Events

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

General Meetings

Please note the following change for 2024: our General Meetings are now held on either the third or fourth Saturday of the month (January – November) commencing at 2 pm. Please take careful note of the meeting dates shown below.

After each meeting we present our Speakers Program, with an informative guest speaker each month. Non-members are most welcome to join us.

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

Our venue for General Meetings is Gordon Library’s Meeting Room No. 1 in the Old Gordon Public School, which adjoins the Gordon Library. For a map and parking information, see our Contact page.

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

Upcoming Meetings & Speakers Program

Saturday 20 April 2024 – General Meeting
Ross McMullin presents Life So Full of Promise

Ross McMullin is an award-winning historian and biographer, an acclaimed storyteller, and an entertaining speaker. His multi-biography Farewell, Dear People was awarded the Prime Minister’s Prize for Australian History, and in his new sequel, Life So Full of Promise: further biographies of Australia’s lost generation, Ross has again combined prodigious research and narrative flair in a collection of interwoven family stories about forgotten Australians who had radiant potential.

The rich cast of characters includes a popular doctor from Wahroonga, a brilliant cricketer (Ross played first-grade District cricket in Melbourne), and an exceptionally talented barrister who was a potential prime minister.

With their families and friends also conspicuous in the narratives, Life So Full of Promise is a revealing window into this defining era for Australia. It illuminates what the war was like at home and at the sharp end. Life So Full of Promise emulates Farewell, Dear People in providing insights into the experiences of Australians before, during and after the war, whether they were combatants or civilians, or soldiers’ wives or parents. You’ll be enlightened, entertained and moved as Ross brings these extraordinary yet unknown Australians back to life.

Life So Full of Promise has been shortlisted for the Mark & Evette Moran Nib Literary Award. It will be available at the event, together with other books, all at discount prices: see https://rossmcmullin.com.au for further information.

Saturday 25 May 2024 – General Meeting – Note: this is one week later than our usual meeting date
Ron Besdansky presents The Fascinating Evolution of Northbridge and its Iconic Suspension Bridge

Join us for an engaging presentation by Ron Besdansky, a passionate advocate for local heritage and history. Ron uncovers the captivating story behind the early land acquisitions and the vibrant history of the suburb’s renowned suspension bridge. From its inception to the present day, Ron will guide you through the construction marvels and the intriguing tales of rebuilding that have shaped this iconic landmark.

With a background in communications engineering and IT, Ron brings a unique perspective to the table, enriched by his lifelong passion for trams and trains. Don’t miss this opportunity to immerse yourself in the captivating narrative of Northbridge’s evolution and its celebrated architectural gem.

(Please note, Ron replaces our previously advertised speaker, Paul Storm, who is unable to attend on this date.)

Saturday 22 June 2024 – General Meeting – Note: this is one week later than our usual meeting date
Anne Carroll, OAM presents Turning the Pages with C.E.W. Bean

KHS member Anne Carroll reflects on aspects of the civil life and works of her grandfather, Charles Bean, editor and writer of the official WWI histories, and champion of the Australian War Memorial.

Interspersed with personal recollections of Charles Bean, a former resident of Ku-ring-gai, Anne will talk about his formative influences, how those influences were reflected in his military and civic writings and works, in the institutions and organisations he championed, and in the collection of papers and records he left to Australia.

On display will be a selection of panels forming part of an exhibition entitled Charles Bean: Life and Work, held at the UNSW Canberra in 2016. The exhibition was mounted in conjunction with a forum entitled Charles Bean’s Legacy, to mark the centenary of Bean conceiving the idea of the Australian War Memorial. The curator of the exhibition, Professor Peter Stanley, described the overall exhibition as presenting aspects of Bean’s character and his contribution to national and historical interpretation. A selection of these same panels was on display in Gordon Library during the 2017 National Trust Heritage Festival under the banner of Having a Voice: CEW Bean as a ‘Social Missionary’ (2017).

About Anne Carroll, OAM
Anne is the granddaughter of Charles Bean. She knew her grandfather well, and has taken an active interest in his life and work. In September 2023 Anne was invited to deliver the third C.E.W. Bean Memorial Lecture at Tuggeranong Homestead in Canberra, where the writing of the Official History of World War I was commenced.

Anne has served in various voluntary positions including with the Girl Guides Association of NSW and local sporting groups, and she also co-founded and became the president of FOKE (Friends of Ku-ring-gai Environment) – a position she held for 18 years. In 2003 Anne was awarded the Centenary Medal and the Medal of the Order of Australia.

Monday 17 June 2024 – German Special Interest Group

Our German SIG meets bi-monthly at 1.30 pm in our Research Room (not Meeting Room 1) on the second Monday of February, April, June, August, October and December, with adjustments for public holidays. Visitors are welcome. For more information, see our German SIG page.

Saturday 20 July 2024 – General Meeting
Dick Whitaker presents A Sydney Wild Man – The John Norton Story

KHS member Dick Whitaker returns with the story of the tumultuous life and times of Truth newspaper owner John Norton – one Australia’s first ‘media populists’. He became both a politician and a media baron, accumulating tremendous wealth and power in the process.

His story took place within the background of Victorian and Edwardian Sydney when the state political scene was notoriously crooked; and was heavily embroiled in the land scandals of the 1890s and 1900s, when politicians could be bribed in exchange for preferences in land deals.

Norton’s story is a tragedy that saw him become a major force in Sydney politics and journalism, followed by his inexorable descent into alcoholism and the wreckage of his family.

In this look at the life and times of John Norton, amateur historian Dick Whitaker draws from several sources, including the well known book Wild Men of Sydney (Cyril Pearl, 1958) plus extensive use of the writings of Norton himself and cartoons contained in Truth at the time.

Monday 12 August 2024 – German Special Interest Group

Our German SIG meets bi-monthly at 1.30 pm in our Research Room (not Meeting Room 1) on the second Monday of February, April, June, August, October and December, with adjustments for public holidays. Visitors are welcome. For more information, see our German SIG page.

Saturday 17 August 2024 – General Meeting
Noel Phelan presents The Catalina Story

As many of their operations were carried out in secrecy, the story of the humble Catalina flying boat – and its crucial place in our WWII history – is not well known. Noel Phelan, a National Maritime Museum volunteer, will highlight the Catalina’s role as Australia’s “Spitfire”.

Saturday 21 September 2024 – General Meeting
Dr Richard White presents Symbols of Australia

Richard White is co-editor (with Melissa Harper) of Symbols of Australia, a reference work of the symbols that surround, and define, us as Australians. In his presentation Richard will survey a range of symbols, from the formal to the popular, looking at their origins and the way they continue to evolve.

Monday 14 October 2024 – German Special Interest Group

Our German SIG meets bi-monthly at 1.30 pm in our Research Room (not Meeting Room 1) on the second Monday of February, April, June, August, October and December, with adjustments for public holidays. Visitors are welcome. For more information, see our German SIG page.

Saturday 19 October 2024 – General Meeting
Our Annual Members’ Forum: This year’s topic… History in Five

Our annual forum is an opportunity to get to know other members and share historical interests. Members are invited to share their interest in a historical topic, preferably with some photos or showing an item. Each talk is for a maximum of 5 minutes with questions afterwards. If it’s relevant to Ku-ring-gai history, all the better!

Saturday 16 November 2024 – General Meeting
Stewart Reed presents May Gibbs the Artist

Stewart has a long-standing connection with Nutcote, the former home of artist May Gibbs – creator of iconic gumnut illustrations. His talk will focus on the other artistic achievements of her very long life.

Monday 9 December 2024 – German Special Interest Group

Our German SIG meets bi-monthly at 1.30 pm in our Research Room (not Meeting Room 1) on the second Monday of February, April, June, August, October and December, with adjustments for public holidays. Visitors are welcome. For more information, see our German SIG page.

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