One does not have to go back half a century to note the change that has come over Balmain. That change had been of course more marked during the last few years.
Less than twenty years have elapsed since the site occupied by the present Town Hall was covered with scrub.
Captain Trouton, well known in Balmain, is responsible for this statement.
'At that time,' said the Captain to the writer, 'the bush was so dense round about where the Town Hall now stands that the idea of building a house up there, as Tom Buchanan did, was regarded as a good joke.'
And now behold what a transformation a few years have wrought!
Darling Street, the main thoroughfare, contains a double row of flourishing shops and stores, so excellent a display of goods do their windows contain.
Architecturally considered, these retail places of business are decidedly behind the times; their appearance is too suggestive of bygone days, when Balmain was a place of small consequence.
The leases of nearly all the Darling Street shops, etc., will, however, expire ere long, and then owners will doubtless avail themselves of the opportunity to rebuild and to erect premises in keeping with the rapidly growing importance of the place.
At the present time the population of Balmain is 27000 and there are more than 5000 houses within the borough.
Its public buildings are a credit to it, its manufacturing industries are numerous and of the first consequence.
The new dock at Cockatoo Island (less than a mile from Balmain) is one of the finest in the world.
There, what do you think?
Had the disdainful Balmain only foreseen all this he would, in all probability, have reconsidered that offer of five shillings for the grant and have taken steps to secure the property to his heirs and assigns for ever.
The thing would have been worth five shillings at all events, if only on the score of family pride.