Blog Archives

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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Explore Yaralla

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To coincide with NSW Seniors Festival, City of Canada Bay Heritage Society will be presenting a ‘Virtual Tour of Yaralla’.

The presentation explores the fascinating story of Yaralla from the original land grant to Isaac Nichols through the ownership of the Walker families to its contemporary use as a health facility. The presentation includes many rarely seen early photographs of Yaralla. The ‘virtual tour’ will be held at the City Canada Bay Museum on Saturday, 9 April 2016 at 2pm.

For those interested in seeing the Yaralla Estate as it is today, City of Canada Bay Heritage Society will be hosting an open day on Sunday, 24 April 2016. Bookings can be made online.

Celebrating Australian achievements

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City of Canada Bay Museum’s latest display celebrates Australian inventions and discoveries.

From speedos and zinc cream to spray on skin and cochlear hearing implants, Australian innovations have had a worldwide impact. A highlight of the museum’s collection is a display devoted to the development of the Victa mower.

In 1952 Mervyn Victor Richardson of Concord put his mind to inventing a machine to cut the grass in his suburban garden. Using scrap material to hand he developed a prototype which attracted considerable attention. He began by producing mowers in his garage but before long expanded his operations to an old shed at the rear of St Mary’s Church, Mortlake. Demand continued to grow so that by 1958 his company, Victa Mowers Pty Ltd moved to a factory at Milperra. Since then over eight million lawnmowers have been produced.

The display at the City of Canada Bay Museum continues until the end of June.

Golden era of swimming recalled

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The 1950s are often regarded as the golden era of Australian swimming.

Recently the National Film and Sound Archive received a donation of rare film footage of swimmers at the British Empire and Commonwealth Games at Vancouver in 1954. It includes local swimmers Lorraine Crapp (now Lorraine Thurlow) and Jon Henricks.

The local Concord community contributed to a fund to send swimmers Jon Hendricks and Lorraine Crapp and oarsman David Anderson to the Vancouver Games. Lorraine Crapp, who was just 15 years old at the time, won the 110-yard and 440-yard gold medals at Vancouver. Upon their return from the Games there was a special civic reception for the three athletes at Concord Council Chambers (at that time situated on Burwood Road, Concord). The photograph shows Lorraine Crapp, wearing the official Games uniform, with David Anderson following. The girls acting as a guard of honour are swimmers from the Cabarita Ladies’ Amateur Swimming Club of which Lorraine was a member. More images of the civic reception can be seen on flickr.

All three athletes went on to participate in the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne with both Lorraine Crapp and Jon Henricks winning gold medals.

Restoring their names

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Erected in 1921, the Concord War Memorial has been the focal point for Anzac Day services for over ninety years.

Some 600 men and women from the Concord area enlisted to serve in the First World War, a remarkable number considering the population at the time is estimated to have been less than 11, 000.

At present conservation work is being carried out on the marble tablets so the names will be legible once again. Thus the original intention of the memorial ‘to perpetuate the memory of our nurses, sailors and soldiers who enlisted in the Great War 1914-1919’ will be fulfilled.

The work will be completed by Remembrance Day, 11 November 2015.