Newsletters 2018


Ashfield & District Historical Society Inc

Series 3 , No. 84 – January 2018

Upcoming events

Pratten Park Bowling Club



2pm, Sunday, 18 February 2018

The Society’s first event for the year is our annual general meeting to which all members and their friends are invited to attend.  We aim to keep the meeting formalities as brief and efficient as possible while providing our prepared reports and assembling our Committee for 2018.   Please come along to hear and participate in the meeting – perhaps you may wish to join the Committee and we invite you to ‘put up your hand’ and take on a job.  Enquiries: or phone 0403 555 864.  We will welcome you!

The Sirius Building


on the subject of:



73-75 Norton Street Ashfield Sunday
18TH February 2018
2 – 4pm

Following the formal part of the meeting, Shaun Carter will talk to us about the Sirius apartment building in Millers Point and other heritage matters.  We have all heard about the NSW government’s action to have the Sirius building demolished – some people thinking it’s a good idea, others not.  However, the idea that a building containing 79 apartments will be demolished to build a huge block of 250 apartments (possibly 30-storeys) is not appealing to most.  Shaun will tell us about his research into the history and significance of the Sirius building, including the Green Ban movement and Jack Mundey’s involvement.  He will put forward his understanding of the building, its place in the urban environment and the fight to have it saved.  Shaun is a passionate speaker on the Sirius and other heritage issues and this is a great opportunity for members and friends to hear the inside story.

Group Photo Henry-Parkes, John Young, Joseph Mortley and others.-1894
The same photograph before restoration.


Conserved by Bindiya Kumar

Also at the meeting we will have an exhibition of photographs from the Ashfield Bowling Club Archives which have been conserved by Bindiya Kumar.  The materials for the work were funded by the Inner West Council Local History Grants Scheme and Bindiya volunteered her time and expertise.  The results of the conservation of these historic photographs is excellent delivering a very successful outcome.

At the end of the meeting, we will be treated to afternoon tea and time for socialising.  Our AGMs are always enjoyable events so please come along.  Please RSVP for catering purposes to or phone Lois on 9797 7004.

Heritage News

With the number of DAs lodged with Council and of interest to the Society continuing at high numbers, it was disappointing to find that the ability to inspect plans and documentation after business hours by visiting Ashfield Library was stopped (without any notice) in early November. While residents of the former Marrickville and Leichhardt Councils have had (and still have) the ability to view DAs for their areas on-line, this was never the case for Ashfield. The Society’s immediate call for the ability to view DAs at the Library to be restored (at least until they are able to be viewed on-line) was finally responded to earlier this month with a promise from Council to do so. Hopefully this won’t take too long!!

The Society will be seeking Council’s support and publicity for one (maybe two) events to be offered in Heritage Week this year – more details in the next newsletter.

Recent Acquisitions

A granddaughter of John Balfour Clement Miles and niece of Sydney ‘eccentric’ Bea Mileshas donated to our Society original architectural drawings of the proposed wrought iron gates and grand masonry entrance way to Ambleside, 160 Queen Street Ashfield.  JBC Miles was an accountant who accumulated much wealth through property development, some of which was 11 acres situated between Queen and Victoria Streets, Ashfield.  Ambleside (also known as Ashfield Castle), was built for Miles and his family in 1886.

Architect J.J. Davey signed the bottom of the drawings, which are artistically skilful and detailed, two of which are water-coloured, and depict an extremely imposing and ornate entrance which could only match the grandeur of a building such as Ambleside.  Davey wrote the specifications for the entrance and gates on delicate, tissue-thin paper, dated 5 February 1890, and this document has also been given to our Society.  It is enthralling that these fragile drawings and the specification document have been kept within the family for well over a century and that our benefactor has passed on the responsibility of their custodianship to our Society.  The documents will be carefully scanned for reproduction to be shared with members in our journal to be produced this year.  Appropriate archival storage is being investigated and the necessary protective items purchased by the Society.  

We cannot thank our benefactor (who prefers anonymity) enough for the generosity of her gift.

Following our recent fundraising and research into purchasing a data projector for the Society, member Colin Webb came forward to donate one to us that had been little used over the past few years and in excellent working order.  This extremely generous gift is greatly appreciated and will save our Society’s funds for other uses.  Thank you Colin from all of us!

A unique and interesting postcard photograph taken at a house, Trentham, Bland Street Ashfield has been donated to us by Linsay Ballinger of Queensland, who is a descendant of the Dunbar Family who lived in Ashfield after they arrived in Australia from England.  The picture was taken by ‘VJD’ – Vivian Jesse Dunbar, who took other important photographs in Ashfield which will be used to illustrate an article in our next Society journal.  Thank you Linsay.

Research Rooms regular Phillip Cole has donated photographs of a silver cup trophy won by his father Charles Meldon Cole when he was cycling in the 1930s for the Ashfield & District Amateur Cycling Club.  Phillip has previously given us photographs of Charles on his bike outside his bike shop in Summer Hll and these photographs add to our collections telling the story of cycling in the district.  Thank you Phillip!

Valerie Wotton, long-time member of the Society has spotted a local historical photograph at a sale and snapped it up for us.  It is a large Yesterday’s Image reproduction of the Hodgson, Smith & co. store postcard.  The general merchandise store was once in the centre of busy Lackey Street Summer Hill.  Thanks Val! 

Bits and Pieces

2018 ADHS Membership Subscription (calendar year)

The Society’s Rooms are located on the western side of Thirning Villa, in Pratten Park, Arthur Street, Ashfield. Postal address:  PO Box 20, Ashfield, 1800


The rooms are open on the second & last Saturdays of each month, 11am – 4pm. 

ADHS Newsletter produced by Ann O’Connell    

Ashfield & District Historical Society Inc


Series 3, No. 85 – March 2018

Upcoming Events

Summer Hill Mill Mungo Scott
You are invited to attend:

Farms, Flour and Flats

An Evolving Story at the Summer Hill Flour Mills

Sunday, 18th March 2018, 2pm.

Meet at the base of the old Silos Building Enter off Edward Street, Summer Hill Close to Lewisham West tram stop.


Dr Matthew Kelly – Archaeologist

Matthew Pullinger – Architect 

Hear about the history of the flour mills site, and the redevelopment response to heritage. Part of the presentation will include a short walk to inspect the development, so please wear comfortable shoes and weather-appropriate clothing.

RSVP Lois by 15 March, 9797 7004 or email

Entrance donation $5 pp

Railway bridge near Petersham, Battle Bridge Creek, State Archives NSW, Digital ID: NRS4481[7-16214]Sh1473 (NRS4481[7-16214]Neg_001473)

The Walk from Battle Bridge to the Bay Run

Saturday, 24 March 2018, 10am – 12 noon.

Meeting point: Lewisham West Tram Stop at 9.45am for a prompt start

This fascinating historical walk will commence at one of the earliest bridges in Sydney, Battle Bridge, which remains as the Parramatta Road bridge over Long Cove Creek.  The walk will draw on the history of the Hon. John Hawthorne MLA, Member for Leichhardt (1894-1901), and the eventual transformation of Long Cove Creek to the Hawthorne Canal.  The walk will conclude at Café Bones, near the canal, and within an easy walk to the tram.

This event will be led by ADHS President Mark Sabolch (author of Hawthorne Canal: A History of Long Cove Creek) and has been organised by the Marrickville Heritage Society.

RSVP to Mary (Ph. 0407 487 157) (E: )

This is a free event.

St Peters Church photographed by John Henry Harvey sometime before 1938

Come along on a guided tour of 

St Peter’s Church & Graveyard

187 Princes Highway, St Peters

Sunday, 8 April 2018, at 2pm

After attending an inspection of St Peter’s Church, an ADHS member was so impressed that he organised for us to enjoy a guided tour of the church and graveyard to see for ourselves.  The heritage listed St Peter’s Church is one of the oldest churches in Sydney, its foundation stone was laid on 7 July 1838 and the building completed in November 1839.  It was designed by Thomas Bird in the early Gothic Revival Style.   This is a great opportunity to visit this old church and its historic setting. Light refreshments afterwards.

Approach along the Princes Highway from the south and turn left into the church grounds where there is plenty of parking available.  If you would like to join us but need transport or would like to car pool, please email or phone.  

RSVP to Lois by 2 April, Ph. 9797 7004 or email     Cost is $5 pp members, $7 pp non- members.

Shady Acres by Dr Leslie Muir

History Talk presented by Christine Yeats on SHADY ACRES, written by the late Dr Leslie Muir

At Ashfield Local History Room, Ashfield Library
Wednesday 14 March 2018, at 11am

Senior Vice President of the Royal Australian Historical Society, Christine Yeats will present a talk on the book, Shady Acres, Politicians, Developers and Sydney’s Public Transport Scandals 1872-1895.  Christine’s talk will focus on Leslie’s investigation into the political corruptions and developer donations that influenced the construction of Sydney’s metropolitan railway and tramway network in the 18th century.  

To book go to:

Shop Tops in Ashfield
A date for your diary:  20 May 2018 

You are invited to an ADHS organised event

Shop Tops in Ashfield, by Russell Workman.

Russell Workman is a professional heritage and archaeology photographer who has worked as a consultant to museums and on ‘digs’ for materials conservators and heritage consultants. He has a considerable personal collection of sites, scenes and events in and around Sydney compiled in the 1960s, 70s and 80s and regularly gives presentations on particular themes. Prior to his retirement he was a photographer for the Australian Navy.  Russell’s ‘Shop Tops’ kicked-off in 2013 and thousands of images later (with support from the RAHS and local councils) he is finishing his coverage of the entire Inner West!! 

This presentation will focus on photographs of the Ashfield Town Centre with commentary from ADHS Heritage Advisor, David Rollinson.  Russell’s presentation will be held at the Ashfield Library Local Studies Room on Sunday 20May 2018 at 1pm.  More information regarding this event will be in a future newsletter, but note the date in your diary now.

St David’s Church Haberfield

150th Anniversary of the Laying of the Foundation Stone

St David’s Church, Dalhousie Street Haberfield
Sunday 29 April 2018, 12 noon

Come along and join with the Ramsay Family in celebrating the 150th anniversary of St David’s Church.  There will be tours of the vault, and information on those buried there and in the graveyard. Local Historian, Vince Crow will also lead walking tours of Haberfield and he hopes to include Yasmar in these walks.  There will be a sausage sizzle available for a gold coin donation.

This activity is organised by members of the Ramsay Family and you are asked to RSVP to Barbara Mottram on or Ph. 0415 923 554.

Heritage News

From the 1st March 2018 councillors on the Inner West Council will lose the ability to determine DAs at Council meetings.  While Leichhardt and then the Inner West Council has had an independent planning panel (comprising a chair (a lawyer), two experts and a community representative) for over two years now, in common with all other councils in the metropolitan area these planning panels (IHAPs) will now consider and determine ALL DAs which fall outside delegations available to Council staff (up to a value of $30m).  DAs of value over $30m go to the regional planning panel which comprises a State appointed chair and two experts, with two council-appointed members.

The elected Council’s role in planning is now largely restricted to setting and expressing strategic direction and local policy and considering rezoning requests (known as planning proposals).  While comments by the Society on DAs advertised go to the staff of Council, it is likely that concerns raised will regularly need to be expressed at the Inner West Planning Panel where the DA is referred to that Panel for decision.

The Panel also has a review function where the staff have used their delegation to refuse a DA. An example is the DA for additions to 23 Rosemount Avenue Summer Hill (a property in a conservation area) which attracted objections when it was first lodged.  It is expected the Panel will examine this DA at its April meeting.

Report on the ADHS Annual General Meeting

At the recent ADHS Annual General Meeting held on 18 February, we were treated to a lively talk presented by Shaun Carter on the Sirius Building at Millers Point Sydney.  Shaun is an eloquent and passionate speaker whose obvious commitment to see the Sirius Building remain and its future guaranteed was engaging to all of us present.  We gained insights into the building’s importance and history and an understanding of the political forces seeking to sell it off and allow it to be demolished.

Members and guests were also able to inspect the work of conservator, Bindiya Kumar, who has largely completed conservation treatments on many items from the Ashfield Bowling Club Archives which are held by the Society.  She is to be congratulated on achieving the outcomes of the Inner West Council Grants Scheme so effectively.  Bindiya and the Society will formally present the conservation works to a joint meeting of historical and heritage groups at the request of the Inner West Council on 28 March.  We are also committed to exhibit the collection in December for the Ashfield Bowling Club’s 130th anniversary.

2018 ADHS Committee 
President Mark Sabolch
Vice President David Rollinson
Public Officer David Rollinson
Treasurer Heather Warton
Rooms & Activities Coordinator Lois Gray (assisted by Alex Lofts)
Correspondence Secretary Murray Cleaver
Research Officer Ann O’Connell
Heritage Officer David Rollinson
IT Coordinator Philip Lingard
Newsletter Editor Ann O’Connell (assisted by Clare Herscovitch)
Journal Editor Ann O’Connell
Minutes Secretary Murray Cleaver
Committee Members Rachel     Davies,     Mandy     Keevil,      Bernadette Williamson & Alex Lofts
Honorary Architectural Historian Robert Irving

Thank you to all Society members for attending the AGM and particularly those listed above who have agreed to work on the Committee for 2018. 

Lost & Found:  A ladies’ black cardigan was left behind after the AGM at the Pratten Park Bowling Club.  To claim it, please call in to our rooms on an open day to collect or email the Society

ADHS Membership Renewal

Thank you to all of our members who have already renewed their Society subscriptions for 2018.  If you are still to renew we will appreciate your remittance asap.  Please be sure to advise us of any changed contact details.  Thank you for your support of the Society through your ongoing membership.  


The rooms are open on the second & last Saturdays of each month, 11am – 4pm. 

ADHS Newsletter produced by Ann O’Connell    

Ashfield & District Historical Society Inc


Series 3, No. 86 – August 2018

Upcoming Events

Ambleside ‘Ashfield Castle’

You are invited to attend

An inspection 



‘Ashfield Castle’

160 Queen Street Ashfield
Sunday, 19 August 2018, 2pm

Meet at the entrance gates at 1.45pm

This is a Members Only Event**

Maximum of 40 persons

Booking essential

Cost:  $10 per person

No children permitted

This grand ‘Elizabethan Villa’ has long captured the imagination and admiration of Ashfield’s locals and those living beyond.  The formidable gates have enclosed the house and grounds giving the impression of exclusivity and seclusion but now we have the opportunity to look inside.   We are indeed most fortunate in being permitted to visit the grand old house and enjoy a guided tour by Ambleside’s proud owners, Maria & Louis Armenis. Architectural Historian Robert Irving will provide commentary which will give insights into the flamboyant architectural features of this unique house. 

To express interest in obtaining a place on the inspection, RSVP by 8 August, 

Ph. 9799 0310 or email

When booking, please provide your name and a contact phone number. 

Those who have gained a booking will receive confirmation of a place.   Numbers are strictly limited.

Leadlight In a Californian Bubgalow in Ashbury
ADHS Members and Friends
Are invited to a presentation

Leadlights of the Inner West – Making the Invisible Visible

by Colin Webb
3pm, Sunday 16 September
Pratten Park Bowling Club

Leadlights of the Inner West – Making the Invisible Visible will be presented by Colin Webb who will spotlight the hidden treasures in our neighbourhood.  Colin will reveal the changing and enthralling styles in domestic leadlights from the 1880s through to 1940s by way of a virtual walk along two Ashfield streets: Holden and Elizabeth Streets.  

Colin has walked every street in Ashfield, Ashbury, Summer Hill and Haberfield and has personally taken photographs and made records of a huge number of domestic leadlight windows that are an important element of our architectural heritage.  His determination to see the completion of his task and his study of the various styles make his work invaluable.  See Colin’s website:   

Don’t miss this enchanting talk on the history, the culture and the tangible value of leadlights.  

RSVP to David on 9799 0310 or Email ADHS Members free, Non-members $5.

Glentworth, 137 Victoria Street
The Chapel, built for the Sisters of the Good Shepherd in 1941.

Tours of Glentworth & Chapel

Tuesday 7 August & Tuesday 14 August commencing at 11am
137 Victoria Street Ashfield

Glentworth is one of Ashfield’s largest old mansions and is a heritage listed property.  It was built in 1886 for Frederick Clissold, who was a member of the first Ashfield Council and owned much vacant land in the municipality.  Near to the house, a beautiful chapel was built in 1941 and is now a focal point for the Cardinal Freeman community.

Cardinal Freeman Village will be opening their doors to the public for guided walking tours (one hour duration) of Glentworth, the grounds and the chapel.   The tours are free and commence at the reception area of the village.

To RSVP, phone 1800 727170 or follow the links below:

For the tour on 7 August:

For the tour on 14 August:

Recent Acquisitions

The Society has acquired three new postcards for our photographic collection.  The height of the ‘Postcard Era’ in Australia was between 1905 and 1910 and many photographers turned to producing postcards from their high quality images and selling them to an eager public.  These postcards were often taken of our public buildings, railways, streetscapes, parks and gardens and today they form a wonderful historical pictorial record of cities and towns. Our new postcards are in very good condition.  They are:

  • Ashfield Railway Station taken by photographer F.A. English.  This card is not post marked but F.A. English produced other postcards held in our collection: Summer Hill Post Office in 1908 and Summer Hill Railway Station in 1910.  
  • Croydon Railway Station taken from the bridge overlooking the tracks and the station. 

Sent to Reverend A.C Burley, post marked 7 June 1907.

  • Summer Hill Congregational Church, corner of Norton Street and Prospect Road.  The back of this card simply says ‘Love from Florrie 2/7/08’, meaning 1908.

We thank Chris Pratten for the donation of Marrickville Historical Society’s Journal No. 15 to our Society library.  Included in the journal is Chris’ article on John Plant Wright, father-inlaw to H.E. Pratten, past mayor of Ashfield.

The Society is indebted to Louis and Maria Armenis, of Ambleside, for allowing Bernadette Williamson to make copies of many photographs taken during the various restoration projects undertaken by them of the old house.  Bernadette has labelled these ready for accessioning into our photographic catalogue.

Bits & Pieces

2018 Royal Australian Historical Society Conference Theme:  Surveying the Past, Mapping the Present

This year’s conference will be held at the Westport Club, Port Macquarie on the weekend of 20-21 October 2018.  For the conference program, events, tours and workshops, travel, accommodation and bookings go to   The ADHS is an affiliated society to the ‘Royal’ and every year we have representatives attending the conference.  It is a social, enjoyable and informative weekend.

In 1818, Surveyor-General John Oxley led an expedition from Bathurst to explore the inland rivers of New South Wales. Travelling great distances, Oxley found the Hastings River and followed it to the coast, naming its entrance to the sea ‘Port Macquarie’ (after the Governor of NSW, Lachlan Macquarie). Two centuries later, our annual conference will be held at Port Macquarie, where we will explore how historians survey the past by searching through records as part of a continuous journey to map the context of events that have shaped our shared history.

The 2018 RAHS Conference is a wonderful opportunity to learn more about Port Macquarie, with local historians speaking about the experiences of the Birpai, life on the early estates in the Hastings, and Port Macquarie’s last convicts. Our keynote speaker is Dr Mathew Trinca,

Director of the National Museum of Australia, who will discuss the very pertinent theme of ‘History from the ground up.’  


The Summer Hill Neighbourhood Feast is to be held on 7 October 2018 between 10am and 4pm.  This is an opportunity for Summer Hill businesses to set up tables in Lackey Street to display and sell their produce, get to know locals and enjoy the community atmosphere.  Long-time residents lament that the Summer Hill annual event: The Summer Hill Solstice, ceased to occur a decade or so ago, but the Neighbourhood Feast might go close to replacing this past event. 


The rooms are open on the second & last Saturdays of each month, 11am – 4pm. 

ADHS Newsletter produced by Ann O’Connell