Community collections

The Inner west Council community archives care for and hold community collections which provide insight into the history and activities of local not for profit organisations, including, sporting clubs, activist groups, election material, indigenous collections, clubs and associations, historic local businesses. The collection contains records, correspondence, ephemera, membership records and photographs.

Ballast Point Campaign

The Ballast Point site was originally part of a land grant from Governor Hunter to surgeon, William Balmain, in 1800. The land was subdivided in the 1830s.

The only house constructed on the site (in 1864) was known as "Menevia". It was demolished in 1929 around the time Texaco bought the site for an oil terminal development.

Storage tanks were constructed on the site between the 1920s and 1955 and a laboratory built c. 1970.

In 1989 the NSW State Government put forward a proposal to rezone and develop the Ballast Point site along with four other sites (Caltex, Ampol, Unilever, Monsanto Chemplex and Balmain Power Station). This led to the formation of several community action groups in the area opposed to the planned development including the Snail Bay Action Group, the Balmain Development Trust, The Ballast Point Trust and the Ballast Point Campaign Committee. Throughout the 1990s these resident action groups fought the redevelopment of the area and in 1993 the Ballast Point Acquisition Trust was launched with the aim to purchase the land for use as open space.


Our local history collection includes many artefacts, medals, certificates, score registers and photographs which reflect the rich cricket culture of the Inner West.

The culture of cricket has been passed on into the early years of colonial Australia and the Marrickville Petersham District Cricket Club came into existence on 3 July 1899 and the Marrickville District Cricket Club was established in 1908.

Both clubs achieved first grade status. The clubs later amalgamated to become Petersham-Marrickville District Club and following this Marrickville and Canterbury united with its headquarters at Marrickville Oval in 1921.

One of our amazing cricketers was Bill Brown from Marrickville District Club making his first class debut for NSW in 1932 and made his way into the national side for the 1934 tour of England. Bill Brown went on to be an opening batsman totalling over 1,850 including an unbeaten 206 runs scoring his highest.

Petersham Oval had the footprints of Donald George Bradman as an 18 years old first class debut for St George paying against Petersham in 1926 knocking 110 runs. He also played at the opening of Henson Park in 1933.

This photo was taken at a cricket match at Livingstone Oval in 1936.

Cycling and Dulwich Hill Bicycle Club

In the 1890s, the pneumatic tyre was invented increasing the availability of the safety bicycle. By 1895, the popularity of its use for cycling peaked, giving rise to leisure cycling as a sport.

Two prominent clubs came into existence - the Marrickville Bicycle Club founded in 1897 and the Dulwich Hill Amateur Bicycle Club in 1908. Additionally, several neighbouring suburbs like Petersham and Newtown also established their clubs. In 1912, the Church Unions’ affiliated clubs also propped-up. These clubs had ferocious racing rivalries among them.

Cycle racing was predominantly done on roads under the title of Road Cycle Racing, involving both team and individual competitions. With the advent of banked tracks called ‘velodromes tracks’, cycling events ranged from individual and team pursuits to two-man sprints and various group and mass start races.

The histories of cycling and the inner west are deeply intertwined. Dulwich Hill Bicycle Club (DHBC) formed in 1908 and has outlived clubs from Newtown, Marrickville and other local suburbs to become NSW's oldest continuously operating club. By 1863 the inner west had a resident a bicycle builder: Norman Self built his own two-and-four wheelers. The club has produced an Olympic gold medallist - Lionel Cox and numerous high-level competitors. One of their members was the first woman allowed to participate at State level in NSW.

The sport has been a physical part of the area for 80 years: Henson Park was built in 1932 as a project to provide jobs during the great depression. It included the velodrome that hosted the 1934 Empire Games (predecessor to the Commonwealth Games) and brought world class cycling into the district. In the 1970s, volunteers built another velodrome in Camperdown (now the site of O'Dea Reserve). At the peak of its popularity, crowds of over 1,000 would watch races on Friday nights.

The DHBC has donated many wonderful artefacts, certificates, medals & prizes, minute’s books, journals, diaries, letters, photographs and videos to our historical collection.

Dr John Araluen Kennedy

Dr Kennedy was born 9th January 1892 at Cootamundra, NSW. The Kennedy family owned a property called ‘Karakunba’ at Araluen near Braidwood, NSW from the early gold rush days of the 1850s. John grew up there on the dairy farm with an uncle and aunt following the early death of his mother. He was educated at Araluen Public School and then boarded at St. Ignatius College Riverview at Lane Cove in Sydney (1910-1912). He studied medicine at Sydney University and graduated in 1918.

He established his medical practice in 1921 at his family home, ‘Chadstone’ located at 437 Marrickville Road, Dulwich Hill. In 1924 he married Margaret (Peg) McMahon and moved the medical practice to their home, ‘Montrose’, at 321 Marrickville Road, Marrickville (on the corner of Livingstone Road). He was appointed a surgeon at Lewisham Hospital and later served as senior surgeon and Chairman of the Medical Board of the very same hospital.

One of the highlights of the family donation of Dr John Araluen Kennedy to the local history collection is the surgical instruments that he used at his ‘Montrose’ surgery in Marrickville.

Dr Kennedy can be seen in this photo which was taken whilst he was a Resident Medical Officer at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (second from right, seated).

The Federation of Migrant Workers and Families was established in Australia in 1972 and is a progressive community not-for-profit organisation.

Its key objective is to promote an Australia that recognizes the value of multicultural origins and cultures of all Australians. It organizes a variety of activities for anyone, of Italian origin or not, who are interested in Italian language and culture and social issues as well as providing a meeting point for those who strive for a more just and sustainable from the environmental point of view.

Issy Wyner Collection

The Issy Wyner Collection is comprehensive donation by former Leichhardt Mayor Issy Wyner who made an enormous contribution to the community in Balmain and the Leichhardt Municipality Issy Wyner was a councillor, a mayor, a unionist, an activist and an historian. Issy Wyner passed away in 2008 at the age of 92, was a long-standing community campaigner whose contribution to the area and involvement with unions and Council once earned him the epithet “Australia’s most elected man”.

The collection contains correspondence papers, reports, documents, business papers, and election material.

Leichhardt Historical Journal

The Leichhardt Historical Journal contains primary research on local history within the pre-2003 Leichhardt local government area. The journal is published by Leichhardt Historical Journal, an incorporated, voluntary, non-profit organisation.

Important note: The street numbering  for some of the properties that appear in the Leichhardt Historical Journal may have changed, and the buildings referred to may not be referred to by their current street number.

Marrickville Industries

Marrickville's industrial growth commenced with the construction of numerous brick pits that took advantage of the clay soil that lined the Cooks River. When the Slaughter House Act 1849 banned noxious and offensive trades from the city centre, many of these industries were relocated to Marrickville.

Tanneries, boiling down works, brick pits and wool washers with their harsh chemicals, offensive smells and coarse production methods, were relocated to Sheas Creek.

From 1910 onwards, the area became an industrial heartland, with brass and iron founders, clothing manufacturers and food producers setting up factories in the surrounding streets. Even General Motors set up shop, opening their car assembly plant on Carrington Road, Marrickville in 1926.

This collection of the industrial era contains monographs, ephemera, photographs and more

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Page last updated: 13 May 2021