St Peters Town Hall

St Peters Town Hall is an Australian heritage listed town hall located at 39 Unwins Bridge Road, Sydenham. Built in 1927. St Peters Council operated from 1871 -1949 before it was amalgamated with Marrickville Council and now Inner West Council. when St peters was proclaimed a municipal district on 13 January 1871 it covered 2 square miles(5.2 sq km ) and had a population of just 500 people. Today in 2021 St Peters/ Tempe has a population of 7846.

St Peters was an industrial suburb, in 1890 there were a total of 18 dairies as well as 2 brickmaking establishments. The dairies and the brickmakers vied for space. In the end brickmaking became the major industry of the area as the suburb developed.

An interesting fact was the construction of many tall chimneys, built to reduce air pollution.

2021 Heritage Festival Exhibition Marrickville Eikons May 1-30

Marrickville Eikons

Exhibition description

As part of the Australian Heritage Festival 2021, Marrickville Library is pleased to present iconic photographs of the Greek community in Marrickville, taken by Emmanuel Angelicas. Raised in the suburb, long term resident Emmanuel Angelicas has taken photographs for five decades, chronicling the changing face of Marrickville and its citizens.

These stunning monochromatic images are just a taste of the photographer’s archive and show aspects of the Hellenic influence. By the middle of the twentieth century, Marrickville was a major centre for Greek immigrants, often referred to as ‘Little Athens’. Over time, shops and businesses with a strong Greek identity became accepted as part of the wider Australian community and enriched our municipality. Through these images, older residents will smile with recognition and younger ones can connect with our recent history.

Artist bio

For fifty years, photographer Emmanuel Angelicas has roamed the streets of Marrickville, recording his neighbourhood in startling black and white images. His archive of negatives and digital images is huge and this exhibition showcases just a few of his iconic images of the Greek diaspora and their influence on our suburb. Marrickville’s complex identity owes much to the arrival of Hellenic migrants in the 1950s and 1960s and this is recognised today with the area’s affectionate title of Little Greece. Emmanuel Angelicas’s photographs span the generations with poignant images of those early arrivals and their descendants.

As he grew up in Marrickville, he became serious about the medium. He bought better cameras and graduated from the University of NSW with a degree in Visual Communication and postgraduate diploma in Professional Art Studies with further visual arts qualifications from the University of Sydney. The technology of photography has changed, but Emmanuel continues to record in black and white and is happy to use both film and digital cameras. His attitude to photography has never wavered either. “Every time I shoot in Marrickville, either in my home or on the street – I am still this seven-year-old boy curious with his camera…”


Olympia Milk Bar

The Olympia Milk Bar opened in 1939, following the closure of a billiard toom which had originally occupied the building. (Next door heading west along Parramatta Road) was the Olympia De-Luxe Picture Thetare which opened in 1911.

Both the cinema and milkbar did a roaring trade until the very early 1960s. Like many of the 50 cinemas in the Inner West were met with the advent of the television.

The Olympia cinema was then converted into a skating rink. During this era a growing youth culture patroned the milk bar, however by the mid 1970s a number if take away fast food outlets popped up and the teenage patrons declined in number.

It is really quite amazing that the the Olympia milk bar has survived so long up until the last 5 years the milk bar had retained much of its original character and the minds of many locals was on one of Parramatta Roads icons. Often a stop on the annual heritage festival walking tours of Annandale, frequented also by social historians, public history students, journalist, filmmakers and busgazers it has long been the cafe to spot and visit if you may and dive into the realms of nostalgia or experience what once was.

Most of the memories are held strongly in the minds of locals from the 50s, 60s and 70, Parrmatta Road was often referred to as lovers lane or the dating game as it was a tradition when going on a date to meet and the south end of Parrmatta road and chat and hold hands the length of the road the Olympia milk bar according to Stella Phillips was one of the places they would stop and buy a milkshake.

The current fate of the Olympia Milk Bar has certainly become of concern and a topic of discussion as the longtime occupier and owner Mr Nick Fotiou has moved into a nursing home.

We invite you to share your stories, memories and photos of the Olympia Milk Bar.

useful links for further social media.

Exhibition: Silent agreement Marrickville 50 Home

Come and check out this exhibition asap!

EMMANUEL ANGELICAS ATLAS Community & Cultural Centre

96 Illawarra Rd Marrickville NSW 2204 Australia

Festival Year: 14 November 2020 to 29 November 2020

Emmanuel Angelicas always wanted to be a photographer and on his seventh birthday, his father humoured him with a plastic Diana camera. It took just twelve images on roll film, but Emmanuel took to photography with gusto… and soon ran out of film. Undaunted, he continued to press the shutter, taking images in his mind. His childhood friends never knew whether they were being immortalised or not. As he grew up in Marrickville, he became serious about the medium. He bought better cameras and graduated from the University of NSW with a degree in Visual Communication and postgraduate diploma in Professional Art Studies with further visual arts qualifications from the University of Sydney.

BALMAIN CATHOLIC CEMETERY: Leichhardt’s best kept secret     

BALMAIN CATHOLIC CEMETERY Leichhardt’s best kept secret

Balmain Catholic cemetery was located on 4 acres that now houses St. Columba’s church and presbytery, a primary school, associated buildings and a child care centre, originally built as a convent for the Sisters of St. Joseph, who taught at the school. The cemetery opened in 1868 and closed in 1902 and was progressively built over. There is no physical evidence that a cemetery ever existed there.

The story of the cemetery begins with the arrival of two men in 1818 at different times and on different ships, one of those was a young man who had studied law in England, had qualified as a solicitor and who came to New South Wales to make his fortune, he quickly opened a legal practice in Sydney, became very successful, eventually becoming a member of the NSW Legislative Assembly, His name was James Norton. In 1834 Norton bought a large gentleman’s estate, known as the Eastwick Estate and which included a large house, befitting for a wealthy gentleman known as Eastwick House. The estate was roughly bounded by Parramatta Rd, Balmain Rd. Derbyshire St. William St. and Flood St. back to Parramatta Road.

. . . → Read More: BALMAIN CATHOLIC CEMETERY: Leichhardt’s best kept secret     

Coughing Again

“From a business point of view, Sydney is dead. Theatres, hotels, picture shows, eateries, schools etc. are closed. Sydney is a city of masks.”

Not a description of May 2020 but of February 1919 according to a newspaper article.

In this talk, renowned local historian Chrys Meader compares Sydney life during the 1919 Spanish flu pandemic to today’s Covid-19 pandemic.

Chrys’ knowledge of the Pneumonic Influenza (Spanish Flu) and it’s impact on the Inner West makes is unparalleled and makes for a fascinating talk.

Mirror Sydney – The Podcast

Missing your regular history talks and walks, why not tune in to these great podcasts created by local history blogger Vanessa Berry.

The newly-launched Mirror Sydney Podcast is based on the award-winning book and blog Mirror Sydney, by Vanessa Berry, with production and music by Lia Tsamaglou. Each episode delves into a familiar, enigmatic, or atmospheric place in the city or suburbs. Inner west residents will recognise a number of familiar locations in the first series! Berry’s investigations usually start at a point of idle fascination: a notorious op shop at the edge of the airport, Sydney’s least peaceful footpath, newly redundant train routes. What then unfolds is a vivid evocation of urban space, not just its streets, people and infrastructure, but the otherwise inaccessible ambience of its former life. Listen at and you can also subscribe through your favourite podcast app.

Telling Your Story – Inner West COVID-19

History Collection Drive.

Council’s Library and History Services is collating a COVID-19 community archive and is seeking stories, anecdotes, artworks and images from Inner West citizens.

Right now, the community is experiencing an extraordinary occurrence. Contemporary accounts by everyday people will help future historians make sense of this major life event.

The archive will act as a ‘snapshot’ of the Inner West in lockdown – what it was like, how our world changed and how people were affected.

The community archive wants to hear from singles, families, young people, businesses and artists about how you have managed this time.

Old Marrickville Hospital Site Part 2

The Cottage Hospital

With significant development within Marrickville and a surge in its population now employed in the often-dangerous new industries and factories, there was an urgent call to serve its citizens with the establishment of a hospital.

On the 1st day of March 1895, a public meeting, chaired by the Mayor, at Marrickville Town Hall, it was resolved that a cottage hospital be established within Marrickville.

The foundation stone to Marrickville Cottage Hospital was laid in 1897, and the hospital was admitting its first patients during the year of 1899.

6. Industry and Manufacturing 1890s – 1960s

The period between WW I and WW II saw tremendous growth in Marrickville. Industry provided almost universal employment for local men and women. In the mills of Vicars, Globe and the Australian Woollen Mills women constituted more than 70% of the workforce.

Vicars Woolen Mills c. 1940s

Whole families spent their working lives in the confines of the factory within walking distance or a short bus or tram ride from their homes.

7. District Hospital and nursing school 1922 -1990

Formerly known as the Marrickville Cottage Hospital, this Institution was in June 1922, proclaimed a District Hospital, now known as “Marrickville District Hospital.”

This proclamation marked a turning point in the history of the Institution, for it was official recognition by the highest authority of the State that the scope of the Hospital had grown so tremendously that the word “Cottage” could no longer suggest the importance of its influence upon the well-being of the community.

Marrickville Hospital saw the formation of the first Student Nurse Unit in NSW. In 1953 Marrickville Hospital was also one of the first hospitals to commence postgraduate lecture for trained nurse.

A Seven story nursing (since demolished) home opened on Livingstone Road on 25 October 1958.

The nurse training school closed in March 1980 when the last of the present students completed training


1953 – Formation of the first Student Nurse Unit in NSW. Marrickville Hospital was also one of the first hospitals to commence postgraduate lecture for trained nurse.

Seven story nursing home opened on Livingstone Road on 25 October 1958.

The nurse training school closed in March 1980 when the last of the present students completed training.

Hospital Committee set up to raise public support / donations to expand accommodation areas of the hospital due to increasing demands for more hospital beds. The urgent need to for the establishment of a children’s ward was also publicised to the public. The children’s Ward will contain 15 beds – all donated by different people and carrying the donors’ names.

With the backing of Marrickville Municipal Council in 1945 the Marrickville Municipal Symphony Orchestra presented a series of concerts in the Marrickville Town Hall. Gala Benefit Carnivals at Marrickville Oval including baseball matches between American and Australian soldiers. Mayoral Floral Ball of 1932 – all proceeds to District Hospital and Ambulance. Often large private donations from random individuals / families / businesses in the community.


Blue Skies Government House, Sydney (1926) Produced by the Marrickville District Hospital Working Committee.

Council receives land 1990s

After heated protests from the local community and the nurses and doctors from the hospital opposed to its closure, the hospital closed in 1990.

In 1995, Marrickville Council purchased the Marrickville Hospital site on the corner of Marrickville and Livingstone’s Roads, with the intention to build new community spaces, including a library and civic centres.

After heated protests both from the local community and the nurses and doctors, the hospital closed in 1990.

1992 – Marrickville Council makes initial approach to NSW Health to purchase the site.

Several reports commissioned to the rezoning of the site, including a new library and Civic Centre, including options including complementary uses such as residential and/or mixed residential/ commercial use development that could be accommodated on the site to assists in funding the project.

Main studies included heritage assessment, functional design study, an urban design and planning study and a financial feasibility study.

In conclusion it was deemed that the former Marrickville District Hospital site is significant at a local level for its contribution to Marrickville’s civic precinct and for its ongoing role within the community.

1994 – Council decides to proceed with the purchase of the site.

In 1995, Marrickville Council purchased the Marrickville Hospital site on the corner of Marrickville and Livingstone’s Roads, with the intention to build new community spaces, including a library and civic centres.

Marrickville Council moves a step closer to delivering on the commitment to build a new library and community hub on the Old Marrickville Hospital vote, with a key vote at the 19 May 2015 Council meeting.

The vote means that the project will move to “Stage 2” of the Tender, where four shortlisted developers will be invited to provide detailed concept plans for the whole site. One of the terms of the tender is that the successful developer will be required to build the new library and park before beginning on the residential (private) development.

Planning and community consultations was undertaken in 2011 and 2012. Following a tender and design competition. Council appointed architects BVN Architects – concept ‘Blue’ design. Following 2012 local government elections, Council reaffirmed its commitment to build a new library, identifying it as a priority project.

In 2015, Council undertook a tender process, including permitting the demolition of three heritage houses on the site, but maintain significant heritage buildings including the former Old Marrickville Hospital and Nurses quarters.


Graham Brooks and Associates Pty Ltd, Heritage Review, prepared for Marrickville Council, March 2009

9.Community Organisations 2000s – 2009

From 1991 to 2017 many of the buildings on site remained derelict and deteriorated. Despite this, several of the buildings have accommodated various community organisations and small businesses.

10. Squatters / Buildings derelict…

Since January 1999 Council approved the use of the former Marrickville Hospital site for a variety of community groups and private individuals and organisations – . . . → Read More: Old Marrickville Hospital Site Part 2

Old Marrickville Hospital Site – part one

As we embark upon the opening of the New Marrickville Library we celebrate the rich history of the Old Marrickville hospital site. With up and coming history tours of the new library there will be exhibitions and events delving into the history. For now we hope you enjoy this post with a timeline of the sites history.

The land on which the former hospital, now Marrickville Library was first granted to Thomas Moore in October 1803. It was the largest grant of land in what would become known as Marrickville Municipality (5 December 1861).

The name of the new borough was taken from the estate of Mr. Thomas Chadler, which was named after his native village of “Marrick,” in the north of Yorkshire, England; the addition of “ville” was added to make it sound more gentrified.

. . . → Read More: Old Marrickville Hospital Site – part one