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Local History Books

The following local history books are available for purchase at the Library.

  • Exploring Leichhardt Heritage by HGOLD 
  • Marine Officer, Convict Wife by Alan Roberts 
  • Open Council: A New Era in Local Government by Issy Wyner 
  • Place is People: Annandale 1907/2007 by Marie Haire
  • The Fishermen of Iron Cove by Annette Salt 
  • Hawthorne Canal: The Long History of  Long Cove Creek by Mark Sabolch
  • Annandale Sketches by Joel Tarling 
  • Walking the Talk by Dorothy E. MacIntyre
  • Streets, Lanes and Places 1836 - 2005 by Balmain Association 
  • The River, Sydney Cove to Parramatta by Gregory Blaxell 
  • Called to the Bar, 150 Years of Pubs in Balmain & Rozelle by Balmain Association 
  • On the Pidgeon Ground, Balmain Public Shool 1860 - 1965 by Peter Reynolds 
  • Movers and Shakers by Davidia Peters and Jan Wood 
  • William Balmain and John Gilchrist by Peter Reynolds
  • The Balmain Cemetery: Grave Concerns by Balmain Association  
  • Gourlie's Corner: Growing Up in Balmain with Wal Gourlie by Balmain Association 
  • The Jubilee History of Leichhardt 1871 - 1921 by A. Vialoux and C.M. Reeves 
  • Around Balmain by Balmain Association (Debby Nicholls)
  • Friends for Life : The Leichhardt Wanderers Story by Chris Karas
  • Snails Bay Sabot Sailing Club : 1962 - 1973 by Asa Karin Wahlquist 

exploring-leich-heritage-smlExploring Leichhardt Heritage
Author : HGOLD The Heritage Group of Leichhardt
Compiled by Jeanette Knox (2010)
Available at Leichhardt and Balmain Library $20.00
A comprehensive series of walks in the Leichhardt Government Area, covering the historical and architectural elements of Bamain/Birchgrove, Leichhardt, Lilyfield/Rozelle.


marineofficer-convictwife-smlMarine Officer, Convict Wife
Author : Alan Roberts (2008)
Available at Leichhardt and Balmain Library $29.95
George Johnston played an important part in creating a viable colony out of pitiable beginnings. He gained enduring notoriety for deposing governor Bligh in 1808 but his wider role as a soldier and entrepreneur was no less important. In a new book written by Alan Roberts of the Annandale Urban Research Association Johnston’s achievements, and their personal cost to him, provide for a fascinating read. More striking is the depiction of Esther, a young milliner transported for stealing 21 yards of silk lace who rose to play a key role in managing Johnston’s large pastoral properties. The name of Johnston will always be associated with Annandale, if only for Johnston Street. Marine Officer, Convict Wife is a study of place as well as personality, tracing the development of Annandale from 1793 when the family farm and mansion dominated the district just west of Sydney, to the 1870s when it began to take shape as a suburb. Paintings, drawings and photographs illustrate a new world being created in an unfamiliar landscape. Funded through Leichhardt Council’s Local History Grants programme, Marine Officer, Convict Wife will fascinate not just those who enjoy local history and architecture, but anyone with an interest in the early days of white settlement in Sydney.

opencouncil-issywyner-smlOpen Council, A New Era in Local Government
Author : Issy Wyner (2008)
Available at Leichhardt $20.00
Issy Wyner was an Alderman and Councillor on Leichhardt Council for 25 years spanning 1959 – 1991 and Mayor of Leichhardt in 1989-1990. His work and experience make him a highly relevant author on the topic of Leichhardt’s experience with the principles of an ’open council’ which advocated public participation and open government.
Wyner doesn’t hold back in his criticism of some of those he shared the Council table with, or of state governments of any colour. Open Council A New Era In Local Government presents a very personal view of the local government experience post-war at Leichhardt Council.

placeispeople-smlPlace Is People: Annandale 1907/2007
Author : Marie Haire (2007)
Available at Leichhardt and Balmain Library $20.00
A Leichhardt Council grant publication by writer/historian/performer and Annandale resident Mary Haire. Place is People – Annandale 1907/2007 presents a colourful cast – leaders, ghosts and chimney-sweeps feature in twin portraits of a suburb a century apart. Haire reveals uncommon knowledge of a mild suburb in her obvious delight for untold stories – two examples being Annandale’s sudden secession from Leichhardt Council and Sydney’s bubonic plague outbreak – complete with the district’s own rat catchers.


fishermenofironcove-smlThe Fisherman of Iron Cove : In un mare diverso
Author : Annette Salt (2006)
Available at Leichhardt and Balmain Library $12.00
This book is based on a series of taped interviews now housed in the Local history section of Leichahrdt Library.
The story of the fisherman of Iron Cove Fleet shares much with the story of other Italian fisherman who migrated to New South Wales and to the wider, complex story of Italian migration to Australia.


hawthornecanal-smlHawthorne Canal: The Long History of Long Cove Creek
Author : Mark Sabolch (2006) Ashfield & District Historical Society
Available at Leichhardt and Balmain Library $20.00
A publication that explores the history of Hawthorne Canal and Long Cove Creek from 1794-2006. This account looks at the physical construction of Hawthorne Canal in the 1890s, the reconfiguration of Long Cove Creek to a man made canal and stormwater system and the dramatic social and environmental changes that have occurred along the canal as the development of Sydney has progressed.


annandalesketches-smlAnnandale Sketches
Author : Joel Tarling (2005)
Available at Leichhardt Library $10.00
A series of sketches of prominent historical buildings and houses in the Annandale area by local Artist Joel Tarling. Sketches include The Abbey, Hunter Baille Memorial Presbyterian Church, The Withces houses, and more.


walkingthetalk-smlWalking the the inner city suburb of Leichhardt
Author : Dorothy E MacIntyre (2005)
Available at Leichhardt and Balmain Library $10.00
An historical account of the Leichhardt Uniting Church from its humble beginnings in 1880 to its hay day in the 1980s to its current profile within the Leichhardt community.



streetslanesandplaces-smlStreets, Lanes and Places 1836-2005
Author : Balmain Association (2005)
Available and Leichhardt and Balmain Library $13.20
An index to the origins of the street names of Balmain, Birchgrove and Rozelle. Your street is included in our publication. The 2005 edition has added four streets.


theriver-smlThe River, Sydney Cove to Parramatta
Author : Gregory Blaxell (2004)
Available and Leichhardt and Balmain Library $39.95
The first book devoted entirely to a comprehensive history of the Parramatta River.It is a history beginning before the Europeans in 1788. Once European settlement had been established, the changes that have taken place to both environment and the social fabric of the emerging society are examined.


calledtothebar-smlCalled to the Bar, 150 Years of pubs in Balmain & Rozelle
Author : Balmain Associaction: Bonnie Davidson, Kath Hamey and Deb Nicholls (1991)
Available at Leichhardt and Balmain Library $13.20
A book tracing the social and geographical history of Balmain and Rozelle Pubs. A comprehensive list of hotels both past and present as well as a list of publicans is included.


onpigeonground-smlOn the Pidgeon Ground, Balmain Public School 1860 - 1965
Author : Peter Reynolds (1995)
Available at Leichhardt and Balmain Library $13.20
A historical account of the passing eras of Balmain Public School. It was one of the 259 National Schools opened during the operation of the national system between 1848 and 1866. The school had several names, National School (1860), Public School (1866), Superior Public School (1881) Demonstration School (1946) and Public School again in (1966).


moversandshakers-smlMovers and Shakers: Women in the Leichahrdt Municipality
Author : Davidia Peters & Jan Wood (2004)
Available at Leichhardt $12.00
A book that pays tribute to the women who are the Movers and Shakers, who have contributed in business, industry, local government community, education and volunteer work in the Leichhardt Government Area.



balmainandgilchrist-smlWilliam Balmain and John Gilchrist, Family and Property
Author : Peter Reynolds (2003)
Available at Leichhardt and Balmain Library $25.00
A publication that explores the complex relationship between family, property and land ownership of the land which is present day Rozelle and Balmain. Beginning with William Balmain's 550 acre-land grant, the transfer of this land to John Gilchrist and the legal battles and long family history that follows.


balmaincemetery-smlThe Balmain Cemetery, Grave Concerns
Author : Balmain Associaction, Bonnie Davidson & Kath Hamey (1999)
Available at Leichhardt and Balmain Library $11.00
A historical account of Balmain Cemetery, it includes information on the memorials that were removed and relocated to Camperdown Cemetery, Feild of Mars Cemetery, Rockwood Cemetery, Ebeneser Presbyterian Churchyard, those were that were destroyed and memorials of historical significance.


gourliescorner-smlGourlie's Corner, Growing up in Balmain with Wal Gourlie
Author : The Balmain Associaction, Wal Gourlie (1992)
Available at Leichhardt and Balmain Library $11.00
Wal Gourlie was a Balmain Boy, the son of Gourlie's corner shop owner, John Gourlie. This book traces the memories stemming from the Gourlie family residencey in the historical suburb of Balmain. Included are descriptions of the shops and services that operated in the Balmain area from 1920s-1990s.


jubileehistoryofleich-smlThe Jubilee History of Leichhardt 1871 - 1921 Its History and Progress
Author : A. Vialoux and C.M. Reeves
Published under the Authority of the Municipal Council of Leichhardt.
Re-printed 2011



aroundbalmain-smlAround Balmain, A Second Record of an Historic Suburb and Some of its Buildings
Author : Balmain Association: Compiled by Debby Nicholls (1986)
Available at Leichhardt and Balmain Library $13.20
This publciation includes maps, photographs and a history of prominent buildings, houses and places in the historic suburb of Balmain.


friendsforlife-smlFriends For Life
Author : Chris Karas 2011
Available at Leichhardt and Balmain Library $44.00
Respected sports writer Chris Karas launched has his latest book, Friends for life – the Leichhardt Wanderers story, during the Wanderers centennial year 1911-2011. It is a great read and truly reflects the Wanderers spirit. The Book pays tribute to the thousands of players, coaches and officials.


Snails Bay Sailing Club by Asa WahlquistSnails Bay Sabot Sailing Club : 1962-1973
Author : Asa Karin Wahlquist worked as a rural journalist, winning more than a dozen awards, including a Walkley Award and the Eureka Prize for Environmental Journalism.
Available at Leichhardt and Balmain Library $22.00
Snails Bay Sabot Sailing Club is about more than a children’s sailing club. It is about the old sailing culture in Balmain, and the area’s waterfront industries. It is about the men who worked on the waterfront, who sailed open boats with their huge sails, and the lessons they taught the children of Snails Bay Sabot Sailing Club. It is about being a child in Balmain in the 1960s, before the suburb was gentrified, the waterfront industries closed down and most of the old sailing families moved out. The book also documents the history of the Sabot in Australia.