Fairfield City Open Libraries: Heritage Blog

History Council of NSW – March Talk at Whitlam Library, Cabramatta

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National History Week 2016


3-11 September 2016  |  #HistoryWeek16

The theme of neighbours is crucial to our understanding of the past’s impact on the present. It includes stories of individuals, families and communities living near one another and links between adjoining suburbs, regions and countries. As the success of the Australian television program Neighbours shows, the theme has long been a significant component of popular culture. It shaped imagination and memories, created identities and was a source of both conflict and friendship.

How important were class, the economy, gender, governments, the media, race, religion and sport in the formation of ideas regarding neighbours? How have attitudes regarding a nation’s geographic neighbours determined defence, foreign, immigration, refugee and trade policies? Did new types of communication and transport from the nineteenth century onwards radically alter how neighbours and neighbourhoods were perceived? In 2016 History Week focuses on these and other related questions.

To discover events held across New South Wales during History Week, please visit History Council of NSW 


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Who’s been living in my house ?

Who's been living in my house_Join Marilyn Gallo [ Heritage Services Librarian] at Smithfield Community Library and discover the various resources to use in researching the history of your house in our informative session. These resources include:

  • Maps (Parish maps)
  • Rate books
  • Waterboard plans
  • Sydney Sands directory
  • Phone directories
  • Council Minutes books
  • Street directories
  • Building inspectors reports
  • Surveyors field books
  • Electoral rolls
  • Census records
  • BAs & DAs
  • Trove
  • LPI Torrens Titles information
  • Valuation rolls/books
  • Photographic Database (Achivalware)
  • Probates

Here is a research guide produced by the Victorian Archives Centre that provides a simple and clear explanation  to the process of researching one’s home. Click here to access this publication.

The NSW State Records has also produced a guide for residents from NSW researching their house history. Click here to access the guide.

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National Family History Month







National Family History Month (NFHM) is held in Australia every August, an initiative of AFFHO (Australasian Federation of Family History Organisations).

Family history and genealogy is one of the most popular hobbies around the world. There are over 250,000 Australians who are members of family history related organisations and the month has broad appeal across Australia. Libraries, archives and other organisations also participate in National Family History Month.

During August, events will focus on genealogy, family history, heraldry and related subjects. Visit NFHM website to discover the various events and programs that are held around Australia!

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Temple Tour

TempleTour_Chinese temple

Are you interested in the Buddhist cultural heritage or history of the Fairfield area? Why not join our guided temple tour in July and discover the splendor of  Fairfield’s temples.

Our guided tour will starts from Whitlam Library, followed by visits to the Phuoc Hue Monastery in Wetherill Park, the Mingyue Lay Temple in Bonnyrigg and Watt Khemarangsaran in Bonnyrigg.

Visitor will be given the opportunity to discover wondrous buildings, statues, shrines and gardens which provides further insights into SE Asian culture and the practice of Buddhism in Australia.

Booking can be made either online via our website  or contacting the library on 9725 0333.

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National Trust Festival


16 APRIL – 29 MAY 2016

The annual National Trust Heritage Festival was initiated in Victoria in 1980 to raise widespread community understanding of the value of heritage and the contribution it makes to the present. It was taken up with gusto by the NSW Trust the following year. In 2016 National Trust Heritage Festival coordinators are expecting 15,000 events to be registered nationwide.

This year the theme is Discovery & Rediscoveries. Discovery can encompass the experience of discovering something for the first time or rediscovering something that has been lost, forgotten or concealed.

The Festival provides a great opportunity for communities, individuals, local government and organisations to celebrate the places and events that have shaped our heritage. It is about sharing our stories and we need your help to make it a success.

To download a copy of the Festival Program, please click here. For more information about the National Trust and their activities, please visit their website at https://www.nationaltrust.org.au/


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Lunar New Year in Cabramatta


The Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, is marked by the lunisolar Chinese calendar and the date of each new year varies from year to year. The festivities usually begins days before the New Year and culminates on the Lantern Festival, the 15th day of the new year.

Each Chinese New Year is characterised by one of 12 animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac. The Chinese zodiac is divided into 12 blocks (or houses) just like its western counterpart. The major difference being that each house has a time-length of one year instead of one month.

This year marks the start of the Year of the Monkey, the ninth animal in the cycle. The next cycle in the Year of the Monkey will be in 2028. The 2016 Chinese New Year Day falls on February 8, 2016. This day coincides with a new moon day and is the first day of the first Chinese lunar month in the Chinese Lunar Calendar system.

The Year 2016 will become the 4713th Chinese year. The Chinese believe that the first king of China was the Yellow King (he was not the first emperor of China). The Yellow King became king in 2697 B.C., therefore China will enter the 4713th year on February 8, 2016.

Lunar (1)

History & development of Cabramatta :

Cabramatta is Australia’s most multicultural postcode. Nearly three quarters (70%) of the population was born overseas, and 8 out of 10 Cabramatta residents speak more than one language. The story of Cabramatta reflects the traditional owners of the land, changing migration patterns to Australia and the many layers of local history.

Cabramatta’s first white settlers were Irish political prisoners who were amongst the first emancipated convicts to be given land grants to provide food for the struggling colony. For many years Cabramatta was known chiefly for agriculture and its early settlers worked on farms and dairies. The area was very isolated and relied on its neighbour Liverpool for supplies and the maintenance of law and order.

By 1870 Cabramatta was becoming well established and a train station was built. The Cabramatta Hotel, shops, a school and post office soon followed. However, the area remained fairly isolated, and in the early nineteen hundreds train travellers still knew Cabramatta as the ‘town hall in the bush’.

Following the Second World War immigrants from Britain were housed in spartan wood and metal huts at the Cabramatta Settlement Centre. This was the beginning of Cabramatta’s recent history as a centre for newly arrived migrants and refugees. After leaving the hostels many people settled in the local area,
support services were developed and the many communities contributed to the continuing development of the area.

Today Cabramatta’s Central Business District (CBD) particularly reflects the arrival of refugees from Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos in the late 1970s. Among the 109 nationalities represented, Vietnamese-born Australians have been prominent in developing the vibrant commercial centre of the suburb.

To discover the rich cultural heritage of Fairfield City and visit Cabramatta’s famous fabric, tea, herbal medicine and jewellery shops or to sample some delicious Asian cuisine at the local restaurants contact  Fairfield City Council. We offer groups interested in exploring the vibrant, colourful and buzzing town centre of Cabramatta the option of booking either a presentation or a tour.

Cultural Tour format:

  1. Library presentation
  2. ½ hour DVD – The Life and Times of Fairfield City
  3. ½ hour talk and discussion

Tour format:

  1. Guided tours (Feb –Jun)
  2. Self guided tour
  3. Self guided temple visit

(The presentations and tours can be delivered independent of each other). The Cultural Tours are open to groups (minimum 10 people) within or outside of Fairfield City.

For more information, please visit the Heritage section of the library.


[Source: http://www.chinesefortunecalendar.com/2016.htm%5D