Monday, July 19, 2010

My take on maps and copyright law in Australia - just for the historical record of course

This is a blog that dwells somewhat on local Sydney history - you may have noticed! And this post is partly an explanation and a disclaimer. In short: I do my best to respect copyright. That doesn't mean I agree with it - too often copyright hinders the creation of new material. Historically it has been important that new material reference and build on the past, and I remain in favour of that "fair use" principle. I don't believe in plagiarism or blatant misuse. Thus I respect the law as it stands, applied sensibly.

The longer explanation: wherever possible I cite sources for my material and avoid knowingly breaching copyright. Please let me know if I have stepped on your toes in that regard - it wasn't intentional.

Where I "sample" and mark recent material (with notes or circles) I do so for historical research purposes (ie 'study') only in accord with fair use under the act. I also believe that in all such cases I have only reproduced what is needed to obtain historical context and clarity, and that remains only up to or less than 10% of the original work. This is achieved by cropping or blurring the remainder. Where I have overlayed one map upon another I have not in my view altered or added to the original material, rather I have simply layered one image over another. Where I have reproduced a full page of a street directory or other map either I consider it to be no longer covered by copyright, or to be less than 10% of the original (and complete) work. In that way I do distinguish between a complete work, being a whole publication, and sampled pages of  a complete work. I have not copied any street directory published after 1954 in its entirety, nor do I intend to do so. Again, if I have stepped on any individual copyright owner's toes please let me know. 

And here are some copyright snippets from other sites for comparison... 

The Australian Copyright Council site. A great source of up to date material.

National Library Of Australia | Copyright in maps
Maps published in or before 1954 are free of copyright. For maps published in 1955 or later by a government publisher, copyright lasts for 50 years after the end of the year the map was published. For maps published in 1955 or later by a non government publisher, copyright lasts for 70 years after the end of the year the map was published.
National Library Of Australia | Copyright in maps
Maps still in copyright can be copied for you in libraries under "fair dealing" exemptions of the Copyright Act 1968 for the purposes of research and study. However, you will need to demonstrate that you have followed your obligations under the Copyright Act. For a map in copyright a 10% portion of the map may be copied for research or study purposes only. In practice this usually means one A4 size portion (21cm x 30cm) of the map only. You do not need permission from the copyright owner to obtain a copy of a portion of a map as long as it is used for the purposes of research or study only. Permission is needed if you wish to copy the entire map, or if you intend to reproduce, display, publish or sell the copy.


Sunday, July 4, 2010

I can't resist some relic tunnels, railways and whatnot from NSW shale mines, can you?

Well I find it interesting, anyway. Been there twice, once staying overnight near Newnes. Shale oil mining was big business in the late 19th Century until the early 20th and a raft of mines sprung up in NSW. Tunnels, railway relics, oil refinery equipment - you name it, it's all there to be seen. This post is (you guessed it) about that shale mining. Follow the links to more detailed sites with pics.

Brian Ayling's Airly relics
From 1883 to about 1913, Kerosene shale or torbanite was mined in the vicinity of Airly, a small village near Capertee about 120 miles from Sydney. Transport of shale to the nearby railway was initially handled by a system of roads and horse tramways, but with increased production and the establishment of an oil works at Torbane, some spectacular cable haulage inclines were employed to cross Airly Mountain.

The Airly mines closed after shale production was concentrated in Newnes, and today just a few remarkable relics remain, in fairly secluded bushland.
Brian Ayling's Airly relics
Hidden cottages
Small stone dwellings can be found adjacent to the route of a horse tramway that served shale mines along the eastern slopes of Airly Mountain. Careful exploration either side of the tramway formation reveals numerous hidden gems like these, the example at right being neatly concealed beneath an overhanging rock.
Brian Ayling's Airly relics
Oil works site
Reward for a climb to the crest of Airly Mountain is this spectacular view overlooking the Torbane oil works site. Farm house is the original works manager's residence, and the access road approaching from right uses an abandoned standard gauge railway formation.
Dingo Gap Gallery | Airly Cave Houses and Village
When Oil Shale Mining started in 1883 at Mt Airly and Torbane, a small village named Airly sprang up in the valley immediately to the east of Mt Airly.

There was no town planning. Small ramshackle huts were built wherever there was a level bit of ground large enough to support foundations and the chimney.

A tramway for hauling shale from the mines to the refinery at Torbane ran through the village.

Some miners took advantage of rock overhangs and built cave houses, filling in gaps with stones. These houses were very small and cramped.

Not much is left of the village today. There are large open spaces in the valley. Along the old tramway there are the remains of several stone or brick houses and several some cave houses.

A couple of the cave houses are in remarkably good condition.

Mining had ceased by 1914 and most of the population moved away soon after.
Capertee
The road turns north towards Glen Alice at the intersection with the Glen Davis Road, or you can penetrate even further into the valley by going on into Glen Davis.

This now sleepy village, named after the Davis Gelatine Company was originally known as Green Gully. It was developed as the site of a shale oil industry during WWII which lasted 12 years before closing.
Glen Davis (Photo - Bruce Upton)

The site of the refinery is on private land is only accessible by guided tour starting at the gates at 2pm on a Sunday.
Capertee - New South Wales - Australia - Travel - smh.com.au
The railway arrived from Wallerawang in 1882. Consequently Capertee acquired a school; albeit in the form of a tent, which was replaced by a pre-fab building in 1883.

More importantly, the railway enabled the exploitation of the area's known mineral resources - coal, limestone and oil shale. The latter was discovered on the future site of Glen Davis in 1873. The first mining tunnel at that site was established in 1881 and other mines began to open around Capertee in the 1890s, including one on Blackman's Crown.

Capertee naturally benefited from the economic activity although there was little development other than the opening of a police station, lock-up and courthouse.

Two other small villages soon sprang up around the new mines - Airly Village, about 8km east of Capertee and Torbane which acquired a railway siding. By 1898, about 200 men were working on the Torbane project. It is thought that between 1896 and 1903, 140 000 tons of oil shale were extracted. For shelter the miners used caves formed by erosion in the sandstone cliffs.

However, shale production went into decline around 1903 as it is the nature of oil shale seams to narrow out rapidly from the section of greatest thickness and hence to soon become uneconomical to pursue.

By 1913 work at the mines had virtually ceased. A new company did build an aerial railway to the Torbane siding and established a retort in 1924 but it was a short-lived venture.
Capertee - New South Wales - Australia - Travel - smh.com.au
After the works at Newnes closed down in the early 1920s agitation increased for a reopening of the Capertee works as it was the only source of oil in Australia. A committee was set up in 1933 to investigate the feasibility. Its report in 1934 led to the formation of National Oil Proprietary Ltd (NOP) in 1937. Although the committee recommended re-establishing the Newnes works, the other option was eventually chosen - that being the old oil shale tunnel established in 1881 at the eastern rim of the Capertee Valley (i.e., Glen Davis).

The degree of government assistance and concessions indicate that the enterprise was to be of no great commercial success. Looming war may have increased desire for independent fuel resources but the proposed production levels were not that significant. Nonetheless the works were opened in 1938 and a town of about 2500 people quickly developed around the works which employed 1600 people at their peak in the 1940s. It was named Glen Davis after the Davis Gelatine interests who headed NOP.

Supplies were already running out by 1949 and the end of Chifley's Labor Government meant the end of heavy and on-going assistance from the government. Costs were high, output was low and cheap crude oil was available from the Middle East. Consequently the works closed in 1952. The machinery was stripped in 1953, leaving the ruins which remain today.
Geological Sites - Especially around Sydney
It's off the beaten path a bit, but don't forget to visit Glen Davis - say the tourism promoters. And those who take the trip usually find it an interesting place. The former oil shale mining town lies at the end of the spectacular escarpments of the Capertee Valley, stated to be the largest enclosed valley in the southern hemisphere. Glen Davis has perhaps the largest seam of high grade oil shale in the world. In its heyday about 2,500 people lived in the township. Vertical sandstone cliffs now stand guard over the crumbling vegetation-covered structures lending a surreal impression.

Glen Davis is one of the many known oil shale areas (Torbane, Mt Airly, Glen Alice, Glen Davis, Newnes, Marangaroo, Hartley Vale, Joadja, etc.) that have been exploited for oil distillation from the mineral (torbanite). Glen Davis was the latest and greatest of these limited life enterprises. The shale-to-liquids industry has operated in numerous countries around the world, and its beginnings go back as far as 1694 when shale oil was first produced in Scotland. Today, commercial oil shale industries are active in China, Estonia and Brazil.

In the Sydney Basin, oil shale occurs as high grade torbanite beds. The torbanite yields approximately 300 litres of oil per tonne. Torbanite deposits in the upper part of the Late Permian coal measures have been exploited along the western margin of the Sydney Basin, in the Illawara area, and also in the Gunnedah Basin. The best-known deposits are Joadja in the south, Newnes and Glen Davis in the central west, and Baerami in the southern Gunnedah Basin. Some deposits have also been recorded in the Greta Coal Measures of the Hunter Valley.
Geological Sites - Especially around Sydney
Glen Davis was a follow-on from Newnes. Newnes was one of the larger and more successful of the early oil shale mines and refineries, and it operated from 1906 to 1934. The Newnes oil distillation works was very much an on-off operation. The Newnes works opened and closed repeatedly due to competition from imports, mining difficulties and capital shortages.

After the works at Newnes closed down in the early 1920s agitation increased for a reopening of the Capertee works as it was the only source of oil in Australia. The Federal Government undertook support for the Newnes works from 1931, as both an employment creation measure and as encouragement for domestic oil production. The government supported the new owners, the Shale Oil Development Committee Limited, but by March 1932 this company had failed. A committee was set up in 1933 to investigate the feasibility of continuing operations in the area. The government then called for new tenders in April 1932 but nothing eventuated. Then in May 1936 the Federal Government announced it would take over the Newnes operation and, together with the New South Wales state government, inject new capital into a joint enterprise with private industry. To that end Sir Herbert Gepp, as a consultant acting for the government, approached many industrialists about the scheme, including Mr George Davis (the founder of Davis Gelatine Pty Ltd. Davis).


Saturday, July 3, 2010

More oral history of Sydney - horse trainers in Glebe - and brief history of the Penrith trotting track

I'm getting drawn into Bill Whittaker's oral history of Sydney's race tracks even though I have no interest at all in horse racing of any sort. What interests me is the changing land use, the transport infrastructure that was built and the people - the characters - who pushed and pulled for all of this to happen. There was certainly contention - racing was not always seen as a proper use of resources like land and electricity (especially for night racing) when people were suffering under depression or war. But it was popular outdoor entertainment, at least until television and the pokies drew people inside. The same fate awaited the track cyclists on Sydney's velodromes, so it's all intertwined, related and just plain interesting.

Anyway, there was a track at Forest Lodge called Lillie Bridge for teyh ponies that became Harold Park. And the horses were stabled nearby in Glebe and Newtown...

Where were they stabled, those horses? All through the Glebe district, through streets like Wigram Road, Hereford – Hereford Street, that’s where the great Sutton McMillan had his stables – and Arundel Street. Arundel Street was where Seymour Stables they were called in my time but in the 1920s and ‘30s a great trainer who was killed called Jack Eddie, E-D-D-I-E had those stables in Arundel Street, which is now a motel, I think, is it not? It’s just near the university, where the university students stay. Well, Jack Eddie, one morning in 1938, he was the leading – or one of the leading drivers - at Harold Park for years, was driving his horse home. He was sitting in the sulky behind a mare and leading two others and the mare reared, tossed him out of the sulky, smashed his head and he was killed in – I think it was in Ross Street, as he went up the hill to Arundel Street. It was a great tragedy. It’s a wonder it didn’t happen more often because there were hundreds of horses walking around those streets of Glebe – you couldn’t imagine; you’d have to have a vivid imagination to think that so many horses could have been in such a small area on the side of that hill, going down into the Glebe Hollow. Even in my time, I remember Jack Lewis - who had a great horse called Jack Hope at the time – he had his horses stabled on the corner of Ross Street and Parramatta Road; there was a livery stable there even – that was into the 1950s. So, I think it’s a service station now - it’s opposite the University of Sydney.


But it's not just about inner Sydney, is it? There were race tracks wherever there were people, basically...

Penrith City Council
As early as September 1900, mention is made in the local press of the plans to build a trotting track of half a mile in length with posts erected every 60 yards. Mr. T.R. Smith was to provide the funds to build it and was to be repaid from the training fees as they came in.

The trotters of the early days were generally saddle horses and professional trotting trainers often approached local owners, especially those with show horses with proven trotting abilities, to lease them for the trotting races.

The competition from galloping and pony racing clubs in daytime meetings saw the gradual demise of trotting as a popular sport and it wasn’t until the closure of pony tracks and the introduction of night racing in the post-war era, that trotting began to regain popularity. It was now known as harness racing acknowledging the fact that although all the horses wore harness, many paced rather than trotted.

The modern history of harness racing in Penrith began on 16th April, 1964 when night racing began in Penrith. The crowd packed into the brand new $80,000 grandstand to watch a first class program, with horses of a high calibre racing. The opening marked a milsestone in trotting history as the Nepean District Agricultural and Industrial Society became, that night, the first of the new night clubs in Sydney to conduct a registered race meeting.

The high standard of entries has continued till the present day, with the Penrith Paceway rated as one on Sydney’s leading provincial clubs. In 1999 the club closed for some months while it underwent a major upgrade, but it re-opened on 25th November to loud acclaim. The Penrith Paceway track circumference is 804.64 metres with a home straight of 130 metres.


A bit more history on the Victoria Park racecourse, now Green Square

More from the oral history transcript of an interview with Bill Whittaker provided by the City of Sydney. This time on Victoria Park racecourse, which became the Leyland factory, Naval Stores and finally (so far) housing.

Oh, yes, well, daytime trotting, it prospered at times and, you know, the Depression came in 1929 in the first years after they’d renamed it and things were tough, there was very little money, and daytime trotting had big disadvantages. They couldn’t race Saturday because it would have been in opposition to the galloping - which had been going for a hundred years, they were relatively used to it - and they couldn’t really compete for the patronage from the punters when the races would have been that Saturday because every Saturday afternoon racing in Sydney, so they had to race Monday afternoons. There were two tracks, Harold Park and Victoria Park. Victoria Park was established in 1911 by Sir James Joynton Smith and Sir James Joynton Smith played a very active and prominent role in the establishment of daytime trotting at Victoria Park, which he owned. Sir Joynton Smith was one of the most interesting characters in Sydney history. He was Lord Mayor of Sydney for several years, I think he was second president of the New South Wales Rugby League, the organisation which has flourished so much. He actually supported the rugby league when they broke away from the rugby union. Sir Joynton Smith established Smith’s weekly, the newspaper - very prominent newspaper - and he also built the Carrington Hotel at Katoomba and he also built a beautiful arcade – I think it was called the Victoria Arcade – down near the Australia Hotel and the Prince Edward Theatre in the old days in Sydney. It was a beautiful arcade that sadly has been demolished. So,
you can see he was very prominent and he lifted the image of trotting in Sydney. He was also chairman of the South Sydney Hospital and when Victoria Park was established from the proceeds of the first meeting he in fact donated five hundred pounds – a lot of money then – to the South Sydney Hospital charity to help improve it and establish the place.


History of Sydney - where was Lillie Bridge? Apparently it was at Forest Lodge...

Lillie Bridge was a pony racecourse in the 1890s as well as an athletics track holding professional athletics races. Reference has been made to a Forest Lodge location at several sites and the SMH records it as being now called Harold Park. After being known as Lillie Bridge it became "Epping" but was renamed Harold Park to avoid confusion with the Sydney suburb of the same name.

Here's part of an oral history transcript from the City of Sydney records where Bill Whittaker recalls the early history of Lillie Bridge and other tracks:

Oh, yes, yes. Harold Park’s got a very stormy and interesting history - it was originally called Lillie Bridge. As you know, Margo, it’s situated in the Glebe Hollow, reclaimed land. It was a swamp and about 1880 it was still a swamp adjacent to, you know, the Glebe – there were Glebe abattoirs and things like that down there but the Harold Park or the area where Harold Park now is was a swamp and even to this day when it rains heavily there’s a lot ‘o’ water in the middle. But anyway, it was called Lillie Bridge and in the 1890s there was pony racing. They had a track, a little, a very small track - it was about two and a half furlongs around; that’s about less than six hundred metres – and they had pony racing and trotting, a proprietary body that was a bit shadowy, a bit shady, but they had bookmakers there, no tote, but they had bookmakers and in actual fact they had night racing. They lit it up in – I think the year was 1895 or 1896 and it was popular for a while but oh, the skulduggery was considerable and it didn’t last, so it was then sold. The property was sold and developed by the New South Wales Rugby Union, football, and they owned it and then the trotting, a group of men formed what they called the ‘New South Wales Trotting Club’, and they were interested in having trotting meetings. They’d previously raced in Sydney along – they called it Moore Park Road, it’s now Anzac Parade, and they used to have Saturday afternoon meetings there, just stake money with the others, many of them very wealthy, including one of the Horderns - the original Anthony Hordern actually raced along the Moore Park Road - but there was no betting or very little, only side wagering. But anyway, they formed the New South Wales Trotting Club and the trotting club at first leased Lillie – oh, it was called Lillie Bridge and when the Rugby Union took it over it was called Forest Lodge - and the trotting club leased it from the Union and for six or seven years they raced there at the Forest Lodge track. It was an eight hundred metre, half mile track, and they had meetings there and they also – there was a problem with the lease and they went to Kensington Racecourse -where the New South Wales University is now - there was a racecourse there and the New South Wales Trotting Club held, oh, eight or nine meetings at Kensington - a place of great learning now, of course - and then they came back to Harold Park in about 1904 or 1905. It was then called – it was Lillie Bridge first, then Forest Lodge and then they renamed it Epping and they raced there regularly. They had, I think they had twelve meetings a year at first and then twenty until 1929 when due to the confusion with the suburb of Epping, out in the Eastwood/Epping area, they renamed it Harold Park. It was renamed Harold Park because Andrew Town - who was one of the great trotting horse breeders and thoroughbred breeder of Hobartville Stud near Richmond - Andrew Town had imported a great stallion - American bred, but he imported it from Scotland - it was named ‘Childe Harold’, H-A-R-O-L-D, the man’s name, and so the name was changed from Epping to Harold Park as late as 1929, and of course it’s been Harold Park ever since.


Friday night fever proves a hit with the southerners - www.smh.com.au
Ever since the days of Lillie Bridge in the 1890s, racing has been trying to find a second best day to Saturday. Sure, there is the odd exception, such as the first Tuesday in November, but just about every other alternative has been tried in Sydney without success.

Lillie Bridge, now known as Harold Park, was the first to use electric lighting, then a new-fangled invention. While trotting, too, was held on the course, pony racing was a major attraction and one that did better than the present gallopers at Canterbury.


SMH reference to pony racing at Kensington, the old tote building and NIDA

Although the Kensington pony track is long gone, the old tote building is still there on the Uni of NSW grounds. NIDA was based there for a long time and there's still a theatre there (or was, last time I checked).

Harry shone back when ponies were almost main event - Horseracing - Sport
The painting of jockey Harry Reed, a kindly old man in civvies, on a wall at Belmore Road, Randwick, is fading. Words say he rode "countless winners" and helped build the University of NSW on the site of the old Kensington racecourse, a pony track much favoured by him. He later worked as a patrolman and gatekeeper at the uni.

Harry Reed? The name never rang a bell. Mind you, growing up around Kensington, having used the lake in the centre of the defunct track for swimming and the old tote building, later to become a nursery for great actors, as a playground, the mystique of pony racing was always strong.


Historical footnote: prior to WWII pony racing was a big entertainment option in Sydney

Like the lost velodromes of Sydney, there are also the lost pony racecourses such as Ascot, Rosebery, Victoria Park and Kensington. Ascot's track and surrounds were overtaken by Sydney's growing airport at Mascot, Rosebery by housing flats and Kensington by the University of NSW. Victoria Park had several later uses, including the Leyland car factory, Naval Stores and more recently housing.

Pony racing was defined as..."any meeting at which the conditions of any race included any condition relating to the height of any horse, mare or gelding eligible to compete". By 1930 restricted height races were generally programmed for 14.1- or 14.2-hand ponies.

South Sydney's major venues for them in the 20th century were Ascot (now a Sydney airport runway), Victoria Park (a housing development), Rosebery Park (part of Mascot) and Kensington racecourses. Other Sydney circuits for them included Liverpool, Lillie Bridge, Brighton, Belmore and Epping.

In 1907, in opposition to the registered clubs, headed by the Australian Jockey Club, they formed the powerful Associated Racing Clubs (ARC). But it has long gone. Rosebery went in 1962 but the final meeting there took place almost 23 years earlier. Sydney's last pony meeting was at Ascot on August 22, 1942. Rosebery was still operating as a training track in my time and the betting action on official two-year-olds' barrier trials, with the likes of Hollywood George Edser betting (illegally), was greater than at your average Randwick Saturday these days.


By: Wayne Peake Publisher: Walla Walla Press, Newsroom
Between 1888 and 1942, unregistered pony racing broke away from and challenged registered horseracing to become one of Sydney’s most popular sporting industries. It was also big business elsewhere in Australia, and in England, South Africa and India. Peake’s important contribution to Australian sporting and public history focuses on this little known phenomenon. Sydney’s pony racing epicentre stretched from the city to Botany Bay, with the main courses located in Rosebery, Kensington, Ascot and Victoria Park.A fascinating picture of the sport’s prominence in Sydney life over half a century emerges in these pages.

Back to Sydney's race tracks and circuits.