City of Sydney Historical Association
2nd March, 2013 - History of Surry Hills & Darlinghurst
9th February, 2013 - Chinese New Year
12th January, 2013 - Tour of St Barnabas Church, Broadway
8th December, 2012 - Colonial Land Use and the Coxes of Mulgoa Valley
7th November, 2012 - Guided Tour of the Town Hall Vaults
3rd November, 2012 - 1954 Royal Tour
13th October, 2012 - Rise of Sydney's Department Stores
14th July, 2012 - Life & Times of Tommy Townshend
9th June, 2012 - "Reynolds" Cottages
19th May, 2012 - St Paul's College Tour
14th April, 2012 - Motorised Mayhem
10th March, 2012 - The Flying Fruit Fly Circus
4th February, 2012 - Quong Tart: High Tea and Scottish Ditties
14th January 2012: Dictionary of Sydney
10th December 2011: Admiral Arthur Philip - The Man
12th November 2011: Glebe Walk
8th October 2011: Bob Carr at the Annual General Meeting
3rd September 2011: History Week
13th August 2011: Tom Wentworth Wills –Visionary Sportsman
9th July 2011: Henry L'Estrange - Funambulist and Aeronaut
11th June 2011: Afro-American Servicemen in WWII
14th May 2011: Government House Tour
9th April 2011: Amazing Stories from Randwick
19th March 2011: The Ones that Got Away
12 Feb 2011: Chinese Market Gardens of Sydney
8 Jan 2011: St Andews College Tour
11 Dec 2010: Garden Palace Scandal
13 Nov 2010: Cumberland Digs
9 Oct 2010: Painting the Rocks
4 Sep 2010: Celebrate History Week
14 Aug 2010: Whaling, Wool and Wealth
10 Jul 2010: The Ones that Got Away
12 Jun 10: Percy Lindsay
8 May 10: Sydney Tramway Museum
10 Apr 10: Making of our nation
13 Mar 10: Reading photographs
13 Feb 2010: Macquarie Place
9 Jan 10: Sydney's Astronomical History
12 Dec 09: The colony
14 Nov 09: Women of The Rocks
10 Oct 09: History of Kent Brewery
5 Sep 09: Scandal, Crime & Corruption
15 Aug 09: Walk-Darling Harbour
11 Jul 09: Redfern Alexandria & Waterloo
06 Jun 09: Pubs & Publicans of Sydney
09 May 09 : C19th Sydney Firemen
18 Apr 09 : History of Darling Harbour
14 Mar 09: Bewitched!
Annual General Meeting 2009
Jan 2009 - Trade Hall
9th April 2011: Amazing Stories from Randwick

On 9th April, historian Pauline Curby spoke to us as COSHA’s event in the National Trust Heritage Festival. Pauline has spent the last two years researching and writing a definitive history of the City of Randwick, commissioned to mark the 150th anniversary of the Council.


The Municipality of Randwick was incorporated on 22 February, 1859 one of the first to be proclaimed in New South Wales. The book covers the full spectrum of social diversity, cultural groupings and occupations of this historic part of Sydney. As it was not possible to cover all aspects detailed in the 400 pages of this impressive book, Pauline selected three themes that she felt epitomised Randwick. She described the three themes as Aboriginal Presence, Caring for Groups and People of Vision. Pauline described Randwick as being “a legendary place”.

The Aboriginal Presence – All My Country

The indigenous people from the northern shore of Botany Bay have often been referred to as Kamerygal/Gamerygal – the people from Ko-may (Botany Bay). However there is no easy answer to the question of clan boundaries in Sydney mainly because of a massive disruption caused by an epidemic amongst the indigenous population in 1789. The La Perouse area still retains strong aboriginal connections. Some of the present community has a Dharawal heritage drawn from south of Botany Bay.

Caring for the Children

By the early 1850s child destitution was recognised as a social problem, often due to the abandonment of children by parents who had caught ‘gold fever’ and left for the diggings. The Society for the Relief of Destitute Children was established to attempt to come to grips with the scale of the problem. The number of children in the asylum increased to 364 in 1863 and extensions were needed, starting in that year as a three-storied building. At the outbreak of war in 1914, the asylum was offered to the military authorities and up to 4000 soldiers were camped in the asylum. In June 1915 the institution was taken over as a hospital for wounded soldiers and by October 1915 all children and staff had vacated the buildings. Remaining buildings are now part of the Prince of Wales Hospital complex.

Caring for Lepers

In 1881 when a smallpox epidemic occurred in Sydney, notification of the disease was optional. This changed in December 1881 when the Infectious Diseases Act was passed after widespread panic in the city. Quarantine and isolation procedures were established and a camp was constructed at Little Bay. This became the infectious diseases hospital for New South Wales, later named the Prince Henry Hospital. But the treatment of smallpox cases ‘paled into insignificance’ compared with measures put in place to isolate sufferers from leprosy.

It was a widely misunderstood disease and admission to the lazaret was seen as a ‘life sentence’. Treatment continued at Little Bay until the 1960s.

Looking After Criminals

The idea of a penitentiary in Randwick was first raised in 1899 to be located near the rear of the Asylum for Destitute Children, but this idea was rejected as being too close to housing. An alternative was proposed in 1902 at Long Bay to become the State Reformatory for Women. It was intended for ‘treatment and reform rather than punishment’.

The People of Randwick

Randwick has undergone many changes since it was first incorporated as a municipality and each of the twenty-one chapters in the book contains stories about individuals that illustrate the times in which they lived.


The book ‘Randwick’ by Pauline Curby is published by Randwick Council and includes an extensive index and bibliography for researchers. ISBN: 9780908510085 (hard back)