Unfortunately, due to Covid-19, we have not been able to hold our very popular monthly talks since March last year. Now, with the lifting of many restrictions, they will resume from June 2021. They will continue to be held, as usual, on the first Saturday of each month commencing at 2:00 p.m. prompt. (Please come a little early so that you can be seated ready to start on time. )
However, there will have to be some changes. If you wish to attend you must book a seat and on the day register your attendance via the QR Code requirements.
If you go to our website you can register your name on a waiting list. In this way we will be able to keep you advised about future speakers and the subjects of the talks.
To our regulars, we look forward to wecoming you back. To those who haven’t been before we look forward to meeting you.
THIS SAMPLER was embroidered by Maria Darling in 1834. It demonstrates her skill with embroidering letters and numbers as well as various designs within a border. The verse reads:
What is the world, all things here
Tis but a bitter sweet.
When I attempt a rose to pluck,
A prickling thorn I meet.
This is one of the oldest objects we have in our collection. Unfortunately we know nothing about the young lady who made this, only that the item was donated to us when we first opened our museum in 1972.
Samplers were girls’ first exercise in needlework. Girls as young as five were taught the basic stitches and value was placed on neatness, order and obedience. Doing samplers was the way girls learned the alphabet and numbers.
The most common stiches were cross, herringbone, stem and chain. Girls repeated these stitches over and over. The exercises developed eye-hand coordination necessary for fine embroidery or darning.
From simple alphabet samplers, young girls graduated to making miniature garments such as shirts and aprons. These exercises were much the same throughout Europe and the colonies and they remained unchanged for generations.
A century ago, many houses and public buildings were built with stone foundations. Corner stones (quoins) were used on larger buildings to provide additional support for brick walls as well as for decorative effect. Gardens featured stone walls and pathways, while crushed stone was used as road base and to repair roads that had been made impassable after heavy rains.
The demand for all types of stone accelerated with the increasing subdivision of suburban areas and the incorporated municipal councils that assumed responsibility for local roads and drainage works. Most councils eventually bought or developed quarries within their own area. This was essential, not only to meet the constant need for stone, but also to limit the cost and difficulty of its transport.
For many years Foxcroft’s Quarry situated in what is now the car park of Massey Park Golf Club served Concord’s needs. The quarry-master, Arthur Foxcroft, was a well-known local businessman and former alderman on Concord Council. He purchased the quarry in 1912 from the estate of Michael Foran and c.1914 built a federation-style sandstone cottage, which he named “Foxcroft”, using stone from his quarry. Arthur Foxcroft died in April 1929 at the age of 85. His quarry was taken over by Concord Council.
Like most suburban quarries, it attracted a deal of unfavourable attention from nearby residents. Their concerns about noise, dust and safety were amplified by occasional stories in the press about dangerous conditions and the tragic deaths of those who ventured too close to the edge of the pit. Periodically, newspaper editors would garner public indignation and call on local councils to impose further restrictions on quarries or to close them altogether.
Despite an impassioned plea from the Evening News, the quarry remained open. There was, however, a more concerted effort to reclaim land using garbage as landfill. A number of Concord’s parks are testament to this determination.
During the 1930s Depression, Concord Council employed day labour to quarry stone used in local road works. The scheme, known as Relief Work, provided men with limited hours of work, but little pay and poor conditions. The exhausting work and lack of facilities prompted the men to form the Concord Dole Workers Council to petition for set work breaks, water tins to reduce dust, shelter sheds and decent toilets. They succeeded in their claims and even achieved an agreement for an engineer and paid work inspector to oversee safety and working conditions.
One incident that attracted state-wide attention was a mysterious blast that destroyed the explosives store at the quarry, severely injuring Frank Jones, who had been attempting to steal gelignite by breaking into the store just before dawn. Police reported that on 29th July 1935, Jones attempted to cut through the lock, using an electric torch. When that failed, he lit a match. What followed was described in graphic detail in a dozen or more journals. Jones suffered horrific injuries to his face, chest and arms. Blinded, he staggered towards the cliff with his clothes on fire. Jones then either jumped or fell and was later found semi-conscious at the bottom of the pit with two loaded revolvers close by.
Jones was already “known to police” who were seeking to interview him in relation to a robbery and attempted murder at North Strathfield Station two nights before. He was taken to Western Suburbs Hospital in a serious condition where he was kept under police guard. Reports as to his condition and speculation as to his motives continued for several days. When asked by police why he had two loaded revolvers in his possession, Jones said that as he did not know this area, but had heard there were some dangerous fellows about, he wanted to feel safe. Police claimed the revolvers were the same as those used to shoot at the station master and a bystander in the earlier robbery at Concord West Station.
Jones appeared in Burwood Court two months later, his head swathed in bandages. He was charged with more than 50 offences including the theft of jewellery found in his possession, armed robbery and attempted murder. The police prosecutor decided not to proceed with charges relating to his break-in at the quarry, perhaps deciding he had been punished enough for that transgression.
In 1948 the Cabarita Progress Association proposed that the disused quarry be filled in and turned into a golf course. The surrounding wetlands, described as “an evil smelling swamp,” were to be drained to provide “a more pleasant amenity for the community”. The Riverside Golf Club operated on the reclaimed land until 1953 when the Massey Park Golf Club was formed. The quarry was filled with household rubbish and sealed with a layer of ash from the nearby Mortlake Gasworks. It took twelve years to fill. A similar process was undertaken to form adjacent Brewer Park. (Andrew West
Portion of a diary kept by a French-Canadian exile, François Maurice Lepailleur, whose group had been landed at the original wharf at what is now called Bayview . . .
Wednesday, 11 March 1840. Today we disembarked from the Buffalo to go to work for the government. It was half past nine in the morning when we disembarked and embarked on a middle-sized barge with all our gear and 5 men (guards) and we went to live about 8 miles from the town of Sydney. This place is between Sydney and Parramatta. The people of this area seem to us to be nice. Same food as on the ship, except we have bread and porridge made from maize instead of oats.
Thursday, 12 March 1840. We aren’t doing anything today. In the afternoon they stamped two letters on the front and two letters on the back of our trousers. Those letters are L.B. about 3 inches long. They stand for Longbottom. This stamp is very humiliating for respectable people.
Friday, 13 March 1840. We began work today. We carried stone in 13 wheelbarrows, from 13 laden barges at the wharf. Another group broke the stone into small pieces. We did a good day’s work – the guards were pleased with us.
Saturday, 14 March 1840. We worked only from 6 o’clock to ten o’clock and after that our working day was over. Saturday afternoons are for prisoners to clean up and wash their gear.
Sunday, 15 March 1840. We are beginning the same work as last week. A Major Barney visited us on Tuesday and took a list of all who had professions and trades and all of those who were most respectable. He told us the Governor would visit us on Wednesday to tell us how to behave here. We waited all week but the Governor did not show.
. . . and so the diary goes on. It is from the translation by F. Murray Greenwood of “Land of a Thousand Sorrows” and published by Melbourne Uni.Press, 1980 – the true story of French-Canadian exiles shipped to the Colony under appalling conditions while aboard ship.
THE VILLAGE OF LONGBOTTOM was a small peninsula bounded by Parramatta & Concord Roads and the Parramatta River. The Longbottom Stockade was situated on Parramatta Road, a little to the east of St Luke’s Park. Three small bays which appear on modern maps of the district are named France Bay, Exile Bay and Canada Bay, apparently to commemorate the presence there of the French-Canadian prisoners.
The road on the map, shown as Wharf Road, is now Burwood Road and leads to the point where the barge carrying the prisoners landed. It is now Bayview Park and contains a monument to the French-speaking Canadian exiles
We recently received a copy of a home movie of the Official Opening of the New Council Chambers & Offices in Wellbank Street, Concord in 1962. It was made by local resident Alexander John Fuller and donated by his son Andrew.
Andrew told us a little about his father.
“My dad, who everyone knew as John, grew up at 19 Wellbank Street, Concord. He went to Mortlake Public School and ended up working for the PMG/Telecom.
He was an amateur 8mm photographer and belonged to a local Amateur Cine (Movie) club. Wherever my dad went, so did his camera, and he made many films of all manner of things. His main body of work was to film and produce all the race car meetings at the then Oran Park in the 1960s. These films included sound tracks.
All the films were put together at 19 Wellbank Street. Every month or two the NSW Road Racing Club would hold their meetings at the Sea Scout Hall at Rhodes near the Ryde bridge and my dad would go and show the films. Being in colour, it was a bit of a novelty and was well received because TV was still black and white up until 1975.
As part of this he actually pioneered what we call today “Racecam”, used by the TV station to cover modern events. He would mount small cameras on the race cars and get some amazing shots for the time. I’m very proud of this.
This is the last remaining color record of this quality of motor racing of this era.”
Thank you, Andrew, for this generous donation to our archives.
Although not heard as much these days the saying, shoot through like a Bondi tram, was very common in the early 1900s.
There was a time when Sydney was one of the world’s great tram cities and Bondi Trams shot through Paddington like, well, a Bondi Tram.
In its heyday, Sydney’s tram network was the largest in Australia and the second largest in the Commonwealth (after London) and one of the largest in the world, with about 1,600 cars in active service during the 1930s.
The expression “Shoot through like a Bondi tram” is still heard at times, even though Bondi trams stopped in 1960. It means to depart in haste and refers to express trams that ran through Paddington from 1887. Given that trams cannot pass each other, trams were scheduled to leave the city in pairs with an express tram travelling first. At Darlinghurst the front tram would “shoot through” to Bondi Junction, where it would catch up with an earlier tram.
This process of closing tram lines was a long one, starting in 1939 with the Manly system. By 1961, 100 years after the first tram had run, the last line closed. Today many bus routes in Sydney’s inner suburbs still follow the original tram routes quite closely.
Remnants of the trams are everywhere if you know where to look. The site of the Opera House used to be a tram depot and what is now the Powerhouse Museum once supplied power for city trams.
AT LAST! Our regular monthly talks are able to resume. If you would like to learn more about Sydney’s tramway system, Peter Kahn from the Sydney Tramway Museum, will be talking on the subject at our Museum (1 Bent Street, Concord) on Saturday, 5th June, 2021 at 2:30 pm SHARP. With Covid Safety restrictions in place you need to book a ticket by phoning the secretary on 9744-8528 or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. These talks a FREE, but donations are always welcome. After the talk you can join us for light refreshments and a chance to chat with the speaker and our wonderful volunteers.
If you would like to be kept informed of the speaker and subject of each talk you can go to our website, www.canadabayheritage.asn.au, and add your details to the list.
City of Canada Bay Heritage Society Inc., PO Box 152, Concord, 2137 :: Phone: 9744-8528
email: email@example.com :: https://www.canadabayheritage.asn.au
City of Canada Bay Museum, 1 Bent Street, Concord
Open Wed & Sat 10am to 4pm :: phone: 9743-3034 during museum hours.
Regular Guest Speakers at the museum First Saturday of each month 1:30 for 2:00 pm start