I moved into a terrace house in Erskineville a few years ago and immediately started wondering about the age of the house and its history. Poking around various websites and archives I started to build a picture of the house, its builder and its early tenants, but also more broadly of Erskineville and Macdonaldtown.
Not long after arriving in Erskineville mornings once spent watching the sun rise from a bicycle saddle were replaced with all-nighters wrangling a small noisy little person, leaving little time and no energy for racking up the kilometres. Instead I found myself wandering the streets of Erskineville most days, either pushing a pram or with said little person strapped to my chest, little arms flailing happily as we explored the streets together. So, interests have turned to what can be achieved while in a mental fug and when short and unscheduled opportunities arise.
And so it was that a defunct cyclist came across the Macdonaldtown Bicycle Club, a defunct bicycle club, named after a defunct suburb. Towards the bottom of page 16 of the Sydney Morning Herald of Saturday 24th July 1909 a small notice appeared announcing the opening run of the club to Long Bay:
I don’t propose much in the way of narrative – these are the things I have come across while trawling the National Library of Australia, and the City of Sydney Archives and other sites. I’ll be digging up the lost names of old terraces and houses, highlighting some of the stranger things that have happened, pills, potions and cures, characters, industry, and anything else that presents itself.
This is Alderman Harry Wright of Erskineville Council in 1947 – testing the slippery dip at the official opening of the new nursery school located on the corner of Swanson and Clara Street (now SDN Erskineville). Harry was clearly the man for the job – standing in for the Mayor on the day, happy to show the kids how it is done, hands in the air, durry hanging from his mouth. I think this is the kind of person I would like supporting, championing this little institution, so I have made young Harry here our club patron.