The Dictionary of Sydney was archived in 2021.
Hilary Bell, The Marvellous Funambulist of Middle Harbour and Other Sydney Firsts
Hilary Bell, The Marvellous Funambulist of Middle Harbour and Other Sydney Firsts, illustrated by Matthew Martin (Kensington, New South Wales: New South, December 2015). ISBN: 978 1 74223 440 3 RRP $24.99This is a beautifully crafted and rather entertaining history of unexpected ‘firsts’ that have happened in Sydney. From the first use of ether by a dental surgeon, to Quong Tart’s first tea rooms, the book explores a number of people, places and events that have shaped our city today. Written in witty short rhymes, we also learn about the first pistol duel in 1788, the first cemetery in 1792 and the first traffic light in 1933. Towards the end there is a ‘second helpings’ section which elaborates more information on the stories explored in the book. Matthew Martin’s illustrations add greatly to the charming style and the overall impression is something of a cross between Horrible Histories and Dr Zeuss – all wrapped up with a particular Sydney flavour. The Marvellous Funambulist will appeal to children in the 8–12 age range. It will also delight adults reading it aloud to younger children. A great stocking filler for all Sydneysiders this Christmas. Catie Gilchrist November 2015