Past Events 2024

February 2024 ADHS Annual General Meeting

The Society’s AGM was held on Sunday 25 February 2024.

The day was perfect and the Summer Hill Community Centre is a bright and pleasant venue. Society President, Alex Lofts welcomed Members and all gathered. The Minutes of the previous AGM held in February 2023 were confirmed.

Alex Lofts, gave the Presidents report and was also elect re-elected as President

Alex reviewed the fabulous events held by the Society in the, including past year, including our 50th Anniversary. He advised the gathering that according to the RAHS, the – ADHS is the longest affiliated historical society in NSW.

Alex then remined us of his words first expressed following Alan Croker’s talk last year on the 50th Anniversary of the Sydney Opera House: Battles are won but return to be fought again.

 Alex noted that this is pertinent today in light of the Planning Reforms recently announced by the State Government. However hard the housing crisis is to resolve; we do not have to destroy heritage to solve the problem. Treasurer Carolyn Carter then presented her report for 2023 – the Society is in good financial shape. Susan Thompson oversaw the election of Society’s office bearers and Committee Members.

Susan Thompson, acted as retuning officer at the AGM


The nominations were duly seconded, and the new 2024 Committee was welcomed.

The other key position holders are:

TreasurerCarolyn Carter
Membership SecretaryCarolyn Carter
 Public OfficerDavid Rollinson
Research OfficerAnn O’Connell
Heritage OfficerDavid Rollinson
IT CoordinatorPhil Burne
Web ManagerColin Webb
Rooms & Collections CoordinatorClare Herscovitch
Activities CoordinatorPaul Williams
Minutes SecretaryMurray Cleaver
Newsletter EditorHeather Warton

Thank you to the outgoing Committee Members,Lucille McKenna and Nerida Thiering for their contribution to the Society. The meeting was advised that Bob, Lucille and former Committee Member Mandy Keevil have recently experienced health issues. We send our best regards to our good friends.

The AGM was well attended

Guest Speaker Niall Macken: Hibernian Heritage

Niall Macken

Niall Macken is an architect and heritage specialist with a Masters Degree in Conservation Studies from the University of York, UK. He has worked on significant historic sites, buildings and precincts in Australia, England and Ireland, within both the public and private sectors. Niall is a Registered Architect and a member of the Australian Institute of Architects, and the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland.

He is the Heritage and Urban Design team leader within Inner West Council, a member of the NSW Heritage Council’s Heritage Advisory Committee and a member of the Australian Institute of Architects heritage committee.

Niall’s talk was based on his work on heritage projects in Ireland – his grandparents on his father’s side and wife are Irish.

He outlined the Irish heritage legislation, and gave some examples of site that are protected under the relevant Acts. Two important items are identified by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites – Newgrange in County Meath, a Stone Age (Neolithic) monument and Skellig Michael, a rocky crag off the coast of County Kerry.

 Niall spoke about two projects he worked on as a heritage consultant.

The first project was in County Cork, the Old Cork Waterworks. Naill explained that Cork is the second largest city in Ireland, and is located on the Lee River. The city was expanding in the early 19th Century and was in need of a new water supply. A site was identified and in 1857 a notable architect of the time, Sir John Benson designed a group of polychrome brick and limestone buildings around a courtyard to house the Waterworks. The engines and boilers were in use until the late 1950’s.

Niall’s project was to oversee the restoration of the dilapidated buildings, that although had suffered some damage, were still structurally sound. A conservation report on the history and condition of the buildings, and an industrial archaeology survey were completed. The buildings were converted for use as a Information Centre, meeting rooms and offices.

The second project was to work one of the most single group of intact Georgian townhouses, at 14 Henrietta Street in Dublin. The townhouses were built for the elite of the day, and notable occupants had lived there. No. 14 had later been converted into tenements.

March 2024

Who do you think you might be? – the nuts and bolts of genealogical methods

Part of the audience at the Civic Centre

On 24 March 2024 we had a very informative presentation at the Ashfield Civic Centre from our new Committee Member, Kerry Barlow, entitled ‘Who Do You Think You Might Be? – the nuts and bolts of genealogical methods’.

 As usual, the Civic Centre presented a bit of an access challenge for attendees, but we managed to get everybody into the room for the very useful information from Kerry.

Kerry is an experienced presenter on researching family history and had condensed a full day workshop into one hour!

Her major point was that all information should continually be confirmed using primary sources such as government Births, Deaths and Marriages records and she outlined the potential for errors with transcription errors, incorrect spellings, nicknames, pet names etc. She listed some of the major resources available and that libraries are an excellent free access point for many of them.

There were some cautionary tales about using family trees from websites such as and the considerations that should be made before doing a DNA test! Do you really want to know the answer? Her other major hint was that if you are very serious about researching your family history you should join the Society of Australian Genealogists as they can provide excellent technical assistance plus their resources are available to members .

Thank you to Kerry who stepped in at relatively short notice – she really knows her stuff! If you want a repeat or for more information you should sign up for one of her WEA workshops.

Another fine feast

April 28, May 19 and June 2, 2024

“Connections, Characters and Commerce “– Smith Street Summer Hill; Street Walks #1, #2 & #3 led by Mark Sabolch

Mark Sabolch led the three Smith Street Walks

The Smith Street Walks lead by Mark Sabolch led three walks in April, May and June 2024 exploring the value of the local heritage of Smith Street, Summer Hill. This was part of the National Trust’s 2024 Australian Heritage Festival.

The walk started at the Flour Mill of the Summer Hill Development adjoining the Hawthorne Canal that flows under Smith Street

The theme of the walk was: “Connections, characters and commerce”. Smith Street is extraordinary in that it passes through five separate Heritage Conservation Areas, and there are over 30 gazetted local heritage items along its path. With the continuing pressure for greater urban density and re-development, there is a need for greater awareness in our community of our local history and our local heritage. This walk was designed to share that awareness.

A stop at Carrington Street to discuss interesting former light industrial uses and sheep quarantine grounds

Mark started the walk at the site of the former flour mills (2 Smith Street), and explored through maps, pictures and a visit to the adjacent stormwater Canal, the original lay of the land. Mark provided information on the former Sheep Quarantine Station, many of the local characters (including early developers, speculative builders, business owners, doctors and nurses, local politicians and of course residents) and the interesting architecture within which they housed themselves. As always, there is more than what meets the eye.

Art Deco Apartments

The results of the walk were a better appreciation of the interplay between historical key characters, their cultures and values (to the extent we can glean that information), and also the continuing interaction between people and their geographical and economic environment. It is this complex interplay which makes Summer Hill the interesting place it is today. There were three walks delivered and each well patronized and appreciated.