Disruption to catalogue & other services from 2 to 3 July 2022. Read the full news item. 

Across the curator's desk - house construction notebook, Hurstville, 1913

Sketch for the design of a cottage

Visits to the land

What is this item? 

A small notebook documenting the purchase of land and construction of a house in Hurstville in 1913. The illustrated notebook documents the process of purchasing a piece of land on the Claremont Estate in Hurstville (including negotiating with the seller), clearing the land in preparation to build, choosing a house design and finding a builder, planting a garden and getting to know the neighbours and the local area. The delicate little book has the date of each entry decorated with a flourish, and also includes a record of all 'expences' [sic] incurred in the purchase of the land and construction of the cottage - including tram fares and the purchase of garden tools. The location of the house has been identified as the corner of Australia Street and King Georges Road, Hurstville - formerly Stanley Street and Belmore Road respectively.

Why is it important?

The notebook, written from the perspective of the homeowner, is full of detail about cost of land and construction materials, building processes and the development of the suburb. It is also paints a lovely picture of a young married couple, Carl and Gertrude Moore, embarking on this huge and exciting project together. Full of detailed notes such as 'Had Mrs S's horse Ginger in... Man asked if we would let place for cow to graze in... Saw Mrs Clapson 1st time'  and 'Gertie planted roses, violets, geraniums, baby fuchia [sic] & Chinese honey suckle. Some of the roses planted last time are growing well', this lovingly crafted little booklet offers a personal vignette of the creation of a home in a time of rapid growth in Sydney's suburbs. 

Why is it on your desk? 

In preparation for an upcoming Library research seminar.

How did it get here?

It was donated to the Library in 1984 by Mr. C. Sonter. It is located in the manuscripts collection at MLMSS 4242


Anna Corkhill
Curator, Research and Discovery