The Battle of Central Station

This is a photo of the clock tower at Sydney Central Railway Station, Sydney’s major railway junction. The clock tower stands at 75m & was added to the station in 1921.

There have been 3 stations used as Sydney’s major railway terminal. The first was opened in 1855, located south of the current site between Devonshire & Cleveland Sts. It was a simple wooden platform with a corrugated iron shed & serviced the first passenger line in NSW running between Sydney & Parramatta. It became too small & a new station was built in 1874 at the same site. It had 2 platforms but grew to 14 before it too was replaced.

The current station was built & opened in 1906 on the opposite side of Devonshire St where the old Devonshire Street Cemetery had been. Bodies were exhumed & transported to other cemeteries around Sydney. Also at the site was a convent, a female refuge, a police barracks & a Benevolent Society.

In 1916 there was a riot at Central which was dubbed the “Battle of Central Station”. It was between Soldiers from an army training camp in Liverpool & the military police. Many of these soldiers had volunteered to fight in WWI & had rebelled against the training camp conditions including being asked to train for 27 hours straight.

Up to 15,000 troops were reportedly involved. It started with soldiers overtaking hotels in Liverpool & drinking them dry before commandeering trains to the city. When they got to central they started destroying the station. It was there they were met by military police who opened gunfire with one of the rioters being killed. You can still find a bullet hole from the riot at the entrance to platform 1.

Did you know about the hidden platforms located underground just above platforms 24 & 25? Platforms 26 & 27 were built in the 70s to service the Eastern Suburbs but have never seen a train roll through.

Note: I try to be as accurate as possible but make no guarantees. Please use this information at your own risk.


Central Station Sydney

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