Forgotten history to emerge out of the blue thanks to heritage plaques

Lydham Hall, Bexley is significant not only for its building and contents but also for its association with Christina Stead. She was an esteemed author who lived here and had attended St George Girls High School in 1916.
Lydham Hall, Bexley is significant not only for its building and contents but also for its association with Christina Stead. She was an esteemed author who lived here and had attended St George Girls High School in 1916.

London's famous blue heritage plaques could soon be used to mark significant historic local buildings under a proposal by Bayside Councillor Liz Barlow.

The NSW Government has committed $5 million through Heritage NSW to the blue plaque program.

A SMH report on June 12, 2021 reported that "heritage homes and buildings will be able to sport commemorative blue plaques modelled on the blue plaques of London."

Nsw Treasurer, Dominic Perrottet said that" the programme will unlock stories of the State's history. Blue plaques are an internationally recognised way of promoting the heritage significance of key heritage places, people and their stories," he said.

NSW Heritage said the essence of the Blue Plaques program is the storytelling. A digital story will be linked to each plaque.

"We are looking for stories that are interesting, fun, quirky along with more sombre stories that should be not be forgotten as part of our history. The Blue Plaques will be inclusive of all cultures," the NSW Heritage website states.

Councillor Barlow said the Heritage Advisory Committee at the then Rockdale Council had considered this idea in the mid-1990's.

"Mick Freedman, on behalf of the Rockdale District Heritage Association, proposed this idea at a Heritage Advisory Committee meeting but council did not accept the proposal," Councillor Barlow said.

"Now is the time to move forward with this idea. Bayside Council has many significant properties and properties with significant social history which deserve to be recognised.

"In watching Flashback Friday, which is currently hosted by Bayside Council, one appreciates the depth of our local history.

"Sadly, there are no buildings left to indicate the former Moorefield Racecourse, Kogarah, which played an important part in our local history from 1888 until the area was cleared in the mid-1950's for schools and residential development."

Councillor Barlow and former Councillor, Anne Field, have combined forces to develop a list of properties, which they plan to nominate for blue plaques to the State Member for Rockdale, Steve Kamper and the State Member for Kogarah, Chris Minns.

They have provided five examples but said there are many more that are worthy of recognition.

Lydham Hall, Bexley is significant not only for its building and contents but also for its association with Christina Stead. She was an esteemed author who lived here and had attended St George Girls High School in 1916.

"Dappeto", 171 Wollongong Road Arncliffe, which is Macquarie Lodge was built in 1885 by Frederick Gibbins.

"Glenwood" in Eden Street, Arncliffe; "Victoria House", Forest Road, Bexley; and "Dundry " in Verdun Street , Bexley are other worthy inclusions, Councillor Barlow said.