Five Ways, Erskineville

Sydney’s most famous Five Ways is a junction of streets at the heart of Paddington. It is a much referred-to locale of the Real Estate lyricist, spruiking of properties in terms such as “In the heart of the Five Ways village…”  “just a leisurely stroll from Five Ways…” or (if one were to apply a truly wonderful volumetric measure of distance) “just a breath away from…”

Several suburbs vie for the title of “the next Paddington” amongst the pages of real estate publications, the moniker applied variously to Newtown, Balmain, Surry Hills, Redfern and Marrickville. Further afield, Harris Park is pegged as ‘the Paddington of Parramatta.’

Erskineville has not escaped entirely from the association, with Shaun Stoker of Ray White Surry Hills aligning the suburb with the trajectory of Paddington house prices in the May 2012 Australian Property Investor magazine stating “Erskineville has the potential to edge closer in price to the dizzying heights of Sydney’s pricey Paddington or Surry Hills.”

However, of these suburbs, only Erskineville shares that most valued ‘pocket’ descriptor, the Five Ways…

The Five Ways still exists, but its existence and role in the community has largely been forgotten. So, where is it, and how did it come into being? Continue reading

Posted in 1900-1909, 1910-1919, 1920-1929, 1930-1939, Charles Street, Erskineville Road, George Street, Swanson Street | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Cricket Curiosities (No. 73) – Dying Cow Stops Game

In January 1930 Sydney’s The Sun newspaper and The Newcastle Sun reported the following unusual occurrence of many years prior:

Macdonaldtown Erskineville Dying cow stops cricket game

The Sun (Sydney) Tuesday, 28 January 1930

A long-lost Sydney urban myth? Or the exhausted rantings of a sports journalist over-reaching after coming up with 72 other things to find curious about cricket?


Delving into the third grade cricket fixtures for 1905, details of the match held between St. Silas’ Young Men’s Institute and Lyndhurst set down for the Saturdays of October 7 and 14, 1905 can be identified:

Western Suburbs' Association Cricket 1905.png

The Arrow (Sydney) Saturday, 7 October 1905

The Lyndhurst Club team was the away team on the day, hailing from Forest Lodge. The team assembled at the Cyclorama on George Street west, near Central Station at 2pm before making their way to the ground.

As it goes, things were looking pretty grim for the plucky Lyndhurst third-graders. Chasing 80, they were all out for 28, with St Silas’ into their second innings at no wickets for 11 at the end of play on day one:

St Silas's Match interrupted 1905.png

Sydney Sportsman Wednesday, 11 October 1905

A nod of respect in the general direction of Mr. Perry for putting Lyndhurst to the sword with a four for six. Too good for third grade…

Given Mr. Perry’s devastating impact with the ball, the interruption of play the following weekend would have been to the enormous relief of Lyndhurst. Providing a basis for the article published 25 years later, Lyndhurst’s saviour would indeed come in the form of bovine intervention:Macdonaldtown Erskineville - Cricket abandoned - cow dying alongside wicket.png

The Arrow (Sydney) Saturday, 4 November 1905

Erskineville at the time was not short of cows. As recently as 1894 a total of 71 cows, all disease-free across six registered dairies were milking in the borough of Macdonaldtown. Of those dairies, three were in a satisfactory condition, one fair, and two were in a bad state. By 1900, whilst the dairies themselves were in good order, one of the 114 cows residing in the local dairies was found to be suffering from tuberculosis and had to be destroyed.

Four years later (and 18 months prior to the incident) a small lake in the vicinity of Eve Street used for watering the cows was identified by the Public Health Department as ‘probably detrimental to the health of the cows‘ -but on the bright side, no ‘actual poisons’ were found in it on any analysis…

And spare a thought for young Edward White, walking along Erskineville Road minding his own business:

Erskineville - knocked down by a cow - 1904.png

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) Friday, 5 August 1904

Ah, but here’s the rub.

Map of the city of Sydney and adjacent suburbs - 1907.png1907 – Erskineville Oval – Extract of Map of the city of Sydney and adjacent suburbs – lithographed and published by H. E. C. Robinson

Erskineville Oval was the venue for another match on the day. A Second Grade match between Newtown and Randwick commenced on 7 October 1905, with the second day’s play the following Saturday. After the first day’s play Randwick were looking the goods over the Newtown lads:

Randwick v Newtown on the Erskineville Oval 1905.png

The Sydney Morning Herald Monday, 9 October 1905

No references to the match between St. Silas’ and Lyndhurst being played at Macdonaldtown appear around the time of the 1905 publication of the original article. However, references to Macdonaldtown appear in articles published in several newspapers in March and April 1913, including this ‘Cricket Curio’ from Sydney’s The Sun newspaper:

Dead Cow Stops a Game 1913.png

The Sun (Sydney) Friday, 14 March 1913

As for St. Silas’, the bovine-hobbled home team on the day in question, it was associated with St Silas’ Church, in the vicinity of McEvoy Road and Botany Road Waterloo:

St Silas Waterloo.png

Map source: Waterloo: Parish of Alexandria – Higinbotham & Robinson c. 1890-99
Image source: St. Silas, Botany Road Waterloo, early 1900s (Pinterest – Les Miller)

References to St. Silas’s home ground make mention of ‘Stedman Park’ Alexandria. While the location of Stedman Park in Alexandria remains elusive, the articles published in 1913 may have been making reference to this cricket ground not far from the shores of the Alexandria Canal and south of ‘Macdonaldtown:’

Cricket Ground - Alexandria.png

Alexandria, Parishes of Alexandria and Petersham – Higinbotham & Robinson c. 1880-89 showing cricket ground  (in the vicinity of Euston Road, near Campbell Street)

And so, questions remain as to the exact whereabouts of the day’s play, or from where the cow had strayed, and why, if it was on a cricket field it had not kept to where it belonged, forward of deep midwicket to backward of long on.

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Victoria-terrace – 26 to 40 Charles Street Erskineville

26-40 Charles Street Erskineville

26 to 40 Charles Street Erskineville – August 2015

This terrace row (26 to 40 Charles Street Erskineville) is comprised of eight, two-storey terraces on the eastern side of Charles Street (known as George Street prior to 1912). The terrace makes its first appearance in the 1885 edition of the Sands Directory: Continue reading

Posted in 1880-1889, 1890-1899, Charles Street, Terraces and Houses | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Educating Erskineville: Erskineville History Walk

Join historian and local resident Dr Craig Wilcox and long-time Erskineville ALP member Sean Macken for an exploration of education in Erskineville:

Saturday 5 May 2018 – 1pm start
Harry Noble Reserve (alongside Elliot Avenue)
Free community event

Erskineville History Walk 2018

Come along for a great afternoon traversing the streets of Erskineville and listen to fascinating stories from Erskineville’s past!

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Debility Cured by Bile Beans After Hospital Treatment Failed to Relieve – Mrs. Ellen Moore – 12 Bray Street Erskineville

Bile Beans for Biliousness


A Disordered Liver, if not attended to, very often brings in its train serious results. The stomach, the digestive organs, and the kidneys become lax in their duties. Pimples and blotches appear, and the complexion generally assumes a nasty sallow tint. All the symptoms of Liver Disorder are too numerous to mention, but the most common are pains in the back, especially after eating, difficulty in breathing, a general feeling of depression and discontent, and loss of appetite. A disordered liver needs to be corrected in a natural and easy manner, and not by taking strong purgatives, mineral salts, or other injurious preparations. The finest natural vegetable remedy known to medical science in this century is Bile Beans for Biliousness. They cure all disorders of the liver quite easily and naturally. They also cure permanently by righting first causes; and for this reason there is absolutely nothing else that is “just as good.”

Evening News (Sydney) Tuesday, 2 August 1904

The following case of Mrs. Ellen Moore, of 12 Bray-street, Erskineville, Sydney, is a fitting illustration of the marvellous efficacy of Bile Beans in curing the most severe forms of liver disorder and the multitude of ailments arising from such. This lady says:—

“Some seven years ago I was troubled with very severe pains in the small of my back, accompanied by constipation, a poor appetite, and a worn-out feeling, making me feel very miserable and entirely unfitted for my household duties, and in time my system became completely debilitated. For some time I was an out-patient at the hospital, but I was told that I could only be patched up, as I had a congested liver. It was then that I decided to give Bile Beans a trial, having heard of their great efficacy for liver disorders. The first few doses made a great improvement in my condition, and, continuing with the course, the pains quickly left me, I regained my lost appetite, and was quickly restored to health and vigor. Asthma has also fallen to my lot, but I find Bile Beans afford me great relief, and have every hope that by continuing with them I will, in time, be rid of this distressing complaint. One of my daughters suffers occasionally from Neuralgia, and I find a dose of Bile Beans speedily brings her relief. I will never be without such a valuable medicine in the house, and will always recommend Bile Beans to fellow sufferers, and will be glad at any time to answer any queries in regard to my statements which might prove of value to others.”

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Posted in 1900-1909, Bray Street, Good for what ails you | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Mrs. Carroll’s Prize-winning Marrow Honey

Making Good Wives Better - 1943.png

Sydney’s ‘Truth’ newspaper (1890 – 1958) ran a weekly competition for recipes within its ‘Making Good Wives Better’ column, offering ‘substantial cash prizes for the best recipes submitted each week.’ Mrs. G. Carroll of 25 Prospect Street, Erskineville submitted a recipe for ‘Marrow Honey’ – ‘a delicious spread for bread and butter‘ that was published in January 1943. Mrs. Carroll missed out on the generous £3 first prize but came away with second prize and £1:

Marrow Honey Recipe.png

Truth (Sydney) Sunday 31 January 1943

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Posted in 1940-1949, Prospect Street, Recipes, Truth Newspaper | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Arnott’s Living Pictures – Alma May Taylor – Corner George and Cambrian Streets Erskineville


Alma May Taylor, aged six months, daughter of Mrs. G. Taylor, The Elite Academy, corner George and Cambrian Streets, Erskineville, near Sydney, N.S.W. fed since the age of two weeks on Arnott’s Milk Arrowroot Biscuits – The Children’s Food.

Arnott's Living Pictures Alma May Taylor of Erskineville 1906.png

The North Western Advocate and Emu Bay Times (Tasmania) Tuesday, 8 May 1906

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Posted in 1900-1909, Arnott's, George Street, Victoria Street | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments