The Filing Cabinets of History

Arriving at the Information Desk, I asked the librarian, “I’m doing a ‘history’ on Glenwood. What resources do you have?” I came in with no plan but with an open mind. Before this I began to open random filing cabinets in the library intrigued as to what random things I could find for this project, only to be looked at suspiciously by the librarian as if I was about ransack the place and mess up their archives. Nevertheless with the librarian having a willing heart, she searched the library database finding a sparing amount of news articles and images of a historic house within Glenwood. Initially I began to get concerned as I feared that there was a limited amount of resources available and I would have to widen the scope of the project, to make up for the short fall in information.
Landcom 2.jpg
Image 1: Proposed Street Plans of Glenwood (Landcom, 1994)
However there was a treasure trove to be found, opening up the padlocked filing cabinet under the manila folder files of Glenwood and Glenwood Schools. Maps, brochures and newspaper articles highlighted the initial developmental stages and designs of the suburb in the early 1990’s to mid-2000’s. Largely published by the developers of the site, Landcom, they promised that the suburb would become “one of the best locations in the west”, with sites of public reserves, shopping centres and transport connections within or in close vicinity of the area. Although largely utilised as a marketing tool, the brochures highlighted what buyers may be on the outlook for, particularly with its emphasis on a suburb where access to all necessities is a possibility.
Image 2: Landcom brochure advertising the proposed features and characteristics of Glenwood. (Landcom, 1994)
These resources largely gave me the foundational basis for this project, which is to focus upon the developmental progress of Glenwood from the early 1990’s to what it is now. However just after writing the previous sections of this blog, I’ll probably focus more upon from the early 1990’s to the mid 2000’s to limit the scope of the project, but also focus upon a time period where most residential development within Glenwood had occurred. I am hoping that many other resources come about and especially from the residents of Glenwood, who could hopefully open their own ‘filing cabinets’ and be able to share their collections of Glenwood’s developmental past.

Just meters apart but years away.

The ‘History Beyond The Classroom’ unit allows for individuals to bring awareness to the stories of a community that are often untold, sometimes forgotten or simply are unknown. In undertaking this unit, I want to highlight that history is not just confined to a museum or to the archives of a library, but rather it can be just a few streets away, within our own local communities, where through time and change in industries, houses and the physical landscape, bring about stories and experiences of how it was once was.
For my initial investigations of the suburb of Glenwood, I sort collaboration with the Glenwood Community Association. From me they were seeking some form of ‘history of Glenwood’, which I think would be fantastic, but with additional consultation, we are still yet to clarify on how this would look. However with this occurring in due time, I decided to undertake my own small investigation of Glenwood through walking. In geography, walking is seen as a geographical research method, which aims to make observations of the real world. When working upon the history of Glenwood, I really wanted to capture real examples that existed. And so there was a place that I knew had some form of heritage attached to it, I had often driven past it, but never had the actual opportunity to go there and examine for what it was worth. This area was Glenwood Park Drive which was connected to the streets Thompson Crescent and Diamond Avenue. Within this location it hosts Glenwood Park House and Parklea Public School.
Glenwood Park House was built in 1853. Classified as a Victorian-style home, it was initially utilised as a property for farming where orchards, wheat and hay and a dairy herd had been present (Powell, 2005). Since then the property has served different purposes whether it be for the grazing of cattle, as a medical centre and to what it is now a private property (Powell, 2005). A heritage listed building, it is surrounded by parkland and vegetation which somewhat obscures its full view upon a hill, whilst housing from the early 2000’s surrounds the property.
Just down a few meters is Parklea Public School. Upon face value it looks like a modern school built in the early 2000’s. However on the school sign, it proclaims to be a school established in 1919. What is interesting is that the school retained its name although it was relocated to its current site in 1999 (Sharpe 2000, p.38). I guess no matter how well you know the suburb that you live, there will always be new things to learn and notice, whether it be the minuscule change to the natural landscape or in discovering new facts about a place. Walking can provide further contextual insights into a suburb. Although utilised in geography, walking is a method that makes history that much more tangible, which can give a broader perspective as to how life could have possibly been like in the past. I feel that there is a greater sense of appreciation, when one is able to visibly see with their own eyes, at history being presented in front of them. History was just a few meters away from my own home. I sure that there are plenty of stories to be shared about a place just a few meters away, of the years that have gone by.
Powell, D. (2005). Glenwood Park (Sorrento). Retrieved from
Sharpe, A. (2000). Pictorial History Blacktown and District. Kingsclear Books Pty Ltd.