The story of Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs railway is a long one, and we won’t be going down that tunnel today. Instead, we’ll be going down this one.
The reason this set of escalators down to the Eastern Suburbs and Illawarra line trains at Central Station is so long is because it’s actually going down two levels, not one. When the Eastern Suburbs platforms were being built throughout the 1960s and 1970s, construction crews made concessions for four extra platforms, not just the two that exist today. 26 & 27 lie above 24 & 25.
The plan was that platforms 24 and 25 would service the Illawarra and the Eastern Suburbs lines, and above them, platforms 26 & 27 would someday cater to an airport line. The platforms were built, but the planned airport line never materialised, and since 1979 the platforms have sat derelict. In fact, even when an airport line was built in the leadup to the Olympics in 2000, the platforms weren’t used – the reason being that modern trains were too heavy for the loadbearing capabilities of the platforms. Many photos exist online of these platforms, but since 26 & 27 are not accessible to the general public (with terrorism fears cited as the reason, because terrorists want to blow up empty train platforms), they won’t be appearing here. What’s interesting is the evidence of the platforms’ existence that is readily available, such as this:
But shhh! Don’t tell anyone, it’s a secret!
ANNUAL UPDATE: One year doesn’t seem to have made a difference to the future of these dead platforms.
Do as I say, not as I do.
Built in 1931, the Belfield Hotel has seen better days. Specifically, open ones. For many years now, this pub has sat closed. Eerily, the front bar still has all the chairs, pool tables and stools set up. Glasses still sit on the bar. It’s like the patrons and Lloyd the bartender just vanished one night when the clock struck twelve.
Around the back of the Belfield is the pub’s former gaming room, ‘Lasseter’s Lounge’, which now serves as Belfield’s watering hole. It’s more like a pokie room that also serves beer. The Canterbury Council is proposing that the building be heritage listed, and I’m presuming the proposal involves sending a copy of The Shining to the powers that be with a note attached reading ‘SEE?’
Despite the sign, Blockbuster’s presence at 1206 Canterbury Road, Roselands is pretty much gone. In 1996, Blockbuster was one of the biggest brands, and now they just can’t eradicate it fast enough. It’s as if Betamax was reincarnated as the head of Bovis Lend Lease. This one in particular is well on its way to becoming a 24-hour gym, just in case you need to pump some iron at 4am.
Research shows that as late as 1946, this address was being used to sell retired show horses. The Subway on the lot is still going strong, keeping the tradition of hawking old livestock here well and truly alive.
On the Hume Highway, Enfield stands this bright orange eyecatcher. According to Strathfield Heritage, the Savoy opened as the Enfield Cinema in 1927, but was redesigned in Art Deco style in 1938.
At this point it was renamed the Savoy, and reopened to the public. In 1944 it was bought by Hoyts, but was closed as a cinema in 1960. The last film shown was Some Like It Hot.
Julian Tertini was working as a public servant in the mid-1970s when he quit his job and started a furniture company with no prior business experience. That company was Whitewood Warehouse. By 2012, the Savoy has stood as the cartoon bear-sporting Whitewood Warehouse longer than it did as a cinema.
Tertini went on to start both Fantastic and Freedom Furniture, and is one of Australia’s richest people. The Savoy/Whitewood building is now home to Poliak Building Supplies. The foyer is a showroom for ovens and hot water systems, because some still like it hot.
QUALITY UPDATE: Thanks to reader Phil, Past/Lives can now reveal the hitherto unknown second phase of this building’s life! After the cinema’s 1960 closure, it began its long life as a furniture warehouse under the name of Quality House. Now there’s a name you can trust: