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Members of the Railway Institute gymnasium at work, Sydney

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CollectionsNational Union of Railwaymen of Australia
Date created: 1 January 1907
Photograph of men and women engaged in gymnastic exercises on a stage. Several work on the bars and ropes, two women fence and two men box. Two women use stretching equipment, one holds a spinning rod and the woman at the centre front exercises with weights. On the right is a human pyramid. From a newspaper group portrait that names thirteen male members of the gymnasium, it is possible to identify three of these gymnasts. At the base is E. Sartorelli, who also gave free instruction to the gymnasts. The moustached man braced on his side is probably A. Cotter and the man on Sartorelli's shoulders is possibly W. Rush. William Ellis, who instructed the women members on physical culture and gymnastics can be seen standing on the left behind the woman with the Indian clubs. The men are dressed in shorts of various types while the women wear voluminous knee length trousers known as bloomers. The stage has a painted landscape backdrop and there is a painted fringe with tassels above. According to the newspaper cutting, the occasion for the photograph was a very pleasant social evening for members only. This photograph is in William Ellis' collection and demonstrates his interest in gymnastics. As a Railway Institute Councillor, he had strongly campaigned for the establishment of a gymnasium for the railway workers and their families. Receipts from the Railway Jubilee exhibition of 1905 provided funds for the gymnasium, which opened in March 1906. From the 1880s to the late 1920s the Eveleigh workshops and the surrounding 'workmen's dwellings' were the centre for a large community and the Railway Institute, which provided training for railway workers, also offered facilities for many of the community's recreational activities.
Location: Chalmers Street, Sydney.gymnastic equipment
monkey ropes
parallel bars
boxing (sports)
Other Identifiers: Neg. 5003


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