AGM – Outgoing President’s Report

As president my role is to report on the Society’s activities over the past 12 months but to keep it short and interesting. This is rather difficult as MHS is quite an active society so I will be selective. The core business of our work can be summed up as being concerned with both the promotion and protection of heritage in Marrickville LGA, and in general.

Without doubt the highlight of the past 12 months was the launch of Marrickville, a Past Worth Preserving in November last year, when we were honoured to have the CEO of RAHS, Maria Walsh, to do the launch. This publication represented great commitment both by the authors and the editors Keith Sutton, Lorraine Beach and Richard Blair, who sustained their interest for over three years to produce the document of which we are so proud. The book has been selling well. Marrickville Council has agreed to form a partnership with MHS to promote the book to all high schools in the LGA. Copies will be paid for by Council and be presented to all these schools.

The Society was very honoured to be nominated for and be presented in December 2011 with a ‘Heritage Heroes’ Award – a NSW Government Heritage Volunteers Award awarded by the Heritage Council of New South Wales. Five committee members attended the award ceremony at Parramatta on behalf of the Society.

2011 Heritage Awards recipients

Some other highlights of the society over the past 12 months include: Geoff Ostling’s Special Achievement Award at Council’s Marrickville Medal function in April; Ted Green being awarded a Certificate of Achievement at the RAHS annual conference in Maitland in October where we had three representatives; the MHS blog being set-up by Silas Clifford-Smith; being represented on Marrickville Council’s Heritage Promotions Committee; Bob Irving making a valuable contribution to co-judging the Marrickville Medal; and promoting the Society at the Marrickville Festival in October.

We’ve also been invited by Marrickville Council to participate at the centenary picnic in Petersham Park in July in honour of Fanny Durack, the first Australian woman to win a gold medal at an Olympic Games – in Stockholm in 1912. Fanny resided in Marrickville and Stanmore for much of her life.

In terms of heritage watch, the Society lodged numerous submissions to Council on heritage-affected DAs. Among the more significant projects we supported were: the GreenWay project; retention of the Stationmasters Cottage, Sydenham; retention of former Coptic Church building, Sydenham; retention of Henson Park Hotel, Marrickville; moves to address the problem of pollution of Cooks River where the most recent update is that two fur seals and a shark have been sighted in the river. We also promoted plans for a new Marrickville library and for the restoration of the old Marrickville Hospital key heritage buildings as
part of the plans.

Tempe Station Master’s Cottage (Photo:

Marrickville Review of Potential Heritage Items: Volume 1: Final Report, June 2009)

We opposed removal of pews at St Clements Church Marrickville; demolition of the J Milne house, Newtown (on site of the TJ Andrews redevelopment on Enmore Road); the downsizing of Marrickville golf course; and the short-sighted closure of State Records City Office in The Rocks as from end of June 2012.

The events that we have enjoyed together include talks by Ian Hoskins on Sydney Harbour, Freda Backes on Australian Lebanese History Society, and Larry Writer on ‘Bumper’ Farrell. Diane McCarthy hosted our Show & Tell in February with Robert Hutchinson and Rosemary Wood the judges. We had three popular coach trips to The Hills District, Camden and Mt Annan, and Emu Plains and Penrith; our visit to the Mechanical Music Museum in St Peters attracted over 60 people. Nancy MacAlpine opened her house for the annual Pot Luck Christmas Dinner.

Mechanical Music Museum (Photo Courtesy Fairground Follies)

But MHS is more than the things we do; it is especially its members. The membership of the Society is responsive, interested and challenging; it provides the committee with important momentum and ensures its continued relevancy. This will continue to be achieved by your diligence in maintaining a watching brief to protect the heritage we all enjoy in our area. As we continue to enjoy an increasing membership – currently about 435 members – we are well placed to do this.

Finally, I want to thank all the members of the committee: Iain Carolin has taken over being minute secretary and has done a wonderful job, giving Lorraine some space to focus on other matters like writing submissions to Council; Richard continued as editor of the newsletter and is a fount of information and always generous in time and commitment; Robert and Silas have been vice presidents and ready to step in to represent, and carry out any tasks as necessary; Diane for her diligence as treasurer and for maintaining membership records, the stock of publications, her local knowledge etc; Vivien Wherry for being a very successful liaison person with Council, attending to the mail and generally a good all round secretary; Ian Phillips for being always there when you need him, and sometimes when you don’t know that you need him! ; Pamela Stewart and Rosemary who are now key members of the committee after completing their second year; and Nancy for being game enough to rejoin us last year.

It’s been my very great pleasure to work with you all and I do thank you all for your generosity in time and commitment in maintaining a very high standard in promoting and protecting heritage in Marrickville LGA. I have enjoyed my time on the committee and being president of MHS. I am stepping down from the committee for a variety of reasons, along with Silas and Nancy, but we have threatened to come back again soon!

Sonia Laverty

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