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: https://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/collection/works/6925/

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‘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.


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National Family History Month – August 2016

National Family History Month is on in August. It is an initiative of AFFHO (Australasian Federation of Family History Organisations).

Family history and genealogy is one of the most popular past-times around the world. There are over 250,000 Australians who are members of family history related organisations, including our local Nepean Family History Society at Emu Plains  which has over 250 members. So, an organised NFHM full of events, has a broad appeal across Australia. Libraries, archives and family history societies participate in the month of events. To check out what events are on visit:

At Penrith City Library:

Research Services are running three events this year as part of National Family History Month:

  • Friday 12 August 10am
    Movie morning in the Peter Goodfellow Theatrette

capture of caddie flyer

This Australian classic was released in 1976, 40 years ago, and so to celebrate its release we are screening the movie as a community event. It was one of the first Australian films to present a wholly female narrative. In addition, Caddie was a local Penrith woman, Catherine Beatrice Edmonds. She immortalised life in the depression years in her book Caddie: a Sydney Barmaid.

Two talks prior to the screening:
– Information Librarian Lorraine Stacker will look at some facts on the movie. As well as outlining Catherine Edmonds’s life. She is buried in Penrith General Cemetery.

–  Historical researcher, Vicki Wilson will talk on her past life as a wigmaker. She worked on the film Caddie making a number of wigs including those of Helen Morse who played Caddie.

  • Tuesday 16 August 10am              TROVE workshop, PC Training Room
  • Thursday 25 August 10am            Family History workshop – basics for people starting, PC Training Room

Tickets are free for all events, but are limited in the case of the workshops, due to space considerations.

All tickets are available at Penrith desk only.

At Nepean Family History Society:
  • Free access to the Library’s Resources including Ancestry & Findmypast
  • Talk family history with NFHS members
  • have a chat over a cup of tea
  • Saturday 6 August 1.30pm: Donna Lund will be presenting a talk on publishing your family history followed by Lorraine Stacker who will be discussing her personal experiences with DNA testing
  • Wednesdays: 10.30 -11.30 3 August – What’s available at Nepean Family History Society Library
  • 10 August: Writing Workshop with Lorraine Stacker on getting THAT story written. Bring the details along about your family member, and we will workshop the writing process together
  • 17 August: Writing Workshop with Lorraine Stacker
  • 24 August: Writing Workshop with Lorraine Stacker
  • 31 August: Lorraine Stacker who will be discussing her personal experiences with DNA testing
Enquiries:Judy McLeod – 0247331631 email: publications@nepeanfhs.org.au
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


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Max Dupain – and those photos

ziegler book
Well, the State Library of NSW have splashed Penrith all over the place with photographs of Penrith in the 1940s by Max Dupain. These photographs can be viewed in the booklet Penrith, the town and its surrounding district, held in Penrith Library’s Research Room (open 2-5 each day). Max Dupain’s photographic collection is a wonderful addition to the State Library, but, the State Library need to get their facts right about the booklet. Ziegler approached the Council about publishing a touristy booklet, and it was not related to the Council’s forthcoming amalgamation in 1949. Council paid for the publication as well. For more info on the ‘real’ story read the book – Penrith: the makings of a City (2014) by Lorraine Stacker, a book also funded by Penrith City Council!
From Penrith: the Makings of a City, and Treasures of Penrith’s past (2015).
In 1947 editor and publisher Oswald Ziegler approached Penrith Council with a
proposal to produce a pictorial booklet on Penrith. In order to show his credentials
Ziegler presented the Council with three of his latest publications as a donation
to the Library – This is Australia; Newcastle, 150 Years and By your Deeds. He had
been working on a similar booklet for Goulburn (1946) and successfully encouraged
Penrith Council to publish 5,000 booklets entitled Penrith, the Town and its Surrounding District, in Picture and Story in 1948
Many businesses and industries were showcased, from St Marys to Emu Plains,Wallacia to Castlereagh, indicating a district’s identity with Penrith as the centre.This publication, marketed to the overseas and Australian tourist, was the first promotional booklet for the town and was one of the first by Ziegler.
His photographer was the well-renowned Max Dupain, whose photographs form a core collection of images of postwar Penrith. Although Dupain was none too pleased with Ziegler’s approach to the cutting and collaging of photographs by Ziegler’s graphic artist Gert Sellheim, the booklet showcased the district as it had never been seen before. The prize winning Sellheim, interned for three months because of his German citizenship in 1943, designed the famous flying kangaroo symbol for Qantas in 1947. Eve Keane, author of a number of historical works in the 1950s, wrote the text.
Lorraine Stacker
Information Librarian
Penrith City Library
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Re-discovering the treasures of Penrith City Library

23 – 29 May 2016

2016 Hist Conf 44

As part of the National Trust Heritage Festival 2016, Research Services has organised a BIG week in the Research Room at Penrith City Library.

These events are designed to promote the local and family history services at the Library, its special collections and the new Spydus Library catalogue.

  • The Research Room will be open from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday, Saturday 9am to 5pm; Sunday 10am to 5pm.
  • Staff will be available to provide assistance with research
  • Talks and practical workshops by guest speakers and Library staff
    • Tuesday 24 May  10 am  – Vanessa Stockford, Librarian, Penrith City Library – Using Trove and the Library’s new catalogue for local and family history research
    • Wednesday 25 May 10 am – Ann-maree Bonner, Librarian, Penrith City Library- Using local history resources for local and family history research
    • Wednesday 25 May 4pm – Ted Chapman from Chapman Bookbinding – Bookbinding and conservation repairs (recommended to bring in your books and archives for assessment)
    • Thursday 26 May 10am – Vicki Wilson from the Document Detective – World War One soldiers’ wills and probates at State Records NSW
    • Friday 27 May 10am – Lorraine Stacker, Librarian, Penrith City Library – Family history research at Penrith City Library, followed by a presentation by Nepean Family History Society.
    • Saturday 28 May 2pm – Alison Spencer, Library Technician, Penrith City Library – History of postcards gleaned from the Library’s Joyce Cole Collection
  • All events are free, but limited
  • Tickets available from Library service desk from 12 May 2016. For more details phone 47327891, or 47328040 or email researchservices@penrith.city




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2016 History Conference

This year our theme was: Sex, crime and politics – Castlereagh connections, which stirred and intrigued the minds of us all.

2016 Hist Conf 19

Date: 12 March 2016
Venue: Bonynge Concert Hall, Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre, 597 High Street Penrith


We welcome Associate Professor Grace Karskens as our keynote speaker to talk about the complex family relationships that defined Castlereagh from the early years.A big surprise was the lovely bunch of native flowers as a thank you for being our keynote speaker on her birthday!!!


Craig Bratby examined the family connections that tied bushranger John Vane to Castlereagh. He has recently published John Vane: biography of a bushranger, now in its 2nd edition.


Graham Wilcox has recently published a book (The struggle for unity) about Sir Arthur Rutledge from Castlereagh who, as Queensland attorney-general, brought Queensland into the Australian federation.


Librarian and researcher Ann-Maree Bonner explained the value of the local records held in the Research Room for local and family history research. She gave some interesting examples of land ownership for Princes Farm and the Dude Ranch.



Again this year we acknowledged the soldiers who ‘made the supreme sacrifice’ in 1916. And Lorraine Stacker closed the conference with a look back on the 15 years of history conferences held by Penrith City Library

2016 Hist Conf 35

A big thank you to all participants, the stallholders, Penrith Library staff, the speakers, and to Deputy Mayor Councillor Ross Fowler OAM for opening the conference.


Conference proceedings are available on CDROM for $15.                                                     Contact research.services@penrith.city to order.

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2016 History Calendar

2016 calendar


The calendar is now on sale in Penrith City Library, 601 High Street Penrith. Cost is $10.

This year our 2016 calendar acknowledges the daily working life of people of the Penrith and St Marys districts. The daily supply of bread, milk and meat made local businesses a well recognized sight on our streets and back lanes.

Many images have never been seen before.

The calendar also features the anniversary dates of our fallen for 1916 and other significant dates in our City’s history.

July 2016
For more information contact Research Services at Penrith City Library:
Telephone: 02 4732 7899
Email: researchservices@penrithcity.nsw.gov.au
Penrith history blog penrithhistory.com
Penrith City Council website: penrithcity.nsw.gov.au

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Nepean Family History Society Open House Saturday 7 November

Nepean Family History Society will be hosting the Gilgandra Coo-ee re-enactment marchers on Saturday 7 November. The marchers will arrive around 11 am at the Old School Residence on the Great Western Highway. They will be welcomed by a civic reception with a welcome by the mayor and speeches by Federal and State members of Parliament.

Although the march will move on at 11.30 to march into Penrith, Nepean Family History Society will be an Open House for the WHOLE day. Its their general meeting day, so all are welcome. The speaker on the day will be Pauline Weeks from New Zealand Society of Genealogists.

From 10 am there will be a sausage sizzle with refreshments all day, book stall and help with your family history.


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Archaeology Open Day

Nepean District Historical Archaeology Group are holding an Open Day on Sunday 8 November 2015 10 am to 4 pm in their workshop and museum in Station Street Penrith (opposite Westfield Penrith Plaza)

ndhag oen day

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Gilgandra Coo-ees on the march

Well, the Gilgandra Coo-ee reenactment march is underway! They will reach Emu Plains on Saturday morning, 7 November 2015. Be there, along with local historical groups and Emu Plains school children to greet them after their long journey.

gilgandra coo-ees1gilgandra coo-ees

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