“Digitising our Future”


Australian Heritage Festival – Our Heritage, for the Future                               by Helen Carter

18 April-19 May 2021

The Balmain Association has registered for this event and Members of the Archive Committee are putting together an amazing exhibition. Our focus for Balmain’s history for the future is digitising our Collection making it easily accessible to all and the exhibition is titled “Digitising our Future”.

Starting with our cassette tapes we have selected 4 Balmain personalities who were recorded as part of our oral history project in the early 1990s. Their voices and memories have been transferred to a different format and with projected images they now talk to you from the charge room and the cells of the Watch House. Come and listen to our podcasts. The personalities selected are –

Joan Parsons and Lorna May Faulkner born and lived at 26 Grove Street, Birchgrove(great granddaughters of the John Degotardi, Printer and Photographer

Laurie Short AO OBE, Secretary of Federated Ironworkers, and leading figure in Australian Labour Party originally from Rockhampton Qld but activie in Labor Party in the 1940s in Balmain

Basil Catterns MC, born 1917 in Balmain, from a maritime family, soldier, amateur yachtsman, member of the Sydney Maritime Museum.

Mary(Molly) Sussmilch (nee Wilton), born in College Street in 1910, her father was a painter and docker at Morts Dock and she worked at Stevens Knitting Mills in Darling Street (opp College Street).

These oral histories tell us a lot about their daily lives and the character of Balmain during a time of depression, the war and trade unionism. Importantly, often it is these ancestors who were eyewitnesses to great historical events in their times whose stories can reveal a completely different perspective than those histories of published by academics.

Photos of Balmain/Rozelle from the 1890s through to the 1970s. Some never seen before.

Be surprised at the transformation of a suburb over the years as seen through the eyes of Balmain Association photographers, Rita Ellis and Bonnie Davidson.