Taronga Zoo wharf – fifties

This is pretty cool. It was taken by Papa at the Taronga Zoo ferry wharf back in the early fifties. I was thinking early morning (because isn’t fishing best in the morning??). The guys in suits I thought were catching the ferry into the City or to North Sydney to work but they’re holding fishing rods and then there are some guys in suits sitting fishing. So then I was thinking that maybe they were fishing on their way to work but then you wouldn’t lug dead fish about all day would you so maybe it’s the afternoon after work. Or maybe they just go fishing in suits.



18 thoughts on “Taronga Zoo wharf – fifties

  1. I think the boy with the crossed legs really makes this picture. He also makes me wonder if this is a weekend picture. Wouldn’t he be in school otherwise? Or maybe school’s out for the summer…or winter…or however it works over there.

    • It didn’t have a bright middle of the day look about it so I think morning or evening – although hmmm, thinking – if they were going home from work they wouldn’t be on that wharf because there’s only the zoo there and houses so they’re goers not arrivers.

        • Well I’m no fisherwoman so I have no idea about the fishy factor involved. I did go fishing sometimes with my father on holidays and he never wore a suit.

          • Neither did mine. He wore a suit to work every day, took it off when he got home, and wore polyester or corduroy on his off-hours.

            What with the price of dry cleaning, and my mother having to iron his shirts, she would have killed him if he’d gone fishing (even if he didn’t catch anything, which was most of the time) in his suits.

            I know people dressed a lot more formally back then, but fishing in a suit is so odd. At least loosen the tie and take off the jacket!

  2. Men dressed more formally back in the day. My father used to wear a jacket and hat whenever he went “into town,” though not always a tie. It looks like some of the men are tie-less, the way their collars are stuck out. Dad also grouses that “back when I was young” men didn’t have the money to spend on different outfits. He had his work uniform, which he kept at the repair garage where he was employed. (I guess they had a laundry service—I seldom saw my mother wash Dad’s grease- and oil-stained clothes with the family’s.) Then there was the clothes he wore to and from work, a pair of khakis, always pressed, a sports jacket and a short-sleeve shirt. Sometimes he wore a hat, though he lost it so often that after awhile he didn’t bother. But he also had his fishing clothes, which were a pair of old work pants with a ragged flannel shirt or sweatshirt, depending on the season. Given how he used to wipe his bait knife on his sleeve or pants, it was probably a good thing he had a separate outfit to fish in.

    • I love how people dressed then. I have these funny photos of my grandmother and some other ladies in Papua New Guinea and they’re all in frocks, gloves and hats and they’re stanging with a group of tribal women who are topless – it always makes me wonder what they each thought of the other.

  3. Or … they put their suits and hats on and told their wives they had to run “to the office” for something – and went fishing instead, lol.

    Just because you fish doesn’t necessarily mean you keep what you catch, so there’d really be no need to lug fish around all day. Catch-and-release, or give the fish away at the destination.

    • Lol, well I thought something like that but I thought maybe it was taken earlier – during the depression and they were supposed to be out finding work but went fishing instead.

      Did people do that back then I wonder – let fish go. Mind you I wouldn’t like to eat anything caught in Sydney Harbour these days.

    • Maybe they didn’t intend to catch anything — it was just an excuse to get outdoors and hang with their friends.

      Still, my father always wore old clothes while fishing… but that wasn’t off a pier either. Standing next to a stream, you get wet.

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