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.

  1. 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 – based primarily on non-commercial arrangements.

After the closure of the old Hospital in 1991, the building was occupied by MUD Australia ceramics, reflective of the makers and creative that have grown to occupy local industrial premises and nearby spaces.

Some of the community organisations to occupy the site during its “vacated years” included The MAC (Marrickville Aboriginal Advisory Committee) a legal service for Aboriginal women.  Koori Radio. The Cadigal Information Service Aboriginal Corporation, and MCTVA – Marrickville Community TV Association.

Vacating notices were sent to occupants in 2009, citing the risks of living and operating in old buildings without adequate fire and safety regulations.

11. Official Opening of new Marrickville Library 31 August 2019

After more than twenty years of public consultation, heated debates and deliberations, the development of the new Marrickville Library and Pavilion exemplifies the Inner West Councils commitment to enhancing Marrickville’s civic precinct and for its ongoing role within the community.


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.

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Living Heritage Festival – Tempe House

For the first time in Bayside and the Inner West, leading historians, heritage experts and community influencers are brought together by the Historic Houses Association of Australia for a fantastic day long festival at Tempe House. Join Stephen Gapps, Paul Irish, Ian Tyrrell, Hilary Davidson, Stuart Read, Helen Davies; Paintwrights, Thorne Decorative Plasterwork, and the Heritage Stoneworks Team along with local historical societies and guilds for a celebration of the forgotten crafts of the past and the heritage skills of tomorrow.

Across Discovery Point Park and Mt Olympus enjoy history pop-ups and tours – hear from local historians about the stories of the people, house and life around Tempe House from the 1830s to today’s restoration. Chat to the experts about native bee keeping, heritage sustainability and learn about how life was lived on the banks of the Cooks River.

In the Chapel, Villa and Courtyard, traditional trade skills are on display including heritage stonework, plasterwork and exhibits of paint, stencilling and wood graining techniques. Also on display is an exhibition of rare colonial fashion gowns with demonstrations by a range of craft artisans. Learn about historic lace making, the art of quilling and join a sewing circle.

Heritage workshops will be inside Tempe House – Find out how to research the history of your house from a local studies historian.  Learn hands-on practical skills in conservation and how to value your precious antiques. Hear about environmental sustainability for your heritage home. Join in and use recycled material to create a no-waste basket that you can take home

In the former stables, historians, writers and community activists delve further into the layered histories of Tempe House site, landscape and the river environment. Speakers focus on specific themes ranging from histories of place, architecture and social life to popular expressions of history and questions of identity.

Artisan craft and local food stalls including vintage fashion, upcycled goods and ‘Willie the Boatman’ craft beer for sale.

book your tickets here 

Miss Ashfield 1931 – Miss Marie Walker – PIN

Miss Ashfield, Miss Marie Walker of 231 Liverpool Road Ashfield was one of 19 participants in the Miss Sydney fundraising competition organised by United Charities Fund of NSW.

This pin was donated to Ashfield Council in 1984 by Jim Sherry of Summer Hill

After a close competition, Miss Rockdale was crowned Miss Sydney on December 2, 1931. Having recieved  209,305 votes and raising over £872, she took home the crown and £50 prize money.

Runner up Miss Marrickville won £30, raising over £609 and receiving 146,375 votes. Miss Ashfield came in third place with 82,171 votes, raising over £342 and winning £20.

Details & newspaper clippings from TROVE

Miss Ashfield finished 3rd, behind Miss Rockdale and Miss Marrickville.

MISS. SYDNEY GIRLS (1931, October 24). The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW : 1931 – 1954), p. 4. Retrieved May 15, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article246560564

October 24 1931


Heritage Festival 2019: Connecting People Places and the Past

It’s autumn which means it’s time for the 2019 Heritage Festival, presented by the Inner West Council Library and History under the auspices of National Trust.

Join us as we explore the rich history of the inner west and highlight the people who have shaped our vibrant neighbourhood. The Festival takes place from 18 April to 19 May

This year’s theme is Connecting People, Places and the Past. The events take place at a variety of historical inner west venues, some rarely open to the public.

Browse here and book for your events.

Historic Letterheads Uncovered

Before electronic communications, paper letters reigned supreme. Now perceived as ‘just that space where the company’s address is written’, letterheads were once so much more – an influential device businesses used in convincing people they were the best.

Letter from H.T. Seymour Ltd to Town Clerk Municipality of Marrickville, 22 April 1922

As one of the earliest examples of direct marketing, letterheads offered a quick outline about a business. But – like the company logo that sits silently in the footer of today’s emails – letterheads are more than mere adornments; they offer revealing insights into the history of the visual and commercial arts in Australia.

Australia’s growing population and an expanding economy fuelled a thriving art scene, with creative industry embracing marketing strategies to gain an advantage over competitors.

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Billy Murdoch: A Star Cricketer from Balmain

Billy and his older brother Gilbert grew up in Balmain attending Balmain Public School and Fort Street School. At the age of 19 Billy was the first captain of the Balmain Rugby Club, when it entered the Sydney competition in 1874. But cricket was Billy’s first love and he became captain of NSW by 1879 and of Australia in 1880. Gilbert was a member of the Balmain Council for 10 years and its mayor for two.

Billy Murdoch was a colossus of Australian cricket in the 1880s, famous for scoring big hundreds. He scored 321 for NSW in 1882 and the first double century in Test cricket.

April 18th 2019

Balmain Town Hall Meeting Room

6:30pm – 8:00pm


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The Queen Visits Ashfield 1954

We recently obtained a photograph in the Inner West Council Library and History collections of  Queens Elizabeth II visit to Ashfield. So it was February 6 1954  just 3 days after the Queen landed in Australia when the royal car and entourage made its way from Burwood to Concord making stops to wave and connect with over one million lining the streets to get a glimpse.

Read all about the historic traffic jams in the SMH

Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954), Saturday 6 February 1954, page 6

The Queen’s car drove down Parramatta Road along Ashfield Park: 6 February 1954

Image: Queen Elizabeth courtesy of Inner West Council Library and History Service

The Witches’ Houses of Annandale – AURA Journal 2

When: Tuesday, 4, December, 2018

Time: 6:00pm -8:00pm


Leichhardt Library
Piazza Level -Italian Forum, 23 Norton St
Leichhardt NSW

More about this event:

The Witches’ Houses of Annandale
Journal Number 2
Annandale Urban Research Association launch
Local authors will showcase images of the majestic houses that stand on Johnston Street, Annandale, between Rose Street and Kentville Avenue.
Hear some of the extraordinary women associated with the houses including:
• Bertha Blackmann from “Oybin”
• Elizabeth Young with “Claremont”
• Sister Dorothea with “St Basil’s Home”
• Betty Mason (The Annandale Association) that saved the block from further demolitions – and
• Sir Henry Parkes, who was living at Kenilworth at the time of his death