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Photos from ten years ago Toxic Custard newsletter

Some photos from July 2004

Another in my series of old photos from ten years ago

In 2004 the situation with crowded trains hadn’t really hit as a big political problem, which is why it took until 2006 for the government to decide not to scrap all the Hitachi trains after all, but expand the fleet. It was certainly occurring at that point however, and I snapped this photo one morning at Richmond. I was particularly pleased with it — it conveys the sense of frustration from passengers really well.
Crowded train, Richmond, July 2004
[Another pic from that same morning]

At Southbank there used to be a regular display from a group called Chalk Circle… one day I found that had this image of The Goodies.
The Goodies, chalk art at Melbourne Southbank, July 2004
[Original blog post]

They’re a common hazard now, but chuggers were around even back then:
Chuggers at Southbank, July 2004

The view looking west along the Yarra. Despite it being almost 20 years since trains ran over the Sandridge bridge, it still looked like a rail bridge. It’s only in recent years that it’s been fully renovated and made available to the public again.
Looking west along the Yarra, July 2004

Jeremy using the computer at home (see another view here). Note the floppy drive. In the foreground is a Harry Potter DVD — I’d ordered it from Amazon UK because in Australia at the time you couldn’t buy the widescreen version.
Jeremy using the computer, July 2004

By way of a bulk sale of their Summertown CD, my mate Tony organised a private concert in his house of Deborah Conway and Willy Zygier. [Original blog post]
Deborah Conway and Willy Zygier, July 2004

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Photos from ten years ago

Old photos from June 2004

Yep, it’s June, so time again for another batch of my old photos from ten years ago.

It seems that for some reason I didn’t take very many photos in June 2004.

A Hitachi train pulls out of Richmond station. Note the markings of the then five-years defunct PTC on the shelter glass. Other than that, it hasn’t changed much.
Hitachi train pulls into Richmond station, June 2004

Up until that point, red (emergency) and green (next train) buttons hadn’t been provided at Richmond, despite having been deployed at most stations almost ten years earlier. Around then, they decided to install them.
Richmond station green/red buttons not yet commissioned, June 2004

For a day or two, they were filming an advertisement at the kids’ school — we think it was for the Cancer Council, on being sun smart. For some reason, they felt the old main school building’s red bricks weren’t good enough, so brought along their own brick wall. I’ve had a quick look; haven’t yet found the ad online anywhere.
Filming in the school yard, June 2004

Back when you could get SMS alerts for train cancellations — they ran from 2001 to 2013 — here’s one from then operator Connex, on my old Nokia phone of the time.
Connex train SMS alert, June 2004

Finally, this is what my desk at home looked like in 2004 — the photo was taken for this post, which has pop-up captions. The computer (a Gateway, from when they still traded in Australia) I’d got back in 2000. Almost everything beige/grey in the photo has been traded for black — including the desk.
My desk at home, June 2004

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Photos from ten years ago

Photos from May 2004

Another in my series of photos from ten years ago.

The Nylex sign worked for years, inspiring Paul Kelly’s song Leaps And Bounds. I caught it at 11 degrees (and in the month of May, too), as in the lyrics of that song. In 2005-06 they tried to get it working with an upgrade, but seem to have given up now.
Eleven degrees

I took the kids down to Port Melbourne one day to see the Rainbow Warrior (the second one), Greenpeace’s ship which was visiting. I don’t think we actually had a look on board — from memory it was quite busy, and we hadn’t booked. But it was good fun to look around the pier.
Rainbow Warrior, Port Melbourne, May 2004

2004 was the year we got the XBox. One of the initial games I got for it was Midway Arcade Treasures, which included my old favourite Gauntlet. I’d have to say that arcade games aren’t well-suited to modern console controllers, which are no good for mashing the buttons (high-speed repeated presses) — particularly a problem in games like Joust, which was also included. For a while the kids enjoyed playing Gauntlet with me.
Playing Gauntlet on the XBox, May 2004

People who haven’t had kids in the last decade or two might not know about indoor playgrounds. I might be wrong, but they seemed to take off in the late-90s, and by 2004 there were lots of them. This is one in Moorabbin. Like all of them, they’re quite fun (even for the adults, sometimes) if not too busy, but when they get crowded, they’re just a feral cacophony of noise. If they’re not too crowded, sometimes adults can enjoy the facilities — in this picture you can also see my stepfather Peter and his daughter Emma sliding down.
Indoor playground, May 2004

I think Tony had let me know this was there — the then Tattersalls office on Dandenong Road had a giant electronic billboard, but on this day it was obviously faulty. In the background is one for the trainspotters: a Comeng train in the M>Train colours (matching the M>Tram scheme seen last month).
Tattersalls head office, faulty electronic billboard, May 2004

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Photos from ten years ago

Some of my photos from April 2004 – You won’t BELIEVE how similar everything was #clickbait

Continuing my series of posting ten-year-old photos, I was struck by the fact that many of the photos from April 2004 show some things have changed very little.

Traffic in Collins Street, creeping into the tram lanes. Just recently more visible dividers have been added… I suspect they help, but don’t completely prevent cars on the tracks.
Tram in traffic, Collins Street approaching Spring Street (March 2004)

Spirit of Tasmania, seen from South Melbourne Beach. Looking closely, it might be Spirit of Tasmania II. According to Wikipedia, it seems both I and II were built in 1998, and originally served connecting Greece with Italy, though it seems II was involved in a fatal accident in 1999, some years before being brought to Australia.
Spirit of Tasmania, from South Melbourne Beach (March 2004)

Who remembers the M>Tram livery? A little garish perhaps, but in some ways not so different to the new PTV livery. And I did like the “Moving Melbourne” slogan.
Tram at terminus of Route 1 South Melbourne, in M>Tram colours (March 2004)

Flinders Street Station, as seen from Southbank. Thanks to height limits around Swanston Street, I’m not even sure the skyline from this angle has changed very much.
Flinders Street Station, from Southbank (March 2004)

Interior of a Hitachi train — odds on it’s one of those scrapped in the mid-2000s, as only about 7 are still around (and not in service at present). Obviously this wasn’t a busy service — the timestamp says it was 9:14am on Wednesday 14th April 2004.
Hitachi train interior (March 2004)

Being interviewed for ABC TV News on 18th April — this was the day Connex took over the entire metropolitan rail network.
Daniel being interviewed for ABC TV News, 18/4/2004

…unfortunately the Connex banner at Caulfield decided to rebel against its new overlords.
"Welcome to nnex" - Connex takes over from M>Train, 18/4/2004

Traffic in Collins Street near Swanston Street. Yep, not changed much. If you want to move quickly in this area, don’t bring a motor vehicle.
Traffic in Collins St, near Swanston St (March 2004)

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Photos from ten years ago

Photos from March 2004

Continuing my series of ten year old photos

The serene setting of Caulfield South Primary School, where my kids went. Like many schools of that era, the original main building is lovely, and conceals the portable classrooms out the back.
Caulfield South Primary School (March 2004)

The old Elizabeth Street tram stop on Collins Street, westbound. It’s not hard to see why they’ve rebuilt these stops into platform stops, for safety and to speed up loading, as well as providing accessible stops — though some of the old safety zones still exist, particularly on William Street and Latrobe Street.
Collins Street at Elizabeth Street, tram stop (March 2004)

Still one of my best photos of Punt Road traffic, taken from Richmond Station above. Also a reminder that they often call for road expansion to help freight move more efficiently, but the bulk of traffic on the road is single-person cars.
Punt Road traffic (March 2004)

Trams queued at the Swanston Street superstop outside Flinders Street Station. Despite it being almost five years since privatisation, there were still quite a few trams in The Met green livery, though at the front of the queue is one in the M>Tram colours… M>Tram by this point had actually pulled out, and in April would be taken over by Yarra Trams.
Trams queued in Swanston Street at Flinders Street (March 2004)

A monolith of art deco in the foreground, while in the background is Michael Schumacher on the big Bourke/Swanston billboard, advertising the Grand Prix or mobile phones or something. Further back a building is under construction — it might be the BHP Billiton headquarters on Lonsdale Street? I think this photo was taken out the back of a Collins Street building where I worked at the time.
Melbourne city skyline (March 2004)

My old “bathtub on wheels” Magna in the driveway in Carnegie, the day the out-of-control bush at the front of my house decided to pull down the telephone cable. At least, I think it was the telephone… hopefully not the power.
Cable pulled down by bush (March 2004)

Melbourne city skyline, this time seen from the river. A few buildings going up in the background.
Melbourne city skyline from the river (March 2004)

I posted about this at the time, but down at Southbank for a while was this chalk art of Doctor Who, including portraits of the first eight Doctors. The new series had just been announced, and I think a few weeks later they added Christropher Eccleston to the work.
Doctor Who pavement art, Southbank (March 2004)

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Photos from ten years ago

Photos from February 2004

For this month, I don’t have very many great photos of interest, but here goes…

We must have been on the way to Marita’s house in Footscray. This is the Footscray Road intersection with Citylink, back when there was a level crossing underneath the tollway, where slow freight trains used to run in and out of the port. Cars, buses and trucks would only occasionally have to stop for the infrequent trains, but when they did, you were often in for a long wait. Eventually they built an overpass further west, relocated the freight line, and removed the level crossing.
Footscray Road westbound, waiting for a freight train (February 2004)
(Hmm, I wonder if building the overpass was seen as essential given Footscray Road’s status as a Westgate alternative route?)

During my time as PTUA President, there were actually very few still photos taken of me. More often it was video for TV. Here is probably the best picture that made it into print, for a Melbourne Times article. It was snapped outside Melbourne Town Hall, in a slight drizzle, back in the days when I wore a tie to work. The article itself, written by Walkley Award-winner Ingrid Svendsen, was a wide-ranging one on the removal of Short Term Tickets, privatisation (and the new contracts) and the then Labor state government’s reluctance to bring the system back into public ownership.
Daniel pictured in the Melbourne Times (February 2004)

For Jeremy’s 6th birthday, my uncle Kevin had sent a The Bill police man action figure as a present. I was Marita’s idea to snap it in various locations, on patrol. One spot, many years before we got PSOs on patrol at railway stations, was by the railway line near Murrumbeena.
The Bill action figure, guarding our railways

Photos of the rest of this guy’s adventures are here.

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Photos from ten years ago

Old photos from January 2004

Another batch of photos from ten years ago: January 2004.

My old kitchen in the house I rented in Carnegie for two years, with the horrible lime green bench tops. Also showing old toaster, the old milk I used to buy, an old land line phone (now plugged into the VOIP modem/router) and the kettle — at the time, shiny new (I’d got it for Christmas), and still in service.
My old kitchen (January 2004)

Degraves Street in the city. Hasn’t changed much.
Degraves Street (January 2004)

Flinders Lane, also hasn’t changed much.
Flinders Lane (January 2004)

Ditto Centre Place, though these days at lunchtime on a sunny day it seems much busier. (I originally posted this pic back then.)
Centre Place, lunchtime (January 2004)

City skyline from Quarry Park in Footscray, looking down the Maribyrnong. Pre wheel.
City skyline from Footscray Park (January 2004)

I’ve also got a massive camera stitch pan from the same spot. Well worth a look.

Same spot, Maisie the Dog looks down on the just-started Edgewater Estate. Today that area is full of houses.
Maisie the Dog looks over Edgewater Estate (January 2004)

A shot from Mollison Street, Kyneton, showing the old Westpac (Bank Of New South Wales) and Commonwealth banks:
Mollison Street, Kyneton (January 2004)

Compare to a more recent pic from Google Streetview, which shows the Bank of NSW facade nicely restored:
Mollison Street, Kyneton (Google Streetview)

(I posted another photo from Kyneton that day: Spotted in Kyneton — just another hazard for the cyclists to watch out for: horse shit in the bike lane.)

Finally, as I noted at the time, on January 19th 2003 2004, MX ran a fun article about etiquette on public transport:
MX 19/1/2004

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Photos from ten years ago PTUA transport

Photos from December 2003

Continuing my series of ten year old photos

The Christmas tram in Flinders Street
Christmas tram

Grumpy Daniel
Grumpy

Next, perhaps the most useless Melbourne public transport map ever produced.
It doesn’t show the most well-known location, the CBD, and shows very few others. It also has numerous errors, including: Implies Sandringham is next to Clayton. Implies Glen Waverley is east of Clayton (it’s actually north). Implies Box Hill is east of Glen Waverley (it’s northwest). Implies Belgrave is next to Box Hill (it isn’t). Williamstown is actually in zone 1. Many of the others are on the zone 1/2 boundary.
Hopeless public transport zone map

Playing totem tennis in the backyard in Carnegie. (Animated GIF created by GIFmaker.me)
Playing totem tennis

A youthful looking me, on the news just before New Year’s Eve, warning of the chaos to come.
Daniel whinging about NYE

… You can read the full story on that here… or if you just want to know what happened:

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Photos from ten years ago

Pics from November 2003

Another of my collections of ten year old photos, this from November 2003.

This rather striking (I thought) image is from near Seymour. I don’t remember the circumstances, but evidently it looked like a storm was coming across the hills. I’m working on a new blog template, to fix some bugs in the current one (yes, including yours Josh) and make it responsive (eg adaptive to different screen sizes such as on mobile phones) and will include this in there somewhere.

Storm coming, near Seymour, November 2003

I assume I snapped this one for Tony & Andrew’s Our Fading Past web site of old signs, only to find that Ren submitted a picture before me.

Melbourne Steamship Company, King Street, November 2003

In the early days of being PTUA head honcho, some of our friends in the media couldn’t quite grasp what my name was.

Darren Bowen

Daniel Bowden

Finally, here’s a snap of Exhibition Street, closed off for the red carpet of the 2003 Australian Film Institute Awards — the local version of the Oscars, but with not quite the same amount of glitz as Hollywood.

AFI awards 2003

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Photos from ten years ago

Photos from ten years ago – October 2003

Here is another in my series of old photos from when I first got a digital camera.

M>Train (which came after Bayside trains, and before Connex) had a rather nice livery and logo. Here’s a Comeng train heading towards the city on the outer stretches of the Upfield line. Myself and Peter, another PTUA bod, had gone out there to look at the spot for the proposed Campbellfield Station… still not built.
M>Train on the Upfield line (October 2003)

Daniel The Thinker. This was part of a bunch of pics I took for a possible animated web site menu I was pondering. It never happened.
The thinker (October 2003)

A screen grab from my first (I think) big media scrum for the PTUA. I think the topic was station staffing. Yes, they got my name wrong. Don’t believe everything you see on TV.
Daniel's first media frenzy (October 2003)

Sunset over the city, snapped up high in the building my day job was in at the time.
Sunset over the city (October 2003)

Do you remember when you could exit straight out of Melbourne Central, up to Swanston Street via a direct escalator, without having to navigate a maze of shops along the way? Ten years ago this month the plans to change it became public.
Melbourne Central Station main exit (October 2003)

A view from the Rialto, south over the river.
View south over the river  (October 2003)

The Flinders Street overpass over King Street, since (thankfully) demolished. Look at all that precious riverside land used for car parking. (Some of it still is, mind you.)
Kings Street overpass (October 2003)

A 3-car Hitachi train, looking the worse for wear, rolls into Murrumbeena station. I assume the lead cab was normally in the middle of a 6-car set, and years of residue off the pantographs hadn’t been cleaned off properly. Within a year or two, most Hitachi trains would be prematurely scrapped, leading to overcrowded trains as patronage leapt up.
Hitachi train at Murrumbeena (October 2003)