Today in History - November
On this day in 1792 the vessel the Philadelphia became the first foreign trading vessel to visit Sydney.
On this day in 1788 the settlement at Rose Hill was founded, 23 km to the west of Sydney. Governor Phillip established a government farm at Rose Hill and then the town was laid out in June 1790. On June 4 1791 Rose Hill changed its name to Parramatta.
On this day in 1935 Charles Kingsford Smith took off in his plane, the Lady Southern Cross, from Britain in a record breaking attempt to fly to Australia. Kingsford Smith, his co-pilot JT Pethybridge and the plane were never seen again and are believed to have crashed off the coast of Burma.
On this day in 1861 the first Melbourne Cup horse race was run. Archer won from a field of 16 horses to claim 710 gold sovereigns in prize money. Archer went on to win the following year as well. Archer was trained by NSW trainer Etienne de Mestre, son of well known merchant Prosper de Mestre.
- See entry in Colonial Secretary's Papers under Horse racing
- View images of horses in Photo Investigator
On this day in 1892 the Sobraon replaced the Vernon as the Industrial School for Boys training ship. The Sobraon was three times the size of its predecessor and by 1893 it averaged 263 boys over the year. By July 1911 the last of the Sobraon boys were rehoused at the Mittagong Farm Home for Boys and the Brush Farm Home for Boys and the Sobraon was abandoned.
- See our fact sheet - Archives in Brief 59: Child care and protection
- Search the Index to the Mittagong Farm Home for Boys, 1907-21
- See images of the Sobraon on Photo Investigator - use the search term Sobraon
- See Agency No. 411 in our catalogue for more information about the Vernon and Sobraon
On this day in 1791 the whaling industry in New South Wales began. Eber Bunker, the Master of the Third Fleet vessel William & Ann, arrived in Port Jackson in August and soon went on the first whaling expeditions around NSW.
- See entry in Colonial Secretary's Papers under Eber Bunker
- See entry in Colonial Secretary's Papers under Whale Oil
On this day in 1880 the notorious bushranger, Ned Kelly, was hanged at Melbourne Gaol. In 2002 and 2003 State Records NSW received some estrays relating to the capture of Ned Kelly and his gang and these have been digitised as part of a Bushrangers Gallery.
On this day in 1821 Lt William Lawson, the Commandant of Bathurst at the time, arrived at the future site of the town of Mudgee. Earlier in the year James Blackman became the first European settler to move to the region. The first land grant occurred in 1823 to Captain Henry Steele and then in 1837 a detailed survey was conducted on the village site which was then gazetted in the following year. Mudgee is the second oldest town west of the Great Divide.
- Search the Index to the Surveyor General's Maps & Plans: enter Mudgee in the Area field
- Mudgee Post Office
On this day in 1791 the first grape vines were successfully planted at Rose Hill (later called Parramatta). Previous attempts to successfully grow grapes in the colony, including an initial planing at Farm Cove, had failed. In 1791, Governor Phillip reported that he had established a three-acre vineyard at Parramatta, and that a settler named Schaffer had also planted one acre of vines.
On this day in 1805 a violent storm displaced the head and the sails of the first Government windmill on Observatory Hill at Millers Point, Sydney. Governor Hunter had brought out with him the working parts for a public windmill in September 1795 and John Davis, an Irish convict, constructed the windmill. For many years there were a number of windmills around this area and it became known as Windmill Hill.
- See Colonial Secretary's Papers under John Davis, miller and cartwright
- See entry in Colonial Secretary's Papers under Mills
On this day in 1934 the ANZAC War Memorial in Hyde Park, Sydney was unveiled by HRH the Duke of Gloucester. The Art Deco Memorial was designed by C. Bruce Dellit and construction began in 1932 with Bathurst pink granite used for the buttresses. Inside the Memorial the domed ceiling is highlighted with 120,000 gold stars - one for each of the State's military volunteers during World War I. The statues, sculptures and bas-reliefs that feature both inside and outside of the Memorial were made by Raynor Hoff.
- See our catalogue under Agency No. 6085 - Trustees of the ANZAC Memorial Building
- Anzac War Memorial, Hyde Park Syndey, n.d.
On this day in 1787 James Dowling, the Second Chief Justice of NSW, was born. Dowling arrived in Sydney in February 1828 and worked as a judge in the Supreme Court until he was confirmed as Chief Justice on 30 August 1837. He kept meticulous records of many of the large number of cases he heard as a judge and was well-liked within the legal profession.
On this day in 1879 the mugshot of AG Scott aka Captain Moonlight was taken at Darlinghurst Gaol. Captain Moonlight was a notorious bushranger "who committed various crimes – bank-robbery, passing false cheques, stealing gold – and led a gang of outlaws until he was eventually caught by police, tried in Sydney in 1879 and subsequently executed in Darlinghurst Gaol in 1880."
On this day in 1889 the Sydney Town Hall was officially opened. The Town Hall was built throughout the 1880s on the site of an old cemetery from local Sydney sandstone. Thousands of Sydneysiders flocked to the opening as the day had been declared a public holiday.
On this day in 1975 State Records NSW officially opened the Western Sydney Records Centre (Stage 1) at Kingswood. The new storage facility complemented the Sydney Records Centre at The Rocks (closed June 2012) and held approximately 40 shelf km of State archives.
On this day in 1838 the Tarban Creek Lunatic Asylum was opened. The first patients were transferred from Liverpool Asylum and the Female Factory, Parramatta. By 1869 Tarban Creek had become the Gladesville Hospital for the Insane.
- See our resources page on Asylum Records
- See more about the hospitals in our catalogue (Agency No. 65)
On this day in 1878 Advance Australia Fair was performed for the first time. The sung was written by Peter Dodds McCormick, a Sydney school teacher, who was interested in choral music and all things Scottish. Earlier in the year he had attended a concert of national anthems and dismayed by the lack of an Australian song he began composing one on the bus on the way home. Advance Australia Fair was performed at the inauguration of the Commonwealth of Australia on January 1 1901 but did not become the official national anthem until 1984.