A great photo of Swanston Street (State Library indicates around 1880, but definitely between 1870 - when the Town Hall was completed - and 1887 - when the portico was added to it), looking south from Lonsdale Street.
The Town Hall building with its clock tower is visible to the right. During this period the taxis of the day were various horse-drawn cabs, and they parked themselves down the centre of the road, after Melbourne City Council introduced ByLaw 39 of Aug 1858 that made these cabs stay away from the kerb in order to allow goods to be loaded and unloaded, as seen in this photograph.
At the front centre of the image we see a group of men gathered around a cab, perhaps discussing the contents of the day's newspaper. The barrowman on the right of the photo also appears to be reading the newspaper. The photograph was taken over a reasonably long period as you can see by the blurs of people moving, especially looking down the footpath on the right hand side.
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Photograph is attributed to Charles Nettleton.
Notes from the State Library tell us that this image is a "Photograph of buildings and horse drawn carts in Swanston Street, Melbourne, ca. 1880. Melbourne Town Hall clock can be seen at far end of street."
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