Antique pictorial postcards provide a significant repository of historical images, often uniquely recorded. Besides offering a tantalising glimpse into the past, the human element captured in the fleeting messages preserved on the back imbues them with a charm all of their own.

Here Mark Calabretta has assembled a catalogue of postcards, widely sourced, featuring Balmain scenes or relating in some way to the Balmain of old, which includes Birchgrove and Rozelle, and also the surrounding islands – Glebe, Goat, Cockatoo, Spectacle, and Snapper. While concentrated between about 1905 and 1915, they span over a century, beginning as early as 1880.