Rodney Campbell's Blog

Glebe Tram Shed – Graffiti Haven; End of an era…

by on Sep.23, 2011, under Life, Photography

The former Rozelle tram depot, located in Glebe, New South Wales, is the largest remaining tram depot in Sydney, and is one of five remaining tram depots in New South Wales. It was the second largest tram depot to service the Sydney network, running at peak capacity of approximately 200 trams from 1918, until its closure in 1958.

The majority of the interior of the building and the (six) historic trams (some of which date back to the 1930s), as well as an old bus have now been stripped, vandalised and painted with graffiti. In fact for the past 50 years the site appears to have only been visited by graffiti artists, party goers, photographers and the occasional film crew. There are essentially two huge main shed halls (one with all the trams and bus in it and the other essentially empty, except both are littered with spray paint cans and all manner of rubbish and debris. Also off to the side are some rooms which we unfortunately didn’t get a chance to explore. Every wall and surface has now essentially been graffiti’d and some of the artwork is a sight to behold.

Note: These images (especially the wider shots) look much better when larger – so click any of the images below to see larger versions in an inline overlay slideshow gallery viewer.

A psychedelic rendition of the four trams in a row in the main hall. This is far more colourful and dynamic that what was actually there but this is an homage to what may soon be no more


NIKON D7000 + 8.0-16.0 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 8 mm, 0.4 sec at f/9, ISO 100

Until recently the site was under the ownership of the New South Wales Harness Racing Club (Harrold Park Paceway), however in late 2010 it was purchased by Mirvac to be redeveloped for medium density housing and possibly a shopping mall.

Getting in now can be quite difficult – the whole area is surrounded by double fences and locked gates and all the entrance doors have now been locked and barricaded. Out front there’s now a number of demountables (readying for construction) and security guards now patrol the site.

Once you manage to “bypass” the fence, there is however an extremely muddy and narrow “path” around the building to the back where you will find a small window you need to climb through with the help of some bins and milk crates. Photography is obviously far more motivating when a spot of trespassing is involved 🙂

My regular photography crew and I rocked up on a very sunny Sunday morning to attempt to take some images before all is lost and the building and it’s contents are resigned to history. We did manage to get in but our stay was unfortunately brief – we only had 30 minutes before security arrived and we were very politely asked to leave the premises. I must however say that the guard was very accommodating and allowed a few last shots before reluctantly leaving.

I bracketed all of my exposures at 0, -2 and +2EV primed for some HDR treatment.

The second hall now empty of trams

Forgotten Times

NIKON D7000 + 8.0-16.0 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 8 mm, 0.4 sec at f/9, ISO 100

The bus awaits it’s passengers for one last ride

All Aboard

NIKON D7000 + 8.0-16.0 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 8 mm, 0.8 sec at f/11, ISO 100

but perhaps not…

Hmm Where to Sit

NIKON D7000 + 8.0-16.0 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 8 mm, 1 sec at f/11, ISO 100

Finally here is an HDR panorama I quickly took in the middle of the main hall just before we got ejected…

(use the arrow keys or mouse to pan left/right and/or up/down in the virtual view)

Glebe Tram Shed Panorama

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3 Comments for this entry

  • GLC Sydney

    It is an amazing location. My son and I took photos here in late 2009. Around about the same time the Australian band Parades released a music video that was filmed here

    for the single Loserspeak In New Tongue.

    We were fortunately not troubled by security during our shoot and took several shots which can be viewed on Flickr

  • Corinne

    Have you ever thought about creating an e-book or guest authoring on other
    websites? I have a blog based on the same topics you discuss and
    would really like to have you share some stories/information.
    I know my subscribers would value your work. If you are even remotely
    interested, feel free to send me an e-mail.

  • vikii kapernaros

    I don’t understand why these beautiful old trams cannot be used for anything….what about small restaurants, small pubs, childrens playing area???

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