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Local History FAQ

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Local History FAQ

The Local History collection is a reference collection - you can't borrow items, but you can access them for research purposes in the library. The main collection is located at Leichhardt, with a smaller collection at Balmain library. Please check the contact page for details of hours. The local history librarian has an indepth historical knowledge of the local area. An appointment can be made with the Local History Librarian 9367 9335. If you are unable to visit the library service to undertake your research an alternate and effective method is email. 

Who uses the Local History collection?

Anybody and everybody! School and tertiary students, people wanting to trace the history of their house, family, a street or particular suburb in the LGA all use the Local History collection.

What is the easiest way to find out if you have what I am looking for?

The best way is to come into the library and check the catalogue - start by doing a keyword search. For example, if you want information on Norton Street, Leichhardt, under keyword you would type in Norton Street. This will give you a list of all items we hold that relate in any way to Norton Street. From there you can narrow down your search after you have an idea of the scope of what is available. If you need help in looking for information or want to look at particular items in the collection just ask one of our library staff at the information desk.

I would like to find out when my house was built. Can you help me?

Use this link if you want to find out about searching the history of your house.
There are a few avenues to take when tracing the history of your house, but you will need some time to do this. You will be doing your own primary research, which can be fascinating, engrossing and sometimes frustrating! It may be helpful to start by doing a little background reading on the area. Then think about what it is you want to know:
• An approximate date that the house was built
• The name of the house
• Information about the owners or occupiers of the house

Your research strategy can be determined by the answer to your question. Once you know what kind of information you are seeking you can then decide what resources will be most helpful. You can access the Sand's Directory on microfiche which covers the period from 1858 to 1933. You may also need to look at other resources such as land title records. Rate books - throughout 2005/06 we are copying on to microfiche:
• Annandale Council rate books, 1880 - 1920
• Balmain Council rate books, 1908 - 1920
• Leichhardt Council rate books, 1880 – 1920

For more information see Tracing the history of your house

What about family history? Is there anything in the Local History collection on that?

Resources in the collection that may be helpful to you in tracing your family history include listings of convicts and crew on the first, second and first fleet sailings, the Births, Deaths and Marriages CD ROMs, the Balmain, Waverley and Field of Mars Cemetery registers, Index to convict pardon tickets of leave 1810-1875 as well as general titles on researching your family history. If you believe you may have family buried at Balmain Cemetery you can access the Balmain cemetery register at Leichhardt Library. Click here for more information on Balmain Cemetery. If you want to find out about using the Internet for family history, have a look at links to genealogy sites on the Internet.

I am looking for photographs of the area - do you have any?

The collection includes over 6,000 images in hard copy illustrating many aspects of the local area. Approximately 5 000 of these are available online at our Leichhardt Library Local History image collection. Please note, you will be leaving our site when you access this collection and need to use the 'BACK' button on your browser to return to our site. Some of our photographic collection is under copyright and doesn't appear on line. You can access these images by visiting Leichhardt Library or searching the Library's vGallery.

What is the Oral History Project?

The Oral History Project aims to record the stories of those who have lived or worked in the Leichhardt, Balmain, Rozelle and Birchgrove areas for a long time. Volunteer interviewers record the memories of those with stories to tell. The recordings are kept as part of the Local Studies Collection at Leichhardt for use by anyone interested in hearing stories of life in the area in the past. We are digitising our oral history collection to ensure preservation and access in the future. If you would like to contribute to the development of this collection, be interviewed as part of our Oral History Project or know someone who would, please contact the Local History Librarian at Leichhardt Library on 9367 9335.