PDHS Australian Heritage Festival Program

PDHS Australian Heritage Festival Program

Parramatta and District Historical Society Australian Heritage Festival Program

The Parramatta and District Historical Society are staging talks and tours as part of the National Trust’s Australian Heritage Festival and in celebration of the Hambledon Cottage bicentenary.

Parramatta – The Inland Port Walk

A sculpture of two nawi/canoes beside the Parramatta River.Hear stories of Parramatta’s connections with Sydney through industry, travel and leisure. Explore the old Queens Wharf and the location of the Commissariat Store, Barracks and grain store. Join Judith Dunn OAM for this walking tour and learn about this fascinating aspect of Parramatta.

When: Thursday, 18 April AND Friday, 19 April 2024 at 10.30 am.

Where: Hambledon Cottage, Gregory Pl, Parramatta.

Cost: $15 (children $5). Bring a hat, water, and walking shoes.

History of Parramatta Historical Society

altParramatta and District Historical Society is 111 years old this year. It is the second oldest historical society in NSW. Like any group, it has had its ups and downs but has emerged as a vibrant heritage organisation. Come along and hear from Ken Smith OAM about this fascinating journey and learn about the various influential people who have made the Society what it is today.

When: Thursday, 18 April 2024 at 1.00 pm.

Where: Hambledon Cottage, Gregory Pl, Parramatta.

Cost: $5.

History of Hambledon Cottage

The Hambledon Cottage Museum's Bicentenary logo features a drawing of the cottage with the words 'Celebrating 200 Years'.We’re celebrating the 200th anniversary of Hambledon Cottage. Built for John Macarthur in 1824 to provide accommodation for his family and friends. Come along and hear about the evolution of this beautiful Colonial Georgian cottage and the people who have occupied and lived in it over this period. Learn about the many influential and prominent people who called it home.

When: Friday, 19 April 2024 at 1.00 pm.

Where: Hambledon Cottage, Gregory Pl, Parramatta.

Cost: $5.

RSVP: To reserve your spot for these talks and tours, email parramattahist@tpg.com.au.

Don't miss a post. Subscribe below to receive a round-up of the week's content.

Hambledon Cottage: Celebrating 200 Years

Hambledon Cottage: Celebrating 200 Years

A History Milestone Is Being Celebrated!

Hambledon Cottage will be celebrating its Bicentenary on 13th April. This is a significant milestone for this remarkable Parramatta landmark, once owned by pioneers John Macarthur and Elizabeth Macarthur, founders of the fine wool industry in Australia.

Parramatta and District Historical Society, custodians of this extraordinary colonial heritage site, will present a week of community activities, including a Bicentennial Day celebration, house tours, a new exhibition, heritage talks and walks, and children’s colonial games, to coincide with the NSW school holidays!

The week opens with a day of heritage activities, food stalls, house tours, an exhibition and music to suit all tastes, drawing on local community talent including the highly praised Granville Boys’ High School Pipe Band! Sit awhile and absorb the timelessness and elegance of this 19th Century Cottage (1824) and its parkland setting – sit and gaze upon the ancient oaks and cork tree planted over 200 years ago (c1817). Join us as we commemorate this special Parramatta district landmark – a NSW State Heritage Register listed site!

The official opening of the Hambledon Cottage Bicentenary is at 2 pm. Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beazley AC KC, Governor of NSW, will be the Guest of Honour.

What: The event program opens at 10 am on Saturday, 13th April 2024. Formal Ceremony at 2 pm. The event program closes on Friday, 19th April 2024.
Where: The corner of Hassall Street and Gregory Place, Parramatta. Public Transport: Buses 909 and 920 leave from Parramatta Railway Station.

For further information:
Email: parramattahist@tpg.com.au
Web: www.hambledoncottagemuseum.org.au
Bookings are Essential for heritage walks, talks and children’s activities. Limited parking is available on site. Parking is available at St Ioannis Greek Orthodox Church, Parramatta.

Don't miss a post. Subscribe below to receive a round-up of the week's content.

Vacy to Gresford – People and Places

Vacy to Gresford – People and Places

Paterson Historical Society to launch new book: Vacy to Gresford – People and Places

The cover of 'Vacy to Gresford' by the Paterson Historical Society features a picture of a valley and portraits of a man and woman.

The Paterson Historical Society’s new book, Vacy to Gresford – People and Places, will be launched on Sunday, 17 March 2024, by Mr Dave Layzell MP, Member for Upper Hunter.

The book was written by Society member and long-time historian Dr Brian Walsh. It covers the people and places along the Paterson and Allyn Rivers between Vacy and Gresford. The book reveals how a whole new European society emerged along the two rivers from the 1820s, albeit at the expense of the dispossession of Aboriginal people.

The immigrants lured by grants of riverside land were remarkably diverse in age, wealth, nationality and life experience. Welshman Charles Boydell was only 18 years old when he was granted ‘Camyr Allyn’. In contrast, Jamaican plantation owner and slave master Francis Blower Gibbes had fought in the Battle of Trafalgar two decades before he was granted ‘Norwood’. Constantine Crichton, who purchased ‘Wallah’ near Gresford, was born in St Petersburg, Russia, where his father was personal physician to the Tsar. Irish shepherd boy Edward Kealy was granted a mere 200 acres that he named ‘Summer Hill’.

The book also provides information on the convicts, emancipists, free immigrants and colonial-born who worked on the estates or leased parts of them as tenant farmers. This includes the wave of German immigrants in the 1840s and 1850s.

Vacy to Gresford shows how the subdivision of many of the large estates from the late 1800s replaced a mosaic of tenanted farms with a patchwork of small, privately owned farms, many of which became dairy farms. The book also explains the formation of the villages of Vacy, Gresford and East Gresford.

The book’s publication was supported by Create NSW’s Cultural Grants Program, a devolved funding program administered by the Royal Australian Historical Society on behalf of the NSW Government.

When: Sunday, 17 March 2024 at 2 pm.
Where: School of Arts Hall at Vacy NSW 2421.
Details: patersonhistory.org.au


Don't miss a post. Subscribe below to receive a round-up of the week's content.

Closure of Griffith Genealogical and Historical Society

Closure of Griffith Genealogical and Historical Society

Written by Christine Gavin (President, Griffith Genealogical and Historical Society)

There was an end of an era when the Griffith Genealogical and Historical Society closed its doors at the end of December 2023 after 42 years. Over time, it became more and more difficult to get members to run the Society due to the ages and medical issues of the active members, and our membership was dwindling.

The majority of our assets and resources have been donated to the Griffith City Library. Many photographs went to the Griffith Pioneer Park Museum, and anything to do with the Wars was donated to the Griffith War Memorial Museum. Those resources that the library did not want (usually because they already had them) have gone to the Leeton Family and Local History Society.

Over the years, the members enjoyed fellowship, support in their research, social gatherings including celebration luncheons and dinners, running stalls at various functions around the district, visits to historical places in the district and attending seminars held by other societies.

In addition to the usual resources that family history groups have, the Society commenced transcribing local cemeteries and those of outlying districts. A CD was put out for sale that included details of each grave in the cemetery, a photograph of the headstone, details of where the grave was situated, and information such as obituaries or articles that may have appeared in local newspapers. Currently, there are over 79,500 entries in the database.

The Griffith Collection was established, where many old photographs of the area and its inhabitants were borrowed, copied, and later scanned and converted to digital format and stored. At present, there are 39,150 photographs of plaques/headstones and 11,150 historical images.

The Griffith and District Pioneers Book was collated and published. Local people were asked to submit their family history of the pioneers in the district. There were so many stories that there ended up being three editions – before the War, after the War and those who migrated to the district.

Two Pictorial books were published – Early Griffith and District: A Pictorial History and Centenary of the Griffith District 1916 to 2016. (These books are held in the RAHS Library).

The black cover of 'Centenary of the Griffith District 1916 to 2016' features a photograph of a sculpture park.

The Society scanned all the historical Water Conservation and Irrigation Commission Land Record Cards plus some maps. There were 6,381 scanned images with each image comprising 1–6 record cards. The information was transferred to a USB for local research. The cards were then sent to the NSW Archives Office in Sydney, along with a USB with the records on it.

Members were often called on to speak to various organisations about the Society, and with the advent of technology, these talks turned to PowerPoint presentations.

A presentation titled ‘Griffith in the Olden Days’ was made this year to a local primary school. Among the photographs was a photo of a family swimming in an irrigation channel and a photograph of the phone on the wall. We explained that there were no swimming pools and people had to cool off in the channels and they often had leeches in them. The most popular questions after the presentation were ‘How did you get the leeches off when you were swimming in the channel?’ and ‘How did you contact your friends if no one had a mobile phone?’

Although the Society has now closed, people can still use the resources at the Griffith City Library. A roster of ex-members who will be on duty will be drawn up. There will also be a list of those who are willing to be called in when someone arrives at the library and needs some assistance.

Don't miss a post. Subscribe below to receive a round-up of the week's content.

Invitation to anniversary at Camp Cove, 21 January 2024

Invitation to anniversary at Camp Cove, 21 January 2024

The Woollahra History and Heritage Society invite you to the anniversary of the first landing

A black and white photograph showing a group of people standing on a hill above the beach at Camp Cove. They are holding parasols and are well dressed.

Camp Cove celebrations, c.1930 (RAHS Glass Slide Collection).

The Woollahra History and Heritage Society (WHHS) invites you to the anniversary of the first landing of Captain Arthur Phillip RN on 21st January 1788 in Sydney Harbour at Camp Cove after rowing from Botany Bay.

This event is on Sunday, 21st January 2024 at 6.00 pm, at Governor Phillip’s Memorial Monument*, top end Pacific Street, Laings Point, Camp Cove, Watsons Bay.

Join us, bring friends, a rug (or chair), a drink and a snack.

WHHS is honoured to have Margaret Cameron-Ash, noted historian of Woollahra and author of the recent work Beating France to Botany Bay, to give a short talk to mark the occasion. Please RSVP with the number of people. We look forward to you joining us.

RSVP: Peter E. King – pking@qsc.com.au.

Practical aspects to note:

  • Parking may be difficult in the area, so perhaps carpool, or
  • Bus 324 goes from Edgecliff to Watsons Bay via Vaucluse, or
  • Ferries run from Rose Bay to and from Watsons Bay every half hour until 9.00 pm.

There is no charge for the event but donations to the Society are welcome. June Poland’s booklet on Governor Phillip will also be distributed.

*The tablet on the memorial was presented by Mrs Ethel Foster, a founding member of the Royal Australian Historical Society, and unveiled on 26 January 1927.

Don't miss a post. Subscribe below to receive a round-up of the week's content.

2023 Certificates of Achievement and Appreciation

2023 Certificates of Achievement and Appreciation

2023 Certificates of Achievement

RAHS Affiliated Societies are critical in promoting local and community history. The RAHS Certificates of Achievement honour the wide-ranging contributions made by their members.

Nominated by Australian Computer Museum Society

Murray Irwin

For his commitment and service since 2003. Murray has served as Membership Officer and Secretary since 2020. Through his generosity and dedication, Murray has raised significant funds by selling, collecting and recycling discarded and donated items. His attendance, advocacy, and support for the museum, its committee, and its members have inspired everyone within the Society. The Society acknowledges and appreciates Murray’s continuous and selfless contributions and dedicated service.

Nominated by Bathurst District Historical Society

Sarah Swift

For her commitment and service since 2018. In 2020, Sarah was elected to the committee and appointed Publicity Officer. She manages the Society’s social media and, as part of a sub-committee, recently upgraded the website and oversees its ongoing maintenance. Her recent publication, 75 Treasures: Celebrating 75 years of the Bathurst District Historical Society, has been well received by local historians. The Society’s members appreciate Sarah’s invaluable and worthwhile contributions.

Nominated by Berrigan and District Heritage Museum

Marnie Steer

For her commitment and service since 2003. Marnie has served as Secretary since 2005 and organises events and activities. She is involved with the recording and cataloguing of the museum collection. Her displays in the museum and support for fundraising events have always been appreciated. Marnie’s caring involvement also extends to her local community. The Museum acknowledges Marnie’s longstanding participation and enthusiasm throughout the years.

Nominated by Berrima District Historical and Family History Society

Sylvia Carless

For her commitment, enthusiasm and outstanding service to the Society and its museum since 2006. Sylvia’s tasks since 2007 have included preparing volunteer rosters, training volunteers and maintaining the museum’s grounds and gardens. As a sub-committee member, she performs counter duties and museum cleaning and assists with group bookings and functions. The Society recognises Sylvia’s significant contributions, local knowledge and cheerful manner.

John Schweers

For his commitment and contributions since 2010. John currently serves as Museum Manager, attending to the archives and museum, arranging group bookings, functions and promotions, and welcoming visitors. His many hours supporting the Society and other volunteers, instructing new members, having reliable attendance, and being able to sort out problems with a good sense of humour and patience are well received. He is passionate about passing on Berrima’s history to all visitors. John’s tireless efforts and dedication are worthy of the Society’s recognition and praise.

Nominated by Brunswick Valley Historical Society

Peter Tsicalas

For his commitment and service since 2001. Peter’s research into Greek heritage in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales has resulted in a website and two publications. Peter has also written on the history of Mullumbimby for the Society. Since 2010, he has written and compiled the Society’s newsletter and researched relevant local information. Peter has also assisted in maintaining and conserving the Society’s exhibits and park grounds and helped with the clean-up after the 2022 floods. The Society and the community recognise and appreciate Peter’s worthwhile contributions.

Susan Tsicalas

For her longstanding service since 2004. Susan currently serves as Treasurer, Secretary and Public Officer. She has been involved with the Society’s newsletter since 2010. She talks to visiting groups, answers enquiries and helps maintain exhibits. She researched the Wilsons Creek Primary School Centenary publication. She also organises the monthly meetings, designs and installs exhibitions, and was involved with the clean-up after the 2022 floods. The Society and the community recognise and appreciate Susan’s worthwhile contributions.

Nominated by City of Sydney Historical Association

Beverley Brooks

For her longstanding commitment and service since joining COSHA as a foundation member in 2000. Currently in her nineteenth year as President, Beverley has also served as Treasurer, General Secretary and Minutes Secretary. She organises the events, liaises with the presenters, maintains the website and social media, and chairs the monthly meetings. The Association acknowledges Beverley’s invaluable work and outstanding achievements. Her diligence and ethical management in these roles, and with assistance from members of its executive team, have ensured COSHA’s continuing success.

John Brooks

For his invaluable contributions over two decades with COSHA. John served as Newsletter Editor from 2007 to 2019 and as Treasurer and Membership Officer for the last four years. He continues to organise the printing and distribution of the newsletter. His commitment to members ensured they received their newsletter, their main form of interaction and communication during the lockdown restrictions of 2020–2021. John’s monitoring and management of finances and memberships are invaluable to the Association’s continuing success.

Nominated by Marrickville Heritage Society

Sue Castrique

For her commitment and service since 2018. Sue is a researcher, script editor, historian and speaker. She has volunteered for the Addison Road Community Organisation and has worked with the Addison Road Army Depot veterans. Sue’s published work has contributed to the history of Sydney and the Marrickville area. An ardent supporter of local and state libraries and archives, she has been vocal and proactive in lobbying for improved and accessible local study resources. The Society acknowledges Sue’s work as a promoter of local history.

Nominated by Parramatta and District Historical Society

Ronda Gaffey

For her commitment and service since 2014. Ronda’s contributions include guiding tours and presenting talks to members and other heritage groups. Since 2015, she worked as a Hambledon Cottage Guide and is involved with the Parramatta Female Factory Friends, serving as Secretary, Editor and Publicity Officer. Ronda has also been a Parramatta Heritage Partners Secretary since 2017. The Society recognises Ronda’s dedication to local and community history.

2023 Certificate of Appreciation

The RAHS Certificate of Appreciation honours the contribution made by RAHS volunteers.

Jessica Buckton

For her contribution to the RAHS website and for supporting RAHS operational activities. Jessica initially joined the RAHS as a Macquarie University intern. She worked with RAHS staff and Councillors to deliver the website Competition, Community and Country: Agricultural Shows in NSW, which contains resources that highlight the social, cultural and educational significance of agricultural shows in NSW. Jessica then became a volunteer and has supported online events, contributed content for Women’s History Month and continues to develop online resources.

Don't miss a post. Subscribe below to receive a round-up of the week's content.

2023 Ian Jack Memorial Lecture: Macquarie and the Towns

2023 Ian Jack Memorial Lecture: Macquarie and the Towns

2023 Ian Jack Memorial Lecture

Macquarie and the Towns

The Hawkesbury Historical Society warmly invites you to attend the Ian Jack Memorial Lecture on Thursday, 26th October 2023, at 7.30 pm, in St Matthew’s Anglican Parish Hall, Moses Street, Windsor.

The special guest speaker is Dr Iain Stuart, BA (Hons), M Env Sci, PhD, President of the Royal Australian Historical Society.

Iain Stuart is a professional historian. He is currently the President of the Royal Australian Historical Society. Iain will discuss Macquarie and the towns, including the Scottish influences on their design. It is shown that the concept of improving estates and the creation of planned towns would have been familiar to both Lachlan and Elizabeth Macquarie through their direct experiences in Scotland and the ties of both to the pervasive Scottish Enlightenment. Iain has collected plans and other items which add great interest to his talk. This is a guest speaker not to be missed as Iain’s interests have obvious ties to Ian Jack’s writing on the early town designs.

We would love to see you either in person or via Zoom.

RSVP to Jan Barkley-Jack: j.barkley-jack@hotmail.com.au.

R. Ian Jack loomed large in the history world for 50 years. He was the longest-serving President of the Royal Australian Historical Society and a member of the Federal Historical Societies of Australia. He was also a supreme historian and heritage specialist and a one-time member of the NSW Heritage Council. He held the positions of Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Head of the History Department and Chair of the Board of Studies in Music and had the rare honour of being made a Fellow of the University, all at the University of Sydney. He was the valued President of Hawkesbury Historical Society for 5 years from 2014 to 2019 until his death.

Don't miss a post. Subscribe below to receive a round-up of the week's content.

Vale: Australian Society for the History of Engineers and Technology (2003–2023)

Vale: Australian Society for the History of Engineers and Technology (2003–2023)

Written by Mari Metzke (ASHET Secretary)

The Australian Society for the History of Engineering and Technology (ASHET) first met as a group on 10 April 2003. Our chosen venue was the Auditorium at History House, as many of the founding members were associated with the RAHS. At that time, I worked at the RAHS dealing with all the needs of about 350 Affiliated Societies scattered around NSW.

Initially, I had been approached by retired engineer Ian Arthur, who was at that time an active member of Engineers Australia, for he was concerned that not enough was being done to research and record the changes in technology and engineering in Australia. So, a small group of like-minded people met, and ASHET was formed and registered as an Affiliated Society of the RAHS. As the group of supporters grew, we came up with a plan that we would manage ASHET at the management committee level, and our public face would be talks held at History House.

The RAHS agreed with this plan as ASHET would fill a gap in the RAHS evening talks program by providing well-researched talks given by speakers who were recognised experts in their field. After all, many of these potential speakers were already members of ASHET. Our first evening talk focussed on the legislation and ethics of heritage and was given by Dr Ian Jack. It was a roaring success, and by the end of 2003, ASHET had 65 paid-up members.

Each year until 2018, we had at least ten evening talks at History House. We would meet at 5.30 pm for wine, cheese, biscuits and a meet-and-greet. The talk would begin at 6 pm, and we were usually finished, out of History House and on our way home by 7.30 pm. The formulae worked well and not only did we hear an amazing range of talks, but in the 5.30 pm to 6 pm session, many long-lasting friendships were formed.

Our formulae for the talks program were simple. A variety of topics was essential but at least one talk each year had to focus on railways. As we grew in strength, so did our website, which included researched papers, topics for discussion and news for all our members, some of whom were residents interstate. We were also to have in our membership senior staff of the Powerhouse Museum and various universities who helped us plan interesting talks.

Our members wanted more than talks, so soon we were visiting engineering workplaces around Sydney where we could see new technologies or the last hurrah of old technologies. The interest in these visits caused us to look around NSW to see what other places we could visit. In 2009 we organised a twelve-day bus trip to Broken Hill, Menindee, Mildura and Mungo National Park. In 2011 we went by car to Glen Davis, Rylstone and Kandos and then in August we took a bus study tour to the New England region and Lightning Ridge. Participants were so excited by the ‘make-do’ technology of the opal miners of Lightning Ridge that ASHET resolved to help them upgrade their information panels in their main community museum.

ASHET applied for a Federal Grant and received $20,500 to conduct oral history workshops at Lightning Ridge to train local oral historians and to design and have manufactured quality information panels for the museum. ASHET members also marked the end of the railway service to the original Newcastle Railway Station by catching one of the last services there and spending a weekend in Newcastle exploring the local engineering and technology surprises.

Sometimes an idea for a project can be right under your feet. In this case, our next major project was in fact in the RAHS Archives. Years earlier, the RAHS had taken in part of the Unilever archives and this collection included visual material that supported Unilever’s investigations into the manufacture of margarine at their Sydney factory. Their major potential market would be the makers of meat pies. So, ASHET once again applied for a grant to do the research and create travelling display panels telling the ‘Making Meat Pies in Sydney’ story. We received a grant, and the exhibition was launched at History House with a talk about pies. The new display panels were soon on the move, bringing the pie-making story to many country and interstate libraries.

A photograph of an art deco building with the sign 'Holland Rusk Cakes & Pies'

Holland Pies, 1963 – 111 Hampden Road, Artarmon NSW. D.K. Williamson, ‘Unilever Australia Pty. Ltd. M.P. Project’ (August, 1963)

As the years went by, our membership aged and many of the team who started ASHET fell by the wayside. Initially, our evening talks at History House were suspended due to pending building works then COVID-19 hit, and all events were cancelled.

Finally, in 2022, our remaining committee members resolved that we would call for nominations from our membership to form a new committee. We hoped this might re-vitalise ASHET. We contacted our membership with that motion and, in case that motion failed, a second motion that ASHET would be wound up, and our remaining funds would be transferred to the RAHS Building Fund. As not enough offers came forward to form a new committee, ASHET was wound up. After ASHET’s term deposits finally matured, in June we transferred $19,745.74 into the RAHS Building Fund.

Over the years, ASHET always had a loyal and supportive membership. To be a member of our management committee meant interesting meetings, stimulating conversation and congenial dinners at various members’ homes. For fear of missing someone, I have chosen not to name individual ASHET members, except for Ian Jack and Ian Arthur, who were really the founding fathers of ASHET. The rest of us did what we could, when we could, to make sure that more people learnt about the history of engineering and technology in Australia.

Don't miss a post. Subscribe below to receive a round-up of the week's content.