fine hazards". The Daily Telegraph, June 16: 6.

The changes were too much for some...

Source: Porter, B. 1997. Sydney's most confusing corner claims another victim ... and another ... and another. The Daily Telegraph, September 23: 17. 

The line was extended from Wentworth Park to Lilyfield in 2000 with a further extension to Dulwich Hill opening in 2014. Initally, the light rail was privately owned and managed by TNT Transit Link (also operators of the monorail) , before changing ownership to CGEA Australia. In 2012, the State Government purchased the company for $20 million before integrating fares and services into the broader public transport network.

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Property Advert of the Week: Karingal, Lane Cove (1971)

The swinging 1960s saw the appearance of the first villa and townhouse complexes in Sydney. Here is one for Karingal at Lane Cove dating back to 1971.

Source: Duncan Properties. 1971. "Visit lovely 'Karingal' Town Houses". The Daily Telegraph, May 8: 58. 

Monday, 14 August 2017

MILESTONE: The M5 Motorway turns 25 (1992)

Today (August 14) is the 25th Birthday of the M5 Motorway. I have obtained material from the time of opening in 1992.

Source: Interlink Roads Pty Ltd. 1992. "M5" (Advertisement). The Sunday Telegraph, August 9: 48. 

When opened in August 1992, Stage 1 ran from Fairford Road, Padstow to the Hume Highway at Casula. Drivers were charged $1.50. When extended to King Georges Road, Beverly Hills several months later, the toll rose to $2. In today's money, that would be equivalent to $3.64. Excluding GST, motorists pay $4.04 to use the same road at present ($4.60 with GST).

The opening of the M5 was marred by protests. Premier John Fahey left it to his deputy and roads minister Wal Murray to open the road. Driving legend Peter Brock was the first driver on the new motorway. He was the marketing ambassador for its owner Interlink Roads.

Source: Skelsey, M. 1992. "M5 drama as 300 heckle Murray". The Daily Telegraph Mirror, August 15: 7. 

One challenge with new toll roads in Sydney has been the ability to attract traffic upon opening. The M5 was no stranger. Opening Day had virtually no traffic.

Even a year later, it was being criticized for the fact it took people "nowhere"


Source: Allan, C (Editor). 1993. "Making M5 a road to somewhere" (Editorial). The Daily Telegraph Mirror, November 1: 10. 

Not even promoting the motorway as the only way into Sydney worked.

Source: Stapleton, J. 1992. "This way to the M5 but where's the free way?". The Sydney Morning Herald, August 25: 4. 

Fast forward a quarter of a century later and the M5 is one of Sydney's most congested roads. Not even adding second and third lanes (1999 & 2011) in each direction would relieve congestion. The M5 East (2001) connected the motorway to the Orbital network, allowing motorists direct access into central Sydney, Sydney Airport and Port Botany.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Property Advert of the Week: Greenwood, Botany (1998)

This week, we head to Botany with two bedroom apartments in a village style setting available for $210 500 in 1998.

  Greenwood Botany SMH May 2 1998 23RE

Source: Colliers Jardine. 1998.  "Greenwood" (advertisement). The Sydney Morning Herald, May 2: 23 (Real Estate Liftout). 

Monday, 7 August 2017

1962: Tom Ugly's Bridge as a double deck bridge?

In 1962, there was only one crossing over Georges River to link the Sutherland Shire with the rest of Sydney - Tom Ugly's Bridge. The bridge could only carry three lanes of traffic. The postwar years saw a boom in the population and congestion on the bridge approaches was becoming an ever increasing problem.

Source: Anon. 1962. "Engineer proposes an answer to the chaos". The St George and Sutherland Shire Leader, February 8: 1. 

One engineer - James Stewart had a plan that would allow for an additional three lanes built atop the existing lanes of the bridge. It was an efficient proposal, but the challenge would have been with the approaches to the bridge. This may have had implications on both sides of the bridge as we see it today. 

Source: Anon. 1962. "Cars could drive over the top of Tom Ugly's". The St George and Sutherland Shire Leader, February 8: 3. 

It was not until 1987, that a second bridge was built roughly parallel to the existing bridge - Georges River Bridge which would carry southbound traffic on the Princes Highway, allowing tom Ugly's Bridge to carry northbound traffic only. 

Also, he suggested a rail line traveling from Caringbah to Rockdale to relieve congestion on the single deck Como Bridge with the tracks incorporated into the soon to be built Captain Cook Bridge. He felt that while tenders had closed, the design could be modified. The line would have followed the corridor for the F6 (Southern) Freeway and rejoined the main Illawarra line at Rockdale. This would have led to significant reductions in commute times on the Cronulla branch line and provided South Coast services a second route through Southern Sydney.

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Property Advert of the Week: Gymea Land Release (1966)

Treloar Reality had blocks of land for sale in Gymea in late 1966 for just a seventy-pound deposit ($140). The lots were in First Avenue and Yarra Burra Street and appears to also include Conjola Place and Cobargo Road.

Gymea Land Release Ad The Sun October 14 1966 63

A Google Streetview reference to the area today is available here.

Source: Treloar Reality Pty. Ltd. 1966.  "Sensational New Release !!!" (Advertisement). The Sun, October 14: 63.