Thursday, 30 May 2013

Street Names: Toothill Street, Lewisham

In the first part of the 19th Century, the area around Lewisham was heavily wooded. In the 1830's Lewisham was a popular hunting area. The hill which slopes down from New Canterbury Road towards Long Cove Creek (the train viaduct goes over this) and Gambling Creek was the point where the leader of the huntsmen sounded his horn, hence the name Toothill Street.

Articles about hunting were a regular feature in newspapers of the day!

The Australian: Tuesday 2 June 1835, page 2 (Ref: Trove)

Reference: Cashman, R & Meader, C (1990). Marrickville Rural Outpost to Inner City. Petersham: Hale & Iremonger Pty Ltd. 37-38.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Heritage Lost: Addison Theatre

Image Source: Cinema Treasures

Located in the Marrickville suburb of Sydney. Operated by Acme Theatres, the Addison Theatre opened in January 1934 and was a typical suburban independent, running double bills every week.

Closed in December 1959 the Addison Theatre was demolished and a gas station occupies the site today. (Ref: Cinema Treasures)

The Queenslander, Thursday 14 March 1935, page 47, 48 (Trove Ref)

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Tracing Your House History - Estate Maps

When tracing your house's history you should consider tracking down estate maps of the area.

These maps can show a number of things.  Take for example the map below. Isn't it beautiful?

Image Source: Marrickville Library Services
As far as housing research goes this shows that the numbers on the maps do not match current street numbers, so in researching the early history of your home you might need to consider old lot or street numbers.

It also shows that the land was empty and that even if you can't find details about your house number, perhaps your neighbour's house history might shed some light. 

If your house is very different from the rest of your neighbourhood then perhaps it was built later on land that had been reserved for a road.

People living in these parts of Addison & Illawarra Road also know to limit their search to dates after 1913.

Compare this other map though.

Image Source: Trove

This shows that the land had originally surrounded cottages owned by Mr Purdy (a market gardener - the 1891 census shows his name as John) and a cottage owned by Mr Tighe (probably William Tighe the son in law of John Beer who was a fruit grower).

Estate maps often show houses that are not part of the land sale, and the owner's names. This may be an exciting find to someone who owns an older house in the street!

Estate maps can be found on Trove and Marrickville Library has many that you can view at the library (phone for an appointment) or online.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Marrickville Shopping Carnival

The Marrickville Chambers of Commerce organised a fortnight long Shopping Carnival commencing April 21, 1913.

During this time a window dressing competition ran where 33 local shopkeepers decorated their windows to display products made in the local municipality. The winner was R.W. Brereton, tabaccoinist (Sands shows a R.W. Brereton owning a Marrickville Road Hairdressers in 1912).

On Saturday April 26th a fancy dress cyclists' parade was held. There was also a childrens' sports meeting at Riverside Park, Undercliffe.

The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), Saturday 3 May 1913, page 8

At the same time a 5 mile amateur running race started from Belmore railway station, along Mooney street, to Old Canterbury Road, New Canterbury Road to Dulwich Hill terminus, and Marrickville Roud to Victoria Road. 39 runners participated and the winner was W O'Reilly from the Botany Harriers. Although advertised to start at 3.45pm the race commenced at 4.10pm owing to the late arrival of the train.

The shopping carnival was considered such a success that it ran again in 1914.

Marrickville Road Shops, 1922
Image Source: Marrickville Image Library

The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), Wednesday 23 April 1913, page 17

Sunday, 12 May 2013

The Art of Looking

I have often got up from working at my computer to do a quick stretch around the neighbourhood.

Yet, I think I've seen it, but never really taken it in.

I challenge each of you to grab your camera and go hunting heritage. My usual 20 minute loop of the 4 blocks in my part of Marrickville took me about an hour, but revealed so much more than I'd ever noticed about the homes near me. The range of housing styles including colonial, federation, Art Deco, interwar and modern units somehow meld together in harmony. Few dominate in an opposing way. The units seem to sit on the outskirts of the blocks near the busy road, and seem to take their place too.

I could do a whole geometry lesson on the shapes and patterns I found. So on trend chevron patterns, twisting columns and brickwork taking the ordinary into something more appealing.

3, 4 and 5 sided shapes.
How many different types of irregular pentagons can you find?

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but through the camera lens beauty seemed to jump out from everywhere.

Yet as much as I discovered more and more about the wonderful homes in my area, mysteries started yelling at me to be solved. Oh, to have the time. After all I went out to take a break from my work!

Sign above garage. What does it say? (Click for larger image)

Was this always a garage? Why does it have a "corner" wall?
"Allonby" .. when was this home built? When was it turned into flats.

This is what I call, the art of looking!

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Heritage Lost: Myrtle Grove

This post is not about a house that has been destroyed, demolished or neglected. Like Chevy Chase, this house has been changed so much that it's heritage value has been lost.

However, as a home it very much has historical significance to the Marrickville area.

This post started with an enquiry from someone in Myrtle Street wanting to know how old their home was. They've been told it's Marrickville's oldest structure and that Marrickville's first Mayor lived there. Look for my other post that talks about how I solved this question.

In my search I found a picture of James Meek and his family at their residence Myrtle Grove at 12 High Street, Marrickville.
Image Source: Marrickville Image Library

This house, still exists. The Meek's descendants have a family tree on where they have a lot of information about the family and some pictures of the family.

They remind us that Myrtle Grove stood on a hill with magnificent views over the whole of the Sydney district - from the Blue Mountains to the city - to Botany Bay. When first built, the only other near building in sight was St Peters Church on the Cooks River Road.

Image Source:
22 years later Myrtle Grove still stands, a mere shadow of its former self.

Aluminium windows, closed in verandahs and styling that is unsympathetic to heritage. We will remember this house as the home of James Meek and one of the oldest buildings in Marrickville. Let us all remember that beauty is only skin deep .. and somewhere under this ugly exterior is a glorious villa!

Image Source: The Home Page

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