Bent Street, Paddington, is one of the most curious streets in Sydney history. Although having only 32 houses in the street by 1920, this small street contained a cross section of Australian life during the time examined, from 1890 to 1920. The street contained shops, a coal depot, magistrates, landlords, labourers, miners, tenants, and all the other groups of people that inhabited the streets. In it also resided the first Australian Labor Party Prime Minister, John Christian Watson.
The street came into prominence when an article appeared in the Sydney Mail, 9 August 1916, p.12. It was inspired by the local ALP M.L.A., Mr. Osborne, who collected 29 portraits of soldiers from Bent and sent them Sydney Mail.
The album describes the named inhabitants of each house over the period from 1890 to 1920. In addition, the 29 pictures are named with a brief military biography attached to them. Where ever possible, they are located at the house in which the person lived.
The street numbering created a great deal of confusion amongst the information collectors. Where a dual number appears, this was the result of number confusion. For example, there never was No. 6 Bent Street but this did not prevent people from describing No. 8 as No. 6. In addition to that, in 1900, houses were built at numbers 23, 25, and 27. However No. 27 was further subdivided into three houses named "Osraston", "Matlock", and "Chellaston". This created its own confusion until the numbers were corrected in 1919. So the houses from 29 onwards have two numbers, the pre and post 1919 house number.
A full listing of the Bent Street Album may be found at:
2507 Sergeant Alexander MCCOLL, a 35 year old Stock and station agent from 33 Bent Street, Paddington, Sydney, New South Wales. He enlisted in the AIF on 31 July 1915 and was allotted to the 19th Battalion, 5th Reinforcement which embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A32 Themistocles on 5 October 1915. During the Great War MCCOLL Returned to Australia 31 October 1917.