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Rivendell blooms

The first large scale flower show to be held in Inner West Sydney will be happening this month with the inaugural Rivendell Flower Show.

The event will be held in the beautiful grounds of Rivendell, formerly known as the Thomas Walker Convalescent Hospital, and will bring together displays by floral designers and gardening personalities, along with a range of other activities celebrating the pleasures of gardening.

The Rivendell Flower Show will be held over two days, 23 to 24 September 2017. All funds raised by the event will go towards Concord Hospital’s Department of Geriatric Medicine for the establishment of a gymnasium for the Strong@Concord program.

The photograph, above, shows the Thomas Walker Convalescent Hospital in 1911.

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A piece of soccer history

A glimpse into local soccer history is provided by a recent donation to the Local Studies collection.

The Soccer Football coaching manual and handbook, 1947-8 has extensive notes on playing soccer along with background on the Concord and District Soccer Football Club. The Club was established in 1924 with matches being played at Central Park. In 1933 games commenced at the newly constructed Edwards Park at Brewer Street, Concord.

The photograph, from the handbook, shows the Concord and District Soccer Football team which were Metropolitan 1st Grade Premiers in 1947. Back row (left to right): A Forrester (Selector), Dan Abercrombie, John Allen, Ron Hawkshaw, Jim Neil, Sid Bachell, Albert Knowlson, J. Downham (Selector), J. Brown (Trainer). Middle row, kneeling: John Morton (President), Ken Knowlson, Jim Geekie, Ken Irving, Herbert L. Gilmour (Vice-President), Keith Gilmour (Honorary Secretary) Front row, sitting: Frank Norton (Captain) Brian Norton (Mascot), Bill Johnson (Goalkeeper), Terry Wakeham.

The handbook belonged to Helge Wesenlund, a Norwegian immigrant to Australia, who was active in Association Soccer in the 1950s. He was a coach for North Shore Soccer Club and was one of the founders of the North Ryde Boomerang Club for visiting ships crews. The handbook was kindly donated to Local Studies by his son.

Change for baby health centre

After almost 75 years of service in the area of early childhood services, the old Concord Baby Health Centre at the corner of Clermont Avenue and Wellbank Street is to become the home of the Drummoyne Art Society and will be known as gallery57.

The Concord Baby Health Centre was the first baby health centre to be opened in the metropolitan area in 1943. Despite the contingencies of war, the centre provided an important service for mothers and children. It not only monitored the health of young children but provided advice for mothers on all aspects of care for babies and pre-schoolers, including advice on suitable toys.

A notable feature of the Concord Baby Health Centre was a mural by children’s writer and artist Pixie O’Harris who also decorated children’s hospital wards. Below is a figure from the mural which was fully restored in 1993.

The new gallery57 will open on 2 September 2017, ensuring this now historic building continues to play an important role in the community.

Mapping our past

A highlight of History Week at the City of Canada Bay Museum will be the unveiling of a recently restored historic map of Concord.

The map was restored through grants received from the City of Canada Bay. The Mayor, Helen McCaffrey, will unveil the map which was originally produced by Higinbotham & Robinson in 1890. The Municipality of Concord had only been formed in 1883, so the highly detailed map provides a window into Concord at that period.

Following the unveiling, the Local Studies Librarian will speak about the Concord community of the late nineteenth century as revealed by the map. The unveiling and talk will be at City of Canada Bay Museum on Saturday, 2 September 2017 at 1.30pm for 2pm start.

A round of golf

The Concord Golf Club can trace its history back more than 120 years.

It began as the Sydney Golf Club in 1893 and established a course on the ‘home paddock’ of Eadith Walker’s Yaralla estate, at the corner of The Drive and Concord Road, Concord West. This site was abandoned in 1898 but in the following year the Concord Golf Club was formed and a course established on the western side of the railway line, extending to Homebush Bay.

In 1905 Concord and Strathfield Golf Clubs combined to form the Concord Golf Links Limited with the purpose of purchasing 46 hectares, known as the Police Paddock from the Estate of the late Thomas Walker. This, together with 12 hectares leased from Eadith Walker, formed the nucleus of the present Concord Golf Course.

The photograph shows members of the Strathfield Golf Club in 1898, playing at the original Yaralla course. The Lodge at the entrance to the estate, which can be seen in the background, was used as a club house. Thomas Frizell, seated at the far left, and Alex Orr, standing at the far right, both served as club presidents.

A park fit for a queen

Queen Elizabeth Park was given its name 60 years ago this week.

During the 1954 Royal Visit of Australia, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip were greeted by 30,000 school children at Concord Park before going on to visit Concord Repatriation General Hospital. Concord Park had been reserved for public use in 1887. In 1957 it was decided that Concord Park be renamed as Queen Elizabeth Park in honour of the royal visit to Concord.

Queen Elizabeth Park was officially renamed by Lieutenant-General Sir John Northcott, Governor of NSW on 24 May 1957 to coincide with Empire Day as it was then known. In an echo of the Queen’s visit some 1,500 children from local schools were given a half-day holiday to welcome the Governor.

Men of Renown

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In 1927 the HMS Renown conveyed Prince Albert, Duke of York (later King George VI) and Elizabeth, Duchess of York (later best known as The Queen Mother) to Australia for the official opening of the new Parliament House in Canberra. From 1901 until 1927 the Australian parliament had met in Melbourne where it had used the Victorian Parliament House building before the move to Canberra.

While the HMS Renown was in Sydney the Concord Ex Service Men’s Social Club (RSL) hosted a ‘Smoke Social and Dinner’ for officers and ratings of HMS Renown on the 11 April 1927. It was an opportunity for the local RSL to return the hospitality shown to many Australian servicemen on leave in London during the First World War. The dinner included songs and recitations. Among the performers was George McGregor Shaw, Town Clerk of Concord, a man of many talents (see comments below) including a gift for singing.

Eadith Walker of Yaralla also hosted a rifle team from the HMS Renown who competed against the Miniature Rifle Union team at the estate’s miniature rifle range.

New displays for a new year

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City of Canada Bay Museum will re-open on 14 January 2017 with a range of new displays.

Special panels mark the 200th anniversary of the first formal celebration of Australia Day by Isaac Nichols in 1817. Other new displays highlight the museum’s extensive clothing collection, with everything from hats to underwear. A fascinating array of shoes was recently acquired from Hardwick’s Shoe Store which closed last year after 114 years of trading.

City of Canada Museum is open on Wednesday and Saturday from 10am to 4pm. There will be a special ‘Morning at the Museum’ for children organised in conjunction with City of Canada Bay Library Service on Wednesday, 25 January 2017.

Yaralla Open Day

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Described as one of City of Canada Bay’s hidden gems, the magnificent estate of Yaralla at Concord West is one of the few large nineteenth century estates in Sydney to survive largely intact.

The City of Canada Bay Heritage Society will be hosting an open day at Yaralla on Sunday, 30 October 2016. Visitors will be able to enjoy a guided tour of the stables, dairy, squash court and gardens of the Yaralla Estate. There will also be a display of historic photographs.

The photograph, above, is from an album of photographs held by the City of Canada Bay Museum and shows one of Yaralla estate’s horse drawn vehicles in front of the stables. The photograph was taken by Samuel Spink about 1910.

Bookings for the open day are essential, details at City of Canada Bay Heritage Society. More images of Yaralla can be seen on flickr.

Memorabilia catalogued

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Over recent months the library has been recording memorabilia held by the City of Canada Bay.

Memorabilia such as certificates and trophies provide a record of the activities and achievements of Council and staff. Details and, where possible, images of the memorabilia have been added to the library’s catalogue, making them easily accessible to the community and researchers.

The photograph, above, shows nineteenth century seal presses held in the Local Studies collection. These were used by City of Canada Bay’s predecessor Councils, the Municipality of Concord (rear), Municipal District of Five Dock (centre) and Municipality of Drummoyne (front). A seal press was used to add Council’s seal to official documents.

Below is the Municipal District of Five Dock seal which incorporates the ‘five docks’ of Council’s namesake. Five Dock takes its name from an unusual sandstone formation along the Parramatta River near Howley Park which was thought to resemble small docks. Two of the ‘docks’ were later covered by the construction of the first Gladesville Bridge in 1881. Interestingly, the seal also depicts trees which are presumably the same ones that can be seen at Howley Park today.

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