Category Archives: Canada Bay

The world of May Gibbs

This year’s History Week will be marked with a special talk on May Gibbs in Popular Culture by Alison Wishart at Five Dock Library.

May Gibbs is one of Australia’s most popular and enduring children’s book authors and illustrators. Her picture books have delighted successive generations for over 100 years. She drew her inspiration from her childhood spent visiting the bush south of Perth, and later from her large garden in Sydney’s Neutral Bay and bush walks in the Blue Mountains.

An early environmentalist, she urged her readers to ‘be kind to bush creatures’. This illustrated talk will examine the enduring influence of Gibbs’ artwork and books, her charitable work and how she built her career.

The talk will be at Five Dock Library on Wednesday, 6 September 2017 at 7pm and is free, although are essential. The talk is proudly presented as part of the History Council of NSW’s Speaker Connect program for History Week 2017 and supported by Create NSW.

The images, above, show an illustration from Gumnut Babies by May Gibbs, 1916 (left) and ‘Souriante’ a self-portrait by May Gibbs, 1923. Images are from the May Gibbs Archive, State Library of NSW © The Northcott Society and Cerebral Palsy Alliance.

Tell us your story

Canadian connections


The historical link between Saint-Cyprien-de-Napierville, Quebec and the City of Canada Bay was marked last week by an exchange of letters as an expression of friendship. Appropriately the ceremony took place at the Canadian Exiles memorial at Bayview Park, close to where the exiles were set ashore in 1840.

The events of 1837-1838 which led to the French Canadian Patriotes being exiled to Australia, where they were incarcerated at Longbottom Stockade, Concord have left their mark on our area. The names Marceau Drive, Chateauguay Walk, Exile Bay, French Bay and our namesake, Canada Bay are a reminder of their story.

While most of the Canadian Exiles returned to their families and friends in Canada in 1842, Joseph Marceau who came from Saint-Cyprien-de-Napierville chose to stay and make a new home for himself in Australia.

The photograph shows Pierre Marcoux from Quebec, who is working on a documentary on the Canadian Exiles, with City of Canada Bay Mayor, Helen McCaffrey (for more images, see flickr).

Remembrances of war


Throughout the City of Canada Bay there are many memorials, large and small, dedicated to the memory of local men and women who served our country in war.

Local Studies is custodian of two memorials to those who served in the First World War, the Drummoyne War Service Record, which records those who served from the Drummoyne area and the Lysaght Bros Roll of Honour, which records the names of workers from the Lysaght factory at Chiswick who served .

The beautiful memorial, above, pays tribute to nine soldiers from the Five Dock Methodist Church (now Five Dock Uniting Church) who did not return from the First World War. Undoubtedly it was crafted with love and compassion.

Images of some of the war memorials in the City of Canada Bay can be seen on flickr.

Discover your local area

Henry Lawson Park dedication (Small)

‘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.

Champion of the World


In 1875 Edward Trickett won the sculling World Championship on the River Thames, England to become Australia’s first world champion in any sport. Between 1876 and 1907 seven of the world champions were from New South Wales: Trickett, Bill Beach, Peter Kemp, Henry Searle, Jim Stanbury, John McLean and George Towns. Several championship races were held on the Parramatta River.

In July 1905 the then World Champion George Towns was challenged by Jim Stanbury for a prize of £500. The race started at Homebush Bay and finished at Abbotsford, a distance of about 5,100 metres. Stanbury won the race in a time of 19 minutes 50 seconds to became World Champion. It was estimated that up to 150,000 spectators crowded the shoreline and watched from ferries and boats. Crowds were enormous at Cabarita and Abbotsford. Stanbury’s victory was short-lived with Towns reclaiming the title the following year.

Local Studies recently received a donation of a booklet, Harbour and river pleasure resorts, published by Sydney Ferries Limited (1908) which includes a photograph of ‘Towns and Stanbury on the Parramatta River’, probably showing the race near the start in Homebush Bay.

See also the earlier blog post Rowing on the Parramatta River.

Time to get out the reindeer


At Christmas many houses around the City of Canada Bay are brightly decorated as part of the celebrations, sometimes with extravagant lighting displays.

The photograph, above, was taken in 2001 and shows a man decorating his home in Reginald Street, Wareemba. It was an entry in ‘A Day in the Life of the City of Canada Bay’ photograph competition, held to celebrate the first anniversary of the City of Canada Bay.

The City of Canada Bay was formed on the 1 December 2000 through the amalgamation of Drummoyne and Concord Councils. The suburb of Canada Bay lies midpoint between the two former Council areas so the name was chosen for the new city. The first Council meeting was held on the 12 December 2000. Councillor Michael Wroblewski was elected as the first Mayor of the City of Canada Bay while Councillor Angelo Tsirekas, the current Mayor, was elected as Deputy Mayor at that meeting.

Maison Lepailleur

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Pierre Marcoux in Canada has kindly sent a photograph of François-Maurice Lepailleur’s family home in Chateauguay near Montreal, Quebec to Canada Bay Connections.

Lepailleur was a bailiff at Chateauguay and a leader in the Canadian Rebellion of 1838. Originally he was condemned to death by a court martial but his sentence was commuted to transportation to Australia. Together with 57 other French Canadian prisoners he arrived in New South Wales in March 1840. They were imprisoned at Longbottom Stockade, near present-day Concord Oval until being granted pardons in 1844.

Lepailleur kept a journal from the time he learnt of his exile until he was reunited with his family some five years later. His journal, published with the evocative title Land of a thousand sorrows (1980), provides an insight into the convict system and Sydney in the early 1840s.

Chateauguay Walk at Cape Cabarita is one of many local place names which reflect Canada Bay’s links with the story of the Canadian Exiles.

A Canadian connection

Marceau House (Small)

In 1837-1838 revolts in Lower Canada (Quebec) by Patriotes over grievances against British rule were severely crushed. Some rebels were executed and others sentenced to transportation. In 1840 the ship Buffalo transported 91 English speaking rebels to Port Arthur in Tasmania while 58 French speaking Canadians were sent to Longbottom Stockade, a convict depot near the present site of Concord Oval.

The good behaviour of the French Canadians led to free pardons being granted between November 1843 and February 1844. All except Joseph Marceau opted to return to their homeland. Marceau was a widower at the time of his transportation. In 1844 he married Mary Barrett and settled at Dapto where he lived until his death in 1883, aged 77 years.

Recently, Pierre Marcoux in Canada kindly sent a photograph of Joseph Marceau’s home in Saint-Cyprien-de-Napierville, Quebec (above) to Canada Bay Connections. Pierre also donated images of The Patriots Monument, Côte-des-Neiges Cemetery, Montreal, Quebec which includes the name of Joseph Marceau. In Concord, Marceau Drive is named after him.

This year marks the 175th anniversary of the arrival of the Canadian Exiles in Australia.

Tea and memories

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Seniors in the City of Canada Bay are invited to come along to Concord Library on Wednesday, 3 June, 10-11.30am for a talk by the Local Studies Librarian who will share stories and photographs from our extensive collection.

The Local Studies online pictorial collection, ‘Canada Bay Connections’ now has over 7000 local images, ranging from the nineteenth century to the present time.

It will also be a chance for Seniors to share some of their memories of the area over morning tea.

It’s a free event, however please RSVP by Thursday, 28 May to our Client Services Coordinator on 9911 6311.

The photograph shows ladies enjoying tea at Massey Park Golf Club House, Concord not long after it was opened in 1957.