Thursday, November 26, 2009
Captain Cook Inn: Nicholson St, Balmain East. The very first hotel on the penninsula, built in 1842. It was only open for 3 years before it became a private residence for Capt. Nicholson (whom Nicholson Street is named after). It later became Durham House but no longer stands.
Rob Roy Hotel: Located at 25 Adolphus St, was a pub for 101 years until 1958. It had a reputation for harbouring unsavoury characters and was known to locals as the "Bloodhouse". It's location serviced the men working on the schooners docked in White Bay and when the drunks spilled out onto the private residence of Shannon Grove (now Ewenton St), the residents - a father and son team known as "The Ward Boys" would eject them, using a revolver. The Rob Roy also had a reputation for selling liquor on Sundays if you went around the back of the hotel. It is now a boarding house.
Dry Dock Hotel: Is the oldest hotel still operating and is located on the corner of Cameron and College Sts. It opened in 1867 and has been servicing patrons for the last 142 years. It's success has been due to it's location, being close to Mort's Dock and it's innovation. It was the first pub to have a beer garden and live entertainment in Balmain.
London Hotel: There are 9 hotels currently operating on Darling Street and the London was the first to open in 1870. It was originally called the Golden Eagle, then changed its name to the Circular Saw and then finally to the London Hotel. The noticable drop in the street level at the front of the London and the closing off of Jane Street was due to the tram line that was built past the pub in 1903. The original wood panelling still seen inside the pub today, was built in South Australia and then shipped to Balmain. It was also a favourite haunt of anti-establishment intellectuals like Germaine Greer and Clive James.
Royal Oak Hotel: Established in 1878 under the orginial name of Hollis Hotel, the Royal Oak's history is steeped in union connections. In 1887, The Slip, Dock and General Labourers Union was formed at the Royal Oak (then known as Clifford's Hotel). It is one of the few hotels in the area never to have had a verandah. In the old days, the surrounding area was all paddocked with grazing sheep, nowdays, the pub is buried around semi's, terrace houses and unit blocks. The Royal Oak has a great reputation now for an excellent selection of food and wine.
Davidson, B; Hamey, K; Nicholls, D; Called To The Bar - 150 Years of pubs in Balmain & Rozelle, The Balmain Association, 1991
Thursday, November 19, 2009
There has been many extensive works on the European settlement of the Balmain peninsular but little is know about it's original Aboriginal inhabitants - the Eora and Wangal People (Eora meaning "from this place").
The Eora People is the name given to the Aboriginal people who had resided on the coastal areas around Sydney before European occupation. They mainly lived in the area of what is now known as Leichhardt and Annandale, while the Wangal people lived within the Rozelle and Lilyfield area. Balmain and Birchgrove's original inhabitants were known as the Birrabirragal people. All spoke a dialect of the Sydney Basin Dharug language and have been estimated to have lived in Sydney for at least 10,000 years before European occupation.
The sign at Yurulbin Point reading: "Leichhardt Council on 8th July 1994 this point was renamed Yurulbin Point from its former name of Long Nose Point at a ceremony symbolising reconciliation between Aborigines/Torres Strait Islanders and the non-indigenous Australian community."
The local native fauna also suffered with the intervention of Europeans, many are now extinct like the nuwalgang - Magpie Goose and the Bulungga - Eastern Native Cat, a cousin of Tasmania's Eastern Quoll.
The Tasmanian Eastern Quoll, it's relative used to be hunted by the local Aborignial communities in Birchgrove.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Are you ready for a pop culture overload?
Here's a bit of interesting trivia! Did you know that the late 1980's- early 1990's show E-Street was shot in Balmain?
The Mentalist's Simon Baker
The bandstand todayIn 1965, the Balmain Reservoir was made redundant by the commissioning of the Petersham Reservoir and now remains a backup water supply to the region. The Valve House, located on Booth St earned a National Trust of Australia Heritage Award in 2006 to ensure the site's preservation.
source: A Pictorial History of Balmain to Glebe J. Lawrence & C.Warne 1995
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Coal was first discovered 914 metres underneath Sydney Harbour in 1847. The coal seam ran upwards as far as Cremorne but Balmain was selected to be the first site to mine it. The surface of the mine was originally located next to the Birchgrove Public School and was in operation until 1931. In 1945 there was a gas explosion in the mine that killed three men who were trying to close it.
In 1900, 6 miners fell 91-metres to their death when an obstruction in the shaft wall became lodged with the bucket carrying them. Sadly, one of the men landed at the feet of his brother who was working below.
In 1987, the Mort Bay Housing Department built over one of the old mine shafts. There was fear that houses would sink, but those houses still sit on the shores of Birchgrove with no indication of any movement from the old shafts.
I'd love to hear your comments or stories about the Balmain Mine.
Until next week .....
sourced from A Pictorial History of Balmain to Glebe J.Lawrence & C.Warne 1995