Due to the coronavirus we’ve closed many of our facilities including the Customer Service Centre. Please visit our COVID-19 page to see what is impacted.
Plaque locations and their stories
For various reasons, many of the Bicentennial plaques were never actually installed. Reasons may have included cost of manufacture and installation, the need to seek consent of building owners for fixing of plaques, and difficulty in pinpointing an appropriate location for a plaque relating to an extensive precinct or an underwater relic. Some may have been installed and later removed over the last 30 years. The Randwick City Council website provides an ideal opportunity to provide access to information on these important historic places.
1. Administration Building, 50 Todman Avenue, Kensington
Bought 1912 from George Todman by the British and Australian Tobacco Company which had reputation for looking after employees' welfare. Administration building erected 1926 to design of architects Joseland and Gilling.
The land on which the Administration Building stands was originally part of a government grant to Samuel Terry in 1823 which passed through Daniel Cooper and William Cooper to the Australian Cities Investment Corporation in 1891.
In 1909 George Todman acquired some of the land after the Corporation went into liquidation. Todman in turn sold it to the British Australian Tobacco Company in 1912. The land was transferred to W.D. and H.O. Wills in 1920.
The building, known as the Branch Administration Building of W.D. and H.O. Wills, was constructed in 1926 with an additional wing being added in 1949.
The Wills factory became the centre of community life and the social club organized outings, concerts and special occasion parties. Also incorporated into the Raleigh Park complex as it was known were bowling greens, a cricket ground, club houses, soccer and hockey fields, basketball and netball courts and various other facilities to serve both its employees and the needs of the surrounding schools and athletic clubs.
In 1989 the 1949 addition to the building was demolished and work began demolishing all other buildings to make way for residential development.
The Administration Building will serve as a Community Centre in the new development.
2. Carthona, 85 Todman Avenue, Kensington
Erected c. 1910 by Richard H. Gallagher, a tradesman plasterer.
This single-storey Federation cottage of brick on a stone base remained in the ownership of the same family from the time it was erected c. 1910 until it was sold in 1986 in almost original condition.
A heritage order was placed on the building by the Heritage Council shortly before the 1986 auction of this property.
Carthona was restored during the late 1980s.
3. Sacred Heart Monastery, 1 Roma Avenue, Kensington
Designed by Sheerin and Hennessy and built by Dugald McIntyre in 1895. Chapel attached to Monastery designed by Arthur S. King and built by P.D. Ryan in 1923.
In 1885 it was decided that a training house for missionaries was required in Sydney. As a result of this decision the priests and sisters bought adjoining properties on the sand hills at Kensington.
Built of Pyrmont sandstone the imposing monastery and convent of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart both opened in 1897.
The Monastery acted as a Catholic church for the local Catholics from 1897 to 1907 when a school-church was built outside the monastery property.
Arthur S. King designed and P.D. Ryan built the Bishop Verjus Memorial Chapel attached to the Monastery in 1923.
4. Swan Isle, 87 Darley Road, Randwick
Built c. 1906 in spacious grounds, now subdivided, for William Thomas Farrell.
Castellated towers distinguished this large two storey house which is situated on part of 78 hectares, originally subdivided under the Centenary Park Lands Act of 1905.
Colonel W.T. Farrell (1831? - 1906), married to Frances Farrell (1838 - 1921). Father of Charles, William, Fanny, Charlotte and Louise.
Farrell was commissioned as Second Lieutenant No. 3 Company Sydney Battalion Volunteer Rifles in 1861 and retired in 1898 as Commanding Officer of the First Infantry Regiment with the rank of Honorary Colonel.
It is believed that the Colonel had soldiers under his command parade in front of "Swan Isle" while he took the salute on the upper balcony in full military dress of red and gold braid.
During the 1920s and possibly the 1930s, "Swan Isle" was used by St Judes Anglican Church, Randwick for monthly services.
Following the death of their parents, the daughters continued to reside at "Swan Isle", in much reduced circumstances, until 1945.
It remained vacant until 1954 when it was converted to a private hotel and in 1960 returned to being a private residence.
5. Randwick Tramway Workshops, King Street, Randwick
Established 1881. Employed up to 1400 persons in construction and maintenance of trams and Sydney Tram network. Tramway workshop closed 1961.
The Randwick Tramway workshops provided the area with one of its earliest industries with the commencement of a steam tram service between the City and Randwick Racecourse in September 1880. During World War One workshop employees were involved in the production of 18-pounder shells for the heavy artillery at the front. Voluntary recruitment incentive schemes were instituted to supply the manpower needs of the armed forces. Incentives included automatic grants of leave of absence and payment of an allowance covering the difference between military and civilian wages.
Employees of the workshop were among the first to join the General Strike in 1917.
During World War Two a heavy programme of munitions manufacture was undertaken with over 400 employees being diverted to this work.
With the final trams run in 1961 the workshop yards became the last resting place of many obsolete hulks.
The site was later converted to a bus depot and workshops with the bus workshops closing on Friday October 28th, 1988.
6. Aston Lodge, Corner Stanley and Avoca Streets, Randwick
Includes Saunders Administration House formerly known as "Aston Lodge". Designed by Edmund Blackett. Built 1865 for John Watkins merchant and Randwick alderman. Later occupied by Walter Bradley Randwick Mayor 1870-1872 and 1874. Used as a girls school 1890s. Acquired in 1901 by Little Sisters of the Poor. Chapel constructed 1921. Central Novitiate erected 1936 to plans of E.R.Green.
"Aston Lodge" was built for John Watkins in 1865. Watkins, born in Monmouth, Wales on 22nd May 1811 is thought to have come to Australia on the vessel "Psyche" arriving here on 21st September 1843. A successful merchant with businesses in the city Watkins was also a member of the board of the society for Relief of Destitute Children.
John Watkins died on 21st April 1884.
During the 1890s the Loreto Convent conducted a girls school from the premises.
After the Little Sisters of the Poor purchased "Aston Lodge" a chapel was built to the north and in 1936 the large Novitiate designed in a Spanish architectural style was erected. A private school, the Emanuel School, now operates in the building.
7. Gordon Terrace, 2-26 Gordon Street, Randwick
Built 1885. One of the few examples of row housing in Randwick Municipality reminiscent of those built in British towns for the working class.
Consists of thirteen small attached dwellings including one shop on the corner giving the terrace an "old world" atmosphere. At the rear there is a common for use by the residents. The name "Gordon terrace 1885" is carved onto the terrace.
8. St Jude's Church Precinct, Avoca Street, Randwick
The Rectory - built 1870 to a design attributed to Colonial architect Edmund Blackett. (First rector Rev. Henry McCormack)
St Jude's church - built 1865 to design inspired by St John's Church, Randwick, Gloucestershire, England. Contains the only ringable steel eight bells in the world. Originally cast 1864 at Vickers, England. Hung 1872. Tower heightened 1877 to accommodate clock. Transepts added 1889 to design of architect H.M. Robinson.
The Cemetery - burial ground since c. 1840s. Pioneers buried in this cemetery include Simeon Pearce, Obed West, Charles D'Arcy Wentworth, Archibald Mosman, Sir Alfred Stephen, Ann Hordern and Henry Mort.
Verger's Residence - built 1862 to design of architect Thomas Rowe as Randwick's first Council Borough Chambers. Purchased by St Jude's in 1895.
School Hall - built 1899 as "St Jude's Church of England School Hall"
The foundation stone of St Jude's Church was laid by Canon Allwood and Bishop Barker on 27th May 1861.
The Church was constructed of stone quarried locally and some of the interior fittings were designed by Edmund Blackett.
The lychgate and wall, which were erected in 1922, were donated by Edwin Fieldhouse.
The stained glass memorial window, which is situated behind the altar, was installed by the family and friends of Simeon Pearce, the man mainly responsible for the building of the church.
The organ was ordered from London in May 1865. In 1965 it was extensively restored.
The Verger's residence, which cost $1400 to build, was used as the Randwick Council Chamber and offices until 1881 when a new town hall and offices were built. The building was restored in 1988 as part of the NSW Bicentennial Heritage Program.
The Parish Hall initially served as the St Jude's Day School.
9. Randwick Presbyterian Church, Alison Road, Randwick
Designed by Sir John Sulman - erected 1889-1890. Interior design based on amphitheatre, renowned for acoustic qualities.
First Minister Rev. Dr Will Scott Frackelton (1885-1896).
On 17th November 1884 a meeting was held in the Randwick Town Hall to form a Randwick Parish.
The first act of worship took place in the Town Hall on 14th December, 1884 with Rev. Dr Robert Steel leading the morning service and Rev. J. S. Laing, Moderator of the NSW General Assembly taking the evening service.
Rev. Dr Will Scott Frackelton was inducted as the first parish minister on 23rd November 1885 at the Randwick Town Hall.
Sir John Sulman, the noted architect, offered to draw the plans for the church building. He promoted the idea of building churches more in keeping with Sydney's climate and lifestyle. The original plans envisaged a much larger building than was finally constructed. The classical revival style of the building was a departure from the recognised architecture of the day. Sulman originally planned twin towers to adorn the building but these were never added.
Construction of the church commenced in 1889 with the foundation stone being laid on 9th March 1889. The church was completed in 1890 and officially opened on 16th March 1890. The building and seating finally cost $5790.
The church received many gifts with possibly the most significant being the offer in 1902 to replace the original organ with the magnificent pipe organ still in use today.
10. St Jude's Fountain, Alison Road, Randwick
Designed and executed by Walter McGill in 1866 over spring which supplied water for use of residents and horses.
The original St Jude's well, which was opened in 1858 but dried up soon afterwards, was situated opposite its successor.
Local residents including John Dawson, a mayor of Randwick for four terms in the early 1860s, felt it desirable to have "a drinking fountain more befitting the improved position of the suburb and the time." With the assistance of Randwick Council and public subscription the new fountain was opened on 9th November 1866. Four hundred children from the nearby Destitute Children's Asylum (now part of the Prince of Wales Hospital complex) watched the former mayor, John Dawson, break a bottle of water over the fountain and dedicate its use to the public.
Walter McGill, stonemason and sculptor, was particularly active from about 1850-1874 although most of his work was done at Port Fairy in Victoria. In NSW he was responsible for carving the columns for the Australian Museum (circa 1864) and sculpting the Captain Cook statue in Belmore Road, Randwick.
11. Blenheim House, 17 Blenheim Street, Randwick
Completed in January 1848 by Simeon Henry Pearce (later Randwick's first mayor) on 1.6 hectare block bought from George Hooper market gardener.
First Anglican service in district was held at Blenheim House during Pearce's residency.
Simeon Pearce migrated to Australia from Randwick in Gloucestershire, England and obtained land in Randwick when it was still rolling hills and market gardens.
Blenheim House, a ten room square, sandstone and cedar two storey house with a large sandstone cellar, was built facing west overlooking what is today Randwick Racecourse.
Simeon Pearce became Randwick's first mayor after Randwick became incorporated as a municipality on 22nd February 1859. Pearce became known as the "Father of Randwick" and his energy, foresight, and influence helped mould the character of early Randwick. Pearce served six terms as mayor of the municipality and was the driving force behind the building of St Jude's Church in Randwick.
Whilst in residence at Blenheim House Pearce entertained, amongst others, Governor Fitzroy and the Anglican Archbishop of Sydney.
Blenheim House was also the site of the last foxhunt in Sydney.
Blenheim House was purchased by Randwick Council in 1984.
In 1989 a "Friends of Blenheim House" group was formed with the aim of seeing the building restored and put to some practical use.
12. Newmarket Precinct, Young Street, Randwick
'Newmarket' was built as 'Newmarket Hotel' by John Dillon in 1861. Property, including site of 'Big Stable' sold to James White, grazier and chairman of A.J.C.
'The Big Stable' built c.1880. A number of prominent racing men including Thomas Payten, Jim Pike, William Inglis and Son and W.J. Smith owned and leased stable.
During World War II used as detention barracks. After war as laminex factory.
Recently restored and returned to its original use by its present owners Wm. Inglis and Son.
The presence of Randwick racecourse, where racing was first held in 1833, brought to the suburb trainers, jockeys and stablehands, and from them developed a local racing industry which continues to this day.
Over the past century 'Newmarket' has stabled some of Australia's best horses. Built as a hotel on a ten-acre property in 1861 it was not a commercial success and the building, stables and grounds were bought by wealthy grazier James White, owner of a string of successful racehorses.
Stables fronting Barker Street were, in the 1860's, used by the Sydney Omnibus Company. All vehicles were then horse drawn.
One of White's trainers, Thomas Payten, eventually acquired the property and continued to live and train there until 1918 when the house and stables were sold to Wm. Inglis and Son.
The 'Big Stable' was used as a set in the film "Phar Lap." The stables were restored in the mid 1980's and received a Royal Australian Institute of Architecture Award, the Greenway Award, for conservation.
13. Struggletown Precinct, 15 Jane Street, Randwick
These cottages were built originally in 1850s and 1860s to accommodate workmen brought to Australia by Simeon and James Pearce. Layout and architecture is reminiscent of English village and is unique in this area.
Struggletown Precinct includes 4 hectares purchased in 1852 by Simeon Pearce and his brother James.
The Pearce brothers erected workers' dwellings in the area for their workers while the less fortunate lived in makeshift shanties, hence the name 'Struggletown'.
By the 1860s Struggletown was the centre of the local racing industry and stables were established throughout the area. Today this historic link with the past remains preserved as closely as possible to its original state while being compatible with modern living standards.
One building in the precinct, now a private home, worthy of note is the Jane Street Church, designed by H.M. Robinson, which was completed in 1887 as a mission hall for St Jude's Anglican Church in Randwick. The hall was built to serve the residents of Struggletown and from the time of the First World War until the 1940s was called St Faith's Church.
During the 1970s to mid 1980s the building housed the Jane Street Theatre.
14. Ritz Theatre, 43 St Paul's Street, Randwick
Opened July 1937. Architect A.M. Bolot. One of only a few Art Deco cinemas still operating in N.S.W.
The Ritz Theatre was built by C and J.B. Williams of Coogee for Randwick Estates Limited at an estimated cost of $20,000.
It brought city standards of cinema design and comfort to Randwick.
The Art Deco decorative style, which originated in Europe in the 1920's, varied considerably and ranged from extravagant flora-inspired designs to the austere planes and masses of functional architecture.
Architects applied Art Deco to building exteriors as well as interiors.
Cinemas proved to be the ideal commissions for the style with lofty facades, few windows and strong horizontal and vertical lines.
The Ritz Theatre was bought by the Sisters of the Brigidine Congregation in 1962 and sold in 1985.
Throughout this time it continued as a cinema, despite threats of demolition in 1984 which led to a campaign to save the building. The campaign received a major boost when local resident and international film star Mel Gibson gave his support.
By 1990 it was the only cinema open in the municipality.
15. Glen Mervyn, Coogee Bay Road, Randwick
Constructed 1924 for Thomas A. Field, meat supplier. Presented to Australian Red Cross Society 1941 for use as convalescent home for World War II servicemen. Junior Red Cross home for children (1974-)
Thomas Albert Field bequeathed 'Glen Mervyn' to the Australian Red Cross on condition that it not be used for other than philanthropic or charitable purposes.
The Red Cross conducted a convalescent home for ex-servicemen of World War II there from 1942-1946 when it was leased to Sydney Legacy at a token cost for use as a residence for wards of Legacy.
In 1973 Legacy handed the property back to the Red Cross and the following year it opened as a Junior Red Cross Home.
16. High Cross Precinct, bounded by Avoca Street, Belmore Road, and Cuthill Street, Randwick
ROYAL HOTEL - built for Thomas Browne 1887.
'EDITH' and 'ESSEX' - private dwellings Cuthill Street built c.1890
HOSPITAL COMPLEX - dating from mid-19th century. Originally Destitute Children's Asylum. Used as military and repatriation hospital from 1915 to 1953 when renamed Prince of Wales Hospital.
- Edmund Blackett Block - designed by Edmund Blackett. Erected 1856-1864 for Society of Destitute Children, sheltered 6000 children between 1858 and 1915. Dr Cuthill, Medical Officer of Society bequeathed money for building.
- Catherine Hayes Hospital - built 1870 as hospital for inmates of Asylum. Building named after famous Irish singer who donated funds for its construction.
- Administration Building - designed by J. Horbury Hunt as residence for superintendents of Asylum. Erected 1863. Later used as residence for Medical Superintendents.
SITE OF RANDWICK ODEON - corner Belmore Road and High Street. Began operations as picture theatre named "Kismet" c.1922, later renamed "Odeon" - closed 6th June, 1980.
SITE OF "STAR AND GARTER" INN - erected c.1859 by William Ellis, Randwick Alderman, for use as "Star and Garter Inn". In 1869 acquired by Captain Thomas Watson. Tower erected 1870s. Accommodated various private schools until purchased in 1897 by Hannan family who owned property and operated butchery until 1985. Building extensively refurbished 1987.
CAPTAIN COOK STATUE - sculpted by Walter McGill and paid for by funds organized by Captain Thomas Watson. Erected 1874.
GOLDRING HOUSE - dwellings and business premises Avoca Street. Erected c.1886 by William Mears.
"CORONA" and "HYGEIA' - reputed to have been constructed in 1898 by Elizabeth Callaghan, wife of the late judge Thomas Callaghan.
The Royal Hotel was built to designs of architect John Kirkpatrick. The Randwick Volunteer Fire Brigade was stationed at the hotel before the official Fire Brigade headquarters were established in 1908 in The Avenue, Randwick.
Over the more than one hundred years of the Hotel's operations there have been sixteen licencees.
The Edmund Blackett Block of the Prince of Wales Hospital was named for its architect. Edmund Blackett (1817-1883) was born in Southwark, England and migrated to Australia in 1842. He set himself up in a private architectural practice and, in 1849, was appointed Colonial Architect of N.S.W., a position he held until 1854 when he left to commence work on the University of Sydney.
Blackett became a leading architect in Sydney, designing banks, shops, and commercial buildings in the city and country towns as well as many town and country houses.
The plans of the Catherine Hayes Hospital were the responsibility of Edmund Blackett, although most of the work was undertaken by Thomas Rowe, another eminent architect.
Catherine Hayes was born in County Limerick, Ireland on 25th October, 1825 and died in Sydenham, England on 11th August 1861. She made her operatic debut in Marseilles, France on 10th May 1845 and toured many countries including Australia during the 1850s.
While in Sydney, Catherine Hayes presented a special benefit concert at the old Victoria Theatre in Pitt St which raised $600 for the most popular charity of the day - the building of the Destitute Children's Asylum in Randwick.
A donation of $800 was given by Hayes to the Asylum for the construction of the hospital. The total cost of constructing the building was $6000.
The foundation stone was laid by the president of the Society for the Relief of Destitute Children, E. Deas Thompson, the Colonial Secretary, on 19th December 1868 and the building was officially opened on 9th March 1870.
The Administration Building displays a restrained Romanesque revival influence in its architecture and between 1863 and 1915 housed three superintendents.
The Randwick "Odeon" theatre was built on the site of a Victorian mansion and opened as a cinema in the early 1920s.
The final film screened at the cinema was "10" starring Bo Derek and Dudley Moore.
The "Star and Garter Inn" passed through many hands from the time of its construction. Residents included Mrs Shipway, proprietress of the inn, a bootmaker, Richard Cook and widow May Cook and Hannan's Butchery. A pizza restaurant now operates in the building.
Following the transfer of the title to Captain Thomas Watson, he constructed a tower which would give him views to Botany Bay.
Watson was fascinated by the life of the explorer, Captain James Cook, even naming his house "Cook's Lodge".
Captain Thomas Watson (1795 - 1879) was first appointed as resident pilot of the Port of Sydney in 1833. He returned to sea as a trader in December 1837 and was reinstated as pilot in 1839.
Watson was a familiar figure around the streets of Sydney until his death on 4th October, 1879.
Following his death, the land was subdivided and part of it used as the first official post office in Randwick, opening in 1878 and operating until 1898 on the corner of Short Street and Belmore Road.
During the 1880s and 1890s a portion of the building was used as the Lotaville Girls' School.
The Captain Cook Statue, adjacent to the site of the "Star and Garter Inn", was designed to face Botany Bay and was sculpted from Pyrmont sandstone. The statue was unveiled on 28th October 1874 at a ceremony set for 5.00pm. The bells of St Judes Anglican Church pealed continuously from midday and flags decked Alison Road and Avoca Street.
The unveiling was carried out by Commodore James Goodenough, whose relationship to James Cook, the subject of the statue, formed the basis for a series of bizarre coincidences. As well as having the same first names and the same professions, both Cook and Goodenough died as a result of injuries incurred when local inhabitants felt threatened by their presence: Cook in the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii), Goodenough at Santa Cruz, the year after the unveiling.
The land on which Goldring House is situated was part of a Crown Grant acquired in 1853 by Judge Thomas Callaghan, Chairman of the Court of Petty Sessions.
The Napper family conducted an old world grocery shop at no. 203 until the 1960s.
"Corona" and "Hygeia" also stand on land acquired in 1853 by Judge Callaghan and were used for many years by dentists and doctors as consulting rooms.
17. Sandgate, 128 Belmore Road, Randwick
Built c. 1870 on land granted in 1853 to Simeon Henry Pearce later Randwick's first mayor.
Formerly a private residence known as "Kilkerran" later "Felton." Used in early 1920s as Red Cross facility for World War veterans.
Simeon Pearce built this two storey sandstone residence and rented the property. It was one of five built in a line facing Belmore Road from High Street.
Known as "Kilkerran" when occupied first by James Cullen, an importer, in 1885 and later by Henry Hinton, wine merchant who lived there from 1886 to 1890.
In 1903 Timothy Fahey took up residence and renamed the house "Felton."
After World War 1 the Commonwealth acquired the house and used it as a Red Cross facility for war veterans for several years before it passed into the hands of Catherine and Harold Tippler in 1928. The Tipplers owned the house until September 1966 when it changed ownership three times within a week.
Ownership of Sandgate was transferred from the developers of the neighbouring Coles New World Supermarket in July 1979.
During the 1980s the building was restored and in September 1987 the then mayor of Randwick, Ald. John Scullion presented the keys of the cottage to Randwick Historical Society's president Mrs Kate Schlink.
Sandgate Cottage currently houses the Randwick and District Historical Society's museum and archives collection and serves as a Heritage Centre for the municipality.
18. Ventnor, Avoca Street, Randwick
Built 1858 by Edward Dawson. Bought c. 1876 by George Kiss, auctioneer of Kiss' Horse Bazaar, George Street, Sydney. Mayor of Randwick 1878. Family resided there until 1963 when sold to Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Church.
Built by draper Edward Dawson, "Ventnor" is a Colonial Georgian sandstone house.
George Kiss (1830-1882) was born at Hampton Lodge, Warwickshire, England. He met John Fairfax, founder of the Sydney Morning Herald, in England and decided to emigrate.
Upon his arrival in Australia, Fairfax helped Kiss set up his Hackney Carriage business which introduced the first Hansom Cab to Australia.
George Kiss was also responsible for introducing the first Clydesdale draught horse and by 1871 had expanded into auctioneering.
In 1875, Kiss became an alderman of Randwick Council and later Mayor.
Kiss was also a prominent member of a committee established in 1878 to bring the railway to the Eastern Suburbs and Randwick. This committee failed and it was another 100 years before the Eastern Suburbs obtained a rail link which went only as far as Bondi Junction.
19. Streetscape, 48-66 St Mark's Road, Randwick
Buildings nos. 48-66 dating from late 19th century, erected on land originally part of St Marks Glebe Estate, bear testimony to the gracious lifestyle of early Randwick.
The St. Marks Glebe Estate was granted to the United Church of England in 1857.
- Nos. 48-50: Two-storey attached houses built in the 1890s.
- Nos. 52-56: "Allowah." A large free-standing residence which was built in 1884 for Justus Scharff, an ironmonger, who originally named the house "Jaluit."
- No. 58: "Keber." The earliest known occupant of this house was John Francis, a draper, who resided here in 1887. In 1893 it was occupied by his son, Henry F. Francis, Mayor of Randwick and it later became the home of another Mayor (1896-1897), John A.I. Perry, who was also a draper.
- No. 60: "Erridale." Arthur McMinn, a draughtsman, built this single-storey home c. 1886 and lived there for 22 years.
- No. 62: "Endellion." This two-storey residence was built c. 1884 for T.J. Oliver, who named it "Swilley." The house was renamed "Endellion" by a later owner, Alfred de Lissa, a solicitor.
- No. 64: A single-storey dwelling, built about 1887 for Edward H. Alcock, a warehouseman.
- No. 66: "Taree." A single-storey dwelling, which was built for Lewis S. Fleet c. 1889.
20. Rathven, 43 St Mark's Road, Randwick
Built by George Raffan c. 1887. Sydney Grammar School used property to accommodate students from 1927 until 1981 when reverted to private residence.
George Raffan, a builder, constructed Rathven about 1887 on land that extended to the bottom of Glebe Gully with extensive gardens featuring Norfolk Island pines, huge bamboos and two Port Jackson fig trees.
Raffan (born Scotland 6 September 1853, died Coogee 3 December 1915) was responsible for establishing the first cement works in New South Wales and was a foundation member of the Randwick Bowling Club. He also owned station properties in the Forbes district and the Riverina.
By 1925 the property was owned by Dr Abraham M. Loewenthal who sold it in September 1927 to the Sydney Grammar School.
21. Ascot, 4 Dutruc Street, Randwick
Built c.1888. Occupied from 1907-1916 by Father A.J. Shaw, radio enthusiast who established the Maritime Wireless Company with local businessman Kirkby. Factory at rear produced radio equipment and during World War I navy used factory for munitions production.
The land on which 'Ascot' and 'Archina' were built formed part of a land grant to Annette McGee in 1849.
'Ascot' was erected c. 1888 by P.W. Nicholle, a building contractor, and was a home for missionaries for several years.
Father Archibald Shaw bought 'Ascot' and neighbouring 'Archina' in 1907 to provide a resthouse for missionaries and to use as the base for his work as procurator for the Papua Mission.
How Father Shaw became interested in wireless is not known but before long his experiments with wireless transmission had led to a company, The Maritime Wireless Company, being formed. However, despite successfully supplying wireless sets to the islands and to the Mawson Antarctic expedition, the company soon began to lose money. Poor business organization, outdated equipment and Father Shaw's poor health were all contributing factors. World War I helped the plant to revive and it was soon producing not only wireless equipment but repairing guns and other army material.
Father Shaw's financial problems refused to go away however, and, in 1915 a financial expert from Rome was sent to sort them out. He suggested selling the wireless works.
Father Shaw carried on negotiations for the sale and went to Melbourne in 1916 to finalise it. The day after the sale he was found unconscious and died soon after.
22. Archina, 49 Avoca Street, Randwick
Built c.1907. In January 1924 Wing Commander L.T. Wackett, D.F.C., A.F.C. established first Royal Australian Airforce Experimental Station at site. Wackett's world class amphibious biplanes 'Widgeon' produced on site. Ceased operations c. 1930.
This two storey Federation house's first owners and residents were Capt. A.J. and Mrs E.H. Clark who purchased the property in 1907.
'Archina' was occupied by the Sacred Heart Missionaries between 1912 and 1916 when it was purchased by the Commonwealth for defence purposes.
In January 1924 Wing Commander Wackett established the first RAAF Experimental Station at the site.
Wackett used nearby 'Ascot' as a design office and residence and 'Archina' housed the engineers. The factory producing aircraft and parts was behind 'Archina'.
The most famous planes produced at the factory were the world class amphibious biplanes, Wackett "Widgeon" Mark I and Mark II.
Today 'Archina' houses families of Australian army officers.
23. Home of Franklyn and Mabel Barrett, 6 Barrett Place, Randwick
Franklyn Barrett with his Pathe Freres camera / In Theatre Magazine, Jan. 1917
Walter Franklyn Barrett (1873-1964), film cameraman and director, was born at Loughborough, Leicestershire, England. He moved to New Zealand around 1895 working as a clerk but in his spare time started experimenting with the new technology of moving film. He filmed documentaries in Australia and New Zealand. Among his filming assignments was the visit to Australia in 1901 of the Duke and Duchess of York. In 1904, Barrett made the first complete film of the running of the Melbourne Cup and was commended by Pathe-Frere for his work in photographing racehorses in full gallop. He started his professional film career in the Melbourne offices of Pathe-Frere, in 1908, as a newsreel cameraman, and filmed The Sea Coasts of New Zealand and in 1909-10 South Sea Island Films.
Among his great successes were "The Pioneers" (1916), "The Monk and the Woman" (1918) and "Know Thy Child" (1921).
Although the plot of The Breaking of the Drought (1920) was old-fashioned, Barrett's realistic photography of the drought scenes was praised by the critics and led indirectly to the tightening of Commonwealth censorship laws. In 1920 he formed his own film company with Barry Kenwood, a solicitor, and in 1921-22 made three features, A Girl of the Bush, which 'had a distinctive spirit of "documentary realism"', Know thy Child and A Rough Passage. They all revealed 'his sensitive eye as a photographer of Australian landscapes'. (Australian Dictionary of Biography)
He married Mabel Muriel Pile in Perth on 10 December 1906.
Throughout his film career, he was ably assisted by his wife Mabel and later his daughter, Harrie "Todds" Barrett.
When the major film companies started to threaten the future of the independent film makers in the late 1920s, and with the advent of sound films, Barrett gave up his production company and turned to theatre management. He managed the Hoyts chain of theatres with cinemas across Sydney in Neutral Bay, Mosman, Arncliffe, Clovelly and Woollahra.
Apart from his movie-making, Franklyn could play every stringed instrument and spoke fluent English, French and Italian.
Franklyn Barrett died on 16 July 1964 at Randwick.
Barrett House, Randwick
Barrett House was the home of cinema pioneers Franklyn and Mabel Barrett. In this home between 1919 and 1926, 15 silent pictures were developed, printed and edited including Australian classics "The Breaking of the Drought" and " A Girl of the Bush".
When she celebrated her 92 birthday in the house in 1999, Todds Barrett was surrounded by her sepia prints depicting scenes from Australia's earliest movies. Nearby was the huge oak table her father used to cut his film.
Barrett House was bequeathed to Randwick City Council by Harrie Marett (also known by her stage name "Todds" Barrett.) The house has been developed as a Sustainable Demonstration House, incorporating display material dedicated to Franklyn Barrett and Australia's early film industry.
Barrett House is listed as a heritage item under Randwick Local Environmental Plan 1998 (Consolidation). Its heritage significance largely derives from the early Australian cinematography that was developed and edited in the building.
24. Hooper Cottage, 17 Figtree Avenue, Randwick
Known as oldest farmhouse in Randwick, once situated on 15 acres. Built by George Hooper in early 1840s.
This two-storey Georgian residence was built in late 1848 by George Hooper on 15 acres purchased for market gardens and orchards. This land was subdivided in the mid 1880s. The house was built of local sandstone for George Hooper, a prominent member of Randwick Council and Council's auditor during the 1860s.
George Hooper sold a major portion of the property in 1864 and moved to Hawkwood near Esk, Queensland shortly afterwards.
He died in Brisbane on 15th August 1888.
Hooper Cottage has remained the property of George Hooper's descendants until the late 1970s. The house remained unaltered up to this date and the rare insurance plaque on the front wall may still be seen.
25. Bishops Court, Moira Crescent, Randwick
Official residence of Church of England Bishop of Sydney, Frederick Barker, built near this site in 1859. Later sold to Catholic community as a convent. Destroyed by fire on 25th February 1924.
The original land grant comprised 56 acres. The Bishop of Sydney, Frederick Barker, had a close association with Simeon Pearce and Randwick in its early days and was responsible for persuading the authorities to move the Bishop's residence from its proposed location at Newtown to Randwick where the residence was constructed in 1859 for a cost of 7000 pounds.
By 1909 Archbishop Wright was of the opinion that Randwick was too far removed from the centre of diocesan life and the official residence was moved to Darling Point.
The property was taken over by the Roman Catholic Church and operated as a convent until a fire in February 1924 destroyed the building.
26. Clovelly Tram Terminus, Clovelly Beach
Regular Sydney Tram Network service from city to Little Coogee (Clovelly) commenced Wednesday April 2 1913. Services gradually curtailed late 1940s - early 1950s with last tram running on Sunday June 23 1957.
Initial proposals made in 1905 and 1906 for a tramline to serve the developing suburb of Little Coogee came to nothing. This resulted in local residents forming a league in May 1907 with the object of pressing for provision of a tramway. A deputation saw the Secretary for Public Works, C.A. Lee, who informed them that he looked favourably upon the proposal and gave an undertaking that various possible routes would be investigated.
On March 3 1909 a survey was completed for a single track tramway estimated to cost 25,000 pounds.
A report was prepared and presented to the Standing Committee on Public Works in 1910. The Committee overruled the various objections to the proposed tramway and construction commenced on 16 August 1911. It was completed in time for an official inspection on 28 March 1913.
Regular services commenced on Wednesday April 2, 1913.
Little change occurred in the operation of the Clovelly line until after World War II. Buses began to replace tram services in 1948 and in January 1957 it was announced that the trams would be replaced by buses. This took place after the last tram left Circular Quay at about 12.25am on Sunday 22 June 1957 returning to the terminus shortly after 2.00pm the same day.
27. Oceanview, 127 Arden Street
Built 1916 as family home for Phillip Wirth founder and owner of Wirth's circus.
Before spacious grounds reduced by subdivision, some circus animals were kept on property.
"Oceanview," when built, boasted six bedrooms, each with its own en suite bathroom. It is also one of the few local historic homes which possesses a tower.
Phillip Wirth (died 1937) formed Wirth's Circus, with his brother George, in the late 19th century. It officially opened in Sydney on New Years Day, 1880.
Performances of the Circus were held in the Hippodrome Theatre (later named the Capitol Theatre) Sydney. The theatre stage was hydraulically operated to enable the animals to be brought from below the stage.
Wirth had six children, Eileen, Doris, Madelaine, Phillip, George, and Marizle ("Rilla"). All, except the youngest, Rilla, were entertainers at the circus.
Each of the children had a speciality with the program: Eileen - the elephants, Doris - statues and the Golden Horse, Madelaine - the lions and the bears, and Phillip - the monkeys and the dogs. Phillip also arranged artists and, when their father died, Doris took over the management of the circus.
The private zoo in the grounds of "Oceanview" became a local landmark and elephants exercising along Beach Street in the early morning became a regular sight during the 1920s.
28. Stones Milk Bar, Dolphin Street, Coogee
Opened c.1922. Operated by William "Pop" and Bridget Stones until Bridget's death in 1948. Sunday night concerts became a local institution. Continued as teen cabaret in 1950s and 60s with artists such as Johnny O'Keefe.
From its opening, Stones Milk Bar became a favourite meeting place for all ages. It was particularly famous for its milkshakes and fruit cocktails.
Many famous entertainers of the era, such as Nellie Small, Tessie Hamilton and Richard Grey, began their careers at Stones.
During the Second World War the Milk Bar was inundated by American servicemen. Prince Phillip also visited it when in Sydney as a naval officer, prior to his marriage.
In 1967 the premises were sold and converted into a Hungarian restaurant.
This later became the Coogee Comedy Theatre Restaurant with a regular program of entertainment similar to the shows of the past.
29. Site of Coogee Palace Aquarium, Dolphin Street, Coogee
Architect J. Smedley. Aquarium complex opened 23rd December 1887. Contained pleasure gardens, swimming baths, toboggan ride and variety of entertainment under the great dome. Suffered from neglect in recent years until its present redevelopment.
The Coogee Aquarium and Swimming Baths were opened on 23rd December 1887 by the Minister for Education, Mr. Inglis and by the 1890s had become an entertainment centre rivaled only by Bondi and Manly.
The original Coogee Palace covered the whole block bounded by Dolphin, Beach, Bream and Arden Streets.
Children were well catered for with swings, whirligigs, rocking horses, toy boats, donkey rides and a giant toboggan rink.
Other outdoor entertainments included aviaries, flower beds, a bandstand and an open-air bar.
The Great Hall and the swimming pool proved to be the most popular. The Hall had a floor that could be converted into a roller skating rink and additional dance space was provided in late 1889 with the construction of a balcony or promenade which accommodated 3000.
After 1908, entertainments declined at the Palace despite the rise in popularity of Coogee as a surfing beach and the extension of paid holidays to many workers.
From the 1920s parts of the Aquarium building were let out to shopkeepers and residents.
In 1935, the Coogee Palace Aquarium became the centre of the famous shark arm murder case. A three metre tiger shark, caught off Coogee Beach by fisherman Albert Hobson (whose brother was the proprietor of the Aquarium) was placed on display at the Aquarium. While spectators looked on, the shark coughed up a human arm, which was later identified to be that of James Smith, a former boxer and S.P. bookmaker with underworld connections. Patrick Brady was eventually charged with Smith's murder but the case was dismissed before it went to a jury. Brady continued his criminal career of forgery until his death in 1965.
The Coogee Palace Aquarium structure suffered from neglect for many years and when a Conservation Order was placed on it by the Heritage Council in May 1982, its condition had deteriorated considerably.
In June 1984 strong winds and torrential rain combined to 'decapitate' the structure and the huge dome collapsed.
In 1986 Randwick Council approved renovation of the Coogee Palace Aquarium and the restoration of the dome and by the end of 1987 a new Coogee Palace had been developed on the site. The new development contains a mixture of restaurants and speciality shops.
30. Coogee Tram Terminus, Dolphin Street, Coogee
Regular Sydney Tram Network Steam services from city to Coogee Beach commenced January 25 1883. Services converted to electric November 1902. Last tram service Sunday October 23 1960.
The success of tram services to Moore Park and Randwick Racecourse prompted a public meeting to be held at the Randwick Council Chamber on September 20 1880 to urge the government to continue with the extension of the line to Randwick and Coogee Beach.
Following the completion of the next section in March 1881, regular services commenced on Saturday March 19 1881.
Throughout that day it is estimated that about 7000 passengers travelled, with many walking from the terminus to Coogee Beach as the local horse bus service could not cope with the numbers.
Work on the extension from Randwick to Coogee commenced in August 1882 and regular services commenced on January 25 1883.
Coogee became a popular summer resort with extra trams being provided on special occasions such as January 24 1905, when moonlight excursions were operated.
Industrial problems within the power supply industry led to a curtailment of the services in the late 1940s and bus services began to replace the tram service.
The last tram left Coogee at 12:50 AM on Sunday, October 23 1960.
31. Site of Surf Rescue, Coogee Beach
On 28th January 1911 Harold W. Baker and James Clarken repeatedly plunged into heavy seas to rescue several girls; four lives were lost. Both received citations from Royal Humane Society.
Harold W. Baker, brother of famous sportsman and movie actor "Snowy" Baker, was captain of Maroubra Surf Club in 1909-10 and 1910-11.
He was also a renowned sportsman having been 100 yards swimming champion 1907 and captained Australia at water polo.
Harold played in three rugby union tests for Australia, was a national boxing and wrestling title holder and a noted rower and weight lifter.
At the time of the rescue, Baker was the lessee of the Coogee Kiosk.
The Coogee rescue earned Baker and Clarken the highest award of the Royal Humane Society.
32. Site of Coogee Pier and Shark Net, Coogee Beach
Coogee Pleasure Pier, modeled on similar English seaside pavilions and piers, was opened near this site on 24th July 1928 at height of Coogee's popularity as a seaside resort.
Diminishing use and storm damage led to pier superstructure demolition in 1934.
Following construction of pier, a sharkproof enclosure was added and officially opened on 16th November 1929 leading to introduction of night surfing. Net survived until demolished for security purposes during World War II.
Construction of the Coogee Pleasure Pier was commenced in 1924 by a private company, the Coogee Ocean Pier Company with a project budget of 250,000 pounds. Large crowds gathered to watch the first pile being driven on 24th July 1926. Radio stations 2BL and 2KY made live broadcasts of proceedings.
The pier's major attractions included a 1400 seat theatre, a 600 capacity ballroom and a 400 seat restaurant.
Dancing was very popular and concerts were held regularly.
The contracting company claimed that the pier would be considerably stronger than any similar pier constructed in England but over the next few years crowds diminished and storms damaged the buildings. The dream of an English-style resort ended with the demolition of the pier superstructure during 1933-34.
The shark net, which cost 6750 pounds, was made possible with the construction of the pier. It stretched half way across the bay and was attached to one of the pylons of the pier. The occasion of the shark net's official opening was made grander by the additional unveiling of the new Giles' Ocean Baths and the new surf sheds. The celebration was promoted as "Come to Coogee" Week and attracted a crowd of 135,000 people.
Bathers flocked to Coogee and, after four months, the number of bathers had topped the 800,000 mark.
When a hole appeared in the net, a crowd of 40,000 came to watch an inspection by a diver.
Night surfing proved very successful and attracted crowds of between 20,000 and 30,000 a night. The floodlights installed were powerful enough to allow night surf carnivals.
During World War II the net fell into a state of disrepair owing to a lack of materials and nature of the foreshore fortifications. After further damage from heavy seas had occurred the net was finally dismantled.
33. Site of Shipwrecks, Maroubra
'Hereward': An iron clipper wrecked at northern end of this beach between two reefs of rocks on 5th May 1898. No lives lost.
'Tekapo': A steamship wrecked on shallow reef at southern end of this beach on 16th May 1899. No lives lost.
'Belbowrie': A coastal freighter ran aground on almost same site as Tekapo on 16th January 1939. No lives lost.
The 'Hereward', a Glasgow built 1513 ton iron clipper, was a well-known trader to the colonies frequently running between London and Sydney with general cargoes.
On the night of 5th May the 'Hereward' was battling up the coast in gale force winds. The ship's master, Captain Gore, estimated the ship to be about 70 miles off the coast when a man on the bow spotted breakers. Unable to turn in the rough conditions the ship bumped heavily shoreward onto soft sand between two reefs of rock at the northern end of Maroubra Beach. As she showed no signs of breaking up the crew determined not to leave her and prepared to wait out the night until daylight. By 2.00am the weather cleared and a lifeboat was launched. In three trips the entire crew of 25 were brought safely ashore.
The 'Hereward' lay on the beach for six months before salvage attempts commenced. However, all attempts were doomed when storms thwarted salvage operations and on 9th December 1898 the final demise of the 'Hereward' occurred when large waves broke her in two.
For many years the 'Hereward''s remains graced Maroubra Beach but by 1950 Randwick Council, fearing injury to surfers, began blasting the remnants.
In the early morning of 16th May 1899 the steamship 'Tekapo', belonging to the fleet of the Union Steamship Co. of New Zealand went aground on a shallow reef at the south end of Maroubra Bay.
'Tekapo' struck at 3.45am but residents were unable to locate the ship until two hours later. Meanwhile crew made it to the Coogee Bay Hotel where they telephoned for tugs and assistance. Tugs were unable to budge the 'Tekapo' and everything of value that could be easily removed was transferred to the tugs and sent to Sydney.
Tens of thousands of sightseers visited the 'Tekapo' on Wednesday 24th May, the Queen's birthday holiday. Special buses carried the sightseers whilst others walked from the Coogee tram terminus or came by bicycle.
The master of the 'Tekapo', Captain Herbert Sams was found guilty by the subsequent Marine Board inquiry of navigating too close to the land and setting a course which put the vessel on shore during the fog. As a result Capt. Sams' Masters Certificate was suspended for six months from the date of the wreck.
'Belbowrie' was a NSW coastal freighter built at Blackwall on the Brisbane Waters in 1911.
The 'Belbowrie' did most of her trading along the NSW south coast and on 16th January 1939 left Balmain on her final voyage bound for Shellharbour.
Heavy rain was falling when the 'Belbowrie' crashed onto rocks at Maroubra Point near the Anzac Rifle Range at almost the same spot as the 'Tekapo' years before. A lifeboat was lowered but was swamped in the heavy seas so a rope was secured to the shore and crew used this line to reach shore. The 'Belbowrie' soon began to break up as the seas continued to pound it and no attempt was made to salvage it.
34. Site of Surf rescue, Maroubra
On 5th February 1944 Maroubra Beach inspector William Kember entered heavy seas without aid of line, belt or surfboat to undertake a successful rescue.
He received citations from Royal Humane Society and Surf Life Saving Association.
William Kember rescued a 16 year old who had been carried about 400 yards out to sea. Kember supported the youngster in the water for about 50 minutes and covered a distance of approximately 1000 yards with his charge in his successful effort to edge nearer shore and safety.
The exceptional roughness of the sea may be gauged by the fact that neither boat nor belt could be taken out.
Kember is a Life Member of Maroubra Surf Club.
35. Maroubra Bay Tram Terminus, Marine Parade, Maroubra
Regular Sydney Tram Network services commenced Thursday March 24 1920. Last tram service Saturday February 25 1961.
The earliest reference to the idea of a tramway to Maroubra was in January 1909 when John Kneeshaw, the Tramway Traffic Superintendent suggested that an extension to Maroubra Road would "...lend itself to extensive future development."
Kneeshaw brought up the issue again in July 1911 and in 1912 the Maroubra Scheme went before Chief Commissioner T.R. Johnson with a cost estimate of 16,741 pounds for a double track line.
In August 1915 a deputation comprising local parliamentarians and Randwick Council aldermen made representations to the Secretary for Public Works for the construction of a line to Maroubra Beach. Council had improved facilities at the beach which resulted in large numbers of people being attracted there during the summer months. However, the Public Works Department maintained that the local population was too sparse to justify construction of a tramway and it wasn't until December 16th 1919 that the Maroubra Tramway received Royal assent.
Construction commenced early 1920 and an interim service was introduced from 21st March 1921 and normal services began three days later on March 24th.
During summer Sunday tram services to Maroubra Beach were increased to cater for the expected beach excursion traffic.
Little change occurred with the Maroubra Beach line service until the late 1940s when weekend tram services were temporarily replaced by buses in 1948 and 1949.
In 1960 city street reconstruction led to a curtailment of services to Maroubra Beach and by October 1960 the Maroubra Beach and La Perouse lines were the last remaining tramway services in Sydney.
The final day of operation was Saturday February 25th 1961.
36. Site of 2EU, Everett Street, Maroubra
C.V. "Pa" Stevenson, owner of Electrical Services, began broadcasting from living room of property on this site on January 26, 1925. Radio 2EU (later 2UE) became first commercial radio station. Property later subdivided.
C.V. Stevenson owned an electrical business in George Street, Sydney known as Electrical Utilities, from where he sold radio sets and electrical wares. He also carried out experiments in wireless transmission from his shop and from his home in Maroubra.
He obtained a "B" class licence which enabled him to broadcast programs and was to be financed by any means at his disposal. He took as his call sign 2EU which represented the initials of his business.
The first broadcast on Australia Day 1925 consisted of two hours of recorded music from 8.00pm until 10.00pm.
Many of Stevenson's broadcasts utilized his pianola. Once a pianola roll had been played, Stevenson would leave the microphone "live" as he removed the roll and replaced it with another, whistling while he completed the task.
In order to relieve the silences and long pauses in the program, Stevenson obtained advertising. The first contract was with the butcher Harry Woods, from George Street, who paid one shilling for each advertisement.
The radio call sign was later changed to 2UE because people thought the original sounded too much like a bird call.
37. Dudley's Emporium, Cnr. Anzac Parade and Maroubra Road, Maroubra
In 1912 pioneer land developer Herbert Dudley, whose slogan was "Watch Maroubra Grow," built suburban emporium on this site. Emporium included small cinema, stores for produce, hardware, groceries, draperies, refreshments, chemist, butchery and residence.
Herbert Dudley's association with the area began in the 1890s when his parents built a holiday house at Long Bay. Dudley left school at the age of 14 and became an apprentice draper with Farmer and Co.
In 1903 Herbert Dudley moved his family to Long Bay into a house he had built next to his parents' holiday home.
Whilst still employed by Farmer and Co. Dudley began buying large areas of crown land at Long Bay which he subdivided and resold at weekends. Dudley was aided by his employers, the Pope family, who held controlling interest in Farmer and Co. The Pope family recognized his talents and became the financial backer for his real estate undertakings.
By 1912 Dudley had built the first stage of "Dudley's Corner" - a dwelling for his family and a small office, for, by this time, his business had grown and he was selling land in areas such as the Surfside Estate at Maroubra.
Dudley was quick to recognize the need for community services and facilities close to residential areas if residential growth was to be encouraged. With this in mind he set about building the Emporium.
Dudley resigned his position with Farmer and Co in 1913 to become a fulltime land developer and auctioneer and by the early 1920s was a wealthy man.
Herbert Dudley died in 1927 aged 57.
38. Site of Maroubra Speedway, Coral Sea Park
Financed by syndicate of Sydney businessmen, Maroubra Speedway opened 5th December 1925 with estimated crowd of 67,000. Series of fatal accidents and onset of Depression led to diminishing crowds and eventual closure in 1934.
Australia's first major motor racing venture commenced in 1923 when a Sydney business syndicate leased 33 hectares of crown land to build a track and facilities.
Within 18 months of opening the track had earned itself the title "killer track" with five fatalities.
Many of the drivers became household names. These included Phil Garlick, Hope Bartlett, Charles East, Fred Barlow and Alan Cooper. Garlick became the number one driver and the best known man in motor racing but the track was eventually to kill him when his Alvis went over the track's rim, flew over and smashed head on into a light pole. He was dead when a shocked rescue team reached him.
Both the impact of the deaths and competition from the speedway at the Sydney Showground contributed to reducing attendances to unprofitable numbers.
Car racing ceased in 1928 although motor cycle racing continued spasmodically until the Depression of the 1930s led to the closure of the track, originally named "Olympic Speedway", in 1934.
The land was resumed by the N.S.W. Housing Commission in 1947 and is now an established residential area.
39. 6 Amiens Crescent, Matraville
Sole surviving cottage of Matraville Soldier's Settlement Garden Village of over ninety houses constructed between 1918-1926 for returned soldiers from World War I.
Refurbished and converted by the Department of Housing for use as a Community Centre.
In 1917 the State Government dedicated the settlement land under the Returned Soldiers' Holdings Act with tenancy restricted by Act of Parliament to war-injured returned soldiers, sailors and war widows.
Voluntary donations of both labour and building materials helped erect the 93 homes which were laid out in a "garden village" which provided for a memorial reserve, parkland and sites for public buildings and churches.
On Saturday 4th May 1918, the N.S.W. Governor, Sir Walter Davidson laid the foundation stone of the first cottage, which was erected by the Matraville branch of the Voluntary Workers Association. Completed in January the following year the cottage was first occupied by Charles Gross and his family.
The Settlement's original plan called for 170 homes to be constructed but work slowed after 1921 because of lack of funds and the final number built totalled 93.
The first church service at the settlement was held in an old shed on 3rd April 1921.
The foundation stone for St George's Church was laid on 25th April 1927 with the church being dedicated by Bishop C.A. D'Arcy Irvine, Assistant Bishop of Sydney on November 26th 1927. The last service was held at the church on 27th December 1970 and it was demolished shortly afterwards.
The last remaining house of the Soldiers Settlement at 6 Amiens Avenue was restored and renovated by the N.S.W. Department of Housing and officially opened as a community centre on 30th June 1989.
40. Malabar Tea Rooms
Commenced operations c. 1910. Established by Thomas Henry Tollis. Operated as family business until c. 1970. Used as bakery and cakeshop and later for wedding receptions. Popular venue in early times for local dances.
The tea rooms were also known as the "Star" refreshment rooms when the proprietor was Mr F. Tollis.
41. Site of Shipwrecks, Malabar
"Malabar": Diesel ship struck rocks off North Point on 2nd April 1931. Suburb of Long Bay renamed after this event.
"Goolgwai": Fishing trawler ran aground at North Point on 29th May 1955. "Sluggo" ship's dog only fatality.
The "Malabar" was the first diesel ship to be launched by Burns Philp and Co. Launched on 9th July 1925 and named after the small town in Java, the "Malabar" was the pioneer passenger motorship especially built to operate on the east coast of Australia - Singapore trade.
However, disaster struck the "Malabar" just six years later when, on her usual voyage from Melbourne to Singapore via Sydney, she encountered a heavy bank of fog and struck rocks off North Point inside Long Bay.
As the "Malabar" was firmly jammed between rocks her captain, Capt. Leslie, ordered passengers to don lifebelts and stand by the lifeboats. Without incident all the passengers were safely landed at the beach on Long Bay.
Attempts to refloat the vessel proved futile as the "Malabar" continued to be smashed by waves. By the early hours of Friday morning, 24 hours after the disaster had occurred, the "Malabar" broke into three sections. July 16th 1931 saw the seas finally swallow the wreck as the ship slipped back into deep water.
The wreck of the "Malabar" attracted great crowds to the area with numbers estimated to be over 150,000 visiting on Good Friday. The locals displayed great enterprise setting up booths to sell sandwiches, fruit and soft drinks while others sold photographs of the "Malabar" on the rocks. A musician performed as did a snake charmer. By the end of the Easter weekend an estimated 500,000 had visited the "Malabar".
A marine inquiry into the incident found the captain to be negligent and his ticket was cancelled.
On 29th May 1955 the fishing trawler "Goolgwai" ran aground at North Point, Malabar at about the same spot as the "Malabar" had 24 years previously. With the propeller fouled on the rocks the "Goolgwai" stuck fast. The crew of eleven were able to jump from the vessel to the rocks and were assisted up the cliff face by fishermen.
"Sluggo", the ship's dog, was lost at the grounding. By Monday 31st May the vessel had been declared a total write-off by the owners.
The "Goolgwai" continued to be buffeted by the seas until 6th June when big seas finally pounded the trawler to pieces.
42. Malabar Police Station, Anzac Parade, Malabar
Established in other premises 1907.
This site opened 19 August 1949.
43. Site of Chinese Market Gardens and Star Drive-In, Matraville
Gardens existed in district since 1850s. Many operated by Chinese. Recent urbanization in area led to disappearance of most gardens. Star Drive-in commenced screening on this site August 1958. Ceased operation August 1984.
Until 1859 market gardens in the district were owned and tended by Europeans. After the main wave of gold rushes in the 1850s Chinese workers moved into the district. They operated the market gardens and ran laundries in the Botany, Mascot and Matraville areas.
The land was leased by syndicates who had pooled their resources to enable them to obtain maximum production. Over time many of the gardens and leases were taken over by the large merchants of Sydney's Chinatown who paid out low wages on top of board and food. By the 1920s Chinese market gardens across NSW were being squeezed out by larger scale, more modern agriculture. The gardens at Matraville continued into the 1970s when leases were rescinded by the Crown. Despite opposition from Randwick Council and local residents the gardens were bulldozed to make way for housing development.
The Star Drive-in opened in August 1958 and operated until 8th August 1984 when it closed for the last time because it was no longer profitable. No fanfare greeted the last screening and only nine cars were there to view the last film screened, The Exterminator.
44. Pioneer Park, Botany Cemetery
Established 1974 to commemorate interment originating in the Old Burying Ground, George Street Sydney and Old Devonshire Street/Sandhills Cemetery (site of Central Railway). Remains, head and foot stones relocated Bunnerong Cemetery 1901. Incorporated Botany Cemetery 1972.
Botany Cemetery, then known as Bunnerong Cemetery, was dedicated in 1888 when it was laid out on an area which was initially 10 hectares.
746 headstones from the original 2,285 stones have survived the 1901 transfer from the Sydney Burial Ground and form the Pioneer Memorial Park.
Among the headstones are those of:
- Lord family vault including Simeon Lord (1771-1840). Transported for stealing muslin and calico, Lord became a leading entrepreneur in the colony and a founder of the Bank of NSW
- Mary Reibey (1777-1855), a young horse stealer and later one of Sydney's leading businesswomen.
- John Cadman (1772-1848), principal superintendent of boats.
- George Howe (1769-1821), sent to the colony for shoplifting Howe became a government printer and published Australia's first newspaper, the Sydney Gazette and NSW Advertiser.
- Robert Watson, after whom Watson's Bay is named.
- Ellis Bent (1783-1815), Judge-Advocate of NSW, and the first practising barrister-at-law in the colony.
45. Howes Refreshment Rooms, Yarra Bay
Areas leased 1898 by George Howe and business partner William Rose for development as Yarra Bay Pleasure Grounds. By 1901, Howes Refreshment Rooms, Stables and Boatshed completed. Popularity declined with Depression. Refreshment Rooms demolished 1960s.
The Pleasure Grounds contained facilities for a variety of activities: a cricket pitch was established on what had previously been swampland and boat rides and novelty sports were catered for.
Yarra Bay became very popular as a venue for work picnics and social club outings.
72 huts were built as accommodation for campers and fishermen. Later, during the Depression years, these huts became the homes of many unemployed.
George William Howe, the man responsible for the development of the Pleasure Grounds was prominent in municipal life being an alderman with both the Redfern Council for 23 years including one term as mayor, and the Randwick Council.
Howe also found time to quarry local stone for the first breakwater at Yarra Bay. However, the project was unfinished when Howe died on the 22nd November 1916 and the breakwater was eventually washed away.
46. La Perouse Tram Terminus, The Loop, Snake Pit
Regular Sydney Tram Network steam services from City to La Perouse commenced Monday August 11 1902. Electric services from August 7 1905. Last tram service Saturday February 25 1961.
Snake Pit has been venue for regular demonstrations by "snake men" since early this century.
The Cann family has had a strong association with the Snake Pit since the 1920s.
Two tram lines terminated at La Perouse - the Botany and Springvale line and the Maroubra/Malabar line.
The last section of the La Perouse via Long Bay line from Little Bay Hospital to the terminus on the shore of Botany Bay was completed concurrently with the Botany Cemetery line link-up with the new La Perouse line at Yarra Junction in 1902. Regular services commenced on Monday 11th August 1902.
During the 1920s passengers on the Springvale-La Perouse services decreased and by early 1933 the service was under review. It was found that the revenue on the remaining weekend services barely covered wages costs on some days. The death knell for the service came in 1934 when repairs to a bridge on the route proved to be too costly and the service was discontinued on 16th March 1935.
Approval for construction of the tram route from Kensington to La Perouse was initiated in 1899 by the government of Sir John See, a former Randwick Council alderman and mayor. The government believed such a line would open up the area for settlement and enable pleasure seekers to reach Long Bay, Little Bay and other coastal venues as far as Botany Bay. Construction of the final section of the line between Little Bay and La Perouse and its link to the Botany/Springvale line was completed in 1902 and regular services commenced on August 11th. Sir John See performed the opening ceremony on the same day.
Both the Little Bay/La Perouse and Springvale/La Perouse lines were electrified with regular electric services commencing on August 7th 1905.
In 1909 a unique service to transport prisoners between Darlinghurst and Long Bay Gaol was introduced. A special car was attached to the train and it remained a familiar sight on the line until replaced by motor vehicles in 1950.
As with other services buses gradually replaced trams in the late 1940s and the La Perouse line became the last tram line to close when the final service operated on 25th February 1961. At 3.45pm that day four cars left La Perouse for the last time and tramway operations ended in Sydney when car "1995" entered the Darley Road entrance gates of the tram workshops at 4.26pm.
Snake Pit - located near the La Perouse bus depot, eastern side of Anzac Parade.
Snake exhibitions have been a feature at La Perouse since the early 1900s.
"Professor" Fred Fox was the first of the famous snake men and set a tradition for showmanship which has continued over the years. Fox was also determined to gain recognition for his snake bite 'antidote'. Demonstrating his antidote in Calcutta in 1914 Fox allowed a deadly krait to bite him several times. However, one bite was inadvertently left untreated and he died within hours.
The Cann family name is synonymous with the snake men of La Perouse. George Cann (1897-1965) reigned at the Loop from the 1920s until the 1960s and the tradition has been carried on since his death in 1965 by his sons George and John.
47. Site of Minmi Shipwreck, Cape Banks
Steel steamship ran aground in fog here on 13th May 1937. Two lives were lost.
Site now situated within Botany Bay National Park under control of National Parks and Wildlife Service.
"Minmi" had been plying coal between Newcastle and Melbourne for several years before she ran aground at Cape Banks when returning from Melbourne on 13th May 1937.
The "Minmi" smashed into rocks in fog just after 10pm. Assistance was close at hand when members of the artillery garrison stationed at Cape Banks heard the sound of escaping steam. Within half an hour the "Minmi" had broken her back in the pounding seas. Throughout the night the rescues continued with the result that there was only one fatality. The other fatality occurred when the "Minmi" had first struck the rocks. The second cook suffered a heart attack and died.
As with many of the other shipping disasters the "Minmi" attracted large numbers of people to the area.
The "Minmi" was salvaged.
An inquiry into the disaster exonerated the captain finding that three factors caused the demise of the "Minmi" - a flood tide, the set of the current and the swell on the starboard quarter.