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City of Sydney Historical Association

Become a COSHA Member
You will receive:

  • A forward program of our monthly events
  • A Monthly Newsletter with a record of our speakers’ talks
  • Information on other History Events in NSW

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City of Sydney Historical Association (COSHA)

Formed in 2000 with the aim of increasing awareness and appreciation of the history of the City of Sydney, COSHA aims to make our history more accessible.
COSHA regularly organises guided walks, lectures and tours of historic sites and buildings.




"The Holtermann Goldfields Collection"

Speaker: Patrick Dodd

ABOVE: Hill End goldminers 1872. Holtermann in bowler hat second from left

In 1951, 3,500 glass plate negatives in cedar boxes were found in a garden shed in Chatswood. This extraordinary discovery turned out to be the most complete record of the goldfields era anywhere in the world. Bernhardt Holtermann commissioned the photographs after finding the world’s biggest specimen of reef gold at his Star of Hope mine in 1872. The plates were donated to the Mitchell Library in 1952. Come along on September 14th when Patrick Dodd from the Library will tell us the fascinating story behind the Holtermann Collection and show us some of the fascinating images from that time.

Venue: Sydney Mechanics School of Arts
280 Pitt Street, Sydney
$3 Members $6 Visitors
No bookings required




Annual General Meeting: 1:30pm

Speaker Dr Catie Gilchrist: 2:00pm

(Visitors please arrive by 1.50pm)

"Murder, manslaughter, suicide, mishap"

The very public business of determining death in colonial Sydney

Following a brief Annual General Meeting, Dr Catie Gilchrist, Honorary Associate Dept of History Sydney University will tell us about her new book: ‘Murder, manslaughter, suicide, mishap’ - the very public business of determining death in colonial Sydney. Murder in colonial Sydney was a surprisingly rare occurrence, so when it did happen it caused a great sensation.

People flocked to the scene of the crime, to the coroner's court and to the criminal courts to catch a glimpse of the accused .Most of us today rarely see a dead body. In nineteenth century Sydney, when health was precarious and workplaces and the busy city streets were often dangerous, witnessing a death was rather common. And any death that was sudden or suspicious would be investigated by the coroner.

Catie Gilchrist explores the nineteenth century city as a precarious place of bustling streets and rowdy hotels, harbourside wharves and dangerous industries. With few safety regulations, the colourful city was also a place of frequent inquests, silent morgues and solemn graveyards. This is the story of life and death in colonial Sydney. .

Venue: Lord Mayor’s Reception Room Sydney Town Hall
Gold coin donation appreciated
No bookings required



Jane and D’Arcy

"Folly is not always Folly"

Did Jane Austen (1775-1817) have an Australian connection? In ‘Jane & D’Arcy’, Australian author Wal Walker makes this groundbreaking claim. ‘Jane and D’Arcy’ is the history of Jane Austen and a young Irish surgeon D’Arcy Wentworth. ‘Folly is not always Folly’ tells the story of their first meeting, family connections, their romance and adventures, and their separation, on the eve of D’Arcy’s departure for New South Wales.

Their romance, kept secret by her family, provided the inspiration for much of her writing. ‘Folly’ follows Jane from the Steventon Rectory to Bath, then Southampton, and D’Arcy from Ireland to London, then to Sydney and Norfolk Island.

Wal Walker is a grandson of D’Arcy Wentworth’s great grandson. He has written his family’s untold story of D’Arcy and Jane Austen. Wentworth (1762-1827) was the love of her life. Through a close reading of Austen and a deep knowledge of Wentworth’s life, Walker demonstrates where and when they might have met, and what brought them together.

Venue: Sydney Mechanics School of Arts
280 Pitt Street, Sydney
$3 Members $8 Visitors
No bookings required



SATURDAY 14th DECEMBER at 2:00pm

"Remembering the Magic of Childhood"

Our favourite Music man Warren Fahey will be with us once again for our Christmas event.

Children find magic in so many things because their imagination knows no boundaries. In this fascinating illustrated talk, cultural historian, Warren Fahey, shares some of the songs, stories, games and traditions he has collected over the past fifty years. His next book, ‘A Hop, Skip & a Jump’, to be published early 2020, surveys how Australian children have been entertained over the centuries in both the bush and cities.

Venue: Sydney Mechanics School of Arts
280 Pitt Street, Sydney
$3 Members $8 Visitors
No bookings required