Very Rude Awakening
This year will mark
the 75th anniversary of the Japanese
midget submarine raid on Sydney. Three
midget submarines crept into Sydney Harbour
on 31 May 1942, determined to sink the American
cruiser USS Chicago. However they didnt
get very far. This is a true but farcical
story of what happened to the submarines,
and worse, how we the Australians and
Americans- handled the situation.
It is the most amazing narrative
of our closest brush with invasion .
by Peter Grose, who is a former journalist,
literary agent and publisher and has written
several acclaimed books.
WORKMAN: IMAGES OF SYDNEY: 1960's.
Russell Workman is a professional photographer
who worked at both the Nicholson Museum and
the Department of Archaeology at the University
for many years specialising in the photography
of artefacts. He has taught TAFE courses but
today he concentrates on heritage photography
projects. This will be a brand new exhibition
of Sydney heritage photography.
14 JANUARY at 2.00pm
is the remarkable story of the Swiss born
Nazi spy, Annette Wagner who arrived in Sydney
in March 1938 and departed Australia in February
Less than 4 months after arriving in Australia
in 1938, she acquired espionages greatest
communication asset broadcasting her
own programs on public radio to nationwide
audiences a secure channel for transmitting
Overlooked in the National Archives for nearly
seventy years, the story of the broadcasting
spy may now be told.
This is not just an academic study. Greg Clancys
uncle knew Wagner and flew her to Newcastle,
unaware she was taking aerial photographs
of the citys its steel works during
10 DECEMBER 2016 at 2.00pm
Phillip: Sailor Mercenary, Governor Spy
by Michael Pembroke - writer, naturalist and
judge of the Supreme Court of NSW.
selected Botany Bay as the replacement for their
former North American colonies and as the place
to transport prisoners from Britains overcrowded
gaols, they adopted a new enlightened attitude
which would see New South Wales offer their
convict population the opportunity to redeem
themselves and become model settlers in a new
land. In choosing Arthur Phillip to help plan
and implement this new policy, history shows
us that the British Government chose the right
only did he successfully lead the biggest and
longest fleet transporting convicts through
largely uncharted waters ever attempted to that
time, but he did so with minimal loss of life
due to his policies and practices to protect
all concerned from the diseases normally endemic
on long sea voyages.
12 NOVEMBER 2016 at 2.00pm
BELL: THE HISTORY OF SYDNEY IN VERSE:
THE MARVELLOUS FUNAMBULIST OF MIDDLE HARBOUR
AND OTHER SYDNEY FIRSTS
is a beautifully crafted and entertaining history
of unexpected firsts that have happened
in Sydney. From the first use of ether by a
dental surgeon, to Quong Tarts first tea
rooms, the book explores a number of people,
places and events that have shaped our city
in witty short rhymes, we also learnt about
the first pistol duel in 1788, the first cemetery
in 1792 and the first traffic light in 1933.
Towards the end there is a second helpings
section which elaborates more information on
the stories explored in the book.
Bell is an Australian writer of stage, fiction,
radio, screen, and theatre. Bell is a graduate
of NIDA, the Australian Film Television and
Radio School, and the Juilliard Playwrights
Studio. She writes in many different areas including
stage, fiction, radio, screen, and theatre.
October 8th, 2016 1:30pm
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
TALK BY CITY OF SYDNEY HISTORIAN DR LISA MURRAY
CHASING THE FOX: SLY-GROG IN 1930S
ERSKINEVILLE & ALEXANDRIA.
razor gangs of Surry Hills and their female
figureheads Kate Leigh and Tilley Devine
have gained notoriety in 21st century
popular culture as the epitome of Sydneys
organised crime. But local crims in Erskineville
and Alexandria were equally notorious and violent.
City Historian Lisa Murray shared some of her
latest research on gambling, sly-grog and crime
in the suburbs of Erskineville and Alexandria,
drawing up the Citys oral history collection.
10th September, 2016
Catherine Bishop, Research Officer, Dean's Unit
- School of Humanities & Comm Arts at the
University of Western Sydney talked about:
HER OWN BUSINESS: COLONIAL BUSINESSWOMEN IN
are few memorials to colonial businesswomen,
but if you know where to look you can find many
traces of their presence as you wander the streets
of Sydney. From milliners anddressmakers to
ironmongers and booksellers; from publicans
and boarding-house keepers to butchers and taxidermists;
from school teachers to ginger-beer manufacturers:
these women have been hidden in the historical
record but were visible to their contemporaries.
Catherine Bishop brought the stories of these
entrepreneurial women to life, with fascinating
details of their successes and failures, their
determination and wilfulness, their achievements,
their tragedies and the occasional juicy scandal.
Until now we have imagined colonial women indoors
as wives, and mothers, domestic servants or
prostitutes.Her book sets them firmly out in
13th August 2016
WRECKS OF HOMEBUSH BAY
Sydneysiders have no idea we have our very own
ships graveyard in Homebush Bay. They
were all abandoned at the end of their useful
lives mostly in the 1970s and now adorn the
landscape at what is now Wentworth Point. These
wrecks are also a photographers dream
come true. As well as the old ships there, many
items of maritime structures still are clinging
on the shoreline.
Committee Member Betty Candy heard about these
wrecks and, with a camera, decided to investigate.
9 JULY 2016
TOUR OF ROYAL BOTANICAL GARDENS
celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Botanical
Gardens COSHA arranged a guided tour for members
The Botanic Gardens were founded on this site
by Governor Macquarie in 1816 as part of the
Governor's Domain. Australia's long history
of collection and study of plants began with
the appointment of the first Colonial Botanist,
Charles Fraser, in 1817. The Botanic Gardens
is thus the oldest scientific institution in
Australia and from the earliest days, has played
a major role in the acclimatisation of plants
from other regions
11 JUNE 2016 AT 2.00 PM
WHITAKER TALKED ABOUT
SYDNEY STORMS OF THE PAST
Storm Rose Bay 1942
of televisions well known weathermen and enthusiastic
historians Dick Whitaker wasable to draw on
records of how the Sydney weather can become
storms are not new to the east coast of Australia
and the location of Sydney has placed it in
the path of many of these displays of the destructive
power of nature.
14th MAY 2016 AT 2.00 PM
CONTRIBUTION TO THE NATIONAL TRUST HERITAGE
LAWRENCE HARGRAVE: FATHER OF INTERNATIONAL
1893, Lawrence Hargrave began investigations
that led him to his second great invention of
the box kite construction that lifted him from
the beach at Stanwell Park, attached to the
ground by piano wire. Much of the progress that
led to manned flying machines can be traced
to that event.
Michael Adams from the Lawrence Hargrave Society
at Stanwell Park told his story
9th APRIL, 2016
Governor Lachlan Macquarie was a major sponsor
of exploration of the colony. After Blaxland,
Wentworth and Lawson's successful crossing of
the Blue Mountains he ordered the establishment
of Bathurst, Australia's first inland city.
As the colony opened its horizons, Macquarie
toured many of the new settlements with his
Our speaker, Patrick Dodd has five decades of
experience in education, training, public relations
and tourism. Patrick is now busier than ever
as a Volunteer Guide at the Australian National
Maritime Museum on HM Bark Endeavour and a Volunteer
Guide at the State Library of NSW.
12th MARCH, 2016
Refloating of the Endeavour from the Barrier
Endeavour of the coast of New Holland, by Samuel
from help in 1770 and with the potential to
destroy Cooks and Banks voyage of
discovery, the refloating and repair of the
bark Endeavour was not only superb piece of
seamanship but also a most significant event
for the history of the settlement Australia
by the British.
Drawing on the ships log, Cooks
journal and accounts from officers and scientists
on board as well as the observations of modern
historians, Researcher Carolyn Davey revealed
the remarkable skill and courage the crew showed
as they refloated their ship off the sharp coral.
6th FEBRUARY, 2016
Anzac Brand, Battlefield innovations and the
9th JANUARY, 2016
Police Inspector Don Eyb spoke about a Sydney
The Police Horses of Sydney
The Police Horses of Sydney, little known to
be the oldest continuous Mounted Police Unit
in the world- their history, preparation and
duties .They used to be on every busy city corner
and today are still seen about a myriad of duties,
usually at busy events when the crowds are most
dense. They were also privileged to appear at
the Queens Diamond Jubilee in 2012 with horse
from her Household cavalry
12th DECEMBER, 2015
Delia Falconer, Senior Lecturer in Creative
writing at UTS and a well known Australian author
spoke about her new non-fiction book
book is part of a series in which a prominent
author writes about their home city. The aim
has been to try to capture the citys essence.
Delia Falconer has captured the very thing that
makes Sydney, Sydney. Tales of Sydneys
troubled history are woven with stories of poets,
authors and artists, criminals and eccentrics
as well as Falconers own personal recollections
of growing up in McMahons Point in the
1960s and 70s.
PM SATURDAY 14th NOVEMBER, 2015
TALES STRANGER THAN FICTION
Black, Betty Candy, John Edwards and Trudy Holdsworth
with their strange and probably true stories
a Q&A session after the speakers had presented
where members were involved in the event which
was both entertaining and thought provoking.
SATURDAY 10th October, 2015
The Luck of the Irish
luck of the Irish was chronic bad luck, as their
sad history attests. That's how it looked for
250 Irish convicts when their ship, the Hive,
sank ignominiously off the New South Wales coast
in 1835. Miraculously all survived, guided to
safety by local Aboriginal people.
They landed at a time when the so-called slave
colony was at its height, ruled by the lash
and the chain gang. Yet as Babette Smith tracked
the lives of the people aboard the Hive,
she discovered a very different story. Most
were assigned to work on farms or in businesses,
building a better life than they possibly could
have experienced in Ireland. Surprisingly, in
the workforce they found power.
Babette Smith is one of Australia's most respected
experts on convict history, and author of the
bestselling Cargo of Women and Australia's
This talk followed our Annual General Meeting
12 September, 2015
The Newtown Ejectment Case
The Newtown Ejectment Case was one
of the Colonys biggest court cases. It
spanned 10 years and involved over 150 witnesses
featuring some of the whos who
of Sydney. It was eventually settled out of
court by the payment of an unknown sum of money
said to have been "considerable".
Its precedents are cited in the landmark Mabo
case. However, its main interest is the picture
it gives of colonial Sydney, including the system
that allowed assigned convicts to live away
from their assigned places and undertake
other jobs and the greed that outstripped
good sense on the part of the purchasers (who
became the defendants) who sniffed
something amiss but went ahead and bought the
speaker Matt Murphy is Newtowns fire chief
and has a passion for history and Newtowns
8th August, 2015
Hassall Family 1798-2015 - Missionary Ship Duff
1798 Rowland Hassall, his wife Elizabeth and
three sons fled to Sydney from hostile natives
in Tahiti where they had been sent from England
as missionaries. They thrived in the new colony,
preaching to the settlers, building their land
holdings and producing a large family whose
members include the Galloping Parson
Thomas, a governess to Macquaries family
and settlers of the new Bathurst and Mudgee
areas. Their names can be found in the streets
and parks of Parramatta, Windsor and Camden.
Later generations spread across the country
and helped develop New South Wales.
Committee Member, John Brooks is a sixth generation
member of the Hassall family and will talk about
the Hassalls and trace their fortunes from their
origins in England to the present day.
SATURDAY 11th July, 2015
James Barnet: Colonial Architect of a
Thousand Public Buildings
Colonial Secretary's Building. Source:State
Library of Victoria.
was Colonial Architect responsible for the building
of several important public buildings: Colonial
Secretary's Office, Public Works and Lands Buildings,
Customs House, Public Library, the Medical School
at the University of Sydney and the Callan Park
When the Duke of Edinburgh visited
Sydney in 1868, Barnet was given charge of arrangements
for the royal reception and in 1879 was responsible
for the design and erection of the Sydney International
Exhibition building on five acres of the Botanical
Donald Napper is Emeritus Professor and a past
Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the College of Science
and Technology at the University of Sydney.
13th June, 2015
A WALKING TOUR OF HISTORIC CALLAN PARK
Callan Park. Source: Sydney Architecture Website.
Rozelle Hospital site in Sydneys inner
west is 61 hectares of exceptionally beautiful,
undulating waterfront parkland. The site incorporates
many layers of archaeological, Aboriginal, historical,
cultural, aesthetic, and environmental heritage.
It contains many heritage buildings, including
the original houses (1839 and 1842) of the two
estates on which it is based; and the magnificent
Kirkbride Block, completed in 1885 for the Callan
Park psychiatric hospital is now the campus
of Sydney College of the Arts.
TRUST HERITAGE FESTIVAL
Kitten for Comfort - An Australian Nursing Sister
on Lemnos 1915
A Gallipoli kitten and Mascot - Born in
the trenches State Library of New South
Wales PXE 698
Sydney nursing sister Elizabeth McMillans
letters from Lemnos are like a voice-over
AW Savages 1915 photographs of the No
3 Australian General Hospital on Lemnos.
was one of over 2000 Australian trained nurses
who served overseas during
the war. Compared with the medical men the nurses
casualty rate was low but it has been
that about twenty percent of the nurses returning
in 1919 were unfit for further
active service. They were expected to pick up
life as if nothing had happened but, just as
it was for the returning servicemen, life for
the nurses was never the same again. Clare
puts McMillans letters together with Savages
images to explore insights into the
lives of the First World War nurses.
Clare Ashton is one of the organisers of a voyage
to Lemnos in September 2015 to
the ANZAC nurses in the Aegean in 1915. She
is an Honorary Research
at the University of Sydneys Nursing School.
11th April, 2015
and weatherman Richard Whitaker tells us about
HISTORY OF DARLINGHURST JAIL
A watercolour of the view from inside the walls
painted by the long term inmate Louis Betrand
in 1891. (from Wikipedia Commons)
1841 to 1914, Darlinghurst Gaol was Sydneys
main prison. It held both male
female prisoners and reflected much of the
penal philosophy of the time. Corporal
(flogging) was common as were regular hangings
that were held down the years,
the execution of Louisa Collins that
last woman to be hanged in NSW.
After 73 years the old gaol closed its doors
because of overcrowding and the impossibility
expanding into the already built-out area of
the surrounding suburb of Darlinghurst. The
existing prisoners were taken out to the new
gaol at Long Bay.
Whitaker looks at these long and sometimes turbulent
times and shows what an important
of Sydney history Darlinghurst Gaol represents.
14th March, 2015
Author and historian, Mary Small describes how
Lennie Gwyther, a nine-year-old
of a farmer, rode his pony, Ginger Mick, 600
miles from Leongatha in the Gippsland
of Victoria to Sydney to witness for himself
the celebratory opening of the Harbour
on Saturday 19th March 1932.
During his journey, newspaper reports of his
progress made him so famous that he was
invited to take part in the Grand Procession
after the official opening The stuff of legends,
Lennie's Ride is the story based on family
records of a remarkable young Australian.
14 February 2015
Envelopes, Lucky Gifts
is a tradition in Asian countries in business,
family life and during festive celebrations.
During Chinese New Year, the custom of giving
and receiving lucky envelopes brings
also play an important role in foreign diplomacy,
where respect for the rules of exchange
understanding cultural taboos are essential
in avoiding embarrassment. The City of Sydney
a fascinating collection of objects received
as official gifts which reflect the unique arts,
and cultural heritage of different parts of
the world. The Citys Curator, Margaret
some of the gifts presented to the City of Sydneys
8 NOVEMBER 2014
special event involving a panel of COSHA members
STRANGER THAN FICTION
selection of the weirder stories from our past
to be presented by members
long standing members of COSHA have both presented
historical talks and listened to many stories.
are not sure whether we can believe everything
that we hear. You can be the judge as they tell
Taller Tales they have come across..
will be a Q&A session after the speakers
have presented so that other members of COSHA
and their friends
can be involved in the event.
Golden Star Milk Bar, Hay Street, Perth, WA,
courtesy M. Coufos, from the In Their Own
Image: Greek-Australians, National Project Archives,
11th October 2014
Warren Fahey speaks and sings about Sydney
or the Bush
the Annual General Meeting at 1.30pm
commences at 2pm.
Fahey is a cultural historian, writer and performer
who uses song, poetry and humour to signpost
aspects of Australian history.
of 30 books and countless recordings - his latest
being 'The World Turned Upside-down - a social
history of the gold rush era'.
has received numerous honours including the
Order of Australia, Prime Minister's Centennial
Medal, Bush Laureate Award and, in 2012,
Australia's highest award for service
to music, The Don Banks Music Award. He prefers
to say he is a graduate of the Dingo University
of the Outback.
latest project includes 7 films highlighting
the history of Rookwood Cemetery. His talk for
the COSHA - 'Sydney Or The Bush' - will look
of 'curious' bush and city history illustrated
by folk songs and stories
Saturday September 13th
Horrors of Anzac -Aftermath laid bare
Dr Bruce Scates from Monash University spoke
to us of new digitised records that will change
the way we
of the Great War.
To mark the Centenary of 1914-18 the governments
of Australia and New
have digitised a sample of repatriation records-medical,
pension and correspondence files
with the men and women who returned from WW1.
Initially the digitisation centres on the first
contingent of Anzac forces to sail from Albany
the records will let us hear the voices of the
wives and families whose lives were also
by the trauma of the men who enlisted in the
Great War. This is a very wasat what
after the War to end all Wars.
Saturday August 9th
A History of the New South Wales Edge
August 2013 North Sydney historian Dr Ian Hoskins,
spoke to us about changes of Sydney Harbour.
he takes us further afield in his new book that
looks from Eden to Byron Bay. The New South
is more than 2000 kilometres long with 130 estuaries,
100 coastal lakes and a rich history.
the first history written of the New South Wales
coast, traces our relationship with this stretch
sea starting millennia ago when Aboriginal people
feasted on shellfish and perfected the art of
canoes, to our present obsession with the beach
as a place to live or holiday
Saturday July 12th
Mystery of the Greycliffe/Tahiti Disaster
Nicole Cama, a Curatorial Assistant at the National
Maritime Museum, will tell us about one of the
of Sydney Harbour. On 3 November 1927, the Union
Steamship Companys RMS Tahiti collided
the Watsons Bay ferry Greycliffe off
Bradleys Head. It became known as Sydneys
and etched itself into the minds of those who
witnessed scenes of indescribable horror
on that sunny afternoon. That day in Sydney
Harbour, 40 people lost their lives and a whole
brought to a standstill.
Fall of Sydney's Department Stores" by
At our 2012 Annual General Meeting we heard
from Michael Lech, Curator of the Caroline Chisholm
about the rise of Sydneys Department Stores.
Now for the other half of the story as he traces
decline of some of the vast retail organisations
that have been taken over, merged, moved interstate
simply disappeared as businesses.Changes in
social behaviour, growth of suburban shopping,
preferences and technology, the emergence of
large shopping centres, all have changed the
way that we
and the retailers that serve our needs.
10 MAY 2014
Flinders, Indomitable Explorer by Paul
today in the age of satellite navigation and
advanced communication the voyages of
Matthew Flinders would not be undertaken by
the faint hearted. When Matthew Flinders
arrived in Sydney the coastline was largely
unexplored. In 1796 Flinders set about
exploring the coastline firstly around Sydney
in a tiny open boat called Tom Thumb.
followed this by circumnavigating Tasmania and
charting the entire coastline of Australia.
Brunton, Senior Curator at the Mitchell Library,
State Library of New South Wales
will take us on a remarkable journey spanning
the 20 year career of Matthew Flinders.