Jack’s Story a wonderful book launch

A crowd of 80 gathered at Balmain Town Hall Meeting Room for the launch of Jacks’ Story

The outcome of a Local History Grant from the former Leichhardt Council.

A well received publication on Jack’s story growing up in Balmain. With the assistance

of Rural Writer, Journalist and Author Asa Walquist, Jack has become a local star over night.

The book has been the top seller at Brays book four weeks in a row.

You can buy the book from Balmain Library or Brays Books rrp $15.00img_2291 img_2295 img_2297

Over the past four weeks, the book that’s been Bray’s Bookshop’s best seller has been a home-grown autobiographical memoir authored and privately published in paperback by a local octogenarian, John ‘Jack’ Thomson, whose entire life’s been spent in and around Birchgrove.

The book’s titled ‘Jack’s Story: Growing Up in Balmain’ and it’s on sale for $15:00 from Bray’s, with surplus proceeds from the sale going to the Children’s Hospital at Westmead.

Of Scots descent through both parents, Jack’s initial connections were with Campbell Street Presbyterian Church.

He married a local girl at St John’s in Arthur Rix’s last years as rector.

Having had some help with editing and design, Jack’s book is a fluid and engaging read.

Its narrative reminded me of Dickens’s novel, ‘Hard Times’, though the prose is in contemporary language – and Jack’s story is actual and unfolds in the antipodes.

While the hardship that Jack experienced in childhood would seem implausible to the minds of today’s younger generation, it was all too common during the Balmain peninsula’s harsh interwar years, when the local population exploded to some 31,000 plus people, of whom most were squashed into overcrowded tenement housing.

(As head-lice abounded when bathrooms were primitive, meningitis killed innumerable children – as did tetanus, diphtheria, and tuberculosis.)

Jack’s father was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia when Jack was aged four.

He was committed to Callan Park Hospital for the Insane, where he stayed for the rest of his life and, according to Jack, very well looked after.

Jack’s working mother (on two thirds of a male wage) contracted tuberculosis and died when Jack turned nine.

Jack – effectively an orphan – was reared by a neighbouring family who’d taken him in (and that kind of neighbourly action was by no means isolated at that time).

His life progressively improved and he wrote his autobiography primarily for his grandchildren’s benefit but it’s been absolutely extraordinary the extent to which his book has captured the attention of a wide and diverse audience of readers.

One of the misspellings that has persisted into a reprint is that of Wally Pinerua, who operated a Darling Street pharmacy – at least until the late 1950s.

What made this pharmacy unusual was the huge red neon illuminated sign over the footpath awning.

Pinerua’s predecessor had bought Bayer’s patent for a prescription drug, heroin hydrochloride, which was highly effective in managing intractable pain in terminal cancer patients and patients who’d suffered severe trauma through injury or surgery.

As the addictive properties of the drug were well known at the time, dispensaries kept it under lock-and-key.

As the R & R boys on leave from the war in Vietnam used the drug recreationally, heroin thus became a prohibited narcotic.

Another misspelling is the name of the nearby general store, Gourlies.

John Williams.

History Week at the Balmain Watch House

 

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History Week at the Watch House

Neighbours Exhibition

Church Street Balmain

 Evans Street Free School Mothers Club 1938

Join us for the opening this Saturday at 2:00pm

Saturday 3 September 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Neighbours Exhibition

Come and read the stories of individuals, families and communities living near one another and their connections to the churches, local sporting groups,schools and most importantly parks.

Add your story or special memory of an event to the number already there whether you have lived in Balmain, worked in Balmain, played sport in Balmain, swam in Dawn Fraser Pool or simply visited Balmain.

Join us for the opening this Saturday at 2:00pm with wine and nibbles

The exhibition will continue on Saturdays 10,17 and 24 September 11:00am to 4:00pm
and Tuesdays 6,13 and 20 September 11:00am to 1:00pm

Meet the author of Jack’s Story

 Jacks Story John Thomson, known to his many friends as Jack, has spent all his life in Balmain. Born in 1927 Jack remembers the days of the Depression, when kind greengrocers put aside “specs”, fruit which had spots on it that they gave to hungry children.As well Jack’s childhood had it trials.

 

Jack will be attending the Watch House at the Exhibition Opening and will sign any sale of Jack’s Story from 2:00pm Saturday 3 September.

 

History Week Jack’s Story – Don’t miss out on the book launch

Jacks Story

Book Here

History Week 2016 – Neighbours

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Download Brochure

Join Us for History Week 2016, come and explore the historic collections of our neighbors in a colorful Exhibition. Explore the History of Annandale at the Tetch Gallery, or take a walk down memory lane on one of the walking tours.

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Birdhat’s Birdwatching Tour.

Calling All Urban Art Twitters to join Birdhat’s Birdwatching Tour.

Local Artist Birdhat (Neil Tomkins) has been delighting locals across Sydney for years with his distinctive urban art characters, which pop up here and there like flowers bursting through concrete. Inner West locals are in for a twitching treat as he creates a special “Birdwatching Tour” where a flock of his characters will gather in nooks and crannies around his studio street block on Parramatta Road, around to Albion Street, Annandale.

Birdhat -Locantro

Neil is the successful artist awarded the Transit Zone Commission – a component of the Off Broadway activation program set to enliven sections of Parramatta Road starting with hot spots in Leichhardt, Annandale and Camperdown. Local businesses are already showing support for Neil’s installation – agreeing to offer a perch for his works to sit during September, when the Inner West Council is set to launch its Off Broadway program.

Birdhat grouping

Neil intends for his trail to delight people of all ages. His characters will embody elements of the long cultural history of Parramatta Road. “I plan to reference local history in the area around my studio and create a fun dialog for the local community.”

Where: Birdhat will also be painting the Project Ugly site at 214 Albion Street,

When: Leichhardt on the weekend of Saturday 3 – Sunday 4 September.

You can also join an official Birdhat Birdwatching Tour on Saturday 3 – September, and keep an eye on this site to find out where you can get a copy of Birdhat’s birdspotting zine.

Bookings: – bronwynt@lmc.nsw.gov.au

History Week 2016 – Marrickville

Walking tour of Newtown

newtownNewtown has been through many iterations: From native pathway to a place for English cottages and country houses, an important railway station, a seemingly-endless strip of shops, a collection of great public buildings designed by Sydney’s best Victorian Architects, a place of poverty and social unrest during the Great Depression, a new home for Greek migrant Australians, and now a place for restaurant-goers, hipsters and goths. Come and discover the many faces of Newtown on this walk.

Meet at Newtown Station (King St entrance) Saturday 3 September, 9.45am-12.30pm

When: Saturday 3 September, 09.45am to 12.30PM

http://www.marrickville.nsw.gov.au/en/library/events-at-the-library/events-calendar/

Can you help us with pics?

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Can you help us with pics?

Marrickville Library and History has a collection of historical photographs dating back to the early 1830s. However, there is a significant gap in the collection from 1970s onwards. All residents are asked if they could lend their own photographs of events, streetscapes, local business, and even characters and street life of the former Marrickville Council, so there is a lasting public pictorial record. All photographs will be copied and returned, with donators receiving a credit in the archives.

Terms and conditions for donating photos

How to submit your photos:

1. Email the scanned file to history@marrickville.nsw.gov.au

2. Those without access to a scanner can make an appointment to come to the library to scan their photos by calling 9335 2167.

3. Send the scanned photo through WeTransfer (a cloud-based file transfer service that can send up to 2GB in the free version)

  • Go to the website wetransfer.com
  • Add your file/s
  • Enter our email address history@marrickville.nsw.gov.au
  • Enter your email

http://www.marrickville.nsw.gov.au/en/library/history-services/can-you-help-us-with-pics/

 

 

 

 

Winter Dawn Artist in Residence 2016

Please be invited to join our 2016 Winter Dawn Artist in Residence, Carl Milton at the glorious Dawn Fraser Baths on Thursday 18 August, 10-11.30am.

Please note the RSVP date is Monday 15 August to bronwynt@lmc.nsw.gov.au

All welcome!

Winter Dawn 2016- Artist in Residence Morning Tea

National Family History Month

State Library NSW are running some exciting courses for National Family History Month.

If you are interested we also have a family History Workshop at Balmain Library on the 2nd Friday of each Month 11-1pm Next One is Friday August 12th at Balmain Library

Family History Month2Family History Month

http://www.sl.nsw.gov.au/events/back-basics-indigenous-family-history-research-beginner

Do you have old photographs? The Lost Local

Do you have any photographs from the past of Annandale,  Leichhardt, Balmain, Rozelle, Marrickville, or Ashfield. As part of History week 2016 we will be inviting you all to share your memories of the Lost local. In September 2016 we invite you all to write down captions of memories on our memory bubbles and pin it to the history pinboard at the library….we want your shots of places people and events from the iconic to the ordinary.

Email:localhistory@lmc.nsw.gov.au

Norton Street 1980

Looking Down Norton Street to Parramatta Road 1983

Heritage Festival – Discoveries and Rediscoveries a tour with Patrick Callaghan

What a successful Heritage Festival for 2016. Discovering and Rediscovering old gems of Leichhardt North with tour guide Patrick Callaghan . A strong and enthusiastic crowd of 40 joined the tour at 10am at Pioneers Park starting off with the history of Balmain cemetery, and the WW1 Memorial which historically used to be located in the middle of Marion and Norton Street.

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Patrick Callaghan grew up in Leichhardt and remembers walking through Pioneers Park as a young boy when it was a cemetery before it became a park in 1946.

Leichhardt WW1 Memorial has engraved some very significant names such as VC Private Matthew William V.C. , Corporal John Mackey who was a recipient of the Victoria Cross in World War Two.

Leichhardt_War_Memorial-40260-21827 Leichhardt_War_Memorialjpg

The tour continued around to Allen Street to look at the old site of the John Heine Factory, Cyclops Toys, Kings Lawn mowers,  St Columbus school and finally Roebuck Rocking Horses. We heard about the early subdivisions and land grants given to Captain Piper and Hugh Piper. Originally known as  Piperston prior to 1871 when it was renamed “Leichhardt” after Leichhardt Councils first mayor Walter Beames , in an a friendly exchange named the place after the great explorer Ludwig Leichhardt.

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Cyclops Toys established business in 1913 and were originally located at 1 Hay Street Leichhardt.

Currently the building is made-up of designer apartments with brilliant spaces and views, however this building was once the well known factory of Cyclops Toys. Next door to this building  in William Street is the former machine tool manufacturing plant of John Heine and Sons.

cyclops

Aerial view of John Heine & Son Engineering Works, Leichhardt : with Cylops Toy Factory in background c.1920.