Wednesday, 27 December 2017

New Years Eve 25 Years Ago: 1992

On Sunday night, Sydneysiders will gather by the millions to celebrate the start of 2018. We have been promised a big night of celebrations.

Twenty-five years ago, we were promised what was at the time a big night of celebrations.

The annual skyshow was now in its 4th year and was now evolving into a separate event in its own right, even though this was the launch for the 1993 Festival of Sydney.

Unlike today, the main show was at 9pm with no midnight display. It ran for thirty minutes compared to twelve minutes in more recent times. 

Below is the liftout that was published The Daily Telegraph Mirror on December 29, 1992, providing all the details you needed about the show.

Fireworks were to be launched from three barges and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Note that there were no barges to the west of the Harbour Bridge. For 2017, two of the barges are in similar locations to 1992. The one off Bennelong Point has since been moved further east; nearer to Clark Island.

Syd Howard had the job of bringing the show together. In a first for the Sydney Harbour Bridge, fireworks would be launched from the pylons.

Those attending were told to take public transport. Lots of extra services would operate through the night.

Crowds were estimated at 500 000 for the 30 minute display. The display was not televised but the music was simulcast on 2DAY FM. People were encouraged to bring along their radio to tune into the soundtrack created.

Thousands watched the display in their cars while stuck in snarls on the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Cahill Expressway. Congestion on city streets, was to become a problem for part of the decade until organisers closed off the Harbour Bridge and the Cahill Expressway.

At least for a while, one could enjoy the fireworks on the Sydney Harbour Bridge itself.

Below is coverage from the January 1, 1993 edition of The Daily Telegraph Mirror. I will include a short summary of some of the details.

  • 500 000 watched the skyshow.
  • 200 000 gathered at Darling Harbour.
  • The fireworks cost $250 000 compared with $7 million to welcome 2017. 
  • Boating traffic on the harbour was "the busiest in years". I think it would have been nothing compared to the Bicentenary just five years before!!!
  • People staked their place at vantage points from 4pm. No rush needed!!! If you want a prime spot on Sunday night, camping out from Friday might be a good idea. 
  • 2000 attended the Bachelors and Spinsters Ball at the Bondi Pavilion. 

Finally, I wish you all a very happy new year. Tune in each Monday during January when I bring back the Remember This series, which was quite popular last summer. 

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Christmas Snapshot: 1992

Next Monday, we will celebrate Christmas. As customary here, we will head back a generation to see how Sydneysiders marked this special time of the year 25 years ago.

Australia was still reeling from the effects of the recession "we had to have". The economy was growing again, yet people were still losing their jobs as unemployment reached 11%.

Belts were still being tightened.

There was still plenty of Christmas Cheer.

On November 15, Grace Bros held its Christmas Pageant. No one knew that this would be the final one. I remember watching it on Channel nine at home. The turnout was massive. Grace Bros claimed 500 000 attended while one source reported only 10 000 attendees. As The Sydney Morning Herald reported on November 16, there were "alot of children" lining the 2.1km route. An estimated 5000 followed Santa inside Grace Bros City Store. They even published a photo of people sitting on the roof of one of the entrances to Town Hall Station.

Christmas Specials

I love sharing them each year. This year I've covered different types of products.


Woolworths had plenty on offer:

And extended trading hours during the week.

December 1992 daily telegraph 0006 (2)
December 1992 daily telegraph 0005 (2)

Grace Bros

  Grace Bros Ad November 22 1992 sunday telegraph 18

Lots of great toys on offer (including computers).

Grace Bros Ad November 29 1992 sunday telegraph Grace Bros Ad November 29 1992 sunday telegraph 22


Big W

Pauls Warehouse

Angus & Robertson (Hurstville)

For the first time this year, I'll add TV schedules because they make great comparisons.

One program on Christmas Eve that hasn't changed has been Carols by Candlelight (Nine Network), except in recent years it has been moved forward by an hour. Ray Martin was the host.

And there were some Christmas Specials during the day on Christmas Eve. A highlights package of John Martin's Christmas Pageant (Adelaide) would entertain those on Channel Seven. Note that it was held in November. This is no longer screened in Sydney each year.

December 1992 daily telegraph 0044

Christmas Day

December 1992 daily telegraph 0045
Carols in the Domain was staged on December 19 attracting approximately 100 000 people to The Domain. It was their 10th annual concert, hosted by Barry Crocker & Jackie Love.

Source: Wilkins, M. 1992. "Carols by candlelight bring joy to thousands". The Sunday Telegraph, December 20 11.

For those who could not make it to the city, had the option of Carols by Candlelight at Parramatta Stadium on December 20, featuring Julie Anthony and an all-star team of John Williamson, Kamhal, Gina Jeffreys and The Deltones. 

Source: St George. 1992. "Carols by Candlelight: Stars Over Parramatta: Sunday 20 December" (Advertisement). The Daily Telegraph Mirror, December 19: 13. 

The Daily Telegraph Mirror on December 24, looked at how some were planning to spend the day.

In the same edition (Late Final), it also reported on the Christmas rush at the Sydney Fish Markets at Pyrmont.

Source: Anon. 1992. "Shoppers jam fish markets". The Daily Telegraph Mirror, December 24: 2.

What services could you get over the holiday period? Find out below:

Below is some coverage of Christmas Day as reported in The Daily Telegraph on December 26.

The Sydney Morning Herald on December 26 reported on the annual gathering of backpackers and tourists at Bondi Beach.

Source: Signy, H. 1992. "The colonial Christmas: beach, brolly and beet". The Sydney Morning Herald, December 26: 2. 

This is only a snapshot of how Sydney marked Christmas in 1992. Everyone will have their own experiences and memories.

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas.

Saturday, 16 December 2017

Property Advert of the week: Glenleigh Homes Advertisement (1992)

This is our last property advert of the week for 2017. Glenleigh Homes had a display village in what was then the new suburb of Glenmore Park in 1992.

  Glenmore Park Model Homes Ad January 18 1992 Daily Telegraph 53

Source: Glenleigh Homes. 1992. "Show-Home Showcase". The Daily Telegraph Mirror, January 18: 53.

Monday, 11 December 2017

Why were the (1928) Brighton Baths demolished?

In May, The St George and Sutherland Shire Leader published a Flashback Friday Feature on the demolition of the 1928 swimming enclosure at Brighton-Le-Sands in 1980.

While the article was based on the content available within the archives of the newspaper, I felt that it didn't provide an explanation as to why or how its fate was determined.

The argument presented was that one storm in May 1968 all but sealed its fate, along with rising maintenance costs and declining patronage (access was via paid entry). The storm was reported to be one of the worst ever to impact on Botany Bay. The storm swells generated massive erosion of the beachfront at Brighton-Le-Sands, including the collapse of a number of Norfolk pine trees and a historic cannon. Homes were flooded at Kurnell, when waves crashed over Prince Charles Drive. Scans from the May 22, 1968, edition of The St George and Sutherland Shire Leader are included below including the editorial from page 2.

I wanted to also consider other sources as well. I consulted the local history collection of the former Rockdale City Council but also some of the scanned material that I have managed to obtain through my ongoing scans.

A search of the image collection through Bayside Council revealed images of significant storm damage to the baths as early as 1962. I found one image that had a concrete staircase overhanging from 1965. In addition, the beachfront at Brighton had been damaged in a number of storms in the lead up to 1968. The walkway on the perimeter of the baths had buckled during storms, forcing the baths to close

I found an article by former Rockdale Mayor and Alderman Ron Rathbone (date unknown) in a vertical file. Rathbone mentioned that council had prior to the 1960s faced difficulties in managing the baths. Patronage had declined as swimmers flocked to free enclosures located in nearby suburbs. Costs of maintenance had increased.

In 1970 the council struck an agreement with the Maritime Services Board and the Department of Lands and Planning to demolish the baths and replace it with a pier and floating net.The Seymour Pavillon was also to be demolished.

The former dressing sheds were converted into the Le Sands restaurant, opening in 1972. In 2017, the restaurant celebrates 45 years of trade.

A report in 1978, identified major structural concerns and it was recommended that the baths be demolished immediately. The following year, demolition took place.

Source: Anon. 1979. "Just a Rusting Ring of Mesh: Brighton baths may be rebuilt". The St George and Sutherland Shire Leader, February 14: 19. 

In mid 1980, the tender to construct the new floating net and pier was awarded by Rockdale Council. By the end of 1980, the new baths were completed at an estimated cost of $160 000. It was in fact bigger than the one that it had replaced. In the 2000's the council demolished the pier.

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Property Advert of the Week: Crestwood Hills, Baulkham Hills (1966)

Here is another classic advertisement from Parkes Developments in 1966. This was for the Crestwood Estate at Baulkham Hills, in the vicinity of St Michaels Catholic Church. Note that while Australia now had decimal currency, Parkes advertised the deposit price in pounds.

  Crestwood Estate Baulkham Hills Ad October 7 1966 The Sun 47

Source: Parkes Developments Pty. Ltd. 1966. "Crestwood Estate" (Advertisement). The Sun, October 7: 47.

Monday, 4 December 2017

Visions of the Future: Sydney Skyline, 1975 (1972)

While the illustrations may not be the best, this vision of Sydney's skyline in 1975 was published in the October 3, 1972 edition of The Daily Telegraph.

While the buildings featured were generally built (bar two or three), they were completed well after 1975. I have listed the completion dates of some of the buildings below:

MLC Tower (11) - 1977
Sydney Tower (7) - 1981
AMP Centre (18) - 1976
Law Courts Building (16) - 1977
Qantas Centre (5) - 1982
Gateway Tower (14) - 1989

Below is the accompanying feature article.

Saturday, 2 December 2017

Property Advert of the Week: Pelican Quays, Concord (1999)

This week head back to the late 1990's when the brownfields sites along the Parramatta River were undergoing redevelopment into new waterfront residential estates.

Below is an advertisement for Pelican Quays at Concord dating from 1999.

Source: Trafalgar Properties Limited. 1999. "Pelican Quays" (Advertisement). The Sydney Morning Herald, April 17: 31RE (Real Estate Liftout).