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Exhibition: Romance & Industry - Revisited

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Railways: 'Romance & Industry' captures a grand age of travel by train, just before it was overtaken by air travel and school holidays in the family car. Photographs and publicity brochures portray the spirit of these journeys between metropolis and country, through images of travellers and trains located within the Australian landscape.

The Romance & Industry exhibition originally ran from August 2005 to February 2006. It was introduced in Vital Signs Issue 8 in the article “Globalisation, Nostalgia & Cultural Heritage" (PDF, 1.2mb).

Romance and Industry flyer

Images from the New South Wales railways

Romance & Industry evokes another time … when travel by rail was instilled with a sense of glamour, and work on the railways was honoured as a labour of love.

The exhibition features luminous black and white photographs and stylish promotional materials held in the State archives collection that recall travel and work on the NSW railways from the 1930s to the sixties.

Romance & Industry affirms aspects of NSW railway history, now tinged with nostalgia as they fade from the public memory - the art deco splendour of Wynyard station, massive locomotives built in the crucible of the Eveleigh workshops, and a network of genteel refreshment rooms from Coffs to Cooma and Maitland to Moree.

Romance & Industry captures the speed and luxury of travel by train; the promise of escape and rejuvenation in a holiday away; and the feeling of pride and unity of men and women at work.

Now installed at the Western Sydney Records Centre

With the relocation of older exhibition pieces from the City office, we saw an opportunity to reconstitute the 'Romance & Industry' exhibition out at the Western Sydney Records Centre. Taking advantage of the original exhibition in The Rocks in 2005/2006 the new installation includes recently digitised railway images from our collection.

Showing an old train and accessories with images from our collection Showing a selection of digitised railway documents in our collection

We look forward to your visit!

Make sure to check out the behind-the-scenes blog post at Archives Outside of how we put this together in just two weeks.