Book Launch and Author Talk 27 November 2014

Carmela Lavezzari2

Exhibition Opening : Cars Brides Pubs

Exhibition flyer

Crossing the Blue Mountains


Lewin Exhibition

History Week 2014 wrap up – WW1 walking tour Balmain

Both History Week Walking Tours were a great opportunity to explore the honour boards and memorials of Leichhardt and Balmain the weather was brilliant and an engaging group of attendees enjoyed the tour.

Balmain WW1 walking tour began with a tour of loyalty square which claims the fame of being the first memorial to be erected in the midst of WW1. It was unveiled on 23 April 1916 just before the first anniversary of the Gallipoli landing.

Stop 1. Balmain Loyalty Square

This is possibly Australia’s first memorial to WW1 soldiers, unusual because it lists only those killed in action prior to the involvement of the AIF on the Western Front in France.  It was unveiled on 23 April 1916 just before the first anniversary of the Gallipoli landing to record the names of soldiers form this district who have fallen in the service of the Empire. It was the subject of a a Balmain Council design competition in 1915.

A functional structure it was built as a drinking fountain with a circular base and steps of Bowral trachyte and a four sided superstructure of Pyrmont Sandstone.  Balmains dead 38 at the time of its completion are honoured on four marble tablets, below which are four bowls . It is interesting that on later honour roll honour in the Balmain Town Hall there were then 1500 names of serving soldiers.

memorialOur 2nd stop was at the Balmain Rowing Club which displays an honour roll with 73 names of Balmain Men who were members of the Balmain Rowing Club including 11 of which were killed in action including John Booth who lived at 54 Glassop Street, Balmain, Sydney, New South Wales and who enlisted on 16 March 1915.honorboard

john-booth-1Private John Booth was a shipwright of Balmain, Sydney, New South Wales was 28 years old when he enlisted at Liverpool, 16 Mar. 1915. He embarked from Sydney on board HMAT A35 Berrima, 25 June 1915 and served with the 20th Battalion, 5th Machine Gun Company A.I.F. at Gallipoli and in Egypt and France. He was killed in action in Belgium, Oct. 1917

JOhn Booth

His Diary can be found on the State Library NSW Website here

A full list of the men mentioned on the Balmain honour board can be found here.

Stop 3: St Andrews Church Balmain – The Soldiers Memorial Hall

St Andrews Congregational Board

St Andrews Presbyterian Honour Board

19 Men are recorded on the St Andrews Church honour Board, they were members of the congregation. Approximately 1300 Men from Balmain are recorded as enlisting for WW1 on the AIF Records, this figure is increased when navy and figures are added bringing it closer to 1800 men.

St Andrews WW1 Honour Board




Below are the details of three men listed on the honour roll.

Thomas Rodger MACNEE

Place of birth Balmain, New South Wales
Religion Congregational
Occupation Civil servant
Address ‘Currawinya’, Elliott Street, Balmain, New South Wales
Marital status Married
Age at embarkation 26
Next of kin Wife, Mrs Myra Kathleen Macnee, ‘Currawinya’, Elliott Street, Balmain, New South Wales
Enlistment date 16 September 1915
Rank on enlistment 2nd Lieutenant (Quartermaster)
Unit name 36th Battalion, Headquarters
AWM Embarkation Roll number 23/53/1
Embarkation details Unit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A72 Beltana on 13 May 1916
Rank from Nominal Roll Captain
Unit from Nominal Roll 36th Battalion
Recommendations (Medals and Awards) Mention in Despatches

Awarded, and promulgated, ‘London Gazette’ No. 30706 (28 May 1918); ‘Commonwealth Gazette’ No. 165 (24 October 1918).
Fate Killed in Action 12 April 1918
Age at death from cemetery records 29
Place of burial Heath Cemetery (Plot VIII, Row J, Grave No. 18), Harbonnieres, France
Panel number, Roll of Honour,
Australian War Memorial
Miscellaneous information from
cemetery records
Parents: James and Mary MACNEE; husband of Mrs M.K. MACNEE
Other details War service: Western FrontMedals: British War Medal, Victory Medal
                                                       John GOODSIR
Regimental number                                668
Religion Church of England
Occupation Bank clerk
Address Town Hall, Balmain, Sydney, New South Wales
Marital status Single
Age at embarkation 21
Next of kin Father, John Goodsir, Town Hall, Balmain, Sydney, New South Wales
Previous military service 44th Howitzer Batt
Enlistment date 19 June 1915
Rank on enlistment Private
Unit name 30th Battalion, C Company
AWM Embarkation Roll number 23/47/1
Embarkation details Unit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A72 Beltana on 9 November 1915
Rank from Nominal Roll Sergeant
Unit from Nominal Roll 30th Battalion
Fate Effective abroad (still overseas)


Robert Balmain MILNE

Regimental number 58608
Religion Presbyterian
Occupation Engineer
Address Balmain, New South Wales
Marital status Single
Age at embarkation 19
Next of kin Aunt, Jessy Milne, 5 Alexander Street, Balmain, Sydney, New South Wales
Previous military service 37th Field Company Army Engineers
Enlistment date 11 May 1918
Rank on enlistment Private
Unit name 1st to 15th (NSW) General Reinforcements
AWM Embarkation Roll number 23/111/5
Embarkation details Unit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board A40 Ceramic on 22 December 1914
Embarkation details Unit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A18 Wiltshire on 19 June 1918
Embarkation details Unit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board SS Feldmarschall on 19 June 1918
Rank from Nominal Roll Gunner
Unit from Nominal Roll 3rd Field Artillery Brigade
Fate Returned to Australia 6 September 1919
Miscellaneous details (Nominal Roll) *Noted Robert NR

History Week Events 2014 – Local call to Arms 1914 -1918

History Week1

Leichhardt Historical Journal No 24 by Peter Reynolds

The much awaited for Leichhardt Historical Journal No 24 has now been released. On sale at Balmain and Leichhardt Library $20.00


Parramatta Road Heritage Streetscape by Emilio Cresciani

In response to the large scale proposed changes to Parramatta Road under the WestConnex Project, the Leichhardt Council Heritage Advisory Committee have facilitated a Local History grant to create a photographic panorama and heritage streetscape of Parramatta Road which documents all the buildings on the Leichhardt Local Government Area side of Parramatta Road – from Hawthorne Canal to Booth Street – approximately three kilometres long.

This project contributes to a cannon of famous documentations of streetscapes, a valuable record for now and the future.

Parramamtta Road Street Project3 from Localnotes on Vimeo.

(right click to turn off quick start)

Parramatta Road has been a major artery linking the two settlements in Parramatta and Sydney from early colonial times. Progressive improvements to the size and type of road reflect changing technology and urban use.

Governor Macquarie called tenders for the repair of the track in 1815 and widened it to ten metres. The Sydney Municipal Council set about widening the major routes into the city with the Sydney end of Parramatta Road widened and improved in 1910-1911.

The 20th Century also saw the advent of motorised traffic on the road, and in the 1920s the surface of the road was sealed and trams were removed from the road.

Today, over three million commuters use Parramatta Road each year.

The street is characterised by high street shops in buildings dating from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The streetscape is rich with Victorian, Edwardian / Federation, Art Deco and 20th Century architectural styles. Today it is known as a strip for wedding dress shops, pubs, camera stores, 1960-70s milk bars.

Emilio Cresciani’s photo essay preserves a unique moment in the history of this major artery and contributes to the social history and photographic archive of Sydney. It continues the legacy of documentation of key times and periods in Sydney’s growth and the global practice of street documentation.

Unilever Balmain

Exhibition August 1-30 @ Leichhardt Library

Jim Nash Unilever History Presentation

Unilever2Unilver in Balmain Opened in 1892 ceasing operation in 1988.  On August 6th we held the opening of the Unilver Exhibition with over 50 guest including old time Balmain Employees of Unilever and present Employees of Unilever. The Exhibition was the outcome of of a Leichhardt Library Local History Grant obtained by ASHET ( Australian Society for History of Engineering and Technology). Co-ordinated by ASHET secretary Ian Arthur and  design by Judy Denby of Site Specific. Jim Nash a longtime employee gave an historical presentation having been an employee for 52years and playing an active role in product and packaging development. Jim  enhanced the exhibition with his personal collection and memorabilia including vintage packaging, certificates, medals and 1940s Woman Weekly adds.

Thank you to special guest Councillor Craig Channells, Cr Vera Ann Hannaford, Jim Nash – Unilever and Ian Arthur from ASHET

All in all it was a 3 part Exhibition Please find attached a slide presentation on the history of Unilever – Balmain

The Exhibition is on until August 30.

display  exhibition - UnileverIMG_1755

History Week 2014

History Week 2014 brochure


History Week Flyer 2014


SAG Society of Geneoalogists Workshops – August


EVENT EXTRA JULY 2014 final-1Register