The amazing hoverchair


The Ivy, Sydney


Another visit to The Ivy. Last night it was raining hard and the open courtyard makes the glamorous staircase a death trap. Moving between floors is going to be an issue for The Ivy patrons and I predict that there will be a constant queue on the staircase, this is not helped by some very poor design work. As you get to the bottom of the staircase you are forced either left or right of a pillar. Left takes you straight up onto a few steps and right takes you unimpeded. Either way it’s going to create a bottleneck whenever the place is busy.

The staircase, whilst beautiful is going to cause problems.

Tip: Most of the upper level is guarded by bouncers, they will initially try and turn you away unless you say that you have a booking and then you’ll go straight through.

Once upstairs we looked for a seat and found the beautiful mirrored table which essentially acts as a reception area in front of the lifts, we sat and were promptly moved on. “You can’t sit here” Oh ok, where do you suggest? No ideas were forthcoming.

Now, good customer service would have meant that we would have been taken to another seat and asked for our drinks order, but apparently The Ivy doesn’t need to have manners. If I had to pay off $150m I’d be extremely polite.

 Standing and watching the crowd it is clear that many people are coming in for a look and then leaving without buying drinks. I’d see this as a major problem. Sort out the service and create a welcome. The Ivy is gorgeous but it’s attitude stinks. I demand immaculate service and I demand it now.

Time Out Sydney


Please visit Time Out Sydney for the best editorial content in the city.

The best breakfasts, best roof bars, top 50 restaurants…and an awful lot more. The website goes into a lot of detail.

I shall remind you every day…

Dictionary of Sydney


What is the Dictionary of Sydney?

If it happened in Sydney, it belongs in the Dictionary

The Dictionary will represent Sydney’s story online as one of the windows into the permanent historical digital repository we are building. The Dictionary website will be a forum for public discussion and controversy, an aide to teaching and learning, and a source of information and entertainment. Innovative in technology because it has been born digital, the Dictionary of Sydney will be like no other city encyclopaedia in the world.

It will contain…

Dreamings, habitats, suburbs, houses, beaches, bridges, crimes, speeches, urban myths, characters, political players, artists, intellectuals, sports people, protests, communities – anyone and everything that has contributed to the history of the place we now call Sydney. The Dictionary’s materials will include:

  •  thematic essays from noted experts
  •  interesting pieces on well known and unlikely topics
  •  entries on people, events, organisations and places
  • stories and images from our readers and volunteers
  • oral histories, photographs and artistic representations
  • material about important documents and artefacts
  • sound and moving images.

All of these will be richly contextualised and mapped in space and time, connecting to and through each other to form the overall picture.

Old Sydney Burial Ground

From the City of Sydney website…


Archaeological Works Underway

Recent archaeological investigations associated with the Sydney Town Hall upgrade have uncovered evidence of the Old Sydney Burial Ground that was formerly on the site. The cemetery was in use from 1792 to 1820, but was exhumed in 1869 to make way for the Sydney Town Hall.

A Public Open Day was held on Tuesday 22 January 2008 so members of the public could view the excavation site. Read more below.

Follow this link to read a short history on the Old Sydney Burial Ground. An inventory of names of the 2266 people buried in the cemetery between September 1792 and September 1820 has been compiled by the council from historical sources and can be downloaded. Presentations delivered at a public information session in September 2007 can also be found below.

Public Open Day

An archaeological excavation beneath the Sydney Town Hall commenced on Monday 7 January 2008, as the first stage of a five-year rescue plan for the historic building. The excavation, which has been approved by the NSW Heritage Council, will create space for an essential plant and equipment room to house services required for the building to meet modern fire safety standards. A Public Open Day was held on Tuesday 22 January 2008 so that members of the public could view the excavation site and meet the archaeologists.

The City of Sydney has appointed archaeologists Dr Mary Casey and Tony Lowe of Casey & Lowe Pty Ltd to direct the excavation works. The graves are being excavated in line with Heritage Council guidelines and the excavation is expected to take six weeks to complete.

Preliminary archaeological investigations indicated that there were remnants of a number of graves in the basement area belonging to the Old Sydney Burial Ground. Graves in the area were largely exhumed in the 1880s when the Peace and Centennial Halls were built.

The archaeological excavation currently underway will record the remnants of any graves that may have been missed. Of the 53 grave sites identified 12 were found to contain bone fragments during preliminary investigations.

The archaeological excavation covers about half of the area of the Peace Hall.

View of the extent of the archaeological excavation beneath the Peace Hall, Sydney Town Hall, 22 January 2008.

Archaeologists were at work during the open day, measuring and recording the graves.

An archaeologist from Casey & Lowe Pty Ltd recording a grave during the open day.

The graves are on a similar orientation facing east west. The outlines of former coffins and graves could be clearly seen in the soil.

Photo showing the orientation of graves.

There are a number of smaller grave cuts, indicating the graves of infants. This photograph shows the excavation of a grave of an adult and infant buried together. Bone fragments have confirmed this was the grave of a woman; she probably died during childbirth.

Photograph showing the grave of an adult and infant buried together.

After the fieldwork is completed, a full report documenting the graves and analysing the finds will be prepared for the City of Sydney and the Heritage Council of NSW. It is hoped that information gathered and artifacts found during the excavation process will contribute to our understanding of early colonial life and death in Sydney.

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Previous Archaeological Discoveries

This is not the first time that evidence of the Old Sydney Burial Ground has been uncovered.

This plan shows the location and distribution of graves of the current archaeological excavation (in green) in relation to previous finds in 2003 (in turquoise), 1991 (in red) and 1974 (in black) and overlaid with the building footprint of the town hall.

Plan showing the location of graves uncovered in current and previous archaeological investigations. Plan prepared by archaeologist Tony Lowe, Casey & Lowe Pty LTd.

Plan prepared by archaeologist Tony Lowe, Casey & Lowe Pty Ltd.

Photographs and artifacts from previous archaeological discoveries in 1991 and 2003 were also on display at the open day.

Artifacts from archaeological discoveries in 1991 and 2003 were on display at the open day.

Headstone fragment, commemorating Elizabeth Steel, died 1795.

Partial headstone, uncovered in 1991, inscribed: “In Memory of Elizh Steel died ……….. 1795 Aged ……”

Elizabeth Steel was a convict who was transported to Australia on the ‘Lady Juliana’, arriving June 3, 1790. She died in 1795 soon after completing her sentence on Norfolk Island. Her burial at the Old Sydney Burial Ground was recorded on 8th Jun 1795. She was 29 years old.

Fragment of a headstone with only the word Regt. (ie Regiment) legible. Found in 2003.

Headstone fragment, recovered in 2003 near Druitt Street, with the word Regt (ie. Regiment) visible.

The Old Sydney Burial Ground buried both the convict and free population. There were no apparent denominational divisions, but some social distinctions were maintained in the spatial organisation of the cemetery. Early Sydney residents recalled that the military were buried in certain parts of the cemetery. The corner close to Kent Street hosted graves of the non-commissioned officers of the 46th and 48th Regiment. Over in the south-west corner near the Presbyterian Church, soldiers of the 73rd Regiment were buried. And in the ground fronting George Street, near Druitt Street, were buried some non-commissioned officers of the NSW Corps.

Headstone fragment, recovered in 2003.

Headstone fragment, recovered in 2003 near Druitt Street. The words ‘Faithful’ and ‘Peaceable’ are clearly visible. This was part of an epitaph.

For more images and information related to the Old Sydney Burial Ground, follow this link to the short history of the Old Sydney Burial Ground. It includes suggestions for further reading. You can also listen to audio presentations by Dr Lisa Murray, Dr Mary Casey and Dr Denise Donlan.

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Was your ancestor once buried here?

Records relating to the Old Sydney Burial Ground are scant. No dedicated burial register or plan for the cemetery has survived and possibly never existed. No records were kept of where burial sites were located. Nearly 140 years later, the challenge has been to resurrect the names of those buried in Sydney’s first official cemetery.

An inventory of names has been compiled by the council from historical sources and can be downloaded. This is the first time that a consolidated list of burials for the Old Sydney Burial Ground has been produced.

Was one of your ancestors buried in the Old Sydney Burial Ground? The City’s History Program is always happy to receive biographical information about persons formerly buried on the site. Information will be placed on file in the City Archives. Send information to

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Inventory of Burials

This is the first time that a consolidated list of burials for the Old Sydney Burial Ground has been produced. The inventory identifies the names of 2266 people that were buried in the cemetery between September 1792 and September 1820. Another 90 names have been flagged as possible burials in the cemetery; research to date has been unable to confirm in which cemetery these burials occurred, but they fall within the timeframe of when the cemetery was active.

The inventory was painstakingly extracted from St Phillip’s Parish Registers (the only parish at Sydney during this period) and then cross referenced with other primary and secondary sources, including contemporary diaries, newspaper reports, and the Thomas D. Mutch Index to NSW Births, Deaths and Marriages 1787-1956.

The inventory is presented in three main sections according to burial status. First up is a list of names of those who were buried in the cemetery (burial), the majority of which probably never had a headstone. A small percentage of graves had headstones, some of which were recorded in one form or another for posterity. These persons are confirmed burials in the cemetery. This is the second section (headstone), starting on page 64. Finally, there are a number of deceased persons falling within the timeframe of when the cemetery was active, but the historical record is either too vague or not there to confirm with any certainty whether they were actually buried in the cemetery. These are flagged as possible burials, starting on page 71. The first three burials that took place in 1819 at the new cemetery (while the original cemetery was still open) are also identified at the end of the spreadsheet.

Within each section, the inventory is in alphabetical order by surname, and adopts the spelling and burial dates as shown in the St Phillip’s Parish Registers. Each entry records the name, date of burial and age at time of death (where available).

The type and clarity of the information recorded in St Phillip’s registers varies from year to year. For example, sometimes the age at time of death is noted, sometimes not. And there are some significant gaps in the registers. The records were poorly maintained between October 1800 when the Reverend Richard Johnson departed for England and when his successor, the Reverend William Cowper, arrived in the colony in August 1809.

The process of cross-referencing the parish registers with other sources identified a number of burials not recorded in the parish registers. Several of the names recorded by headstone transcriptions in contemporary diaries and later newspaper reports did not appear in the parish registers. A small number of Jewish burials did not appear in the parish registers.

Sixty three names can be connected to documentary or material evidence of a headstone. On these figures, less that 3% of the burials were marked by a headstone. This figure is no doubt conservative (vandalism of the cemetery was rife following its closure in 1820) but it supports the picture painted by contemporary descriptions of the cemetery; the vast majority of graves were unmarked.

Research revealed variations in the spelling of names, and conflicting dates of burial and ages. These variations are noted in the index. Other information, such as date of death (as opposed to burial date), social status of the individual at time of death (convict, free, soldier), and details of any headstone transcriptions, was collated where available. All this additional information has been recorded in the final column of the consolidated list of burials and references provided so that researchers can go back to the original sources. Every effort has been made to identify and eliminate duplicate burials due to variations in the spelling of names, but some duplicate listings may remain.

The Inventory of Burials in the Old Sydney Burial Ground, 1792-1819, has been provided to assist family historians with their research. Please note that the City of Sydney does not hold any original records relating to the Old Sydney Burial Ground and cannot undertake historical research on individuals buried in the cemetery. The St Phillip’s Parish Registers can be consulted at the State Library of New South Wales and the Society of Australian Genealogists, as well as at regional repositories around New South Wales that hold the Archives Resources Kit produced by State Records.


Sydney Opera House – original model

Photo Journal: Long-Lost Model of Sydney Opera House Found and Rebuilt

It was like a crystal palace … and it took on that sort of legend. A long-lost acrylic architectural model of the Sydney Opera House has been found and reconstructed, after languishing in storage crates for three decades. The Australian and The Sydney Morning Herald reported on the model’s re-assembly earlier this month.

The world-famous icon was designed by Danish architect J�rn Utzon in the late 1950s. Construction began in 1959 and was completed in 1973, though Utzon resigned in 1966 after clashing with government officials over the cost and feasibility of the project.

Following Utzon’s departure, model builder Bill Lambert (who died in 1988) was commissioned by the New South Wales state Department of Public Works to build a three-dimensional model of the building based on approximately 8,000 detailed architectural drawings.

Lambert began work on a detailed model that year (1966), as a way of testing how heating, cooling and ventilation would work in the days before computer modeling and graphics were available to do the job. According to the Herald, it took Lambert seven years to build his model, which is 4.5 meters long, three meters wide and 1.8 meters high. The material used was Perspex, a semi-transparent acrylic that can be shaped when heated.

Just as the unique sail-shaped roofs of the Sydney Opera House challenged the builders and engineers, reproducing their design caused Lambert problems. The scale roof took two years to build, according to The Australian. It was only completed after Lambert discovered how to use several ovens to mold Perspex, then newly-developed, into the necessary shapes.

The model was sent to the 1974 Washington World Expo and had not been seen since — until 2002, when the NSW Dept. of Public Works came across the model in storage crates, which were turned over to the Sydney Opera House Trust.

Lambert’s masterwork had been disassembled into 1,600 pieces (out of a total of 2,500), but there was no ‘how-to’ assembly plan stored with them. The SOH Trust was faced with what The Australian called “the ultimate IKEA nightmare.”

A local firm called Porter Models painstakingly figured out how to repair and rebuild the model, assembling it more or less like a jigsaw puzzle — a task that took 2,000 hours over three months. Now, according to a spokesperson for the Sydney Opera House Trust, the model, once disassembled, can be put back together in about two days.

Sydney – history of street names

bridge street  

A Guide to Sydney City Street Names

The history of street names in the old city core of Sydney is fantastically complicated. While careful mid-nineteenth century plans of Melbourne and Adelaide resulted in a reasonably stable street layout and street naming, Sydney’s streets have been the subject of ongoing modifications, alterations and confusions. Many streets have disappeared, been realigned, or renamed; while many others are being created.

In 1995 the council published a guide to street names researched by City Historian Shirley Fitzgerald. It was a valuable resource for local and urban historians and has been out of print for several years. Since the local government amalgamations in 2004, further research has been undertaken by Lois Sabine to incorporate all the streets in the former South Sydney area and the Glebe. This updated guide to street names is now presented in a new format: a searchable spreadsheet.

The original introduction to Sydney Street’s: A Guide to Sydney City Street Names written by Shirley Fitzgerald is reproduced as a pdf document. It comments upon some trends in Sydney street naming and re-naming, and the vagaries of the records.

Sydney’s Streets video

City historians Shirley Fitzgerald and Lisa Murray chat about the evolution of Sydney’s streets and their names. The video features historic photographs from the City of Sydney Archives.

A note on sources

This guide has been compiled from a number of sources including old maps, council records, government gazettals, and secondary sources.

The guide to street names is inevitably always in draft. While every attempt has been made to identify all current and former streets, there will always be gaps. New information regularly comes to light and it is intended to update the spreadsheet accordingly.

Information on lesser known names will almost certainly only come to light from family knowledge and personal archives – like the claim that Daniel Outtrim (Outram Street) was an engineer at the nearby Kent Brewery (information from Stella Green, Lindfield). Or the observation that near Bathurst Street between George and Pitt Streets (named for King and Prime Minister) there is Wilmot Street, named for a convict who ran a public house there for many years (information from Rian Willmot, Cherrybrook).

Readers are very welcome to provide comments, corrections or new information. Correspondence should be directed to Lisa Murray, Historian,

Guide Format

A Guide to Sydney City Street Names is presented with the following fields:

Name: Street name. The guide is by default sorted alphabetically by street name but can be searched or sorted by other fields.

Status: C = current street; R = renamed; D = disappeared

Location: Locality in which the street is/was located.

Postcode: Postcode area in which the street is/was located.

Map & Grid Reference: The map & grid references refer to the grid in Sydways street directories, which is utilised across the entire council GIS system.

Notes: Brief information about name origins, gazettal dates, cross references to other street names etc.