Back in the Day (2) . . . Everyday Life and How it Was Lived a Hundred Years ago.

Back in the Day (2) . . . Everyday Life and How it Was Lived a Hundred Years ago.
Your friendly neighbourhood iceman. The thing in his hands are the ice-tongs, which he used to handle the massive blocks of ice. They often weighed several kilos each.

Preserving Food:  Have you ever heard your grandparents call a refrigerator an ‘icebox’? Have you ever wondered what an ‘icebox’ was? How did people keep food fresh back in the…

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The 5th Regiment (Scottish Rifles) Camp at Concord West

The 5th Regiment (Scottish Rifles) Camp at Concord West
Dancing in the Scottish Rifles Camp at Concord West

On Tuesday, 17th April, 1900, the Daily Telegraph published the following article: Through the courtesy of the trustees of the Walker Estate, the 5th Regiment (Scottish Rifles) camped for the…

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The Scottish Rifles – Early Beginnings

The first NSW Military Unit with a Scottish Association was The Duke of Edinburgh's Highlanders formed in 1868. The Unit wore a kilt of Black Watch tartan and became known as the Highland…

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My mother used to say . . .

If you cut too many corners you’ll just keep going around in circles Your problems are only as big as you make them The trouble with living alone is that…

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The Australian Theatre to 1910

Australian theatre has a long and distinguished history. It is a history which was influenced by both the United States and Britain. British born entrepreneurs were the fathers of Australian…

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It Happened in Concord

Fox Shot - Concord Raid A fox was shot at Concord this morning. It had a weather-worn collar around its neck and apparently had once been a pet.  For several…

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A Brief History of Christmas

A Brief History of Christmas
Bringing home the Yule log

Christmas is celebrated as the birthday of Jesus although there is no evidence he was born on that day. It was declared his birthday in 440 AD. In England Christmas…

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Trial Marriages for a Year and a Day

Prior to the Reformation in the sixteenth century, when Scotland was a Catholic country rather than a Protestant one, trial marriages were very common. At annual fairs the unmarried of…

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Australia’s Emu War

Australia cannot lay claim to any great empires or epic conquests, but we do have one distinction that no other nation on Earth can boast: we are the only country…

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Princess Mary’s Christmas Gift, 1914

These decorative brass tins were sent by Princess Mary to members of the British, Colonial and Indian Armed Forces for Christmas 1914. Over 426,000 of them were distributed to those…

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Origins of North Strathfield Station

Origins of North Strathfield Station
North Strathfield Railway Station, c1933

The struggle for a station at North Strathfield was very much a people's struggle. In the early 1900s there had been a general acknowledgment of the need for a station…

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Holy Trinity Church, Concord West

Holy Trinity Church, Concord West
Illuminated Address presented to Dame Eadith Walker

Memorial gates erected by parishioners and friends commemorate philanthropist Dame Eadith Walker. Dame Eadith Campbell Walker (1861-1937), philanthropist, was born on 18 September 1861 at The Rocks, Sydney, only child…

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Dame Eadith Walker: An Appreciation

Dame Eadith Walker:  An Appreciation
Hearse carrying Dame Eadith Walker's body, proceeding down The Drive on the way to Rookwood

The passing of Dame Eadith Walker has left a great blank in the life of the community. From the earliest days of the colony her father was connected with its…

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Museum Without a Home

In November 1827 Governor Darling received a letter from Lord Bathurst, Secretary of state for the Colonies, authorising the expenditure £200 a year on founding and maintaining a museum for…

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Who are we?

We recently received a donation of this set of framed photographs of several boats which carried the inscription:  Presented to P. Edwards, Esq., by the boys of the Concord Dinghi…

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Mortlake

Sydney is made up of many fascinating suburbs and areas, many of which are such a normal part of Sydneysiders lives that they spare little thought for the history of…

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Tulloch’s Phoenix Iron Works Ltd

Following the death of Alfred Llewellyn Bray, the first Mayor of Concord, his home “Braygrove” was purchased by R. Tulloch & Company and in 1915 the Iron Works transferred from…

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Higinbotham & Robinson, Map Publishers

The Atlas of the Suburbs of Sydney is a series of late-nineteenth-century commercial maps that provides a portrait of the city during a period of rapid growth and suburbanisation. It…

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Getting Married

Jack, age 87, and Jill, age 79, are excited about their decision to get married. They go for a stroll to discuss the wedding and on the way they pass…

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The Parramatta Road

The Parramatta Road
Parramatta Road at the 7-mile post.

We'd like to share with you a couple of items from David Sansome's talk at our map unveiling. The photograph, circa 1900, is of Parramatta Road, Five Dock.   The…

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Jack Fisher Looks Back

Jack Fisher Looks Back
Jack Fisher looks back

Catering for the swimming fraternity in the days before Environmental Impact Statements were invented wasn't a difficult matter if the enterpreneurial activities of the Fisher family at Five Dock Bay…

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Frederick Cavill and his Amazing Baths

Frederick Cavill and his Amazing Baths
Prof Cavill swim class

Cavill migrated to Australia, reaching Melbourne with his family in February 1879.  He soon moved to Sydney and set up as a 'professor of swimming' at his Lavender Bay Baths. …

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The White Cross at Mount York

The White Cross at Mount York
The Cross on the Hill

For many years one of the Blue Mountains’ most distinctive landmarks was a large white cross on the cliff-edge at Mount York which could be glimpsed from the highway between…

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We need your help!

We need your help!
Cloak

Found in our collection was this stunning outfit.   Unfortunately we don't know anything about it. The only clue we have is an attached piece of paper saying it was…

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Homebush Bay Shipwrecks

Homebush Bay Shipwrecks
Betty Candy knows her subject

If you didn't attend our August event you missed a great day.  Betty Candy's talk was a great success bringing over 60 guests to hear her. It's amazing how many…

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Ebb and Flow of Success:  Samuel Lyons

Ebb and Flow of Success:  Samuel Lyons
Lyons Terrace (1849 water colour - State Library NSW)

In the 1840's the most select residences in Sydney were a row of five houses in Liverpool Street called Lyons Terrace, facing the south end of Hyde Park. Elegantly attractive,…

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Regulations for Baking and Sale of Bread 1816

Having ascertained that many bakers had been supplying shortweight bread of inferior quality, His Honour the Lieutenant-Gover­nor announced that production and sale of bread would be controlled. All persons who…

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Henry Brewer – Concord Sailor-Builder

Henry Brewer – Concord Sailor-Builder
HMS Sirius, Frank Allen, marine artist.

Little is known about the early life of Henry Brewer, one of the first free settlers to receive a land grant in Concord. Born in 1739, he must have spent…

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A Bucket of Rum & the Vauxhall Inn, Granville

A Bucket of Rum & the Vauxhall Inn, Granville
The Vauxhall Inn at the corner of Parramatta & Woodville Roads, Granville in 1939 after it was rebuilt. Photo: Australian National University, Noel Butlin Archives.

An interesting souvenir of the opening of the first railway in New South Wales from Sydney to Parramatta Junction is a miniature bucket. When the railway was opened on September…

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Maps Tell us Stories, not Facts

Historians use historical maps for several purposes:  as useful tools for reconstructing the past, to the extent that maps provide records of features, landscapes, cities and places that may not…

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Mortlake in the 1890s

Mortlake in the 1890s
AGL Gasometers. Manager's cottage in foreground.

Mortlake was originally 30 hectares of land granted to John Miller, John Robertson and Benjamin Butcher in July 1795. This land was subsequently acquired by John Ward and then by…

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An Old Inn at the Sign of the “Red Cow”

An Old Inn at the Sign of the “Red Cow”
Red Cow Inn - rear of building

In 1825, one James Bibb, an enterprising spirit built a hostelry in a clearing by the stately gumtrees at Abbotsford Point on the Parramatta River, and soon the "Red Cow…

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West Harbour Rugby Football Club

The first rugby club to represent the district was Burwood, which competed in the Sydney Metropolitan Competition until the introduction of district rugby.  The club was formed in 1900 but…

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Who Named the Pig & Whistle?

Who Named the Pig & Whistle?
Pig & Whistle - rear view

Way back in the early days of our society we were researching some of the old buildings in the area. One which aroused our curiosity was the ancient hotel, the…

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Shipwrecks of Homebush Bay

Shipwrecks of Homebush Bay
SS Ayrfield

While browsing the internet recently, researching our August speaker, I came across an article by Cleo Braithwaite, who said:  There is a floating forest growing out of a shipwreck in…

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Shipwrecks of Homebush Bay: How to get there

Shipwrecks of Homebush Bay:  How to get there
Shipwrecks Plaque

From Bennelong Parkway From Homebush Bay Drive, turning into Australia Avenue, passing Bicentennial Park main entrance, turn right at Bennelong Parkway, follow the signs to the Archery Centre, veering right…

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A Blacksheep Whitened

Lets say that your great-great-great uncle Remus Starr, a fellow lacking in character, was hanged for horse stealing and train robbery in Montana in 1889. A cousin has supplied you…

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Keith Elliott (1933-1991)

Keith Elliott (1933-1991)
Keith Elliott outside Ardill House

A tale of one persons dedication. Keith was born in Moss Vale in 1933 and, aged 14 months, became a resident at Rosslyn Hall, Rockdale. This Home was a link…

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200 Years Young in July

200 Years Young in July
Military Hospital, Observatory Hill

Macquarie's Military Hospital - Fort Street School - National Trust Centre As the NSW National Trust celebrates its 70th anniversary in April this year (2015), another important `birthday' will be…

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Enfield to Mortlake Tramway

Enfield to Mortlake Tramway
Enfield Tram Depot, late 1940s

Turning the First Sod The ceremony of turning the first sod of the tramway line, which is to connect the suburb of Enfield with Mortlake, was performed yesterday afternoon by…

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Cockatoo Island – a prison in the harbour

Cockatoo Island – a prison in the harbour
Cockatoo Island Convict Gaol (Barry Whitelaw)

Cockatoo Island was largely undisturbed until 1839 when Governer Gipps chose it for the site of a new penal establishment to alleviate overcrowding on Norfolk Island. Convicts were put to…

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Victor Stafford Horder

Victor Horder was the youngest solder from Concord to enlist in the First World War at 15 years of age.  He went on to serve in the Second World War.…

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Concord – WWI Connection

Concord – WWI Connection
The youngest soldier from Concorfd to enlist in WWI

By 1916 three hundred men from Concord had enlisted, eleven had died, twenty-one wounded and five invalided home. They went to Gallipoli, France, the deserts of Egypt and North Africa.…

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The Bicycle Goes to War

The Bicycle Goes to War
The Bicycle Goes to War

CYCLISTS! YOUR KING & COUNTRY NEED YOU! New cyclists battalions to be raised at once.   Who will ride in the ranks of the famous Essex regiment?   Unique opportunities…

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Free Beer

Free Beer
Hospital Attractions

The question of what becomes of beer confiscated by the police in raids upon sly grog shops was raised at Burwood Court yesterday. Mr. Williams S.M., said that he thought that the…

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The House of Denison

The House of Denison
Fort Denison

At the first mention of the word “Denison” we immediately think of Fort Denison. I am sure that the builders of our complex had a former governor in mind when…

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Murder at the Parramatta toll gate, 28 May, 1814

Murder at the Parramatta toll gate, 28 May, 1814
New Toll Gate, Parramatta Road (Image credit: New Toll Gate, Parramatta by Robert Russell (1808-1900), National Gallery of Australia)

This post is about the shocking murder of two innocent men during the botched robbery of the local toll-gate at Parramatta in 1814. In addition to the two deaths another two men…

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Old George Street – A Chapter in Old Sydney

Old George Street – A Chapter in Old Sydney
The first picture of Sydney - in 1788

Exploring the oldest road in Australia, George Street.  The content is from a frail old book The Story of Old George Street – A Chapter in Old Sydney (1920) by Charles H.…

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The Original Abbotsford House

The Original Abbotsford House
Abbotsford House, Scotland, home of Sir Walter Scott

The NSW suburb of Abbotsford was originally part of Five Dock farm and takes its name from our own Abbotsford House.   Our Abbotsford House was built in 1878 by…

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History of Homebush Bay

History of Homebush Bay
The northern water quality pond makes up part of the parklands' water conservation plan.

When Europeans arrived in 1788 Homebush Bay consisted of extensive tidal wetlands and thick bush. The area was first known as ‘The Flats’, and was recorded by Captain John Hunter…

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19th Century Fashions, Crinolines and the Call of Nature

19th Century Fashions, Crinolines and the Call of Nature
Open-crotch drawers, part of our Underwear Though the Ages display

Before he 19th century, most women just wore nothing beneath their chemises.  The no knickers thing was not as scandalous as you might think, dresses were long and worn with…

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The Humble Apron

I don't think our kids know what an apron is The principal use of Grandmas's apron was to protect the dress underneath because she only had a few and because…

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Crossing the Parramatta River (part 2)

Crossing the Parramatta River (part 2)
A typical watermans boat

As previously explained, the Bailey and Cashman families took over the crossing service from about 1832 or soon after – both families competed for customers, each having a boat ready…

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Wellbank – the haunted house of the Flavelles

Wellbank – the haunted house of the Flavelles
Wellbank, the home of John Flavelle, Jeweller

This story is about a childhood memory of a haunted house. It’s a memory associated with my grandparents who lived in Davidson Avenue, Concord from about 1939 until their deaths…

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Crossing the Parramatta River (part 1)

Crossing the Parramatta River (part 1)
Bailey's Boatshed from Parramatta river 1898 (Canada Bay Collection)

As we board the Rivercat for the CBD, we take for granted the old boatshed on our left. As we cast our critical eye over this building, we are oblivious…

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Lady Mary FitzRoy Monument

Just inside the main entrance to Parramatta Park is an obelisk which marks the spot where Lady Mary Fitzroy, wife of Sir Charles Fitzroy, former Governor of New South Wales,…

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Fernville Lord Digby at the Museum

Fernville Lord Digby at the Museum
Fernville Lord Digby, the Dulux Dog

Visit our museum to meet our life-size replica. The Old English Sheepdog is the brand mascot for Dulux paint. The dog was first introduced in advertising campaigns in 1961. Since then…

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