Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Edwin Davey Flour Mill and its rail connection

I have been doing a heritage assessment on the rail weighbridge that served the Edwin Davey Flour mill in Pyrmont. The Mill which was established c1890 and taken over by Edwin Davey in 1900 was connected to the Darling Harbour Goods line when it was constructed c1922.

The siding was cut into the sandstone escarpment on which the mill stood creating space for several wagons and a rail weighbridge. Wagons presumably were weighed and then discharged into underground bind that conveyed the wheat to bucket lifts that took the wheat up the escarpment to the storage silos in the mill. There is no evidence that the Mill discharged flour into rail trucks.

Mill 2

This is an undated photo of the siding and the mill. From the ‘newish” look of the exposed sandstone cutting it must have been taken when the siding was newly opened. If you look closely you can see that the wagons on the street outside are horse drawn.

What is interesting about the place is that later a connection was made to the Sydney City Council’s depot which seems to have been established in an old quarry (probably “Hellhole”).

I haven't been able to establish a date for the siding. If you look at the website for the City of Sydney archives ( you can search on Wattle Street and see pretty much all their photos. The earliest ones date to 1931 and show the siding with wagons “in situ” (e.g. SRC 13736). It looks like that the Council had established an asphalting plant on the site which was located at the rear of the site next to the quarry face and which was loaded from Jones Street.

The railway wagons seem to have discharged from their elevated track onto the area at the base of the asphalt plant. Later there was some sort of cement making plant as well. It seems obvious that the wagons (only 4 wheelers have been seen) brought in material for Council use.

Flour Mill plan

This plan taken from the current Parish Plan shows the layout of the Council’s siding and the rather complex shunting required from the Flour Mill siding. There wouldn't be much room for traffic so presumably the trains were short or stood on the main line while portions were shunted.

The Council siding seems to have lasted until at least 1970 – it is not there in 1973 I think. The siding to Edwin Dave lasted until 1995 – I even saw a 48 class hauling some wagons from the siding when I first moved up here.

My thoughts about this area also drift to what an interesting little model railway this would make.

Any further information on the topic would be most welcome.

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