There are a number of history festivals held throughout the year and the City of Sydney is a proud participant in many of them.
History Week 2013
History Week is our state's annual festival of history, celebrated each year in the first week of September.
In 2013, the theme is 'Picture This'. Art and photography are powerful tools for the historian. People have long manipulated their images and all cultures have created their view of the world through visual representations. The development of the visual has changed, informed and sculpted society. History Week 2013 will bring the past into view through the frame of images.
In 19th century Sydney, commissioning a painted portrait was a marker of a person’s position in society. For those select aldermen on the City of Sydney Council who were elected to the position of mayor, a portrait demonstrated their rank in society but also recognised the rank of office. The City’s Civic Collection contains a rich collection of portraits of former mayors and lord mayors. This open day on Saturday 14 September from noon to 4pm will be a unique opportunity to explore the ‘corridors of power’ at Sydney Town Hall, 483 George Street (corner Druitt Street) Sydney.
Floor talks will be held hourly from 12.30pm to 3.30pm.
12.30pm Laila Ellmoos: ‘Sydney’s Aldermen website’
The Sydney’s Aldermen website provides biographies of the almost 500 men and women who have served as aldermen or councillors on the City of Sydney Council since it was formed in 1842. Come along and discover some of the interesting people who have served on council and learn more about the website.
1.30pm Margaret Betteridge: ‘Every portrait has a story’
This is a unique opportunity to stroll along the Sydney Town Hall’s civic portrait galleries. The portraits reveal a striking diversity between the images of Sydney’s former mayors, lord mayors and lady mayoresses and the changing taste in civic portraiture over the past 150 years. If you look closely, they can sometimes reveal personal secrets and even some taboos.
2.30pm Ward O’Neill: ‘Sydney’s aldermen in pen and ink’
Political cartoons and caricatures are highly subjective. What offends some will delights others; but the medium works best when the artist has something to say. Ward O’Neill, an award winning political cartoonist, illustrator and caricaturist with over 40 years’ experience, will showcase his approach to Harry Jensen and Leo Port, two quite different Lord Mayors. Through his interpretive caricatures of these two men, O’Neill will discuss the inner workings of a cartoonist’s mind and compare his work to more conventional portraiture.
3.30pm Margaret Betteridge: ‘Not quite up to civic standard’
Public portraits are fair game for critical review. Many portraits err on the side of conservatism so that they don’t offend – but sometimes the most controversial ones actually say more about the way the artist represents them and the person they depict. Sometimes, portraits commissioned in good faith are never hung because of the perceptions about their sensitivities. One portrait in the City’s collection will emerge from the Vault for the day to illustrate that portraiture can be a double-edged sword.
Join the City’s Curatorial and History Units to view portraits from the collection. Floor talks will be held hourly from 12.30pm to 3.30pm.
Bookings are not required.
The National Trust Heritage Festival is held every year throughout April and May, and it is celebrated at hundreds of fantastic events across metropolitan and regional NSW.
Events include community activities such as discovery tours, art exhibitions, talks, award presentations, concerts, open days, photographic and historical displays, and community fairs.
History Week 2012
Dr Margo Beasley
Margo is an oral historian in the City of Sydney's History Program. Topic: Sydney fashion world from the 1950s to the 1990s: boutique retailing, backroom artisans, celebrity clients, shimmering zoot suits, luxury fur and vintage chic.
Last updated: Friday, 23 August 2013