Carrington Road Let’s get to work!

General Motors on Carrington Road Marrickville was big – as big as Melbourne’s and around double the size of Adelaide, Perth and Brisbane. When opened, the plant was designed for 175 workers producing 60 cars a day.

On Opening Day, a Chevrolet was assembled and driven off the assembly line’s rails under its own power in 29 minutes, considered quite a marvel by the fascinated onlookers! Equipment was strung from above and the factory had plenty of beams to support equipment as well as overhead pipes carrying oil and water as well as power.

In the 1920s and 1930s, cars were assembled in Australia from an imported chassis and many locally produced parts and materials. Holden supplied some of the bodies to General Motors. Australian leather and wool was used for seats, timber and lead for batteries and hardware was also locally made. General Motors wanted to showcase its links with Australian manufacturing, even producing a booklet on the topic. Discover Australia Builds a Motor Car (1928) for yourself.

This booklet also mentions another Carrington Road Marrickville business Duly & Hansford (we’ll come back to them another time).

Here is the assembly line in 1928. This photo was taken by commercial photographer Milton Kent. Milton Kent pioneered aerial photography after getting his pilots licence in 1926. We’ve found some photographs of General Motors taken by him in a plane which we’ll show you next week.

General Motors Opening Day

General Motors – Opening Day 30 October 1926. Source: General Motors Australia

In our first post, we introduced the General Motors-Holden factory on Carrington Road Marrickville. It’s still here today but we thought we’d share more about this historic building on its opening day on 30 October 1926.

The building was opened in front of enthusiastic well-wishers. Staff, dealers and suppliers celebrated the future of Australia’s motor trade. Buicks, Cadillacs, Chevrolets and Olds mobiles lined Carrington road.

Lang is welcomed by Innes Randolph, Managing Director of General Motors in Australia, and JT Potter, Manager of the Sydney Branch. Source: General Motors Australia

The crowd watched NSW Premier Jack Lang shake hands with the General Manager, Innes Randolph. Lang was not known for being cheerful, but photos from the day show him grinning with pride at the opening of the new factory. JT Potter is behind them – he chose the Marrickville site and oversaw construction.

Inside, Jack Lang officially opened the new plant. In his rasping voice, the Premier announced, “Factories are the milestones along the road Australia must travel to become a self-contained nation.” He continued, “There is no market like that created by the employment of local labour…the entire operation will all go to stimulate associated industries, and it will be a striking advertisement to the world of this country of ours.”

General Motors-Holden kept an album of photos from the day for nearly 100 years. Discover the 1926 Album for yourself.

Next time we’ll look at the factory in production.

General Motors establishes in Carrington Road

Have you heard about the old General Motors-Holden factory in Marrickville? It’s right here at No. 10 Carrington Road. You can still see it for yourself. But why Marrickville? What did it mean for Australia and our industry?

Well, we’re excited to bring you the story of how a thin strip of land played a big role in the Twentieth Century. We’re unearthing new information all the time, so join us as we reveal a fascinating history, full of people, their stories and hopes for the future. So let’s go!

Our story starts in 1926. The American motor vehicle company General Motors wanted to expand. Australia seemed perfect – a wide-open land to explore, a wealthy and adventurous people and a prosperous economy.

Their key rival Ford had just fitted out an old wool store in Geelong. But General Motors had bigger ideas. It planned five modern assembly plants: Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane, Adelaide and Sydney (yep you guessed it – on Carrington Road, Marrickville).

In Sydney, General Motors hired well-known commercial architects Ross and Rowe to build the new factory, and they built fast. The Sydney Morning Herald marvelled at the “speedy construction” (the design was completed in just 10 days) but the feat was impressive: reinforced concrete floor, shadowless light, 1000 electrical points and a fancy office building and staff dining hall.

Discover the Herald’s article from 1926 for yourself.

And what happened to the other General Motors assembly plants across Australia? Gone. This is the last standing.

ANZAC Day 2018 – Inner West memorials

ANZAC DAY 2018 service

Annandale War Memorial – Johnston Street Annandale

The war memorial at Annandale is in the form of a hybrid obelisk / cenotaph that incorporates curved seating. The memorial was the result of an architectural competition drafted and judged by the NSW Monuments Advisory Board in 1920. The architect R. Keith Harris won the first prize of 15 pounds with second prize of 10 pounds going to John D. Moore.The memorial was unveiled in February 1921. The monument comprises a central obelisk / cenotaph rectangular in plan and flanked by seating curved forward in quadrant plan. The seats terminate in two pedestals upon which were mounted two electric lamps (now missing) in the form of eternal flames. The structure is built from Bowral Trachyte.

Names of the 87 local dead are inscribed on the front face of the central element with a bronze panel fixed to the front face below these names. On the rear face of the monument is carved in large letters ‘To The Immortal Dead’.

The memorial cost 1,250 pounds and was constructed by the builder F. Gagliardi. The memorial is unusual in including a ‘plot of remembrance’ near the memorial, this is a ersatz grave which allowed mourners to remember their dead at a more personal level.

The memorial includes the name of Private Robert Watson of 169 Trafalgar St, Annandale who enlisted at Annandale on 12th February 1917 several days after his 15th birthday. He was born in Annandale in 1902 and attended Annandale Public School. He was killed in action one year later on 24th March, 1918 aged 16 years and two months.

References; Architecture 20 April 1920, p.106; Construction 30 March 1920, p.3; Art in Australia, 2 May 1922, p.69.

Annandale, New South Wales. A WW1 War Memorial built in 1921.

Annandale, New South Wales. A plan of a WW1 Memorial which was to built in early 1921.

. . . → Read More: ANZAC Day 2018 – Inner West memorials

Flashback Friday historic butchers in Marrickville

Butchers of 205 Victoria Road Marrickville There has been a butcher shop at 205 Victoria Road, Marrickville from 1911 up until the mid-1970s. The original building, a cottage and shop was demolished in 1936. The current flats and shops were rebuilt in its place. Between the 1920s to the 1970s there were about 30 butchers in the suburb of Marrickville. Today there are about 16 butchers.

 

Heritage Festival 2018: First Nations Peoples

Book Now

Speaker Series: Shady Acres guest speaker Christine Yeates

History talk Join us for an engaging presentation of Shady Acres by Leslie Muir with guest speaker Christine Yeats. The Royal Australian Historical Society, the Madden Family and Halstead Press recently published an investigation into political corruption, developer donations and the impact of powerful lobby groups on the design and construction of Sydney’s metropolitan railway and tramway network in the 19th century. Shady Acres foreshadows the transport shortcomings that the city and its suburbs endure today.

 

Book here

FILEF: Book launch

Guest Speaker: Archivist Fabian LoSchiavo

Chris Iacono, Chairman, Co.As.It. Italian Family History Group, & his Committee invite you to attend the first IFHG event of 2018

Fabian LoSchiavo was the third child born to Dario and Helen LoSchiavo. He was born at St.Margaret’s Hospital, Bourke Street, in 1949. He grew up in Pymble and Marsfield, and attended Catholic schools there, including boarding school in Bathurst (as an attempt to help him survive asthma). In 1969 he entered the Premonstratensian Order of Canons Regular but left in 1972 to return to lay life. After completing a degree at UNSW in History, he did a Graduate Diploma in Archives Administration, a one-year course to train archivists for government or private archives. In 1981 he began work at the Archives Office of NSW in their office in The Rocks, taking early retirement when that Office was closed in 2013. Fabian’s interest in family history probably began when, at Grandma’s house in Malabar, he was allowed to look at the old photos which ‘Granny’ had stored in a box under the house. ”Who were these people, the ladies dressed in white frilly frocks of the Edwardian era and enormous hats with flowers on them?” He obtained his first historical death certificate when he was 16….Great Great Grandfather Hobbs, who died in 1871 and was described as “Governor of Her Majesty’s Gaol in Wollongong”. Fabian says: “Mum was thrilled, and brandished the certificate at Dad, saying ‘See! I told you we weren’t convicts’. My father, very proud of his origins in the Aeolian Islands, would tease Mum terribly about her Anglo-Irish ancestors…’When Rome ruled the world, your ancestors were digging up potatoes!’ (Historically incorrect, but he loved to boast of Roman glory.)” In retirement, Fabian has not lost his interest in family history, helping friends for the sheer fun of it. Fabian will talk about “Tall Stories”…getting to the truth of family history…does it matter?”

Event date: Wednesday 28 February 2018 Event Time: 6:45 pm for 7.15 pm start Event Venue: The Cultural Centre, Italian Forum 23 Norton St, Leichhardt NSW 2040

Entry $5 ~ No bookings required ~ Please register at front desk on arrival

Please join us at La Giara Café Restaurant in the Italian Forum after Fabian’s talk. (Refreshments at your own cost.)

Subsidised Parking available in the Italian Forum Carpark. Validate your ticket at Cultural Centre front desk.

Contact Pina Leyland at Co.As.It. for more information. Tel: 02 9564 0744 or email pina.leyland@coasit.org.au.

Please note: This event will be filmed

 

Cadigal and Wangal people of the Eora nation

This post is to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land in the Inner West.

Inner West Council acknowledges the prior ownership of this area by the Cadigal people who were dispossessed by European invasion more than two hundred years ago.

We celebrate the survival of Aboriginal people and their culture following the impact of European invasion and support their right to determine their own future.

There many different groups within the Australian Aboriginal community. The traditional Aboriginal Groups of inner Sydney Ashfield, Leichhardt Marrickville region are the Cadigal and Wangal clans of the Eora nation.

Cadigal land lies south of Port Jackson and stretches from South Head to Petersham with part of the southern boundary lying on the Cooks River. On the western border lies the territory of the Wangal clan, which extends along the southern shore of the Parramatta River to Parramatta.

Suburbs close to the city such as Glebe are also the home of the Cadigal and Wangal ancestors, and the surrounding bushland was rich in plant, bird and animal life with fish and rock oysters available from Blackwattle Bay.

Aboriginal communities in the Inner West region are part of a thriving metropolitan area, forming an important part of Sydney’s cultural and spiritual mosaic.

Ashfield

Prior to the arrival of Europeans, the area now known as Ashfield within a broader area Wangal people moved and lived, having migrated from South East Asia and then downwards. Exact numbers are unknown, some research indicates there was between 8000 and 10000 aboriginal people in the broader Sydney region, fluctuating with the seasons and tribal conflict. Their territory was believed to be centred on modern-day Concord and stretched east to the swampland of Long Cove Creek (now known as Hawthorne Canal). The land was heavily wooded at the time with tall eucalypts covering the higher ground and a variety of swampy trees along Iron Cove Creek. The people hunted by killing native animals and fish. Violence is known to have occurred both between tribes and within tribes, in particular towards women.

Leichhardt

The history of Aboriginal people in the Leichhardt area is, without doubt, a hidden one. What we today know as the Leichhardt Municipality was once the area inhabited by the Wangal band of the Dharug (Eora) language group. The “Eora people” was the name given to coastal Aborigines around Sydney – Eora means “from this place” – local Aboriginal people used this word to describe to Europeans where they came from, and in time the term became used to define Aboriginal people themselves. Wangal country was known as wanne and it originally extended from the suburbs of Balmain and Birchgrove in the east to Silverwater and Auburn in the west.

The northern boundary was the Parramatta River. Neighbouring Darug bands were the Cadigal to the east, the Wallumattagal on the northern shore of the Parramatta River and the Bediagal to the south. How long the Wangal had lived around Leichhardt is unknown, but we do know that the Dharug were living in the Sydney area for at least 10,000 years before the British invasion in 1788.

Occupation sites are areas that show a concentration of debris associated with human occupation. Rock shelters and overhangs were used to provide campsites sheltered from wind, rain and sun. Charcoal, baked clay, fire blackened stones, food remains (usually shell or bone) and stone tools are commonly found in occupation sites.

Middens composed predominantly of shells are essentially the remains of shellfish meals eaten on the spot by Aboriginal people over a long period of time. Fish and shellfish were the main foods of Aboriginal people living around the harbour, with fishing being an important activity of daily life for both men and women.

In the Leichhardt Municipality 16 midden sites have been identified with 4 being readily accessible to the public. Shell middens can be seen at Whitehorse Point in Elkington Park , Balmain and in Rozelle on the foreshore at Callan Point. The other sites are on private property.

The middens are dated at approximately 4, 500 years old, and are recognised as significant by the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council and archaeologists. A series of interpretive signs can be found at these sites as well as at Yurulbin Point in Birchgrove, recognising the traditional owners of the Leichhardt area.

In 2004, following a change in the boundaries of the Leichhardt local government area, Leichhardt Council, in consultation with the Local Metropolitan Land Council, adopted the names Birrabirragal/Balmain, Wangal/Rozelle-Lilyfield, Gadigal/Annandale-Leichhardt and Eora/Leichhardt-Lilyfield for its four ward structure in recognition of coastal Sydney’s Aboriginal history.

Marrickville

The traditional owners of the land are Cadigal of the Eora Nation. The Aboriginal name for the area is Bulanaming.

Gumbramorra Swamp Following European settlement, Marrickville was a place where runaway convicts could easily hide out in the bush or disappear quietly into the Gumbramorra swamp, which was a natural boundary between Marrickville and what now comprises the suburbs of St Peters, Sydenham and Tempe. The swamp was almost always impassable.

The role of the swamp wetlands played an important part in Aboriginal life as a source of plants and animals. It supported a dense growth of thatch reed, providing an excellent habitat for a variety of birds, particularly swamp hens, moorhens, ducks, gulls and the occasional pelican.

After European settlement its role in the ecological system was not fully understood or appreciated, and the swamp was drained in the 1890s to facilitate the industrialisation of the suburb.

Links

http://www.leichhardt.nsw.gov.au/Library/Local-History/People-and-Places/Eora

https://dictionaryofsydney.org/entry/aboriginal_people_of_the_cooks_river_valley

http://www.gadigal.org.au/our-story.html

https://australianmuseum.net.au/clan-names-chart

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-01-24/australia-day-we-will-never-have-a-reason-to-rejoice-this-day/9339738

References.

3.Chrys Meader http://marrickville-heritage.blogspot.com.au/2012/10/marrickville-suburb-history.html