Larrikin Disturbance at Erskineville – the Macdonaldtown Push

 ‘A rowdy gang meet their match’

Erskineville, May 1898:

The lower part of Erskineville, formerly known as Macdonaldtown, has long been troubled by a gang of larrikins known as the “Macdonaldtown Push,” says the Sydney Daily Telegraph of the 17th instant. The character of the suburban “pushes” varies a good deal, but this particular division of larrikins is described by the police as one of the worst of all.

Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Qld) Wednesday, 25 May 1898

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Reports published on Monday 16 May 1898 and in the days and weeks that followed told the story of an ‘affray with larrikins’ on the streets of Erskineville, near the railway bridge at Macdonald Street. The disturbance is reported to have occurred at half-past 11 on the evening of Saturday 14 May 1898. Constable Daniel McKelvey, newly transferred from Redfern to Newtown confronted the miscreants, and ordered them to move on. Continue reading

Posted in 1890-1899, Macdonald Street | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Eden Terrace – 10 to 14 Charles Street Erskineville

Eden Terrace (10 to 14 Charles Street Erskineville) is located on the eastern side of Charles Street (known as George Street prior to 1912), between the railway line and Albert Street. Originally a row of seven two-storey terraces, three remain today.

The first mention of the row that would become Eden Terrace is an invitation for tenders for brickwork by Peter James of Swanson Street in February 1887, and a subsequent tender for plastering and plumbing in March 1887:

1887 - Eden Terrace Macdonaldtown Brickwork Tender Invitation

Sydney Morning Herald Wednesday, 9 February 1887

1887 - Eden Terrace Macdonaldtown Plastering and PlumbingTender Invitation Sydney Morning Herald Friday, 25 March 1887
(also appearing Saturday 26 March 1887)

By July 1887 the houses appear to have been completed, and were offered for rent for 10 shillings a week:

To let houses Macdonaldtown.png

Sydney Morning Herald Saturday, 23 July 1887

The first mention of the houses as Eden Terrace occurs several weeks later, with two remaining houses offered for rent:

To Let - Eden Terrace Macdonaldtown 1887

Sydney Morning Herald Saturday, 3 September 1887
(also appearing Monday 5 September 1887)

Here are the first appearances of the residents of Eden Terrace in the 1888 Macdonaldtown Council Assessment Book; and the 1889 edition of the Sands Directory:

Macdnaldtown Assessment Book 1888 Extract.png

Occupants of 1 to 7 Eden Terrace and owner (Peter James)
Macdonaldtown Assessment Book 1888 – North Ward
City of Sydney Archives item 610/10

Macdonaldtown Sands Directory 1889.png

Eden Terrace – 1889 Sands Directory
Occupant of 2 Eden Terrace not listed,
Occupants incorrectly listed south of Thomas (now Albert) Street

Subsequent references to Eden Terrace depict the regular goings-on of suburban Sydney life. Lost animals, births, rental advertisements and some on-the-quiet home business activities. The original numbering of the terrace (as 1 to 7 Eden Terrace) corresponds with the modern numbering of the street (as 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12 & 14 George/Charles Street).

Eden Terrace Macdonaldtown Lost Terrier.png

Evening News (Sydney) Friday, 14 September 1888
(Joseph Worrill, Bootmaker – No. 1 Eden Terrace/2 George Street – demolished)

eden-terrace-macdonaldtown-situation-wanted

Sydney Morning Herald Thursday, 15 March 1888
(5 Eden Terrace – known today as 10 Charles Street)

clara-aspinhal-erskineville

Evening News (Sydney) Friday, 3 May 1889
(No. 2 Eden Terrace/4 George Street – demolished)

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Evening News (Sydney) Saturday, 29 June 1889
(No. 5 Eden Terrace – known today as 10 Charles Street)

lost-magpie-macdonaldtown

Evening News (Sydney) Monday, 8 July 1889
(No. 1 Eden Terrace/2 George Street – demolished)

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Evening News (Sydney) Saturday, 7 December 1889
(Farren James, Upholsterer. 6 Eden Terrace – known today as 12 Charles Street)

Horsehair suite Macdonaldtown.png

Evening News (Sydney) Saturday, 16 November 1889
(Farren James, Upholsterer. 6 Eden Terrace – known today as 12 Charles Street)

Eden Terrace Macdonaldtown To Let.png

Evening News (Sydney) Saturday, 8 November 1890

eden-terrace-macdonaldtown-station-to-let

Evening News (Sydney) Monday, 24 November 1890

Eden Terrace Madconaldtown Leonard Birth.png

Evening News (Sydney) Tuesday, 14 July 1891
(Wife of James J. Leonard, Printer. No. 3 Eden Terrace/6 George Street – demolished)

Wanted Eden Terrace Macdonaldtown.png

Sydney Morning Herald Thursday, 24 March 1892
(Wife of Henry Mills. No. 2 Eden Terrace/4 George Street – demolished)

No further references to the row as Eden Terrace have been identified from the newspapers, but of course life went on for the residents with pleas for the return of a lost diamond ring (1907); request for a sailing boat (1923); and furniture for sale (1924 & 1930).

In 1914 number 4 Charles Street Erskineville and the story of May Allport ‘the little girl with the Rickets’ appeared in advertisements around the country for Dr. William’s Pink Pills. Here below is the advertisement. There is more about May Allport at Neighbours Astounded – Little Girl Wonderfully Restored to Health.

dr-williams-pink-pills-erskineville

The Argus (Melbourne) Friday, 20th February 1914

The original owner of Eden Terrace, Mr. Peter James J.P. passed away on 25 July 1891 aged 71 at his Swanson Street residence ‘Carlisle Villa.’

Peter James Macdonaldtown.png

The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser Saturday, 1 August 1891

The following commemoration appeared in the Evening News on 28 July 1891:

Peter James Macdonaldtown identity.png

Evening News (Sydney) Tuesday, 28 July 1891

Peter James was appointed as a ‘Trustee of the land at Macdonaldtown, resumed for the purposes of  a Public Park’ (Macdonaldtown Park) in 1885; and was for a time the Macdonaldtown Park caretaker. Following his passing Alderman John Baldwin passed a motion at a meeting of the Macdonaldtown Council on 10 August 1891 that a letter of condolence be sent to Peter James’ widow, further adding to the motion ‘that the deceased gentlemen had always taken a great interest in municipal work and had been the means of many improvements being effected.’

Peter James owned several properties in Erskineville and beyond, the extent of which was revealed at the dissolution of his estate (after the passing of considerable time) in 1902:

1902 Estate late Peter James Erskineville.png

Sydney Morning Herald Saturday, 12 April 1902

Lot 1 refers to Eden Terrace; Lot 2 refers to two cottages behind Eden Terrace (now demolished) on Thomas Street (now the park on Albert Street between Charles and Burren Street); Lot 3 on Burren Street was known as Railway Terrace (now demolished); and Lots 5 & 6 would later be subdivided and sold in 1903 as the James’ Estate.

The row originally contained seven houses adjacent to the original location of Macdonaldtown Station (depicted in this map of 1886). Number 2 was demolished around the time of the railway duplication and quadruplication works of 1891-2. Here is an extract of a map published in 1894 showing Eden Terrace as a row of six at the time (the two weatherboard cottages in Thomas Street are also shown):4-14 George Street Erskineville 1894.png

1894 – City of Sydney Section Erskineville – Sheet 6

Numbers 4; 6; and 8 would be demolished with the further widening of the railway in 1925.

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

Chasing the Fox: Sly grog in 1930s Erskineville and Alexandria

chasing-the-fox-sly-grog-in-1930s-erskineville-and-alexandria

On Saturday 8 October 2016 City of Sydney Historian, Dr Lisa Murray will present ‘Chasing the Fox: Sly grog in 1930s Erskineville and Alexandria’ at 2.00pm, following the City of Sydney Historical Association (COSHA) Annual General Meeting at 1.30pm at the Lord Mayor’s Reception Room, Sydney Town Hall.

From the City of Sydney Historical Association website:

The razor gangs of Surry Hills and their female figureheads – Kate Leigh and Tilley Devine – have gained notoriety in 21st century popular culture as the epitome of Sydney’s organised crime. But local crims in Erskineville and Alexandria were equally notorious and violent. City Historian Lisa Murray will share some of her latest research on gambling, sly-grog and crime in the suburbs of Erskineville and Alexandria, drawing upon the City’s oral history collection.

City of Sydney Historical Association members free, visitors $5.

More information available from the Royal Australian Historical Society here, or follow the event’s facebook page.

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1916 Erskineville Date Pudding and Snowballs – Economical, tasty and wholesome

The Sydney newspaper The Sun (1910-1954) encouraged the housewives of Sydney to submit their recipes for consideration by ‘Dinah’ (an experienced and economical cook) and inclusion in the Sunday edition’s Women’s Page recipes. On this day 100 years ago, an Erskineville resident known only as ‘I.S.’ had two of their recipies chosen for publication. Following five recipes submitted by a Neutral Bay resident for rabbit (Rabbit Loaf, Baked Rabbit, Rabbit Pie, Broiled Rabbit, and Rabbit Pudding), I.S. of Erskineville’s Date Pudding and Snowballs recipes provided a welcome departure. Here is an extract of the article:

Tried recipes - Date Pudding and Snowballs.png

The Sun Sunday, 24 September 1916

Not being much of a cook (nor a housewife for that matter) I have nonetheless given these recipes a crack. Whilst on first review these are pretty simple recipes, there are some details missing that make these a little less than straight forward.

For each recipe in what order should the ingredients be combined? Just bung everything together? When it comes to the snowballs, how much flour? Bake for how long? What temperature?

Date Pudding

Erskineville Date Pudding.png

When it came to the date pudding there were modern recipes for sticky date pudding and Christmas pudding from which additional details could be gleaned. Here’s the approach taken:

Ingredients:
230 grams of dates, roughly chopped
1 cup of self-raising flour
1/2 a cup of sugar
1 tablespoon of beef dripping
1/2 a cup of boiling water
1/2 a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda

Method:
1. Grease a pudding basin with butter and line with baking paper.
2. Place dates and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl. Pour over boiling water. Allow to stand for 20 minutes.
3. Combine self-raising flour and sugar in a separate bowl. Add date mixture and softened dripping.
4. Using a wooden spoon, fold through date mixture and flour until well combined.
5. Spoon mixture into the prepared pudding basin.
6. Place pudding basin into a large saucepan. Pour in enough boiling water to combine halfway up the side of the pan. Place over medium heat and bring to the boil. Cook, covered, topping up with extra boiling water if necessary, for 2 hours.
7. Remove pudding basin from saucepan, and set aside for 10 minutes before turning onto a serving plate.

A trap for the novice: Tempting as it may be to lick the spoon after mixing, it will taste mainly of beef fat. Not good.

Snowballs

Erskineville Snowballs.png

As far as I can tell these are basically pancakes cooked in a muffin pan, as shown by this modern recipe for ‘Perfect Pancake Muffins.’ The 1916 recipe does not provide any advice as to the amount of flour, or cooking time or duration. Here’s the approach taken:

Ingredients:
4 egg whites
1/2 a cup of sugar
1 cup of milk
a pinch of salt
1 teaspoon of baking powder
2 cups of flour

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 200º Celsius. Grease a 12 cup muffin tray with butter or olive oil spray. Set aside.
2. In a bowl beat egg whites using an egg-beater. Slowly add sugar, then milk while beating to combine well.
3. In a bowl sift together flour and baking powder.
4. Add flour to egg-white mixture. Continue mixing with an egg-beater to create a smooth and lump-free batter.
5. Divide the batter between the muffing tray cups, filling each about two-thirds full.
6. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.

Have you tried these recipes? Got any tips? Let me know!

Posted in 1910-1919 | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sausages and Brawn – An Erskineville Factory – Shocking State of Affairs

The seventh day of September features on daysoftheyear.com as Salami Day, encouraging everyone to explore the world of salami by trying new and adventurous types of salami, and enjoying salami with friends at salami-themed parties. So with this in mind and in the spirit of adventure here follows the story of Erskineville’s very own manufacturer of butchers’ smallgoods, Mr. E. J. Dalton and the unwholesome conditions of his premises:

Sausages and Brawn.png

Evening News (Sydney) Wednesday, 20 November 1907

Well, at least we know the horse wasn’t going hungry…

A report in the Sydney Morning Herald the following day covered much of the same details, (pointing out that the floor was swarming with maggots, not insects). The same day the Adelaide Evening Journal reported much the same. A report appearing on 22 November 1907 (here) made it as far afield as The Port Augusta Dispatch, Newcastle and Flinders Chronicle, but given little importance, following articles about the peculiarities of Japan and a declaration that South Australian Emus could no longer be exterminated.

On 23 November 1907 the public relations machine had swung into action, with an association of leading manufacturers of smallgoods ‘emphatically disassociating‘ themselves from the reports.

Tantalisingly, the Wagga Wagga Worker, a little late to the party on 28 November 1907 made a connection between Mr. Dalton and Black Brothers as the offending firm, however having been caught napping confused reports of the Erskineville premises with a butcher located in Kalgoorlie.


Mr. Edward J. Dalton can be identified from the 1903 to 1908 editions of the Sands Directories as residing at 119 Railway Parade (known as Erskineville Road until 1903). The row of houses has sine been demolished and the site is now the location of the Sydney Unit of the State Emergency Services (SES) (Google Maps link). Here is the premises as it appeared in a map published in 1894:

119 Railway.png

Sheet 3 – City of Sydney Section Erskineville 1894

In the 1907 Annual Report compiled by medical officer of health Dr. W. G. Armstrong reporting on the sanitation of Sydney the Erskineville butchers’ smallgoods premises receives a special mention. An extract of an article follows, and reveals the cause of Mr. Dalton’s undoing:

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Evening News Friday, 25 September 1908

It would appear also from this article that Mr. Dalton, having taken fright at the proceedings and having disappeared from the district had not been tracked down by the Police since!

Posted in 1900-1909, Industry, Railway Parade, Random Erskineville | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Erskineville: Our Neighbourhood – Saturday 3 September 2016

Erskineville - Our Neighbourhood - Header.png

A celebration of Erskineville to kick off History Week on Saturday 3 September 2016 from 10:00am. There will be kids activities, history tours and talks, film screenings, great food, a display of Erskineville history and much more.

Hosted by the History of Erskineville Public School group, come along for a fascinating trip through time including the early days of convict labour, doing it tough in the depression, local Indigenous history and even how the natural landscape has shaped Erskineville’s past and present.

Discover local heroes, including pioneering activist Lucy Woodcock (Girls Headmistress 1933-1955), an early spokesperson for womens’ rights.

Eveleigh Blacksmiths will be on site all day and will hold live demonstrations at 11:30am and 1:30pm.

History walking tour at 12:30pm, repeated at 2:00pm.

Bush Tucker walking tour at 1:00pm, repeated at 2:30pm.

Speakers start from 11:00am and include:
Dr Heather Goodall – Erskineville hero Lucy Woodcock
Aunty Norma Ingram – Indigenous Erskinevillians
Matt Murphy – author of Weight of Evidence – colonial history of Erskineville
Dr Paul Munro – environmental history of Erskineville
Dr Sandie Wong & Dr Frances Press – history of the Lady Gowrie Child Centre in Erskineville

Films start from 1:00pm and include:
‘Saving of Erskineville School’
‘Erskineville Stories’
‘Binning Street’

All who love Erskineville are invited! For more details and to keep up with updates check out the Erskineville: Our Neighbourhood event page.

Erskineville - Our Neighbourhood - Program.png

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Doan’s Backache and Kidney Pills – Mr. John Loaney – A permanent cure after three years’ suffering

Doan’s Pills cure aching back, rheumatic pains, gravel, swelling of the limbs,
impure blood, dizzy spells, sleeplessness, irregular heart, and counteract
the harmful effects of beer, spirits and tea
.’

Doan’s Backache and Kidney Pills brought peace and health to Mr. John Loaney of Swanson Street Erskineville, who attributed a remarkable return from death’s door to the wonders of Doan’s Pills – a special medicine for the kidneys and bladder. Continue reading

Posted in 1900-1909, 1910-1919, Advertising, Good for what ails you, Swanson Street | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment