Successful community history grants

The Community History grants support projects that identify and interpret the Inner West’s historically significant events, places and people. This includes the exploration of activism, politics, architecture, parks, recreation, businesses, economy, cultural activities and places of historical significance to the Inner West area.

Projects include research, archiving, conservation and preservation of significant objects, publications and exhibitions about the Inner West’s social and cultural history (including current activities). Funded projects will build on Council’s physical and digital collection that provides a rich information source to inform and educate current and future generations.

2023 Community History Grants

These projects are being implemented throughout 2023.

Merran Hughes

  • A Sydney Mermaid: Fanny Durack and the Australian women’s swimming movement
  • Funding: $5,000

Durack was remarkable both for her swimming talent and her determination to compete in the 1912 Olympics. Swimming was not lady-like! The exhibition will focus on the feminist aspects of Durack’s story and on the development of the Australian Crawl- a legacy of Aboriginal and Islander cultures.
This exhibition will interest inner-west residents and families and provide a lasting reference for the library. It will include interpretive panels, paintings, a booklet, colouring sheets and workshops, celebrating Durack’s career.

Ses Salmond

  • Leichhardt Women's Community Health Centre celebrating 50 years supporting women, and families in Inner West
  • Funding: $5,000

An exhibition time-line depicting the people, issues, activism that culminated in the funding of the first women's health centre in Australia: Leichhardt Women's Community Health Centre (LWCHC) in 1974. This unique model of care underpinned by feminist values including equality, transparency, empowerment and inclusiveness led to innovations in the health system. LWCHC continues to partner with other organisations such as IWC in promoting health and well-being, affecting change and creating a safer community. The local community can visually take in the significance of the Leichhardt Women's Community Health Centre in the community and take pride in its history.

Heather Contant

  • Frontyard Histories, Vol. 1
  • Funding: $3,805

The activities of this project contribute to the historical documentation of Frontyard Projects by hosting 20 online and in-person gatherings—or “history harvests”—to collect oral histories, archival materials, and written accounts from the organisation’s 1000+ members. The target group is the Inner West’s creative community, many of whom have been involved with Frontyard during its 7+ years of Council-supported existence. The outcomes or “fruits” of these activities will (1) create an online open-access archive for anyone to view, draw from, and contribute to in the future and (2) contribute to an edited volume containing transcripts and historical writings about Frontyard's history.

Raj Suri

  • First Generation Aussie - Preserving Haberfield history: Documenting the Stories and Contributions of Immigrants
  • Funding: $5,000

The First-Generation Aussie project celebrates and shares the stories of first-generation migrants who have made significant contributions to the social, economic and cultural growth in Haberfield, Inner West. There will be a public art display and e-book publication of portraits and/videos and photo essays of historical timeline events and life stories of the first generation who migrated to Australia. The displays will have QR codes that link to a website in multimedia content that is accessible by the general public. The stories will be obtained through extensive research and interviews. This will become inspiring educational resources for current/future generations.

Robbie Mason

  • Marrickville: Is there no alternative?
  • Funding: $4,735

This project will harnesses the sensory history in Marrickville as a form of resistance to gentrification and the dominance of visual aids in urban planning and heritage protection. Using music, sound and smell as an entry point to examine the ways in which gentrification sensorially disciplines an area, this work explores Marrickville as a site of abandoned, marginal and liminal spaces, enabled by a process of de-industrialisation, from the 90s up to the present. This is a story of ephemeral, precarious spaces between midnight and dawn; Marrickville as seen under the cover of darkness and will be presented as a Zine/mini book.

2022 Community History Grants

These projects are being implemented throughout 2022.

Ross Barnard

  • The Mysterious Disappearance of the Grosvenor
  • Funding: $5,000

The Mysterious Disappearance of the Grosvenor traces the 40-year history of the most magnificent suburban cinema ever built in Sydney, from opening in 1930 to demolition in 1970. Archival images and contemporary computer animation recreate the opulence of the movie palace. Locals recall their memories of going there.

Ashfield District Heritage Society

  • Ashfield History No. 23, Houses of the Ashfield District Part 2
  • Funding: $3,720

The project will be a publication containing articles about local built heritage, houses both grand and humble, that have interesting meaningful histories, whether because of their physical uniqueness, their purpose or because of those who lived there. The articles will be researched and written by a number of different contributors.

St Davids Church

  • Interpretative plaque to commemorate the 150th anniversary of St Davids Church Haberfield
  • Funding: $1,590

St Davids Church in Haberfield celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2019. We will install an interpretative plaque, similar to those that have been erected recently in Haberfield shopping centre, to encapsulate the history of the church and its importance to the community.

Balmain Association

  • Balmain Peninsula-Industrial Vandalism? the rise and fall of its early industries
  • Funding: $3,883

Commencing with the early waterfront industries such as Mort's Dock, Booths Sawmill and Elliott Brothers Chemical Works then moving on to later industries- the Coal Mine in Birchgrove, Box Factories and smaller manufacturing industries such as the Broom Factory, the transport giant TNT and the Saloon car maker in Rozelle.

This project will list around 30 industries from the suburbs of Balmain, Birchgrove and Rozelle. It will be illustrated with photographs of thriving industries and provide information about their impact, demise and contribution to the development of the Balmain Peninsula. Included will also be a map locating the lost industries, the importance of the workers in these industries and the rise of the labour movement to protect our wellbeing.

Pablo Leighton

  • Inner Latin America: An oral and visual history of global solidarity in the Inner West
  • Funding: $5,000

This is an oral and visual history project that will rescue, record and distribute to broad audiences personal and social accounts of the peak of Latin American refugee and migrant flows in Australia, and of global solidarity activism in key locations of the Inner West, between the 1970s and 1990s. 

Matthew Ng

  • 50th Anniversary for the Acceptance Movement (for LGBTIQ+ Catholics)
  • Funding: $5,000

The project will be a publication containing articles about local built heritage, houses both grand and humble, that have interesting meaningful histories, whether because of their physical uniqueness, their purpose or because of those who lived there. The articles will be researched and written by a number of different contributors.

IIan Harris

  • Dor-Ways: The Newtown Shul Oral History Library
  • Funding: $4,045

An oral history podcast and website, hosting interviews with community members of the only Jewish cultural building servicing the Inner-West. The website will also host photos and written pieces summarizing to increase accessibility of the content.


2020-2021 Community History Grants

These projects are being implemented throughout 2020-2021.

John Winter

  • The 100 Project
  • Funding: $10,000

The 100 Project is a website that celebrates the lives and stories of Australia’s 100-year-olds. Centenarians are filmed by their family and the clips are professionally edited to create a website that tells the story of Inner West Australia through the eyes of the people who were there.

Jane Curtis

  • Inner West Icons podcast: history and community stories of 12 local icons.
  • Funding: $10,000

The history of iconic places in Inner West told through a podcast - audio listen to for free, on a phone or computer. Hosted by a historian, each episode presents history in an engaging, intimate way through expert interviews, oral histories, community stories, sound effects and music. The podcast includes Reverse Garbage, The Greenway, Witches houses of Annandale, Street Art of the Inner West and Callan Park.

Rebecca Jones

Ferncourt, also previously known as Jessmont and Prosna, is an 1886 building and site overlooking Cooks River in The Warren. Built on land of the former Warren Estate from the sandstone of the demolished stables of Thomas Holt's The Warren mansion, it also features many interior architecture items from The Warren.

In 2022 Ferncourt Public School celebrated 100 years as a public school. But in the 36 years prior to that it was home to many and varied souls. It was built by a Polish artist, spent time as NSW first registered drug and alcohol treatment centre, and in 1921 was under imminent threat of demolition until the community stepped in!

Jan Wood

  • A Brief History of Balmain Hospital Book
  • Funding: $5,000  

This year marks the 135th anniversary of the Balmain Hospital, which has always played a significant role in the local history of the Inner West. This project aims to publish an all-encompassing history of Balmain Hospital from its conception as a cottage hospital in
1885 to its present state.

Friends Of Callan Park

  • Callan Park War Memorials
  • Funding: $5,000

A publication of the history of Callan Park’s two unique WW1 war memorials: 1925 Callan Park War Memorial; 1931 Sydney Harbour Bridge War Memorial. Present an exhibition and seminar about these War Memorials and their designers, Raymond McGrath, Eileen McGrath and Douglas Grant.

2019 Community History Grants

These projects are being implemented throughout 2019-2020.

Inner West Cultural Services

  • Project: Digitising 40 Years of Community Arts and Cultural Development Projects
  • Funding: $5,000

Founded in 1978, Inner West Cultural Services has contributed to the artistic and cultural life of Newtown and the wider inner west through many projects. Our project will see the organisation's records digitised and made available for future historians through Council's community history and archives collection.

Sydney Philharmonia

  • Project: A Century of Song from Hurlstone Park to Sydney Philharmonia Choirs
  • Funding: $5,000

As part of a year-long celebration of its centenary in 2020, Sydney Philharmonia Choirs will mount an exhibition of memorabilia and archival material celebrating its founding as the Hurlstone Park Choral Society, publish a book of its history, and offer a public talk on the organisation’s significance to the area.

Bruce Carter

  • Project: Creative Inner West - An Oral History
  • Funding: $5,000

This project aims to document the work of creative arts workers in the Inner West through an oral history project that explores people’s creative practice. The Inner West area has long been a draw card for a considerable array of creative talent that operates like a powerhouse for Sydney.

Dr Emma Mitchell

  • Project: Still Standing: A Life History of Tom and Dennis Moffatt
  • Funding: $4,990

This project will produce a multi-media life history of Tom and Dennis Moffatt. The two brothers were taken from their family by child welfare services and raised apart, yet led parallel lives knocking about the Inner West until they were finally reunited in adulthood.

Balmain & District Football Club

  • Project: Balmain & District Football Club Living History Archive
  • Funding: $4,900

Balmain & District Football Club will be celebrating it's 50th anniversary in 2020. The Club wishes to build a living historical archive on the Club and the predecessor organisations it has grown from. The Club's predecessors began playing football in the Balmain area in the 19th Century. It will be an online multimedia archive.

2018 Community History and Heritage Grants

These projects are being implemented throughout 2018-2019.

Individual Historian: Nicole Cama

  • Project: Ashfield: People and Places Walking Tour App 
  • Funding: $5,000

Ashfield: People and Places walking tour on izi.TRAVEL will connect the approximately 26,000 residents of this vibrant and diverse community to its past.

Individual Historian: Ian Tyrell

  • Project: Cooks River History Web and Walking App Resource
  • Funding: $5,000

To build a mobile phone application to nine features of historical and heritage interest along the Cooks River paths from Tempe to Dulwich Hill. The content will be drawn from River Dream: The People and Landscape of the Cooks River.

Marrickville Heritage Society

  • Project: Research and Publication of History of Carrington Road
  • Funding: $5,000

The Carrington Road Industrial Heritage Project will research, record, and promote the history of Carrington
Road Marrickville. The grant will support and enrich Council’s Local History Collection. Carrington Road’s factories are proposed for re-development and it is important to understand its significance while the industrial precinct remains intact.

Susan Hawkeswood

  • Project: Orange Grove Oral History Project
  • Funding: $3,000

An oral history project involving tenants of the Orange Grove public housing estate at Lilyfield. Participants will record an oral history of their life at Orange Grove, including what led to their offer of housing and how they integrate into the broader Lilyfield community. This will be offered to Leichhardt Library for preservation.

Fort Street High School Foundation

  • Project: Fort Street Heritage Tour App
  • Funding: $2,000

A Walking Tour app to create a Heritage Tour of Fort Street High School historical architecture and objects.

Rate this page

  • Rate as The content was useful40.00% The content was useful votes
  • Rate as The content was not useful60.00% The content was not useful votes

Thanks for your feedback. We will use this data to improve the content of this page.

Page last updated: 06 Dec 2023