Monthly Archives: April 2016

An album of memories

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A small display in the Local Studies area at Concord Library provides a glimpse into the story of two brothers who served in the First World War.

Margaret Jeffery lovingly collected the letters and postcards sent by her sons during the First World War in an album. One hundred years later they provide a very special glimpse into the lives of the soldiers and the conditions they experienced. Private Henry (Harry) Jeffery was killed in action in Belgium on the 4 October 1917, aged 19 years. His brother, Private Robert (Bob) Jeffery was only 15 years 8 months when he enlisted. He served in the Middle East until the Army found out he was underage and sent him back to Australia.

The photograph of soldiers, above, includes Harry Jeffery (second from the left, marked with a cross). The photograph may have been taken during training in Britain. The hut in the background would appear to be an army mess or kitchen, judging by the pots and utensils in the picture.

The Jeffery Album was generously donated to Local Studies by Christine Tracy, a descendant of the brothers, in 2014.

Discover your local area

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‘Discovery and Rediscovery’ is the theme of this year’s National Trust Heritage Festival, 16 April-29 May 2016.

Local Studies will be conducting two walking tours ‘Discover Cabarita and Breakfast Point’ and ‘Discover Abbotsford’ which can be booked online. For those wanting to explore Rhodes at their own time and pace, a free Rhodes walking tour app has recently been released by the City of Canada Bay which is available through the App Store or Google Play.

There will also be a talk on Spectacle Island, which is probably the least known of Sydney Harbour’s islands, at Five Dock Library on 19 May 2016. City of Canada Bay Museum has an interesting display ‘Discover Drummoyne’ and there will be an open day at Yaralla on Sunday, 24 April 2016.

The photograph, above, was taken at the dedication of Henry Lawson Park, Abbotsford on 3 September 1938.

A factory set in sunshine

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The name of Rhodes newest park, Lewis Berger Park, recalls the industrial heritage of the area.

Berger’s origins go back to 1760 in England when chemist Louis Stegenberger (later known as Lewis Berger) began manufacturing Prussian Blue. During the nineteenth century Berger paints were imported into Australia and in 1916 the company established a factory at Rhodes to supply Australian needs. The Rhodes factory produced white lead used in the production of paint at that time. After the First World War the company continued to expand. In 1932 the factory supplied some 60,000 litres of paint for the Sydney Harbour Bridge while during the Second World War it provided paint for military purposes, especially aircraft.

The opening of Lewis Berger Park will be marked by a community picnic on Saturday, 30 April 2016, 2pm-4pm. A special feature of the park will be the Berger History Trail. The Berger War Memorial which has been full restored will also be re-located in Lewis Berger Park.

The illustration, above, is from a Berger advertisement of 1938, titled ‘A factory set in sunshine’.

Drummoyne Amateur Swimming Club

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For over one hundred years the Drummoyne Amateur Swimming Club has played an important part in the recreational life of our community.

The Drummoyne Amateur Swimming Club has had great success in fostering swimming not only at the local level but is associated with some of Australia’s greatest sporting achievements. Its history is studded with the names of famous swimmers, including Olympians Moss Christie, Dawn Fraser, Jon Henricks, John Konrads and Jan Murphy along with coaches of the calibre of Harry Gallagher and Forbes Carlile.

The longevity of the club owes much to the dedication of volunteers. During the Second World War sixteen year old Jack Hannaford combined the duties of Secretary and Treasurer when all the men were called up or in reserve forces. Such dedication was also exemplified by Bill Gallie OAM who in 1925 was Australian breaststroke champion. In 1964, aged 54, he moved from Balmain to Drummoyne and was volunteer coach and club secretary for almost twenty years.

The Drummoyne Amateur Swimming Club Records recently transferred its historical records and photographs to Local Studies for safekeeping and to ensure that their remarkable history is made available to researchers and the community.

A selection of the images will be exhibited later this year at Five Dock Library. The photograph, above, is of the Club Carnival night in 1981 at Drummoyne Swimming Pool.

Brothers in arms

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While brothers from the same family often enlisted in the First World War, it was uncommon to see four brothers do so. At Drummoyne the Erickson brothers, Albert Victor, Roy Robert, Bertie Theodore and George Peter all enlisted to serve.

Educated at Drummoyne Public School, the Erickson brothers were keen sportsmen. All four swam with the Drummoyne Amateur Swimming Club, with Bertie (known as ‘Bert’) and George also playing in the Drummoyne Water Polo team. Albert’s other enthusiasm was Australian Rules Football, playing first for Drummoyne he then captained the Western Central team. Bert was also a rower with the Balmain Rowing Club.

Albert Victor Erickson, enlisted in August 1915 and served with the 3 Battalion, later transferring to the 45 Battalion. Roy Robert Erickson enlisted in July 1915 and served with the 18 Battalion. Tragically, Albert and Roy were killed in action within a day of one another in the Battle of Pozieres in France. Roy died on 5 August 1916, aged 19 years while Albert died on 6 August 1916, aged 23 years.

The photograph of the memorial plaques commemorating Albert Victor and Roy Robert was kindly donated to ‘Canada Bay Connections’ earlier this year by Ian Vinall.

Tobruk anniversary

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This year marks the 75th anniversary of the siege of Tobruk during the Second World War.

Five Dock has played a special part in the commemoration and remembrance of Tobruk. The photograph shows the unveiling of the Tobruk obelisk at the corner of Lyons Road and Great North Road by Sir Roden Cutler in 1968. It is modelled on the memorial at the Tobruk War Cemetery. Adjacent to the memorial is a row of trees planted by the Ladies of the Rats of Tobruk Association and the mast of the HMAS Vendetta which played a vital role in supply and reinforcement at Tobruk.

Each year veterans met at the memorial on ‘Tobruk Sunday’, the Sunday in April closest to the date when the siege began on 10 April 1941. Last year was the last occasion that the Tobruk veterans marched at Five Dock.

The 100 years of Anzac page includes some fascinating memories of Tobruk veterans.