While on the subject of rail transport, I thought it would be appropriate to share this piece of rail heritage I came across when visiting Yubari. The Mitsubishi Minami-Oyubari Station.
The Mitsubishi Minami-Oyubari station was part of the Japan National Railway, which serviced Yubari during more prosperous times, and is one of the few remaining examples of the Mitsubishi mining empire in the Sorachi region.
Following the closure of the coal mines in the 1980’s, many of the residents left, and almost all of the surrounding hamlets became abandoned. You can learn more about this from my Streetscapes of Yubari gallery.
Due to debts exceeding ¥27 Trillion, in 1987, the Japanese National Railway was privatised, and the infrastructure divided between six railway companies and a freight service provider. The Mitsubishi Minami-Oyubari railway ceased operation permanently.
The Japanese National Railway map above shows the areas which the Mitsubishi Minami-Oyubari railway once operated, as well as the private lines which made up the network.
As well as Mitsubishi Minami-Oyubari Station, there’s quite a lot of old stations and remaining infrastructure by the looks of things. I’d love to revisit one day and retrace some of these old train lines. You never know what you might find.
Pictured above is a snowplough engine known as Ki 1, built in February 1941 at the Naebo railway factory in Sapporo, under order from Mitsubishi Mining’s in-house engineering department.
I haven’t confirmed these measurements myself, but I’m told its dimensions are 11388mm L × 3985mm H × 2522mm W. There is no denying Japanese precision.
The carriage pictured above was the Suhani 6, a 3-axis bogey passenger car (plate number T R 70), constructed in 1912, the final year of the Meiji period in the Omiya rail factory.
This car had a carrying capacity of 68 persons in summer, and 64 in winter. I wonder if the reduced capacity during winter was to clear space around the stove heater which used to reside on the steel plate to the left of the frame.
Here’s a front on view of the snowplough. Check out that scoop! This is my vehicle of choice when the zombie apocalypse comes.
As it turns out, this snowplough wasn’t used to haul carriages; its sole purpose was destroying snow along the railway of the Oobayashi district, located at the foot of the Yubarigama mountain area.
The last remaining steam locomotive used to drive these carriages was relocated to a purpose built museum, inside “sekitan no rekishi mura”, a now defunct theme park located closer to the city centre of Yubari. Below is a picture of the entrance.
Following the financial collapse of Yubari, funds to keep the museum operational dried up and the exhibit fell into a state of disrepair. Unfortunately, there is neither enough money or an alternative location to store the Locomotive.
Given the current financial situation of Yubari, It’s unlikely the locomotive will be saved anytime soon.
The building attached to the side of the Locomotive makes up the museum and the landscape you can see in the background makes up the now defunct theme park.
The Oha 1 (Truck: TR 11) pictured below, was also a steel and timber constructed passenger car built in the Meiji period of 1906 by the Shinbashi railway workshop.
This car had a passenger carrying capacity of 104 persons in summer and 96 in winter. The seasonal difference is intriguing. I must get to the bottom of this reduced capacity during colder months.
In 1999, a group called The The Mitsubishi Oyubari Railway Preservation Society was formed, made up of heritage preservationists and rail aficionados and volunteers.
The group undertakes regular restoration maintenance tasks at Mitsubishi Minami-Oyubari Station, preserving infrastructure in original condition so future generations can learn about the past of Yubari’s forgotten rail heritage.
This is one of the more challenging blog posts I’ve created. The information about Mitsubishi Minami-Oyubari Station and the cars here was sourced using a PDF document made up of one single image, written entirely in Japanese (which I can’t read).
I used the Google Translate app to photograph each section of text, then pasted each part so that the photos on the document corresponded with my own. It took a while, but I got there in the end.
I guess it goes without saying that I thoroughly enjoyed visiting Yubari. Japanese culture is something I’ve had a huge fascination with for a long time now, and If you’ve followed Lost Collective for the last year, I shouldn’t need to explain how I feel about heritage and urban exploration.
This trip was something I’ll never forget. I don’t think I even scratched the surface and on a personal level, it was one of the most unexpected, unplanned and exciting things I’ve ever done.
I can only imagine how much I would have struggled to publish the content that I have over the past six months without the help of the Shimizusawa Project .
The work of heritage preservation groups is often challenging and thankless. These are are non-profit organisations relying on donations and the efforts of volunteers to make a difference.
If you are ever considering a trip to Yubari to see some of these places, please consider making a contribution to their cause.
For anyone who would like to try this adventure out for themselves, I should mention that Yubari is not a part of Japan where English is commonly spoken. As is always the case with Japanese people, they are warm and welcoming, but, unless you have someone in your group who can speak, read and write Japanese, you will likely encounter barriers which will be challenging for everyone involved.
In the event you can read Japanese, feel free to check out the main document I used as research for this article. I’d be interested to know how close (or far) to the mark my translation was.
I’ve been chipping away at this project on the Eveleigh Paint Shop a while now, so I’m very excited to finally be able to reveal what I’ve been up to.
For anyone who is familiar with Carriageworks , the Eveleigh Paint Shop is that familiar sawtoothed building opposite.
Lost Collective has been providing photographs to UrbanGrowth NSW for the Eveleigh Stories website, as part of the Central to Eveleigh urban transformation and transport program.
A couple of photos even made the cut for the UrbanGrowth NSW Reception area.
Beyond the walls of the Victorian era building is a team of dedicated volunteers who contribute their time to the restoration of some of NSW past rolling stock.
You might have noticed this building yourself when making your way into the city on the train. It can be seen on your left (city bound) just before arriving at Redfern Station.
Some of the trains such as the iconic “Red Rattler” hail from the recent past, others date back over a century. The team volunteering here at the Eveleigh Paint Shop painstakingly restore these amazing examples of railway history back to their former glory.
They also build incredibly detailed scale models of former NSW rail sites, such as the old Punchbowl Maintenance Depot pictured below. Look at the attention to detail!
Anyway, back to the real trains. Seeing the vast changes in the design of public transport over the years, particularly the interiors was quite an eye opener.
When you can get close enough to see those hand carved, hand-turned pieces of wood of the armrests, decorative carving in the chair frames and the wooden shutter blinds, it gives you an appreciation for the level of craftsmanship that’s long since been lost in the design of modern public transport.
The trains are some that live in the memories of my childhood, others which ceased operation many decades before I was even born. The centurion pictured above is 103 years old!
Pictured below is the workshop where the team overseeing the restorations tinker away, bringing the rail cars back to their former glory.
This shoot was created over two initial visits for photography, then about three more visits for research by talking to some of the restoration crew. More about this later.
I’ll be publishing a new Lost Collective gallery in the near future with lots more photos and a detailed essay on the historical importance of the Paint Shop.
In the meantime, you can head over to Eveleigh Stories to see the first instalment of the Eveleigh Paint Shop series.
Eveleigh Stories is building an archive from the rich history of the locality, and presenting that through this great online resource. You can even submit your own story if you have something of your own that you’d like to contribute.
ATP’s heritage volunteers, both conservation volunteers and volunteer tour guides, play an invaluable role in conserving, enhancing and communicating our heritage to interested members of the public, ATP tenants and visitors.
If you’d like to get involved, you can register your interest here .
I’d like to give special thanks to Dave Fox (above) and Geoff Moss (below – Pic: UrbanGrowth NSW), both of whom helped immensly by taking the time to teach me about the background of the train cars and carriages, as well as the site itself. This gallery wouldn’t have been possible without them.
Dave and Geoff are part Historic Electric Traction , a group chaired with managing the preservation of the Railway’s suburban and interurban carriage collection
I hope you’ve enjoyed this latest blog post. If you’d like to stay updated on what’s coming, including the upcoming gallery of this site, make sure you sign up to the Lost Collective newsletter at the bottom of this page.
If you’d like updates around the Central to Eveleigh program or for opportunities to get involved, follow Central to Eveleigh of Facebook .
UrbanGrowth NSW leads the transformation of surplus or underutilised government-owned land to create vibrant and connected urban spaces, close to public transport.
As a state-owned corporation, they collaborate with government, industry and community to facilitate complex projects at different stages – from planning to place making, to deliver better outcomes for the city and its people.
Their work enables much needed new housing choices, community facilities, jobs in growing centres and facilitates a globally competitive and resilient state.
Having always been a massive fan of Nikon used the gear from the beginning to now, I was chuffed to have been featured in My Nikon Life.
Even better was the fact that they were kind enough to lend me a Nikon D810 instead of having to use my old Nikon D7000 with AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED , AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED and AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/4G ED lenses, and take it to Japan no less, on the simple request that I try to not ‘destroy’ the gear.
Seemed like a fair ask to me.
This was one of the most fun-filled adventures of my life to date. I was just working in a job, unsatisfied with how my life was turning out and having been that way for 17 years.
We took this trip to Japan, and I resigned from my job two weeks later to focus on Lost Collective. Truth be told it has been a lot harder than I expected.
I’ve been chipping away through the photos, still to this day, processing, editing, metadata, research, copywriting and publishing plus trying to keep on top of new stuff for the future!
But I wouldn’t do it unless I loved it.
In a world of truly mindblowing photographers that Nikon supports, I am eternally grateful to have been able to fit into the picture to tell my story.
It was Friday night, and we had just returned from Japan after three weeks in search of abandoned buildings. The car had broken down just outside the ABC studio right before our pre-arranged interview, so while my wife and daughter waited in the car for our friend to come and help, I spoke to Sarah Mashman of ABC Hobart about Lost Collective and the way the project reconnects the communities it engages.
It was out of regular hours, and when I got to the reception desk, there was confusion about whether I was even supposed to be there. Well, I knew I was supposed to be there but the guard manning the desk didn’t.
The interview almost didn’t go ahead, the security guard wasn’t going to let me in, but luckily, at the last minute we got through the name mix up and onward to the only studio (so it seemed) to still have anyone in it.
So, we got to talking about things and stuff, and it was all recorded with a link to the interview provided at the end of this post if anyone is keen to have a listen.
It’s funny to note that the interview was here in Sydney, but Sarah was in Hobart. Can you tell the distance in the conversation?
Anyway, in the end, it was a lovely chat with Sarah and we managed to get the car battery sorted, so the night turned out to be a fun little adventure in itself.
I’d been in touch with the Cundletown & Lower Manning Historical Society Inc to try and piece together some of the history behind a shoot I’d done at the abandoned Peters’ Ice Cream Factory in Taree .
The timing of this post was fortunate to align with the 2016 National Trust Heritage Festival Heritage Festival.
The Society had organised a reunion for the local dairy workers, past and present who dedicated their lives and in many cases still do, to the dairy industry of the region, including the Peters’ Ice Cream Factory.
The week before the event, I was sent a document outlining the history of my photos of the long abandoned buildings thanks to Jo Barlin of Barlin Milk.
I worked away frantically writing copy to fill the captions the 800mm square dining table in a tiny airbnb apartment in Maebashi, Japan.
It was a bit of a rush job, but by all accounts, the reunion went well.
The post itself became an announcement aimed towards of the former workers of the Manning River & Cundletown dairy industries.
Laura Polson of The Manning River Times got in touch to publish an article coinciding with the reunion. As it turns out, even Laura herself descends from a family of dairy farmers.
We did a good email interview, and the news article also got the word out of the day before the reunion.
I think even a few members of the general public went along to the reunion to see the ice cream and butter making demonstrations. I wish I could have made it for that!
The remnants of Peters Ice Cream Factory in Taree have been captured by a Sydney based photographer through his project ‘Lost Collective’.
He shares the photos online to engage everyday people by, “encouraging them to reconnect with former lives and sometimes former friends.”
If you’d like to see the article in the Manning River Times, click here .
The Manning River Times has been proudly serving the people of the Manning Region, on the Mid-North Coast of New South Wales, since 1869.
I loved this article in Commercial Real Estate giving a fascinating insight into the history of Terminus Hotel in Pyrmont.
Image Credit: Noel Butlin Archives , Australian National University , Tooth & Co. Yellow Cards, Terminus Hotel Pyrmont – AU NBAC N60-YC-700
It was actually in the first article by Commercial Real Estate with its report that Terminus hotel was going under the hammer that gave me the idea to make some inquiries with the agent, JLL .
Everything after that is history, but I’m sure glad I asked the question.
Ways Terrace in Pyrmont, Sydney, around the 1920s. Photo: National Library of Australia .
So, over to the article, I do like the way Jack has explained the functions of an inner city working class pub through the years to serve as a meeting place due to an absence of ordinary working class families to have room for people to gather in their homes.
I haven’t been able to bring myself to listen to this interview I did with Radio New Zealand Nine to Noon .
I probably should, seeing it’s the most in-depth interview I’ve done, but I hate listening to my own voice.
This was recorded while I was still working full time in between weekend urbex adventures. It was in between a job, and we had to find a quiet public space to have the phone interview.
We parked at the end of an industrial area, and I walked across a couple of parks to get to a football field where I waited for the call to come through from New Zealand.
I was actually starting to get a little bit nervous so I started walking laps while waiting to do the interview. When it was time to record, I hadn’t stopped walking laps!
Kathryn obviously picked up on something and during the interview and asked if I was moving around. My cover was blown! Can you tell in the audio that I’m walking?
In the end, it was a good chat, we got into urban exploration, histories, communities and photography of course, and I’m very thankful to Radio New Zealand for taking an interest in my work.
You can listen to the full interview here
The Mungo Scott Flour Mill in Summer Hill was one of the first places I photographed after moving back to Sydney from Melbourne.
It was an interesting way to get back into urban exploration. I’d had a short hiatus after the birth of my daughter so I was a bit rusty.
I was doing the rounds trying to see if I could find a way inside the Mungo Scott Flour Mill, in a bit of a panic to be honest. I guess it’s those out of practice nerves.
Then out of nowhere I saw an elderly gentleman just walked in through an opened gate. I watched him for a while, and it was clear he was lost and didn’t mean to end up in there. After a while, he left via the same gate and continued on his way so I did the same thing. I would plead that I’m lost, with my camera if anyone asks.
Then on entering the first building, I came face to face with a small group of copper thieves raiding a switchboard.
We got into a minor argument about who had/had no right to be on the premises. They then proceeded to tell me that they were sent by the insurance company to disconnect the power to a building that has been out of business since 2007. On a Sunday in singlet and thongs no less.
So we agreed to disagree. I told them they are full of shit and I will go over there to take photos, and they can stay here keep disconnecting the power.
This was a fun interview with ABC Central West talking to Kia Handley about some of my recent shoots in Regional NSW, such as Blayney Abattoir , Bathurst Gasworks and Kandos Cement Works .
Blayney Abattoir was one of the first galleries I ever posted that went viral on Facebook through the power of community engagement.
There were people from decades back telling their stories of past times from when the Abattoir was still the backbone of Blayney.
It was amazing to watch unfold. It even began the Blayney Abattoir Facebook Group , which grew almost overnight to over 400 members and now have a reunion planned for later in the year.
It was sad too, reading about people who weren’t ready to leave or who were too old to find new employment, others who were forced to relocate due to shortages of work availability.
Many long time friends hadn’t seen each other for decades.
I think it speaks volumes about the impact these closures on a surrounding town when a large scale operation that the town was built to support, leaves .
Conversely, It’s not to say that every business should continue to run at a loss in the name of supporting workers either.
Time and time again, the companies move on to more profitable endeavours while the communities that supported it through its lifetime are faced with either very difficult choices or none at all.
Every time a major business leaves a region, we see the media reports offering its employees support and assistance where it can. But is it ever enough? I mean what is a livelihood and lifelong residency near your friends and family worth?
Do any ever really go back to check how things are going or if there is anything else they can do to help beyond what is required?
Early in 2016, I was invited by my friend Daniel to come and photograph the MV Cape Don at the Balls Head Coal Loader. How could I resist?
When we arrived at the coal loader, the skies had just opened up to the point I couldn’t even get out of the car. It was bucketing down, lightning and all!
So we waited for it to pass and finally got to board the ship for the shoot. We also got to see the old wharf which is on its last legs.
We spent roughly two hours shooting the ship while Daniel taught us about the history. It was interesting to see having never been inside anything like this before. The engine room was something.
When it was time to go. The only the problem is that I’d lost my keys, or so I thought.
I started panicking, madly rummaging through my camera bag in the hope of finding them but no luck.
We retraced our steps throughout the MV Cape Don in the hope my keys would turn up, hopefully, left in a visible spot but we had no luck.
After getting a lift all the way home to pick up a spare set of keys and then coming back at midnight, it turns out that they were in my camera bag all along. They had fallen to one of the bottom compartments.
You live you learn.