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Railway Square, 1922

This shot was taken from the Central Station clock tower looking southwest across Railway Square (formerly Central Square), on a winter morning four years after the end of the First World War. Marcus Clark & Co's two department stores can be seen – on the right labelled with a type of three-dimensional gilded lettering that died out many decades ago in Australia but still remains common in the UK. The firm's furniture showrooms are to right centre on the west of the square. The stolid building on the left was in those days a post office. In terms of transport, trams dominate the street. But compare this view with the images of the square circa 1908 and 1913. Motor vehicles are now much more in evidence than horse-drawn vehicles. Note the roadster lower left-centre with its spiffy white-wall tyres!

The University of Sydney's original quadrangle building can be seen on the skyline. At this time, the city's underground railway loop was still in the future and the precinct around Central Station hosted the major players in the newfangled department store sector. After the construction of the underground City Circle line, major retailing shifted north and declined in the Central Station precinct. Marcus Clark's stores slid slowly but relentlessly downhill and eventually succumbed.