Annandale NSW Australia -33.8814; 151.1707

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Anecdotal History

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MBER 1902 at 3 Oclock Johnstons Bay Annandale Wharf and Ferry, Fullers Wharf Coal Whaf and depot, Langdon?/ Kentville, John Young Esq, The Abbey Union Box Company, Balmain Electric

1902 Map showing Kentville, the Abbey and Johnston's Bay wharfs

Photograph of Alderman John Young - Annandale Neighbourhood Centre

John Young and the Witches Houses

An alderman on the Leichhardt Borough Council from 1879, he was mayor that year and in 1884-85. Returning in 1891 from travels in Europe and Asia, Young led a secession movement resulting in the incorporation of the Annandale Borough Council in 1894; - Australian Dictionary of Biography - Young, John (1827 - 1907)

"Mr. and Mrs. John Young, of Kentville, Annandale, gavoe a large " at home" last week, to bid farewell to friends before their voyage to the East. ....Mr. and Mrs John Young sail in the Orizaba, and their many friends wish them God speed." - 1890 'Sydney Notes.', Australian Town and Country Journal (NSW : 1870 - 1907), 6 December, p. 33, viewed 11 June, 2013,

"ANNANDALE...Mr WH Mahony, who was mentioned in our electroal list of last week was a candidate for Annandale, contests that seat in the freetrade interest. We are apprised by the other freetrade candidate, Mr Joseph Howe, that he has retired in Mr Mahony's favour in the interest of the freetrade cause. Mr John Young, who is a candidate for the electorate of Annandale, had an interview with a large number of supporters at the Town Hall Hotel, St. John's Road Glebe, on Friday evening. He explained his view on local government, the labour question, the fiscal issue, and federation. A unanimous vote of confidence was carried in Mr. Young, and a committee fromed to secure his return"- The Sydney Morning Herald Tuesday 15 May 1894 Page 6

At the sitting of the Public Works Commission to-day, Mr. John Young, contractor, of Annandale, said he regarded Messrs. Carter and Gummow's tender for contract No. 69 as reckless, and 'it should not have been accepted, as In some particulars it was in such a form as to deceive the department. - 1896 'NEW SOUTH WALES PUBLIC WORKS COMMISSION.', The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 - 1933), 8 August, p. 5. , viewed 23 Dec 2020,

Young was the highest ranking Mason in Australia and The Abbey incorporates Masonic themes. It is possible that the building may have been used by Young as a Masonic Lodge. After Young's death, The Abbey was occupied by a series of tenants, who subdivided the house to create flats and flatettes. A new owner acquired the house in 1959 and restored it. - Wikipedia Annandale, New South Wales

Photographs of John Young: Alderman John Young [1876-87] Mayor 1886 | Alderman John Young [1876-87] Mayor 1886 | Alderman John Young, J.P. [1876-1887]

Correspondence regarding Port Jackson fig trees from John Young's property. (1909)

Journal of Mayor John Young (1886)

.. in 1883, the water meter for Young's property, (the only meter in Annandale), was reset..John Young 1855-1907

Hockingdon and Highroyd, Oybin and The Abbey in 1883 (State Library of Victoria) semi developed land with large house, par to Tram is visible From the Balmain Tram, c1883. Harvey, John Henry, 1855-1938, photographer. ( page 15, SLV)

Witches Houses

The group of houses from 260-272 Johnston Street were known as the "Witches Houses" because of the witch hat like roofs on a few of them. The houses were:

Master Builder's Association

"Unlike the earlier attempts to form associations, the 1873 BCA/NSW [Builders' and Contractors' Association] had a clear leader in John Young, who remained president for over four years. Young was a pragmatic and practical individual, who had great administrative and managerial acumen. He was polite under duress, but blunt when he thought it necessary for discipline.60 A successful and charismatic builder, he was born in England in 1827, and had been articled to a firm of architects and surveyors and attended King’s College. In 1851 he was superintendent of draftsmen for the Crystal Palace under Sir John Paxton. John Young migrated with his wife to Victoria in 1855 from where his building operations extended to Tasmania, New Zealand and Sydney." - The History of the Master Builders Association of NSW: The First Hundred Years, Elder, John, August 2007, CHAPTER 3 THE ORIGINS OF THE MASTER BUILDERS ASSOCIATION OF NSW 1873 - 1889 page 21, viewed 4 August 2011,

Also see James Barnet, the government architect, on construction contract and Garden Palace Fire, 1882

The Garden Palace

"The Garden Palace was a large purpose-built exhibition building constructed to house the Sydney International Exhibition of 1879....Builder John Young built the massive structure in only 8 months out of Oregon timber shipped from America." - More and Images at

Steam Tram for International Exhibition

SRNSW on Flickr Digital ID: 17420_a014_a0140001140

Powerhouse Museum Collection: "Steam Tram Motor No. 1A, built in 1879, began Sydney's love affair with trams which was to last until the last electric tram left Sydney's streets on 25 February 1961. It was one of four steam tram motors imported to Sydney as a temporary transport measure to cater for the large numbers of visitors to Sydney for the International Exhibition of 1879.".. more

Barrangal Dyara (skin and bones)

Sydney Aboriginal artist, Jonathan Jones' project Barrangal Dyara (skin and bones), a re-imagination of the Garden Palace is the winner of the 2014 Kaldor Public Art Prize.

References and Further Reading

This page © Ramin Communications last updated: 24 Jan 2021.