Tragedy and the suffering inflicted upon individuals, particularly innocent civilians
(and Picasso’s Guernica)
(article: News Local Friday, 4 December 2015).
Poor Macdonaldtown Station. It really has copped some flak over the years. Continue reading
North side of Albert Street – Number 60 on left
‘Don’t neglect your skin! Rub Zam-Buk in and avoid winter skin troubles.’
Mr. Albert Nutt, of 65 Ashmore Street Erskineville could no longer attend work for the pain he experienced in his feet from chilblains. Mr. Nutt’s mother let a brick fall on her foot. They both found relief in Zam-Buk’s wonderful ‘protective and corrective treatment:’
Sydney Morning Herald Wednesday, 18 June 1913
In 1909 advertisements appeared around Australia telling the story of little Dorothy Downes of 7 George Street Erskineville (now 7 Charles Street Erskineville). From around May to November 1909 the following story was published of the return to health of the daughter of Mrs. Downes via the constant use of Scott’s Emulsion for her ailing baby:
In 1922 and again in 1924 Phillip Carlyle Webb and Hurbert John Webb of 14 Victoria Street Erskineville, aged 5 years 9 months and 3 years 5 months respectively appeared as ‘Arnott’s Milk Arrowroot Biscuit Children’ in two substantial illustrated advertisements. Searches of the Australian National Librarary’s Trove database have so far only identified these two instances of the boys’ appearance:
Strangely the photo of Phillip and Herbert is paired with a letter and illustration depicting Janeie, Jacky and Towzer – none of whom seem to make an appearance at any other time. Never mind, the boys made a second appearance in 1924:
Could there anything more ‘town’ than two boys from Erskineville and a pug?
A check of the Sands Directories shows the Webb family in residence at 14 Victoria Street Erskineville 1921 to 1924:
Sands Directory Victoria Street Erskineville – North Side 1921 to 1924
14 Victoria Street Erskineville
The Arnott’s celebrates 150 years website describes the ‘Living Pictures’ advertising campaign as running from 1892 until the 1950s and as having involved tens of thousands of proud mums sending in testimonials with portraits and photographs of their well–fed babies. The lucky few would have portraits of their children featured in print.
Queensland Terrace (27 to 37 Morrissey Road Erskineville) is a row of eleven single-storey terraces located on the eastern side of Morrissey Road (formerly Pleasant Street), between Lambert Street and Victoria Street. A comparison of the 1886; 1887; and 1888 Sands Directory entries shows what might be the tentative appearance of the first residents in 1887, and in 1888 we see the first appearance of an entry for ‘Queensland Terrace.’
Comparison of Pleasant Street (East Side) 1886, 1887 & 1888
In 1886 there are no premises listed south of the property of the painter John Werick. In 1887 eight people are listed south of the property of John Werick (which might indicate the completion, or partial completion of Queensland Terrace), and in 1888 eleven properties are listed as ‘Queensland Terrace’ (with number 3 omitted).
Queensland Terrace appears twice more in the 1889 and 1890 directories, with street numbering appearing for much of Erskineville in the 1891 Directory.
Comparison of Pleasant Street (East Side) 1889, 1890 & 1891
All but one the partition walls separating the eleven terraces are adorned with heads of lions. Some a little worse for wear, some with surprisingly good detailing given the layers of paint they would have received over the years:
Lion detail- Queensland Terrace
This extract of a map from 1891 shows Pleasant Street (with numbered allotments):
1891 – Pleasant Street Erskineville (located between Prospect and George Streets)
Extract of Map of the Municipalities of The Glebe, Camperdown, Newtown, Macdonaldtown & Darlington, Parishes of Petersham and Alexandria – Higinbotham and Robinson
As indicated by the two maps below, it appears Pleasant Street was renamed Morrissey Road at some time in the early 1950s (probably much to the relief of the residents of the adjacent Pleasant Avenue):
1951 – Pleasant Street Erskineville (located between Prospect and George Streets)
Extract of Civic Survey, Erskineville
1956 – Morrissey Road Erskineville (located between Prospect and George Streets)
Extract of City Building Surveyor’s Detail Sheets – Sheet 19 Erskineville
‘Five to ten drops of “Fishers Phospherine” in water after meals
is the greatest aid to digestion known.’
Mr. George Bewley of “Trelawney” Erskineville was in a shocking state before consuming four bottles of Fisher’s Phospherine (and a bottle of Fisher’s Beauty Pills for good measure) to overcome a litany of complaints: diseased kidneys and bladder; frightful back injuries; a shattered nervous system – life, he tells us, was a prolonged misery.
Refusing absolutely any monetary consideration for the endorsement of his discovery,
Mr. George Bewley submitted his testimony UNDER OATH in the presence of a Justice of the Peace:
IT CURES INFLUENZA! Never mind ‘everything working in perfect order’ and ‘my appetite is splendid’. IT CURES INFLUENZA!
What? It just claims to cure the after effects of influenza? Well, let’s not get too excited then…
The advertisements ran from about June 1909 until July 1911 on an almost continuous basis. There was little variation other than the removal early on of the reference to the additional bottle of Fisher’s Beauty Pills that Mr. Bewley praised as being ‘gentle in action and a perfect natural aperient.’
So whereabouts in Erskineville was “Trelawney?”
Scanning through the Sands Directories the residence “Trelawney” and George Bewley appear for the first time in the 1908 edition, with George Bewley residing at “Trelawney” for three years until 1910:
Sands Directory Pleasant Avenue 1908 – 1909 – 1910
East Side? West Side? For the remainder of the publication of the Sands Directories (until 1932-33) consistency is established in attributing the odd numbered houses to the West side of the street. However, consistency is also established in listing the numbering of the street in the opposite direction to that of today. So to settle the confusion we will look to the meticulously compiled rate books generated by the Erskineville Council. Here below is an extract from 1907 recording the payment of rates by Mr. Bewley on 30 December 1907:
Erskineville Rate Book 1907 (City of Sydney Archives)
The Rate Book entry confirms the location of Mr George Bewley’s residence on the West side of Pleasant Avenue. The Sands Directory numbering was correct, but had incorrectly listed the residences in the order of Victoria to McDonald Street under the heading McDonald to Victoria Street. With reference to the Rate Book, counting six houses along the West side of Pleasant Avenue ‘going North’ brings us to:
11 Pleasant Avenue Erskineville – “Trelawney”
The Sands Directories and Rate Books allow for the identification of the names of other houses on the West side of Pleasant Avenue:
As for Phospherine remedies, the British Medical Journal Vol. 1, No. 2610 (Jan. 7, 1911), pp. 26-28 in an article ‘The Composition of Certain Secret Remedies’ states:
‘Unlike other tonic medicines, Phosferine does not injure the teeth, or upset the stomach or cause constipation; on the contrary, it will be found beneficial in these conditions.
Phosferine may be taken at all times with benefit; there is no possible objection to its continued use either as an appetizer or a general strengthening and nerve remedy.‘
Well! That might just be as close as we come to seeing an endorsement from the British Medical Journal of a remedy!
The Journal provides the following break-down of ingredients:
British Medical Journal Vol. 1, No. 2610 (Jan. 7, 1911), p. 26
Today, Newton’s Pharmacy in York Street Sydney stocks Fisher’s Phospherine with the instruction to take five drops twice a day in a little water. The Newton’s Pharmacy Fisher’s Phospherine formulation contains the following active ingredients:
Vitamin B group;
Extracts of Quassia; and
Finally, it would appear that Mr. Bewley’s great joy and good health remained with him for many more years. A Family History Search of the NSW Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages allows for the identification of a year of birth for George R. (Robinson) Bewley of 1872, giving his age at the time of the portrait in 1909 as 36 or 37 -so I think we have our man. A notice published a little over thirty years later on 20 January 1940 advises that Mr. Bewley passed away at his residence in Kingsford on 19 January 1940, aged 67.
We here at the Macdonaldtown Bicycle Club are just a little bit excited by this:
Saturday 9 April 2016 – 2pm
Isabella Hills Rest Area, Corner of Harold & Union Streets
Join Erko Labor in discovering how Erskineville lived, suffered, survived and thrived during war and peace over the last century. Learn about our suburb’s military units and rifle team, its soldiers and their families, its drill halls and munitions factories, a forgotten bomb shelter and some touching war memorials.
Featuring the wonderful research of Craig Wilcox and Sean Macken, come along for a great afternoon traversing the streets of Erskineville and listen to fascinating stories from Erskineville’s past.
‘Once more the Easter holidays and the Show – but to the kiddies the Circus is the magnet. They return home full of brilliant ideas of juggling and feats of strength.’
For no other reason than today being the first day of the 2016 Royal Easter Show, 94 years since this advertisement ran – here is ‘vigorous little specimen’ Stanley Honors of
38 Burren Street Erskineville (Illawarra Terrace). Positively full to bursting with Arnott’s Famous Milk Arrowroot Biscuits, the little button on his trousers straining under the weight:
They don’t make them like this anymore. Back in 1935 stories appeared along the east coast of Australia from Hobart to Cairns, in tribute to the strength and longevity of Mrs. Sophia Huxley. Hailing from Condobolin and born in 1845, in 1935 aged 90 Mrs. Huxley had spent sixty years working at the family’s little produce store in Erskineville Road.
A hundredweight bag of chaff? That’s a 50kg bag Mrs. Huxley is helping to hoist onto a wagon. Fifty kilograms!
Sophia married Arthur Huxley in 1870, and a couple of years later they settled in the business of a produce store at 72 Erskineville Road. ‘Mrs. Huxley has been absent from it very few days in the long years since then. She had a family of nine.’ Well, that’s the absenteeism explained, and all the children arrived between 1870 and 1890.
Happily we have some photographs of Mrs. Huxley going about her work at the produce store – the following photograph accompanied the Sydney Morning Herald article:
A week later in the 5 July 1935 edition of The Land newspaper another tribute to Mrs. Huxley appeared as Wonderful Old Age and starts with the question ‘How hard will you be working when you reach ninety, and have a great great grandchild?’ and the article closes with ‘On the rare occasions there is not a little one on her knee, well, then she begins throwing bags of chaff about, just to keep herself fit.‘
When the story reached Tasmania over the following days, Hobart’s The Mercury featured the story of Mrs. Huxley as Woman Works at 90 – reprinting the Sydney Morning Herald article without a photograph. The Advocate in Burnie and the Examiner in Launceston were mightily chuffed by the prominent featuring of the Tasmanian Brownell potatoes in the photograph and appear to have just run with captioned photos:
On 26 March 1936 Chairman of the Potato Marketing Board in Tasmania, Mr. Guy H. Parsons, on his return from attending the deliberations of the Federal Potato Council in Sydney declared Brownell potatoes the best on the market in Australia.
Yes. There was a Federal Potato Council. Potatoes were taken very seriously.
There is more information on Brownell potatoes available from the Heritage Fruit Society.
Mrs. Huxley could probably make a killing selling Brownell potatoes in Erskineville today. She was into heirloom and heritage produce before there was heirloom and heritage!
News of Mrs. Huxley’s sixty years of service was a little slower to reach North Queensland, with articles appearing in the Cairns Post on 13 January 1936, and Cairns’ Northern Herald on 18 January 1936.
The 1929 edition of the Sands Directory shows the Huxley’s produce store as one of a long row of shops (now demolished) running along the northern side of Erskineville Road running from the Erskineville Hotel towards Newtown.
Sands Directory – Erskineville Road North Side – 1929
The following photograph taken in 1929 features the Erskineville Hotel in the foreground, and the sign in white on the side of the shop a little further along on the right is for the boot repairing business of E. Withers. The location of Mrs. Huxley’s store was amongst the larger terraces further along on the right, about where the motor car can be seen trundling up the hill towards Newtown:
This map from about 1956 shows the location of number 72 Erskineville Road almost opposite the Imperial Hotel. The Huxley’s lived at 10 Baldwin Street – directly behind their produce store.
In 1948, 13 years after the story of Mrs. Huxley was published a short article appeared in the Australiana section of Sydney’s The World’s News recalling Mrs. Huxley’s famed abilities:
So here’s to you Mrs. Huxley, it was about time you received another mention. One wonders what Mrs. Huxley might think of Erskineville Road today in which the only chaff you are likely to find is coffee chaff, and a hundredweight is more likely to be the name of the latest craft ale brewing outfit.
All the very best Mrs. Huxley, and Happy Birthday.
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