Sydney’s Central Railway Station is situated on the CBD fringe. Externally the building sits majestically between Eddy Avenue and Railway Square on the corner of George St and Broadway, but as rail travel steadily fell out of favour, the insides of this building have declined into a state of what appears to be constant maintenance.
It was the late 1970’s when my family emigrated from southern borders to settle in Sydney aboard the First Class only Southern Aurora. This interstate train consisted of only sleeper, lounge and dining carriages and operated between Sydney and Melbourne since the mid 1960’s until the mid 1980’s, when it was ingeniously renamed the Sydney/Melbourne Express.
A joint venture between the NSW and Victorian governments, the Southern Aurora carriages can still be found in running condition at the NSW Rail Transport Museum in Thirlmere, where they occasionally put them back on the rails for a nostalgic tour.
Central Station also boasts a rich history. Originally a single platform and a shed in ‘Cleveland Fields’, the station was opened in 1855. Due to increasing numbers of travellers, a new site was commissioned and called Redfern Station and grew to 14 platforms, until the present-day location, previously a cemetery and police barracks (among other things) was constructed and opened in 1906.
The Devonshire Street tunnel was also built at this time, allow pedestrians to pass safely under the trains. The 75-metre tall clock tower was added 15 years later in 1921.
As a child I recall my grandparents as regular travellers to and from Central Station, and we would race their carriage to the end of the platform as the train set off. A photo of Nan and Pop taken in the late 80’s sits in our house, taken moments before they boarded the train to return to Melbourne.