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A Sutherland Shire Council Facility
Short histories of people and locations from the history of the Sutherland Shire.
Published on: Friday, 15 June 2018
There is always something fascinating about a shipwreck. The very word summons endless images of desperate characters, groaning vessels and nature’s fury; dramatic scenes of tragedy, daring, chaos, and farce; fateful turns of mischance and fortune; and thrilling tales of life and death. But one need not look to distant reefs and isles to uncover accounts of maritime disaster and providence, as many extraordinary stories can be found along the coastline and waterways which define the Sutherland Shire. At Cronulla – not too far from the Post Office – there are 8 plaques in the pavement, each about a different 19th Century ship that was wrecked nearby.
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Published on: Tuesday, 15 May 2018
On 1 August 1870, an article appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald which described in vivid detail the wild and magnificent territory through which a new road was projected. The district - then known as Bottle Forest, but now called Heathcote - was an untamed land of dramatic scenery, abundant wildlife, and a mysterious presence which unnerved even the hardiest of local bushmen.
Published on: Wednesday, 18 April 2018
Every year, thousands of Australians travel overseas to explore the First World War battlefields where Anzac soldiers fought and died, and to visit the graves of the young men who will forever lie in distant military cemeteries. Our war dead, who rest in foreign soil, ought never to be forgotten. And nor should those servicemen and women who survived hostilities and returned to Australia, hundreds of whom now lie peacefully right here in the Sutherland Shire.
Published on: Wednesday, 28 February 2018
The Sutherland Shire may not have the Art Deco buildings of other Sydney areas like Potts Point and Elizabeth Bay, but certain quarters – especially at Cronulla – have a distinctly ‘modernist’ appearance. This is due to the district’s rapid development during the interwar years when the impact of this style was at its peak.
Published on: Friday, 17 November 2017
The first visit by Queen Elizabeth II to Australia was beset with false starts, tragic setbacks and unforeseen challenges, but when she finally arrived in February 1954 the people of the Sutherland Shire embraced their Queen - and the small part they were to play in her visit - with unreserved enthusiasm and boundless energy.
Published on: Tuesday, 17 October 2017
On 31 October 1917, Lieutenant General Sir Harry Chauvel ordered the 4th Australian Light Horse Brigade to charge on Beersheba and into history. Two decades later, this famous assault was re-enacted on the sand-dunes of Cronulla when movie cameras replaced Turkish guns and shot some of the most dramatic sequences for the classic Australian film: Forty Thousand Horsemen.
Published on: Friday, 15 September 2017
Question: What do Captain James Cook, Caltex Refining Company, rock legend Johnny O’Keefe, and an 18th Century watchmaker have in common? Answer: They have all played a part in a history which spans more than two centuries and reaches around the globe – the story of the Cronulla Mall tower clock.
Published on: Wednesday, 6 September 2017
Despite the fine houses, tranquil location and breathtaking views, today’s residents of Illawong Peninsula are unlikely to describe themselves as living in a ‘medieval fairyland’. Yet the site along Fowlers Road which overlooks the Georges River towards Oatley was once home to the Sutherland Shire’s very own castle. In 1942, John Mystery - musician, performer and one of Australia’s best loved writers of children’s stories - purchased the 5-acre lot. Over the next decade he built on the existing stone cottage, transforming it into Adventure Castle, complete with turrets and flagstone paths. It was an extraordinary thing to do, but then John Mystery was indeed a most extraordinary man.
Published on: Friday, 4 August 2017
‘No other nation,’ wrote David Hunt in his hugely entertaining 2013 book, Girt: the unauthorised history of Australia, ‘can rival Australia for sheer maritime girtness.’ Indeed ‘Australia dwarfs its nearest rival, Greenland, by a girt-factor of 3.52.’ With such a vast and disparate shoreline spanning more than 37,600kms and offering innumerable hazards for vessels at sea, it is little wonder that the lighthouses which dot our coastline hold such an enduring and important place in Australia’s maritime history.
Published on: Friday, 9 June 2017
Pulitzer Prize winning author, John Steinbeck, once stated: ‘It is said, and with some truth, that while Germans fight for world domination, and the English fight for the defence of England, that Americans fight for souvenirs.’ Steinbeck wrote these words in 1943 whilst working as a correspondent covering the Mediterranean theatre of World War II, but he may well have been describing the Great War Anzacs. During World War I, Australian units assiduously captured, collected and sent home vast hauls of war trophies, battlefield relics and mementoes. Whilst countless artefacts made their way into museums and private collections, many larger items were put on display in public parks, gardens and even schools. Now long gone, it took some digging to uncover the story of the Cronulla field gun, but not - despite the urban legend - in the nearby sand hills.
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