Doors open at 4.30pm
What we know as Darling Harbour and Barangaroo was an acknowledged place of seafood gathering and feasts to the original inhabitants, known to them as Tumbalong, Gomarra and Koogee. The large quantities of shell left behind were gathered by the Europeans who burned them to produce lime for their buildings.
The street names Lime Street and Shelley Street stand where the lime kilns once operated, and some very early buildings still show evidence of shell fragments between their bricks and stones. From the early 19th century merchants and shipbuilders transformed the eastern shore of Darling Harbour.
Recently the remains of a colonial-built ship were discovered in landfill on the edge of Barangaroo. Merchants built warehouses and engineers built mills and other works until smoke belching chimneys lined the shore- proudly depicted in illustrations of the day as symbols of progress. Along with them came the factory and waterside workers, huddled in crowded and unsanitary housing; the conditions spurring Sydney Council into action in the 1870s to combat rising levels of disease and death. A far cry from the Darling Harbour of today.
Our music comes courtesy of Anneli Elliott on fiddle and Harry O’Donovan on banjo and guitar.
Visit Yaralla (the Dame Eadith Walker Estate) one of the last of the large nineteenth century estates in metropolitan Sydney. Hear about the history of the Italianate style Yaralla Mansion designed for the Walker family by Edmund Blackett in the 1860s with later additions added by John Sulman in the 1890s. Enjoy a guided tour of the Yaralla grounds and outbuildings including the squash courts, stables, parkland gardens along with a display of archival photographs.
NB. The meeting point for this walk is a café in Concord West (approx 20 min walk from Yaralla). Further details provided on booking.
Regarded as one of the most outstanding residential architects working in Sydney in the early 20th century, Bertrand James Waterhouse (1876-1965) was initially influenced by the Arts & Crafts Movement and later the textures and stucco walls of the Mediterranean.
In this in-depth examination of Waterhouse's architectural career, led by Dr Ian Hoskins, we begin with a lecture and morning tea at 'Nutcote' followed by a walking tour taking in examples of Waterhouse's work in the locale.
Join Max Burns-McRuvie for the untold stories behind two mysterious men who made their mark on 19th century Sydney before disappearing into thin air.
George Edwards Peacock
A gentleman convict, prolific landscape painter and the first professional weatherman of NSW (1840-1856) who vanished from Sydney one day after establishing a successful career as a man of art and science. Peacock’s story reads like a Greek tragedy. It is a story of love, ambition, art, scandal, redemption, crime and punishment that unfolded on the streets and shores of Sydney at the end of the convict era. While his time in Sydney remains frozen in over sixty delicate landscape paintings held by the State Library of NSW, Max’s presentation will unpack Peacock’s mysterious life-story and shed new light on his sudden disappearance from the colony he painted in vivid colour.
Hugh “Shepherd” McGregor
The first true discoverer of payable gold in Australia, McGregor was a mysterious man from the Scottish Highlands who tended a flock of sheep near Wellington NSW; sold his secret findings to a Sydney jeweller (1845 - 1850) and inadvertently triggered the Australian goldrush of 1851. This strange tale digs deeper into the history of gold in NSW than Mr Edward Hargraves would like us to delve, revealing a bizarre back-story to the well-known narrative and attempts to answer the question that many voices asked at the time: what ever happened to McGregor?
Guitarist David Holberton brings us an authentic and artful representation of Spanish Flamenco music.
Famously, within two years of arriving at Botany Bay, the First Fleet colonists faced the threat of famine. Colonists struggled to feed themselves on meagre and unsavoury rations as they tilled impoverished soils on a 'fatal shore', and in 1790, suffered chronic food shortage. The first years of settlement have since become known as the 'hungry' or 'starving' years. How hungry was the First Fleet colony? And how could colonists find themselves starving in a land that had sustained Aboriginal people for millennia?
The First Fleet's food story is one of plenty and paucity, fate, famine and 'divine providence - a survival story following shipwreck, abandonment and betrayal. Drawing from the voices of convicts, marines and colonial officials in their letters, diaries and journals, Dr Jacqui Newling explores early colonial foodways in the founding years of the Sydney settlement.
Discover how British colonists adapted their tastes and culinary practices to this unfamiliar environment, their responses to the government ration and native produce, and how they coped when their food systems failed them in the hungriest year in the colony.
And you thought 19th century Sydney was a man’s world, and a woman’s place was in the home?
Just as they are today, women have always been in business. Sydney’s streets were awash with enterprising women - from demure dressmakers to bawdy brothelkeepers, with the odd ironmonger, plumber and confidence trickster thrown in. Award-winning historian Catherine Bishop explores the stories of these businesswomen – the sensible and successful as well as the bankrupts and bigamists.
Sydney’s businesswomen were a varied lot. Some went into business as widows, left to support half a dozen children when their spouses inconveniently dropped dead; others were life-long spinsters, perhaps rejoicing that their ability to support themselves meant they could avoid marriage. Many, however, were wives, working with their husbands or in independent businesses, or surviving their husbands’ intemperance, ineptitude or desertion. Whatever their circumstances these women and their stories challenge our understandings of Sydney’s history.
Explore Wisemans Ferry and St Albans – the river communities of inns and pioneer homes.
There are many fascinating sites on the itinerary and all are providing bespoke experiences especially for the HHA. Hear from private owners and local historians as they take us on exclusive tours of historic properties and landscapes and tell the story of this remarkable hidden valley.
Highlights include Price Morris Cottage (1835 wattle and daub timber cottage), the Industrious Settler (former inn with 1820s slab cottage, outbuildings & Walters family settler graves); the delightful Settler’s Arms Inn (1840s two storey stone Georgian Inn) and St Joseph’s Church (Restored 1839 sandstone Gothic Catholic Church & cemetery and winner of the NSW National Trust 2013 Best Heritage Restoration award). We will also have time on this two-day tour to visit Cobham Hall, the original home of Solomon Wiseman and other historic bridges, churches, houses and graveyards along the way.
A brand new curated tour of the region’s delights - four day tour to sample some of the heritage wonders beyond the Blue Mountains.
Private Homes and Collections | Indigenous Astronomy | Country Hospitality
Supporting our Regional Property Network
Please note that the date is a placeholder and subject to change.
Starting out at the Grounds of Alexandria, a former warehouse transformed into a successful restaurant and event space, we walk across Sydney Park to hear about its built heritage and recent post industrial development from rubbish dump to parklands and urban wetlands.
We visit Heritage Stoneworks - one of the last few stoneworks yards that restores and repairs Sydney's sandstone facades and monuments to gain an insight into how the precious Pyrmont yellowblock is recycled, reused and quarried for maintaining public buildings around the CBD.
Our tour starts at the site of the original Sydney Markets – now the Queen Victoria Building. Step aboard a double decker heritage bus for a bus ride to the 100-year-old Leichhardt Tramshed and explore the extensive collection of bus and transport memorabilia. We return to the QVB for a grand tour of this Victorian-Federation era wonder, saved from becoming a car park by public outcry. Learn about the history of the building from design and conception and the changes along the way including the Art Deco 'remodelling' that occurred during the 1930s. From the ground floor to level 2 we will climb up the spiral staircase for an HHA exclusive viewing of the impressive stained-glass inner and copper-sheath of the central dome.
Enjoy morning tea at the bus museum and a light lunch at the QVB.
Please note that to access the Inner Dome, there are three flight of stairs, followed by a 4 rung ladder to access the rooftop and finally a spiral staircase that must be accessed. Due to this, all participants must be of able body and able to climb these stairs / ladder.
Join Terragong co-owner Simon Milner to hear about the extensive restoration work undertaken on this wonderful example of Colonial Georgian architecture. Built in 1858 as a gentleman’s county residence, Simon highlights the varied histories of the site – from the original slab hut (still standing today), through ownership by seven generations of the Marks family to its recreation by the current owners as a bespoke bed and breakfast with a focus on environmental sustainability.
NB. The venue for the Coffee Conversation is Pitt Street Uniting Church, 264 Pitt Street, Sydney, 2000.
The Historic Houses Association of Australia manages one of the few remaining intact Arts and Crafts Houses on the North Shore of Sydney. A major aspect of the HHA’s project at Tulkiyan is the conservation of the interiors of the house and its collections. To give insight into this work and into the extent and richness of the collections, we are holding a special interactive panel discussion with three of the specialists involved in the project.
Curator Robert Griffin will provide background on the house and its collections and introduce furniture conservator Ian Thomson and ceramics expert Alan Landis, who will speak about their work at Tulkiyan and discuss some of highlights of the collection. Ian has extensive experience in furniture conservation and undertakes work for historic collections at Camden Park House, the Australian Government official residences and the Australiana Fund. Alan is a highly regarded expert in English ceramics (1750-1950), Australiana and Wedgwood in particular, with over 40 years’ experience in the field and is a Life Fellow of the Powerhouse Museum.
In 2017, historian Grace Karskens stumbled across an astonishing document in the Mitchell Library: a list of over 170 long-lost Aboriginal names for places on Dyarubbin, the Hawkesbury River. The list was compiled early in 1829 by a young Presbyterian minister, the Reverend John McGarvie, incumbent at Pitt Town. Not only did he carefully record the names given to him by Aboriginal informants, in many cases he included locations.
Almost 100 of these names have been relocated and mapped through a collaborative project, Dyarubbin: The Real Secret River, funded by the State Library of New South Wales’ Coral Thomas Fellowship. Bit by bit, these names are revealing lost geographies of river forests, plants and animals, zones of saltwater and fresh, men’s, women’s and ceremonial places, and areas of profound sacred significance.
In this fascinating webinar session, Darug team members Leanne Watson and Erin Wilkins join historian Grace Karskens in a discussion of this significant project.
View our expert panel in conversation on the architectural philosophy, design approaches and progressive ideas of Walter Liberty Vernon (NSW Government Architect, 1890-1911). His built legacy includes the Art Gallery of New South Wales, the Mitchell Library (part of the State Library), Central railway station and Newcastle Court House along with private commissions and monuments in nearly every town across NSW.
The panel includes Dr James Broadbent, well known historian, conservationist and author; Dr Noni Boyd architectural historian and heritage specialist whose PhD thesis traces how Vernon created a more informal public architecture, 'an architecture for the people'. Discussion is led by Matt Devine, a registered architect with a passion for architecture, design, community, and history. We’re joined by Charles Pickett, lead curator on the exhibition Imagine A City: 200 Years of Public Architecture in NSW.