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June 5, 2017
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January 13, 2018

Cabs, collisions and mayhem on Sydney’s streets 1889 – 1891

Around thirty years ago my father retrieved a scrap-book placed on a pile of rubbish during an office clean-up at the Department of Motor Transport. It's a fascinating collection of newspaper clippings about cab drivers in central Sydney in the late 1800's, saved just in the nick of time. The creator is unknown.

I was looking though it recently and thought the articles may be of value to people interested in the history of Sydney, so I scanned the pages and have made them available for download (see below).

Although they're newspaper articles, because of the wonderful way journalists wrote back then, it's really a collection of beautifully written short stories about the mayhem and madness of driving hansom cabs in the 1800's and the perils of simply trying to cross the road in those days.

I typed out a few of my favourite clippings – selected in particular because I found them entertaining, or because they contain amusing comments, such as “some ladies, it is well known, are often too flurried on these occasions to think of taking any precaution”. Wouldn't get away with that one today!

The Runaway Cabs Newspaper Clipping Scrapbook

To open a slideshow of the newspaper pages click on any of the images below. There are 50 pages in total.

To view any of the pages at full screen size, click on the download icon. This will open the page up in a new tab. From there you can zoom in to read the page, or right-click and select "save image as" to save the image to your computer.


  1. Barbara says:

    Thank you so much for all this work! What a wonderful snapshot of life in Sydney. Both your father and you are to be commended for saving this important piece of history.

    Wishing you all the best.

    • AnitaJH says:

      Thank you for your message Barbara. I found the articles to be beautifully written and, as you say, an interesting historical snapshot. I’m so pleased that you found them.

      Cheers, Anita