Gowrie celebrates Erskineville’s history

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Gowrie NSW joined members of the local Erskineville community on the weekend to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of the Sydney suburb.

Event organiser and Erskineville resident, Angel Nunley, said the day was an opportunity for locals to gain greater insight into this special part of Sydney.

“I think the day was a great success. It was great to see history nerds as well as children truly engaged and having fun,” Angel said.

“Erskineville has a unique history; new programs, public housing and the Gowrie centre being established were critical to the evolution of our neighbourhood. The day allowed us to show off the rich history of the suburb,” Angel said.

The event offered local residents a fascinating trip through time including the early days of convict labour, doing it tough in the depression, local indigenous history and even how the natural landscape has shaped Erskineville’s past and present.

People got to discover local heroes, including pioneering activist Lucy Woodcock – an early spokesperson for women’s rights; view free films; enjoy history walking tours; and watch blacksmithing demonstrations.

Dr Sandie Wong and Dr Frances Press, authors of ‘Gowrie NSW- celebrating 75 years’,  were also on hand to present a talk on the history of the Lady Gowrie Child Centre in Erskineville.

“Gowrie plays an important role in the history of Erskineville. When it was built in 1940, it was specially designed to be the centre of the Erskineville community and it was part of a progressive new housing estate, designed to provide families with young children better living conditions,” Fran explained.

The Lady Gowrie Child Centre, Fran said, not only had fantastic facilities for children, it had an upstairs community space that at various times was used for community theatre, parent talks, and housed sewing machines so mothers could meet and sew together.

“When post war immigration changed the nature of Erskineville, Gowrie began responding to the changing cultural needs of its community.

“During the 1980s, Gowrie was at the vanguard of ‘anti-bias’ approaches to curriculum and influenced the practices of early childhood centres throughout NSW,” she said.

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