Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - FRONT PAGE - Ali­son Bald­ing

TO SOME they’re an old­school tool used to nav­i­gate through un­known streets.

For Tregear res­i­dent Michael Cartwright, old street di­rec­to­ries cap­ture a mo­ment in his­tory.

One par­tic­u­lar street direc­tory eluded his col­lec­tion for 30 years un­til the lat­est no­tice he placed in the The Daily Tele­graph just be­fore Christ­mas re­ceived the re­sponse he was af­ter.

“An older man from the south coast had the direc­tory I was af­ter – the 5th Edi­tion of Gre­gory’s Street Direc­tory for New­cas­tle (NSW) 1965 – and sent it to me,” Mr Cartwright said.

“It is great; it’s like get­ting the miss­ing piece to a puz­zle.

“It’s like start­ing to watch a tele­vi­sion show when you’ve missed the first three or four parts, I just wanted to know what hap­pened.”

Mr Cartwright es­ti­mates he has col­lected thou­sands of Gre­gory’s Street Di­rec­to­ries since the pub­li­ca­tions first took his in­ter­est in 1974.

But the space they take up has seen him nar­row down his fo­cus.

“I pre­fer to col­lect those for New­cas­tle, Wol­lon­gong and Can­berra be­cause they are al­ways grow­ing but not like the city,” Mr Cartwright said. “I used to col­lect street di­rec­to­ries for Syd­ney but they don’t in­ter­est me as much.”

De­spite the navigational col­lec­tion, the 56-year-old doesn’t drive.

“I’m also a Greens but I also like new de­vel­op­ment,” he said. “I can’t ex­plain it.”

Mr Cartwright said his other pas­sions in­cluded mu­sic by Johnny O’Keefe, writ­ing and cre­at­ing his own maps and towns. “There is so much garbage on TV, I need to be cre­ative,” he said.


Michael Cartwright with a copy of the prized 1965 New­cas­tle street direc­tory.

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