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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 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.
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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.
Published on: Friday, 19 May 2017
On Thursday 20 November 1800, the convict ship, the Royal Admiral, pulled in to Sydney Cove and expelled 257 male prisoners onto the shores of the young colony. Many of the new arrivals were in a terrible state, weak and crippled from the horrendous and often terrifying conditions endured throughout voyage. And they were the lucky ones. Of the 300 convicts who set sail from England in May 1800, 43 died during the journey, their diseased and tortured bodies ‘committed to the deep’, never to be seen again. One, who did survive, was a young horse thief whose name would come to be associated with the leafy, riverside suburb in the Sutherland Shire – Alfords Point.
Published on: Friday, 21 April 2017
If you were asked today to describe the patch of road where people traverse The Kingsway’s pedestrian crossing near Cronulla Cinemas, the phrase ‘Holy ground’ is probably not the first expression that would spring to mind. And yet, on 16 February 1940, these were just the words used in the Daily Telegraph when it quoted Mrs I. Green, former president of the Cronulla Returned Soldiers’ Women’s Auxiliary, when she referred to this seemingly unremarkable piece of land.
Published on: Friday, 24 February 2017
In 1935 Amy Mackay, wife of reknowned Australian explorer and adventurer, Donald George Mackay, gifted to the Shire a public drinking fountain, which was situated at the intersection of Port Hacking Road and the Kingsway in Caringbah. It now sits in the small park in front of the Caringbah Hotel on the corner with Mackay Street, named after Donald George Mackay, ‘the last Australian explorer.’
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