Lex Watson's Book Collection for Sale

Behind Bars

It's thirty years since the decriminalisation of consensual male sex in New South Wales, and "some of the leading figures responsible for that change have all died in a six month period", we were told by Murray Maclachlan at the Australian Homosexual History Conference held at Sydney's University of Technology. He was referring to former … Continue reading Behind Bars

Then and now

Darlinghurst History Walk

I spent the early part of the day teaching at the Australian Film, Television and Radio School. As part of the lecture I gave, I repeated the mantra, "there are no boring stories, only boring story-tellers" which I've heard many times from radio consultant, Valerie Geller. She's absolutely right. Just about any story can be … Continue reading Darlinghurst History Walk

The Appin Inn, later renamed the Union Revived and licensed for a while by one of my ancestors, William Rixon

Appin Bi-Centenary

“I have a connection to the pub across the road” I told the woman who was looking after things at St Bede's Catholic Church in Appin today. “Two of my ancestors ran the pub back in the 1840s”, I told her, referring to William Rixon and Ann Hoare. “There was a close connection between the … Continue reading Appin Bi-Centenary

Ten green bottles

Colonial Wine Tasting

Talk about four seasons in one day. What began as a fine sunny day in Sydney, had, by mid-afternoon turned into something cold and wet. Cold and wet enough to drag out the possibly fake "North Face" rain jacket I bought in Beijing a few months ago. As the rain tumbled down, I could think … Continue reading Colonial Wine Tasting

Fresh fruit and veg at Paddy's Markets

Chinatown Tour

"These will bring passion and romance into your life", the bloke behind the counter said to me as I handed over my planned purchase. "That was the general idea", I told him and we smiled at each other. It was towards the end of an "Historical and Cultural Tour" of Chinatown, co-inciding with Chinese New … Continue reading Chinatown Tour

Unmarked grave for Joan Kathleen O'Brien, East Lismore Cemetery

More History

I went in search today of details about the still-born child my mum and dad had back in 1953. As with many things in my family, it wasn't something that was talked about. Indeed, when I mentioned it to one of my older sisters, and showed her the record from the online historical indexes of … Continue reading More History

The grave of Ann Phibbs, Waverley Cemetery, Sydney

Granny was a Hoare

Sometimes you can forget how beautiful Sydney is at this time of the year. That is, until you take a walk along the coastline near Bondi, Bronte and Tamarama. The sandstone cliffs, the blue-green colour of the water, and the gentleness of the walk are both relaxing and hypnotic. The walk wasn't overly busy, though, … Continue reading Granny was a Hoare