SYDNEY A-Z – A LIGHT HEARTED SOCIAL HISTORY

SYDNEY A-Z - A LIGHT HEARTED SOCIAL HISTORY

A LIGHT-HEARTED ‘JOURNEY’ AROUND SYDNEY SUBURBS We should never forget that almost all the  names  given  to Sydney and its environs by Europeans were preceded by those used  by Australia’s  first people. Here is a list of  Aboriginal place names  complied by the Australian Museum. Cadi was

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THE PARAGON, JEWEL OF KATOOMBA

THE PARAGON, JEWEL OF KATOOMBA

In 1916 The Paragon Café  was established  at Katoomba in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales  by Greek immigrant Theo Simos and his family.  It became an enormous success, and far more than a café.  The art-deco interior still features  a  banquet room, and a ballroom. 

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THE MYSTERY OF THE WISHING TREE

THE MYSTERY OF THE WISHING TREE

In Sydney’s Botanic Gardens there is a very special Norfolk Island pine known as The Wishing Tree. It is a replacement of the original, which was planted in the early days of the colony. A sign explains its history, and its association with Governor  Lachlan Macquarie’s wife,

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SIXPENCE TO VISIT THE SICK

SIXPENCE TO VISIT THE SICK

Some  years ago I had to spend a few weeks in a major Sydney hospital. I didn’t actually feel sick, and since I was editing a book at the time I took along my  notebooks and computer. There was no restriction  at all on visitors. In fact,

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A MAGICAL LUCERNE ‘FARAWAY’ TREE

A  MAGICAL LUCERNE  'FARAWAY' TREE

The climbing tree I grew up with was a giant lucerne. It provided as much delight for our family as that fictional ‘faraway’ tree. One of my favourite  childhood books  was The Magic Faraway tree, by Enid Blyton. It actually belonged to my sister. Who could not

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CHRISTMAS IN BLACKHEATH

CHRISTMAS IN BLACKHEATH

CHRISTMAS IS NIGH As Christmas approaches I love looking back at seasonal celebrations in my  Blue Mountains village of Blackheath. The following is from The Lithgow Mercury in 1909; There was very little stir here during Christmas, and everything passed off quietly. On Boxing Night a concert

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The Waratah – history and folklore.

The Waratah - history and folklore.

The spectacular  waratah (Telopea)  is the state emblem of New South Wales, and  so much a part of the beautiful  Blue Mountains, where I live.  The plants flower  both in our gardens and in the local bush. They are part of our identity. In 1912, an article

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THE BLACKHEATH BROOM MAKER

THE BLACKHEATH BROOM MAKER

In 1918 an article in The Sydney Morning Herald reported on brooms being hand-made in the Blue Mountains village of Blackheath; The brooms are manufactured under the most primitive conditions, the machine for binding them together being home-made, and it is contended by the maker that with

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TASMANIAN FOOTBALL FOLKLORE

TASMANIAN FOOTBALL FOLKLORE

 AUSTRALIAN FOOTBALL RULES I grew up in the small Tasmanian town of Ulverstone, where Australian Rules Football was the sport we were passionate about.  Ulverstone’s colours  have always been  black and red, hence their name, The Robins. In the 1960’s football was untainted by the corporate sector and

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TRIBUTE TO THE MATCHBOX

TRIBUTE TO THE MATCHBOX

This article on the matchbox was inspired by Australian examples. However, I must begin with the most charming letter imaginable; written by the British author Sylvia Townsend Warner to her dear friend Alyse Gregory. It was in response to the gift of a sweet, wooden match box. THE 

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