Concord Post Offices

Concord Post Offices
Concord's First Post Office

Longbottom (later Concord) Post Office was introduced in 1851, the first suburban post office. This was operated by a Mr. Peter McGrath in his shop on Parramatta Road, opposite Concord…

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Australia: The Confusing Country

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Australia is a very confusing place, taking up a large amount of the bottom half of the planet. It is recognisable from orbit because of many unusual features, including what…

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Do you know this soldier?

(Dame) Eadith Walker set up "The Camp" on her Concord estate, Yaralla, to care for WWI soldiers who were suffering from tuberculosis.  She also loaned her home, "Shuna", at Leura…

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Who Really Stole Christmas?

Since the Middle Ages Christmas had been celebrated in much the same way as today:  25 December was the High Holy Day on which the birth of Christ was commemorated…

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Yaralla’s Royal Encounter

Yaralla’s Royal Encounter
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex delighted Yaralla residents on their recent royal tour

Yaralla House residents were invited by the NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet to a meet and greet with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex at the Sydney Opera House…

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Project Wishing Well Returns to Yaralla

Project Wishing Well Returns to Yaralla
1920 Herbert Fishwick photo of Yaralla Wishing Well.

Following the death of Dame Eadith Walker in 1937 the Perpetual Trustee Company, the executors of Thomas Walker’s will, requested Lawson’s Auctioneers to offer the entire contents of Yaralla House…

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NO! They are NOT selling Yaralla!

NO!  They are NOT selling Yaralla!
Yaralla Driveway

We have recently had several calls from local residents concerned at the activity of heavy machinery on the Yaralla Estate.  And we can assure you that the developers have not…

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“Bluebirds”

“Bluebirds”
Bluebirds en-route to France aboard HMAT Kanowa, July 1916

The horror of modern war was brought home to people in Australia as reports of appalling casualties and horrendous conditions on the Western Front filled newspapers. The German assault on…

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They Also Served

Sister Ida Jeanette Moreton was one of twenty trained nurses from New South Wales who volunteered to serve in French hospitals and medical centres during the Great War. Affectionately known…

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Bottles, Recycling and our Museum

Bottles, Recycling and our Museum
Councillor Ferguson and Secretary Lois Michel

1,000 bottles/cans and a lot of effort by local Councillor, Andrew Ferguson, has given a $100 boost to our funds.    We thank him for his support, in many ways, and…

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Lest We Forget . . . The Salvos

With Remembrance Day upon us, and marking 100 years since the end of the First World War, we pay tribute to the amazing work done during the war.  Many millions…

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Origin of The Salvation Army

Origin of The Salvation Army
William and Catherine Booth

The Salvation Army's beginnings date back to July 2, 1865 when a Methodist minister commenced a work in East London that would encircle the world before the end of the…

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The Armistice – What Was It?

The Armistice – What Was It?
Celebrating the signing of the Armistice in Martin Place 12/11/18

When the guns on the Western Front fell silent at 11am on 11th November 1918, it marked an end to four years of continuous fighting between the Imperial German Army…

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The House of the Future

The House of the Future
Sir John Sulman

At the Australasian Science Congress held in Hobart in January 1902, John Sulman, an English architect living in Sydney, read a paper entitled “A Twentieth Century House with suggestions on…

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Goddard’s Camerated Concrete Construction

Camerated concrete construction is hardly a conversation stopper at a barbeque, but this method of building houses attracted worldwide attention at the start of the twentieth century. In 1905 Concord…

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The Red King

The Red King
Edward VIII 2d stamp

How Australia's Rarest Stamp Escaped an Inferno. On 29 September 1936, William Vanneck, the right honourable Lord Huntingfield and governor of Victoria, paid a ceremonial visit to the Commonwealth Stamp…

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Vegemite – an Australian Icon

In 1922 the struggling Fred Walker Company hired a chemist, Dr. Cyril P. Callister, to develop a food spread made from readily available leftover brewer's yeast extract, a natural source…

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Archie Goswell Priddle

Archie Priddle had already achieved national prominence when he enlisted in the A.I.F. in January 1915.  Tall, strikingly handsome with fair hair and blue eyes, Priddle competed in a series…

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Unanswered Questions

I'm 87 years of age and I have realised I still have so many unanswered questions!  I never found out who let the dogs out . . . the way…

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Henry Lawson, “Our Poet Laureate”

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On the morning of 2 September 1922, Henry Hertzberg Lawson died, aged 55 years, of cerebral haemorrhage in Abbotsford, at the home of his dear friend and housekeeper, Isabel Byers.…

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Strange but True

Burial service for parrot One of the strangest graves in the ancient Western Road cemetery at Parramatta (NSW) is that of a parrot.  For twenty years the bird entertained travelers…

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In a Time Before Computers

In a Time Before Computers
Basic Chines Abacus

CALCULATOR:  The simplest form of calculating machine is the wooden counting frame, or abacus, with moving beads strung on wires which represent units, tens, hundreds and so on. This device…

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The Menin Gate Lions

The Menin Gate Lions
The Menin Gate

The iconic Menin Gate lions, past which thousands of Australian and other allied forces marched on their way to the Western Front battlefields, have been returned to Australia from Belgium…

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From the Magic Lantern to Television

When the 20th century was new, Australians took active part in most of their amusements.  At home they would play musical instruments, or they would play cards or other games,…

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And so to bed . . .

In better quality late Victorian and Edwardian bedrooms, grand old wardrobes and dressing tables were flanked by fancy chairs and perhaps a small side table. At each side of the…

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Concord Baby Health Centre

The idea to build this health centre was conceived by Alderman Brice Mutton when Mayor of Concord and, in 1943, the council invited tenders for the “construction of a baby…

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The Magic Pudding

One hundred years ago Norman Lindsay wrote the classic Australian children’s book “The Magic Pudding”.  The artist himself called the book a “little bundle of piffle” and wrote it only…

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Did you know . . .

COMPUTERS:   The personal computer is 70 years old this year, although the original machine bears little resemblance to those of today.  On June 21, 1948, Manchester University scientists switched on…

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Tessa The Guide Dog

As many of the readers of The Past Present will be aware, most postcards in their extensive collection focus on a place, be it a building, a beach or a…

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Postcards:  The emails of their day.

Deltiology, the official name for postcard collecting, is thought to be one of the three largest collectible hobbies in the world, along with coin and stamp collecting.  Postcards are popular…

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In Memorandum

Why do some Honour Rolls in Australia use the American spelling of “Honor”? Honour rolls were first used in America circa 1905. Communities erected them to remember those who fought…

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Gertrude Frances Moberly, RCC

Gertrude Moberly was born in Rockhampton, Queensland on New Year’s Day 1880. She was the sixth of Rev. Edmund George Moberly and Julia Frances Suttor’s eight children. Gertrude grew up…

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Concord’s Memorial Avenue

Concord’s Memorial Avenue
Concord Road 1918, showing recently planted trees

Concord Memorial Avenue - Officially Opened Yesterday (so reads the article in the Sun of 4th August 1918) “I hope every municipality in NSW will follow Concord’s example in honouring…

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Suburban Theatres and the Impact of TV

Suburban Theatres and the Impact of TV
Ritz Theatre, Central Concord

Before the digital age and the internet, the cinema was a major part of Australia’s social life. On Saturday nights in the 1930s, 40s and 50s, everyone went — or…

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Have you ever wondered . . .

Why the sun lightens our hair, but darkens our skin? Why can't women put on mascara with their mouth closed? Why don't you ever see the headline 'Psychic Wins Lottery'?…

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Dairies in the West

Dairies in the West
Smith's Dairy Farm

From the Archives Advertisements are often the best indicators of contemporary society for while they are meant to sell goods and services, they are framed with the intention of appealing…

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Tullochs – Double Decker Trains

Tullochs – Double Decker Trains
1968 prototype double deck car

From the Archives In 1963 Tulloch Ltd. designed and built the world’s first double deck railway trailer car. Four prototypes were produced at Tulloch’s engineering works at Rhodes. Later motor…

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The New Station Committee

The New Station Committee
Postcard celebrating the opening of the North Strathfield Railway Station

One hundred years ago, on 9th June, the North Strathfield railway station was officially opened. “For many years – how many cannot be definitely stated – the residents of that…

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Back in the Day (8) . . . Everyday Life and How it Was Lived a Hundred Years ago.

Back in the Day (8) . . . Everyday Life and How it Was Lived a Hundred Years ago.
A fob watch was usually attached to a chain holding a gold sovereign in its case in the opposite pocket. It often had a central pendant attached.

Keeping Time. These days, almost everything has the time. Your computer, your mobile phone, the clock in your car, your blackberry, your iPhone…everything does! But back when the only timekeepers…

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Useful Household Items from the Past

Useful Household Items from the Past
Mangle

We remain a society fascinated by gadgetry. The industrial revolution ensured that our ancestors were similarly attracted to wondrous objects which promised to make life easier, and, at times, more…

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Sydney Quarantine Station, North Head

Sydney Quarantine Station, North Head
Sydney Quarantine Station Wharf

Set on a picturesque headland overlooking the harbour, Sydney’s quarantine station housed close to 16,000 people from 1835 to 1984. it served as a holding station for passengers on inbound…

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Remarkable Lives: Frederick Zahra

One autumn morning in August 1919, Frederick Zahra, a storeman and first aid officer at Mortlake Gasworks, became aware of a commotion at the nearby tar stills. As he ran…

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A Wise Man Once Said . . .

A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes. Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand. It is better to deserve…

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Oh, How Things Have Changed

Municipality of Concord - Population 1901 - 2,800;   1911 - 4,076;  1921 - 11,013;  1933 - 23,213;   1947 - 29,401;   1954 - 28,326;  1961 - 27,750 From 1947 there is…

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Shopping  in the Days Before Supermarkets

Shopping  in the Days Before Supermarkets
Warman's Grocery Store, Correys Ave & Concord Rd, North Strathfield

In the days before supermarkets, housekeeping had a pleasant leisurely and personal flavour.  The Sunday joint was delivered by the butcher, who usually had time for a chat, at the…

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“Do Not Forget Australia”

These words, emblazoned on banners and blackboards, are found in the French school at Villers-Bretonneux, a small village lying among green fields just south of the river Some. This Anzac…

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Sir John Monash Centre

The Centre is named after General Sir John Monash, who led the Australian Corps with outstanding success on the Western Front in 1918, including the famous 4 July 1918 victory…

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A Pleasant Way to Pass Time

A Pleasant Way to Pass Time
Board games were fun for all

Without television, and before the days of wireless, family games were high on the list of favourite pastimes. Classics such as draughts, ludo, chess, snakes and ladders, checkers, dominoes and…

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“Banjo” Paterson

“Banjo” Paterson
Book Cover

In 1885, Paterson began submitting and having his poetry published in the Sydney edition of The Bulletin under the pseudonym of "The Banjo", the name of a favourite horse. In…

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Sydney’s Last Trams

Sydney’s Last Trams
R1 class tram at Maroubra Junction on the last day

Fifty-seven years ago, on the 25 February 1961, Sydney’s last electric trams operated on the La Perouse and Maroubra Beach lines. The last day of trams is a great date…

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When the Queen came to Rivendell

When the Queen came to Rivendell
Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh stepping ashore at Rivendell

Forty four years ago, n March 5, 1974, Queen Elizabeth the Second became the first reigning British monarch to set foot on Hospital ground.  The "private" visit to Rivendell came…

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Inside History Magazine

Inside History Magazine
Inside History

Recently we received an almost complete set of the magazine "Inside History". Unfortunately, eight of the issues were missing - Issues Nos. 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 12, 18 and…

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Three Women & the Sea

Englishwoman Hannah Snell, who could neither read nor write, joined the army in 1745 under the name of James Gray. Later she joined the navy as a cook's assistant and…

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How Did Valentine’s Day Start?

Valentine's Day, or St Valentine's Day, is celebrated every year on 14 February. Flowers, cards, chocolates, red hearts and romance. That's what Valentine's day is all about, right? Well, maybe…

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Back in the Day (4) . . . Everyday Life and How it Was Lived a Hundred Years ago.

Back in the Day (4) . . . Everyday Life and How it Was Lived a Hundred Years ago.
Thirsty? A soda-jerk serving up a nice cold one from an old-fashioned soda-fountain

Soft Drinks:  These days, we don’t give much thought to soft drinks. They come in metal cans or they come in plastic bottles, we open them, we drink them, we…

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The Twentieth Century Servants

The Twentieth Century Servants
Early Kooka Gas Stove, c1937

In the early days of Australia convicts provided free labour, standards of living were generally poor and the small affluent society managed to live very well with a minimum of…

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Family Fun in the pre-digital age.

Family Fun in the pre-digital age.
The local dance was for all the family

Before the iPad and iPhone! Before CD and DVD players! Before gaming consoles and TV!  Just how did people have fun in the early 20th century?  You might think life…

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The Wreck of SS Admella, 1859

The Wreck of SS Admella, 1859
Painting SS Admella in heavy seas.

Why is the wreck of this ship being remembered in the Australian maritime history books all these years later? Because it remains one of the worst maritime disasters in Australian…

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Did You Know?

Gas was first produced at Mortlake on 23rd May, 1886 - gas was supplied to the public on 28th May, 1886. The last electric train ran in Sydney on 25th…

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Frances Ashton Remembers

Frances Ashton Remembers
1900 Bathing Dress

Excerpts from an interview with Frances Coskerie (nee Ashton) who, at age 90, was living in a local nursing home. I was born in Sydney on 10 April, 1885.  I…

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Palace Hotel, Mortlake

The original Palace Hotel was opened in 1886, the same year as the gasworks It was built on the river at the end of Tennyson Road, where the River Quays…

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Ashton’s Baths

Ashton’s Baths
Ashton's Baths

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries there were many tidal swimming pools along the Parramatta River providing welcome relief and recreation on hot days. Ashton’s Mortlake Baths, near…

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