Various locations across the Inner West. 


3 to 11 September 2022.

What is History Week?

History Week is the annual, state-wide celebration of History organised by the History Council of New South Wales.


HCNSW001-History Week 2022

Welcome to Hands on History

We have a range of events engaging with professionals in the field. Join Jacqui Newling, Sydney Living Museums Curator and professional specialist in Gastronomy, who will share how archives, including century old cooking books inform her history research in exploring the heritage of food.

Delve into an exhibition of photographs and ephemera from the Sydney Philharmonia, one of the longest running arts organisations in Sydney. Join us in a panel discussion and conversation around lessons learnt from history.

For children and their carers, we invite you to an immersive Medieval experience and a hands-on journey to Ancient Egypt to learn about hieroglyphics and mummification.

This program is an official part of the wider NSW History Week 2022 program run by the History Council of NSW.

Sydney Philharmonia Choirs: A Century of Song Exhibition

Sydney Philharmonia Image Keith Saunders

Our opening exhibition is a collection of photographs and items from the archives of Sydney Philharmonia Choirs.

For more than a century, the choirs of Sydney Philharmonia have been driven by a passion to sing. From the outset when a small group of church choristers met in 1920 to form the Hurlstone Park Choral Society, amateur singers performing at a professional level have devoted their time and talent to the wealth of music in the choral repertoire. Since then, the organisation has grown in size and reputation to become one of Australia’s longest continuously active arts organisations. The places, people, community connections, and of course the music are represented in items from the choir archives charting their story over the past 100 years.

Leichhardt Library
1-29 September, during library opening hours

The Day I Brush Vacuumed a Stick with Rebecca Jones

The day I brush vacuumed a stick Rebecca Jones

Are you a history buff eager to learn how to shape your research for public delivery?

Join us for a presentation by local historian researcher and curator Rebecca Jones on tips and tricks on how to research, fact check uncover and discover local historic gems. You never know where that anecdotal story may take you.

Marrickville Library Pavilion
Saturday 3 September, 11.30am-12.30pm

Friends of Callan Park: Historical Walking Tour of Callan Park

Fraser Burdon photo

Join us for a historic walking tour of Callan Park - enjoy a hands on look at life on Callan Park from its establishment as a wealthy private estate, to its poignant past as a psychiatric institution. Along the way learn about the almost quarter-century community battle to save Callan Park from development and sale – as well as contemporary plans for its future. Note. Kirkbride (and its foundations) are closed to the public.

Meet at Writing NSW in Callan Park
Sunday 4 September, 11am-1pm
$25 per person, children under 12 are free.
Registration is essential: https://www.trybooking.com/CAYLL

Making a Documentary Podcast with Jane Curtis

Microphone and earphones on yellow background

Are you a storyteller who wants to use podcasts to tell your story?

Go behind the scenes in the making of a documentary podcast - from idea and audience, to research, recording, editing, sound design, publishing and promotion. Bring questions for the Q & A at the end.

Jane Curtis is a former ABC producer who makes podcasts and audio documentaries. Jane produces the Inner West Icons local history podcast, supported by Inner West Council.

Ashfield Library
Monday 5 September, 6.30pm-7.30pm

Inner West Icons

Inner West Icons the other side of Sydney

Listen to a podcast about the history of unique places in Sydney’s inner west. Produced by Jane Curtis.

Eat Your History with Jacqui Newling

Copyright James Horan for Sydney Living Museums

Join curator and gastronomer Jacqui Newling for this special History Week presentation. We invite you to get ‘hands-on’ in this interactive talk, where Jacqui stimulates our appetites for history, sharing some of the flavoursome archival material that inspires her work – from menus, cookbooks, recipes to personal memoirs and historic kitchens.

Dr Jacqui Newling is a curator at Sydney Living Museums. Jacqui has qualifications in history and gastronomy, and specialises in Australian food heritage. She is author of Eat Your History: stories and recipes from Australian kitchens 1788-1950s, and is the ‘Cook’ in the The Cook and the Curator blog.

Haberfield Library
Tuesday 6 September, 6.30pm-7.30pm

Lessons From History with Dr Zora Simic and Dr Claire E. F. Wright

Lessons from history book cover

Does history repeat itself in meaningful ways, or is each problem unique? How can a hands-on approach to Australian history enhance our understanding of the present and prepare us for the future?

Join Dr Zora Simic and Dr Claire E. F Wright in this thought-provoking discussion inspired by Lessons from History - a new collection of essays from a diverse range of historians that explore the biggest challenges that face Australia and the world and shows how the past provides insight that can guide us in future.

Dr Zora Simic is a senior lecturer in History and Gender Studies at UNSW. She has published widely on past and present feminisms, as well as Australian migration history. Zora is currently undertaking an ARC-funded history of domestic violence in Australia, 1850–2020, with Catherine Kevin and Ann Curthoys.

Dr Claire E.F. Wright is a business historian at the University of Technology Sydney. She is interested in the ways that interpersonal connections affect knowledge, markets and business strategy, focusing on Australian corporate networks and diversity in leadership. She has contributed widely to national and international journals in history, economics, urban studies and management, and is the author of Australian Economic History: Transformations of an interdisciplinary field (ANU Press, 2022). Claire is currently an Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) Fellow (2022–25), working on the first history of Australia’s corporate women across the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.

Marrickville Library and Pavilion
Thursday 8 September, 6.30pm-7.30pm

Cooks River Walking Tour with Ian Tyrell

Cooks River History Week 2022

Ian Tyrrell is an expert on the Cooks River. Author of River Dreams: The people and landscape of the Cooks River - a book 25 years in the making - there is no person more qualified to speak on the subject.

In 2020 we produced an audio guide so visitors could take a self guided tour during the Sydney lockdown. This tour travels from Alexandra Canal to Marrickville Golf Course with 14 stops along the way.

For this event we will gather and enjoy the tour together with Ian Tyrrell who will answer your questions. If you would like to take the self guided tour, click here to be taken to the online version.

Tempe Recreation Reserve
Holbeach Avenue, Tempe
Friday 9 September, 10am-12pm

After School Medieval History for Kids

The Weapons Master

Hear-ye-hear-ye! Join Ben the Bard and Weapons Master Diana as they take you on a medieval experience like no other.

This highly interactive show invites children to play dress up and get a hands-on experience with prop weapons, armour, and other medieval objects.

Looking for junior Medieval History resources? You can browse related titles in the library collection here. For ages 8-12.

Ashfield Library
Friday 9 September, 3.45pm-5pm

Ancient Egypt Workshop for Kids

Ancient Egypt workshop for kids

Kids will learn about hieroglyphics to reveal hidden messages. Kids will also mummify some soft toy pharaohs following the same process that the Ancient Egyptians performed.

Toys have been modified to contain felt, hand-stitched organs so that kids can learn about the human body in a non-confronting way. For ages 5-12.

Looking for junior Ancient Egypt resources? You can browse related titles in the library collection here.

Marrickville Library Pavilion
Saturday 10 September, 10.30am-11.30am

Aboriginal Walking Tour with Terry Lennis

Terry Lennis

Back by popular demand! One of our most popular tours ever, we are repeating the Heritage Festival 2022 walking tour of Cooks River by Terry Lennis, a proud D'harawal man, local elder and Aboriginal horticulturalist.

The recent history of this area is well documented but this is an opportunity to hear the Indigenous perspective on the history and current uses of the rivers and waterways.

Terry Lennis is one of the knowledge holders for the Midjuburi Ward and he will take you on a bush tucker foraging journey along one of the Inner West's special waterways.

Steel Park Waterplay Park
531-565 Illawarra Rd, Marrickville
Sunday 11 September, 10am-12pm

Death by Demolition with Helen Carter

Death by Demolition Helen Carter

Join Local Researcher and author Helen Carter for a history talk on Death by Demolition

This remarkable 116 page book, now with a pull out map, traces the history of demolished houses in the Balmain area (Balmain, Birchgrove and Rozelle) from its earliest house-built c 1815 to an inter-war bungalow recently demolished in November 2021. The 50 specific examples and 5 buildings, accompanied by a small history of who lived in these houses until their demise, vary from a marine villa to the humble iron house.

Balmain Library
Wednesday 14 September, 6.30pm-7.30pm

Hands on Haberfield the Exhibition

Haberfield Curios

Explore the history of Haberfield and explore the origin of the Garden Suburb.

Learn about Haberfield Hall House, the Haberfield Locomotive and its connection with Harry Potter, the Haberfield Life Boat, Haberfield Alms House, 19th century philanthropy, Lady Sarah’s will, the link with David Jones and much more. The panels trace the ancestry of the Haberfield family from Bristol, England and their connection to the Haberfield Garden Suburb.

View the full exhibition 3-30 September 2022
Balmain Library
370 Darling Street, Balmain
During library opening hours

A Century of Song History Talk

1940s early - Messiah-maybe at Easter

About this event

For more than a century, the choirs of Sydney Philharmonia have been driven by a passion to sing. From the outset when a small group of church choristers met in 1920 to form the Hurlstone Park Choral Society, amateur singers performing at a professional level have devoted their time and talent to the wealth of music in the choral repertoire. Since then, the organisation has grown in size and reputation to become one of Australia’s longest continuously active arts organisations. The places, people, community connections, and of course the music are represented in items from the choir archives charting their story over the past 100 years.

About the History Talk

Sydney Philharmonia Choirs’ archivist, Hannah Hibbert, will present a public talk at 6.30pm on the process of archiving the history and memorabilia of a century-old arts organisation. She will share her insights on the collection on display, as well as what else is held in the archive, and highlight the role that the Inner West has played in the proud history of Sydney Philharmonia Choirs.

About the Archivist

Hannah has volunteered as the Sydney Philharmonia Choirs archivist since 2017 and is a member of Sydney Philharmonia Choirs’ Festival Choir. Her full-time role is as the archivist for the Australian Turf Club, looking after a substantial collection of national significance. She is an active member of the Australian Society of Archivists (ASA).

Leichhardt Library
Tuesday 27 September, 6pm-7.30pm

Tribal Bloodline Connections Exhibition

Tribal Bloodlines Connections Exhibition

Tribal Bloodline Connections addresses the History Week theme of ‘Hands-On History’ with Gomeroi artist’s Adam Spencer and Nick Levy and Thunghutti artist Tyler Stackman showcasing artworks on canvas, artefacts, and wood carvings that reference the history of the New England Tablelands in NSW. The exhibition explores the theme of ‘bloodlines’ connecting different tribal groups through visual symbols and motifs.
Come and meet the artists and learn about their artmaking.

Stirrup Gallery
Addison Road Community Organisation
Hut 13, 142 Addison Road, Marrickville
Exhibition: 1-10 September 2022
Artist talks 11am Saturday 3 September 2022

This exhibition is presented in collaboration with Stirrup Gallery's on-site partners Settlement Services International and Ignite.

Hands on Community Mental Health in Sydney in the 1980s

Labels jars

Join us for a discussion on the development of community Mental Health. Starting in the late 1970s, several initiatives were undertaken to provide mental health care in the community rather than mental hospitals. Mental health nurses played a central role in these; during this event, we will interview two pioneering nurses in the field.

Matina Pentes was involved in a pioneering community health initiative in Waverley-Woollahra, as part of the Health Commission of NSW. She was the director of the Bondi Junction Community Health Centre from 1976 to 1986.

Graeme Curry registered as a psychiatric nurse in 1980. He worked in hospitals, communities, residential care facilities, and in private practice; taught nursing; and was active in Sydney and Brisbane in advocacy, counselling, and community development.

Chair: Prof Catharine Coleborne, University of Newcastle.

Balmain Library
Thursday 15 September, 6.30pm-7.30pm

Balmain Association - Hands on History Exhibition

The Link Balmain Association Exhibition

Original copies of the Link, local Balmain newspaper from the 1960s and 70s, will be available to peruse, a newspaper that serviced the Balmain, Birchgrove, Rozelle and Lilyfield areas of Sydney.

We are currently ‘hands on’ with digitising the copies from the 1960s and early 70s. Issues such as banning plastic bags and council amalgamations feature prominently and this was 50 years ago!! A fascinating story from the November 1969 issue informs us of plans for the Balmain Hospital to expand and increase services for the increasing population in the area. A front-page article from April 1970 informs the local population that the Balmain Watch House, after a major restoration, is officially opened. Many more stories from our history will be revealed at our exhibition.

Balmain Association
The Watch House
179 Darling Street Balmain
Saturday 3 September, Tuesday 6 September and Saturday 10 September - 11.30am-3pm

Rate this page

  • Rate as The content was useful84.62% The content was useful votes
  • Rate as The content was not useful15.38% 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: 13 Mar 2023