The Macdonaldtown Station Picasso

Macdonaldtown station commuters.png
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

Posted in 1870-1879, 1880-1889, 1890-1899, 1940-1949, Burren Street, Charles Street, Random Erskineville | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Weymouth Terrace – 60, 62, 66 and 68 Albert Street Erskineville

Weymouth Terrace Erskineville 2016

Weymouth Terrace
North side of Albert Street – Number 60 on left

Weymouth Terrace (60, 62, 66 and 68 Albert Street Erskineville) is a row of four, two-storey terraces on the northern side of Albert Street. Continue reading

Posted in 1880-1889, Albert Street, Real Estate, Terraces and Houses | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Don’t Neglect Your Skin! – Mr Albert Nutt – Tortured By Chilblains

‘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:’

Tortured by chilblains - Albert Nutt 1914

Sydney Morning Herald Wednesday, 18 June 1913

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Posted in 1910-1919, Advertising, Ashmore Street, Good for what ails you, Remedies | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Scott’s Emulsion – Dorothy Downes – A long and continually increasing record of mothers’ successes

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:

Dorothy Downes Scotts Emulsion.png

The Advertiser (Adelaide) Friday, 27 August 1909

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Posted in 1900-1909, Advertising, Charles Street, Good for what ails you, Remedies | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Arnott’s Milk Arrowroot Biscuit Children – Phillip and Hurbert Webb

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:

Arnott's Milk Arrowroot Biscuit Children - 1922.png

Sydney Mail Wednesday, 8 March 1922

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:

Arnott's Milk Arrowroot Biscuit Children - 1924.png

Sydney Mail Wednesday, 3 September 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:

Victoria Street Erskineville Sands Extract

Sands Directory Victoria Street Erskineville – North Side 1921 to 1924

14 Victoria Street Erskineville.png

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.

Posted in 1920-1929, Advertising, Arnott's, Victoria Street | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Queensland Terrace – 27 to 37 Morrissey Road Erskineville

Queensland Terrace i
Queensland Terrace
East side of Morrissey Road looking north – No. 37 in foreground

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.’

Pleasant Street Sands 1886-88Comparison 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.

Pleasant Street Sands 1889-91.pngComparison 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):

Pleasant Street 1891.png

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):

Erskineville Civic Survey 1950.png

1951 – Pleasant Street Erskineville (located between Prospect and George Streets)
Extract of Civic Survey, Erskineville

1956 - City Building Surveyors's Detail Sheets - Sheet 19 Erskineville.png

1956 – Morrissey Road Erskineville (located between Prospect and George Streets)
Extract of City Building Surveyor’s Detail Sheets – Sheet 19 Erskineville

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A Startling Incident! Miraculous Escape and Salvation of a Railway Guard

‘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:

Fisher's Phospherine advertisement 1909.png

Sunday Times (Sydney) Sunday, 6 June 1909

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:

Pleasant Avenue Sands 1908 to 1910.png

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:

1907 Erskineville Rate Book Pleasant Ave.png

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.png

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:

 “Limaru” at 3 Pleasant Avenue Erskineville
“Brooklyn” at 7 Pleasant Avenue Erskineville
“Arabella” at 13 Pleasant Avenue Erskineville

Fisher's Phospherine 1909.png

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 Extract - Phosferine

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;
Magnesium Sulphate;
Potassium Sulphate;
o-Phosphoric Acid,;
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.

Phospherine detail 1909.png

Posted in 1900-1909, 1910-1919, Advertising, Good for what ails you, Pleasant Avenue | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Erskineville: War and Peace – Erskineville History Walk

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.

Erko History Walk 2016.png

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.

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Once more the Easter holidays and the Show

‘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:

1922 – Sydney Mail Wednesday 5 April 1922 – Stanley Honors 38 Burren Street Erskineville

Sydney Mail Wednesday, 5 April 1922

Posted in 1920-1929, Arnott's, Burren Street, Random Erskineville | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mrs. Sophia Huxley – the hundredweight hoisting 90 year old

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.

Mrs. Sophia Huxley.png
Sydney Morning Herald Saturday, 29 June 1935

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:

Mrs. Sophia Huxley SMH.pngSydney Morning Herald Saturday, 29 June 1935

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:

Selling Tasmanian Potatoes at 90Advocate (Burnie, Tas.) Tuesday 9 July 1935

Tasmanian potatoes feature in the picture.pngExaminer (Launceston, Tas.) Wednesday, 17 July 1935

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 extract 1929.png

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:

Erskineville Road 1929 SRC24648.png1929 – Junction of Erskineville Road and Septimus Street
City of Sydney Archives SRC24648

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.

City Building Surveyors' Detail Sheet ca1956 Sheet 19.png
City Building Surveyors’ Detail Sheet ca1956 Sheet 19

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:

Mrs. Sophia Huxley 1948.png
The World’s News (Sydney) Saturday, 19 June 1948

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.

There is more information about Mrs. Sophia Huxley available from these genealogy sites:
Australian Royalty; and

Posted in 1930-1939, Baldwin Street, Erskineville Road | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments