Archive for the ‘history’ Category

This weekend we walked the Tom Uren Walking Trail at Balmain.

I knew of Tom Uren’s green bans, activism, interest in heritage and the environment and the like but I wasn’t aware he was a sportsman (professional boxer, swimmer,  rugby league player for Manly) or a soldier or prisoner-of-war.

He grew up in Balmain and so Leichhardt Council has designed a nice stroll around the area.



Norton St, Leichhardt

Posted: January 28, 2019 in history, Sydney
Tags: , , ,

We’ve wandered down Norton St many times as it was a popular go-to place for us when the kids were little and we were looking for a well-priced Italian restaurant.
But we’d never walked the area with a view to looking at anything else but menus!

We found this walk, produced by the Inner West Council and others, here.

What did we learn? Among other things, over the course of about an hour, we learnt that…

  • there used to be a rocking horse factory on Norton St –  right up to 1972. It also made seats for Cyclops dinkies.
  • Pasticceria Mezzapica has been making cakes and cannoli since 1952.


The Pioneers Memorial Park was a cemetery that had over 10,500 graves, and that when it was transferred from being a cemetery to a park, some of the headstones were used to level the park and build walls. 3ebccad1-5f6c-464f-8112-157f6662003f
Leichhardt Town Hall opened in 1888. When the tower was added in 1897 it was the highest point in the colony between Martin Place and the Blue Mountains. 15cf8439-ab0e-45d8-9d2a-3be23960c986
The statue in the middle of the Italian Forum is of Dante Alighieri, regarded as the father of the Italian language.

The Forum itself has fallen on hard times… lots of places for lease.

Bar Italia has been there since 1959, and St Gerasimo’s Greek Orthodox Church is about a one-scoop walk away. 2ee1e2b0-9252-4ac4-8d21-5298800ef821

Lots of other interesting stuff too. A good walk, really well done – youtube videos, audio etc. Sadly, the southern end of the street is hardly the bustling area it was 20 years ago.

I know we are familiar with our local area, but there will always be historic surprises and areas we haven’t been to before.

Such was the case for this first week of learning a bit about Sydney’s history.

We know the Artarmon and St Leonards area, on Sydney’s lower north shore, really well… or did we?

We covered a walk found here. What did we learn? Among other things, over the course of about 2 hours we learnt that…

  • the Pacific Highway only got its name when the Harbour Bridge was opened in 1932.
  • the narrow strip of land at the front of Artarmon station was a vegetable garden for the community in the 1930s depression.
St Mary Mackillop was one of more than 14000 people buried at Gore Hill cemetery. ba3a91d5-a8be-4206-aacb-435ec35d6f87
Tunks Park at Northbridge/Cammeray was named after William Tunks (if the Geographic Names Board still allowed the use of apostrophes in names of places I would have at least known his surname.) 08ddff24-b90b-44fb-b5c5-8b7eb5823687
Artarmon was the biggest brick making area in NSW in 1890s – 1900s. It’s where the shopping centre near Bunnings is… it later became the Willoughby Council depot.

360,000 bricks manufactured each month.

Gough Whitlam went to school at Mowbray House before going to Knox Grammar School. The original Mowbray House building is still there, opposite the water tanks near the Great Northern Hotel, where the dive site for the new Metro is. eed78a7d-e140-4038-9380-e69e808e1ede
Artarmon Railway Station used to be 1/2 km north of where it now is. 62d376da-4111-45c0-ad96-b5e16b2f026b.jpeg

Lots of other interesting stuff too. A good walk.

Week 52 ~ Z is for The End!

Posted: December 31, 2015 in history

The end of the Alphabet.

The end of the Year.

Seemed an appropriate time to visit the end of a significant Life.

We’re currently on holiday in India, so today we went to 3 significant sites regarding Gandhi.

We left the hotel with the intention of visiting the Gandhi Smrity, the site on Tees January road in New Delhi where Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated.

However, our tuk-tuk driver took us to where Gandhi was cremated. Once again, shoes off as made our way to the venerated ground. Quite a nice, large park in the middle of busy Delhi; a bit of peace and quiet.

From here we asked another tuk-tuk driver to take us to Gandhi Smrity, but alas, we were taken to where Indira Gandhi was murdered by her own body guards. It’s at the house where she (and her son, later Prime Minister Rajiv) lived. Her last steps are commemorated by a glass path, and where she fell is identified by a clear glass panel. Obviously a very revered figure, the museum was chockers with local Indian tourists seemingly intent on capturing any photo as evidence that they had visited rather then reading any of the exhibits.

A quick check of the map revealed that we weren’t far from where we wanted to go, so rather than risk another failed tuk-tuk attempt, we headed off on foot.

We’re glad we did… we found the quietest, most beautiful part of Delhi that exists I think. Beautiful tree-lined streets, and guards and soldiers with machine guns every 50 metres or so keeping the hoi polloi at bay.

We were surprised to find the museum and grounds almost deserted… as such a significant figure, venerated for his role in gaining independence for India, there were bugger-all people there.

The museum display was pretty good, with plenty of information about his life and thoughts for India.

Something that stood out for me was his enthusiasm for women to be respected, educated and considered equal. Alarming and the path of his last walk and where he was shot (by a disgruntled Indian nationalist) are nicely maintained.

The irony of being shot like that, after a lifetime of advocating peace and unity.


Mahatma Gandhi’s cremation site


Indira Gandhi was assassinated along this path. Where she actually fell is under the sheet of glass.


Indira Gandhi


Mahatma Gandhi’s last steps


Mahtma Gandhi assassination area.