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Before The Cross there was Wynyard

pub problems wynyard sydney 1947

From left to right: Police interview a man, in blood-spotted clothing, who was involved in a fracas on Wynyard ramp during the week. The man was arrested shortly afterwards. Young girls and Australian sailors chatting outside Wynyard ramp during last week. After dark the ramp is a recognised pick-up centre for Australian servicemen. Police arrest a young Australian sailor after a hotel window has been kicked in on Wynyard ramp. Photos: The Sydney Sun Sunday 2 March 1947.

pub window smashed wynyard sydney 1947

Plaza Hotel employee, William Farlow, inspecting a smashed plate-glass window. Wine bottles behind the window are dummies. Photo: The Sydney Sun Sunday 2 March 1947.

LONG before Kings Cross gained the reputation as Sydney’s number one trouble spot for drunken behaviour, which lead to the controversial lock-out laws, the streets around Wynyard earned a similar status.

Police described Wynyard “one of the most undignified public centres of Sydney” during the war years, and it retained that standing into the late 1940s.

Wynyard Ramp, leading into the underground railway station, gained the reputation as a pick-up centre for servicemen, and after dark the area was the haunt of “street-women” and “teenage irresponsibles”.

To combat disturbances and the prevailing outbreaks of hooliganism in Sydney, police resorted to methods used against The Rocks Pushes (gangs) 50 years earlier. Speedy arrests and dispersal of street-corner groups, some by strong-arm methods, proved effective in dispersing trouble-makers.

Wynyard with its many surrounding pubs became notorious for brawling and disturbances, and was one of the most heavily policed public thoroughfares in the city.

A patrol of four to six policemen were stationed there constantly after a huge brawl in October 1946, when 50 police and provosts attempted to arrest drunken servicemen amid a hostile crowd of 2000.

 

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