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numbers of Italians living in Australia, 1871-1981

Shirley Fitzgerald

City Historian, City of Sydney

Well if you look at the Town Hall it’s a classic example of a place that people value because of the number of things that have happened there, whether it was an eisteddfod where they sang, or a speech night that they went to, or a union rally that was significant in changing their lifestyle, or a public meeting where Germaine Greer spoke or the President of the United States or the Prime Minister or anyone, it’s an interesting fact that although the building itself is physically simply the Town Hall for the City of Sydney which is a very small place in fact, legislatively, administratively, it’s from the steps of the Town Hall that governor-generals stand and say goodbye at the end of their period of reign as I remember watching Sir Ninian Stevens do, from here you choose to say a farewell to the people of Australia. It’s got nothing to do with the building, it’s got to do with a sense that this is a place where people meet, a sense that everybody in the whole world at some stage has said "meet me on the Town Hall steps" and that’s got nothing to do with the fact that the steps are made of such and such a marble or they were designed by such and such an architect, it’s to do with feeling a linkage to the place that we call Sydney.

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