About the Collection

On the Fringes

The On the Fringes: South West Sydney 1994-2014 collection explores social history and cultural life on the outskirts of south-western Sydney. Recorded through photography, audio interviews, and video footage, the collection documents the communities of Green Valley (six suburbs of fibro housing) and the market gardens of Austral, Leppington, Bringelly and the surrounding region.

There are the shots of market gardeners and koi farmers, local walking groups and bocce players, big noisy families celebrating weddings and birthdays, and solitary folk leading quiet, ordinary lives. Take a look!

Therese Sweeney

Born 1961

I have been engaging communities, industry & families in photography, digital media & oral history recordings since the early 1990’s. I bring solid experience in strategy & communications to project work & commissions as: oral historian, media technician, artist, researcher, curator, digital archivist, writer & publish under Sweeney Ink.

For 25 years or more I have exhibited photography, video installations & sound recordings at major galleries throughout Sydney; at key libraries & museums across Sydney; in the landscape and built environment as video projections; online archives; & at key community sites such as clubs & resource centres. My work is held in both private collections and major State & National public institutions.

I have written, trained & delivered media courses with residents, transferring my skills in Green Valley, Airds, Macquarie Fields & sites within Liverpool for many years. All these projects have resulted in successful exhibition outcomes, including national recognition by way of nomination for media training at ATOM (Australian Teachers of Media) awards in 2001. In recent years I have trained at regional libraries & galleries in oral history technologies & protocols as consultant to State Library NSW & Oral History NSW.

I have received numerous scholarships throughout my creative life, including a research fellowship at UTS through Shopfront & NSW Dept. of Women in 2000.

Prior to above I was employed in NSW government for over a decade, resigning as Senior Policy Officer, Legal Aid Commission in 1991, a human resource specialist.

Today, I continue my work on the South Coast of NSW and have in recent years written a number of oral history books via commission from private clients, industry & government.

Sweeney Ink has been publishing family, company and regional history books from 2016 as private commissions and government contracts.

Major Exhibitions & Project History

2020 to 2022

Publication: ‘Our Smartest Horseman, Vic Gough, The North Queensland Cowboy’. Commissioned under Sweeney Ink to research, write & collect extensive photography & sound recordings on Victor Gough, family members, other leading horseman in Queensland. The project period began Feb 2020-til April 2022. To be distributed May 2022. An extensive pictorial & written history.
Exhibition: ‘On the Fringes-south west Sydney’, UTS Library. Curator Mia Turner UTS. Reimagined by Mia Turner, inspired by Sweeneys photographic archive to create through installation - the suburban backyard (hills hoist) & interior of the fibro home to exhibit & project both still and moving image in this built environment. To engage students through the city UTS campus showing May-August 2022
Commissioned writer and photographer for quarterly issues of magazine, South Coast Style.
Keynote Speaker: From the Ground Up Collecting in South West Sydney. History Week 8 Sept 2021. To an online audience of 100 guests.
2018 to 2019

Publication: Camden Park Estate, The Community Story, an Oral History, Sweeney Therese (Ed 2). 2019 Belgenny Farm Trust. To edit an additional 12 stories for 2nd Ed. Sold out 1st Ed. in 2018. 2nd Ed. published in 2020.
Exhibition: Marriage-Love-Law: Penrith Regional Gallery 2019, by State Archives & Records NSW-Colour transparency, Wedding portrait, West Hoxton, 2001.
Publication: Farming was our University: The Perich family / an oral history by Therese Sweeney. Sweeney Ink Publishing [Bringelly, New South Wales] 2018.
Publication: A journey from Pasman: The story of Biserka Skontra, an Oral history, by Therese Sweeney-to be published in late 19.
Guest speaker: ‘Artists working with oral history/Oral historians working with artists’, November 2018. Presented by Oral History NSW in partnership with Verge Gallery. Chaired by Dr Paula Hamilton. (online@Verge gallery).
Film & video archivist: Digitising tape & film of 5 film projects made by Therese Sweeney on Green Valley in mid-late 1990’s, 2018-19. Soon to be hosted by UTS archive ‘On the Fringes, South West Sydney 1994-2014.’
Invited artist - Mental Health Week July 2018: Shoalhaven Regional Gallery. Photograph titled, ‘Live a Little’, large work on paper, gyprock and wood.
2015 to 2017

Publication: Camden Park Estate, The Community Story, an Oral History, Sweeney Therese (Ed 1). 2015 Belgenny Farm Trust.
National Gallery of Australia (NGA); Living in the fields 2007, Therese Sweeney (Macquarie Fields project). Gift of Glenn Barkly & Lisa Havilah 2015, as part of the Cultural Gifts program.
Archivist (consultant): Belgenny Farm Trust: Prepared 80 sound recordings & approx. 2000 photographs (recorded, produced & scanned) on 20th century material; for permanent archival storage to State Library NSW. Delivered on ext. drive. at national archival standards. Held at Camden Library. Additionally, secured 19th century company records/photographs on Camden Park Estate now held at State Library NSW.
Sound archivist: Technical preparation-near 70 sound files (recorded from 1994-2012 on residents from Green Valley & surrounding migrant market gardeners) & meta-data descriptions for UTS archive, ‘On the Fringes, South West Sydney 1994-2014.’
Consultant oral history trainer: to regional library staff in Newcastle/Riverina & Dubbo on behalf of Oral History NSW & State Library NSW.
Researcher, oral historian & writer: Private commission- Perich family- an extensive family history-farming, migration & business.
Consultant Oral Historian/Researcher: Belgenny Farm Oral History project, ran from 2011-2017.
Commissioned writer/researcher: Private commission-began a memoir for publication in 2019.
Photographic exhibition-retrospective: UTS Library 25 May-1 July 16. A collection of black & white prints and video projections, Intimate Moments x 4 videos (2008) Selected works from, ‘On the Fringes South West Sydney 1994-2014’.
Photographic exhibition-DUHK-LING - Shoalhaven Regional Gallery, 12 November 16 - 21 January 17. A series of digital colour prints, large scale, on wood, plaster & paper.

Exhibition-Creative Moments: Shoalhaven Regional Gallery. Group show. Video projections and photography.
Official launch/live hosting-UTS Library- Sweeney’s extensive media archive titled. On the Fringes South West Sydney 1994-2014. Photographic negatives/transparencies/ meta data written undertaken from 1994-2014. Assisted by Dr Paul Ashton & Dr Penny Stannard.

Painter/Artist: Autumn Show, Group exhibition, Harrington Street gallery (Co-Op), Chippendale. A series of impressionistic paintings.
Oral history mentor-Lightening Ridge. Developed & presented training to community on behalf of Oral History NSW.
Sweeney nominated & shortlisted for International Oral History Scholarship by Oral History Australia for her Memory Bank project (2008-2012), with migrant market gardeners on Sydneys south west fringe.

Director/writer-Video-Pioneers of the Fringe South West Sydney -20 min. documentary on migrant market gardener’s. Screened to the local community at Austral Bowling club.
Photography mentor: UTS Social leaders group, Shopfront.
Memory Bank Cultural Media Inc-As oral historian, photographer, editor, video artist, director-Finalised an extensive multi media engagement in the south west Sydney market gardens which ran for 5 years. Collecting knowledge, memories, archives with pioneering migrants from south-east Europe.

Belgenny Farm Oral history project, Consultant oral historian. Began extensive engagement in region as sound recordings, photography & digital archiving (through 2017)-delivering an extensive multi-media archive identifying 80 former employees and family.
Trainer/Curator-Exhibiton: Made on the Kitchen Table, Casula Powerhouse-Photography. Photography mentor, course delivery & curatorial vision. Trained16 indigenous women from south west Sydney & set up a not-for-profit organisation for the women. This project ran over 3 months.
Exhibition: ‘Eat’ History week-OHAA (NSW) website exhibition-sound bites.

Video artist-Our Migrant farmers:Group show. Casula Powerhouse, 2 x 3min video installations, artist. Liverpool Bicentenary.
Video artist-Tomato Stories, Solo exhibition in theatre: Casula Powerhouse, Forum interviewing a panel of six migrant farming women & 7min film, ‘Tomato Stories’ screened.
Memory Bank Cultural Media Inc. launch: Casula Powerhouse. Official launch of my charity/organisation by Noeline Brown, Ambassador for Ageing. Attended by Local, State and federal MP’s and the community. The most attended art event by the public in the galleries history ( at that point in time).

Pioneers of the Fringe:Extensive oral history & photography campaign begins with pioneering farming residents in Leppington, Austral and Bringelly (through 2012).
Video artist-Intimate Moments:Solo exhibition. Video projections Liverpool CBD, 4 x 4min video installations, Screened through International Women’s Day (March).

Exhibition: Conversations at the Diner-Solo exhibition. Sound (oral histories), text & photography project on the New York Restaurant, Kellet St. Kings Cross, Sydney. Exhibited across 3 sites in Kings Cross, including City of Sydney libraries (archived) & the Diner. Extensive press/radio attention.
Exhibition: Riotous Suburbs: Cross Art projects, Group show, Kings Cross. Photography on Macquarie Fields.
Documentary Video: Love & Music-8min documentary, ageing dramatic soprano Noela Strange-Muir. Screened at Chauvel and 2 film festivals.
Trainer-mentor: ‘New Angles @ Macfields’, Glenfield Library. Residents group show, photography. Photography mentor and curator to residents on the estate for six month period with partner WorkVentures.
Postcard series, Greetings from Macquarie Fields Residents photography. Curator of slideshow, Campbelltown City Arts Centre. Distributed to residents.
Photographic mentor & trainer: to residents from Airds Estate. Residents’ exhibition at local community service.

Photographer/Oral Historian/researcher: Bringelly City on the Edge: Solo exhibition. Narellan Library, Hawkesbury Regional Gallery, Liverpool Library. Solo show. Photography and Video on contemporary market gardeners (through 2006). Archived at Liverpool City Library.
Video artist: Tunnel Vision, Greed & Stupidity: Cross Art projects; Group show. Video installation x 2.
Trainer & Curator-Light, Stills, Emotion: Educational Card series-Photographic mentor to young women-Liverpool Women’s Health Centre.

Trainer-mentor-Curator: Women shoot West, Exhibited at Liverpool Hospital. Female residents-adults- photography from Liverpool Women’s Resource Centre, Ashcroft.
Writer: Real time Arts, review exhibitions & write daily reviews/critiques on artists @Biennale of Electronic Arts, Perth.
Photographer: Reframing the Valley, 10 year retrospective, solo exhibition Leichhardt library, photography. Curator Liz Muller.

Consultant teacher & producer: After the Bell & New Girl, A series of documentary videos, mentored 12 young women at Miller Technology High School. Course developer, facilitator and Producer. Project ran for 3 months and achieved awards at Local & State festivals & nomination for National award (ATOM).

Photographer: Fibro, Perspecta 97, Casula Powerhouse, group show. 22 Photography panels on canvas. Reviewed by Photofile & a series of works published.
Photographic print series: South West Sydney series, Alan Davies (Curator) State Library of NSW, purchased block of photographic prints by Sweeney to permanently archive. Dark room printing on large fibre based paper undertaken by Sweeney. A series of prints is also held at Liverpool City Library.

Documentary photographer -Legal Walls, Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre 94. A three month project. Slideshow and booklet ran through gallery.
Photographer, South West Sydney project 94 (through 2014). Major initiation by Sweeney to begin engaging the fringes of the region.
Published: A series of Sweeney’s photographs, ‘On the Frontier, A Social History of Liverpool, Hale & Iremonger, 1996 by Chris Keating.
Student: Commenced a BA (Communications) at UTS in 96- 99.
Photographer: Leichhardt series, 95: Alan Davies, Curator, State Library of NSW, selected & purchased a block of photographic prints on gentrification of Leichhardt. Photography and printing by Sweeney(through 1999). A series also purchased by Leichhardt Library.


Research Fellowship (Community) Shopfront UTS & NSW Dept. for Women (2001)
Scholarship- Photography Charles Sturt University, Wagga (2005)
Scholarship-Editing Documentary Metro Screen, Paddington (2007)
Scholarship-Not-For-Profit Management Development, UTS (2010)


Bachelor of Arts (Communication), Social History & Film, University of Technology, Sydney (1999)
Assoc. Diploma in Health Sciences (Massage Therapy) TAFE (1992)


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Unless otherwise noted, content on the sweeney.lib.uts.edu.au website is owned by Therese Sweeney. To request a license for non-commercial or commercial use of her work, please contact Therese Sweeney by phone on 0415900320, or by email.