University of Newcastle Library Guides

Mayfield website:  Pommy Town

The Mayfield Website was created in 1995 to provide primary historical source materials such as early printed accounts, pioneer letters, oral history transcriptions, photographs, maps and plans on the little known history of the Newcastle, NSW suburb.

Mayfield website


Mayfield’s Pommy Town comes to life

University’s Bella Vista book launch

6th December 2000


Pommy Town


A unique period in Newcastle’s history as recounted by a former resident, was remembered with the launch of a book detailing Mayfield’s Pommy Town of the 1920s. ‘The Pommy Town Years: Memories of Mayfield and Other Tales of the Twenties’ was launched with great fanfare on 6th December at Bella Vista, Mayfield., by Professor Brian English, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Newcastle.

Edited by Dr Helen Macallan of the University’s English Department, the book is the memoirs of William Claridge, complete with illustrations, of life in Pommy Town in the 1920s. “I had begun to unearth some wonderful stories about Pommy Town during research for a documentary project on it. But perhaps the most exciting discovery occurred when I interviewed Mr Claridge and he handed me a fat red notebook. This humble notebook turned out to be a marvellous treasure-trove of stories and sketches on the 1920s,” explained Dr Helen Macallan.

William Claridge’s memoirs explore his arrival in Newcastle from Bristol in 1921 with his parents and eight siblings, accounts of working life at the Lysaght steel mills, and the richness of the community known as Pommy Town. Pommy Town was the name given to the workers’ estate in Mayfield, centered around Avon, Vine, Usk and Bull Streets, built by steel manufacturer John Lysaght to house employees, and their families, of the steel mill.

Professor John Ramsland, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Science, describes the book as “a unique interpretation of the social life of closely-knit working class communities and with it an interpretation of life itself with all its rich experience and detail.”

Bill Claridge

John Ramsland

Professor Brian  English
Bill Claridge John Ramsland Brian English

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