(Click on images for larger view)

anstey's building art deco johannesburg
Anstey's Building

The fun thing about photowalking is getting to places you wouldn’t normally veture to for personal safety reasons. So I was rather chuffed when Jo’burg Photowalkers announced a meet-up at Anstey’s Building, a fine example of Art Deco architecture,  in downtown Johannesburg. (That’s it in the shot above, which I took while from the car while looking for the designate3d parking spot). I haven’t been to this part of town for many years so it was interesting to see how things have changed since the time I worked just a block or two away from this spot. And they have changed a lot, unfortunately not necessarily for the better in many respects. However, I was there to take pics, not lament the sorry state of of a once-beautiful city going to seed.

street vendor and shop in joubert street, downtown johannesburg
"New-style" shopping in the old Jo'burg CBD.

The change hits you as soon as you hit street level. I took the shot above as we exited the parking garage. From here it’s a short walk to the entrance of  Anstey’s  Building, our meeting place for this walk. After entering the building you walk down a fairly dull corridor and suddenly arrive in the lift lobby to be greeted by some stunning Art Deco work. It’s like stepping back to the 20s or 30s. I’m not sure if this is restoration work, or still the original craftsmanship.

art deco in the foyer of anstey's building, johannesburg
Art Deco in Anstey's Building.
old park station cafetaria, johannesburg
The cafetaria in the old Park Station.

But possibly the most fascinating part this particular photowalk was going into the old Park Station section of Johannesburg’s main railway station. Normally closed off to the public, the Photowalk organisers had arranged for the building to be opened for us. And what a place. I can still remember walking through this part of the old station when it was still in use some time in the 80s. I had several meals in the cafetaria above, which now just echoes with silent calls to ghostly waitresses. The corridors and halls of this venerable old building offer up a wealth of visual interest and you could easily spend a whole day in here and still not exhaust all the possibilities!

corridor in old park station, Johannesburg

The main concourse of the old park station building, johannesburg.
The main concourse of the old station.
air conditioning ducting and abandoned chair in the old park station, johannesburg
Wonder why this old chair was left behind.
on the floor of the main concourse of the old park station building, johannesburg.
On the floor of the main concourse.
in the concourse of the old johannesburg station
Entrance to signal room.
the pub in the old park station johannesburg
I think this was the pub. In those days it would have been a "men only" watering hole.
manners mansions, an art deco building in johannesburg
After the station we stopped off in a building called Manners Mansions. This is directly opposite Anstey's Building and was apparently designed by the same architect.
the stairwell in the art deco manners mansions building, johannesburg
The main stairwell.
the terrace of manners mansions, an art deco building in johannesburg
Manners Mansions terrace from Anstey's building.
north facade of johannesburg city hall
The north facade of the Johannesburg city hall seen from the top of Manners Mansions.


the carlton centre office tower from the top of manners mansions, johannesburg
The Carlton Centre office tower from the top of Manners Mansions.
johannesburg cbd from manners mansions
Johannesburg CBD from the top of Manners Mansions

In the next post I’ll put uip a few more pics from this photowalk, but more views of town from street level. Until then… 🙂

© 2011. All images copyright Grahame Hall and may not be used without written permission of the copyright owner. Please respect the rights of others.



  1. Good day 🙂

    Was wondering how you were able to gain access to that specific area of Park Station or who you contacted? thank you very much, any help would be appreciated!

    1. Hi Nicole
      Access to the old section of the station was organised by Joburg Photowalkers. I think the gentleman who can help put you in touch with the relevant authorities is Mark Straw, who has a Facebook page here. Hope this helps. Thanks for stopping by the blog.

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