Transport buffs are mourning the death of John “Bottle” Ward, a respected historian who dedicated much of his life to documenting Sydney buses, trains, ferries and trams.
The self-taught photographer captured more than 50,000 images between 1955 and 1990, many taken in Mosman, Cremorne, Seaforth and Neutral Bay during the 1970s.
Mr Ward died peacefully at his home in Picton surrounded by family members, including his long-time partner, Luis.
He was 80.
John “Bottle” Ward (L) photographed with life long friend Paul Nicholson and partner Luis.
Born in 1942, Mr Ward grew up in Hunters Hill and became fascinated with steam trains as a young boy. He was given his first camera at age 15, igniting a passion for capturing Sydney’s vast transport network on land and sea.
Long-time friend Paul Nicholson told Mosman Collective that Ward spent countless hours on the lower north shore after being drawn to its scenic surrounds.
John spent five decades capturing Sydney’s buses, trains, ferries and trams, many of them on the lower north shore.
“Mosman, Cremorne, Seaforth and Neutral Bay put the subject of John’s photos in a scenic context,” Mr Nicholson said.
“So instead of just taking a picture of a bus, he would capture the moment with people, shops – or something interesting in the background.
“John was an artist with a real passion for public transport of all kinds, and the people of Sydney can now enjoy his extraordinary photo collection for generations to come.
“It is an incredible legacy.”
The Lady McKell ferry at Mosman Bay in 1971. In the foreground you can see Bus #220 bound for Spit Junction.
Nicknamed “Bottle” when his friends discovered a hot water bottle packed in his camping gear during the 1960s, Mr Nicholson said Ward was a “true gentleman, loved by all who knew him.”
Among his moments captured in time are a Double Decker bus heading over the Harbour Bridge alongside a red rattler train in 1969 and an “R Class” tram turning into Avenue Rd, Mosman in 1950.
“The photographs are a treasure-trove of historical facts that show what Sydney looked like in days gone by,” Mr Nicholson said.