Archive for the ‘Sydney’ Category

Another City of Sydney walk History Walk – Customs House to Millers Point

We went, for the first time, to Observatory Hill Park and went through the observatory. Was great. And free! Site of Sydney’s first windmill with beautiful views of Sydney to the east and west. We discovered Ferry Lane and The Paddock, had a drink at the Lord Nelson, found a still in use cast iron urinal and discovered the laneway below Lower Fort St.


So much to see, and such beautiful parks and public spaces, so close to Australia’s busiest city.
The highlight for us this walk (from a walk from City of Sydney Council) was tripping over the gorgeous McElhone Reserve near Elizabeth Bay House. A new place to bring visitors from overseas for a picnic.


We did a walk that City of Sydney council put together, one that takes you down old hidden laneways.

While nothing like Melbourne’s fabulous laneways, there’s still plenty of interest in Sydney.

Bulletin Place, where the Basement venue is, Reiby Place (as in Mary), Palings (music) Place, Angel Place, the Tank Stream.

Lots to see and learn.




Posted: February 10, 2019 in history, Sydney
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Neither of us had ever wandered around Naremburn before.

What a pretty suburb, and plenty of history to explore as well. I wonder if current residents know that it used to be known as both Dog Town and Pension Town!

We learnt that Henry Lawson lived here for a while as well as some other bits and pieces.

Looking across the gully to Walter Burley Griffin’s Incinerator 1D25291F-346F-4087-AB4D-FA7CCB8030CE
How many times have I driven across this 1886 bridge at the bottom of Willoughby Road without knowing the history behind it? 2D5873CC-5DDB-480F-A094-315F038F8D51


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
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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.