5 pm aboard South Steyne1938-1974

by JS Cornelius

This work is the only one known by JS Cornelius and it is reminiscent of John Brack’s 1955 work, Collins St, 5 p.m., set in Melbourne. Cornelius, like Brack, used muted greys, browns and blacks to create a snapshot of the bleakness and ordinariness of city life. His uniformly dressed office workers, each immersed in his newspaper, deflects any possibility of interaction during the commute. Unlike Brack’s frenetic depiction, Cornelius has captured a more relaxed snapshot of rush hour onboard the South Steyne, a ferry that ran the Manly to Circular Quay service from 1938 until 1974.

Over its 36 years of service the South Steyne crossed Sydney Harbour more than 100,000 times, carrying over 92 million passengers.