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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...

An Old Swamp in the City

An Old Swamp in the City

The new decade began in Australia with an apocalyptic vision of drought, fire and flood, but it’s always a bit of shock to Sydney when natural disasters sneak up on the inner city too. Last week as flood waters in Marrickville submerged cars, factories, studios,...

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