Dictionary of Sydney

The Dictionary of Sydney was archived in 2021.

Carl Borowsky, interviewed in 1986, talks about the 'bag town' near Liverpool that provided housing for families during the Depression

Mr Carl Borowsky, interviewed in 1986 for 'Looking Back at Liverpool: An Oral History of the Liverpool Region 1900-1960' project, came to live in Liverpool with his family in 1923. He talks about so-called 'bag town', which provided housing for families during the depression.


INTERVIEWER: Where was 'bag town'?

CARL: Well it took in, now what they call Calabro Street and up as far as Webster Road, and there was only one street in it, not like there's two now, there's William Street and Thelma Street, there only used to be Thelma Street in it. And that was all sold in the depression. Forty pound a block, no deposit, two bob [two shillings] a week, and that's how people moved out of Liverpool and how it got its name 'bag town'.

Anybody that built a shack they had to cover with bags and threw tar on, hot tar on it and sand or anything like that. But a lot of people moved out from Liverpool to there, [there's a] a lot of kids today that were reared there, good area. They lived in better than tents, had a good roof over their head, the sides admittedly were only bags of tar on it or white wash.

INTERVIEWER: Had they been floored?

CARL: Oh yes, they'd have a bit of a rough floor on it I suppose. I don't know what their kitchens were like, mightn't have had anything in it. When you've got no option to do anything, you've got to do it, don't you?

Contributed By
(Detail from interview with Mr Carl Borowsky and the Borowsky family from the 'Looking back at Liverpool : an oral history of the Liverpool region 1900-1960' conducted in 1986 by Liverpool City Council, editor and project co-ordinator Catherine Johnson ; researchers Angela Imbrosciano, Verica Miiosavijevic, Kathleen Smith.)