General Meetings

Our General Meetings are held on the 3rd Saturday of the month (January – November) commencing at 2 pm.

After each meeting we present our Speakers Program, with an informative guest speaker each month. Non-members are most welcome to join us for our short meeting – or if preferred, just for the speaker’s presentation, which normally starts around 2.20 pm, followed by afternoon tea.

Please see our Speakers Program below for more information on upcoming talks.

Family History Meetings

Our Family History Group Meetings are held on the 1st Saturday of the month (February – December) commencing at 2 pm, and also featuring a guest speaker after each meeting. Non-members are most welcome to join us for our short meeting – or if preferred, just for the speaker’s presentation, which normally starts around 2.20 pm, followed by afternoon tea.

See our Speakers Program below for more information on upcoming talks.

Monochrome photo of timber getters, courtesy NSW Forestry Commission
Timber Getters, courtesy NSW Forestry Commission

For the latest information about upcoming meetings and guest speakers, stay tuned to this page and our monthly newsletters!

Our meeting venue is Gordon Library Meeting Room No. 1, in the Old Gordon Public School, which adjoins the Gordon Library, 799 Pacific Highway, Gordon (corner Pacific Highway and Park Avenue). It’s just a 5-minute walk from Gordon Station. For a map and parking information, see our Contact page.

Speakers Program

Upcoming General Meetings

Held on the 3rd Saturday of the month

Saturday 19th June 2021 speaker: John Brooks

John Brooks will tell us all about The Hassall Family in Australia.

Fleeing to Sydney in 1798 from hostile Tahitians – who seemed more interested in muskets than the Gospel – missionary Rowland Hassall thrived in his calling in the infant colony.

With his wife Elizabeth, the Hassalls went on to prosper and multiply, counting the City of Sydney Historical Society’s John Brooks among their many descendants.

About John Brooks
John is a retired engineer, and a direct descendant of Jonathan Hassall, the third son of Rowland Hassall.

Currently, John is Treasurer of the City of Sydney Historical Association and has been a member of the Committee for fifteen years. He is also Treasurer of the Hassall Family History Association, whose objectives are to research and foster interest in the pioneering work of the family.

John is also Convenor of the Blackwattle Cove Coalition, which was formed to work in consultation with the Wentworth Park Sporting Complex Trust, the City of Sydney, and the various State Government Departments involved in planning the future of Wentworth Park and the Blackwattle Bay foreshores.

Read more about the Hassall family in our June Newsletter – then come along and hear John’s fascinating story!

Saturday 17th July 2021 speaker: David Wilkins, OAM

David will be speaking on The Three Vietnam Wars from 1946 to 1975.

Covering the causes of the 2nd Vietnam War – from the Cold War, to the Domino Theory, and SEATO – David will discuss whether the US strategy was appropriate or misguided; and whether or not it should be regarded as an American defeat. The presentation will also consider some controversies of the war; and Public Relations as a principle of war.

About David Wilkins
David graduated from the Royal Military College, Duntroon in 1963 as an infantry Lieutenant. His career in the Australian Regular Army spanned 26 years including three years in Papua New Guinea with the Pacific Islands Regiment.

Later in 1969-70, as a Captain, he saw active service for 14 months with the 5th Infantry Battalion in the Vietnam War, where he was the unit Adjutant; he temporarily commanded a platoon; and then commanded one of the combat rifle companies.

Upon his return from active service, David embarked upon a new career direction in law, initially as a military lawyer as a Defence Force Magistrate and Judge Advocate for trials by court martial.

David retired as a Colonel from the Regular Army in 1986 to work as a barrister in Sydney for the next 20 years; then took a short break before occupying a tribunal position with the Veterans Review Board.

He is now fully retired with interests in history and writing, including membership of the Ku-ring-gai Historical Society. He has published the award-winning family history (From Brecon to Broken Hill) and was involved in the coordination, writing and editing of the four volumes of the Society’s Rallying The Troops; A World War I Commemoration.

It was for his involvement in that publication that David was awarded in 2019, the Order of Australia Medal “for service to community history”.

Saturday 21st August 2021 speaker: Judith Godden

Judith will tell us all about Lucy Osburn: Controversial Nursing Founder.

As well as being a professional historian, Judith Godden is the Secretary of Ku-ring-gai Historical Society, and an honorary associate of the Department of History at the University of Sydney.

Lucy Osburn is the controversial subject of her first book, Lucy Osburn, a Lady Displaced.

Lucy Osburn (1836-1891) was the founder of modern nursing in Australia, and also pioneered the employment of high status professional women in public institutions.

Osburn learned her vocation at Florence Nightingale’s school of nursing in London, but her relationship with Nightingale was not the smooth discourse of ‘Victorian ladies’.

In her enthralling and enlightening book, Judith Godden uses extensive and frank correspondence to build an intriguing picture of life for an independent middle-class woman. Osburn’s triumphs and trials in New South Wales typify the struggles the colony faced in its relations with the Mother Country, and with new roles in the workplace for women.

In this presentation, you’ll find out about the tumultuous 16 years Lucy Osburn spent at Sydney Hospital, and why she is celebrated as the founder of modern Australian nursing – even though Florence Nightingale effectively disowned her!

Find out too, why Judith thinks we should all know her story.

Upcoming Family History Group Meetings

Held on the 1st Saturday of the month

Saturday 3rd July 2021

Forum: My First Ancestor to Step onto Australian Soil

Following our July meeting will be a Forum where members (just those that would like to!) will be able to contribute a brief story about their first ancestor to step onto Australian soil. This could be their name and country of origin; whether convict or free; relationships; how they came to be here and why… and who knows, perhaps we will get input from relatives of first fleeters, post-war refugees, boat people etc.

We will be asking speakers to register as they arrive at the meeting. It will be interesting to see what intriguing morsels of history we turn up!

All welcome to attend.

Saturday 7th August 2021 speaker: Judith Dunn

Judith will speak on The Cemeteries of the Parramatta Area.

Judith is an expert on the cemeteries in the Parramatta area. Members may recall that Judith hosted a tour group on a very successful walking tour of The Rocks just recently. She is also a well known and respected speaker and we’re sure her talk will be most interesting!

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