A Sydney Housewife’s Dreadful Bilious Bouts

‘Could not keep food on her stomach – Tortured by back pains –
Heart affected – Laid up for days together, and life was a burden.’

Poor Mrs. Charlotte Moore – suffering an affliction of those two evils, biliousness and indigestion, she overcame her burdensome existence and was restored to complete health and strength through a course of Bile Beans.
Advertisements featuring Mrs. Charlotte Moore appeared in about June 1913 and continued through until October 1913. The two advertisements featured here from June and October 1913 are as elaborate as those featuring Mrs. Moore ever became, typically appearing only in text (perhaps to give it more gravitas when talking about matters of indigestion and flatulence).

Charlotte Moore 1913i.png

Sunday Times (Sydney) Sunday, 29 June 1913

Charlotte Moore 1913ii.png

Sydney Morning Herald Wednesday, 15 October 1913

‘Flatulence caused my heart’s action to become very weak…’ Good grief.

Surely not only was Mrs. Moore burdened with these afflictions, the rest of the household was probably suffering as well.

A check of the Sands Directories for Prospect Street around the time of these advertisements shows Mr. William H. Moore residing at 63 Prospect Street Erskineville in 1911 and 1912. This extract of a map of Erskineville published in 1894 indicates the position of 63 Prospect Street remains the same, being one of a row of four:

Prospect Street Map 1894.png

Sheet 9 – City of Sydney Section Map 1894

63 Prospect Street Erskineville.png

63 Prospect Street Erskineville

Bile Beans.png

In 1910 the journal of the Melbourne Medical Students’ Society Speculum  issue 77, May 1910 p13-19 described the various modern patent medicines available at the time and provided the following assessment of Bile Beans:

How often as we have gazed at the lilting allurements of Bile Beans for Biliousness have we wondered what was in them. The ad says that the Bean is a kind of back-to-nature treatment, claiming as it does that Charles Forde, a distinguished scientist, had while in Australia noted that the aborigines were markedly free from bodily ailments, and had, by much patient research, ascertained that this immunity from the ills that beset the civilised man was obtained by the use of a vegetable substance which was now presented to the world dirt cheap in convenient form. When we read that the Bean for Biliousness contains Cascara, Rhubarb, Liquorice, Oil of Peppermint, and a gelatine coating, can we wonder that four judges in London should call the ad “a deliberate fraud.”

The University of Melbourne Archives featured an article on Bile Beans in their January 2010 newsletter. The following extract comes from ‘Bile Beans for Better Health!’ page 7:

Bile Beans were first manufactured and sold in Australia in the 1890s, early advertisements had it that they were an ‘Ancient Australian medicine’ invented by an Australian scientist, Charles Forde, who had allegedly researched the therapeutic attributes of native roots and herbs and had discovered ‘the finest remedy yet discovered for all liver and digestive disorders.’ This was all hokum of course, Charles Forde didn’t exist and the real ‘inventor’ was a Canadian living in Sydney named Charles E. Fulford, who had once worked as a shop assistant in a Canadian pharmacy. Fulford had appropriated the idea from a remedy already on the American market named Smith’s Bile Beans, while his marketing ploy was borrowed from the popular Dr. Morse’s Indian Root Pills, whose manufacturers claimed their source as native herbs and roots used by American Indians.

Additional background to the story of Bile Beans and some good examples of later advertising imagery is available at the Quack Doctor (with a follow-up here) including that a leaflet enclosed with the Bile Beans stated the Beans did not include mercury, bismuth, or aloes, however they did contain aloin – an aloe extract with laxative properties that is no longer considered safe because of its potential side effects.

Bile Beans are the Best Family Medicine.png

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Septimus Terrace – 13 to 17 Septimus Street Erskineville

Septimus Terrace.png

Septimus Terrace (13 to 17 Septimus Street Erskineville) is a row of three terraces located on the eastern side of Septimus Street, roughly midway between Albert Street and Erskineville Road. A comparison of the 1883 and 1884 Sands Directory entries for Septimus Street Macdonaldtown shows the first appearance of Septimus Terrace in the 1884 directory:

Sands Directory Septimus Street 1883-1884

Comparison of Septimus Street (East side) 1883 and 1884.
(Note: listed order is reversed for 1884)

A reference to 1 Septimus Terrace (17 Septimus Street) appears in an 1887 advertisement calling for applications for a general servant:

Septimus Terrace 1887
Sydney Morning Herald Monday, 28 March 1887

In 1915, 13 Septimus Street (3 Septimus Terrace), equipped with ‘every convenience’ was advertised for rent for 14 shillings a week:

13 septlet

Sydney Morning Herald Tuesday, 10 August 1915

Here below is an extract of the City of Sydney Map of Erskineville published in 1894, with the houses shown numbered; and Septimus Terrace highlighted:

SV Map.png

1894 – City of Sydney section Erskineville – Sheet 10

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Arnott’s Living Pictures – Alice May Edwards – 9 Lambert 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.

In 1908, Alice May Edwards, aged seven months of 9 Lambert Street Erskineville was presented in portrait 800. The resounding endorsement of Mrs. Edward Edwards: “I can highly recommend ARNOTT’S MILK ARROWROOT BISCUITS TO ALL MOTHERS” was one of eight thousand testimonials from mothers received (presumably Mrs. Edwards must not have been one to throw about the term ‘highly recommended’ lightly).

Unlike the 1910 t0 1918 run of Hazel Harris of George Street Erskineville, Alice’s appearance seems to have been short lived, with only two advertisements identified from November 1908. The first appearing on 12 November 1908, and the second on 26 November 1908:

Alice May Edwards ii.png

The Worker (Wagga Wagga) Thursday, 26 November 1908

For Very Young Children, Crush the Biscuits to a powder, and if possible, put through a very fine sieve. Take a well-heaped dessert-spoon of the powder, and gradually add half a cupful of boiling water, stirring at the same time. Then add half a cupful of fresh milk, and sweeten to taste. It is the best to first sterilise the milk by placing a covered jug or other vessel containing the milk in a pot of water, and boil for half an hour. See that all the vessels are kept scrupulously clean. For Older Children pour boiling water on Biscuits as they are, and give by spoon. A good way is to put a saucer over the cup or basin in which the biscuits are placed to soak, until they swell out, leaving no water. Later on, children can have them either whole or soaked, at home or at school.

9 Lambert Street.png

9 Lambert Street Erskineville

A check of the Sands Directories for 1908 and a few years either side does not allow for the identification of the Edwards family in Lambert Street, with Mrs. Annie Dobson listed at the address from 1906 to 1910 (Mrs. Dobson made her own appearance in the news in 1907). It may be supposed that the Edwards family rented a room in the house. A check of the NSW Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages otherwise shows Alice M Edwards was born to Edward and Charlotte Edwards, in the district of Newtown in 1908.



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Aldermanic Dignity and Delinquent Municipal Furniture

This is wonderful.

Aldermanic Dignity.png

Evening News (Sydney) Tuesday, 27 October 1908


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Nature’s Danger Signals – Mother Seigel’s Syrup

‘There is no form of indigestion or biliousness that will not yield to Mother Seigel’s Syrup.’

Mr. Thomas Butler of 41 Flora Street Erskineville suffered horribly from severe indigestion and stomach cramp before finding relief from a bottle of Mother Seigel’s Syrup, in which he found a complete and thorough cure.

From July 1908 Mr. Thomas Butler’s story of his return to health featured on a regular basis in publications all over Australia. The earliest appearance identified to date appears below:

Nature's DAnger Signals.png

Standard (Port Melbourne, Vic) Saturday, 18 July 1908

Towards the end of September 1908 a change appears in the advertising. No longer was it enough for Mr. Butler’s enthusiastic testimony to carry the weight of convincing the public of the benefits of Mother Seigel’s Syrup, and the art department was called into action:

MS II.png

The Grenfell Record & Lachlan District Advertiser Saturday, 3 October 1908

Advertisements ran in this form until they appear to cease on or around 26 December 1908. Between July and December 1908 these advertisements appeared in about 100 editions of newspapers around the country.

For several months there was silence and the story appeared to have run its course. However, in July, August and September 1909 Mr. Thomas Butler’s testimony received a reprieve and was again republished, this time as part of a half page advertisement that included a similar story of a return to health from Mrs. Winifred McKay of Lygon Street North Carlton (Vic). Again the creative department had made some changes and the image of a man wracked with pain had been replaced by a much friendlier looking character:

Healthy and happy.png

Sydney Morning Herald Saturday, 17 July 1909

Mother Seigels Syrup Logo 1909.png

“I only pray for simple grace
to look my neighbour in the face
full honestly from day to day.”

The Sands Directories show Mr. Thomas Butler residing at 41 Flora Street Erskineville from 1905 to 1914. Here is an extract of a map of Erskineville published in 1895 indicating the position of 41 Flora Street remains the same as today:

SG Map.png

Sheet 12- City of Sydney Section Map 1895

 Here is a description of the house from a sales notice of 1903 shortly before its occupation by Mr. Thomas Butler:

41 FLora desc.png

Sydney Morning Herald Wednesday, 4 February 1903

There is a little written about Mother Seigel’s Syrup here and here, suggesting a connection to the The United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing (the Shakers), and that Mother Seigel’s Syryp was renamed ‘Shaker Extract of Roots.’

The Spectator Magazine of 18 December 1908 p21-22 citing the British Medical Association reported the ingredients of Mother Seigel’s Syrup as follows:

MS Recipe.png

Spectator Magazine (UK) 18 December 1908

 Similarly, the journal of the Melbourne Medical Students’ Society Speculum  issue 77, May 1910 p13-19 citing the British Medical Association states ‘Mother Seigel’s Syrup is made up with HCl. Tinct : Capsici, and aloes with treacle and water.’

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

Pulpits and Personalities – The Shifting Sands of Time – Holy Trinity Church Erskineville

Holy Trinity Erskineville Nov 2015

As the end of 2015 nears it is worth mentioning before the year is out the 135th anniversary of the formation of the parish of Holy Trinity Macdonaldtown in 1880, and the 130th anniversary of the opening of the Holy Trinity Church in Toogood Street (now Rochford Street) in 1885.

The following article was published 85 years ago in 1930, in celebration of the jubilee of the parish of Holy Trinity Erskineville:


Evening News Saturday, 28 June 1930

The text of the original article is largely illegible, so here instead is a transcript:

Historic Sydney Parish Has Interesting Story

The story of the development of, and changing conditions in a parish lying on the outskirts of a big and modern city provides interesting reading. Such a story is afforded by the parish of Holy Trinity Erskineville, which has just celebrated the jubilee of its formation.
Fifty years ago Erskineville, unlike the industrial centre it is today, was the proud possessor of wide open spaces. Of the old homes occupied by families of note, two examples still remain—”Blair Athol” and “Gowrie House” the former of which is now the rectory. This fine old house with its spacious grounds has  undergone many iterations since its erection some sixty or seventy years ago, but still stands with its huge Moreton Bay fig and well-known pine trees, sentinel-like as a reminder of the past.
The parish of Holy Trinity Macdonaldtown—as it was then called—was formed by cutting off the portion of St. Stephen’s parish Newtown lying to the east of the main Western line and the separation is officially recorded as having taken place on June 22, 1880. Prior to this event, however, services had been held for some time in private houses situated in this area, and were conducted by the late Rev. Canon Robert Taylor, Rector of St. Stephen’s, Newtown. Mr. H. J. Handel, a parishioner of those days, and since deceased, has written:
“We were present at the first meetings for service in a cottage near the railway bridge at Erskineville, belonging to Mr. Horsfall. After this, an old coach builders place was taken, and the large accommodation was taken up with increasing numbers. Then followed the movement for building a school church. Ground was procured in George st., along side the Illawarra railway line, subsequently built, and after some struggles the little church has opened, under the charge of the rector and curates of Newtown.”
This first church, situated in George-st., was opened for service, and its license was granted on December 4, 1879.

There was considerable growth in building construction and population in the district during the early eighties, and church life was developing to such an extent that the ecclesiastical authorities considered that the time was ripe for the formation of a new parish, to be known as Holy Trinity, Macdonaldtown and consequently Bishop Barker signed the necessary documents, bringing into being the new parish on June 22, 1880, and at the same time licensed the late Rev. Joseph Dark, curate of Newtown as its first Incumbent. Among the preachers in the little old church of those days were Revs. Hulton King, David Dillon (entered up in the records as “a catechist from Bathurst”), R. S. Willis, John Done. Thomas Holme. J. Howell Price, S. Hungerford, Samuel Fox, S. G. Fielding, and F. S. Boyce, all of whom, with the exception of the last two, have passed away. Mr. Fielding is living in honored retirement at Longueville, while Archdeacon Boyce, affectionately regarded as “the grand old man of the diocese,” officiated at one of the special jubilee services.
Rev. J. Hornby-Spear succeeded Rev. Joseph Dark as incumbent in 1882, but during the next two or three years the church suffered some reverses, and on the resignation of Mr. Spear in 1884, Bishop Barker requested Rev. Robert Taylor, of Newtown, to take the over-sight of the parish in addition to his own duties as rector of St. Stephen’s.
Canon Taylor considered that it would be wise to transfer the church organisation to a more central situation, and the last services in the first church were held on Sunday, January 4, 1885, and for the next three months services were conducted in the council chambers during the erection of the new church in Toogood (now Rochford) street.
One conversant with the affairs or the church at that time states: —
“The rector and wardens of Newtown succeeded in selling the old church property to the Roman Catholics, and then set about bidding for the valuable property now possessed by the parish. The present property then consisted of the old residence, ‘Blair Athol,’ and very large grounds. A sum of money was borrowed, and a new church was started. It was intended to leave the valuable grounds in front of ‘Blair Athol’ (now the rectory) for the future large parish church. A schoolroom was afterwards built and then Canon Taylor launched a building proposition and put up four workmen’s cottages. They were, when erected, substantial buildings for those days, and the rental enabled the trustees to keep the interest on the large debt paid up, and the rectory at that time was let, the clergy living in Erskineville-road.”
A new era in the life of the parish was ushered in with the dedication of the new church in Toogood-street on the second Sunday after Easter, April 19, 1885, by Right Rev. Alfred Barry, then Bishop of Sydney. Rev. J. D. Langley, now a retired and revered Bishop of the Church, preached at the evening service on that day, while the officiant on the following Sunday was Rev. Gerard D’Arcy Irvine, at that time curate of Newtown cum Erskineville, and now Co-adjutor Bishop of the diocese. Mr. D’Arcy Irvine continued as minister, together with other members of the staff of St. Stephen’s, Newtown, till the appointment of the late Rev. Edward Hargrave as rector in March, 1888.

In 1895 the parish hall was enlarged to meet the growing demands of an expanding Sunday school, and ten years later the fine pipe organ that the church is proud to possess was installed. Since the beginning of this century there has been a fairly steady departure of parishioners of Holy Trinity to suburbs further out, with consequent loss to the church, but its erstwhile workers are now to be found in many newer churches giving faithful service elsewhere with the spirit of energy and devotion found at Holy Trinity, Erskineville. In times of many difficulties, the parish continues to make a live witness for God and it is fortunate in still possessing a band of devoted workers who strengthen the hands of their rector, Rev. H. Cocks.
The list of clergy who have been in charge of the parish since its inception is as follows:—Rev. Joseph Dark, 1880-1882; Rev. J. Hornby-Spear, 1882-1884; Rev. Robert Taylor, 1884-1888; Rev. Edward Hargrave, 1888-1889; Rev. C. B. Gibson, 1889-1904, Rev. F. M. Dalrymple, 1904-1907; Rev. O. J. Kimberley, 1907-1909; Rev. C. Hughendrey 1909-1910; Rev. Stephen Taylor, 1910- 1916; Rev. J. Newton Stephen, 1916- 1922; Rev. O. V. Abram. 1922-1926; Rev. E. R. Elder, 1926-1928; Rev. Reginald Smee, 1928-1929; Rev. H. S. Cocks, 1929.
Last month the Dean of Sydney opened and dedicated some extensions to the church and parish hall, designated as the Dalrymple Memorial Wing, in memory of Rev. F. M. Dalrymple and his wife Isabella.
The energetic rector of the parish, Rev. H. S. Cocks, supported by an enthusiastic band of workers, has just carried through a most successful and ambitious jubilee programme, to mark the 50th anniversary of the formation of the parish. Special services and social gatherings of past and present parishioners were held. A particularly attractive souvenir “Looking Backward.” being a short history of the church, was compiled, and about £215 was raised in thanksofferings towards the erection of an organ chamber, and other improvements to the church.

At the recent Churches of Christ Conference the following resolution was carried unanimously: “That this conference records its appreciation of the action of the “Evening News” in devoting so much space in its Saturday issues to the activities and teaching of the various churches, and directs that a letter of appreciation be sent to the paper.

An article recording the details of the consecration of the church on 19 April 1885, and providing a good description of the ‘new’ Trinity Church is available here.

A more recent history of the Holy Trinity Church Erskineville with a focus on the building’s interior, including its stained glass windows and memorials was published in 2011 by Craig Wilcox. Called ‘Love’s notebook : inside Erskineville’s Holy Trinity Church‘ it can be viewed at the NSW State Library here.

A history of the church and its buildings can also be found on at the State Heritage Inventory section of the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage website here.

Trinity Curch Erskineville south wall

Mr. Horsfall’s cottage near the railway bridge at Erskineville at which the first meetings for service were held has been demolished to allow for the widening of the Illawarra Railway line. Mr. Joseph Horsfall is listed in the Sands Directories of 1875 and 1876 as a draper, then in 1882 as a woolbroker and in 1884 as a wool merchant (in 1880-1881 and 1883 Joseph Horsfall was Mayor of Macdonaldtown). By referring to the 1884 Sands Directory the property of Joseph Horsfall can be identified several doors along from the Rose of Australia hotel. Taking a look at the City of Sydney map of Erskineville published ten years later in 1894 indicates Mr. Horsfall’s property corresponds with number 11 Swanson Street, next to the railway line:

1894 Sands Horsfall

1884 Sands Directory – Swanson Street, South side
(Note: Burren Street referred to here is now Bridge Street)

Horsfall Map

Sheet 5 & 7 City of Sydney Section Erskineville – 1894

As for the first church, situated in George Street from December 1879 until January 1885, it makes its first appearance in the Sands Directory of 1880, showing its location to be on the east side of George Street, south of Erskineville Road:

1880 Sands Directory George St extract

1880 Sands Directory – George Street, East Side

Following the departure of the church from George Street the 1886 Sands Directory and subsequent directories list the George Street location as St Mary’s of the Suburbs Roman Catholic Church. With the numbering of the streets of Erskineville from 1891 onwards the Sands Directory lists the Sisters of Mercy at 134 George Street and St Mary’s of the Suburbs Roman Catholic Church and School next door. Today a building bearing a memorial stone ‘solemnly blessed and laid by his eminence Cardinal Moran Archbishop of Sydney’ on 20 March 1898 stands at 134 George Street, suggesting the original church was located at what is now the Kirsova 2 Playground. The detailed map of Erskineville published in 1894 shows what appears to be a large hall with prominent fencing to George Street in this location:

Map extract

Sheet 5 & 7 City of Sydney Section Erskineville – 1894

Both ‘Blair Athol’ and ‘Gowrie House’ referred to in the article have been demolished. Here is a photo of the rectory, referred to as ‘Blair Athol’ (and known otherwise as ‘Erskine-Villa’) taken in 1929, a year before the article was published:


The Australian Women’s Weekly Wednesday 3 September 1975

In 1975 the daughter of Rev. Reginald Smee, Dorothy Hulme-Moir recalled her time living in the Holy Trinity Rectory in 1929, stating:

Rectory recollection

The Australian Women’s Weekly Wednesday 3 September 1975

This photo shows the house again in May 1936, from another angle, with a buttress-rooted tree (the huge Moreton Bay fig perhaps?) in the foreground:

Erskine Villa

Erskine Villa
Pictorial History of South Sydney also d1_25480 State Library of NSW.

This extract of a detailed map of Erskineville published in 1894 shows the church with the Rectory ‘Blair Athol’ located in between the church and Erskineville Road. As stated in the article, it was intended to leave the valuable grounds in front of ‘Blair Athol’ for the future large parish church:


Sheet 9 – City of Sydney Section Erskineville – 1894

Here is an extract of an aerial photograph taken in 1949, with the (now much larger) fig tree visible towards the corner of Erskineville Road and Rochford Street. The chimneys at each side of the building and visible in the previous photographs can be seen and there appears from the image (and adjacent aerial photographs) to be something to the rear of the roof – perhaps the windows of the ‘darling little attic rooms’ that Dorothy Hulme-Moir referred to overlooking Rochford Street.

1950 Aerial view

1949 – Aerial Survey of the City of Sydney, Main Survey – AO099

The Sands Directories indicate Gowrie House was located on the corner of Erskineville Road and Gowrie Street (where the supermarket is now), opposite Alfred (Albert) Street:

Gowrie House

Sheet 15 – City of Sydney Section Newtown – 1891

Posted in 1880-1889, 1890-1899, 1930-1939, Erskineville Road, George Street, Rochford Street, Swanson Street, Toogood Street | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Liver and Kidney Troubles – A Sydney Woman’s Trials

Here follows the story of Mrs. Ada Lord of 45 George Street (now 45 Charles Street) and the wonderful results she obtained from taking Dr Morse’s Indian Root Pills (there is more information about Dr Morse’s Indian Root Pills here). These advertisements ran from about March 1910 to November 1913:

45 George St

Ovens and Murray Valley Advertiser (Beechworth, Vic) Thursday, 6 April 1911

As the present building on the site is a relatively new build, here are some photos from the City of Sydney Archives showing the house as it once stood:

45 charles st I

45 Charles Street Erskineville circa 1977-1980 City of Sydney Archives CRS 1140: BM 333

45 charles st II

45 Charles Street Erskineville circa 1977-1980 City of Sydney Archives CRS 1140: BM 360

The Sands Directories show Mrs. Ada Lord residing at 45 George Street for two years only, in 1908 and 1909.

Alright, I may be speculating a little, but ultimately it might have transpired that the return to good health experienced by Mrs. Lord may not have been shared by her nephew who recommended them to her in the first place. The next time we see a reference to Mrs. Ada Lord in the newspapers is in 1914, in relation to her invitation to the funeral of her nephew, George Alpha Martin:

George Martin Knight Street

Sydney Morning Herald Monday, 27 July 1914

The link between Mrs. Ada Lord and the Bayley family can be established via two references appearing in 1904 (here and here) in relation to Mrs. Ada Lord (formerly Bayley) of Alexandria (and her six children) and her divorce from Henry Edward Lord (Justice Walker hearing the proceedings is said to have described Henry Lord as having conducted himself more as a fiend than a man).

Assuming the Mrs. Ada Lord of 45 George Street is the same Mrs. Ada Lord attending the funeral of George Alpha Martin (and in small-town south Sydney I think we can), a link can be established to the Martin family of nearby 2 Knight Street, Erskineville. A check of the NSW Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages shows Ada (born 1870) was number seven of nine children to John and Margaret Bayley. One of Ada’s older sisters was Mary A. Bayley (born 1862) who, married to John Martin, were the parents of George Alpha Martin. George himself was married (to Mrs. George Martin) and it would seem that around mid 1910 they became parents to a baby boy.

In 1911 Mrs. George Martin decided to put pen to paper too. The following endorsement ran from about August 1911 until about May 1913 featuring (on the basis of the above) the story of George Alpha Martin’s son, young George H. Martin:

Cuticura Soap Knight Street

Punch (Melbourne) Thursday, 7 September 1911

The Sands Directories show Mrs. Mary A. Martin residing at 2 Knight Street from 1909 to 1918. Like 45 George Street, 2 Knight Street has been replaced with a new build. In the absence of a photograph of the house here it is featured on a map published in 1895:

Knight Street

Sheet 12 – City of Sydney section Erskineville Surveyor General Map 1895

As for Cuticura Soap, there is more information here, and it is still commercially available today.

So how did Mrs. Ada Lord fare at the end of the day? The Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages records the marriage in the District of Newtown of Ada Lord to Mark Heslop in 1916. Ten years later Ada passed away on 31 May 1926 aged 56, with memorials inserted by her children the following year in 1927:

Ada notice

Sydney Morning Herald Wednesday, 2 June 1926


Sydney Morning Herald Tuesday, 31 May 1927

Posted in 1910-1919, Charles Street, George Street, Good for what ails you, Knight Street | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Arnott’s Living Pictures – Hazel Harris – An Arnott’s Milk Arrowroot Biscuit Girl

The Arnott’s celebrates 150 years website describes the ‘Living Pictures’ advertising campaign as running from 1892 until the 1950s and involving 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.

The mothers of Erskineville were no different, with over 20 children featuring in advertising from the late 1890s to the late 1920s. Of these, what appears to be the most frequently published and long-running featured Hazel Harris, aged 2 years and 10 months, of 226 George Street Erskineville. Young Hazel first appeared in 1910 and continued to feature in newspapers around Australia until 1918.


The World’s News (Sydney) Saturday, 29 October 1910

 A breakfast of of Milk Arrowroots soaked in hot milk and sugar? No wonder young Hazel is pictured standing on her chair.

226 and 228 George Street Erskineville

226 George Street Erskineville (on left)
with 228 George Street (former grocer) at junction of George and Macdonald Streets

The Harris family make one appearance, in the 1911 Sands Directory, seemingly residing at 226 George Street for a short time only before moving on:

Sands Directory 1911 Extract

1911 Sands Directory – George Street East Side

A check of the NSW Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages shows Hazel D Harris was born to John and Ellen E Harris, in the district of Lambton (Newcastle) in 1907.

By 1918, (still aged 2 years and 10 months) – and having appeared around Australia as an Arnott’s Milk Arrowroot Biscuit Girl, the metal printing mould had probably seen better days, perhaps the typesetter was having an off day, or someone had over-inked the press, Hazel Harris made what might have been her final appearance in the Broken Hill Barrier Miner:

Hazel last

 Barrier Miner (Broken Hill) Saturday, 6 April 1918

Posted in 1910-1919, Advertising, Arnott's, George Street | Tagged , , , , , ,

Illawarra Terrace – 36 to 40 Burren Street Erskineville

Illawarra Terrace Burren Street

Illawarra Terrace (36 to 40 Burren Street) is located on the western side of Burren Street, about two-thirds of the way down towards Erskineville Road. The first time Illawarra Terrace appears in the Sands Directories is in 1884 – a comparison of the 1883 and 1884 editions shows Illawarra Terrace in the 1884 directory as a row of three on the western side of Burren Street between the existing residences of Mrs Elizabeth Bedford and William Saunder:

Sands Directory Burren Street 1883 -1884

Comparison of Burren Street (West side): 1883 and 1884

A reference to Illawarra Terrace appears in early 1884 in relation to nearby ‘nuisances’ -a  term used fairly regularly to describe the poor state of Macdonaldtown at the time:

Extract Illawa

Evening News Wednesday, 23 January 1884

Two additional references to the row as Illawarra Terrace prior to the adoption of street numbering can also be identified:

Illa I

Sydney Morning Herald Monday, 14 June 1886

Illa II

Sydney Morning Herald Wednesday, 31 August 1887

Here’s an extract of a map of Macdonaldtown from 1886, showing Erskineville Railway Station in its original location north of the Swanson Street overbridge (and opposite Illawarra Terrace):

1886 Extract

Higinbotham, Robinson & Harrison. Map of the Parish of Petersham in Sydney, Macdonaldtown 1886

Here below is an extract of the City of Sydney Map of Erskineville published in 1894, with the houses shown numbered; and Illawarra Terrace highlighted:

Sheet 6

1894 – City of Sydney section Erskineville – Sheet 6

It is likely the terrace takes its name from the adjacent Illawarra Railway Line, with construction of both the railway and terrace occurring at the same time. Tenders for the  construction of the railway line closed on 12 September 1882; with reports of the construction being well under way appearing by November 1882; and the line opening on 15 October 1884 (about seven months later than planned).

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The Erskineville Drinking Fountain

Erskineville Drinking Fountain

Today the Erskineville drinking fountain sits on a crumbling brick and concrete plinth in a graveyard. Largely indistinguishable from the surrounding memorials it languishes ignored as visitors pass by, of interest only to children who cannot resist climbing through its arch.

In October 1897 reports of the Erskineville Council meeting record the offer by Mr E. W. Molesworth M.L.A. to erect or contribute a substantial sum to the cost of a drinking fountain:

Fountain for Erskineville

Evening News Wednesday, 24 November 1897

No acknowledgement by the Mayor (Alderman R. Anderson) for the offer of a drinking fountain for the borough by Mr Molesworth? Crafty politics Alderman Robinson, well played…

But then things became awkward for Alderman Robinson…

Aldermans Mistake

Evening News Wednesday, 8 December 1897

The proposed design for Newtown’s very ornate Hatte Fountain (published on 30 October 1897) can be seen here. The foundation stone for the Hatte fountain was laid on Saturday 20 November 1897 in Newtown. The event (and its attendance by Mr Molesworth) is reported here, with the formal unveiling of the completed Hatte fountain a week later on Saturday 27 November 1897 reported here.

Ultimately despite this apparent embarrassment Mr Molesworth still seemed willing to forge ahead with his plan to provide the residents of Erskineville a drinking fountain. However things became sillier still, as with the narrowness of the roads of Erskineville a suitable location for the fountain could not be identified:

No place for fountain

Evening News Tuesday, 4 January 1898

7 Jan meeting minutes

Sydney Morning Herald Friday, 7 January 1898

Just a week later there was progress at last!

Fountain progress

Evening News Tuesday, 11 January 1898

By the start of February the formal hand-over of the completed fountain was announced:

Fountain Feb

Evening News Tuesday, 1 February 1898

So in keeping with the wishes of the fountain’s donor, the presentation of the ‘handsome fountain’ was made ‘with quietness and brevity,’ – in short, the Mayor turned the water on:

7 Feb

Sydney Morning Herald Tuesday, 7 February 1898

Today the inscriptions are weather-worn, but can still be seen on the fountain:

Roadside inscription Erskineville Fountain

Roadside inscription

Footpath-facing inscription Erskineville Fountain

Footpath-facing inscription

Williams - Architect

Inscription on fountain base: Williams – Architect

A separate report the following day in the Evening News re-stated much of what had been reported the previous day, but included a further aspect of the Mayor’s speech. The Mayor it seems took the opportunity to point out that there was plenty of room in the borough for more fountains, and called upon others to imitate the generosity of Mr Molesworth. Following this, the Mayor identified an urgent need for the erection of a free public baths, ‘sure they would be appreciated by bricklayer, railway men, and others, who, after leaving their work needed a bath but had no convenience of the kind at their own homes.’ Speculating as to the cost of the baths, he proposed each of the Aldermen contribute an equal share, saying that he was prepared to give a cheque for his contribution, and made suggestions for Aldermen to raise their contribution should they not have the means:

 8 Feb reportEvening News Tuesday, 8 February 1898

The article of 8 February 1898 was re-published on 26 February 1898 in the Australian Town and Country Journal with the addition of a photograph. Although the image is grainy it can be seen that the finial has been lost from the top of the fountain, and the central basin within the arch has been removed:

Fountain Newspaper photo

Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney) Saturday, 26 February 1898

The niche visible in the lower part of the fountain is the likely subject of the following article:

Fountain niche

Niche at base of fountain

All honour

The Dawn (Sydney) Tuesday, 1 March 1898

In recollections of Erskineville recorded some years later for the Erskineville School Centenery in 1981 the location of the Erskineville drinking fountain was recalled by Thomas Herbert Dicken:

At the Erskineville [tram] termius was a triangular block of land which split the two streets, and on which were three shops; a butcher, a shoe repairer and a newsagent. A sandstone edifice, a memorial to a former local dignitary, that doubled as a drinking fountain complete with tap and iron mug on a chain, also graced the triangle. Built into the memorial was a small trough placed at ground level to receive the overflow from the tap. This was to assuage the thirst of the many itinerant canines that passed by.

Thomas Herbert Dicken Reminices 1913 to 1921
for Erskineville School Centenery in 1981
South Sydney Heritage Society 1998 – with thanks to Gary Luke

Here is an extract of a map published in 1907, with the location of the fountain on the triangular piece of land on the corner of Burren Street and Erskineville Road circled.

Erskineville Map 1907.png

1907 -Map of the city of Sydney and adjacent suburbs compiled from the latest authentic sources, lithographed and published by H. E. C. Robinson

The fountain served the residents (and animals) of Erskineville for the next 38 years. However, 13 years after the passing of Mr Molesworth, and in anticipation of the widening of Erskineville Road in 1936 the Erskineville Fountain was quietly removed to the Camperdown Cemetery, where it remains today:

Fountain removal

Sydney Morning Herald Saturday, 9 May 1936

In 1995 Sue Rosen sat down with Bill Schwebel to record Bill’s recollections of growing up in Erskineville. Bill was born at 28 John Street Erskineville in 1910, and remained in Erskineville until he was married in 1935. In the course of the conversation Bill turns his mind to the area between Burren and Charles Streets:

The trams used to run around there and up the top of there, between Burren Street and Charles Street, was called Five Ways. Five Ways was the building and it was built like that. I suppose it was about twenty four foot here – just to use a figure – twenty four foot here and it’d go to about six foot up the front. Now, on this corner was a newsagent, Pryor(?), and he had a backyard. Next to Pryor was a boot repair shop, say about as big as that, and then on the point here was a butcher shop and outside the butcher shop was a fountain and when I come to think of it I don’t think it was there for horses, although it could’ve been for horses there because outside was a fountain for drinking but I never saw a drop of water in it so it must have been empty or misused before my time at school and that.

The Fountain’s Return – Almost
 In 2013 a couple of articles appeared in relation to a campaign for the restoration of the fountain and its return to Erskineville. There appeared to be a good level of support behind the proposal too, with City of Sydney Councillors voting unanimously for the return of the fountain:

News local I

Inner West Courier – Inner City Edition Thursday, 24 October 2013

News Local II

Inner West Courier – Inner City Edition Tuesday, 19 November 2013

However it was not to be, with an article in early 2015  putting an end to the campaign, the decision having been made for the fountain to remain at its existing location in the grounds of the Camperdown Cemetery:

News local III

Central Sydney Magazine Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Fountain detail

Edmund William Molesworth
An article about Mr. Molesworth published close to the time of the donation of the drinking fountain appeared in the Australian Town and Country Journal on 30 October 1897 (here) providing a brief summary of his political career up to that time, with a photo appearing on the following page:

Molesworth phot

Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney) Saturday, 30 October 1897

A complete summary of Mr Molesworth’s political career can be found on the Parliament of New South Wales website here. More on the life of Edmund Molesworth can be drawn from his obituary, published in June 1923 following his death at 76 years:

Moles Obit

Sydney Morning Herald Monday, 4 June 1923

And so whilst the council’s undertaking in accepting Mr Molesworth’s gift of a fountain to the residents of Erskineville ‘to take it under their care for all time’ was not fulfilled, at least something can be taken from its relocation, whether intended or otherwise, to the grounds of the St Stephen’s Church and Camperdown Cemetery with which Mr Molesworth had held such long associations.

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