smashing the atom / atomising the smash

An email from a friend yesterday asking if I had any photos of the old Pyrmont Incinerator, designed by Walter Burley Griffin, built in the 1930s, demolished in the 1990s. Its death knell came with the unauthorised and clandestine toppling of the stack one weekend in the 1970s, which consigned the building to the oblivion it met a decade or two later. I never saw it with the stack but I explored the ruin many times in the late 1980s when I lived on the shores of Blackwattle Bay and, later, on the peninsular itself. I have quite a few photographs of it, but they're prints and negs and I lack the means to get them onto my hard disc at present. However, there are a few images available on the net. The two here are, first, what it looked like in its prime:

Second is a view of how it was in its derelict state, like something translated from Meso-America to the shores of Sydney Harbour:

The photographs are taken from a similar point of view. When I knew the place, the small, chunky building at the entrance, seen on the left in the first photo, was still standing, although full of junk. The second photo is taken from a point a little to the west of the first, so that the entrance building, just out of frame to the right, does not obscure the incinerator proper.

The relief tiles on the incinerator were heavily symbolic, they symbolised, among other things, the solar system, the sun, the moon and the earth. Their designer, Marion Mahony, Griffin's wife, later wrote that the building records the basic fact of 19th century civilization later emphasised by the smashing of the atom.

Guess it's weirdly apt that it got smashed up in its turn. There's an apartment building there now.

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