And so the days are filled...

11 December 2006

Spending a penny in Sydney

Museum Station is one of a pair (the other is St James) of train stations opened in 1926, Australia's first underground railway stations. The influence of London's Tube is plain to see:

Now located in something of a backwater in Sydney's rail network, it's a sleepy little station, even in the afternoon peak hour, when this photo was taken. Museum Station seems to have been set aside as the preservation sample from the halcyon days of elegant and streamlined travel by rail - even the 'old school' advertisements and platform benches are maintained.

One of the more interesting aspects of Museum Station to connoisseurs of this type of thing are the loos. Let's have a look!

There's little I appreciate more than a heritage loo. Here, I love the timber stall doors and marble dividers. Yes, marble! When was the last time you saw marble in a public toilet?

Although I think the sinks have been replaced, the tiling is original, and I reckon the mirrors are too. Check out the little attendant's cubicle in the background!

Sadly, heritage loos are a dying breed in Sydney. The nearby public amenities in Hyde Park have been closed for the past few years, despite several creative suggestions for their reuse - one suggestion was even to put a restaurant into them! The toilets in St James Station still exist at the concourse level, but are now closed off to the public in favour of boring old modern ones at platform level - a development which has occurred only in the last six months.

The Taylor Square public conveniences are earlier - 1907 (the ladies didn't get built until 1938!) - but are now closed to the public. Further reading? Here's an excellent article on the demolition of Sydney's Edwardian underground public toilets and the politics surrounding them.