Fairfield City Open Libraries: Heritage Blog

Leave a comment

Thomas Bowden (1778-1834)

Thomas Bowden was born in Devonshire, England. He opened a school in Exeter, eventually becoming master of Great Queen Street Charity School in London. He accepted a position in New South Wales for £100, making him the highest paid teacher in the colony in January of 1812.

In 1818, the Female Orphan School was moved to Parramatta and Bowden was asked to draw up a system for a male orphan school in the now empty building. He was appointed master based on this system, and the school opened in January 1819. He worked efficiently in his role, even receiving a bonus payment for his work. Bowden lost interest in the school when it was transferred to Cabramatta in 1824 and was eventually removed from the position.

He attempted to establish a boarding school for boys, known as the Australian Academy, but instead devoted himself to farming and religious pursuits until his death in 1834.

orphan school creek master residence
(Master’s residence of Male Orphan School)

For more photographs, please see our Heritage Catalogue.


Leave a comment

Creating a Digital Memory Box for your Family

Whitlam Library is hosting a seminar dedicated to the long-term care of digital media such as digital images, video, documents and audio files. The emphasis will be on the vulnerability of different digital formats and tips on preservation strategies that aim to achieve archival storage.

This event will be held on the 30th September, please register here.


Leave a comment

Ngarunga Gurubadu: Stories Of River & Water

Join the team at Fairfield City Museum & Gallery through late June to early September as they present their new exhibition, ‘Ngarunga Gurubadu: Stories Of River & Water’, which is a contemporary Aboriginal response to the rivers and waterways of the Darug language nation.

Please check the poster below or contact the Museum & Gallery on 02 9725 0190 for further details.


Leave a comment

Sydney in 1943

Thanks to SIX (Spatial Information Exchange) Maps, you can browse Sydney in 1943 in the same way you use Google Maps to view the modern world. The photographs were taken from a reconnaissance plane in 1943, and have been carefully ‘stitched together’ to appear as a satellite view. Here’s what Cabramatta CBD and Station looked like in 1943:


To have a look, simply head to SIX Maps, click on Basemaps in the top right hand corner, and then ‘Looking for 1943 imagery?’ An additional menu will open to the left, allowing you to select ‘Sydney 1943 imagery’.

This allows you to toggle between a modern and 1943 view by again selecting Basemaps and choosing between the two.

Use the searchbar in the top left hand corner to find a specific address.

Find anything interesting? Let us know in the comments!




Leave a comment

Lest We Forget

ANZAC Day March [Smithfield, NSW] 1966
“Members of the Smithfield RSL Club take part in an ANZAC Day march in 1966.” ANZAC3

Soldier’s Memorial Bandstand [Cabramatta, NSW] 2004
“This memorial is located at the Cabra-Vale Park. It was completed in 1919 in memory of local soldiers killed in World War I. The monument was deidicated on Anzac Day 1919.”


ANZAC Day Service in front of Cabra-Vale Town Hall [Cabramatta, NSW] 1920s
“Gun is a captured German field artillery gun. Speaker is possibly Alderman Jacob Cook.”


Leave a comment

ANZAC Centenary

The Centenary of Anzac 2014 to 2018 is Australia’s most important period of national commemoration. Marking 100 years since our involvement in the First World War, the Anzac Centenary is a time to honour the service and sacrifice of our original ANZACs, and the generations of Australian servicemen and women who have defended our values and freedoms, in wars, conflicts and peace operations throughout a Century of Service.

Anzac Day Poster #23 Flanders.jpg
Centenary of the Flanders Offensive

More than 76,000 Australians became casualties on the Western Front in 1917, including some 22,000 who were killed. No year in Australia’s wartime history has been more costly. In this poster Australians march through Ypres in late October 1917 toward the end of the
massive British offensive known as the Third Battle of Ypres. The Australians fought in five major battles here: Menin Road, Polygon Wood, Broodseinde, Poelcappelle and Passchendaele. Images from this offensive are among the best known of the Western Front, and the Third Battle of Ypres has come to symbolise the muddy horror and waste of the First World War. The survivors of the fighting here faced another year of war before the Armistice brought an end to hostilities.


Fairfield City Open Libraries will be posting some local ANZAC content over the last week of April, in honour of ANZAC Day.



Leave a comment

Journeys In Fairfield – Migrant Hostels

Come to Whitlam Library during the month of April to witness our Migrant Hostels exhibition, part of a series titled Journeys In Fairfield. Check our opening hours and come in for a visit!

The exhibition highlights Cabramatta and Villawood migrant hostels, which were operational between the 1950s and 1980s. It shows everyday hostel life, featuring families who made the journey to an unknown land by all methods and means in order to make a new life for themselves, and to enrich ours in turn.