Merry Christmas to all.
Thank you for your interest in History and Heritage in the Leichhardt Local Government Area for 2014.
From The Team
Amie Zar, Alison Grellis, Garry Cousins and Ben Carter.
State Receives Gift from 1800s Governor
Oyster Saloons were the turn of the century Australian Fish and Chip Shop. The Comino Brothers were prominent in establishing the industry.
The Cominos had arrived at a time when the New South Wales oyster industry was unregulated, with unsuccessful attempts by the government to legislate for an orderly system. Gradually the method of dredging for natural oysters gave way to cultivation and organized harvesting. Athanassio reached a prominent place in the industry. He never married. Aged 53, he died of a strangulated hernia on 30 December 1897 at Darlinghurst, leaving an estate valued for probate at £5217 to John and to nephews and nieces.
Inheriting from Athanassio the title, ‘Oyster King’, John applied a formidable business aptitude to orderly expansion. In 1898 he was naturalized. With several others he was responsible for raising funds to erect the first Greek Orthodox Church in Australia, Holy Trinity Church, Surry Hills, where on 6 September 1901 he married Anna Phocas, born in Rhodes, Turkey; her father Seraphim Phocas officiated. At the time of his marriage John was living at Randwick; later he moved to Coogee. As chain migration brought more Kytherans, he was a mainstay of the Greek community in New South Wales, at the centre of a complicated web of family and business activities, owning and supplying restaurants, oyster saloons and fish shops. The Fisheries Act of 1902 reformed the oyster industry, forcing lessees to make improvements or suffer confiscation. Comino held numerous leases along the New South Wales coast. About 1906 he entered into partnership with three other large oyster merchants, Frederick John Gibbins, Charles Edward Woodward and John Moriarty, and the firm, known as Woodward, Gibbons & Comino, dominated oyster marketing in New South Wales.
In 1916, under the supervision and probably at the expense of Comino, Life in Australia was published. In the Greek language, it extolled the opportunities available to Greek immigrants and listed some of the 625 shops allegedly owned by Greeks in Australia ‘Apart from 5 shops owned by Cominos, ten others owned by different individuals traded under the name of Comino and it is probable that in some of them John Comino owned a share’. By 1919 there were ‘Comino’ oyster saloons in Parkes, Maitland, Armidale, Gunnedah, Moree and Katoomba. For a time all Greeks in New South Wales were commonly known as ‘Comino’.
John died of pneumonic influenza (Spanish flu) at Belmore Road, Randwick, on 21 June 1919, leaving to his wife and four sons an estate sworn for probate at £31,872. The Cominos were the pioneers of Kytheran migration to Australia and it is estimated that by the late 1930s well over 3000 had come, mainly to New South Wales, from this one Greek island.
C. A. Price, Southern Europeans in Australia (Melb, 1963)
Chris Cunneen, ‘Comino, John (1858–1919)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/comino-john-6320/text9727, published first in hardcopy 1981, accessed online 20 November 2014.
This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 8, (MUP), 1981
In light of the WestConnex proposal the changing face and use of Parramatta Road could change dramatically. Here at Leichhardt Council we have undertaken the task of photographing the Leichhardt Local Government Area side of Parramatta Road form Hawthorne Canal to Mallett Street Camperdown.
Parramatta Road has had a long and rich History as one of Sydney’s main artillery connecting the city to Parramatta, originally Sections of the current Parramatta Road were an Aboriginal walking track for the Dharug nation which resided in the area.
Parramatta Road was one pf the earliest colonial transport Routes in Australia. It linked the two original European settlements at Sydney Cove and Parramatta.
The Parramatta Road corridor also has a rich and diverse urban heritage host to iconic buildings with a rich history such as The Bald Faced Stag, Sydney’s oldest Pub opening in 1830 on the corner of Parramatta Road and Balmain Road. It holds the record of having held a continuous license perhaps longer than any hotel in the Commonwealth. Other Iconic Buildings include the Albert Palais, The Empire Hotel, The Annandale Hotel
Nowadays The Empire Hotel is stop on QC Mark Tadeschi Eugeni Falleni walking tours.
Along the Parramatta corridor there are approximately 146 items on the State Heritage Register and 3747 statutory listed items on local environmental plans ore regional environmental plans.
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.
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.
Our 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.
Private 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
His Diary can be found on the State Library NSW Website here
Stop 3: St Andrews Church Balmain – The Soldiers Memorial Hall
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.
Below are the details of three men listed on the honour roll.