Film night and talk – To Beersheba and back – the story of the Australian Lighthorse charge at Beersheba on 31 October 1917

  • To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Charge at Beersheba on 31 October 1917 by the Australian Lighthorse, Penrith City Library will be screening the 1987 film The Lighthorsemen.


  • Prior to the film screening Information Librarian Lorraine Stacker will give a talk on this military event and the recent commemorations held at Beersheba in Israel.

The commemorations are to be held on 31 October 2017. For more information see . Many Australians will be there for this event, including Information Librarian Lorraine Stacker who will be taking photos and gathering information to share with everyone at the film night event.

When: 15 November 2017, 5.30 pm for 6 pm

Where: Peter Goodfellow Theatrette,
Penrith City Library
601 High Street, Penrith

Refreshments: Light refreshments at 5.30 pm

Booking: Free event – tickets available from Penrith Library Service Desk (02 4732 7891) from 16 October. Tickets essential (for catering purposes)

Contact Vanessa on 02 4732 8040 for additional details.


Posted in Events, World War 1 | Tagged

Launching the self-guided audio tour for Creative Enterprises’ embroidery projects

On Monday 11 September at 10:30am, Penrith City Council will be launching a new self-guided audio tour of the various embroidery projects created for the Civic Centre.

The tour contains audio commentary by Mavis Reynolds, founder and Director of the

Audio tour handset

Foundation for Creative Enterprises, explaining the process of creating the embroideries and examining the stitches and designs in detail.

Information about the audio tour can be found here.

The full audio commentary with images of the embroideries can be found on this website under the Creative Heritage banner, or click here.

The launch will be held in Penrith Library and members of the public are welcome to attend.

Posted in Events, Penrith

National Family History Month @ Nepean Family History Society

Free Open House  – August 2017

Tues, Wed & Thurs                     10am to 2pmOld School House, Emu Plains
Thursday                                       7pm to 9pm
Saturday                                        2pm to 5pm

  • Free access to the Library’s Resources including Ancestry and FindmyPast
  • Talk family history with NFHS members and have a chat over a cup of tea

Saturday 5 August 1:30pm               Guest Speaker: Lorraine Stacker

“The House of Vicary” – Researching and writing a local family history

Wednesday 2 August                         Library Tour of the NFHS library

Wednesday 9 August                         Help with your Irish research

Wednesday 16 August                        Help with online databases 

Wednesday 23 August                        Help with your English research

Wednesday 30 August                        Help with your Scottish research

Click here to download flyer:   Family History Month 2017

Enquiries:     Judy McLeod     02 4733 1631

Old School House,
Great Western Highway,
Emu Plains (parking off Lawson Street)

Tues, Wed & Thurs 10am to 2pm;    Thurs 7pm to


9pm;   Sat 2pm to 5pm

Posted in Events, family history, Nepean Family History Society

National Family History Month – Activities at Penrith Library

August is National Family History Month and Penrith Library has arranged a varied programme of activities during the month.

Tickets will be available from Penrith Library from 17th July. All events are free, but bookings are essential due to limited availability for some sessions.

To book a place at any of these activities, call into any branch of Penrith City Library or call (02) 4732 7891.

All activities are located within Penrith Library, 601 High Street, Penrith.

Workshop: Family history research with a local twist
August 2nd           Wednesday        10:00 – 12:00      PC Training Rm

Using the resources found in the Library, especially the treasures to be discovered in the Research Room, Information Librarian Lorraine Stacker will present a talk on getting started in family history using the internet and Ann-maree Bonner, Research Librarian, will detail some of the wonderful local records that can be used to flesh out your family tree.

Movie Morning: Dad and Dave: On Our Selection
August 18th         Friday                    10:00 – 12:00      Peter Goodfellow Theatrette

There will be a short talk by Lorraine Stacker, Information Librarian, to introduce this 1995 remake of the Chauvel Classic starring Leo McKern, Dame Joan Sutherland (in her only non-singing role), Geoffrey Rush and a host of well-known Australian actors. The movie will be accompanied by light refreshments.



Guest speaker:  ‘The History behind Who Do You Think You Are?’
August 22nd         Tuesday               10:00 – 12:00      Peter Goodfellow Theatrette

For the past eight years, Linda Emery has been a member of the research team for the SBS television genealogy program Who Do You Think You Are?, and is about to start work on Series 9. This will be a behind the scenes look at the research work involved in creating the programme. Light refreshments will be provided.


Workshop: Recording Oral Histories
August 24th         Thursday             10:00 – 12:00      Peter Goodfellow Theatrette

Ever thought about recording your family memories for posterity? Lorraine Stacker, Information Librarian, and Vanessa Stockford, Research Coordinator, will provide some practical tips on creating oral history recordings and preserving them for the future.

Guest Speaker: ‘Jane Austen: Her Life and Works’                                                    Jane Austen
August 29th          Tuesday                1pm – 3pm               Peter Goodfellow Theatrette

2017 marks the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death at 41. Her six completed novels are well-loved classics and relevant even today. Susannah Fullerton OAM FRS(N), President of the Jane Austen Society of Australia, writer and Jane Austen fan, will talk about Jane, her family and her work. Light refreshments will be provided.


Posted in Events, family history | Tagged

Vale Sue Sewter, nurse, educator, local historian and Library volunteer


Audrey Dorothy ‘Sue’ Sewter was born on 11 January 1928 in Lancaster, England to Walter and Gladys (Cookson) Sewter. Following her schooling, Sue trained as a nurse at St Thomas’ Hospital in London and met fellow trainee Joy Edmonds. They became lifelong friends. In 1954 Sue and Joy travelled to New Zealand. After three years they returned to England. In an oral history interview with Penrith City Library, Sue recalled that she first visited Australia in 1956 and felt an affinity with the country. She returned to settle here in Penrith in 1959. She arrived on the SS Fairsea.

Sue arrived in Penrith to take up work as a nurse and nurse educator at Nepean District Hospital. Sue was head of Group School of Nursing at Nepean Hospital. In 1978, she was appointed by the Minister for Education as the first coordinator of the Western Metropolitan Regional Council for Nurse Education. She retired in 1984.

History and photography were always favourite past-times. When Sue arrived in Penrith she fortuitously and meticulously recorded and photographed the town. Sue joined the Nepean District Historical Society in the 1970s. She organized many walking tours around Penrith and Emu Plains for the Society and enthralled everyone with her dry wit and humour, and extensive knowledge of the local area.

Sue and Pam Sheppard started the archives at St. Stephens Church in 1989 and together they have published a series of booklets on the church’s history. Sue was also asked to help establish an archives at Nepean Hospital.

In 1994 Sue became a volunteer in Penrith Library’s Research Room. She lent the Library her photographic collection, from which the Library now holds its Sue Sewter Collection of 243 photographs. For a number of years, Sue undertook indexing of the Nepean Times and later assisted in cataloguing the Library’s extensive and historic photographic collection. Her last day as a volunteer was on 16 October 2009, when she signed with her familiar signature – A. Sewter.

In 2004 Sue presented an entertaining paper at the Library’s History Conference entitled ‘The Nepean Times: a brief look’. Sue’s contribution to our City was recognised in 2009 when she received a Penrith City Council Wall of Achievement Community Award.

Sue Sewter & Pat Curry - Wall of Achievement Dinner Sue with fellow Library volunteer Pat Curry at the presentation evening
at Penrith City Council


Sadly, Sue passed away on 4 June 2017. Being such an organized person, Sue had planned her funeral, the church service and hymns and the eulogy! At her Thanksgiving Service at her beloved St Stephens Anglican Church in Penrith, held on 10 June, Sue’s friends, colleagues and past students paid their last respects to a great lady. Marie Hurley read her eulogy, but added a whole lot more!



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Family History Saturday: “Sourcing and Sorting It”

A big thank you to all of those who participated on the day. We received some lovely feedback on the speakers, the tours and the Library staff. Thank you to Nepean FHS for being there on the day and to State Records (Martyn and Dominique) for giving us their time. Thanks also to Ted Chapman for showing us the techniques of bookbinding, and Mavis Reynolds for coming along and giving an extra tale or two on our beautiful wall hangings.


Family History Saturday: “Sourcing and Sorting It”

Saturday 25 March – a free event.
In conjunction with the Nepean Family History Society, State Archives and our local bookbinder Ted Chapman, Penrith Library will host a day to help people research and preserve their family history.The Research Room will be open all day from 9am to allow staff to help people with their research of the local area

  • Penrith Library staff will also present talks:
    • 10am – PC Training Room – Beginning family history with Lorraine Stacker, Information Librarian, Penrith City Library
    • 11am – PC Training Room – Finding gems in council records with Ann-maree Bonner, Librarian, Penrith City Library
  • State Archives will present talks on the preservation of historical documents, and on the government records they hold and how to access them:
    • 1pm – PC Training Room – Preserving the Past for the Future – basic conservation techniques with Dominique Moussou, conservator, NSW State Archives
    • 2pm – PC Training Room – Finding ancestors on the State Archives website with Martyn Killion, Manager, Public Access, State Archives and Records Authority of New South Wales
  • Escorted audio tours of the five Library and Council Creative Enterprise embroideries – between 12pm – 1pm –  – Library staff will escort small groups of 5 with accompanying hand-held audio devices to view each artwork. Please collect a token for the tour from the Research Room desk. A Not just stitches booklet will be given free to each participant.
  • Nepean Family History Society will have volunteers available all day to provide guidance and advice on all matters family history. They will also have their publications for sale on the day. 
  • Ted Chapman will be repeating his workshop on bookbinding techniques.
  • Tickets will be available from 1 March 2017 as there are limited spaces for the talks. 
  • Tea and coffee facilities, and biscuits will be available all day to refresh researchers.

For more information, please contact Lorraine Stacker on 0247327886 or email ; or Vanessa Stockford on 0247328040 or email

Posted in Events, family history, Nepean Family History Society, Penrith

1917 Our Fallen

Penrith Library staff are in the process of compiling a biography of each of the local men who fell in 1917. Their names appear on local memorials across our City.

Please check out our updated biographies on these men as we progressively add them to the Memories of War Roll of Honor.

Mertoun Mills

Mertoun Mills – died 12 June 1917

The Library staff are looking for any information (especially a photograph) to add to the story of these men. Please contact Lorraine Stacker on:

The following men have been identified for 1917:

Harry Adams
Reginald Cheesman
John Collum
Leslie Purdon
Albert Gardiner
George Giddy
Victor Stuckey
Reginald McLean
Frederick Eaton
Samuel Luke
Frederick Earp
Walter Skelton
Irwin Bunyan
Cecil Peck
Robert McGuinness
Charles Clissold
Luke Hughes
Rupert Bannister
George Denny
Alfred Stevenson
Mertoun Mills
Alexander Mitchell
Owen Baker
Henry Willis
Bede Connell
John Kerry
Cecil Mallard
William Perry
Thomas Williams
Francis Haylen
William Andrews
George Love
Cyril Blaxland
Ernest Harper
Edward (Edwin) Bunyan
Richard Baker
John Simpson
Richard Voller (Richard Baker)
Cecil Buckley
Richard Forrest
William Stinson
Albert Steele
David Gregor
Arthur Gerring
Posted in People, World War 1 | Tagged

2017 History Calendar is out now!


On sale for just $10 at Penrith Library

Penrith Library’s 2017 history calendar acknowledges the many local school anniversaries that will be celebrated in 2017. In particular, Penrith Public School in High Street, which opened 100 years ago on its new site.

Also, we again this year commemorate the sacrifice of our local men and women from the First World War and we list those men who made the Supreme Sacrifice.

In June 1867 (150 years ago) we experienced the greatest flood in recorded history, and, at the same time the new Nepean Road and Rail bridge was opened – trains and road traffic on the same bridge! – the bridge is now named Victoria bridge after the first 2 bridges which had been washed away in 1857 (160 years ago) and 1860. And now in 2017 a new bridge is emerging across the Nepean River.

For more details on the history behind these events, please refer to the Council’s publication: Penrith: the makings of a city (2014), by Lorraine Stacker. Copies are available for sale in the Library for $50, and lending copies are available for loan.

Also, our Library’s Research Room holds a treasure trove of information on our City’s history. The Room is attended by a research librarian every day who are available to help with any local and family history inquiries.

Posted in Penrith, People, World War 1

Spring Frost Corner, Emu Heights

On Monday 24 October 2016 the Mayor of Penrith, Councillor John Thain officially unveiled Spring Frost Corner on Wedmore Road, Emu Heights. At the instigation of the Innes family, Emu Green Reserve was recognised as the place where Elioth Gruner painted Spring Frost in 1919. Many members of the Innes family, Gruner’s family and people with an interest in our local history gathered to witness the unveiling.


A representative from the Art Gallery of NSW spoke about it’s much loved and viewed artwork. A framed copy of the artwork is housed in Penrith Library’s Research Room.

Gruner and his friend rented a small hut on the Innes property, located west of Wedmore Road, on the escarpment. He captured James (Jim) Innes with his cattle early in the morning as the sun rose in the winter of 1919. Most of this large painting was done in-situ with Gruner probably making the final touches in his studio back in Sydney.

For more information see:

Posted in Emu Plains, People, Uncategorized

‘Cowpastures and beyond’ State Family History Conference

The State Family History Conference this years will be held at the Camden Civic Centre on 9-11 September 2016.

On Friday the conference area is open to the public. Everyone is welcome to come along between 10 and 4, converse with experts from regional areas across the state and interstate. Many family history societies will have trade tables for you to view their publications and to discuss family history.

Penrith Library will be there with a trade table and Information Librarian Lorraine stacker will be the first speaker of the day, talking about Getting started with your family history research.

Love to see you there.


Posted in Uncategorized