Question for Oz Dopers RE: Surry Hills, Redfern, Sydney

Greetings to the G’Doper crew.

I have a question for someone who knows the Redfern area of Sydney. My grandmother was born at 4 Baptist Street in Redfern in 1896. Looking here, I’m pretty much convinced that this address would have been obliterated by the Surry Hills Shopping Village.

Can any of you confirm this? I see that the Ailo Restaurant is at 5 Baptist Street, but I’m assuming that’s across the street.

FWIW, her mother was born in Benalla VIC, and her mother was born somewhere in Tasmania, so I feel a natural connection to the area even though I’ve only made it down there once.

A lot of the old houses are still standing in Surry Hills and Redfern, so it’s possible that the building at 4 Baptist Street is still there. I’ve been through that intersection plenty of times, but I just can’t recall at the moment whether it’s all shops or not. One of the other Sydney Dopers may know. If not, I’ll have a look next time I go past.

The restaurant at 5 Baptist Street would certainly be across the road, but it doesn’t necessarily indicate that the old buildings have been demolished. Many of the restaurants in the inner city suburbs are in old terrace houses that have been converted to commercial premises.

Sounds about right - her certificate says:
No. 4
Stevens Terrace
Baptist Street

I wonder if there’s any chance that this means “Number 4 Stevens Terrace on Redfern Street”, rather than my initial interpretation?

Rows of terrace houses were often given a name. So yes, it’s possible that the address means the fourth house in the row of terraces known as Stevens Terrace. These need not necessarily have been at No 4 Baptist Street. Just *somewhere * on Baptist Street.

I’ll be out that way over the weekend. If I get a chance I’ll have a look and see what’s there.

According to the lowest even number left in Baptist Street is number 40.

That would be great. Thank you for doing this.

:smack: I meant Baptist Street here, of course.

just giving it a bump until Cunctator moseys on back. :slight_smile:

And indeed, here he is to report in with his findings.

I was at the UNSW this afternoon, so I hopped off the bus at Cleveland Street and walked back through Redfern / Surry Hills so that I could have a look at Baptist Street.

If there was a house at No 4 Baptist Street then it has long since been demolished. As you surmised, the Surry Hills Shopping Village now occupies pretty much the whole block on that side of the road. However, the old terrace houses in the rest of Baptist Street are generally all still there, on both sides of the road, greatly gentrified. I walked the full length of Baptist Street, doing both sides, looking for any houses with the name Stevens Terrace. I couldn’t find any, although there were several groups of terrace houses which had what looked like name plates that had been painted over. So it’s just possible that Stevens Terrace still exists there somewhere, although I don’t know how one could find out for sure. Search the local council’s records perhaps?

While I was walking I actually ran into someone I knew who lives in that area. I told her what I was doing. She said that she’d be happy to scout around some of the other streets in the neighbourhood, ask a few of the old-timers etc and see if she could find anything.

I don’t normally go to work that way, but I can go via Redfern just as easily as my other route. If you like, I can get some digicam shots of Baptist St for you, this week some time.

Cunctator, thanks for doing this. Hopefully it was interesting as an historical exercise anyway. I appreciate your going to all this trouble. It would be great if your friend turns up anything.

TLD, I appreciate the offer. But I think I’ve found some other terrace properties on Baptist Street through realtor listings which give me a general idea.

Now, if I can figure out if a Stevens Terrace still exists, that’s another story… I’d very much like a picture of that.

I love this board. :slight_smile:

No worries tpayne. I enjoyed my little “detour”. I hadn’t realised how lovely some of the streets and houses were in that part of Sydney.

I noted that several of the houses in Baptist Street were for sale and I was going to suggest that you see if there were any pictures online, but you’ve already tumbled to that idea.

Indeed. And a pricey neck of the woods it is. I assume most of downtown Sydney is similarly inflated?

One of my greatest disappointments was finding out, at age 45, that I can’t immigrate to Oz if I’m older than 45. I guess I’l just have to visit more frequently… I’ve discovered some third cousins down there I’ve never met, including the editor-in-chief of the Canberra Times.

Yes, all of the inner-city suburbs of Sydney have experienced incredible price inflation over recent years. Young professionals have discovered and renovated / gentrified / yuppified old terraces, semis and houses in areas that were considered “slums” as recently as the 1970s. The suburbs have become popular for all the usual reasons: close to the workplace, good public transport, the “buzz” of the inner-city bars / cafés etc. The same trend has occurred, to a slightly lesser extent, in all of the other major Australian cities too.

Is that still Jack Waterford? I met him once when I lived in Canberra. Nice bloke, although perhaps the type that “doesn’t suffer fools gladly”. :slight_smile:

Yup. We’ve had an email correspondence for several years now, but I’ve never met him in person. Until I started getting heavily into family history, I didn’t know that branch of the family was down there. I’ve found a lot of his writings on the web and admire them greatly. He has done a lot of good work on Aboriginal affairs.

Just a follow-up to your query **KP ** (formerly tpayne). Hester, the friend whom I met while I was wandering along Baptist Street, has got back to me. She’s looked around the suburb a bit more and had a word with a few of her older neighbours, but she hasn’t been able to turn up any references to Stevens Terrace.