A huge crowd for a hanging: the end of John Knatchbull

One of my very favourite letters in the collections of the State Library of NSW was written by a wool merchant by the name of Joseph Whitehead. In an 1838 letter to his uncle in England, Whitehead describes Sydney as ‘without exception one of the most wicked places...

The Archibald Prize

The Archibald Prize is quintessentially Sydney – bold, controversial, and tinged with celebrity. The annual portraiture prize was established by a benefactor, JF Archibald, and the first prize was held in 1921. Listen to Lisa and Marlene on 2SER here Archibald...

Kia ora!

New Zealand and New South Wales were once one colony, but on 3 May 1841 New Zealand was officially declared a British colony separate from New South Wales. This month it is the 180th anniversary of this decision that brought about two intertwined but distinct national...

When a Spade’s a Spade: the hanging of John Hammell

On 7 May 1832, John Hammell (also reported as John Hammill, John Haymell and Charles Hammell) was hanged for the murder of his boss George Williamson. Not everyone was sorry Williamson had been bashed in the head with a spade, but committing murder has consequences....

Ben Boyd

Sailing into Sydney in his yacht Wanderer in July 1842, Benjamin Boyd was welcomed by the press of the day as a flamboyant saviour to the failing economy. Listen to Mark and Alex on 2SER here Boyd arrived in Sydney rich and ambitious at a time when New South Wales was...