Thursday, December 31, 2009

Another personal note: Alfred Russell living in Alice Street, Newtown (off Edgeware) in 1908

Sands 1908
82 Russell Alfred

Personal note: an Alfred Russell in Edgeware Road, Enmore, 1932...

Sands 1932
81a Russell Alfred

NSW Premier J J Cahill: railwayman, unionist with strong Marrickville links

Cahill, John Joseph (Joe) (1891 - 1959) Biographical Entry - Australian Dictionary of Biography Online
CAHILL, JOHN JOSEPH (1891-1959), railway fitter, trade unionist and premier, was born on 21 January 1891 at Redfern, Sydney, son of Irish-born parents Thomas Cahill, labourer, and his wife Ellen, née Glynn. The family was part of the tightly-knit community of railway workers that had grown up around the Eveleigh railway workshops. Educated at St Brigid's convent school, Marrickville, and Patrician Brothers' School, Redfern, on 2 July 1907 Joe was apprenticed as a fitter at Eveleigh. He joined the Workers' Educational Association, regularly attended lectures and developed his public-speaking skills in debating societies.

An officer of Marrickville branch of the Amalgamated Society of Engineers (Amalgamated Engineering Union from 1920), Cahill went as a delegate to union conferences. He was dismissed from his job on 14 August 1917 for his part in a railway strike and his personal file was annotated 'agitator'. There followed a lean period in which Cahill found it difficult to obtain regular employment. At one stage he was reduced to selling insurance. Prominent in the early 1920s in an unsuccessful revolt by a group of activists against the A.E.U.'s governing body, he was banned from holding office in the union until mid-1925. In May 1922 he was re-employed by the railways. At St Brigid's Church, Marrickville, on 11 November that year he married Esmey Mary Kelly; they were to have a long and happy family life.

Addison Rd Centre - or Barracks - linked to Gumbramorra Swamp and farming

Addison Road Centre - History
The site of the Addison Road Centre (ARC) in the suburb of Marrickville was once natural wetlands known as the Gumbramorra Swamp which was drained in 1890. The original residents of this area were the Cadigal Wangal People who lived in the area for more than 40,000 years. The Cadigal were a clan of the Darug people and spoke the coastal Eora language. Clans of the area included the Wangal, the Kameygal and the Bediagal. More information can be found here and especially the Cadigal Wangal website here also.

Incredibly despite massive disruption to the First Australians through colonisation we believe there are still descendants of the Cadigal alive today living in this area.

Local farmland for market gardens

There is evidence of a stables and hayloft on the site (which is now the main office, gallery and studios) possibly related to farming or army barracks

Interesting cycling item in the Powerhouse Museum collection, with Marrickville connections

2004/76/1 Bicycle, miniature, theatrical prop, with canvas bag, metal/ leather/ rubber/ canvas, made by Carbine Cycles/ used by Fred Klimo the clown, Australia, 1936-1939 - Powerhouse Museum Collection
Fred's wife Hylda was born Hilda Williams on 9 March 1887 at Goulburn. When she was young they lived in a tent by Cooks River at Earlwood. They built a home in Garners Ave Marrickville. She and her sister Mabel formed the Trevena Sisters, a singing/dancing vaudeville act. The sisters learnt to dance and joined a travelling show, and experienced the excitement of being 11 year-old girls travelling in a covered wagon. They eventually became well-known vaudeville entertainers.

Hylda and Fred married in 1909 at St Clements Church Marrickville. The donor was born Fay Trevena Klimo in 1922, one of six children. Her name contained the stage names of both parents. She married Ray 'Bud' Abbott. When Bullen's Circus first came to Sydney, Fred got Ray a job there as the drummer and panotroper (responsible for operating the panotrope, a sound system that provided mechanical music).

"Norwood township", Petersham and Henson Park: a resident blogger

the ’sham » Blog Archive » in the archives
The position of NORWOOD for a Township, is one of the
To be found in the COLONY. It occupies that picturesque and
Splendid Site,
Immediately over the
Any portion of the Town being within FI VE MINUTES WALK
of the Station. The TRAINS to and from Sydney will not oc-
cupy more than TEN MINUTES, thus affording a
To the Metropolis, the distance being only
NORWOOD is also accessibly either by the
By which it is about Twenty Minutes drive to Sydney or
passing by Enmore. From the great elevation of the town, it
commands views of EXCEEDING BEAUTY: towards the
north-east there is a most
NEWTOWN, and all the adjacent country, several GENTLE
MEN’S SEATS diversifying the scene. Also a most picturesque
Towards the south-west there is altogether a different character
of landscape and equally as pleasing in the immediate foreground,
is the Railway Station.

The auctioneers could dwell much longer on the pleasing duty
of illustrating the splendid site selected for Norwood, but they
think enough has been said to awaken the desire of intending
purchasers to see themselves the beauties of nature displayed to
such advantage.

Sydney's first fire station - at Marrickville

History of City of Sydney Fire Station - NSW Fire Brigades
All fire stations were given a number as they were built, starting with Headquarters or No 1, but City of Sydney was not actually the first fire station built for the MFB, the honour going to Marrickville which was opened in 1886.

Silent star Annette Kellerman, born in Marrickville, 1886

Million Dollar Mermaid - Annette Kellerman by Wendy Sharpe
Born in 1886 in Marrickville, Sydney, Kellerman was a NSW swimming champion who left for England aged 18 to help her cash-strapped family. In Europe, she built a name for herself in long distance swimming and exotic swimming and diving demonstrations. By 1906 she had moved to vaudeville theatre in America as 'Australia's Mermaid' and quickly progressed to the big screen. Kellerman enjoyed tremendous success as a silent movie star in mythological underwater films, including Neptune's Daughter.

Suffrage, the Wolstenholmes and Maybanke House, Marrickville

Maybanke Anderson at AllExperts
Maybanke Susannah Anderson also known as Maybanke Wolstenholme (February 17, 1845 - 1927) was a Sydney reformer involved in women's suffrage and federation.

Maybanke Susannah Selfe was born at Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey. Her family emigrated to Australia as free settlers when she was nine years old. Twelve years later in September 1867 she married Edmund Kay Wolstenholme, a timber merchant. The couple had seven children between 1868 and 1879, four of them died form a heart condition before the age of five. The Wolstenholmes built a large house called ‘Maybanke' in Marrickville. The later years of the marriage were unhappy, Edmund had a number of business failures and became and alcoholic, leaving the family in 1884. Maybanke has to wait for the passage of the Divorce Amendment and Extension Act in 1892 before she could divorce Edmund on the grounds of desertion, the divorce was finalised in 1893.

Webster - Marrickville quarryman

Webster, William (1860 - 1936) Biographical Entry - Australian Dictionary of Biography Online
WEBSTER, WILLIAM (1860-1936), quarryman and politician, was born on 7 June 1860 at Everton, Lancashire, England, son of John Webster, labourer, and his wife Elizabeth, née Poynton. One of a large family, William left school at 13 to work in the Welsh quarries. Migrating to New South Wales in 1879, he quarried stone at Pyrmont and, by diligent saving, was able to bring the rest of his family to Sydney. By 1880 he was prominent in the Quarrymen's Union of New South Wales and financial secretary of the Trades and Labor Council. On 7 June 1883 at St Clement's Anglican Church, Marrickville, he married Jane Buckney. Webster Bros, the quarrying firm he founded at Marrickville, was among the first in New South Wales to observe an eight-hour day and standard wage.

Newtown, Marrickville and Marcus Clark & Co

HHT - Marcus Clark & Co
From a modest start in the Sydney suburb of Newtown in 1883, Marcus Clark & Co rose to become one of the city's largest department stores with a network of branches in towns and suburbs across Australia. Henry Marcus Clark (1859-1913) established the company when he purchased the drapery business of his former employer, John Kingsbury. The business quickly expanded, trebling itself within five years, and soon opened new stores in Marrickville and Bondi Junction. In the Sands directory for 1894, Marcus Clark was listed as a "wholesale and retail draper, tailor, milliner, boot warehouse and fancy repository; the largest, best lighted and most comfortable establishment in Newtown, the floor space covering nearly an acre."

Newtown - Sands directory 1858 - Goodsill, trustee of Cook's River Road

Sands 1858
Goodsill, Frederick J., trustee of C. R. Road,
Cook's River Road

Newtown - Sands 1909 directory - street by street, name by name

Sands 1909


BOUNDED on the north by municipality of Camper- south by Erskineville and St. Peters; and on the west down; on the east by Redfern and Darlington; on the by Petersham and Marrickville. Proclaimed a Municipality, 12th December, 1862, Area—480 acres. Number of houses—5,500. Number of assessments—5,740. Miles of streets—26|. Assessed Value—£193.160 10s. Annual rental—£212,390. Estimated Capital Value of all Ratable Properties—£3,540,272 4s. Council Chambers—Town Hall, King-street.

Erskineville - Robert Henderson of Henderson Road and the gravelling of Erko Road

Robert T. Henderson - Page 15
Robert Thomas Henderson
Alderman for O'Connell in 1871-76

His father was Robert Henderson (1798-1865) whom the 'Gardeners Magazine' of February 1865 says superintended the layout of the 'once-famed gardens' of Alexander MacLeay's Elizabeth Bay House estate. His mother Elizabeth was daughter to Thomas Shepherd who operated the nursery in Chippendale from the 1830s which was known as the Government Nursery or the Darling Nursery because, as Victor Crittenden says, it was vice-regally approved by Governor Ralph Darling. (Francis Low's Directory of 1844-45 mentions a James Henderson working at the Darling Nursery.)

Robert Henderson married Elizabeth Shepherd in 1831 and started the Camellia Grove Nursery in 1838 on four acres nearby in the low lands in what was the Kingsclear grant of 1794 and now is land on the corner of Henderson Road and Park Street Erskineville. The first son Robert Thomas Henderson was born in 1837, brother Charles JBN Henderson in 1845.

Newtown Mayor with a Cook's River Road address - William Bailey

Mayor William Bailey JP - Page 6
Mayor William Bailey JP

Mayor 1871-76, Councillor/Alderman 1863-64, 1867-78

He was a builder, he was no doubt pragmatic and the longest-serving of the early mayors.

His place of residence is unclear according to the Sands Directories; in Cooks River Road in 1858, in Station St/Enmore Rd between 63 and 71 (in 'Camborn Terrace' between Cooks River Road and Union St), in Cavendish Street in 1873 and in Enmore Rd in 1877 and at Trafalgar Terrace in 1886.

It is said that he belonged to the Church of England but this should be checked as the Sydney Mail of 10 August 1861 reports that a certain Mr W Bailey was appointed replacing Alderman Robert Dunlop to superintendent the Newtown Wesleyan schools.

He built the Congregational School which operated as a Sunday school and regular school. Thomas Holt MP officiated at the laying of the school's foundation stone on 23 January 1862, saying 'it is destined to be instrumental in working a great moral reformation in NSW' ('Sydney Mail'). Nicholas Trengrouse, a senior draghtsman in the Railway Department and an alderman in Marrickville's first council, designed it...
or checkout my list of Sydney and surrounding airstrips and airports

Marrickville and Fort Street link - Charles Haddon, dramatist

Dictionary of Australian Biography Ca-Ch

was born at Sydney on 22 April 1860. His father, John Ritchie Chambers, who had a good position in the New South Wales civil service, came from Ulster, his mother, Frances, daughter of William Kellett, from Waterford. The boy was educated at the Petersham, Marrickville, and Fort-street schools, but found routine study irksome and showed no special promise.

Marrickville - another reference to Sans Souci and Thomas Holt Our Area
Holt, Thomas - Born in Horbury, Yorkshire, 14th November 1811. Was a proficient swordsmen and stickler for physical fitness. He vested into many enterprises including wool and establishing the AMP society. He built many mansions , some of which are the remains of Sutherland House, now a garden feature in a Sylvania home.

Marrickville linked with Sans Souci - via Thomas Holt and 'The Warren'

The area was originally a grant given to Catherine Cooper in 1830. The Coopers built a home on the land which was called Charlotte Point or Rocky Point. The Coopers later ran a distillery there. In 1853 Sans Souci (French for 'without care'), was named after the mansion built by Thomas Holt on Rocky Point road for his wife. Being too isloated, Mrs Holt refused to live in it so he built her another, 'The Warren' on the Cook's River at Marrickville. William Rust acquired the property and turned it into the Sans Souci Hotel and the suburb adopted the name Sans Souci. [Pollon 1991, p. 252.]

Marrickville - or Hurlstone Park, really - Sydney's first sugar mill

Apt 7, 2-4 Sugar House Road HURLSTONE PARK $399,000 @
SUGAR MILL - Riverside Retreat

This striking apartment has been created within the elegant sandstone walls of Sydney's first sugar mill, built in 1841. Set on the banks of the Cooks River, the spacious security apartment occupies a serene cul-de-sac setting, just metres from parkland and waterfront walking trails. The unique residence is also within 18 minutes to CBD and close reach of the station, local shops and Marrickville Golf Course.

Marrickville - Meeks Road - named for James Meek, market gardener, and family

Library of NSW Search - Manuscripts, Oral History, and Pictures Catalogue - State Library of New South Wales
"Stone Cottage", Harriett Street, Marrickville

Level of Description Series

Date of Work
undated [ca. 1880s]

Type of Material Graphic Materials

Call Number

Physical Description Photographs : cabinet card photograph ; 10.6 x 16.5 cm.

Administrative / Biographical Note
The Meek family arrived in the Marrickville district in 1839. James Meek Snr. was a market gardener.

Marrickville - Calvert Street - named for John Jackson Calvert

Calvert, John Jackson (1830 - 1915) Biographical Entry - Australian Dictionary of Biography Online
Calvert took an active part in community affairs; on 24 June 1878 he was appointed an additional member of the board of the Marrickville Public School; a street in Marrickville still bears his name. He was a trustee of the Sydney Domain, a founder of the Civil Service Club, and for some years a member of its house committee. He was a member of a number of commissions which attended to the representation of New South Wales at the Paris Universal Exhibition in 1878, the Adelaide Jubilee International Exhibition in 1887, the Centennial International Exhibition at Melbourne in 1888, and the World's Columbian Exposition at Chicago in 1893.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Charles Street, Marrickville and surrounds - a potted history. Part 2

This is taking forever, so just to remind you, whilst I am looking at Charles Street, Marrickville in particular I am using a very broad brush... in general Charles Street was part of the "Beer's estate", released for subdivided sale in 1891...

Or go back to Part 1!

"Clearance sale, Beer's Estate, Marrickville [NLA cartographic material] / to be sold by Watkin & Watkin on the ground on Saturday 27th Dec 1891 at 3.30 p.m. Sales plan for land in the suburb of Marrickville in Sydney, bordered by Illawarra Road, Horton Street, Charles Street and Addison Road. Terms! 10 per cent deposit. Balance - by equal payments at 1,2 & 3 years with interest 6% payable halfyearly. Torrens title".

Who was "Beer" and how did they come to own this land? I don't know. It was dairy farmland prior to that, and probably somewhat swampy. Illawarra Road passes right past and remains a narrow track, whereas the estate's streets are wider. Thomas Chalder's Marrick Village is just 100m or so away.

Anyway, on with part 2...

  1. "1920 - Airport (later Kingsford-Smith) at Botany. Extension of St Peters municipality to west of Unwin’s Bridge Road. Tresillian (built 1900) bought by Royal Society for the Welfare of Mothers and Babies." Tresillian was a 'mothercraft' home and I can recall my baby sister being weighed and measured in the front rooms in the early 1960s.

  2. "1920 - Fowlers set up main works in Fitzroy Street. 1921 - Census shows Marrickville, 42240; Petersham, 26236; St Peters 12700; Newtown 28169. St Brigid’s Church and monastery at Marrickville. Salvation Army Training College opened" (Livingstone Road).

  3. "1922 - Marrickville Town Hall opened" at corner of Petersham and Marrickville Roads.

  4. "1925 -Duly and Hansford in Carrington Road. 1926 - Electrification of Illawarra and Bankstown railway lines. Opening of city stations at Museum and St James’. 1927 - St Peters Town Hall, Unwin’s Bridge Road opened. General Motors plant in Carrington Road. 1928 -Abergeldie estate subdivision and sale (last major subdivision). Small’s Confectionery at Stanmore. Electrification of Parramatta railway line. Cooks River Road becomes Prince’s Highway. 1929 - Major extensions to Globe Worsted Mills, Sydenham. Onset of Depression brings severe unemployment to industrial Marrickville. 1931 - Census deferred until 1933 but population estimates for 1931 were Marrickville 46590; Petersham 28340; St Peters 13890; Newtown 28660."

  5. "1932 - Opening of Sydney Harbour Bridge and Town Hall at Wynyard stations. Henson Park created on site of Daley’s brickworks became Rugby League Centre." This statement undervalues our history - it was a cycling facility, a big velodrome, that drew thousands of people to weekly night-time races. It also hosted the closing ceremony of the 1938 Empire Games. Charles Street remains an important access road to Henson Park if you are travelling from the north and east.

  6. "1936 - General Motors move to Pagewood: Carrington Road site occupied by Davis Coop Cotton." The GM Pagewood plant took over the site of one of Australia's largest film studios, National Studios. When GM vacated the plant in the 1970s it was redeveloped into a shopping centre and a bus depot.

  7. "1936 - Crago Flour Mill silos erected. 1938 - Opening of new Petersham Town Hall on site of old Hall. 1939 - Outbreak of World War Two. Despite manpower and material shortages, war gave a fillip to Marrickville industry. Development of Welfare groups under patronage of municipal councils. 1941 - Census deferred until 1947 but population estimates for 1941 were Marrickville 46300; Petersham 27580; St Peters 12520 ;Newtown 24630. The population had declined slightly over the decade.

  8. "1942 - Metal Processors set up at Donney’s Works. 1945 - End of World War Two. 1947 - Beginning of new migration policy and rapid rate of arrivals. 1948 - Local Government Areas Act: Marrickville, St Peters and Petersham combined as Marrickville. Most of Camperdown Cemetery resumed as Rest Park. 1949 - New Marrickville Municipality with headquarters at former Petersham Town Hall. Seymour’s Store (est. 1900) destroyed by fire. 1950 - Globe Worsted Mill moved to Victoria. 1953 -Beginning of decline in number of smaller manufacturing concerns in Marrickville. 1954 - Population (on 1969 boundaries) 95189."

  9. "1957 - Tramway services discontinued; replaced by buses. Conversion of Tempe Depot. Camdenville Park on site of Speare’s Brickworks. 1960 - Midden deposit and stone axe head were found at Marrickville Golf Course. 1961 - Population (on 1969 boundaries 91396; the first census to contain a significant number of inhabitants born overseas, other than in the U.K. and N.Z.

  10. "1962 - Beginning of large scale flat (later home unit) development. Vicars merged with Australian Woollen Mills. 1966 - Population (on 1969 boundaries) 92745. Greek Orthodox church in Marrickville Road. 1968 - Marrickville expanded to include Enmore and parts of Camperdown. Incorporation of South Sydney (originally Northcote) municipality. Fowler’s Potteries taken over by Newbold General Refractories. Coptic Church in former Methodist Church in Railway Road, Sydenham. 1971 - Population 98700 (including 13171 of Greek origin). "

  11. "1974 - Marrickville Administrative Centre, Petersham, opened. 1975 - Fowler’s ceased to produce pottery at Marrickville. 1976 - Population 90750. Vicars Woollen Mills company wound up. Addison Road Community Centre set up", replacing the Army barracks and stables.

  12. "1980 - Salvation Army Training College relocated to Bexley", from Livingstone Road. 1980 - Marrickville Margarine complex, Edinburgh Road, sold." This site was lit up with an impressive (for its day, anyway) Christmas display every year. It became the site of Marrickville Metro shopping centre in 1987. "1981 - Population 83448. 1982 -Fowler’s Pottery demolished and land subdivided. Reference: Marrickville Council website.

  13. Also useful to look up is the History of Transport, Marrickville

  14. Marrickville South and the Warren is referenced as well at the Council site: "Before Richardson’s Lookout, there was only The Warren, a remarkable castle-like structure owned by Thomas Holt. The surrounding estate was filled with rabbits for sport, alpacas and other exotic animals, and Holt used the hunting grounds to entertain royalty and other guests. When he returned to London in 1886 (to help the Salvation Army and Dr Barnardo), he left his estate to Carmelite nuns. In World War I, The Warren was modified by the government into housing for returned soldiers. After the war, The Warren was demolished, and the site left abandoned until a Marrickville alderman named Warren Cook Richardson led a campaign to revitalise the park. It was renamed in his honour in 1936 and all that is left of The Warren are two pillars taken from the demolished house".

  15. And the National Library contains useful details (and maps) of subdivisions, such as this "sales plan for land bounded by Livingstone and Marrickville Roads, and Francis, Arthur, Stanley, Lilydale Streets, Marrickville, New South Wales. * Oriented with north to left.* Torrens title"

  16. And "Pilgrims Estate, Marrickville [cartographic material] : close to the tram on Marrickville Road / auction sale on the ground, Saturday 12th December, 1908, at 3 o'clock ; Richardson and Wrench Ltd., 98 Pitt St., auctioneers"

  17. And "Plan of allotments at Marrickville between Victoria Road and Chapel Street with Harbers Land adjoining. Also available in an electronic version via the Internet at:"

  18. And "Local sketch, Tracing of allotments between Crinan Street and New Canterbury Road Marrickville. Also available in an electronic version via the Internet at:
  19. "

  20. And also "The Warren, Marrickville [cartographic material] : the property of the Excelsior Land, Investment & Building Co. and Bank Limited : first subdivision (1893). Sales plan for land in the suburb of Marrickville in Sydney, bordered by Illawarra Road, Premier Street, Cary Street, Renwick Street, Warren Road, Park Road, and Excelsior Parade. This magnificent estate, so well known as the late residence of the Hon. Thomas Holt, has now been subdivided, and the directors of the above company have much pleasure in submitting a portion of it to the public with every confidence that it will be appreciated as it deserves. Purchasers of land on land will enjoy the following advantages:- healthy and elevated position, splendid views, good soil, excellent drainage, wide roads, 66 and 80 ft., large reserves, and above all, easy access to the city by tram, bus, and railway, as the tramway is now completed for sale, the 'bus runs regularly, and the Illawarra Railway line is surveyed to pass right through the estate. Every facility is given by the company for the erection of dwellings, etc., on the estate. 90 per cent of the cost of building will be advanced, or the company will themselves undertake the erection on their well-known liberal terms. This is the best guarantee that the value of the land will increase rapidly, as where buildings are constantly being erected land is sure to rise also. For example, the Elswick Estate was subdivided by this company twelve months ago, there are now over 200 buildings and the land has increased in value some 25 per cent. Take particular notice of the liberal terms of sale ... T. S. Parrott, Surveyor, 57 Pitt Street".

  21. And "allotments in the estate of the late Joseph Graham Esq., J.P., Marrickville [cartographic material] / for auction sale on the ground, Saty. 22nd Dec. 1894 ; W. Pritchard & Son, auctioneers, 100 King St., Sydney. Sales plan for land bounded by Livingstone and Marrickville Roads, and Francis, Arthur, Stanley, Lilydale Streets, Marrickville, New South Wales."

  22. And at "The Grove, St. Peters [cartographic material] : close to Marrickville Railway Station : for auction sale on the ground, by order of the mortgagees, Saturday 1st July 1893 at 3 o'clock / by W. Pritchard and Son ; G.H. Barrow, draftsman Sydney.

  23. And "a sales plan for land in the suburb of Sydenham in Sydney, New South Wales, bounded by Creagh Street, George Street, Yelverton Street and Cook's River Road. Torrens title. Note: The vendors reserve to themselves the right of closing or altering the lane between the unsold portions of the Estate. Arnold W. Love, surveyor under Real Property Act, St. James' Chambers, King Street. Easy terms. North is oriented slightly to the right. Valuable properties of Thos. Chalder Esq [cartographic material] : St. Peters, Cooks River Road : to be sold on the ground on Monday 22nd March 1875, at half past 2 o'clock / by W. Pritchard."

  24. And lastly (for me, you can keep searching if you want) "Marrickville [cartographic material] : 14 good building lots, splendid position / for auction sale, on the ground, Saturday, August 4th, 1900, at 3 p.m. ; by Hardie & Gorman, auctioneers. Sales plan for bounded by Petersham and Illawarra Roads, Marrickville, New South Wales. Includes local sketch. Printed in red. Torrens title. Terms: 1/4 cash deposit & the balance in 1, 2 & 3 years at 5 per cent interest."
Sounds like a good deal to me. More posts soon.

Charles Street, Marrickville and surrounds - a potted history. Part 1.

Where will I start? This is a bit of a brain dump folks.... I should say I grew up in Marrickville, hence the immediate interest...

  1. In fact I grew up in Charles Street, so this web reference to Stuart Alchin Laing, "born at Marrickville in May 1896" is interesting. Stuart left a will dated 23rd August 1917 stating in part that "I devise and bequeath all my real estate unto my mother Charlotte Laing wife of Charles (sic) Laing of “Tara” Charles Street Marrickville Sydney in the State of NSW. ”

  2. Do I know which house was the aforementioned "Tara"? No, but I'll keep looking...

  3. Interesting that the Princes Highway was, in part, called Cooks River Road, extending as you'd expect from Parramatta Road to Cooks River. Before that it was known as Bulanaming Road (until the 1820s) and perhaps also as Newtown Road (once New Town store lent its name to the district, anyway.

  • The section of Cooks River Road between Bligh Street and St. Peters Station was renamed as King Street in October 1877.

  • A local government document on Marrickville village history may be found here. Especially interesting to me is that "Marrickville Road’s length formed a portion of the extensive farms and grazing areas which had belonged to the consolidated Wardell Estate. From the time of Dr Wardell’s death, smaller units developed. The soil was suitable for agriculture, gardening and grazing and came to be used by proprietors serving the Sydney market." Dr Robert Wardell was killed (presumed by local aboriginals, but there are other possibilities...) down by the Cooks River. Wardell helped start The Australian newspaper. Wardell Road was named after him.

  • Also, "In the 1850s, there was some subdivision. Chalder’s Marrick estate (60 acres) was auctioned in 1855. It became a simple village bounded by Illawarra Road, Chapel Street, Fitzroy St, and Sydenham Road. The last of these, originally Swamp Road, gave access from Parramatta Road and continued across the swampland to Unwin’s Bridge Road. The little centre of Marrickville (the name was adopted with the arrival of local government in 1861) was never substantial. It had shops, a school, a hotel and, in 1879, the Council Chamber. But the population remained small and the district semi-rural."

  • Much of that "village" is still there - the pub on the corner of Chapel Street, some shops, the chapel attached to the school and the site of one of the first council buildings, now demolished for the (approx 100 year old) Primary school building on the corner of Shepherd Street. That's the school I attended in the 1960's. Chalder donated much of this school land and Chalder Street was named for him. Chalder himself lived in St Peters.

  • Other council chambers were on Addison Road, near the Post Office, and (perhaps later) next to the Marrick (or Henson Park) pub itself. When the school took over the site on Shepherd Street the council built on a new location in Illawarra Road. In 1922 the council moved to Petersham Road and that earlier site also became part of the school.

  • The principal access roads to the Marrick village were Illawarra Road, a narrow track running south and Swamp (later called Sydenham) Road, running from the west to the south-east. A western track ran from Parramatta Road through Petersham and downhill to link up to Swamp Road, later becoming Petersham Road, and another (again from Parramatta Road) became Livingstone Road. To the south (on higher ground) was another track which became the present Marrickville Road. As now, it ran from current New Canterbury Road to the swampland at Sydenham. Crucially, it connected all the north/south tracks in an east/west fashion and came into its own when the trams were routed down Victoria Street (Road) and the Bankstown railway line came into being.

  • Another Council document on the History of The Gumbramorra Swamp is worth a look, especially this extract: "early settlement of the upland areas naturally impinged on the swamp. Since much of the region was given over to grazing and timber-getting, the edges of the Swamp served a useful purpose to the inhabitants who worked the later Wardell estate. The existence of habitation on both sides of the Swamp encouraged some traffic across. By the 1840s, a track, and then a road, ran across the swamp to Unwin’s Bridge Road. This ‘Swamp Road’ is Sydenham Road".

  • And "in 1855 the 60 acre estate of Thomas E Chalder, called Marrick, was subdivided. It became the village named Marrickville (1861) and the centre of the municipality. The village remained small, with only the minimum of community services. It was bounded, generally, by Illawarra Road, Chapel St, Fitzroy St and Sydenham (Swamp) Road and was in the vicinity of the north-western section of the Swamp. The construction of the tramway along Victoria St, the principal north-south route on the western side of the Swamp, in 1881 promoted settlement in the district at a time of large-scale suburban expansion. At the same time, plans for the Illawarra Railway (opened 1884) concentrated on the eastern side of the swampland, adjacent to Unwin’s Bridge Road. The Swamp area was no longer a relatively isolated and neglected sector."

  • Sydenham railway station (on the Illawarra line) was originally Marrickville Station, renamed when today's Marrickville station, closer to the intersection of Illawarra and Marrickville Roads, was established.

  • Going further back, the Marrickville Council website reports that "the original residents of Marrickville were the Cadigal people, who lived in the area for more than 40,000 years. The Cadigal were a clan of the Darug people and spoke the coastal Eora language. Other clans of the area included the Wangal, the Kameygal and the Bediagal. They did not settle in the Marrickville area, but for thousands of years roamed through territory that stretched from Port Jackson to Botany Bay. Aboriginal artefacts found around Cooks River and Alexandra Canal area indicate at least 7,000 years of occupation."

  • I previously reported in this blog that when the Alexandra Canal was dug aboriginal remains were found, including evidence of Dugong predation (something unexpected this far south).

  • Further, Marrickville's "European settlement of the area commenced with the first land grant in 1789. By 1809 all land within the district had been granted. By the 1830's Marrickville had been consolidated into five great estates. The area was not heavily populated. Only several hundred people from a variety of ethnic backgrounds, including English, Scottish, Italian, German, Dutch and Chinese, lived here. With just a small proportion of the land having been cleared and cultivated, the principal occupations were rural - grain-growing, market gardens, timber cutting, dairy farms, pig and poultry farms."

  • I would add that Charles Street was almost certainly in a dairy area. The Dairy Farmers Coop was also sited not far away on Addison Road.

  • "In 1861 the Municipality of Marrickville was proclaimed. It was soon followed by Newtown (1862), then St Peters (1871) and Petersham (1872). Camperdown was proclaimed in 1861 but did not function until 1868. From the 1880s to the 1920s Marrickville grew from a sparsely settle rural area to a densely populated industrial region. By 1948 the combined population of the original municipalities peaked at over 113,000 people. The 1996 Census indicates that this has decreased to 76,000."

  • "Following the introduction of the Local Government (Areas) Act of 1948, there was an amalgamation of Marrickville, Petersham and St Peters Municipal Councils. They became the enlarged Marrickville Municipal Council on 1 January, 1949. Camperdown Municipal had been amalgamated into the City of Sydney in 1908 and Newtown followed in 1948. In 1968 there was a readjustment of local government boundaries and parts of Camperdown and Newtown were added to the Marrickville local government area (LGA) to form the present Council area." All of these quotes are from the Council website.

  • From which you may also peruse the History of Marrickville Suburbs.

  • There's an interesting and detailed chronology there as well, from which I have gleaned what really interested me:

  • "1700 - Lieutenant James Cook at Botany Bay; his probable examination of the Cooks River entrance. 1788 - First Fleet at Botany Bay and Port Jackson. Settlement at Sydney Cove and first exploration of surrounding area. 1789 - Captain Hunter and Lieutenant Bradley, on separate expeditions, explore Cooks River."

  • "1793 - Land grants available to officers and officials. Grants to Johnston (Annandale), Rowley (Kingston) and White (Hammond Hill). Timber yard at Petersham. 1794 - Numerous grants to officers, soldiers and emancipists in order to form a “chain of farms” along Parramatta Road. 1797 - Major repairs to Parramatta Road (first formed 1790-2). 1799 - Beginning of consolidation into large land holdings: main beneficiaries were Moore, Smyth and Johnson. 1803 - Rowley consolidates Kingston Farm", now known as Newtown and Camperdown.

  • "1805 - Bridges erected on Parramatta Road. 1806 -Camperdown grant to Governor-elect Bligh. 1808 - Rum Rebellion. Campbell acquires Smyth’s property. 1809 - Last free grants in Marrickville region. 1810 - First road to Cooks River." I presume that's Cooks River Road, now King Street or the Princes Highway, but Unwin's Bridge Road parallels it.

  • "1810 - Toll bars on Parramatta Road. 1813- Crossing of Blue Mountains. 1815 - End of Napoleonic War. Beginning of large-scale transportation of convicts to New South Wales. Road over Blue Mountains. 1817 - Rough paving of portions of Parramatta. 1821 - First stage coach service to Parramatta. 1826 - W.C. Wentworth begins land purchase at Petersham." Wentworth was both a prominent citizen and a partner with Dr Robert Wardell.

  • "1827 - Racecourse on Camperdown estate (O’Connell)." Makes sense, but exactly where? the current Camperdown oval, given the proximity of Derby Street? (Wikipedia says the hospital site was on Missenden Road instead.)

  • "1830 - Robert Wardell purchases Thomas Moore’s land and amasses a 2000 acre property based on Petersham House and Sara Dell. 1831 - Abolition of free land grants and beginning of a policy of minimum upset price. Campbell subdivides Smyth’s farm. 1832 - New Town Store (John Webster) opened". Leading to the naming of Newtown itself.

  • "1833 - Punt on Cooks River." I assume (again) that this was on Cooks River Road, but perhaps closer to the end of Unwin's Bridge Road than the current road alignment.

  • "1834 - Murder of Robert Wardell. This initiates the process of breaking up his large estate. 1835 - Subdivision of Wardell estate begins."

  • "1835 - Second road to Cooks River with punt crossing." Now I presume (again) that this is Unwin's Bridge Road.... there are probable remnants at the river of old crossings and the later dam at Tempe, mixed in with later works to divert the Cooks River and to build the railway but it's unclear to my inexpert eyes what's what.

  • "1835 - Temporary Anglican church at later St Peters. Enmore House (John Verge) built for Captain Browne. 1836 - Unwin’s Bridge across Cooks River. Completion of A.B. Spark’s Tempe House. 1838 - Foundation stone of St Peters Anglican church. Beginning of construction of Cooks River dam. 1839 - Consecration of St Peters church."

  • "1840 - Completion of Cooks River dam. Opening of St Peters cemetery. St Peters village laid out. Beginning of land sales for workingmen at Tempe. 1841 - Subdivision of Enmore Estate. 1842 - Tempe village laid out. Petersham rececourse" (sic - I guess they meant "racecourse", but where? Petersham Oval?).

  • "1843 - Homlewood built. 1844 - Foundation stone of first St Stephen’s church (Anglican), Newtown. Economic depression producing many forced sales and bankruptcies. 1847 - Stanmore House begun. 1848 - Inauguration of National education system. Subdivision of Petersham estate. Reiby house probably erected by this time. Foundation stone of St Thomas’ Catholic church, Lewisham. Temporary building for St Peters Anglican school.(permanent building in 1855). Goodsell family brickworks. Fowler’s Pottery.

  • "1849 - Sydney Railway Company incorporated. Camperdown cemetery." To which I'd add that Fort Street Model School was started at the Rocks in Sydney in that year. Later, in 1916, the Boys' High School was split from the 'model school' at Observatory Hill and re-established on Parramatta Road, Petersham. The Girls' High School remained at the Rocks until reunification began in 1974. Trust me, I was there!

  • "1850 - First Methodist church at Newtown. Beginning of railway construction. 1851 - Gold Rush begins. J. G. Church builds The Grove. 1853 - Cast iron overbridge at King street, Newtown. 1854 - Large-scale subdivisions at Petersham (Sydenham village) and North Kingston. Petersham village laid out. 1855 - Chalder’s Marrickville estate laid out." That's the village described earlier in this post.

  • "1855 - Railway to Parramatta Junction opened. Station at Newtown. " That was at Station Street, to the west of the current location. 1856 -Sydenham House, Petersham, built. 1857 - Station at Petersham". Those original platforms remain intact, unused, on what is now the express lines on the northern side of the railway, with new tracks and platforms on a new alignment added later.

  • "1858 - Municipalities Act. Newington Inn opened. Thomas Holt purchasing land to form The Warren estate. 1859 - First municipalities (Randwick, Shoalhaven) incorporated. 1861 - Municipality of Marrickville (1920 acres) incorporated. 1862 - Municipalities of Camperdown (435 acres) and Newtown (442 acres) incorporated. Bellevue House erected. 1863 - Cook’s brickworks at Newtown (later Marrickville, then Tempe); Koll’s tannery (now Metro site); Schwebel’s quarry". I can only presume that Schwebel gave his name to a street in Marrickville...

  • "1864 - Holt’s The Warren substantially completed. Marrickville National school began (new buildings, 1865). 1865 - Marrickville post office in temporary premises." Possibly Addison Road, or perhaps in Chapel Street. 1868 - First street lamp in Newtown. Municipalities Act. 1869 - St Peters cemetery closed (Petersham cemetery opened 1863). Temporary Marrickville Council premises in Chapel Street." I'm unsure if this was the site next to the Marrick Hotel or further down Chapel Street, on the corner with Shepherd Street.

  • "1871 - Census statistics of existing municipalities: Newtown, 4328; Marrickville, 1464; Camperdown, 638; Petersham, 750. Incorporation of St Peters Municipality. Incorporation of Petersham Municipality. Roseby Congregational Church opened. Gladstone Hall, Dulwich Hill, built. Porter’s brickworks, Wardell Road. 1872- The Lodge, Stanmore, built. 1873 - Gentle’s brickworks, Newtown. 1874 - Alcock and Davenport’s boot factory (had taken over Koll’s tannery). Tempe Public school. 1876 - Main Roads Act (ending the Trust for Cooks River Road). 1878 - Marrickville Town Hall, Illawarra Road built (opened 1879). St Peters Town Hall (demolished 1927). Petersham Congregational church."

  • "1879 - New Undercliff bridge over Cooks River. Newtown Railway bridge widened. Marrickville Town Hall" opened, I presume.

  • "1880 - Tramways Extension Act. Work on Nepean Water Scheme, with reservoir at Petersham. Cranbrook (Fowler) built. Newington College moved to Stanmore. 1881- Steam tram from Newtown to Marrickville. Newtown tram depot. Newington College opened." The tram ran down Enmore Road to Victoria Road, skirting the swamp and running up the gentle slope to what became Seymour's corner, turning right onto Marrickville Road. A later steam service ran along Stanmore Road.

  • "1881 - Census showed Marrickville, 3501; Petersham, 3413; St Peters, 2272; Newtown 8327; Camperdown 1175. Fowler’s Cranbrook completed. 1882 - Newtown toll gate closed. Dixson acquires Abergeldie estate and begins to build on it. Auction of Terry’s Marionette estate; “Tempe Park” sub-division. Petersham Town Hall. 1883 - Enmore estate subdivision; Enmore House demolished. Stanmore Public school. 1884 - Illawarra Railway opened (to Wollongong, 1888). Petersham Public school. Petersham cemetery closed. South Annandale subdivision. Subdivision of The Warren. 1886 - Carmellite nuns occupy The Warren and grounds. New Stanmore station. Rebuilding of Petersham station. Whipple truss railway bridge over Long Creek completed. Lewisham Railway station. Standsure Brick company begun. 1887 - Petersham reservoir completed; Nepean water scheme in operation. Frogmore Estate subdivision. Camperdown Town Hall."

  • 1888 - Celebration of Centenary of foundation of New South Wales. Newtown telephone exchange. 1889 - Great Marrickville flood. Lewisham Hospital (for children). Unwin’s Bridge rebuilt. Tramway to Dulwich Hill. 1891 - Census showed Marrickville, 13507; Petersham, 10369; St Peters 4860; Newtown 17870; Camperdown, 6658. Beginning of western Sewerage scheme. Tramway to St Peters. Severe economic depression in South-Eastern Australia."

  • "1892 - Present Newtown railway station. 1893 - Vicars’ Woollen Mills. Banking crisis in Victoria has repercussions in New South Wales. Depth of economic depression. 1894 - Beginning of construction of Alexandra Canal (to 1896). 1895 - Railway to Belmore opened (to Bankstown, 1909). 1896 - Crago flour mill erected. Completion of Alexandra Canal. 1897 - Marrickville Cottage Hospital. Marrickville district pumping station. Enmore School opened. Petersham Post Office opened. 1899 - Cooks River Bridge at Wardell Road completed. 1900- Seymour’s Store opened." That's the "Seymour's Corner" I mentioned earlier, basically a large hardware store on the curved tram alignment, corner Marrickville and Victoria Roads.

  • "1899 - Tempe Tram Depot. 1901 - Federation achieved. Census shows Marrickville 18775; Petersham, 15307; St Peters’, 5906; Newtown, 22598; Camperdown, 7931. Tempe Park Wesleyan Methodist church (now Coptic) 1902 - Further Reiby House subdivision and alterations to house. 1903 - Sydney (formerly Jubilee) Brickworks on Silverleigh site. Peacock Jam at Stanmore. 1905 - Demolition of Annandale House. 1906 - Local Government Act. 1908 - Camperdown municipality merged with Sydney. Marrickville Margarine factory opened. Development of Grove estate. Australian Woollen Mill established (merged with Vicars, 1965). Newtown Rugby League Football Club begun. 1909 - Salvation Army at Ballevue" (sic - perhaps that should be "Bellevue"?).

  • "1910 - Final sale of Marionette estate. Sts Peter and Paul’s Catholic church built on site. William Thornley engineering opened. Sydney Steel founded. 1911 - Census shows Marrickville, 30653; Petersham, 21712; St Peters, 8410; Newtown, 26498. 1912 - Electrification of street lighting beginning."

  • Of special interest to me (because of family connections) is "1913 - Addison Road Army barracks" opened. My grandfather (with the Light Horsemen) stabled his horse here at some point after the First World War. Presumably the land here was boggy and undeveloped, or was used for dairy cattle up until this point. Charles Street (where we started, remember?) backs onto the camp, now a community centre.

  • "1914 - World War One. 1915 Malco Industries (Malleable Castings) founded." On Victoria Road, near Chapel Street.

  • "1915 - Illawarra Railway duplicated. Electric lighting along Parramatta Road. 1916 - Fort Street Boys’ High School to Petersham. 1918 - End of World War One. 1919 - Spanish Influenza epidemic. Local Government Act. Marrickville Winged Victory statue. Resumption of The Warren by Housing Department. Planned subdivision for returned servicemen."

  • That's enough for now - or on to part 2!

    Friday, December 4, 2009

    Sydney's airports - more than just one

    Just a few air-side places to visit, virtually or otherwise...

    There's RAAF Richmond, roughly adjacent to and north of the old Clarendon airfield.

    Nearby neighbour RAN base Schofields, a bit too close to Richmond to survive, so it didn't.

    Of course there's Sydney(Kingsford-Smith), but that's obvious.

    And of course Bankstown, a big, busy GA field with a long history, hemmed in by development but hanging in there.

    And Top Gear Australia for a brief time made the most of Camden's distance from Sydney to make use of its quiet taxiways for TV car tests. It's a useful and historical airfield that plays a key role in training and GA work but remains fairly underused. 

    And Hoxton Park has been axed. chopped up and largely built over.

    There's also long-lost Hargrave Park - too close to Bankstown - that is just a memory, and a collection of interesting street names

    Did I say long-lost? How about the Jamison Park airfield at Penrith

    And many more ex-WWII airstrips dotted around the city's extremities, most lost, a few active like Oaks Airfield or not, like at St Marys.

    Checkout my list of Sydney and surrounding airstrips and airports.

    More interesting places to virtually visit

    Sydney is awash with tramway remnants, if you care to look. Check these out for starters...

    The curves left behind... take the trams away and you just have an oddly-shaped street with a touch of curving mystery at both ends...

    Above, Chippo's Meagher Street

    Above is Eddy Ave at Central Station, including ramps (later reused for the current 'light rail').

    North Sydney station, where the trams ran to the north of and parallel with the railway, running up a ramp (now used as a car park) and across a bridge (over the roadway) to a tram station opposite the Milson's Point railway station. From there they ran on reserved track on the opposite side of the Harbour bridge from the railway, entering a tunnel and terminating at Wynyard.

    Above, Randwick Racecourse had it its own tram station, with platforms and an overhead bridge. You can still see some of this structure.

    Above and below, Anzac Parade - the busway seen here was once reserved track, and there was a lot of it from here down past the SCG and the Showground and along Alison Road as well. There was reserved track on both sides of Anzac Parade in places, as well as in the central reservation further towards Maroubra.

    or checkout my list of Sydney and surrounding airstrips and airports

    Interesting yet discarded - part 2

    Another bridge, further down the Parramatta River... at Gladesville. You can see where 'Victoria Place' diverts from current Victoria Road, running down to a lower-level bridge. There is a similar arrangement on the northern bank with a strangely-wide and curved road leading from the ferry wharf. You can picture the trams climbing up to Drummoyne, can't you?

    And another, but on the Hawkesbury River near Brooklyn. It was Peat's Ferry, in its day the only way across the river by motor vehicle. Replaced with a bridge that was then semi-replaced with a Freeway. Note the roof of the mothballed eat-in/drive-in '50s-style roadhouse:

    Meanwhile, down south on the Georges River, Forest Road ends abruptly, as though you are meant to start swimming... or catch a ferry. There are 'remains' on both sides of the river. Forest Rd was the original road link to the Illawarra, so, like Peat's, this would have been a busy vehicle ferry.

    Interesting yet discarded - part 1

    Sydney is filled with interesting yet discarded or ignored history. You can go and explore on foot, or just browse here...

    The Maroubra Speedway was just about there... in what is now Coral Sea Park.

    Old road bridge lost in the Christmas '94 fires... it was a wooden trestle bridge from memory, just east of the current Ryde Road. I always meant to photograph it, then it was gone...

    Roseville. Interesting approach (Babbage Road) to a low level bridge, replaced by a higher one, of course! There was once a recreation/holiday camp/dance palais on the Forestville side of the river, too.

    Iron Cove... another bridge that was, with just the ramparts left on both sides... and note that there's a tram lane on the "new" bridge, too, now used as a T-way:

    Friday, October 23, 2009

    Mod Daynighter

    Mod Daynighter_060
    Originally uploaded by gtveloce
    Tribal Sydney in the late '70s, early '80s. Mods roamed the streets on Vespas and Lambrettas from the 1960s onward, especially enjoying a re-birth with the 1979 release of the Who's film 'Quadrophenia' (which also helped rebirth the British film industry).

    This is a scan of a cheap and cheerful Mod 'zine from circa 1980.

    Mod Scene Club mag

    Mod Scene Club mag_061
    Originally uploaded by gtveloce
    Tribal Sydney in the late '70s, early '80s. Mods roamed the streets on Vespas and Lambrettas from the 1960s onward, especially enjoying a re-birth with the 1979 release of the Who's film 'Quadrophenia' (which also helped rebirth the British film industry).

    This is a scan of a cheap and cheerful Mod 'zine from circa 1980.

    Wednesday, September 9, 2009

    King Street - ahhh, what a streetscape

    Narrow, slightly bendy, lined with double-storey shops. I remember Brennans and its hydraulic messaging system, the Newtown Bridge, the tram shed, the Elizabethan theatre. Well some - much - of it is still there and worth prerserving. Luckily, by quirk of planning, the station and the tram sheds are still largely intact, and lining up for some preservation.

    Read on for some local history... Kingston Farm, O'Connell Town, the Newtown Store, Burren Farm... I stumbled over this (via @Stilgherrian)

    Heritage Branch Website - Listing Heritage Items - State Heritage Register - Item View
    In the 1840s Newtown was described as 'a beautiful village of New South Wales, situated on the road to Cook's River, about three miles from the city of Sydney; it contains 323 houses and 1215 inhabitants, of whom 631 are males and 584 females'.

    Monday, August 24, 2009

    Marrickville's first Town Hall, Illawarra Road

    Well it was more than just a Town Hall, it was the local Primary school, too. It may not look like much now but it was pretty interesting to a small boy like myself attending the last 2 years of his primary education.

    The original Marrickville Town Hall was opened in 1879 as a single storey building, designed by John Michael Despointes, an architect and local brick maker. Despointes of course lent his name to Despointes Street, one of those locally fascinating facts that have perplexed a few people. It sounds French... why name a street in Marrickville after some obscure French person? Well now you know. In 1883 a second storey was added, to plans prepared by Blacket & Son Architects.

    (Despointes Street, BTW, was a boundary of the "Frogmore Estate". Sales plans for land in the suburb showed that Frogmore was bordered by Marrickville Road, Petersham Road, Cecilia Street, Malakoff Street, Despointes Street, Illawarra Road, Frogmore Street, and Sydenham Road. Can anyone shed light on Frogmore itself? Was it a homestead? Was it related to the Frogmore at Werrington?)

    Entering the old school building in the late 1960s via the front gate in the low wire fence you passed the brick milk crate shelter (where we got our small bottle of milk, free, if you could stand the cream at the top and the curdling from the heat - I certainly could, just) and went straight up the steps between resting lions. Fairly ornate wooden doors swung open to reveal a solid wooden staircase to the left - or was it 2, one on each side? Hmmm. The Principal's office was to the right, I think! Straight ahead was a classroom with a backdoor into a teachers library and common room, with a common room and kitchen. Exit to the playground on the left, and also I think to the street on the right. Upstairs was a larger, more ornately clad room that comprised a pupil's library and the assembly hall. The Queen of England was dead ahead, on the western wall. We faced her when we sang God Save the Queen (original, not the Sex Pistols version still to come). A staircase led down from the left hand side, facing west. Or so I think (memory can play tricks)!

    Anyway, Marrickville Council built the "new" town hall (now another old one, since Council moved to Petersham at least) in 1922 on Marrickville Road, up against Petersham Rd. There was a wooden library at the back of that building. (Childhood immunisations were done in the main building, and I can remember paying rates with my mother at a small office upstairs.) Council sold the original Illawarra Rd building to the Department of Education, opening as Marrickville Boy’s Junior Technical School in 1923. (There is an older girl's school in Chapel Street that later formed part of the Marrickville Infants School.) The Junior Technical School transferred to Dulwich Hill in 1949. The building was then occupied by the Boy’s Primary Department of Marrickville Public School - but was co-ed by the 1960s. In 1985 it was declared surplus to the needs of the Department of Education and acquired by the Department of Housing, who promptly surrounded it in a wire fence and built town houses on the playground.
    Appropriately, given the late-60s/early 70s dominance by Greek immigrants, in 2006 the building was sold on to Atlas Hall Pty Ltd as Trustee for The Greek Atlas League of NSW. Apparently restoration works are progressing. Any updates out there?

    There's a pic and more words here via Marrickville Council.

    Cycling, Henson Park, Marrickville and the 1938 Empire Games

    Well here's a bit of hidden history.

    My dad used to catch rabbits at Henson Park, but before that locals took a dicey dip in the fathomless and sometimes deadly depths of the ponds in Daley's Brickworks. Marrickville Council even has some pics.

    As a kid growing up in Marrickville myself I did wonder about the very slightly banked tarred oval - some 800m long from memory - it seemed like it to a bookish sub-10 year old asked to run around it at school athletics carnivals, anyway. It was lit by rusty lamps on rusty lamposts and surrounded by an equally rusty old, low wire fence decorated with scattered advertising hoardings. There were coloured lines that seemed indecipherable at the time but must have represented the duckboard, the inner edge line, the sprinters line and so on. Inside the oval was a football field, the home of the Newtown Jets, formerly the Bluebags.

    The velodrome itself was the home of Dulwich Hill club until they were offered a much better deal - the 45 degree banked concrete Camperdown track. In return they gave up the big old saucer at Henson Park, with the Rugby League club taking over completely an dinstalling massive lighting towers for night matches. I'm pretty sure that Marrickville Council stumped up some of the cash for that, but it was a poor deal for Newtown RLFC anyway as they were still booted out of the first grade comp.

    Still, that's the stuff of Sydney's history.

    In brief:
    • Henson Park was established in 1933 on the site of Daley’s brick pit
    • Thomas Daley operated the Standsure Brick Company from 1886 to 1914. The brickworks occupied 3.6 ha. When the brickworks closed the pits filled with rain and ground water, forming waterholes, of which “The Blue Hole” was the biggest
    • Marrickville Council purchased the site in 1923 as it was a serious danger to the braver local kids
    • Henson Park was officially opened in 1933 with a cricket match between a Marrickville Eleven team and a North Sydney District team, including Don Bradman
    • Henson Park was named after William Henson, Mayor of Marrickville in 1902, 1906 to 1908 and his son, Alfred Henson, who was an Alderman of Marrickville Council from 1922 to 1931
    • Henson Park hosted the cycling events and the closing Games ceremony of the 1938 British Empire Games, 40,000 people packing the ground (a record for the ground and likely to be the top attendance at any suburban ground in Sydney)
    • The Henson Park Hill is steep and huge. You can easily see how they packed the numbers in.

    Tuesday, May 19, 2009

    Shooting through like a Bondi Tram...

    My old bike racing club (yes, I have subsequently joined a new one, up on the Central Coast) is based at Heffron Park, Maroubra, and has (with the essential help of the local council) linked together old sections of concrete road with new sections of tar. The completed loop is 2.1km long and quite a testing criterium track. But why were those concrete roads there in the first place? Well Heffron Park (named after a NSW State Premier) was an Army base, like the Addison Road Community Centre in inner-west Marrickville was once an Army base, including a Light Horse stables (amongst many other possible examples, the Addison Road base is famous for some of the "save our sons" demos during the Vietnam War). It's recycling in action, isn't it? Anyway, when the bike club put in some toilets in the clubhouse they had to cut the concrete - and the stories about tanks in Heffron Park suddenly made sense. That concrete was thick.

    But not as thick as the successive NSW State governments that oversaw the dismantling of the tramway system, though. (OK, another cheap shot - hindsight is a wonderful thing.) As I mentioned yesterday, some parts of the network remain and are worth re-visiting, if only for the memories. So what features of the inner-west and eastern suburban tramway system can still be discerned?

    Well Bondi Beach is a prime example. The trams that famously "shot through" to Bondi terminated at North Bondi where Military Road meets Campbell Parade (AKA 'Scarborough Crescent'). The terminus can still be clearly seen, as can much of the route along Campbell Pde, although cars and buses have tended to take over the trampath for parking. Interestingly, bicycle races were also held on the Campbell Parade "hot-dog", before they too were driven out by the car traffic, firstly to road races along semi-deserted Bunnerong Road and finally into the fully-enclosed Heffron Park.

    The tram route to Bondi is well documented with the most interesting deviation from the obvious being where the track took a graceful curve to the right (from Bondi Rd, heading down the hill) into Denham Street, then along Fletcher and onto reserved track just past Dudley Street. (The reserved track later became Rowland Ave.) The track crossed under Wilga Street in a cutting that continued on to also pass under Bondi Road, rejoining the main drag (southern end of Campbell Parade) on the other side of Bondi Road (at the Francis Street intersection). It's hard to imagine now, but yes there was a cutting and 2 overbridges involved in keeping the track at the desired gradient, all subsequently filled in. I witnessed the start of the filling-in in the mid 1970s.

    or checkout my list of Sydney and surrounding airstrips and airports

    Monday, May 18, 2009

    Sydney's real infrastructure debacle... ditching the extensive tram network by 1961

    Sydney has suffered many planning misfortunes and missteps, including the lack of a heavy rail connection to the northern beaches, despite long-standing plans to do so, and the seemingly endless indecision over the location of a "second" major airport (although some may argue that Bankstown airport already fills that role). My personal favourite though would have to be the dismantling of what was the 2nd-most extensive tram system in the British Commonwealth - second only to the London network and many times larger that Melbourne's. This startling removal of track, electric catenary and associated tram sheds was largely "achieved" by 1961. Tracks were ripped up or submerged under tar; tramcars were sold for scrap or burned; and land and buildings were reused as bus depots or sold.

    Why oh why did we ditch light rail? Wikipedia says this: The overcrowded and heaving trams running at a high frequency, in competition with growing private motor car and bus use, created congestion. Competition from the private car, private bus operators and the perception of traffic congestion led to the gradual closure of lines from the 1940s.

    Buses, you see, were more flexible in their routing and interfered less with other vehicular traffic. Which was good in theory, but the government-run bus routes largely replicated the tram routes anyway; and as both bus and car traffic grew the road network hit its natural limit as well - stopping everything in its peak-hour tracks.

    Now this infrastructure planning miracle was achieved after seeking the input of overseas "experts" and largely executed by Labor governments. Interestingly, again quoting Wikipedia, closure was supported by the NRMA, but generally went against public opinion. Thank you once again, National Roads and Motoring Association. Nothing ever really changes, does it?

    All that aside, some tantalising remnants of Sydney's trams exist, to remind us of our folly. For instance there are tramway remnants along Anzac Parade, through Randwick and Kensington, including reserved track and "bus stops" facing the "wrong way" (ie towards the trams, not the buses) towards La Perouse. There is a tram bridge at Annandale and sheds at Rozelle, Tempe and Newtown, plus recycled tram depots like Randwick bus workshops and a shopping centre at North Sydney. And plenty more, if you look closely enough.

    Sunday, April 5, 2009

    Short Sandringham Rose Bay

    Another load of old airliners... all in Sydney during the early to mid 1970s. This is one of 2 ex-Ansett Sandringhams prior to handover to Antilles Airboats in late 1974.

    There were 2 of these 'boats (used on the run to Lord Howe Island):
    (1) 'BRC had the rounded nose of a more 'pure' Sandringham (even though it was a converted Sunderland) and was called 'Beachcomber', becoming N158C with Antilles Airboats in 1974. 'BRC is now landlocked, at Southampton, UK.

    (2) 'BRF, named 'Islander', was a 'near-converted' Sunderland with a blunter nose. It's now landlocked at Miami, Florida.

    I may not have taken this shot - I took a lot, but so did my late friend James Davidson, who had access to the Rose Bay base via his flight engineer father. James got me hooked onto black and white photography in the first place.

    Friday, March 27, 2009

    Last one for now - Short Sandringham at Rose Bay

    This is one of those "things" that I would guess most Sydney-siders wouldn't know - that Rose Bay was once Australia's primary airport for international travel. For many decades the most comfortable - and the safest - way to fly across oceans was via these big boats, or ones much like them. QANTAS, TEAL, Imperial Airways, Pan American: you name it, they relied on big flying boats to do the really long haul flights across water.

    This Ansett service was to Lord Howe Island, ending in late '74 when a 'conventional' runway came into service on the island. Apart from Rose Bay there was also a major RAAF flying boat base at Rathmines on Lake Macquarie, less than 100 nautical miles north. International flights in the flying boat era also regularly touched down at such exotic locales as the Clarence River at Grafton...

    Short Sandringham at Rose Bay

    Another shot of what looks like Islander, on the hard-standing at what was once Australia's primary International Airport - Rose Bay, Sydney.

    Short Sandringham at Rose Bay, 1974

    This is one of 2 ex-Ansett Sandringhams prior to handover to Antilles Airboats in late 1974.

    There were just 2 of these 'boats left in the end, plying the well-worn path to Lord Howe Island:

    (1) 'BRC had the rounded nose of a more 'pure' Sandringham (even though it was a converted Sunderland) and was called 'Beachcomber', becoming N158C with Antilles Airboats in 1974. 'BRC is now landlocked, at Southampton, UK.

    (2) 'BRF, named 'Islander', was a 'near-converted' Sunderland with a blunter nose. It's now landlocked at Miami, Florida.

    I may not have taken this shot - I took a lot, but so did my late friend James Davidson, who had access to the Rose Bay base via his flight engineer father. James got me hooked onto black and white photography in the first place.

    Thursday, January 29, 2009

    The Richmond line

    I mentioned the Richmond line a moment ago. It's still a lovely single track line for the most part with a country air about it. It ends abruptly, like it was cut short - as indeed it was. You can still see where the tracks once went on, crossed the road and went through the park. You can see remains of reserved track and old bridges alongside the main road.

    Many years ago when I was much younger Richmond was steam operated - we are talking the late 60's into the early 1970s, but now it is electrified.

    Here are some more details and links related to closed lines in Sydney:

    Prospect Quarry

    I mentioned the private railway to the Prospect quarry, well here's the current owner's heritage report on the site.

    The railway gets a mention: "The remnant railway embankment represents a particular period in the life of the quarry and as such has historic value that should be included as part of the site interpretation. The alignment of the original branch railway should be identified and marked out, where this is feasible within the proposed development, so that this aspect of the quarry’s history is not lost. If not feasible it could be incorporated into an interpretive display panel." Let's hope that happens.

    Boral (the landowner) also has an interesting historical article on the local area. The railway and the quarry get a mention:

    "The subject site was originally part of the 500 acre land grant made to the
    explorer William Lawson, who built his home Veteran Hall (now an identified
    archaeological site on the SHR), to the west of Prospect Hill. In 1846 William
    Lawson’s third son, Nelson Simmons Lawson, developed the property as the
    Greystanes Estate; the name derived from the grey colour of the basalt
    outcrops on the Hill, and built “Greystanes House” to the east of Prospect
    Hill. Greystanes was approached by a long drive lined with a mix of English
    trees and jacarandas. The house was demolished in 1946 after having fallen
    into a state of disrepair (Pollen, 1988: 210)."

    Greystanes is of course a local suburb, to the east of the site. The article continues:

    "The quarry was formally established in 1870 and soon after was identified as
    having the potential to be the principal supplier of basalt rock for metal
    production in western Sydney.

    "In 1910 a branch railway line was added, connecting the site with the Prospect
    line. The Prospect line was constructed in 1901 by the Emu Gravel Company,
    it ran for a total of 5.2km on a standard gauge. The original line not only
    carried gravel from the site but also carried workers to the quarry until the
    line closed in 1926. Evidence exists that this line was used for picnic outings,
    where families were taken for a day out. A part of the railway embankment,
    is still discernible within Prospect Quarry."

    Now I'm a bit confused here. Although it seems logical (by proximity) to connect to the neighbouring private railway to Toongabbie, I always believed the Widemere line ran independently from the quarry to Fairfield, not Toongabbie. Certainly the graceful curve of the local street layout partially supports that idea, at least to Hassall Street. More investigation needed, I suspect! Back to the article:

    "Construction of Prospect Reservoir began in 1882, as an important element of
    the Upper Nepean Scheme, and was the main storage reservoir of Sydney's
    fourth water supply system. The water from Prospect Reservoir travelled to
    Pipehead Guildford via the Lower Canal, which is south of the Quarry, and to
    the immediate north of Widemere East. The western boundary of the quarry
    is shared with the Prospect Reservoir which contains several elements in close
    proximity to this shared boundary including the outlet/scour tunnel, the
    Lower Valve House, the receiving basin and the initial section of the Lower
    Canal and the former inlet for 30 inch by-pass. None of these items are visible
    from the quarry site.

    "The landscape of Prospect Hill on Greystanes Estate has been significantly
    altered from its original form. Early grazing practices cleared the entire hill,
    as shown in a photograph taken in 1927 (Wallace 1992:2). Quarrying in the
    area began in the 1820s, and by the latter part of the century dolorite was
    being extracted from Lawson’s estate on the west and north sides of the Hill."

    That's another story - the Sydney water supply!

    or checkout my list of Sydney and surrounding airstrips and airports