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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 - Buildings

The History of Durham Hall, Surry Hills (2015) (2.1 MB)

George Hill, wealthy butcher, innkeeper and Mayor of Sydney, built the handsome Georgian-style villa he named Durham Hall in 1835. He also built two groups of adjacent cottages in the 1840s. After his death in 1883, Durham Hall was used as a boarding house until the pioneering felt hat maker Charles Anderson converted the rear grounds into a large hat factory and lived in the house until his death in 1924. The German Concordia Club then transformed it into a venue for dancing and skittles. During World War II, the American Red Cross operated the Booker T. Washington Club for African-American servicemen, where bebop jazz was introduced to Sydney. After restoration to its original glory in 1983, the Royal College of Pathologists has operated from the house and cottages next door.

An end to isolation - the La Perouse Cable Station (2016) (2.5 MB)

Until the 1870s, the only communication between Britain and Australia was by ship, taking weeks or months to bring news to the colony. But earlier in the century, the development of the electric telegraph by inventors such as Samuel Morse and Charles Wheatstone led to a way of communicating much more quickly over long distances. By the 1860s, undersea cables connected most of the continents. Britain was linked to Australia in 1872, where the Overland Telegraph Line allowed international news, messages and Government directives to reach Sydney and Melbourne in minutes. Finally, in 1876, the cable system was extended from La Perouse in southern Sydney to New Zealand.

The History of Cleveland House, Surry Hills (2017) (3.1 MB)

Daniel Cooper arrived in Sydney in 1816 as a convict, but rapidly built up a large business empire after being pardoned. He capped off his success by building Cleveland House, an imposing Georgian villa designed by Francis Greenway. After Cooper returned to England, the house and surrounding buildings were used by a wide variety of occupants, reflecting the changing nature of the inner suburbs since European settlement. It stands today as the oldest surviving mansion in Australia

The Legacy of religions in Sydney's inner east (2021) (3.8 MB)

Christianity arrived in NSW with the First Fleet, mostly Anglican with a sizable Catholic minority of Irish convicts. Other denominations followed and were given official recognition from 1835. Schools, hospitals and welfare services were needed, and in the absence of State-run institutions, the churches took on these responsibilities. Colonial Governments eventually adopted a model of charity-based services subsidised by the State, which largely continues today. The Catholic Church remains a significant provider of education, and the Salvation Army and Mission Australia are leading providers of welfare to the needy.

Cabbage trees and rabbits: the history of hat-making in Sydney (2022) (3.0 MB)

When the first Europeans arrived in Sydney in 1788, it was soon obvious that their caps and narrow-brimmed hats could not cope with the fierce summer sun. The local cabbage tree palm leaves were utilised to fashion wide-brimmed straw hats, creating the colony's first cottage industry. Felt hats made from rabbit fur, available in great abundance, became a major industry in an era when everyone wore a hat. Protection from cheaper foreign hats by import tariffs was a long-standing issue, and directly affected the viability of many hat makers as tariffs went up and down. By the 1950s, hat-wearing was losing popularity and many factories closed, but Akubra and Mountcastle have survived, and continue to supply the Army's famous slouch hats.


John W. Ross.

Email: rossjw@ozemail.com.au

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