C1874

Comparative Sections of Wharf & Harbour Walls-SA 08

Artist:

Norman Selfe

Very rare early civil engineering diagram for the proposed Circular Quay walls.  

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Details

Full Title:

Comparative Sections of Wharf & Harbour Walls-SA 08

Date:

C1874

Artist:

Norman Selfe

Condition:

In good condition, with folds as issued. Laid on archival linen.

Technique:

Hand coloured lithograph.

Image Size: 

382mm 
x 257mm

Paper Size: 

423mm 
x 300mm
AUTHENTICITY
Comparative Sections of Wharf & Harbour Walls-SA 08 - Antique Print from 1874

Genuine antique
dated:

1874

Description:

Very rare early civil engineering diagram for the proposed Circular Quay walls.

 

Artist:

Norman Selfe (1839-1911)

Selfe was an Australian engineer, naval architect, inventor and urban planner. He designed many bridges, docks, boats, and much precision machinery for the city. He also introduced new refrigeration, hydraulic, electrical and transport systems. For these achievements he received international acclaim during his lifetime. Decades before the Sydney Harbour Bridge was built, the city came close to building a Selfe designed steel cantilever bridge across the harbour after he won the second public competition for a bridge design.

From the time of Selfe’s return in 1886 from two years’ travel in the United States and Europe, he campaigned for improvements to the city of Sydney. These included proposals for a city railway loop, the redevelopment of the Rocks, and a bridge to the North Shore. His obituary in The Sydney Morning Herald noted, “Mr. Selfe for over twenty years was a strenuous advocate of a circular city railway that should connect up the eastern, western, and northern suburbs of the city with the marine suburbs of the harbour, and stations adjacent to the ferries”.[1] He published plans and proposals elaborating on his ideas, and produced major articles with titles like “Sydney: past, present and possible” and “Sydney and its institutions, as they are, and might be from an engineer’s point of view”. In 1887 Selfe published proposals for a city underground railway, with stations at Wynyard, the Rocks and Circular Quay, and a loop to Woolloomooloo and the eastern suburbs. The proposal included a bridge across Sydney Harbour for trains, vehicles and pedestrians. He presented these schemes to the Royal Commission on City and Suburban Railways in 1890; but nothing was to come of it, largely because the 1890’s depression brought public works initiatives to a standstill. In 1908–09 he served as one of 11 expert commissioners to the Royal Commission for the Improvement of the City of Sydney and its Suburbs. Selfe’s proposals included an overhead railway station at Circular Quay and major landscaping works at Belmore Park opposite Central Railway Station. Both of these visions were later realised, but not in his lifetime.

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