Do you have old photographs? The Lost Local

Do you have any photographs from the past of Annandale,  Leichhardt, Balmain, Rozelle, Marrickville, or Ashfield. As part of History week 2016 we will be inviting you all to share your memories of the Lost local. In September 2016 we invite you all to write down captions of memories on our memory bubbles and pin it to the history pinboard at the library….we want your shots of places people and events from the iconic to the ordinary.

Norton Street 1980

Looking Down Norton Street to Parramatta Road 1983

John Elvy – Leichhardt’s corner street butcher

Leichhardt’s own corner street butcher John Elvy  hanging up the apron after 30years of serving the Leichhardt community.

WHEN Leichhardt institution Elvy?s Meats finally closes its doors, it will be the end of an era for the suburb.

For almost 60 years, the family-run butcher’s shop has been serving the choicest cuts to inner west meat lovers.

Owner and local identity John Elvy, 68, has decided to retire to spend more time with his wife Robyn, his two adult children and two grandchildren, and the shop and attached residence is now for sale.

The shop was opened in 1954 by Mr Elvy’s father, Ted, and his mother Marjorie also worked there.

As a child Mr Elvy would help out after school and he and his brother used to deliver meat orders in the area on their bicycles.

Mr Elvy took over the popular business in 1973, and he has seen dramatic changes in the suburb over the years.

Leichhardt has gone from being very industrial with factories and manufacturing to becoming mostly residential,” he said.

“When we came here in the 50s there was a lot of Italian migration to the suburb and I learnt how to serve our Italian customers by taking them into the cool room and having them point out what they wanted.

“Now there are probably only 20 Italian families that I serve and the number of Italian people has dwindled as they moved on to other suburbs.”

Mr Elvy said he remembered a time when lamb shanks and cutlets were cheap as chips and he has also seen independent butchers struggle to compete with supermarket giants like Coles and Woolworths.

“We have been successful because we ran it as a family business and as a traditional butchery, with all cuts prepared in the traditional way,” he said.

“I have people come at Christmas time from out of town to shop with us and I have seen different generations of the same family. The little ones have grown up now and are coming in with their own families.”

Blogger: Azar

Looking for Ludwig in Leichhardt

BY Adra Anthoney

In 1848 German explorer Ludwig Leichhardt set out from the Darling Downs in southern Queensland bound for the Swan River settlement in Western Australia, and was never seen again. It remains one of Australia’s most enduring unsolved mysterious, and now there is a competition to commemorate Ludwig’s life. Ludwig is the subject of a Leichhardt and Annandale photo competition. Spanning 25 weeks, a cut-out figure of the famous 19th century explorer has been ‘hidden’ in a different local business each week. To enter, the public is encouraged to seek out the image and post or “selfie” with him on the Leichhardt and Annandale Business Chamber’s Facebook page. Anitra Morgana, Executive Officer of the Leichhardt and Annandale Business Chamber, said the event was formed to raise community awareness about Ludwig Leichhardt.


“To celebrate the bicentenary year of Ludwig Leichhardt’s birth, and toraise awareness of how Leichhardtgot its name, the competition was created as a way of involving the community and local businesses in a fun activity in the lead-up to the 27th annual Norton Street Italian Festa in October,” she said. Last week’s winner, Jacqueline Van Goeverdun, “found” Ludwig at Grind Expresso Bar on Norton St, and won a $40 gift voucher sponsored by the café. “I think it was a great idea to help promote the area and the places of business in it,” said Salvatore Crino, manager of event sponsor, Grind Café. “We had some people coming in [the café] and saying, ‘What’s this Ludwig competition?’ They obviously had their iPhones and took photos. “We initially put [the cut-out] where the posters were so you couldn’t really see it – it was sort of camouflaged in there but the people found it. We moved it generallyaround the place.” The Ludwig cut-out has since moved to a new ‘hiding’ place and two $100 shopping vouchers are up for grabs this week. The clue provided is “Ludwig is getting into the community spirit in #Leichhardt’s piazza del mercato”.

Oral History with Ted Tamsett

In December 2012, I had the pleasure of meeting and conducting an oral history with an old true Local, Ted Tamsett the grandson of Patrick Cronin  and Julia Cronin, the original owners and publicans of Leichhardt hotel, situated on the corner of Wetherill Street and Balmain Road.

This photo was taken the day before the hotel was demolished. L-R Mrs Robinson, Julia Cronin, Jack Ogilvir, Majorie Tamsett 3yrs, old, Florence Cronin and her husband Jack (Licensee of the hotel) Cora Robinson – daughter of Mrs Robinson, unknown child) Ellen Tamsett (Nell Cronin) and her husband Edgar Tamsett and Alfe Nugent.

Leichhardt Hotel was originally constructed in 1888 in the Victorian Filigree style, featuring decorative cast iron brackets and an Iron filigree verandah. The hotel was demolished and re-designed by architect Sidney Warden in 1924.

Ted Tamsett was born on 28th October  1923 in the old Leichhardt Hotel. He attended Leichhardt Public School then went to school at St Fiacres until 5th class.  He worked with this family in the hotel until he was registered and called to service for World War 2 and entered the air-force.  On discharge he returned to Leichhardt and took over the running of the Leichhardt hotel.  Great changes to the hotel occurred. Hours were changed from 6pm to 10pm but with a closing hour between 6-7 pm to drive all the clients home for dinner. The original hotel was demolished and the new one was designed and built by the architect Sidney Warden built around 1924 hotel. Sidney Warden later designed the addition of the Lounge hotel to the rear of the pub.

Cnr of Wetherill Street and Balmain Road.


Original Subdivision Plans now available online!

Exciting News !!!!!








Go to…….Library Catalogue

Just  select “Anywhere” and type in “Subdivision Plans” or “Sale Plans”

You can now search our library Webopac  for Subdivision Plans just type in “Subdivision plans” or your street name and look to the right hand column for Subdivision plans.


Scarcella Watchmakers 60th Anniversary.

Eugene and Guisseppe Scarcella

With a packed room as part of History week 2012, we celebrated 60 years of business for Scarcella Watchmakers. Like the hands of a clock the fashions in time keeping have come full circle. It is a local business which survives in a suburb where a penchant for old craftsmanship keeps the Scarcella business alive. Giuseppe and Eugene continue the business laid down by father and grandfather Carmello Scarcella who started the business just  three days  after arrival to Australia.

Now Leichhardt watchmakers Guiseppe and Eugene Scarcella keep the family tradition going. The Local communities love of things old and well made with sentimental penchant for family aerlooms which have kept people coming from all over Sydney for many years “People like old watches. It’s actually a fad at the moment – people buy them on eBay. Which is good for us, because we have to do the repairs !” Eugene said “A lot of people will come in with watches that may not be the most expensive, but their father wore it every day. They’ll pay to have it fixed because they’re so attached to it,” he said. Carmello Scarcella opened up the business in the first week of arriving to Australia in July 1952. His son Giuseppe Scarcella joined him in the businesses from 1960 and Eugene joined the family trade in 1982 full time. The Leichhardt family business is one of the longest surviving on Norton Street with some customers still coming from the time it opened. The small shopfront filled with watches parts and clocks has worked for them.

Three generations Carmello Giuseppe and Eugene

Carmelo was a healthy 105 yrs old when he passed away in 2011. 1930s/1940s:

1952“Carmelo Scarcella owns a jewellery and wedding gift shop in Messina” which was damaged in WorldWar 2. They sold wedding gifts like vases. Carmelo Scarcella arrives in Australia from Messina, where he had a jewellery and wedding gift shop. He opened up the watchmakers shop at 12 Norton Street in his first week of arriving. He began his trade at age 8.

1960 Giuseppe Scarcella joins his father in the shop at 12 Norton Street Leichhardt. They specialise in fixing in older watchers, old clocks, automatic, all watches, geek watches. 1982

Eugene Scarcella starts working full time in the shop. 2012

The business ticks over successfully making it one of Leichhardt’s oldest local businesses.

New light rail line follows the old goods line

The proposed new extension of the light rail line follows the old Goods Line. In 1910 it was suggested taking a new railway route alongside the new Long Cove Canal (now Hawthorne Canal) through Leichhardt. Their plan was to install a new intersection at Dulwich Hill on the Bankstown line and linking this to Rozelle, Glebe Island and eventually Darling Harbour. On June 30 1916 the goods line on this route,  opened for traffic.

Now the light rail runs along the same line from Catherine Street, Lilyfield to Central Station. The  light rail extension will run from Lilyfield to Dulwich Hill along the historic goods line.

Total length from Lilyfield to the Dulwich Hill Railway Station is 5.6km.  Approximately nine stations will be built along the 5.6km extension at:

  • • Leichhardt North
  • • Hawthorne
  • • Marion
  • • Taverners Hill
  • • Lewisham West
  • • Waratah Mills
  • • Arlington
  • • Dulwich Grove
  • • Dulwich Hill Interchange

Take a walk. .

The Heritage Group of Leichhardt District (HGOLD) has recently published a collection of historic walks in the area, compiled by Jeannette Knox and funded through Leichhardt Council’s Local History Grants Program. There are 11 walks in all: six in Balmain, 3 in Leichhardt and one each in Annandale and Lilyfield/Rozelle. Each one is accompanied by a map and there is historic detail about each suburb as well as about the buildings and other sites, illustrated with a number of photos.

Information is also provided about the duration of each walk and public transport connections to each area. The book is spiral bound for easy use while walking and there is space for your own notes at the end.

This is the ideal solution for people wanting to discover more about where they live, or for those outside the area who are interested in the history and heritage of one of the oldest parts of Sydney. Best of all, these walks can be undertaken in your own time, doing as much or as little as you like.

Exploring Leichhardt Heritage costs $20 and is available from the Balmain and Leichhardt libraries, the Customer Service Centre next to Leichhardt Town Hall, at Journeys Bookshop in Booth Street, Annandale and Shearer’s Bookshop in Norton Street, Leichhardt, and from the Balmain Association.

Further information about HGOLD is available at:

Balmain To Glebe

Pictorial History Balmain to Glebe covers the suburbs of Annandale, Balmain, Birchgrove, Leichhardt, Lilyfield and Rozelle. Glebe, although no longer part of the Leichhardt municipality, is included for geographical and historical reasons. Each area has its own story of settlement, growth and development from Aboriginal occupancy to the changing face of suburbs in the 21st century. In that time span colonial estates and humble workers’ cottages gave way to subdivision as suburbs developed away from Sydney. Annandale, the Johnston family’s vast estate, was later planned as a model suburb. Balmain began with a rich maritime history and the creation of the famous Mort’s Dock. Birchgrove, another colonial estate, witnessed an engineering marvel with the building of the underwater tunnel from Long Nose Point (Yurulbin) to Greenwich. Threatened demolition and unsympathetic development brought about the creation of the Balmain Association (1965), the Annandale Association (1969) and the Glebe Society (1969) by concerned citizens who wished to save the intrinsic character of these areas.
Written by Joan Lawrence and Catherine Warne.