Traffic Signal Photos & Information: Vintage
New South Wales

General Information:

These days, there's hundreds of sites all over the state with a set of traffic signals. However the signal network started off humbly in the 1930s.

History:

New South Wales first set of traffic signals were installed on the corner of Kent Street & Market Street in the Sydney CBD, back in 1933.

In 1940, the Burwood Traffic Signals Depot replaced the former one in Jamieson Street, Sydney. In 1949, the Commissioner for Road Transport installed a set of pedestrian actuated traffic lights on the Pacific Highway at Lindfield Railway Station. In a list of notable dates later compiled by the DMT, it gave 1953 as the date of the installation of the first pedestrian actuated crossing lights but gave no location. 1

On 9 October 1959, the Department of Motor Transport, linked a set of vehicle actuated traffic lights at the intersection of Parramatta Road and Crystal Street, Petersham, with another set at Parramatta and Norton Street, thus creating the first vehicle actuated co-ordinated traffic light system in Australia. Two sets of pedestrian operated co-ordinated signals in Swanson Street, Erskineville, were completed soon afterwards. They were followed on 18 May 1961, by the first set of co-ordinated traffic lights, which were installed in Church Street, Parramatta. They allowed traffic to pass through the busiest shopping streets in successive waves with minimal disruption. In 1961, a new building for the Department of Motor Transport's traffic signals section was completed at Burwood. 1

A major project on traffic management was the completion of a set of overhead traffic signs and signals at Villawood where Woodville Road, Henry Lawson Drive and the Hume Highway met. Due to large traffic volumes at this intersection, it was selected as a suitable location to install the system. The site has become known, within the DMR/RTA, over the years, as the "Meccano set". It was in operation by December 1962. 1

A computer regulated traffic light system was introduced in the Sydney Central Business District in 1964 as part of the Inner City Signals Project as a way of better handling traffic flows. The computer was originally located in the basement of the DMR building in 309 Castlereagh Street. The control equipment was transferred to 4 Brisbane Street, Sydney when it was extended to cover more city streets. It was followed by the switching on of televisions used to aid in traffic flow on 29 January 1964. The first set of signals installed outside the Sydney-Wollongong-Newcastle area was a set of pedestrian lights at Lochinvar and a set of intersection signals at Tamworth installed in 1966. 1

Pedestrian Signals:

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Old Pedestrian Signal Pole:
Taken April 2005 on the corner of James Ruse Drive and Prospect Street near Rosehill Racecourse in Sydney, this image shows an old pedestrian signal instruction sign mounted to an original post (all others are newer). The call button is up higher so horse riders don't have to dismount to press it. 2

Image © Paul Rands

 

 

1950's / 60's Pedestrian Button:
This very rare 1950's / 60's pedestrian button in excellent condition is on the New England Highway (NH15) at Glen Innes in New South Wales. The entire crossing (outside a church) had been upgraded to newer Aldridge polycarbonate Quartz Halogen signals and current style call buttons, but they forgot this one on the traffic island. The crossing would have orignally been made up of Eagle or AWA stock. July 2007.

Image © Paul Rands

 

Old Eagle Pedestrian Signal:
From the 1970s, this signal is still in use in 2004, alongside a current model Aldridge halogen lantern on the corner of Blaxland Rd & Church St, Ryde.

Image © Sam Laybutt (ozroads.com.au)

 

  1960's / 70's Pedestrian Button:
Extremely rare button - these were normally illuminated where it reads 'WAIT', but not this one. Taken 2004 on the corner of Dehli Rd, Millwood Ave, Lady Game Dr and Fullers Rd, Chatswood West.

Image © Sam Laybutt (ozroads.com.au)

Old Eagle Pedestrian Signal:
This 1970s signal is made by the Eagle Signal Company of Australia. 2004, corner of Blaxland Rd & Church St, Ryde.

Image © Sam Laybutt (ozroads.com.au)

  Typical Pedestrian Call Button Decal in NSW:
Found on most pedestrian signals in NSW, this sticker reminds users to press the button to gain a 'Walk' signal. These labels became popular in use throughout NSW in the 1960s but still used today.

Image © Sam Laybutt (ozroads.com.au)

Traffic Lanterns:

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1950s / 60s Signal Installation:
Original AWA signal on Missenden Road, Camperdown. The AWA traffic lantern is from the 1950s or 60s. Pedestrian signal is a 1960s Eagle Model using unusual "cut-away" visors. These signals have since been replaced with LED models.

Image © Paul Rands

  Eagle 3 Aspect Signal:
1970s Eagle 3 aspect traffic lantern on the corner of Rawson Street & Carlingford Rd, Epping. 2004.

Image © Sam Laybutt (ozroads.com.au)

1950s / 60s Signal Installation:
Original AWA signal on Missenden Road, Camperdown. You can see the black and yellow striped paint showing on the AWA traffic lantern from the 1950s or 60s. Pedestrian signal is a 1960s or 70s Eagle Model. These signals have since been replaced with LED models.

Image © Paul Rands

  1970s / 80s Mast Arm:
Typical 1970s and early 80s mast arm with original Eagle signals on the corner of Richmond Rd & Lyton St, Marayong, outside the public shcool. Image taken 2004.

Image © Sam Laybutt (ozroads.com.au)

1950s / 60s Signal Installation:
Original AWA signal on Missenden Road, Camperdown. You can see the black and yellow striped paint showing on the AWA traffic lantern from the 1950s or 60s. Pedestrian signal is a 1960s or 70s Eagle Model. These signals have since been replaced with LED models.

Image © Paul Rands

  Eagle 6 Aspect Signal:
1970s Eagle 6 aspect signal mounted to telegraph pole and using special conduit. Image taken 2004 on the corner of Boundary and Archer Streets in Roseville.

Image © Sam Laybutt (ozroads.com.au)

1950s / 60s Signal Installation:
Original AWA signal on Missenden Road Camperdown in Sydney, April 2005. Originally these were painted in black and yellow stripes. These signals have since been replaced with LED models.

Image © Paul Rands

  Old 1960s AWA signal:
Looking southbound on the corner of Auburn and Montague Streets Goulburn, NSW, this original signal is still in use in April 2006, whilst all but one other signal head has been replaced. Both AWA signals are on yellow posts that have been repainted, indicating that even the posts are original. Both signals are in superb condition with bright lenses (probably glass) and good quality paint on the signal body. Note the gaps between each signal colour. Each lamp has its own separate casing, which is joined to the other colours via a tubular style setup within the signal. These signals have since been replaced with LED models.

Image © Paul Rands

1950s / 60s Signal Installation:
These were probably the oldest signals still in use in Sydney. They are outside the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital on Missenden Road in Camperdown and were snapped in April 2005. They use mostly original AWA traffic lanterns. Only one signal is using an early ATS lantern. All the pedestrian signals are 1960s and 70s Eagle signals. Thanks to Sam Laybutt for letting me know about these signals. These signals have since been replaced with LED models.

Image © Paul Rands

  Old 1960s AWA signal:
Looking southbound on the corner of Auburn and Montague Streets Goulburn, NSW, this original signal is still in use in April 2006, whilst all but one other signal head has been replaced. Both AWA signals are on yellow posts that have been repainted, indicating that even the posts are original. Both signals are in superb condition with bright lenses (probably glass) and good quality paint on the signal body. Note the gaps between each signal colour. Each lamp has its own separate casing, which is joined to the other colours via a tubular style setup within the signal. These signals have since been replaced with LED models.

Image © Paul Rands

Typical 1970s Short Mast Signal Installation:
Found in many parts of Sydney and NSW, this was the average setup for short overhang signals. Taken on the corner of Falcon & Alexander Streets, Crows Nest. Newer signals are fitted to the post in this photo.

Image © Sam Laybutt (ozroads.com.au)

  Very Early Mast Arm Signals:
These would date back to the very early 60s when the then DMR were experimenting with target boards. Back then target boards were only used on overhead signals, and in the case of these posts, were actually part of the post not the signal. These signals have had Aldridge signals installed on them in the last couple of years, but the old target boards still survive. Taken October 2006 on the corner of Grosvenor, Lang and Harrington Streets in the Sydney CBD. As you can see here the new signals have been mounted in front of the old target board, complete with the manufacturers target board.

Image © Sam Laybutt (ozroads.com.au)

Mast Arm Signal:
The 1980s style of mast arm used across Queensland. This installation has been retrofitted with newer Quartz Halogen signals. These signals are in Maryborough. August 2007.

Image © Sam Laybutt (ozroads.com.au)

  Very Early Mast Arm Signals:
These would date back to the very early 60s when the then DMR were experimenting with target boards. Back then target boards were only used on overhead signals, and in the case of these posts, were actually part of the post not the signal. These signals have had Aldridge signals installed on them in the last couple of years, but the old target boards still survive. Taken October 2006 on the corner of Grosvenor, Lang and Harrington Streets in the Sydney CBD.

Image © Sam Laybutt (ozroads.com.au)

Old 3 Aspect Eagle Signal:
Taken on the corner of Blaxland Rd & Church St, Ryde NSW, this signal (alongside a newer 1980s lantern) would be about 30 years old and was still in use in 2004.

Image © Sam Laybutt (ozroads.com.au)

  Back of Signal Mast:
Photo taken on the corner of Grosvenor, Lang and Harrington Streets in Sydney, and showing the back of the original target board. This setup was quite common all over the city. October 2006.

Image © Sam Laybutt (ozroads.com.au)

5 Aspect Signal:
Typical 5 apsect signal setup used in the late 1970s and early 1980s, with metal blank above the 2 aspect segment of the signal. In NSW now, the RTA uses a blanked out flat piece of metal in place of a lens on a 3 aspect lantern. This was taken in 2004 on the corner of Wentworth Av & Denison St, Eastgardens.

Image © Sam Laybutt (ozroads.com.au)

  Target Board Close Up:
As you can see here, the old target board (which is bigger than current ones that are attached to the signals) is actually part of the actual mast. I would say later models were separate as many old posts still remain, but without the target boards. October 2006.

Image © Sam Laybutt (ozroads.com.au)

1 Roads & Traffic Authority
2 Robert Parnell

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