Sydney Tramways: Central Square (c.1928)

Sydney Tramways: Central Square (c.1928)
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From an elevated position above Central Square (now Railway Square) in Sydney, the camera films the bustle of the streets at rush hour where people transfer from trams to trains and suburban trams to take them out of the city.

The camera observes the people in the streets, some of whom notice they are being filmed. It pans to the left to capture trams coming in from the other direction, before panning back to show one of the trams circling around an intersection.

Notes by Poppy De Souza

The camera must have been quite conspicuously mounted in this segment, as a number of people glance upwards and hold its gaze – most notably two young paperboys who almost mirror each other in their reaction to seeing it. The first boy appears as if out of nowhere from the shadows, while the other slips into view from between two trams. Both are initially fascinated but, after a few seconds, the spell is broken and they disappear back into the crowd. People looking into the camera lens was much more common during the first decade of the cinema and already comparatively rare by the 1920s.

Poppy De Souza