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City of Sydney

Behind the scenes: Curating the Developing Sydney exhibition

Where
Darling Square Library
Darling Square Library
Levels 1 and 2, The Exchange, 1 Little Pier Street, Haymarket NSW 2000
When

Wednesday 14 April from 1pm to 2pm

City of Sydney Library Lunchtime Conversations are a series of free talks with authors, artists and experts.

The day-to-day life experiences of previous Sydneysiders are often ignored when researching the history of the city’s built form. Join City of Sydney historian and curator Laila Ellmoos to explore how a lost Sydney emerged from the City archives during research for the current photographic exhibition Developing Sydney: Capturing Change 1900-1920

The exhibition draws from a collection of 5,000 photographs and glass plate negatives known as the Demolition Books. The City Building Surveyor’s department commissioned these images of buildings and streetscapes in the first half of the 20th century to document the city’s transformation. These photographs now record more than architectural change when viewed 100 years later. Inadvertently, the council photographers captured people and places that reveal the rich detail of life in Sydney’s past.

In this free 1-hour talk, hear about the making of the show and Laila’s unexpected finds and favourite scenes and characters in these photographs. From barefooted urchins and backyard marsupials, to shaved heads and large hats, billy carts and missing shoes, the experiences of previous Sydneysiders are revealed. Also find out how the digital scanning techniques have enhanced our ability to zoom in on the previously unseen detail in the old glass plate negatives. 

The presentation will be followed by a short Q&A session.

Laila Ellmoos

Laila is a professional historian who is passionate about communicating history to a wide range of audiences through exhibitions, talks and the written word. She is a historian at the City of Sydney, and a long-standing member of the Professional Historians Association of NSW & ACT.

This is a free event. Bookings are essential. You can join the event in person at our Darling Square Library or online.

Booking options

Attend the event at Darling Square Library - Covid safety

To join the session in person, choose this option when you book. This is a Covid-safe event. Please read your booking confirmation carefully to join the event following our Covid-19 safety plan. Please note that the venue has a reduced capacity and bookings are limited to 30 people. If you book a ticket and can’t attend for any reason, please let us know as soon as possible.

Attend the event online

To join the session live on Zoom, choose this option when you book. Please read your booking confirmation carefully to join the event on Zoom. You’ll need to install the free Zoom software on your own or computer or device to participate.

This event will be Auslan interpreted. To access the Auslan interpreting, you will need to use Zoom on a computer for this event.

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City of Sydney

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