Books & Other Publication Details

The Society supports the efforts of members who have particular areas of interest and expertise. Our Other Publications focus on diverse topics relevant to Ashfield and the local district. It is well worth having a look at these titles to see just how much devotion members have to recording our history and heritage… and that may trigger an interest of your own.

All publications are available from the Society’s rooms on our open days at Thirning Villa Pratten Park, Arthur Street, Ashfield, on the second and last Saturdays of the month.

Publications can also be purchased online and the postage costs are generally listed.

Frederick Clissold, Esquire of Glentworth, Ashfield.

Frederick Clissold, Esquire of Glentworth, Ashfield.

Frederick Clissold, Esquire of Glentworth, Ashfield, published in February 2023, was co-authored by Chris Pratten and Ann O’Connell.  It has 163 pages, is well illustrated, referenced and indexed.

Frederick Clissold (1831-1892) left England with his parents, John and Sarah, at the age of six and arrived in Sydney in 1838.  His baby sister, Amelia, had died on the voyage.  The book tells of Frederick’s many ventures commencing in his early work and business as a fellmonger, which ruined his health, causing him to take on new endeavours.  These included mining and property speculation that through his tenacity gained him great prosperity.  One chapter deals with Frederick’s love of horse racing and the formation of the Canterbury Racecourse, for which he is most remembered.  Others tell of his terms of office on Ashfield Council, pastoral interests and his family.  A main focus within the book provides information and images of his Ashfield homes, Mountjoy, Farleigh and of course, Glentworth, in Victoria Street.  Glentworth was the largest house in Ashfield and symbolised his success and reflected his wealth and status.  The house survives in splendour today as the centrepiece of Cardinal Freeman Retirement Village.

The History of the Ashfield Pool 1963-2018

Taking the Plunge: The History of Ashfield Pool 1963-2018

When Ashfield Pool was closed in 2018 for extensive redevelopment, Councillors Mark Drury and Lucille McKenna, with approval of Inner West Council, requested Ashfield & District Historical Society to put together its history and produce a textual and illustrated publication. A Council grant was approved to cover the expenses associated with producing the book and the research and writing would be done by ADHS volunteers.

The story begins with the original landscape of the Pool locality and its habitation by the Indigenous Owners and early white settlers. Then follows many years of Council discussion and debate from the early 1890s about the need for public baths so youngsters could learn to swim, with sites and proposals examined and many disagreements before a final decision to build the Pool in its present location was reached.

Once the tough financial decision was made to go ahead with the Pool, land acquisition was a slow process as some owners resisted relinquishing their title. Finally the architect’s drawings were finished and the builders underway, which brings the reader to Australia Day, 26 January 1963, when the grand opening of the Pool was held. The NSW Premier, R.J. Heffron officiated and the occasion was attended by hundreds of guests and local residents who were entertained by Olympic swimmers who swam exhibition laps in various strokes, and champion divers who demonstrated their expertise from the diving tower.

Taking the Plunge is not just a story of ‘bricks and mortar’ and the fanfare of a grand opening ceremony; it encompasses the Pool’s rich social history, taking in the many stakeholders which, over the decades, includes many people from the local community. The second half of the book tells of the positive aspects that the Pool brought to local residents’ lives. The wonderful and enduring Ashfield Amateur Swimming Club, Warwick Webster’s Swim School and Wests Water Polo Club are all represented with an overview of their histories, their aims and objectives and their great achievements – but most of all their community-driven successes!

Other chapters tell stories of some of the carnivals, competitions, programs and special events held at the Pool – although there were far too many to all get a mention. And then there is the Ashfield Supa Slide – who could forget those waterslides, not least the ‘Black Hole’!

The last chapter brings us to the decision to create the amazing new Ashfield Aquatic Centre, which opened on the 17th of October, 2020. Just like the decades before the building of the first Pool, the proposal for a totally redeveloped Centre has involved some opposition and struggle. The result shows that our civic leaders have again decided well, and the multi-purpose Centre will be enjoyed for many decades to come.

The authors of the book are the Society’s Mark Sabolch, Lois Gray and Ann O’Connell. The 240 pages are very well illustrated with maps, plans, documents, photographs and images gathered from many sources. The Ashfield & District Historical Society thanks all contributors for their generosity and hopes that all readers will gain a sense of the value and worth the Pool has brought to our residents and our local history.


The publication of Taking the Plunge The History of Ashfield Pool 1963 to 2018 has been assisted by a grant from the Inner West Council.

MILLEEWA and the Milleewa Boys’ Home (2017)

Author: Chris Pratten

$20.00 plus $15 postage


  • The Canterbury Estate 
  • Nicholas and Louisa Eager  – the builders of Milleewah 
  • The tenants of Milleewah: 
  • George & Annie Hedgeland 
  • Dr Benjamin Wetherell 
  • ‘The Reverend’ Samuel Wood Brooks – the New School, Ashfield 
  • Wilheim H.P. von der Heyde, Esquire 
  • The second owner of Milleewah: John Plant Wright 
  • The third owner: Agnes Pratten (and her family) 
  • Notes and References to Part 1 


  • The Milleewah land 
  • The house
    • The single-storey flanking appendages  
    • The original 1860 outbuildings 
    • Interior 
    • Plans 
    • Changes to the fabric of Milleewa(h)
    •  External changes 
    • Changes to the first floor balcony 
    • Internal changes 
    • The Milleewa ‘mystery plan’ 
  • Notes and References to Part II 


(The fourth and last owners of Milleewa)

Herbert Pratten

HERBERT EDWARD PRATTEN 1865 – 1928 Manufacturer, Miner, Minister

AuthorChris Pratten

$20.00 plus $15 postage

  • Introduction
  • Fishponds
  • Sir Walter Raleigh
  • St.  John’s galvanised iron & wire netting works
  • William Sandford 
  • The Ashfield Cordial Works
  • After hours in Ashfield
  • Pratten’s marriage
  • H E Pratten & Co
  • The Jam Man
  • On the Move
  • The Jam Man – Taylor Bros
  • The Jam Man – Stanmore Preserving Co
  • Municipal affairs
  • The Big Nugget
  • The Malay Peninsula
  • The Pratten family 
  • More about Milleewa
  • Mr Manufacturer 
  • Political success at last
  • Brent Knowle
  • The Senate
  • The House of Representatives
  • Minister Pratten
  • The Tariff
  • Senior Minister
  • Australia’s Tariff Napoleon
  • Finale
  • Epilogue

Battling and Bowling, 1913-2013: Pratten Park Bowling Club

Author: Ann O’ Connell

$10.00 plus $7 postage

  • A New Park for Ashfield
  • Formation of the South Ashfield Bowling Club
  • The 1920s: Club Development
  • The First Lease Renewal
  • A Name: A Popular Change for the Club
  • The 1930s: Depression and Difficult Times
  • The First Pratten Park Women’s Bowling Club
  • Security of the Club
  • Moves for a New Clubhouse & Competition Success
  • The 1940s
  • The 1950s and 1960s
  • The Second Pratten Park Women’s Bowling Club
  • The 1970s
  • The 1980s
  • The 1990s
  • 2000 and Beyond
  • The Centenary and the Future
  • Honour Board Lists

Western Suburbs Lawn Tennis Association: 100  years, 1912-2012

Author: Ann O’ Connell

$10.00 plus $7 postage

  • A New Park at Ashfield
  • Foundation and Early Organisation, 1911-1914
  • The War Years, 1914-1919
  • The 1920s – 1960s 
  • The 1970s – The Present 
  • Tennis Coaching
  • Charles Edward Devenish Meares, The First Chairman
  • County of Cumberland Championships Tournament
  • Daphne Akhurst (1903-1933)
  • Louie Bickerton
  • Nina Vickery 
  • J. O. Anderson
  • Harry Hopman
  • Jack Crawford
  • Oscar William Thomas (Bill) Sidwell
  • WSLTA Championship Honour Boards
Hawthorne Canal

Hawthorne Canal: The History of Long Cove Creek

AuthorMark Sabolch

Published by Ashfield & District Historical Society Inc. in association with the Inner West Environment Group.

$10.00 plus $10 postage

  • Introduction
  • Long Cove Creek – The Natural Landscape
  • Grants at Petersham Hill
  • Parramatta Road Creek Crossing
  • Great Railway Crossing
  • Rural and Urban Subdivision
  • Sydney’s Water Supply Schemes
  • Suburbanisation, Sanitation and Sewerage
  • A Canal
  • The Ferry and the Tram
  • The Goods  Railway
  • Hawthorne Canal Improvements
  • Water Quality 
  • Community Revegetation
  • The Vision
  • Appendices
    • Recipients of Land Grants
    • Extracts of 1889 Interviews

Ashfield at Federation

Ashfield at Federation

Authors: Ann O’ Connell, Chris Pratten, Don Hagarty, Julian Holland, Nora Peek, Bill O’Reilly, Robyn Conroy

$25.00 plus $15 postage

  • Ashfield at the time of Federation
  • Moving Ashfield Citizens to the celebrations- the story of Ashfield Station in 1901
  • George Watson of The Advertiser
  • John Mills, cotton farmer and sixteenth  Mayor of Ashfield
  • The Ashfield Fire Station
  • R T Baker
  • Ashfield women seeking a voice- Womens’ Franchise
  • Katherine Gent: an unsung hero of Sydney’s past
  • The “New Women” of the 1890s
  • Ashfield’s Mandarin: Quong Tart
  • Mr. Surveyor Lloyd
  • The Dobroyde Golf Club
  • The Mayors of Ashfield, 1872-1922
  • Haberfield: more than just a garden suburb
  • The Dobroyde Pottery
  • The Ashfield Town Hall
  • The man behind the clock dials: A.L. Franklin’s Ashfield Town Hall Clock

Summer Hill

Summer Hill

Authors: Ann O’ Connell, Chris Pratten, David Keenan, Don Hagerty, Jacqueline Kensett-Smith, Julian Holland, Kevin Cork, Lesley Muir, Nora Peek, Robert Irving

$25.00 plus $15 postage

  • An Introduction to Summer Hill
  • The railway at Summer Hill
  • John Lackey and Summer Hill
  • Thomas Lovedale Nicholson
  • Cover story 
  • Ninian Melville
  • T F Wiesener
  • The Summer Hill Post Office
  • Ormiston
  • Some houses of Summer Hill: ElthamLily CottageUrangaraKyambaKelvin Grove;
  • Branxton: still hedging along
  • Henry Sweeny: carriage builder
  • Ernest Agate: carriage builder
  • Samuel Lownds: carriage builder
  • Sunlight Laundries
  • The Cinemas of Summer Hill
  • The Summer Hill tram
  • Observations on architecture
  • Living with history
  • Growing up in Summer Hill
  • Lost treasures of Summer Hill – A photographic record
  • Burilda Private Hospital 
Working the Clays

Working the Clays: The Brickmakers of the Ashfield District

Aothors: Nora Peek & Chris Pratten

$15.00 plus $12 postage

1  Introduction

  • The Colony’s first brickmakers
  • Early brickmakers in Ashfield
  • The distribution of Ashfield brickpits
  • Nineteenth century brickmaking technology 

2  Ashfield’s Brickmakers and Brickyards

    • William Randle
    • Fyle’s Brickyard
    • William Keen
    • Excelsior Brickworks
    • 19th century brickmaking equipment
    • The Excelsior Co – Mark II 
    • Thomas West
    • Henry Boehme and Benjamin Hopping
    • The Boy Brickmakers
    • The Long Cove Creek bricklands
    • The Underwood Estate – Samuel Lucas; Charles & Joseph Mead 
    • Brick and pottery making on the Dobroyd Estate
    • William Mainer 
    • Thomas McGill and John Riley
    • The Tenandra Street bricklands, the Cumberland Brickworks and Algie Park
    • Chidgey and Tanner
    • The Dobroyd Pottery 

3  Some other Inner-Western brickyards

    • The Steam Plastic Brick Company Ashfield (Ltd)
    • The Burwood Brickworks
    • Robert Brand
    • The Croydon Steam Brickworks
    • Anthony Hordern III
    • The Centennial patent kiln
    • Norman Selfe
    • The Ashfield Brick Co Ltd
    • The South Ashfield Brickworks
    • A visit to Hart & Gallagher ‘s Brick Yard
    • Rupert Cook’s Burwood Road Brick Works

4  Ashfield Residents who operated brickworks outside the Municipality

5  A visit to the Brookvale Brickworks

6  Epilogue

7  A directory of all known Ashfield brickmakers and brickworkersSmaller Publications

Smaller Publications

The Society also has a number of publications that cover specific topics of interest.

The Ashfield Cordial Works
Mullet in Tomato Sauce (Maclean Cannery)
The Mayor of Ashfield (a Herbert Edward Pratten monograph)
A Short Walk Through Ashfield’s Past (well illustrated)




No 6 (Victoria Street, Ashfield)
No 7 (Tintern Rd, Prospect Rd, Victoria Sq)

The Bonsai Series

( 1) The Ashfield Catholic Church$1
(2) Rookwood Necropolis$1
(3) Shubra Hall$1
(4) Taringa & Albert Pde$1
(5) Ambleside$1
(7) Sunning Hill$1
(8) The Infants’ Home & The Lilacs$1
(9) Lynngrove & St John’s Church$1
(10) St David’s Church, Ramsay Vault, Woodrow Vale & Kiomi$1
(11) Victoria Square$1
(12) Gads Hill$1

Other Publisher’s Books

S & R Coupe, Speed the Plough  (Ashfield Council’s Bicentennial History)$10
L Muir & B Madden, Canterbury Farm – 200 years$7
L Muir, The Bankstown Line: Sydenham to Belmore, 1895$8
Muir & Madden (eds), The Heritage of Canterbury Municipality$5