Monthly Archives: June 2013

Woollarawarre Bennelong

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This year marks the 200th anniversary of the death of Woollarawarre Bennelong at Walumetta (Kissing Point) in 1813. Bennelong was of the Wangal clan whose lands included present day Canada Bay.

To mark this event, Dr Keith Vincent Smith will be giving a talk on Woollarawarre Bennelong. The talk will chart Bennelong’s tumultuous life from his birth in 1764 in our area to his death at Walumetta in 1813. There is much to tell in between; his friendship with Governor Arthur Phillip, his voyage to England and the controversy of his life after his return.

Dr Keith Vincent Smith is a an independent historian and curator specialising in the ethnology and history of the Indigenous people of Sydney. Since publishing his book Bennelong in 2001, Keith has uncovered further information on Bennelong and another work, Walking with Bennelong, is forthcoming.

The talk will be at Concord Library on Wednesday, 10 July 2013 at 7pm. The event is free however bookings are essential.

Correy’s Pleasure Gardens

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Music, dancing and picnics have always been enjoyed at Cabarita Park.

From the 1880s until World War 1, a focus of the park was Correy’s Pleasure Gardens operated on land adjacent to Cabarita Park. The pleasure ground was established by Thomas Obed Correy, who had previously owned gardens at Botany in the 1870s. Correy brought plants, flowers, shrubs and trees to Cabarita and provided swings, merry-go-rounds, a cricket field, a running track, summer houses, and from 1887, a dance pavilion, which was a great attraction for the many social and sporting clubs that held their annual picnics at the grounds.

The dance pavilion could accommodate up to 900 people who would be entertained by a ten piece string orchestra. Daytime dances were popular until gas replaced the kerosene lamps and evening dinners and dances became increasingly popular making the pleasure gardens one of Sydney’s leading recreational resorts.

During the World War I, Correy’s Pleasure Gardens declined in popularity and was eventually sold in 1918.

Correy’s Pleasure Gardens are one of many stories of Cabarita highlighted in a new Breakfast Point and Cabarita Park education kit now available on the City of Canada Bay web page. For more images of Correy’s Gardens see our flickr set.

Belle of the Ball

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Débutante balls were one of the highlights of the social calendar in the past and were something of a rite of passage for young women of the time.

City of Canada Bay Museum currently has a fascinating display of photographs and memorabilia of past balls held in our area, including gowns worn to Concord Mayoral Balls.

The photograph above shows débutantes at the Concord West Royal Arch Masonic Ball in 1934: (left to right) Valerie Clark, Grace Pogmore, Marjorie Scott, Ileen Schroder, Lady Mayoress Mrs C. K. Longmuir (Doris May Longmuir who was Matron to the débutantes), Gladys Beazley, Gwen Kingston, Wilsie Golding, Daphne Knight and Amy Whitmarsh. More photographs can be seen on the Canada Bay Connections flickr page.

Memories of old Drummoyne

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Suttton Buildings at the corner of Victoria Road and Lyons Road, Drummoyne has long been a part of the commercial and social life of the area.

Sutton’s Broadway Pictures commenced operation on the site in 1912 and comprised two buildings: a cinema, built mostly of galvanised iron, at the corner of Bridge Street (now Victoria Road) and Lyons Road and an open air roller skating rink at the corner of Lyons Road and Marlborough Street. The cinema closed in 1917 and was replaced by Sutton Buildings while the skating rink soon made way for a modern cinema.

The Drummoyne Theatre opened in 1921 at the corrner of Lyons Road and Marlborough Street. It was a large cinema by Sydney standards and could seat 1,000. Later known as the Odeon Theatre, it was part of the social life of Drummoyne until August 1960. The building was demolished the following year to make way for a service station which has since been replaced by a residential and retail development named the ‘Odeon Plaza’.

There are many stories associated with Drummoyne and a facebook site, Memories of Drummoyne, has recently been created to capture them.

The photograph above was taken in 1940.

A stately home of Rest

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On his death in 1886, Thomas Walker of Yaralla left a legacy of £100,000 to build a convalescent hospital on 13 hectares of land at Rocky Point on the Parramatta River.

The Thomas Walker Convalescent Hospital was designed by noted architect Sir John Sulman and opened in September 1893. Some 70, 000 patients convalesced at the hospital from the time of its opening until the 1970s, including servicemen from both World Wars. One of the more famous patients was writer Henry Lawsonwho described it as ‘a stately home of Rest’ in his poem The Unknown Patient.

In 1979 control of the hospital was transferred to the NSW Department of Health which has used it as a facility which focuses on the psychological health of young people and their families. It was renamed Rivendell, a name taken from Tolkien’s The Hobbit where it features as a place of rest.

Rivendell has appeared in several films, including Flirting, The man who sued God, Lorenzo’s Oil and, most recently, The Great Gatsby.