Digitising for the FutureBalmain Association

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Digitising for the Future

Come to the Balmain Watch House to enjoy this free exhibition showcasing the transformation of Balmain/ Rozelle over the years as seen through the eyes of Balmain Association photographers, Rita Ellis and Bonnie Davidson.

Members of the Archive Committee are putting together an amazing photographic exhibition showing the transformation of a suburb from the 1890s to the 1970s; some of which have never been seen before. Their focus for Balmain’s history for the future is digitising the Collection making it easily accessible to all.

Four Balmain personalities who were recorded as part of an oral history project in the early 1990s have had their voices and memories transferred to a different format and with projected images they now talk to you from the charge room and the cells of the Watch House. Come and listen to podcasts of the following four selected personalities –

  • Joan Parsons and Lorna May Faulkner born and bred at 26 Grove Street, Birchgrove (Great Granddaughters of John Degotardi, Printer and Photographer).
  • Laurie Short AO OBE, Secretary of Federated Ironworkers, and leading figure in Australian Labour Party originally from Rockhampton QLD but active in the Labor Party in 1940s Balmain.
  • Basil Catterns MC, born in 1917 in Balmain from a maritime family. Soldier, Amateur Yachtsman & Member of the Sydney Maritime Museum.
  • Mary (Molly) Sussmilch (nee Wilton), born in College Street in 1910. Her father was a Painter and Docker at Morts Dock and she worked at Stevens Knitting Mills in Darling Street (opp College Street).

These oral histories tell us a lot about their daily lives and the character of Balmain during a time of depression, the war and trade unionism. Importantly, often it is these ancestors who were eyewitnesses to great historical events in their times whose stories can reveal a completely different perspective than those histories published by academics.


Event dates

Event Details

179 Darling Street, Balmain, New South Wales

A 10 minute walk uphill along Darling Street from the Balmain East ferry wharf.


Saturdays 11.30am to 3pm
Tuesdays 11 am to 1pm

Entry fees:
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Timed parking nearby