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Local history


Local Studies is a specialised collection of reference material covering all aspects of the City of Canada Bay Local Government Area.

The collection reflects themes such as the original indigenous inhabitants, settlement, industrial history, the natural and the built environment as well as contemporary issues. There is a range of material for students and researchers of all levels, including environmental reports, newspaper clippings, historical maps and photographs. The collection is a useful starting point to learn about the heritage of the City of Canada Bay.

Need more information? Please contact the Local Studies Librarian or call 9911 6317.

Interested in researching the history of your property? Click here to check out the number of sources that can help to research the history of your property.

More than just a Name - WWI Multimedia Project 2014-15

The City of Canada Bay invites you to join us in commemorating the legacy of servicemen connected to the City of Canada Bay area who served during World War I.

More than just a Name is a multimedia video project which engaged young people within the City of Canada Bay to document the personal journey of our servicemen and women.

To create the videos, we brought our Portable Multimedia Studio to schools during Terms 3 and 4 in 2014. Schools that participated in the project included Five Dock Public School, Concord Public School and Concord High. 

Please view the high quality multimedia videos completed by students:

For further information, please email the Local Studies Librarian.

More information:

Local identities

As part of Council's activities for the 2010 Heritage Festival with the theme 'The Making of our Nation' the following people who contributed to the formation of the City of Canada Bay were identified:

For further information, please contact the Local Studies Librarian or call 9911 6317.

Family history

Ancestry Library and Find My Past Australasia, Ireland and United Kingdom databases are available for use from all public computers at our libraries in Five Dock and Concord as well as The Learning Space at The Connection, Rhodes. There is a small collection of reference books for family historians at Concord library. Some CD-ROMs of births, deaths and marriages and cemetery records are also held.

For further information, please contact the Local Studies Librarian or call 9911 6317.

Heritage walks

The City of Canada Bay has a number of heritage walks, taking you to many picturesque, historical sites in the local area.

For further information, please contact the Local Studies Librarian or call 9911 6317.

Heritage walks of the City of Canada Bay:

Local Studies fact sheets

Check out the Fact Sheets on City of Canada Bay.

Facts sheets:

Isole Eolie/Aeolian Islands

The Isole Eolie is a volcanic island group in the Tyrrhenian Sea (of the Mediterranean) off the north coast of Sicily, Italy.

The group of islands take their name from Aeolus, who was ruler of the winds in Greek mythology.

The group consists of seven major islands: Alicudi, Filicudi, Lipari, Panarea, Salina, Stromboli and Vulcano.

Lipari is the largest of the islands with a total land area of 376 square kilometres.

The Aeolian Islands provide an outstanding record of volcanic phenomena and have been a focus of study since the 18th century.

Excavations in the 20th century established an uninterrupted archaeological record from the Neolithic Period (New Stone Age: 7000-3000 BCE). Obsidian, the islands' principal export in prehistoric times, has been detected as far east as Crete. Panarea has remains of a Bronze Age village (dating from 3000 BCE).

The Greeks established themselves in the islands early in the 6th century BCE. Later there was a Carthaginian naval station, until the Romans took over in 252 BCE.

In early medieval times they were conquered by the Saracens, who were expelled by the Normans in the 11th century. The Eolie Islands frequently changed hands between the Angevins of Naples and the Sicilian kings in the 14th century. Alfonso V of Aragon annexed them to Naples, but Ferdinand II of Aragon finally united them to Sicily in the late 15th century.

Pumice is exported from the islands, and the principal agricultural product is a heavy malmsey-type wine from Lipari. There are alum quarries on the volcano. Lipari, the chief town of the islands is the seat of a bishop and of the important Aeolian archaeological museum; much of the remaining population concentrated in the three town on Lipari. Stromboli's continuously active volcano is a noted tourist attraction. There is regular steamer service to Milazzo, Messina and Naples and in summer a hydrofoil service to Palermo.

The Isole Eolie are designated a World Heritage site.

Five Dock Connections

Italian immigrants came to Sydney in the 19th Century. By 1903 there were sufficient numbers from the Isole Eolie to form an Eolian Society, II Circolo Isole Eolie.

Italian immigration increased significantly after 1924 following the introduction of quotas on immigration by the United States.

By 1933 census numbers in the inner-city suburbs of Leichhardt and Marrickville indicated that there were over 400 persons of Italian background. Immigration consisted of interrelated families with the largest numbers coming from the Isole Eolie, especially from Panarea, Salina, Lipari and Stromboli. In the following years increasing numbers of Italian immigrants settled in adjoining suburbs of Five Dock and Drummoyne. 

The Eolie and other Italian immigrants have contributed enormously to the economic, social, cultural and sports life of the local community.

One of the most noticeable early contributions to business was in the area of fruit and vegetable shops, raising standards in quality and presentation of produce. Bartolomeo Picone operated a fruit shop at Drummoyne between 1910 and 1916.

In 1976 there were some 70 Italian businesses along Great North Rad, Five Dock. These included a wide cross-section of businesses including butchers, delicatessens, pharmacies, gift shops and real estate agents.

Five Dock celebrates its connections with the Eolie and Italian communities through 'La Famiglia', a bronze sculpture dedicated to Italian immigration, Piazza Eolie and Ferragosto, one of Sydney's premier street fairs held every August. 

Photos, Youtube videos, MP3 and more information

City of Canada Bay Museum

The City of Canada Bay Museum was officially opened on Saturday, 16 May 2009. It is managed by volunteers with support from Council.

The museum features a collection that has been sourced from all over the City and ranges from 1915 to the 1970s. Included in the collection are items that uniquely represent the history of the City of Canada Bay, such as Arnott's and Bushells memorabilia.

Many items can be found at the museum including an extensive collection of toys, material from World War I and II, fashion, household and office items, silver and china collections, sports memorabilia, local industry items such as Victor and the first firefighters helmet made in Australia.

Some interesting facts from the City of Canada Bay Museum

Ever wondered where the iconic Aussie rotary mower, Victa, originated?

Mervyn Victor Richardson took 'borrowing your neighbours lawn mower' to a whole new level when he laid eyes on the petrol-driven rotary mower designed by neighbour Lawrence Hall, a Marine Engineer, in 1948. Hall invented it so he could easily mow his mother's lawn and the grounds of the Cabarita Speedboat Club. It was the first of its type made in Australia and the one on which all modern mowers are based. Richardson was so impressed he gained permission to 'borrow' the idea and went on to build and develop the Victa Mower, the Aussie icon which 'turned grass into lawn'.

Visit our museum and see both the original Mowhall mower and the 128th Victa made. The Museum is open Wednesdays and Saturdays from 10am–4pm and is located at 1 Bent Street, Concord.

For more information, please contact the museum on 9744 8528 or visit City of Canada Bay Heritage Society.

Information provided by Lois Michel, City of Canada Bay Museum.