Re: Pyrmont CSR

Kevin Sewell

This is only a puzzle piece, not an exhaustive solution to your question.

My father worked for CSR Chemicals at Lane Cove from about the mid 1950s to when the plant closed and merged with the much bigger CSRC plant at Rhodes. Up until about the mid to late 60s (unsure exactly) molasses was brought to CSRC Lane Cove by barge, up the Lane Cove river to CSRC's wharf, from where it was transferred for use in the plant. I only remember being taken down to see the wharf as a little kid, and didn't see the barges, but probably they only travelled weekdays and I was only there weekends with dad. I have no idea what the molasses was used for, or what process it went into. I think it extraordinarily unlikely to have been domestic/shop retail. It must have been some chemical process/product.
I have no idea how the molasses was transported on the barge - probably not bulk tanks, and certainly not ISO containers. It may have been barrels or casks. CSRC had an in-house cooper up until the late 60s.
Where the molasses came from, I don't know. Possibly from Pyrmont sugar refinery, or possibly off loaded at the refinery from ships directly onto barges for movement up the river to Lane Cove ... don't know. Whether it came from Condong, I don't know. (don't know much do I!!) CSRC would hardly be likely to be buying someone else's molasses so presumably it came from a CSR mill ... quite possibly Condong.
My father was an instrument technician (fancy F&T!!!) and was rostered once a month to go in for several hours Sat and Sun to walk around the entire factory changing and collecting the paper charts that recorded everything to do with the processes (they had to be changed every 24hours). I used to sometimes go with him, riding on his Vespa motor scooter from Lindfield to Lane Cove. I vividly remember the all-consuming overpowering smell of the molass walking around down in that part of the plant. If think very hard about it, I can still smell it - it has burned the smell-image into my brain forever. Even I as a child I could tell which part of the plant we were in from the chemical's smells.
The molasses was stored in huge tanks, maybe 20 or 30m high and about 10m diameter with rounded tops and bottoms. I think there was about 8 or 10 of them. As I said, I don't know how the molasses got from barge to tanks, but I very vaguely recall there being a pipeline, possibly also a steam line going down through the bush to the wharf, so maybe it was steam heated to make it more runny. Don't know ... much. It is possible that CSRC was the sole customer of Condong's molasses, in which case it might never have hit land until off-loaded at Lane Cove.
As I said puzzle piece, not solution.

On Sat, 3 Mar 2018 at 9:54 PM, 'Peter Cokley' yahoomail@... [LRRSA] <LRRSA@...> wrote:

Can those who knew Pyrmont in Sydney during the CSR refinery era please help (confirm yes or no) the results of  my following investigations. It is to do with an article on Condong in the CSR era. I live near Coolangatta Tweed Heads.


CSR was located with its own ocean going capable ship capable wharf at Pyrmont on the left hand side inbound as you crossed the Victoria Rd bridge, coming from Hunters Hill direction. (Yes or No)


The Metropolitan Goods Line, as shown on Hairylegs (Thanks John P.) did not provide a siding for CSR at Pyrmont and the closest siding would have been somewhere like Darling Harbour. (yes or No)


If both above are true, then any bagged sugar dispatched from Condong via the NSWGR needed transhipping at Darling Harbour or maybe Rozelle after that yard opened.


If above true, and no rail siding for CSR at Pyrmont, what happened with the molasses railed south from Condong? The 1961 NSWGR Local Appendix to the Northern Division Working Timetable P.330 reveals a molasses loading point with 6 outlets was provided at the Condong mill.. Things must have changed as photo from 1969 only shows four outlets. The molasses was noted in the LA-WTT as being loaded into MX type Railway Tankers.


I have also consulted the Metropolitan Goods Line article and diagrams in ARH 2016.  



Peter Cokley




Don't just answer the question, question the answer.

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