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City of Sydney

Building Darlinghurst

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

Thursday 9 May from 1pm to 2pm

The suburb of Darlinghurst emerged from the wild scrub at the eastern edge of town in the mid-19th century.

In this talk, City Historian Laila Ellmoos will share how the City archives shed light on the rapid urbanisation of Darlinghurst in the 19th century, and the intricate and intimate interconnections between neighbours, tenants and landlords.

Sydney Municipal Council was established in 1842, at the same time as the land here was in the process of being cleared and subdivided for housing. The Town Clerk’s Correspondence files contain dozens of letters that document the frustration and despair of Darlinghurst residents, many of whom only rented houses, as they struggled against haphazard drainage and unfettered development. Complaints were not only about sewerage and flooding but that open drains were a dumping ground for street refuse and dead animals. Viewed through the lens of letters of complaint, the history of Darlinghurst shows the ongoing challenges of urban development in inner-city Sydney.

This talk draws upon Laila's chapter recently published in My Darlinghurst (NewSouth Publishing, 2023).

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City of Sydney

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