Parramatta Road Stories AIR Lyndal Irons

Do you have a story to share?  Local Notes invite you to share your stories with current Artist in Resident, Journalist and Photographer Lyndal Irons

Frequently branded one of Australia’s worst roads, Parramatta Road was also Australia’s first inter-settlement pathway between two colonies. Once populated by Indigenous tribes and bushrangers, I aim to restore a sense of journey to a road better known for daily transit. Part documentary photography and part road trip, my series preserves today’s road for future reference and encourages a deepened experience of the everyday.

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c. Lesly Irons “wedding-package”

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c. Lyndal-Irons_Annandale Hotel

During my AIR with Leichhardt Council, I’m looking for leads and stories from local residents, businesses and pedestrians on Parramatta Road. I’m interested in absolutely everything: residential life, business, your experiences on Parramatta Road. I’m also open to suggestions about what you would like documented, requests and nominations for people and businesses you think deserve recording, parts you value, parts that interest you, aspects you love or hate. I photograph and also interview people and places to tell the story of road through its people and communities.

As part of the Parramatta Road Goes Pop, Lyndal Irons will be inviting people to tell her their tales of “Parra Road.” Lyndal will be located at 121 Parramatta Road for the month of September. Contact her via her email address to make an appointment She would love to hear from you.


Please feel free to add comments and anecdotal stories on the blog in the comments field.

2 comments to Parramatta Road Stories AIR Lyndal Irons

  • Localnotes

    ulia Bovard
    November 12, 2014 at 3:55 pm · Reply · Edit

    As a child I lived at 9 Wetherill St Leichhardt, resumed for the existing Council Chambers in about 1970. My mother had lived in that house part of her childhood. The strip of Parramatta Rd along the northern side from Norton St to Catherine St was a thriving shopping hub, comprising many different shops. some of these were family businesses which had been there for a long time such as Knispels Hardware, some were parts of large chains such as Coles and the Soul Pattinson Chemist. The Albert Palais dance hall was above the shops near Catherine St. We used to walk down Balmain Rd to Parramatta Rd, saying that we were “just going down the Parra”. The old Stadium in Balmain Rd used to run from behind the BaldFaced Stag pub on the corner through to Hay St. My father and uncles used to go to “the fights” there. It became a fancy new tenpin bowling alley in the early 1960s. It was later government offices and then became subsumed into the Italian Forum site.There was an interesting small department store next to the Bald Faced Stag on Parramatta Rd. It had what must have been one of the last automated cash carrying systems in existence. I forget the name of the store but it operated up to the 1970s.It had a central cashier in a mezzanine office and shop assistants would load the purchaser’s cash into a small “trolley carriage” and zing it (electrically propelled?) up the wire to the cashier who would similarly return the change. The southern side of Parramatta Rd was not quite so successful, and there were fewer businesses on that side, although the Petersham Inn seemed to be a quite successful hotel on that side. During the 1950s I remember that there were double yellow lines painted on the footpath so that pedestrians would keep to the left. I do not know whether they were a great success. A few times I came across Bea Miles cadging a ride in a taxi along that part of the road, and my mother would tell me of how Bea Miles used to “scale” ie hitch a ride on the trams and declaim Shakespeare. When I was in primary school, my mother taught me to catch a tram (and later bus) from Leichhardt Town Hall down along Parramatta Rd and would meet me in the city. I remember paying a penny (or maybe three -thrippence) for the fare. Both trams and buses had conductors. When trams were entirely replaced by buses the double deckers allowed smoking on the top deck, and if as a school kid you rode up there -because you didn’t have to stand up for adults- you would reek of cigarette smoke, leading to trouble at home.

  • Brett Bentley

    I was born in 1960 in South Sydney Women’s Hospital which was located in Annandale, and raised in Susan st Annandale but later moved to surrounding areas such as Leichhardt and Petersham. I remember Parramatta Road quite fondly i used to push my grandmothers stroller up and down there for years, before Market Town in Flood St Parramatta rd was busier than George st in the city. My gran loved walking up and down there it was a real social occasion for her as she knew all the shop keepers and enjoyed the thrill of just getting out of the house, how i miss them times with nan.

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