Local history

We hold a diverse local history collection, including books, archival records, newspapers, photos, historical footage and other items.

You can access the collection through our libraries and by visiting the George Hanna Memorial Museum.

Local history collections

Botany circa 1930
Botany circa 1930

We keep extensive collections at the Mascot and Rockdale Libraries.

Some of the collections can be found in the library catalogue.

We have small, thematic displays from the Local history collections at Mascot and Rockdale Libraries. 

You can donate local history material to Bayside Council by filling out our Donation of Material to Bayside Library Service form. Read our Local History Collection Policy before filling out the form.

For more information please contact us:

Local history exhibitions and events

Bayside hosts two exhibitions each year at the George Hanna Memorial Museum in Mascot Library. All exhibitions are free and visitor feedback is welcomed.

'Swimming in Botany and the Bay' is on display for everyone to view. Visit the Local history exhibitions page for more information, or to view past exhibitions.

Local history events are held throughout the year. To view recordings of past local history events and find out about upcoming events, visit the local history events page.

Ron Rathbone local history competition

The Ron Rathbone Local History Competition is an annual event open to everyone in the Bayside Community.

The aim of the competition is to encourage original research into the history of the Bayside Council area, to deepen and broaden our knowledge of the history of the Bayside area, and to ensure that the results of such research are archived and made available for future researchers.

Find out more.

The Botany Historical Trust

Established in 1994, the Botany Historical Trust preserves and promotes local history, supports the museum and provides advice on local heritage.

You can apply online to become a member of the trust.

Membership is free and open to individuals who are interested in preserving and protecting heritage. As a member you'll be invited to meetings, functions, exhibitions and activities related to local history and heritage.

Local history projects

The Botany Historical Trust delivers projects that preserve the history and heritage of the area. Some of our projects include:

  • installing plaques at the Botany and Mascot War Memorials to honour our WW2 local servicemen, women and their families

  • restoring and rededicating a memorial plinth at Arthur Park, Botany and installing a new interpretative plaque in honour of Alderman and Mayor George Valentine Arthur. George served on the Botany Municipal Council from 1938 to 1952 and was a veteran of WW1. The park was named in his honour in 1947

  • renaming a pocket park in Botany and installing an interpretive plaque in recognition of Nancy Hillier, for her tireless activism and commitment to local environmental issues. Nancy was a local resident who helped form the Botany Independent Action Group and was passionately concerned about industry's impact on the environment and local community.

Botany Historical Trust newsletters

The Trust collaborates with Bayside Council to produce a newsletter that highlights stories and artefacts from the area.

front cover image of december issue

In this edition:

  • Ron Rathbone winners

  • Home Sweet Home exhibition

  • Sydney's 1971 airliner collision

Press here to read the December 2023 edition. 

Previous editions:

Rockdale circa 1900