Friday 23 August 2013

The Intercolonial Juvenile Industrial Exhibition, Parramatta and the Discovery of a New Talent

Front cover of  the Regulations for the guidance of exhibitors
State Library Victoria
Recently uncovered in a box amongst a number of publications at the Heritage Centre was an 1884 minute book of the organising Committee for the Intercolonial Juvenile Industrial Exhibition, Parramatta. The discovery of the minute book brought to our attention a significant and newsworthy event seemingly ignored in the history books on Parramatta.

The purpose of the Intercolonial Juvenile Industrial Exhibition was to provide boys and girls with unrecognized talents opportunities to show their capabilities and encourage personal growth and development. However, it was at the catastrophic expense of another institution that Parramatta was presented with the opportunity to hold this event. Initially plans were made for a Sydney Juvenile Industrial Exhibition to be held at the magnificent Garden Palace but unfortunately plans were “...thrown into disarray. At about 5.45 on the morning of Friday 22 September, 1882, the night watchmen on duty...entered the Garden Palace building and noticed smoke rising from beneath the statue of Queen Victoria. Within minutes the fire was so strong they were forced out of the building and within hours the whole building was levelled.”1

Wednesday 21 August 2013

A Chronological History of the Parramatta Female Orphan School

Female orphan School, Parramatta, 1870-1875, photographer American & Australasian Photographic Company

1791    60 acres allotted to Surgeon Thomas Arndell on north bank of Parramatta River, 
             east of Rose Hill (Parramatta).

1810  150 acres set aside for an Orphan School at Arthur’s Hill encompassing the former Arndell estate.

Tom Thompson Mural

Tom Thompson, Mural, Parramatta City Council, 2013
Hidden away in the old Council Chambers Building at Parramatta, is a colourful mural by Tom Thompson.  It depicts various colonial views and significant historical figures of Parramatta.  The mural is very large measuring 632 cm (w) x 183 cm (h), painted in watercolour or gouache straight onto an internal plaster wall. The mural was commissioned in 1957 to celebrate the opening of the Council Chambers building in May 1958.

The 'Red Cow' Inn Parramatta

Red Cow Inn, Parramatta
In colonial times most visitors to Parramatta would have had to choose between stopping over at one of its two most famous inns, The ‘Red Cow’ or the ‘Woolpack’. The first of these stood at the rear of the site of the present Commercial Bank in George street. While the name ‘Red Cow’ seems a little prosaic it was actually a very literal reference to the many red cows grazing in the pastures around the newly formed town. The earliest reference I could find to the inn was an 1803 advertisement posted by John Williams, a draper, who advertised his shop as being ‘... opposite the RED COW.’ One of its earliest functions was a supper held within its walls in October, 1814, to celebrate the victories of Wellington over the Napoleonic forces in Spain

Monday 5 August 2013

St John's Cathedral, Parramatta

St John's Cathedral, 1913, from publication Centenary Celebration's, Anglican Church, Australia, Heritage Centre Collections, Parramatta Council 
This site located just a few minutes from the Parramatta train station is the oldest church site in Australia in continuous use and is a significant component of the evidence of the early township of Parramatta.