Category Archives: North Strathfield

Sweet memories

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Arnott’s this year celebrates 150 years since William Arnott first began baking in Newcastle in 1865.

Locally, Arnott’s opened a factory at Homebush in 1908, in close proximity to the railway line to facilitate deliveries and distribution. Considerable demand for Arnott’s biscuits meant that the factory soon had to be enlarged. Arnott’s was an important local employer for almost ninety years before relocation of the factory to Huntingwood in 1997. The factory site fronting George Street, North Strathfield has since been redeveloped as the Bakehouse Quarter.

Arnott’s retains its links with the area with corporate offices at North Strathfield and, of course, with their iconic sign across Parramatta Road.

This photograph of Arnott’s factory in the 1920s appeared in The story of Arnott’s famous biscuits (1993), held by Local Studies. The caption reads, ‘Discipline was strict – no talking was allowed and the forewomen were described as ‘tough’.’

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Lorikeets and Sturt’s Desert Peas

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Throughout 1938, a variety of activities were organised to mark the 150th anniversary of European settlement in Australia.

Local schools participated in the Public School Children’s Festival held at the Sydney Cricket Ground in April 1938. Girls from Strathfield North Public School’s 5th class wore Sturt’s Desert Pea costumes while the boys were dressed as Lorikeets. Lorna Wright recalls the event at North Strathfield Neighbourhood Stories.

The photograph shows the Sturt’s Desert Peas practising their dance routine in the playground at Strathfield North with a flock of lorikeets (and Correys Avenue) in the background.

Telling tales

Warmans - Correys Ave & Concord Rd

Over recent months, oral historian Olev Muska has been collecting stories of the North Strathfield community, past and present.

The project, North Strathfield Neighbourhood Stories, celebrates the lives, stories and experiences of the community through an exhibition at Concord Library and a website. The exhibition documents many wonderful stories of the social history of the area. Among the participants in the project are the Hon. Michael Kirby who grew up in North Strathfield and resident Colin Burgess, formerly of The Masters Apprenctices and AC/DC.

North Strathfield Neighbourhood Stories will be launched at Concord Library on Wednesday, 20 March by the Hon. Michael Kirby. Bookings are essential, contact Concord Library 9911 6200. The exhibition is at Concord Library, 2-31 March 2013.

The photograph shows Warman’s Grocery, corner of Correys Avenue and Concord Road, North Strathfield in the 1930s. Today it is the Liu Rose, itself a local landmark and one of the first restaurants in the area.

A tradition of care

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Ardill House at North Strathfield, which provides long day care services, has a tradition of caring for children.

Colonial architect John Bibb designed the house, then known as Clermont, for Henry Bray in 1861. Bray served as an Alderman on Concord Council and was Mayor in 1890-1891. It was later owned by F. K. Olliver who donated the house to the Society for Providing Homes for Neglected Children in 1918. This non-denominational Christian charity was founded in 1887 by George Edward Ardill to provide a refuge for vulnerable children. The house was known for a time as Olliver House, then later Our Children’s Home.

The home was noted for its dedicated staff. Louisa Horner (later Skinner) was associated with Our Children’s Home for more than 50 years. Matron Gladys Holt joined the staff in 1934 and devoted her entire working life to the care of the children. Keith Elliott (the man in the photograph above) was cared for at Our Children’s Home as a boy and later returned to work there as a handyman.

Memories of Ardill House are recalled by John Edmonds as part of the North Strathfield Neighbourhood Stories exhibition at Concord Library, 2-31 March 2013.

Dairy farming in Canada Bay

Today it’s hard to believe that Canada Bay was once a rural district with market gardens and dairies.

There were several dairies in Concord, North Strathfield, Five Dock and Drummoyne from the 1890s through until the 1940s. Generally they appear to have been family operated dairies with a small herd of cows. Although the Yaralla Estate had a notable herd of prize winning Jersey cows.

Livestock was sometimes a problem as urban growth increased. The Concord Council Annual Report of 1918 noted that 216 head of stock had been impounded during the previous twelve months and there were 18 prosecutions for cattle straying.

The photograph shows a dairy in Renwick Street, Drummoyne about 1900.