History Week in the Inner West

Inner West Council’s Library and History Services presents another jam-packed program of free events for History Week (1-9 September).


History Week 2018 is part of the History Council of New South Wales annual, state-wide celebration of history. This year’s theme is ‘Life and Death’.


Council invited renowned local historians, including Chrys Meader, Patrick Callaghan and Mark Matheson, to explore the theme with night walking tours, graveyard tours and photo exhibitions.


Find times and locations at www.innerwest.nsw.gov.au/historyweek


Murder and mayhem in Petersham - night walking tour


Chrys Meader will attempt to unravel two local murder mysteries and pose a theory that one of the world’s most notorious killers has a link to the leafy inner west suburb of Petersham. Bookings essential.


From coughing to coffins: digging into council archives - talk 


Chrys Meader delves into Marrickville’s historic archives to tell the local story of the worldwide pandemic of pneumonic influenza in 1919, one of the worst catastrophes of the 20th Century. Bookings essential.


A celebration of life: The Infants Home, Ashfield - photo exhibition and talk


The Infants’ Home, Ashfield started as a rescue operation for abandoned babies in 1874. From orphanage, kindergarten and women’s shelter, the Home eventually grew to providing a range of care options – ultimately reaching up to 190,000 children.


Photo exhibition: No bookings required.


Talk: Bookings essential.


Where have all the coffins gone? - walking tour


Patrick Callaghan recounts the history of Leichhardt’s now long-disappeared but not forgotten cemeteries, and the stories of some of the fascinating characters who are buried there - paupers and millionaires buried alongside each other.


Death of a graveyard - walking tour


Mark Matheson, former editor of the Royal Australian Historical Society, leads a tour of Camperdown Cemetery. In the 1840s, a new cemetery on Governor Bligh’s land at Camperdown seemed like ‘a good idea at the time’, but accusations of mismanagement. Some of those buried here include Sir Thomas Mitchell (Napoleon’s harpist) and the notorious Miss Donnithorne, who inspired the Dickens character, Miss Haversham. Bookings essential.


Broughton Hall: Brought to life – outdoor exhibition and self-guided walking tour


Explore the cycles of life at this colonial mansion and its gardens in Callan Park. Discover how it became a military hospital in WWI and subsequently, a voluntary psychiatric hospital. Today, Broughton Hall is a place of contemporary therapeutic care. No bookings required.


Departures - film screening


A young man returns to his hometown after a failed career as a cellist and stumbles across work as a nōkanshi - a traditional Japanese ritual mortician. He is subjected to prejudice from those around him (including his wife), because of strong social taboos against people who deal with death. Eventually he earns their respect through the beauty and dignity of his work.

Japanese language with English subtitles. Academy Award, Best Foreign Film, 2008. M. 131mins. Bookings essential.


Life and death of Balmain industry - photo exhibition


The Balmain Association presents treasures from their collection on the theme of ‘Life and Death’. Displayed in the National Trust-listed Watch House, the exhibition tells the story of the life and death of Balmain industry, highlighting some notable cemetery burials and other local stories. No bookings required.


A grave look at history - walking tour


Two and a half thousand people are buried in the Victorian graveyard adjacent to St Peters Anglican Church. Shockingly, two thirds of these are children. Bookings essential.


For a print quality image, or an interview with a local historian, contact the Communication team.


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Page last updated: 21 Feb 2019