The structure in this photo is of what was affectionately nicknamed a “pissoir” by Sydneysiders in the late 1800s. It is a cast iron outdoor urinal, located today underneath the Harbour Bridge at The Rocks.
This early day sanitation facility was one of two of its kind purchased in 1880 by the Sydney City Council. It was installed due to growing concerns around health and “respectability” given the lack of public facilities available at the time. Men were the main culprits as they would relieve themselves without shame in public. Whereas the lack of facilities for women made it even more challenging for them. As a result these facilities were installed. It wasn’t until the early 1900s that underground facilities began being installed which provided long overdue catering for ladies needs as well as for the men.
This particular “pissoir” was originally located on Observatory Hill however during repairs in 1971 it was moved to its current location under the rain protected cover of the bridge. One of the best things about this little piece of history is that it is still fully functioning. So if you are passing by and feel the need, take a **** down memory lane!
Note: I try to be as accurate as possible but make no guarantees. Please use this information at your own risk.