Monday 23 December 2013

Australia's First Independent School: Old King's School Parramatta

Evolution of the place:

Pew – 1788: The Burramattagal people inhabit the area

1788:  Governor Phillip names the district Rose Hill due to its proximity to the river and lush landscape.

1806-1823: Rising land on the north side of the river is named Mount Betham by Governor Bligh.

1830-1831: The King’s School is established by Archdeacon Broughton.

Thursday 19 December 2013

Australia’s Retail History - the David Jones building Parramatta

David Jones car park, 1969, Parramatta City Council Archives

The David Jones building on Church Street Parramatta was a permanent fixture since the early 1960’s and was seen as a bright star in the DJ’s galaxy. Yet over the years this shining light unfortunately lost most of its sparkle and in September 2002 the Daily Telegraph even referred to it as being a … dark and spooky store.  In June 2013 the Meriton group had started the demolition of the building ending a part of Australian retail history.

Tuesday 10 December 2013

Upjohn House - A Rare Reminder of Victorian Residences of the Period

Front view of ‘Upjohn House’, 1993, Parramatta Heritage Study: Inventory Photo No-335
The house at 59 (formerly 55) Kirby Street, Dundas, known as “Upjohn House”, is significant because it is one of the earliest houses built in the area and is a rare reminder of the Victorian residences of this period.[i]

The original 11 acres along Subiaco Creek was granted to James Warman on 7 July 1835.[ii] Warman was one of the first settlers in the district and possibly the organist at St Anne’s Church in neighbouring Ryde.[iii] 

The 1880s saw the first encroachment of suburbia into this otherwise rural setting. “Upjohn House”, or as the house was originally called, “Netherlands” [iv]  was constructed around 1885.[v] It was one of three villas built by a Mr. Brown which are all situated within view of each other. One is located at Marsden Road, Mobbs Hill, the second is used as a Cumberland Builders Bowling Club, in Dora Crescent, and the third is Upjohn House.[vi]

Wednesday 4 December 2013

The Parramatta and District Historical Society, 100 Years Old. Looking back to its beginnings.

Hambledon Cottage, home to PDHS
Parramatta Heritage Centre
On 4 December 2013 the Parramatta and District Historical Society (PDHS) will celebrate its Centenary. It is the second oldest historical society in NSW preceded only by the Royal Australian Historical Society founded in 1901.

The Society was formed at a public meeting on 4 December 1913 following several years of agitation by prominent members of the community. Its formation could be considered overdue recognition of the unique position Parramatta and district occupied within Australian history. Parramatta was 125 years old when the PDHS was created, still quite young in historical terms, but having achieved a great deal worth preserving and recording.

Tuesday 3 December 2013

World War One Trophy Guns for Parramatta

105mm L22 Howitzer, presumed to be similar to the Parramatta Trophy Gun,

At the end of World War One a number of weapons captured form German, Austria/Hungary, and Turkish forces were rounded up to serve as gifts to townships across Australia. While committees were set up to oversee the distribution to townships and cities some of these were selected to form what is now the Australian War Memorial collection, and others were given to Army units linked the guns capture. It was also suggested that some of the smaller weapons be allocated to schools, although it appears the then Minister of Education stepped in to stop this happening.[i] Even so guns did find their way to Scouts groups and to some private schools, like King’s College.