Ralph Snowball was extraordinary. His photographs of late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century Newcastle are full of interesting historical details, but more than that they’re often beautiful in and of themselves. His thoughtfulness in capturing the mundane and the quotidian – from street hoardings to “ordinary” workers going about their regular business – brings the Newcastle of our grandparents’ or great-grandparents’ generation instantly to life.
This shot is titled “Waratah Coal Coy’s Raspberry gully line bridge and New Lambton coal Coy’s railway bridge crossing a drain at Broadmeadow” (link to the University of Newcastle’s Cultural Collections here).
It’s not one of his prettiest, but it does show what I’m sure is the Styx in an earlier incarnation. Here’s where I think it is: by the Westpac rescue helicopter pad, opposite the trotting stadium.
The two features that make me think it’s there are the junction of Lambton Ker-rai Creek, at left, and the ridge line at the back. But against that is the quite obvious dogleg in the top picture, as opposed to the gun-barrel straight creek line in the bottom picture. It could have been realigned but, really, would you dig that entire drainage line out, by hand, then dig it again to make it straight? Most unlikely.
So where is it? Your thoughts, please.