Wednesday 22 January 2014

The Parramatta Volunteer Fire Brigade

Parramatta Volunteer Fire Brigade, 1871, mla5743165h3

The Parramatta Volunteer Fire (PVF) Brigade was formed in 1859 at the instigation of Mr. Menser, who went on to become its first Treasurer. The Empire from November 1860 contained the following article on the PVF’s formation by a Mr. Shackles … it will be remembered that on the 17th October, I859, some fourteen or fifteen gentlemen met together at the Union. Inn kept at that time by Mr Nathaniel Payne for the purpose of taking the necessary steps for forming themselves into a volunteer fire company, for the protection of life and property in this town.

Thursday 16 January 2014

The Rivoli. Parramatta's Bygone Entertainment Venue

Advertisement for Skating at the Rivoli. The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate 7 April 1930 p. 4.

The nondescript, bureaucratic facade of the fourteen storey office block located at 130-134 Church Street, near the old Parramatta Fire Station, betrays the site of what was once a lively social hub for residents of the Parramatta district. Prior to the erection of the multi floored building in 1973 there stood on the same site the Rivoli Dance Hall. The “Riv” through its life attracted large crowds as a major entertainment venue. At various times it operated as an open air picture theatre, cinema, skating rink, boxing and wrestling stadium, dance hall, and markets.

Thursday 9 January 2014

Frederick William Birmingham

Frederick William Birmingham was born in the Irish town of Westport, County Mayo. Frederick’s father was a civil engineer named William Birmingham (1791-1848) who probably helped him get his first job, aged 17, assisting with a major project to survey the West of Ireland. He then spent the next eight years surveying Ireland and England before moving to New York.

Friday 3 January 2014

Lennox Bridge, Parramatta, 1836-1839

Lennox Bridge, looking south down Church Street,
Parramatta Council Heritage Centre Collection

David Lennox was born in Ayr, Scotland, and was trained as a stonemason. He was experienced in bridge 
building under the famous engineer Thomas Telford having worked on a stone bridge across the Severn in 
Gloucester and the Menai suspension bridge in north-west Wales. After the death of his wife, he sought 
employment in the colony arriving as an unassisted migrant in 1832. His talents were soon recognised and he 
was appointed as Superintendent of Bridges; became the first skilled bridge builder on the mainland. Any 
doubts about his ability were dispelled after his design and construction of a horseshoe shaped bridge at 
Lapstone (1833) and the 110 feet clear span bridge at Lansdowne over Prospect Creek (1834-1836).[55]

Wednesday 1 January 2014

Parramatta High School celebrates 100 years!

Parramatta High School c1910 - 1930
Before the year draws to a close, we should wish Parramatta High School happy 100th birthday!  This historic school began its life in 1913 and has been an important educator of the young adults of Parramatta ever since.  On 28 January 1913, the school opened in temporary accommodation at Macquarie and Jubilee halls where five classes were held, each separated only by calico curtains. Student fashion was quite formal with men wearing suits and hats, and women wearing long skirts.