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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.



SATURDAY 10th AUGUST at 2:00pm

"Taronga Park Zoo - A History"

Speaker: Guy Cooper

In 1916 and following 60 years of deliberation, frequent acrimonious debate and occupying diverse locations embracing the Botanic Gardens, Hyde Park, Moore Park and Billy Goat Swamp, Sydney’s zoo found itself settling on the southern slopes and shores of historic Bradleys Head. The zoo’s subsequent 100 year journey, and one not without its challenges, saw the creation and development of a nationally and globally renowned conservation enterprise and one arguably occupying the planet’s most striking and breathtaking zoological locations. During his 25 year association with Taronga and Taronga Western Plains Zoo Guy Cooper fielded a range of responsibilities. Linked initially to a major sponsorship and later Board member and Deputy Chairman, he chaired the Finance and Marketing Committees prior to occupying the role of Director and Chief Executive from 1998 to 2009. His connection continues in the role of an Executive Patron of the Taronga Foundation. Guy will touch on both chronicled and unrecorded episodes of the Taronga journey.

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



"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