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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 - People

Attainted No More - How Convicts Became Citizens (2012) (1.5 MB)

European settlement of Australia mainly consisted of convicts and the people looking after them. The resulting penal colony was a unique social experiment that tested the British character and required a flexible approach to British law to suit the conditions. As time passed, many former convicts became wealthy and influential men who increasingly demanded an administration that was less military and more civilian. Their main concerns were the abolition of the law of convict attaint (which prevented anyone who arrived with a commuted death sentence from owning property), trial by jury and the right to vote and stand for parliament. These rights, enjoyed by any British citizen, were slowly and painfully achieved in the colony.

The Perkal Brothers - Bespoke Shoemakers of Surry Hills (2014) (1.5 MB)

Adam and Morris Perkal grew up in the Jewish community of a small town in Poland. Their peaceful life was shattered in September 1939 when German air force bombed their town, killing their mother and youngest brother and leaving the town in ruins. The two brothers managed to survive the ensuing Holocaust: Adam by passing himself off as an ethnic German but enduring ghettos and concentration camps, Morris by fleeing to the Soviet Union where he worked as a shoemaker. The brothers reunited in Sydney after the war and rebuilt their lives as bespoke shoemakers. They had many celebrity customers, but were happiest when making shoes to enable disabled people to walk again.

Engineering the airwaves - the life of Jack Ross AM (2023) (1.5 MB)

Jack Ross was born in Toowoomba and grew up during the Great Depression of the 1930s before joining the RAAF in 1941, where he trained as a radio mechanic and later with radar. After the war, he developed his career with the PMG as an engineer, specialising in the installation of ABC radio transmitters, firstly in Queensland and later in South Australia. He lived through a transformative time in broadcasting technology, and decided to record its history in a series of books before it was forgotten. After retirement, he was honoured with a number of awards for his outsrtanding contribution to the preservation of radio heritage and for taking technology to the community with many public appearances and interviews.

Exiles of Conscience - the Australian political convicts (2023) (5.3 MB)

The Age of Revolution (1789-1848) produced a series of political upheavals in Continental Europe that did much to remove absolute monarchies and introduce liberal democracy. Britain was relatively unaffected by the revolutions because it was already further along the path to electoral reform. But very few Britons could vote and the electoral system favoured the aristocracy, so the changes in Europe stirred up some rebellion in Britain. Poor economic and employment conditions also caused protests. The Government's response was to exile their rebels to Australia as convicts. Eventually, the movements for political and economic reform in Britain and Canada influenced the colonial governments in Australia. Self-government and electoral reform were achieved as a result of the efforts of the political convicts.

Inner Sydney at war - the home front from Sudan to Vietnam (2024) (2.4 MB)

The Australian colonies were keen to show their growing self-confidence and enduring connection to the British Empire by sending troops overseas in support of Britain's wars. The first was to Sudan in 1885, a very short campaign, but popular at home. The Boer War and Boxer Rebellion followed, with growing involvement by the home front. The two World Wars then heralded a great expansion in home front activities to provide vital support for thousands of cold, hungry and isolated soldiers. But support at home peaked during this time, and later conflicts were not viewed as enthusiastically by the public: the Korean War was treated with indifference and the Vietnam War with open hosility in some quarters.


John W. Ross.

Email: rossjw@ozemail.com.au

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