The following images illustrate Bondi Junction – long the key retail and commercial centre in Sydney’s East.
The name derives from the fact that the centre was a tramway junction for just on 76 years from 1884 to 1960. Initially steam trams operated to and through the centre but by 1902 the lines had been electrified. In time the Junction benefited from three tramway spines linking the developing retail core with residential areas to the south, east and west. Trams would terminate there and return to the city or continue on to eastern destinations such as Bondi or Bronte Beaches. In addition a cross suburban line from Coogee Beach terminated at the Junction.
The trams had much higher passenger capacities than the buses that replaced them and were capable of lifting and depositing thousands of potential customers there. All other “Junctions” in Sydney have a similar tramway heritage. The popularity of Bondi Junction is evidenced by the extensive strip retailing along prime approach roads and images demonstrating high pedestrian activity at tram stops.
The images selected show key buildings such as the Methodist Church – once the tallest building at this point, recreation facilities – Olympic Theatre, and retail strip shopping on Oxford Street and Cowper Street (now Bronte Rd). One image, most probably taken during the end of the railway and tramway strike in August 1917, shows passengers swarming aboard a tram headed for Bondi.