Flashback Friday | Woronora Bridge and Como rail bridge photos in historical treasure trove

A project Don O'Brien, of Caringbah, undertook when he retired six years ago has unearthed some historical  photographic gems.

They include photos of the construction of the high-level bridge at Woronora and the two-track Como rail bridge, and a train crash at Heathcote involving an old rail motor.

Other images include cars queuing at Taren Point to catch the punt before Captain Cook Bridge opened, and a station under construction on the airport rail line.

Mr O’Brien’s retirement project, which took four and a half years to complete, involved digitalising about 30,000 photographic prints and slides he had taken over his lifetime.

They included shots of major projects and events in and around Sutherland Shire.

Mr O’Brien contacted the Leader in response to the invitation at the end of each Flashback Friday story for readers to share their historic photos.

He saw the recent feature on the double-track Como railway bridge, which opened in 1972, and offered to share some of his photos.

“I took photos of things you won’t see again,” he said.

“I am still doing it – I was in the city the other day photographing the light rail construction.”

Mr O’Brien said he took photos of the Heathcote train accident in 1970 because he was driving by the scene, which was opposite the Heathcote Hotel.

Three people were killed when a diesel-powered rail motor ran into the back of a stationary goods train.

The driver of the rail motor was among those who died.

Rail motors ran a shuttle between Sutherland and Waterfall before the line between Loftus and Waterfall was electrified in 1980.


Every Friday we delve into the Leader archives to embark on some time travel.

We will bring you photographs of a news event from 57 years of Leader news coverage that you may or may not recall.

Flashback Friday submissions are also welcomed.

Feel free to share your recollections with us on our Facebook page @SutherlandShireStGeorgeNews or email leaderletters@fairfaxmedia.com.au