The Macdonaldtown Station Picasso

Macdonaldtown station commuters.png
Tragedy and the suffering inflicted upon individuals, particularly innocent civilians
(and Picasso’s Guernica)
(article: News Local Friday, 4 December 2015).

Poor Macdonaldtown Station. It really has copped some flak over the years.

On the opening day of the Macdonald Town platform on 28 March 1878 the Sydney Morning Herald lamented the potential inconvenience of the new station arising from the loss of time inflicted on others for the convenience of the residents of Redfern, Waterloo and Macdonald Town:

New Railway Platform - Macdonaldtown.png

Sydney Morning Herald Thursday, 28 March 1878
(The advertisement referred to detailing the 17 services a day is available here).

Within a month, further complaint had been raised in the letters section in relation to the useless and miserably small platform:

McDonald Town Platform 1878.png

Sydney Morning Herald Wednesday, 17 April 1878

By 1885 it was described as a ‘shanty’ and ‘not fit for dogs:’

Macdonaldtown Station Not Fit For Dogs

Evening News Wednesday, 15 April 1885

With the Railway Duplication and Quadruplication works of 1891-2 the platform was relocated from its original location (depicted in this map of 1886)  to its present location on Burren Street:

Macdonaldtown Station.png

Macdonaldtown Railway Station – State Library of NSW d1_09202
(prior to the sextupling of the main suburban line in 1925)

Sadly the relocation did nothing to improve Macdonaldtown Station’s lot.

On 19 February 1947 police officers used Macdonaldtown Station to set a trap to recapture two escapees from the Redfern Police Station, with an unnamed ‘high police officer’ quoted as saying “Macdonaldtown is the loneliest railway station near the city:”

Escapees Recaptured in Police Trap.png

Sydney Morning Herald Thursday, 20 February 1947

And more recently? Well, little has changed, with Macdonaldtown Station continuing to be on the receiving end of derogatory comments:

I'm getting off at Macdonaldtown Station.pngFacebook: Marrickville 2204 v Republic of Newtown

Fear not! For thirty years ago something wonderful happened to the platform at Macdonaldtown Station. In the words of the artist/vandal (depending on your position)  the ‘large grey scar on the landscape in  the middle of an even larger scar, an immense industrial wasteland’ had been ‘enhanced.’

On Sunday 13 July 1986 travellers arrived for their morning journeys to find the platform of Macdonaldtown Station had been painted pink. Whilst the perpetrator initially escaped the clutches of railway police, he later handed himself in for questioning by railway detectives. Two months later on 18 September 1986 the station Picasso appeared on a charge of ‘maliciously injuring railway property’ at Macdonaldtown station:

Victory for John, station Picasso 1986.png
Sydney Morning Herald Friday, 19 September 1986

Consider the planning involved! Pre-painted chairs, a table, a pot plant and an accomplice! And the outcome – the prosecuting Sergeant questioning the size of the compensation claim, and the magistrate acknowledging that the paint job ‘may have created something which was more aesthetically pleasant that what it replaced.’

Discharged! Without a conviction!

Rumours have circulated ever since as to the perpetrators, timing and even the colour of the repainting of the station:

SOMEONE has doctored police signs near Sydney University and Homebush, so that instead of SEATBELTS, or SPEED, they read, in Dayglo:
POLICE are targeting
AN anonymous fax we’ve received claims this is the work of a group calling itself The New Extremists. They accept responsibility for painting Macdonaldtown station purple three years ago “to pacify the alarmingly aggressive and ill-tempered Sydney public using pastel shades”. Now, the fax says, “Sydney faces a far greater threat … wigs and hairpieces are one of the vilest means by which the temple of humanity can be desecrated and we firmly believe they should be outlawed. People must learn to accept and cherish their own identity, instead of attempting to conform to the expectations of magazine editors and television producers.”

Sydney Morning Herald 9 August 1996

Rob and Skindog 2003.png

Rob and Skindog, 26 November 2003

Macdonaldtown Station comments

Comments section – Stay in Touch blog Sydney Morning Herald 13 March 2007

Macdonaldtown why does that station exist

Twitter – 14 March 2013

Muck-Up Day Macdonaldtown Station Pink.png

Memoirs of a Go-Go Dancer (2014), by Justin Sheedy

Macdonaldtown - MydarlingDarlinghurst.png

Oxford Street Rainbow crossing lamentations – 2013; 2015.
(My Darling Darlinghurst Blog)

Brilliant and hilarious indeed.

In the words of the Macdonaldtown Picasso, ‘I think the SRA should paint Macdonaldtown Station pink again.’  Please, Sydney Trains?

Pink and Grey

This entry was posted in 1870-1879, 1880-1889, 1890-1899, 1940-1949, Burren Street, Charles Street, Random Erskineville and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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