Local Treasures: Progressive Sydney – The Newcastle, Mayfield and Toronto Bits (1938)

Cover of "Progressive Sydney as it stands today" (1938)
Cover of “Progressive Sydney as it stands today” (1938)

Day Shift – 16/04/2013 – 02:10 PM
Presenter: Carol Duncan
Interviewee: Gionni Di Gravio, Archivist, Newcastle University

University of Newcastle Archivist Gionni Di Gravio explores a work entitled “Progressive Sydney as it stands today : a pictorial directory of its most attractive centres, in sepia” published in Adelaide by G.H. Baring, 1938.

This unusual book was loaned to us by Mr Russell Rigby, our Coal River Working Party colleague, from his family’s collection, and contains some interesting streetscapes and individual business shop fronts in Newcastle prior to 1938 including advertisements for some of the businesses who paid for their place in the publication. Some recreational sites such as the Bogey Hole are also featured.

The Blue Room, Newcastle's Famous Cafe (1938)
The Blue Room, Newcastle’s Famous Cafe (1938)


The Bogey Hole Baths (1938)
The Bogey Hole Baths (1938)


Newcastle is described as “The Big Industrial and Tourist Centre”,  Mayfield, as “Popular Mayfield – Newcastle’s Leading Suburb” and Toronto as “Beautiful Lake Macquarie District – Toronto in its Beauty”. Those three places represent the Hunter Region in this book. There are some fantastic and exotic places mentioned, such as the Blue Room, and Mayfield’s Casino Inn Bar.

The series of 63 images from the work relating to Newcastle, Mayfield and Toronto can be viewed here:


We have digitised all relevant pages in large and smaller formats, as well as creating separate individual images of streetscapes and businesses as well.

We thank Russell Rigby for bringing this interesting snapshot of the local business community to our attention.

Gionni Di Gravio
April 2013

One thought on “Local Treasures: Progressive Sydney – The Newcastle, Mayfield and Toronto Bits (1938)

Leave a Reply