Bondi Junction

The following images illustrate Bondi Junction – long the key retail and commercial centre in Sydney’s East.

Cowper St Bondi Jn looking south c 1910. The horse drawn waggon is carrying building supplies.

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.

Tramway signal box and real estate agents shop are prominent in this 1917 view.

Methodist Church built on the former Woollahra side of Oxford St. Demolished in mid 1970’s to make way for shopping centre expansion.

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.

NSW Olympic Theatre c 1912. Forerunner of several theatres built in and around Bondi Junction.

Interior view of NSW Olympic Theatre c1912.

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.

Crowds swarm aboard an O Class Tram bound for Bondi. Winter clothing and the use of a single tram car suggests this view dates to the end of the 1917 strike in August of that year. The tram car number also supports that interpretation as it was not allocated to the nearby Waverley Depot.

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