As some would already be aware, i grew up in Botany NSW & from a young age was eager to learn all i could about the rail, tramlines & associated history of the area.
All of the male members of the extended family lived & worked in the Botany & Matraville areas so were a fountain of info to a young enquiring mind. Indeed up until i left Sydney 10 years ago i would meet up with my dad on an almost daily basis for a cuppa & the conversation would normally drift to some sort of local historical fact normally associated with something on rails.
Over the years i had tried where possible to collect old street directories which would be an aid when trying to pinpoint some change or other. Little did we all know what effect the internet would have on research of any kind & the ability to view a seemingly endless supply of photographic documentation at will.
Obviously google earth changed things significantly & one can zoom in on any location worldwide & check out the current state of affairs. This is handy for researching railway locations & checking out an unheard of location.
Now to the point of the post.... A couple of years ago i became aware of a cd available from the RTA that had a collection of photos taken from above the Sydney metropolitan area in 1943. The story behind the shots is that a firm was hired to take shots from around 2600 ft ( as i remember ) in a grid pattern to form a patchwork quilt of Sydney to aid in "road planning" etc. This may well be the sanitised version of the project because it must be remembered that 1943 was right in the middle of the second world war....
Anyway i purchased the cd & indeed the contents were of great interest & a great snapshot of days long gone. Quite surprisingly the quality & resolution is brilliant. To enhance the experience i had google earth booted up in the background & spent quite a number of hours looking at a shot & checking out the changes that have occurred in the close on 70 year difference.
Now to enhance things further is the advent of a government website site called Lite Maps which allows the user to not only view a google earth like interface....but includes an option to overlay the photos taken from 1943 & with the use of a slider button can superimpose one over the other & increase or decrease the transparency so it is possible to view today & then 1943 almost simultaneously. The registration of the images is great & they do align very closely in most instances.
The program can be a bit clunky & is not as fast as google earth...but stick with it & you will have fun....afterall it is a state government initiative & creation so expect some shortfalls!!!
I have included the link....THE SITE COMPLETELY IS FREE!!!
If anyone wants a hand with getting it working correctly.....post the question and the solution might help someone else...
To give an example of use of this program from a rail nut perspective...i spent a couple of hours today looking at the long closed right of way of the Liverpool to Holdsworthy Line..... both now & then... It is a pity that the limit of the maps does not allow an overlay of the Camden / Narellan line....that would be interesting to this scribe.
Also don't forget to have a look at Sydney Airport then & now....And of course the Botany Line!!!
Anyway if the site is of use to some then the post has been worth it....keep in mind it is limited to the Sydney Metropolitan Area as it was in 1943....