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
14th January 2012: Dictionary of Sydney

On Saturday 14 January,2012 former President of COSHA, Trudy Holdsworth, spoke to members about the development of the Dictionary of Sydney which is providing a definitive picture of the history of Sydney through the use of computer technology and Internet access. The unique design of this facility allows it to be continually updated and new information added for all to use.

What is The Dictionary?

Originally Shirley Fitzgerald, the then City of Sydney Historian was approached by a publisher with the idea of producing an Encyclopedia of Sydney, all of the metropolitan area, not just the City of Sydney - a book. Such a project, it was thought, would have taken at least five years to achieve, would have involved a great many people and seemed a dauntingly large and complex proposition at the time. So a round table of representatives from a range of academic and cultural institutions was organised. And everyone said that what we should do was not a book, but an on-line, electronic reference on Sydney. The historians and others just thought that this would mean a website. But certain others believed that actually, what was needed would be that - and more – a flexible information repository and, as was said in some of the promotional material at the time, ‘as yet un-thought of possibilities’. Think of the i-phone, one of latest gadgets that allows you to surf the Internet. Imagine this: You are walking around and are curious about a building or statue or the like. You point the i-phone at whatever it is and, not only a description and history will be available, but maps and drawings too. Imagine that when you looked up something in the Dictionary it would not just give you information, but as well the information, it would be GPS coded so that you also got a map or a whole series of layers of maps… and images, and documents and audio. This is the idea.

The Dictionary will be used as a resource not only by people sitting in front of their screens, but also for people out there walking around Sydney. Of course, as new knowledge is developed, entries can be updated and old ones archived. Where there is no agreement, debates can be posted on-line. And so on. The limits to the paper book in telling the ever changing story of a city are obvious in comparison and very expensive. When do we think it will be finished? Never!

In front of us there are ongoing years of research, both historical and technical, miles of writing, untold hours of editing, gathering audio or visual files etc. The once daunting, but nevertheless neatly definable parameters of a finite number of word specific entries for a fat print publication have been jettisoned in favour of something far more exciting. But is it as long as a piece of string? The Dictionary of Sydney project is supported by many organisations that hold images and information, such as all the libraries, museums, and archives. We have also been given images and information by individuals who have allowed us to publish that information. Then there are also private collections held by commercial organisation, such as photographers. In fact wherever we can get information we do and the required permissions are obtained with regard to copyright. The enthusiasm for the idea is widespread, and snowballing. So many people have readily agreed that this is a project whose time has come.

There have been hundreds of articles, written by many writers. What is all this writing about? There are serious Thematic Essays: Built Environment, Culture and Customs, Economy, Sydney’s People, Health & Welfare, Law & Order, Natural Environment, Politics & Government, Transport, Indigenous, Science & Technology. Then there are dozens of entries below these levels. Under Politics & Government; crime, police, prisons, courts, the legal profession, corruption, civil disturbances. Also there are endless ‘things’….People, real or fictional, (Cliff Hardy, Felix the Cat) organisations, social groups, buildings, places (suburbs to beaches, parks, farms) structures (bridges, wharves, roads) events (disasters or specific crimes) protests, (the Easter Show, The Rum Rebellion), natural objects (rivers, animals, Sydney Rock Oysters), artefacts (fountains, artworks, newspapers, diaries, myths, jokes about Sydney etc. etc.)

If it happened in Sydney it belongs in the Dictionary. There is no end to it.