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Carangarang

Carangarang

Today is the start of National Reconciliation Week, so I thought we’d take a look at someone who was part of Sydney’s early history: Carangarang. Now I must confess that I didn’t know much about Carangarang before today. But that’s one of the great things about the...

The camels at Government House

The camels at Government House

The State Library of New South Wales holds a very lovely painting of the first Government House in Sydney. The oil painting, by George Edwards Peacock, was done in 1845, just before the building (where the Museum of Sydney now stands) was demolished. The scene is of a...

A venerable old bird

A venerable old bird

Here at the Dictionary of Sydney we like to give you insight into those seminal moments in the city’s history, the patterns and forces that shaped our city, influential people and events… or in the case of today a foul-mouthed pet cockatoo, Cocky Bennett. [button...

A Drama of Llamas

A Drama of Llamas

These days we’re all talking about social distancing, or, more accurately, physical distancing but how far should we be staying away from each other? Some advice is 1.5 meters, some is 2 meters. People working in the old scale are saying 6 feet. What does it all mean?...

An excellent establishment

An excellent establishment

City living in Sydney in the early part of the 19th century could be dangerous and insalubrious, especially for the poor. Adult hospitalisations were dominated by the complaints of hard living in humble circumstances—primarily gastrointestinal, dermatological and...

A story of escape: a terrible true tale or fake news?

A story of escape: a terrible true tale or fake news?

One of the most perplexing tales to come out of Norfolk Island in the nineteenth century is the story of Bennett and Balsto. A story that beautifully illustrates both the complex difficulties that historical researchers can face, and the oft-stated advice to not...

Annie Wyatt, heritage warrior

Annie Wyatt, heritage warrior

The National Trust of Australia is celebrating its 75th anniversary this week, so it seemed like a perfect time to talk about the inspiring woman who made it all happen. ...

Balmain Colliery

Balmain Colliery

The deepest coal mine ever worked in Australia was on the waterfront in Sydney's inner western suburbs. This week we took a look into the pit of a surprisingly little known historical industrial site. [button...

They had no Shelf Control: book thieves in colonial Sydney

They had no Shelf Control: book thieves in colonial Sydney

For as long as we have had books, books have had value. Intellectual value, sentimental value and, of course, cash value. Sydneysiders have had access to books since the arrival of the First Fleet. These items were, of course, scarce and, although some books were...

Sydney’s smallpox epidemic in 1881

Sydney’s smallpox epidemic in 1881

As we stare down the barrel of an unknown pandemic, we remember that the city has seen quite a few epidemics in its time. Prior to the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1919,  an outbreak of smallpox took hold of the city and its imagination. [button...

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