I’ve always wanted to use the expression ‘a good time was had by all’ when reporting on an event; and I think this would be an accurate description of ‘How to Research Your House History Online’, held at Glebe Town Hall on Saturday 4 November. A good number of Glebe Society members and a smattering of non-members – around 30 in all – were both entertained and enlightened by a series of short presentations from several of the Society’s amateur ‘house history’ buffs.

Our first speaker needed no introduction, being known to all as the author of the Bulletin’s regular feature, ‘Who Lived in Your House?’. Lyn Collingwood’s overview of house history research was an invaluable source of tips and tricks (amongst other things), gained over many years of Glebe local history research. One tip – echoed elsewhere in this Bulletin – is to make good use of the Glebe Society Bulletin (https://www.glebesociety.org.au/?page_id=10873) – now in its 49th year – because it contains many articles about particular houses, one of which may be yours. Lyn also pointed out the wonders of the National Library of Australia’s ‘Trove’ website (http://trove.nla.gov.au/).

Rodney Hammett focussed his talk on the historical maps and plans available online that cover Glebe and surrounds. One delicious example is a set of 33 Surveyor General’s Office maps of Glebe and Forest Lodge dating from 1883, now available at the NSW Department of Lands website (https://goo.gl/e5uW73). Another gem (at https://maps.six.nsw.gov.au/) is the facility for viewing Glebe maps overlaid with 1943 aerial photographs; a great opportunity to reflect on your house/street/suburb during wartime.

Nance McInerney, Siren of the Surf (image; Trove.nla.gov.au)

After a break for morning tea prepared by Jude Paul and Jane Gatwood, Andrew Botros proved that the rather unpromising-sounding topic, ‘NSW Land Title Searches’ (http://www.lpi.nsw.gov.au/), could in fact be totally fascinating. We followed Andrew’s journey as he attempted to unearth the owner of an unnamed dunny lane at the rear of his Glebe Point Rd property.

Finally, we heard from Jude Paul who could barely contain her enthusiasm for sharing her experience with researching the occupants of houses on Darling St. One particularly interesting character is (then) local gal, Annie (Nance) McInerney (pictured right) of 21 Darling St. Nance participated in the 1911 ‘Sirens of the Surf’ competition at the Glaciarium which, according to the ‘Evening News’, involved a ‘series of young women in bathing costumes pos[ing] plastically on a revolving dais’. The Evening News’ in-depth analysis of the results concluded that ‘it was the solid type [of girl that] predominated, most of the competitors have well-developed contours.’ Nance was the people’s favourite, but withdrew from the final in mysterious circumstances. (Perhaps we will hear more about Nance’s siren career in a future edition of the Bulletin …).

Thanks to Allan Hogan for MC-ing the event and to Peter Crawshaw and Robert Hannan for bringing along their laminated over-sized map of Glebe.

In conclusion, ‘a good time was had by all!’.



Glebe Society President, Allan Hogan, addresses participants at the ‘How to Research Your House History Online’ event at Glebe Town Hall on 4 November (image: Jason Weeks)