The Rocks, Early Sydney

The Rocks is really a most extraordinary place! A small district of Sydney, without the distinction of its own postcode, it stands on the high ground west of Sydney Cove,…

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The Lament of The Man on the Land

REMEMBER WHEN "It all started back in ‘66 when they changed from pounds to dollar - me bloody overdraft doubled. Then they brought in kilograms instead of pounds - now I’m only producing…

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Lavender Bay

Many of us have heard of this bay, and seen it as we pass over the Harbour Bridge. The name Lavender Bay conjures up mental visions of a sweet-smelling flower;…

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Beer & Water

THE Sydney Sun reports . . . . . . that the city council has placed a bubbling water fountain outside the main entrance to a large local brewery. Whether…

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Bloomers and Bicycles

What do bloomers and bicycles have in common? While today’s models parade the catwalk in panties and other underwear, this would have been unthinkable in the 1800s. So too would…

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Mortlake & Breakfast Point

Mortlake & Breakfast Point
Mortlake and Breakfast Point - Capt John Hunter

Captain John Hunter led the first British exploration of the Parramatta River in February 1788. On the 5th February, while having breakfast he made the first contact with local Aboriginals…

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The Walker Crest/Motto

On our open days we are often asked what is the meaning of the latin on  the Walker crest - “Per Varios Casus”. An approximate translation would be “Through diverse (or various) opportunities”, which…

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Edward Smith Hall

Edward Smith Hall
Edward Smith Hall - a portrait

Edward Smith Hall was of those early pioneers whose great work in winning for us the freedom of the Australian Press has been obscured by the more widely known achievements of Wentworth. Bom in London…

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Thomas Walker & Edward Smith-Hall

Thomas Walker & Edward Smith-Hall
Edward Smith Hall - a portrait

I resume my friend’s chronology:- “Died September 18 Mr. Edward Smith-Hall in the 75th year of his age. This gentleman I think was the first secretary of the Bank of New South Wales when…

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Professor Anderson’s Conundrum

Professor Anderson, the Wizard of the North, was a well-known magician who travelled the world putting on performances. When he was in Sydney in 1859, performing at the Prince of Wales Theatre, he offered two…

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Nichols and the bare knuckle fighter

A gentleman supplies me with some very interesting particulars as to Mr. Charles Hamilton Nichols, one of the proprietors of “Bell’s Life” at the time of Professor Anderson’s conundrum prize-drawing. Mr. Nichols was one of…

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Sydney’s Grandest Markets Open

Sydney’s Grandest Markets Open
Queen Victoria Markets Building

On 21 July 1898 Sydney celebrated as Mayor Alderman Mathew Harris officially opened the Queen Victoria Markets Building. The Lady Mayoress, with a commemorative solid gold key, opened the druitt…

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When did the First World War End?

When did the First World War End?
War Memorial Burwood Park

Have you ever looked at the date on the War Memorial in Burwood Park? It’s worth looking at carefully because it reveals an interesting fact . . the dates of…

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Green Lights on Calm Waters

A favourite pastime of residents is to walk along the waterfront to enjoy the peaceful vista. Not many of us know that between the “green lights” opposite the cove is…

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Long Ago a Giant

As we board the 504 or the 438 for the CBD, most of us miss a little street 50 metres on our right hand side, Henry Lawson Avenue. Henry Lawson,…

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Ikey Solomon, another plausible rogue

When Charles Dickens visited Australia, he used characters he met or heard about for characters in his various novels. Miss Haversham, from Great Expectations was in fact Eliza Donnithorne from…

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The Kurrajongs

In January 1916 a group of 114 men left the New South Wales country town of Inverell to fight in World War I. The group was named “The Kurrajongs”, taking…

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Peaches (remembering Len Beadel)

In 1956 I was in the middle of the Simpson Desert attached to 1 Troop of 17th Independent Field Squadron Royal Australian Engineers as part of the advance party preparing…

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Colonial Canadian Exiles

Colonel George Arthur, after 12 years a Lieutenant-Governor of Van Diemen’s Land, was appointed to a similar position in Upper Canada (now Ontario).  His first task on arrival, in early…

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Bungalows, Poets and Small Pox

"The forgotten history of Five Dock and Canada Bay" It is hard to imagine Five Dock and the surrounding suburbs of the City of Canada Bay as anything but contemporary…

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The Saga of Munro Ferguson and Yaralla

The Saga of Munro Ferguson and Yaralla
Yaralla Mansion

Yaralla ‘given away to the Government’. Good intentions are often misconstrued as Miss Eadith Walker discovered to her dismay in 1914. Returning from an overseas trip, Miss Walker heard that the Governor-General, Sir Ronald Munro Ferguson,…

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Buying a Car – a Retrospect

Nowadays there’s no mystery about motor cars. They infest every road and are driven with varying degrees of competence by teenagers and grandmothers. When it comes to buying a car, schoolboys can usually give their fathers…

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