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Walk around Paddington in Sydney where its boutique art galleries hang mainly Australian traditional and contemporary art Paddo Walks
Walk around Surry Hills Sydney where its boutique art galleries hang mainly Australian traditional and contemporary art. Surry Hills Walks
Walk around Darlinghurst Sydney where its boutique art galleries hang mainly Australian traditional and contemporary art. Darlo Walk
Walk around Chippendale Sydney where its boutique art galleries hang mainly Australian traditional and contemporary art. Chippendale Walk
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Local History - Sydney's historic places

The History of Collins Street, Surry Hills (2011) (1.8 MB)

Collins Street was created in the 1840s as part of the Riley Estate subdivision, and has seen a steady development of residential and industrial buildings since the 1850s. The street is almost a microcosm of the local area, as it eventually contained a pub, grocery shop, fruit shop, school, library, park, children's welfare centre and a Scout Hall. A variety of industries also sprang up, including a steam laundry, cannery, carriage maker, and a patent medicine manufacturer.

The History of McElhone Place, Surry Hills (2013) (1.8 MB)

McElhone Place is an historic lane with 1840s sandstone cottages on one side and 1870s brick terrace houses on the other side. It was built by the wealthy former convict Terence McElhone and his descendants, and owned by the family until sold to the pickpocket and property tycoon Teresa Taylor in 1927. It narrowly survived the threat of demolition for high-rise flats in the 1960s to enjoy a resurgence in the 1980s with a beautification project by the residents that saw the street win many gardening awards.

Jaffas in the suburbs - the cinemas of Sydney's eastern fringe (2016) (4.6 MB)

The invention of the Cinematographe in the 1890s saw cinema gradually take over from vaudeville, so that by 1911 it was the most popular form of entertainment in Sydney. Several picture theatres started operating in the eastern fringe of the city, often quickly-erected wooden structures with no roof, eventually replaced by a sturdier brick building if they were successful. Talkies arrived in the late 1920s, and suburban cinemas did well enough until after WWII when the cost of living rose steadily. But a mortal blow was dealt by the advent of television from the late 1950s. The few cinemas that survived were those that converted to smaller arthouse venues to cater for a new audience interested in Continental films.

The History of Moore Park, Sydney (2018) (4.8 MB)

Sydney Common was an area of 1,000 acres set aside by Governor Lachlan Macquarie in 1811 for the grazing of animals. By 1866, the demand for more sporting facilities prompted Sydney City Council to create Moore Park in the western half of the Common. SInce this time, the park has been home to a great variety of sports and recreational activities, as well as the Royal Easter Show, an incinerator, a dogs' home, and a rifle range. Along with the adjacent Centennial Park and Queen's Park, it remains the green heart of the eastern part of Sydney.

The History of Victoria Park, Zetland (2019) (3.0 MB)

The Waterloo Swamp, part of the system of lakes between Sydney Harbour and Botany Bay, was first used by European settlers in the 1820s to operate water mills for grinding wheat. By the 1840s, the growing wool industry saw the mills converted to wool-washing establishments. In 1904, James Joynton Smith transformed the much-reduced swamp into a fine pony racing course that he named Victoria Park. The racecourse flourished until World War II, when government legislation closed down pony racing in NSW. In the 1950s, the area became the Leyland automobile factory until 1975, when the Australian Navy took it over for a vast stores depot. In 1995, Landcom purchased the site and it was developed into apartments.

Taylor Square - Sydney's first hub (2019) (6.2 MB)

A road was built in 1811 to connect Sydney Town with a signal station at South Head. Bourke Street, created to transport goods from the Woolloomooloo docks, intersected this road at a point that became Taylor Square. In time the renamed Oxford Street was filled with retail businesses and was widened to accommodate the increased traffic. The square was Sydney's first major hub for transport, trade, several pubs, and institutions such as a gaol and courthouse.

Gunsmoke in the park - the Paddington Rifle Range (2020) (2.3 MB)

After Victoria Barracks was constructed in Paddington, a rifle range was established in present-day Moore Park in 1852 for musketry training. A second range was constructed next to the military range in 1862 for civilian riflemen, including the growing Corps of Volunteers. It was an era when firearms were widely used in the colony for self-defence, sport shooting and to supplement the meagre diets in the early years. The range closed in 1890 when a new site was opened in Randwick.

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John W. Ross.

Email: rossjw@ozemail.com.au

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