Parbury Ruins

The last couple of days in Sydney have been extremely warm, with temperatures in the mid-30s. Today was a terrific day to head underground, to visit a place with a climate resembling a wine cellar. The Parbury Ruins, at Miller’s Point, were uncovered only a few years ago during the construction of an apartment block. …

Old Darlinghurst Gaol

Even though I’ve been to the National Art School on countless occasions, and I’ve been on several history walks which have touched on its history as East Sydney Tech College, and before that as the Darlinghurst Gaol, I’ve never really had much knowledge of the change chronology. So when I saw something on Eventbrite a …

Chippendale Historical Walk

“Is this place up for sale?”, a bloke asked the tour group leader. With his slurred speech, he appeared to have already had “a few”. “No, I’m not a real estate agent, this is a history walk”, he was told, and we all laughed in recognition that we probably did look like a group of …

War Bride

My latest family history project is trying to connect with the story of my cousin, Lyla Brown/Curtis, who married an American soldier in the 1940s, and who went to live in the US. I remember briefly speaking on the phone with her after she arrived back from living in the United States. Presumably long dead …

South Lismore

As a child growing up in South Lismore, one of my strongest earliest memories was of the arrival at the nearby railway station of hundreds of people for the Aquarius Festival. Though it’s often described as Australia’s answer to Woodstock, I don’t think there was such a high musical component to it. But as a …

Behind Bars

It’s thirty years since the decriminalisation of consensual male sex in New South Wales, and “some of the leading figures responsible for that change have all died in a six month period”, we were told by Murray Maclachlan at the Australian Homosexual History Conference held at Sydney’s University of Technology. He was referring to former …