Saturday, December 19, 2015

Christmas 1953 - Where are they now?

1954 'Christmas Parties.', The Sun-Herald (Sydney, NSW : 1953 - 1954), 19 December, p. 58, viewed 30 November, 2015,

Monday, December 14, 2015

Holiday Closure

The Society Rooms will be closed over the Christmas/New Year period to give our wonderful volunteers a break. The last day we will be open is Friday 18th December and we will re-open on Monday 11th January.

We wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and look forward to seeing you in our research rooms in 2015.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Monday, November 30, 2015

Book Launch

As most members are aware, the Ku-ring-gai Historical Society is launching Volume II Rallying the Troops. This will take place at the Memorial Hall, St John's Anglican Church, Gordon next Sunday, 6 December from 2pm.

It will be launched by the Hon. Paul Fletcher and others attending will include Major General Gordon Maitland (who wrote the forward to the book) and his wife; Mr Jonathan O'Dea and the current and immediate past Mayors of Ku-ring-gai.

This is a significant event for the Society as a major contribution to the World War I Commemorations focussing on the involvement of Ku-ring-gai veterans.  All members and friends are welcome and encouraged to attend.

The official program will be followed by refreshments and the chance to socialise so, for catering purposes, if you have not already registered would you please advise Kathy Rieth of your attendance on

Monday, October 19, 2015

Local Lads to be remembered on Remembrance Day

Brian Colden Antill Pockley
The Society recently received an invitation from Neil Chippendale, Local Studies Librarian at Hornsby to attend an event at Hornsby Central Library.

The free event with  Elise Edmonds, a curator at the State Library of NSW, is on Wednesday 11 November at 6.30pm. Elise will give an insight and overview of the  Life Interrupted exhibition held at the State Library of New South Wales in 2014.

This exhibition featured diaries and letters written by soldiers, many of whom did not return home. Elise will be giving an overview of the collection and telling the story of how the State Library built their collection of World War One material.

Elise will also be reading out some excerpts from various diaries, including some local men who wrote diaries and letters. She will be featuring Dr Brian Colden Antill Pockley from Wahroonga and the Fry brothers from Lindfield.

You and your friends are all invited to this event  but you must register. Details here:

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Remembering our Soldiers at St John's.

A  highlight of St John’s Anglican Church Spring Fair  on 10 October 2015 will be a presentation by the Barker College Cadets bringing to life the stories of the 14 Australian soldiers who were killed during World War 1 and commemorated in the Church and Cemetery with Kathie Reith and David Wilkins from the Ku-ring-gai Historical Society being present to answer questions and to sell copies of their book “Rallying the Troops”.

If you are are related to Captain George Concanon, Private Leonard Taylor, Private Reginald Homfray, Private Joseph Bickell, Private Thuiller Cardew, Private Harold Olver, Private Roy Robertson, Private George Edwards,  Sergeant Charles Golding-Howard, Gunner Wilfred Crisford, Private Harold Baker, Captain Nowell Sievers, Captain Dudley Adams and Second Lieutenant Raynes Royle you may be interested to hear their stories.
The Fair which opens at 9:00 am will have its usual assortment of stalls, including Op Shop, bric-a-bac and clothing, Collectibles, book bargains, fruit and vegetables, cakes, biscuits and jams, plants and shrubs, craft and jewellery, wood turning, spit roast BBQ, coffee and cake, champagne and strawberries, colouring-in for all ages, jumping castle, the Barker College Band at noon, and the Sing Australia Choir at 1 pm.  The raffle with its prize of 12 months’ supply of groceries will be drawn at 2 pm when the Fair ends.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Caernleith, No 8 Springdale Road, and Braeside, No 9 Arnold Street, Killara

This article by Kathie Rieth was originally published in our Society newsletter in October 2010.

Caernleith, No 8 Springdale Road, and Braeside, No 9 Arnold Street, Killara

In a response to my last column that mentioned the two houses in Pymble for Eric and David Pratten, I was asked whether they were related to Pratten Brothers, Printers and Publishers. Yes they were!

Eric and David were sons of Frederick G Pratten who, with his half-brother Herbert, started the firm in the late 1890s. Readers may know of H E Pratten, Minister for Trade and Customs, who died suddenly on his 63rd birthday while addressing a meeting of his constituents at Turramurra. The Prattens also had extensive interests in alluvial tin mining in the Federated Malay States, and in Australian fruit pulp. Herbert’s obituary in The Times described him as “One of the pioneers of the New South Wales fruit-preserving industry”.

Eric and David grew up in Ku-ring-gai. In February 1907 their father bought two properties in Killara: the large two-storey house Cairnleith, No 8 Springdale Road, and No 9 Arnold Street (apparently vacant land), which shared a rear boundary. Both were purchased from Richard Pickering Sellors, described at the time as ‘Astronomical Observer’.

Curiously (to us in this digital age) electoral rolls gave his occupation as ‘computer’. A contemporary explanation of this term is found in a 1911 article noting he was “chief computer, trigonometrical survey, Department of Lands” and had been appointed as state representative at the 10th International Geographic Congress in Rome. Sellors was “a gold medallist in mathematics of Sydney University and was for many years astronomical observer at the Sydney Observatory… in charge of the trigonometrical computations at the Lands Department… recently deputed to compute the data for the projection of the large Commonwealth map of Australia…” Sellors moved into Cairnleith c.1900.

According to KHS member Jennifer Harvey, the house was designed by architects Clamp & Smith in late 1899. The Pratten family lived in Cairnleith from 1907 to 1910, moving to Braeside in 1911, and then in 1914 to No 98 Mona Vale Road, Pymble. It appears Braeside  was built between 1907 and 1909. Was it designed by Spain & Cosh, who in 1910 designed Pratten Brothers’ new five-storey building at 26- 30 Jamieson Street, Sydney?

In May 1908 the same architects were calling tenders for a residence in Arnold Street: no further information has yet come to light. FG Pratten sold Cairnleith in 1911 to Ella, wife of architect Henry Budden. By 1928 it was the home of bloodstock salesman Arthur Inglis. Pratten sold Braeside in 1917 to Amy, wife of jeweller Edward Nettleship. Only Braeside, No 9 Arnold Street, is listed on Ku-ring-gai’s LEP.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Trove Tuesday -Wedding at Killara

1938 'WEDDING AT KILLARA.', The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), 5 September, p. 4, viewed 17 August, 2015,


DR. and MRS. GREGORY McLEOD BLAXLAND photographed at the Con-gregational Church Killara, after their wedding on Saturday. The bride wasformerly Miss Doreen Hardie, eldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. H. Hardie of Roseville.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Free events in the city

We have been notified by The Sydney Mechanics School of Arts. (SMSA) of a series of free public events they are hosting in the city dduring September. Full details can be found here on their website.  
Of particular interest to WW1 researchers will be Ross McMullin speaking on Pompey Eliott on Wednesday, 16 September 2015, 12:30pm.

Ross McMullin Pompey Elliott
‘Australian who don’t read this book are short-changing themselves.’
— Peter Ryan, The Australian
‘May be the best Australian military biography yet to appear.’
— Stephen Loosley, Sunday Telegraph

Guest Speaker

Dr Ross McMullin is a historian and biographer. He wrote the ALP centenary history The Light on the Hill, and another political history So Monstrous a Travesty: Chris Watson and the World’s First National Labour Government. His biography Will Dyson: Australia’s Radical Genius was shortlisted for the National Biography Award. His most recent book Farewell, Dear People: Biographies of Australia’s Lost Generation was awarded the Prime Minister’s Prize for Australian History and the National Cultural Award.
Ross will be speaking about his award-winning biography of Pompey Elliott, the famous World War I commander. This book received awards for biography and literature, and was instrumental in Pompey’s prominence in the acclaimed ABC TV series The War That Changed Us.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Trove Tuesday - Killara Subdivision Plans

Due to copyright restrictions we are unable to reproduce and publish copies of the six subdivision plans that the State Library of NSW has digitised on its site and that can be found via a Trove search.

However if you point your browser to this link you will be able to view these very clear images:

You can find similar plans for other localities by doing a search on Trove .

Monday, August 17, 2015

Annual Election of Office Bearers

At the Annusl General Meeting held on Saturday last, 15th August, the following people were elected as Office Bearers of the Society for the next 12 months.

President                              Graham Lewis 
Vice-Presidents                    Jo Harris
                                              Jenny Joyce
Secretary                              Elizabeth Dokulil 
Treasurer                             Annet Latham 
Immediate Past President  Jennifer Harvey 

Committee : Morrison Hammond, Lorraine Henshaw, Margaret Holland ,Jennifer Thredgold, John Wilson

Congratulations all and best wishes for your term of office.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Annual General Meeting

Our Annual General Meeting and Election of Officers will be held in The Old Gordon School  Meeting Room 1 on Saturday 15 August at 2pm. Members must be financial to be eligible to vote at the Annual General Meeting. If you are renewing on the day, please bring your invoice and arrive at least 15 minutes early.

The AGM and General Meeting will  followed by Guest Speaker David Wilkins, KHS Rallying the Troops researcher and writer, who will speak on "THE CENTENARY OF THE GALLIPOLI AUGUST OFFENSIVE’:  the last major Allied attempt to break the stalemate on Gallipoli Peninsula.

* No Bookings Required   * Afternoon Tea Available  * Visitors Welcome

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Trove Tuesday - Citrus Growing at St Ives

The Sydney Morning Herald in 1913 reported on Mr Cunningham's orchard at St Ives.

1913 'CITRUS-GROWING AT ST. IVES.', The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), 28 July, p. 6, viewed 12 January, 2015,

A transcription of the article follows.


The picturesque district of St. Ives is well known as one of the most successful centresaround Sydney in the cultivation of citrus fruits. The orchards are at present looking well, and if the excessive rains which have fallen of late do not unduly affect the treesby causing "wet feet," there is every pros-pect of a heavy crop.

Mr. James Cunningham, of Margaret-street,who cultivates a citrus orchard of 10 acres,has shown us some splendid samples of Jaffaoranges and Parker's Special mandarins grownon his property. The Jaffa oranges are bcautifully coloured, tender, and juicy, measuring11 1/4 in circumference, and weighing nearly14oz. The Parker's Special is also a largesize, measuring 10in in circumference, and ofperfect shape. The trees from which this fruitwas picked are grown on soil consisting forthe most part of loam and ironstone gravel,and the only manure supplied consisted ofbush rakings. The trees attain a symmetricalshape, and are covered with dense foliage.The fruit hangs well on till Christmas.

Saturday, July 4, 2015


We have an entertaining and interseting topic for our July General Meeting. Guests are invited to join members at this event at 2:00pm, 18th July 2015 in Ku-ring-gai Library Meeting Rooms, The Old Gordon Public School (adjacent to the Gordon Library, 799 Pacific Highway, Gordon; Corner Pacific Highway and Park Avenue).

Historian Dr Richard White (Univ. of Sydney) returns with a talk on the social and cultural history of the coo-ee bush call, from its adoption from the Aborigines, its rise as a way of demonstrating nationality, to its decline to the point where it has almost faded from our lives.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Help needed at Parramatta

The Society received this message in an emaill from the National Trust:

We would LOVE you to help...

Old Government House is seeking enthusiastic volunteers to assist with the upcomingLove, Desire & Riches: The Fashion of Weddings exhibition.  We need to fill a range of exhibition roles including visitor services, exhibition security, retail sales and ticketing and more...

Commitment to a regular weekly or fortnightly shift is required, and training will be provided prior to the exhibition.

If you would like to join our fantastic team, please contact
Old Government House on 9635 8149 or

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

2015 Royal Australian Historical Society Conference

A Date for your diary

The 2015 RAHS conference will be held on October 24 and 25 at Bankstown Sports Club. There will also be the customary pre-conference get together on the Friday evening. The Affiliated Societies Committee is working very hard and can promise you an entertaining, informative and stimulating conference, which will showcase the fascinating and diverse historical and cultural heritage of the Bankstown area. It will be great deal of fun so start planning now!

Full details can be found on the RAHS Website:

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Mac and Technology SIGs

Our combined meeting will be held at 1:30 pm this Thursday, 9 April in the Society Research Rooms.

This is an open invitation for all to join in our discussion. We'll talk gadgets and apps that apply to both Mac and Android.

Bring your favourite gadget along and perhaps share your favourite app.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

A Busy Week at KHS

The Society is actively involved in the Ku-ring-gai Seniors' Festival. The following presentations  from Society members will be held in The Gordon Library Meeting Rooms or the Society's Research Room this week. Please note that while these events are free booking is essential.

Introduction to your Family History Monday 16 March at 10.30am Old Gordon School Meeting Room 2 Entertaining presentation by Jo Harris on getting started on your family history. Bookings essential Phone 9499 4568 10am-2pm or email Morning tea provided

How to Research your House Tuesday 17 March at 10.30am KHS Research Centre Talk by KHS Built Heritage team on basics of how to research your house’s history. Discussion over morning tea and a chance for hands on experience. Bookings essential Phone 9499 4568 10am-2pm or email

WWI Memories and Mementos Wednesday 18 March, at 10.30am Old Gordon School Room 2 As we celebrate the ANZAC centenary, share your family WWI stories and memories with our WWI Research Team. Bring photos and mementos of WWI. Learn how to find out more about your family member’s involvement in WWI. Bookings essential Phone 9499 4568 10am-2pm or email Morning tea provided

What are these things called Blogs? Join one of Australia’s foremost bloggers, Geniaus (aka Jill Ball) to learn of the wonderful and varied things to be found in blogs. Learn how to use blogs to keep a journal, preserve your stories, record your travels, share your recipes. Examples of different types of blogs will be provided.Thursday 19 March at 1.30pm Old Gordon School Meeting Room 1 Bookings phone 94994568 or email Afternoon tea provided

Early Ku-ring-gai Friday 20 March, 10.30am Old Gordon School Meeting Room 1 KHS Vice-President, Jo Harris will take you on a journey through the development of Ku-ring-gai, from Captain Arthur Phillip’s overland expedition to the timber-getters, orchardists, first school and church at Gordon, and agitation by residents resulting in the north shore railway line. Bookings essential Please phone 9499 4568 or email Morning tea provided. 

Friday, March 13, 2015

Free Event at Sydney Opera House

The Society was notified of this event in the Federation of Australian Historical Societies e-Bulletin No. 134 - 8 March 2015

The Inaugural Dr Jim Kerr Memorial Address
on the International Day for Monuments & Sites

1.15pm for 1.45pm start, followed by the optional tour at 4pm
An Australia ICOMOS event in association with the Sydney Opera House; the Heritage Division NSW Office of Environment and Heritage; and the National Trust of Australia (NSW).
Jim Kerr’s gift was to articulate with great clarity how the care of special places might be achieved. He disseminated his ideas widely for discussion and tested them on real, culturally vital sites around Australia. He would then again update his policy document, the Conservation Plan. The annual Jim Kerr Memorial address pays respect to his legacy by perpetuating open enquiry into the understanding of place and the constant review of progress in conservation planning practice.
Date: 18 April 2015
Time: TALK – 1.15 for 1.45pm start, finishing at 4pm
Address: Utzon Room, Sydney Opera House, Bennelong Point, Sydney 2000.
Launch of the annual Jim Kerr Memorial Address by Dr Tamsin Kerr and others.
Memorial Address by Joan Domicelj AM
Tour – 4pm - Optional short tour of the Sydney Opera House; numbers limited, pre-booking necessary
The inaugural address will be a free event thanks to generous sponsorship. Light refreshments on arrival, please have lunch beforehand
(Source: Australia ICOMOS Email news No. 668 – 13 February 2015)

Monday, March 9, 2015


Just in is this message from SMSA:

Sydney Mechanics’ School of Arts (SMSA) has a hot topic talk coming up in March that I believe would be of interest to you and your members.
Please feel free to come along to the talks and to forward this email to other people who might be interested.   The talk is FREE and we're are a friendly bunch. Thanks
Tuesday 17 March 2015, 12:30pm – 1:30pm
Venue: Mitchell Theatre, SMSA (Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts), 280 Pitt Street, Sydney NSW 2000
Submarines have loomed ever larger in the news of late, from the visit of Japanese Prime Minister Abe in 2014, with subsequent media reports on the possibility of Australia buying Japanese Soryu Class submarines, to the recent use of submarines as bargaining chips in shoring up political support for the Prime Minister.
The Future Submarine will be one of the biggest and most expensive infrastructure projects in Australian history, as ambitious as the Snowy Mountain Hydro-electric Scheme or the National Broadband Network.
And if Australians felt blindsided in 2014 when the federal government announced its purchase of an additional 58 F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets for $12 billion, they’ll really want to sit down with a strong cup of tea to contemplate the cost of our future submarine fleet.
The new vessels will need to enter service by the early-to-mid 2030s in order to replace the ageing Collins Class submarines.
Join writer and policy analyst Claire Corbett, who covers naval and strategic defence issues for the national magazine The Monthly, to discuss our Future Submarine and discover why the decision is so complex and difficult.

FREE & Open to the Public

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Trove Tuesday - Cathedral Wedding

A Lindfield girl was married in white satin and tulle at St Mary's Cathedral 85 years ago this week

1930 'SATIN AND TULLE.', Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), 27 February, p. 12, viewed 12 January, 2015,

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Monday, February 16, 2015

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Greetings from Salt Lake City

Two Society members , Jenny Joyce - your Vice-President  and I - your Society blogger are presently in Salt Lake City for the annual Rootstech Genealogy Conference.

We have both been blogging on our personal blogs about the experience. If you wish to follow our adventures you can follow our blogs Jenny's Genealogy Blog and GeniAus.

The direct links from our posts today are: and

Jenny and Jill researching with friends on the British Flor of the Family History Library, Salt Lake City

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Railway Fatality at Wahroonga

The Sydney Morning Herald on February 8, 1901 reported on a fatality at Wahroonga.

1901 'HISTORIC LANDMARKS.', The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), 8 February, p. 4, viewed 7 July, 2014,

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

General Meeting Reminder

Author Vashti Farrer will be the guest speaker at our General Meeting this Saturday, 17th January at 2:00pm in The Gordon Library Meeting Rooms.

She will discuss her latest book : Ellen Thomson: Beyond a Reasonable Doubt? which examines a controversial 1887 murder case in Northern Queensland which still raises doubts as to whether the accused woman was given a fair trial.

Afternoon tea will be served after the meeting.

Visitors are most welcome.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Technology Special Interest Group Meeting

The Group will reconvene for our first meeting of 2015 this Thursday, 15 January, at 1:30pm  in the Society Rooms at Gordon.

The focus for our gathering will be on new software, gadgets and gear acquired over the
holiday season. Please come along with any questions about your new aquisitions ready for a show and tell of your new items or perhaps you have a new website to share.

All are welcome to join in this informal get together.

Please email Jill Ball with your enquiries:

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Trove Tuesday - A First for Wahroonga

Wahroonga leads the way in 1935.

1935 'AIR-CONDITIONED RESIDENCE.', The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), 19 February, p. 3, viewed 6 January, 2015,


The residence of Mr., W. B. Clark, in PacificHighway, Wahroonga, has been air-con-ditioned to ensure coolness in summer, warmth in winter, and pure air all the year round.It is claimed that this is the first private residence to be so treated in Sydney. The installation was carried out by the Australian Gas Light Company to suit Australian con-ditions after experience gained abroad by engineers of the company. The principlea dopted is that the air is heated by gas. This is under thermostatic control, which auto-matically regulates the heat desired in all parts of the home, In summer a fan and motor are operated independent of the heater,and are so arranged that the air in every room can be changed 12 times within an hour.