History Week 2020 (online)


History: what is it good for?

Exploring, discovering, uncovering, challenging 

In celebration of History Week 2020 Inner West Council invites you to explore and discover the Inner West's local history by engaging with a range of online activities. One of the highlights is a Vox Pop.  We have provided a tapestry of diverse responses through a short video of the community's reflections on history and invite you to add to this by sending in a short video clip of your response to this year's theme question History: What is it good for?

Send your video to history@innerwest.nsw.gov.au

Welcome to our online program of podcast, videos, online self guided walking tours, live talks, an exhibition and e-book launch.

Podcast: Still Standing

Oral history has the power to spark intergenerational connection and healing. In the podcast students from Sir Joseph Banks High School Koori Club interview former Inner West residents, Tom and Dennis Moffatt, about being stolen from their family as children and reunited as adults.

Premiere Monday 7 September 10:30am

History what is it good for?

History Vox Pop, a series of short interviews with a cross section of the community - different ages, cultural backgrounds capturing a range of responses. This short video shares some of our community's reflections on history, we seek a range of perspectives on what history is good for, the notion of history and what it means to you. Send your video to history@innerwest.nsw.gov.au

Premiere Tuesday 8 September 10:30am 

Annual Lecture: Coronavirus at the end of history

In 2020, the History Council of New South Wales is honoured that Professor Stan Grant will deliver the Annual History Lecture with a paper entitled Coronavirus at the end of history.  

Stan grant


Online self guided walking tour:  Marrickville - Carrington Road's Industrial Heritage

Carrington Rd Online Walking Tour

A showcase of 20th century industry, with major factories including General Motors – Holden’s, Davies Coop, Duly & Hansford, Rega Products and Tecnico – Pye. This manufacturing hub grew the early automotive industry in Australia making tens of thousands of cars, producing munitions, equipment and textiles for the Second World War. Local researchers, Louisa King and Ali Wright uncovered stories, photographs and commercial artefacts to bring together a remarkable understanding of an iconic Sydney industrial area. Link here

Premiere Wednesday 9 September 9:30am

E-book: Carrington Road, Marrickville - Industrial Heritage 

Pye Sounds Like the way you live - 715px

Covers all aspects of Carrington Road’s Industrial heritage, Marrickville.                   

Download your free copy

Exhibition: Carrington Road, Marrickville - Industrial Heritage

Carrington Road Exhibition

Accompanying the book and walking tour is an exhibition with original artefacts at Marrickville Library. Learn more about the quirky, remarkable, and often forgotten stories of Marrickville’s industrial past, and its resonance today, as we consider the future of manufacturing.

Marrickville Library Gallery

[library opening hours] September 1 – October 8

Unlock the mysteries

Unlock the mystery of your house and discover its built date, former owners and potentially its secrets using our online resources this covers Ashfield and Summer Hill houses.


Online self guided walking tour: Humble to Handsome   

Humble to Handsome

On this walk, you will see the transition of architecture in Balmain from the plain style of the 1840s to the ornate grandeur of the 1860s, reflecting both changing architectural fashion and the growing prosperity of the colony. Link here

Premiere Thursday 10 September 10:30am

Online self guided walking tour: Ashfield - People and Places

Ashfield People Places

Explore the rich history of Ashfield's people and places through six different sites compiled and researched by Historian Nicole Cama. Starting from the suburbs civic heart on Liverpool Road and finishing at the Ashfield Infants' Home. These histories offer a glimpse into what life may have been like in Ashfield, as it transformed from a 'pretty village' for Sydney's colonial elite into the bustling, multicultural hub of today. Link here

Premiere Friday 11 September 10:30am


Online self guided walking tour: 1880s Architecture and Gelato, Leichhardt

Gelato walking tour  

Explore the wonderful architecture, food culture, Greek church and industrial history of the local Roebuck Rocking horse factory that all find their home in Leichhardt. Link here

Premiere Friday 11 September 10:30am

Seminar: Callan Park's History -What is it good for? by Friends of Callan Park

Sunday, 13 September, 2:30pm to 4:40pm 

Dr. Stephen Gapps

President of the History Council of NSW, and author of The Sydney Wars: Conflict in the Early Colony 1788-1817

Stephen Gapps 

Local histories are never really confined to buildings or places but sprawl across landscapes and over time. In this talk Stephen will consider the value of community history in the context of understanding our broader relationships with the past in the present and why this is important work still has so much to be done, and in many cases, to be re-done.

Sarah Luke

Author of Callan Park, Hospital for the Insane (2018)

Remembering those who dwell in the margins: Callan Park and the ‘Vernon Boys’

Sarah Luke left The sobraon right

Sarah explores the relationship between Callan Park and the Nautical School Ships, Vernon and Sobraon, moored permanently at Cockatoo Island between 1867 and 1911 for the reception of homeless and often criminal boys. Both institutions were home to marginalised groups in society. Today they are generally regarded as 'awkward' moments in the history of NSW; they are misunderstood and, in some cases, have been deliberately forgotten or distorted. Sarah will trace the stories of a patient at Callan Park and his son, one of the Vernon boys, and members of a colourful Colonial family – and consider the benefits of knowing the past at these two significant sites.

Zoom Seminar for History Week

Exhibition: Balmain Association's History What is it good for?  

Edmund Blacket left watchouse right

Make your way down to the Watch House on Darling Street    
  • Learn about Edmund Blacket, the Colonial Architect who designed the Watch House in 1854.
  • Visit the preserved heritage police station and lock up which was saved from demolition by the national Trust then leased to Balmain Association. 
  • Explore the story of Ira Gray, A policeman who with his family used the Watch House as his residence from 1930-1947.                                                                                           

Balmain Watch House |  179 Darling Street, Balmain |  September Saturdays 5,12,19  |  11:30-3pm  |  More information at Balmain Association website   

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Page last updated: 17 May 2021