Have you made it down to the Museum & Gallery to see Hurstville: Past & Present yet?

Our latest exhibition Hurstville: Past & Present highlights how places in our local region have changed over the years through the comparison of historic and contemporary photographs. However, the images are not solely focused on the built environment. They also feature some of the more mundane moments of life in the past, which often capture a strong sense of community.

Marching Band
Image credit: Combined Image Mortdale Public School Boys’ Band c 1929 and Morts Road, Mortdale, 2015.

Forest Road has always been the locus of local activity in the region. In the early 1900s, Friday night was the designated shopping night. Friends, family and neighbours would gather to share the past week’s news. Brass bands, such as the Mortdale Public School Boys’ Band pictured above, livened up the atmosphere with music.

Image credit: Combined Image Outside Hurstville Salvation Army, Corner of Dora and Bond Streets, pre 1920s and 2015.

Another popular band around town was the Hurstville Citadel Band, which filled the streets with glorious hymns every Sunday. The Salvation Army has continued to foster a sense of community in Hurstville throughout the decades. When the railway station was covered over in the 1960s, Hurstville Citadel Band used the space for ‘Carols on the Roof Top’, which remained a popular community event for years. The site for the Citadel was purchased in 1918 and the building has undergone a series of renovations and refurbishments since. This expansion has provided more space for the growing Chinese-speaking congregation, embracing the diverse, multicultural community that now exists in Hurstville.

Image credit: Combined Image of Queen of the Carnival Competitors on MacMahon Street 1923 and MacMahon Street 2015.

Today, the community often comes together at large public events, such as the Lunar New Year Festival. For Hurstville residents of the past, it was no different. In 1923, the Hurstville Chamber of Commerce organised a week long carnival that included processions, attractions and competitions of all kinds. The Baby Show, held in the Queen’s theatre, awarded prizes for the Best Baby and the Heaviest Baby. Pictured in front of the United Friendly Societies’ Dispensary on MacMahon Street (still standing today) are the competitors from the Queen of the Carnival competition. Residents also enjoyed decorating their motor cars and lorries for the Saturday Procession to try their hand at winning the prize for ‘Best Milkcar Turnout’ or ‘Best Delivery Van’.

Come visit the Museum & Gallery to explore more stories about your community and contribute your own memories of Hurstville, past or present, to our postcard wall before the exhibition closes on 31 August 2015.

Hurstville: Past & Present will be on show until Sunday 30 August 2015.

References: Hurstville Salvation Army, ‘Our History: The Salvos in Hurstville,’ (last accessed 31/10/2014).

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