The City of Campbelltown is situated on the south-western fringe of Sydney, the largest capital city in Australia. Campbelltown covers an area of 312 square kilometres and extends from Glenfield in the north, Menangle Park in the south, the scenic hills in the west and the Georges River in the East. The city has a proud heritage. Campbelltown is one of the few 'Macquarie Towns', established by the influential governor of the then penal colony, Lachlan Macquarie in 1820. Our name recalls the maiden name of Macquarie's wife Elizabeth 'Campbell'.
The history of Campbelltown has been shaped by its location, our physical distance from the centre of Sydney and our proximity to the Georges River and the Nepean River, giving the district gently undulating terrain and fertile pastures for cattle grazing and crops. Campbelltown has a rich agricultural heritage and up until the end of World War Two was more like a country town, rather than the thriving satellite city of today. Campbelltown has come a long way! We have much of our colonial architecture, including impressive country houses, to remind us of our links to the earliest days of European settlement.The Aboriginal People
"For at least 40 000 years before Captain Cook sailed into Botany Bay in 1770, Aboriginal tribes peopled Australia...By 1830 [traditional] Aboriginal community life in Campbelltown had disintegrated." (Liston: 1988, p.1)
The Dharawal people lived in the area of Sydney the Europeans later named Campbelltown, which was south of the Eora people in Liverpool and the Gweagal of Botany Bay, and stretching as far down the coast as the Shoalhaven River and inland to Camden.
The Georges and Nepean Rivers influenced the lifestyle of the Dharawal who used the rivers as a source of food, and also for recreation and transportation.The Dharawal word for canoe was mudyeri. Dharawal men were renowned possum hunters, possum skins being made into thick, warm coats for the winter months. Physical evidence of the Aboriginal lifestyle can still be found today, with shell middens and scar trees around local rivers and lakes. Rock paintings and carvings, of which Bull Cave is a local example, document both the 'White Invasion' from local indigenous eyes, and local legend which had survived in art, ritual and oral traditions; passed on from generation to generation, for thousands of years proceeding European settlement.
The Dharawal totem is the Lyrebird. Indigenous Australians had a system of totemic belief describing the relationship between a person or a group of people and a natural species or object. Traditionally, the person would bare the name of the animal, plant or species, thus sharing the same life essence. This bond existed from the mythical age when the world as we know it was forming.
The Appin massacre of 1816 is perhaps the most devastating and tragic event to occur to the Dharawal and other local clans, a low point in the relationship between indigenous and European inhabitants. The Dharawal population was also depleted by diseases brought by the Europeans. In 1845 the number of Aborigines in the Campbelltown Police District had dropped in ten years from twenty to none. Tribal life in the district continued in a limited way. Corroborees were still held at Camden Park and Denham Court until at least the 1850s. During 1858 about 200 Aborigines attended the celebrations at Campbelltown marking the opening of the Railway line.
Today Indigenous culture in Campbelltown district is fostered by the Tharawal Aboriginal Corporation and Land Council and the Aboriginal Advisory Committee of Campbelltown City Council. Non-indigenous Australians are fortunate to have the opportunity to learn about local indigenous culture and history. A determined willingness to learn from our history will assist the process of reconciliation.
The settlement of Campbelltown by the Europeans is linked to the escape of a herd of cattle from Sydney Cove in July 1788. Two bulls and four cows, with no horns, which were removed to prevent injury on their long journey to Australia, escaped the convict herdsman. The cattle crossed the Cooks and Nepean Rivers, and found fertile grazing land 90 kilometres south west of the colony, in the Menangle-Camden area. Several search parties failed to find and retrieve the herd - a loss which, along with crop failures, brought the convict colony close to starvation in its first few years. The escaped herd gave rise the district becoming known as 'The Cow Pastures'.
The Dharawal saw these animals and recorded the incident by sketching their images in a rock shelter. Bull Cave survives today as the earliest example of European contact with the district. The cattle were eventually found in September 1795, when their numbers had grown to approximately 60.
A series of floods and crop failure in the Hawkesbury district highlighted the need to establish farming elsewhere, away from the flood prone riverbanks, if the colony was to successfully produce its own food supply. The first land grants to Europeans in the Campbelltown district where given in 1809. Governor Macquarie's arrival in the colony in 1810, marked the beginning of the permanent establishment of European settlement at Campbelltown. Macquarie made several expeditions throughout the district of Airds (named after his wife's family's estate in Scotland). During his visits to the district, Macquarie was impressed by the quality of the land and the progress of the farmers to whom he had granted land. Some of the landowners were amongst the most prominent settlers of the colony, including Dr William Redfern of Campbellfield. When he appointed Reverend Thomas Reddall as the resident clergyman for Airds, in 1820 Macquarie needed to establish an economic and social centre for the district.
On 1 December 1820 Macquarie founded the boundaries of the village of Campbelltown. He also established the site for the first church, St Peters, the first school and burial ground. The Anglican church of St Peters was the first, and for years, the only building in Campbelltown.
Though located near the Bow Bowing Creek and the George's River, water supply was a constant problem for both farmers and townspeople. Wells and tanks were unable to supply sufficient water to support a large population.
The first large-scale project to improve water supply was undertaken by Thomas Rose on Mount Gilead about 1823. Rose built an embankment of stone and rammed earth across a natural decline in his land and drained the run-off into an artificial lake. This provided a constant source of water sufficient to withstand the extensive drought of 1829. Rose's efforts appear to be the first successful attempt at water conservation in New South Wales and attracted the attention of nearby settlers and the government. Governor Bourke visited Rose at Mount Gilead during 1833. The stone dam had been expensive but Rose constructed a cheaper dam of rammed earth near the Campbelltown-Appin Road for the use of his neighbours and travellers.
In November 1832 the inhabitants of Campbelltown decided to build a water reservoir in the town at their own expense. The man behind the project was undoubtedly Thomas Rose, with the support of Campbelltown innkeepers John Hurley and John Patrick, Thomas Meehan and Clerk of Petty Sessions, John Scarr. By February 1833 surveyor Felton Matthew had declared the site suitable. The land chosen, on the hillside between Dumaresq and Allman Streets (allotments 34,35,56 and 57), formed a natural basin into which two small creeks flowed. The clay soil was suitable for constricting the embankment wall. The government granted the land, congratulating the people of Campbelltown for their initiative and their example to the communities.
The embankment was not constructed until the following summer. In September 1833 the Campbelltown committee sought approval to build it up the hill to avoid expensive earthworks. This resulted in the closure os Stewart Street, between Allman and Dumaresq Streets. The dam was funded by public conscriptions and built by contract in a 'comparatively unskilful and slovenly' manner. Nonetheless, it greatly improved the water supply for the local residents.
The first reservoir had a rammed-earth embankment. In 1838 the colonial government decided, possibly at the suggestion of Campbelltown's police magistrate, Francis Allman, that the reservoir should be improved and constructed of stone. An adjoining reservoir should be improved and constructed of stone. An adjoining reservoir should be improved and constructed of stone. An adjoining reservoir was built by convict gangs from Liverpool, supervised by Major W.H Christie, Assistant Engineer. The first stone was laid in September 1838 and work was completed by mid-1839. Convict transportation ended the following year so Campbelltown's water reservoir was probably the last major project in the district built by convict labour. The reservoir was filled by the winter of 1840. Built at a cost of almost £400, it provided Campbelltown with its water supply until 1888. Permanent water increased the value of town land almost overnight.
(c) Campbelltown City Council extracted from Liston, C. Campbelltown: The Bicentennial History (North Sydney, NSW: Allen & Unwin, 1988) pp 47-49.
The construction of the Upper Nepean Water supply took six years and was Sydney's fourth attempt at providing a permanent water supply for its growing population. As Liston points out, the construction of the water scheme had a significant impact on Campbelltown;
Campbelltown benefited from the water supply project in two significant ways. Construction works provided employment for local men and income for shopkeepers, carriers and tradespeople. New people were attracted to the area, increasing the population for almost a decade. The second major benefit for Campbelltown was the acquisition of its own water supply. It was the first country town to receive water from the Nepean system.1
By the time Macquarie founded Campbelltown in 1820 cereal farming was well established in the district. Wheat, maize and grasses for stock feed were the main crops. Campbelltown's market for produce was Sydney.
William Howe of Glenlee was known throughout the colony for his agricultural knowledge and expertise. He was called upon by Commissioner Bigge to elaborate on the problems of colonial farming, in Bigge's report on the administration of the colony.
James Ruse, acknowledged as the founder of the wheat industry in Australia, also worked in later life at Denham Court. Ruse died and was buried in St Johns Cemetery Campbelltown.
As Liston points out Campbelltown was rural district whose fortunes were greatly affected by the seasons as well as the colonial economy. When gold was discovered in 1851, numerous landowners abandoned their holdings to go in search of their fortunes.
By the 1860s James Fitzpatrick had purchased most of the farms west of Campbelltown towards Narellan and south towards Menangle.
"At Menangle Edrop planted apple orchards, cultivated imported English grasses, and grew wheat, oats and maize. He had a small dairy herd and he tried running sheep, but found the land too wet" (Liston, C. 1998: p 110)
"By the 1890s dairying was the major rural industry in the Campbelltown district. Without refrigeration butter and cheese travelled better than milk and cream. Traditionally, each dairy made its own cream, butter and cheese. Milk was poured into wide, shallow pans and left for a day or more for the cream to rise and be skimmed off by hand. It was a time-consuming process. Milk was easily contaminated with dirt and insects and on hot days quickly turned sour. Cream was churned by hand by the farmer's wife and daughters to make butter.
In 1875 Thomas Sutcliffe Mort established the New South Wales Fresh Food and Ice Company. Mort was experimenting with refrigeration for meat exports. Though the technology was not sufficiently developed for long journeys, it overcame the problem of transporting milk from country dairies to the city along the rail network. John Kidd recognised the potential for dairying and acquired extensive grazing pasture, including St Andrews and the lease of much of the Campbellfield estate. By the turn of the century Kidd was one of the largest ratepayers on Campbelltown municipality.
In 1878 a Swedish engineer, Gustav de Laval, patented a centrifugal cream separator. Milk no longer had to be left for the cream to rise, with all the risks of contamination. Factory separators powered by horses or steam engines were in use on the New South Wales south coast by the early 1880s. Small separators were not available until the late 1880s so dairy farmers had to combine their milk in large separators. The first cooperative factory opened at Kiama in 1884. In 1890 an American, S.M Babcock, developed a quick method to test the fat content of milk. Dairy factories could now purchase milk by its fat content rather than quantity alone, removing the risk of buying watered-down milk.
Dairies were supervised by the Board of Health from1888. Milk was easily polluted from a dirty environment, impure water or sick cows, and could carry disease such as typhoid and tuberculosis. The first inspections in 1890 revealed inadequate sanitation on many farms. On one in three there were no privies and raw sewage flowed into creeks from which the dairies drew their water. Of the eleven licensed dairies in Campbelltown inspected by the Board of Health, several were dirty and some cattle were diseased. The local council was directed to enforce cleanliness and by the next inspection, in December 1891, the 24 dairies registered in that year were found to be satisfactory. By 1901 there were 2816 dairy cattle in the Campbelltown district and, while this represented only 13 per cent of dairy cattle within the County of Cumberland, Campbelltown dairy farmers had the greatest investment (25per cent) in dairying equipment. They sent 833 998 gallons (3.8 million L) of milk to Sydney, 47 per cent of milk processed in the County of Cumberland. In 1906 there were 73 registered dairies in Campbelltown municipality and 7 in Ingleburn municipality.
Campbelltown dairymen were slow to agree to a local dairy factory. One operated at Camden from 1893 to 1895 and then at Menangle. The Campbelltown Co-Operative Creamery Company opened in 1899, close to the railway, behind Queen Street where it shared premises with the cordial factory. J.P Seddon was manager of the creamery and cordial factory for 20 years. The railway platform at Campbelltown was improved in 1906 and in 1908 to provide better milk loading facilities. Dairy farmers were concerned about the price paid for their milk and agitated through their local branch of the United Milk Suppliers Association.
Several of the larger estates were leased for dairy pasture by 1914. Charles Axam leased 2000 acres (800ha) of Mount Gilead. Varroville was leased by its owner, Sydney Solicitor Thomas Salter, to H.R Pockley for dairying. Towards Menangle, the Edrop estate (2000acres [800ha ) was leased to several dairy farmers. W.H Fieldhouse owned ten dairies, including Denfield (315 acres [126 ha]), Glen Lorna and Sugerloaf farms between the Appin and Menangle Roads.
By 1901 over half the area of the Campbelltown Police District was privately owned and fenced and 2270 of its 97 920 acres (908 of 39 168 ha) were cultivated. There were 373 farms, about two thirds occupied by their owners, the rest held by lessees. Wheat and grain crops had virtually disappeared. Oats was the most usual crop. Sorghum and maize were also grown. Hay was needed for winter feed for the cows. Haymaking remained labour-intensive. The grasses were cut, scattered to dry, gathered in overnight, and scattered again the next day until dry enough to put in a hayrick.
Grapevines and other fruits by 1901 covered about 28 per cent of cultivated land. At Eaglemount, Minto, the Genty family planted a vineyard in the 1880s. They were immigrants from France and made ports, sherries, hock and claret. In 1891 they lived on Eschol Park. After phylloxera caused havoc in the vineyards in the 1890s, Eugene Genty became a wine and spirit merchant in Sydney.
During the 1890s greater interest was shown in orchards and vineyards as land prices increased in the fruit areas north and north-west of Sydney. Across the George's River in Eckersley, selectors cleared land on the ridges along the road from Liverpool. The slope, soil, good drainage and easterly aspect made it suitable foe vine growing. Among those who planted orchards and vineyards were J. Kidd and J. Hurst at Holsworthy and Issac Himmelhoch at Grodno. Himmelhoch had emigrated from Russia about 1870 and had prospered as a money lender. He developed Eckesley vineyard as a hobby, employing J.F Ryan as a full time manager. He cleared a 640 acre (256ha) selection, terraced the land with stone walls, and built a large winery and cellars. In 1901, 17 acres (6.8ha) were under hermitage and malbec vines and 15 acres (6ha) were in preparation for new vines. Ten acres (4ha) of fodder crops provided feed for the draughthorses. The land resumed by the military just before World War 1.
Despite phylloxera in the 1890s, Campbelltown produced almost 24000 gallons (109 200 L) of wine and 150 gallons (682 L) of brandy in 1901 from 126 acres (50ha), and had 94 acres (38) under table grapes. There were 300 acres (120 ha) of other fruits. Beehives were common. Campbelltown was second only to Liverpool with the largest number of beehives in the county of Cumberland, yielding 49 355 pounds (22 407 kg) of honey a year.
Farming relied upon unpaid family labour. One-third of those working in Campbelltown dairies in 1901 were women. Teachers were urged to ensure that children returned home quickly after school to assist on the farm. In 1898 about 70 parents from Campbelltown Public School petitioned the minister for public instruction to reduce the lunchbreak from one and a half hours to one and end classes at 3.30 instead of 4 pm. Parents at Ingleburn signed a similar petition in 1900. When classes did not finish till 4pm, in winter it was dark by the time the children walked 2 miles (3km) home and they were unable to help in the dairy or around the house.
In 1881 the Botanical Gardens established the State Nursery at Campbelltown on 22 acres (9ha), west of Campbelltown Railway Station in Badgally Road between Bow Bowing Creek and Johnson Road. The first superintendent, Alexander Moore, died in March 1884. His successor was John McEwen who remained at the State Nursery until his death in January 1913, aged 70. The nursery propagated evergreen shrubs and plants from oversees , testing their adaptability to Australian conditions. Campbelltown's dry, hot summers and frost cold winters were a good testing environment. Experiments were carried out with cotton in 1897 and phylloxera-resistant grape vines in 1899. It was a training ground for botanical staff. W. Weston left Campbelltown State Nursery to establish new gardens in the federal capital and William Hardie and John Nichol became superintendents at centennial Park, Sydney. The State Nursery supplied plants to official residences, government departments and for landscaping public works."
@ Campbelltown City Council Extract from Liston, C. Campbelltown: A Bicentennial History. (North Sydney, NSW: Allen and Unwin, 1988) pp127-1930.
The early local workforce in Campbelltown consisted of a lot of assigned convicts, who larboured on the grants of the early European settlers. From the official foundation of Campbelltown in 1820, industrial investment was made in the district, the most enduring being flour-milling.
"By 1823 there were three windmills and a horse mill in the Campbelltown district. Two windmills were on the estates of Richard Brooks at Denham Court and John Coghill at Kirkham. The other windmill and a horse mill were operated by William Mannix." (Liston:1988, p.49)
"By 1833 there were four windmills and two horse mills, the largest concentration outside Sydney with its nine windmills and increasing number of steam mills. Dr John Dight, father-in-law of Hamilton Hume, has built his windmill in Airds by 1833, and in 1834 Thomas Rose built the best known of the Campbelltown windmills at Mount Gilead." (Liston:1988, p.50)
The milling industry necessitated the need for the associated trades of carpenters wheelwrights and blacksmiths all of whom were in demand in Campbelltown. Tanneries required a plentiful supply of water as did the trades of shoemaking and saddlery. In 1831 there were three tanning pits in Airds and Minto. "Taylor, Hennessy and Hollingshed were the major tanners of the district into the 1840s". (Liston: 1988, p.50)
Campbelltown was a popular location for inns, as it was a convenient place for the stage coaches to break on their long journeys south. This was reflected in the names chosen by some of the inn keepers including, The Traveller's Rest. Other inns in Campbelltown were The Royal Oak, The Crown, and The Brewer's Arms.
By the 1880s several large construction projects close to Campbelltown had caused an influx of more labourers to the district. These were the construction of the southern railway line, Camden tramway, Upper Nepean water supply and Camden tramway. This in turn caused business opportunities for Campbelltonians who established boarding houses and stores to cope with the influx of workers. The commercial centre of the district was Queen Street, which became a bustling centre of shops, hotels and local businesses.
A succession of cordial factories in Campbelltown, catered to the taste of locals requiring cordials ginger beer and soda water. Liston notes that towards the end of the nineteenth century there were four bootmakers, two saddlers, and Charles and Thomas Tripp coachbuilders whose slogan was "If you want a good Turn-Out go and C. Tripp".
Dressmakers had a high profile by 1908 with Miss Chinnock and Miss Kershler being the most notable. Even by this time there was little commercial development in the outlying villages with commercial activity centring on Queen Street Campbelltown and its environs.
There was little manufacturing industry in the district before the 1970s. The exception to this was the small Spiroflex Gut Factory at Ingleburn run by Eric Klages, who exported his gut for surgical purposes and musical instruments. Among the industries to come to Campbelltown after the war included; Harco Steel (1968), Pirelli Ericsson cables and Johnson and Johnson opened their plants in 1977. Streets Ice Cream are the most recent large manufacturing company to move to Minto, opening their state of the art manufacturing plant in 1998.
Two world wars and the Great Depression had a profound impact on the local community of Campbelltown. Not only were the lives of many families changed forever by the loss of family members, but great hardships were endured and society permanently changed by these devastating events.
Much charity work was performed by Campbelltonians during the world wars and the depression, when Red Cross committees and church committees made and gathered food and clothing for the troops. A branch of the Red Cross was founded at Menangle by Sibella Macarthur Onslow on 17 August 1914. Campbelltown also formed at branch with Miss R Payten, Mrs Sedgwick and Miss R Genty as office bearers. Dances were often held to raise funds for the soldiers and the needy, throughout the wars, and during the Great Depression, or for specific charities such as Legacy or the Red Cross. 002240jpg, 001171jpg
During the First World War Campbelltown had a recruiting association and a Local Lads Committee which arranged farewells for the men joining up. The Campbelltown Red Cross and Christmas Committees sent parcels to the front. Parcels included, tobacco, soap, plum pudding, and hand knitted socks amongst other 'treats'.
There were military camps at Liverpool, Casula and Holsworthy where there was also an internment camp which by May 1916 housed 4 299 internees of German descent. Some internees were also held at Menangle Park Racecourse.
Soldiers returning from the war were greeted with great fanfare and adulation. Convoys of returning soldiers also brought with them the deadly strain of influenza virus which swept the world in 1919. Campbelltown Council spent £245 on prevention measures and a mortuary was erected for £30. Campbelltown Infants school became an emergency hospital to deal with local influenza cases from March to May 1919.
War memorials were erected by each small community throughout the City of Campbelltown to commemorate the war dead. Ingleburn erected an honour board in the Ingleburn School of Arts and opened the Soldiers' Memorial Park in 1924. Campbelltown also honoured the war dead with a Soldiers Memorial School of Arts building in Queen Street. Most schools and churches erected honour rolls as a permanent reminder of the cost of "The War to End all Wars".
Part of the Cransley estate at Campbelltown was purchased in 1918 and subdivided to form 38 soldier settler blocks. The Campbelltown soldiers named their settlement 'Waminda' an aboriginal word meaning 'Comerade'. By 1924 government support for the settlement was withdrawn. The ex-soldiers struggled with the poor quality farming land they had been allotted and the lack of professional advice. By 1942 only 2 soldiers remained on their allotments.
In 1930 Campbelltown Mayor Kershler appealed to locals to assist the unemployed. The Town Hall acted as a depot for clothing , food and other donations. Dances and a euchre night were held in Campbelltown to raise funds for a childrens' picnic. Campbelltown families were often fortunate to have the space to grow their own vegetables and keep hens for eggs - a distinct advantage over their inner city counterparts during these lean years. Campbelltown and Ingleburn Councils offered some relief work for unemployed ratepayers. Roadworks were the most common task assigned to the gangs of men, which was a real help to the Councils who in those years did not employ permanent maintenance or engineering staff.
Vacant land at Macquarie Fields and Ingleburn became an area where homeless families built shacks along the Georges River.
World War Two saw many local men enlist. The establishment of Ingleburn Army Camp at Ingleburn between the two wars, has had a lasting influence on the people of Ingleburn particularly. Many older residents remember as children opening the level crossing gates for the soldiers and being rewarded with lollies and money for their efforts!
After Japanese midget submarines entered Sydney Harbour, domestic security became more urgent.
The National Emergency Services built air raid shelters and held first aid classes in Campbelltown. Mawson Park was the scene for a demonstration on incendiary bombs and fire-fighting. Petrol food and clothing were rationed. The son of Reverend Rolfe, remembers assisting his father start his car, which had been converted for use with a charcoal burner instead of petrol. This adaptation was necessary in order for Rev Rolfe to complete his Sunday round of services with such large distances to travel and so little petrol available legally. Charcoal pits at Wedderburn provided a steady supply of charcoal, remnants of the pits survive today.
Campbelltown's honour roll for World War Two contains the names of 459 volunteers 21 of whom died in action.A Growing Community: On Track to becoming a City
After World War Two attention turned to planning the growth and future expansion of Sydney. Local Councils were amalgamated all over Sydney. From 1949 onwards Campbelltown and Ingleburn Councils merged to form the united Municipality of Campbelltown. The County of Cumberland Scheme was formally accepted in 1951. Its task was to plan for the needs of Sydney's growing population. It included the strategic location of industry, recreational space, transport, water a sewerage supply. In essence it was designed to coordinate the physical expansion of Sydney anticipated after the war. Problems coordinating local, state and federal authorities saw the scheme replaced with The Sydney Region Outline Plan 1970-2000. This plan directed residential growth in Sydney along three radiating, existing transport corridors including southwest to Campbelltown, Camden and Appin. This plan anticipated a population in these three cities of 500 000 by 2001, with Campbelltown being the largest of the three. Major housing development took place, including new Department of Housing developments. Many young families and migrants decided to make Campbelltown their home. They were attracted by the great facilities and the scenic environment. Campbelltown is surrounded by some of Sydney's most impressive bushland.
Campbelltown's population increased dramatically after the second world war, especially in the 1970s. Our population jumped from 10 440 in 1956 to 121 297 in 1986. Campbelltown was planned to be a satellite city, self sustaining with its own hospital, educational, and recreational facilities for residents. It is a great place in Sydney to live.
Women have played an important role in the history of Campbelltown. From the earliest days of European settlement women have helped cultivate crops and have managed some of the most successful properties in the country. Elizabeth Macarthur's contribution to the success of her family's merino and other agricultural interests is widely acknowledged.
"The Campbelltown Ladies' Rifle Club was established in 1925 and competed regularly from the late 1920s. It was the only women's club in New South Wales, though other rifle clubs, such as Edgecliff and Mosman, allowed women to compete. Active members were Mrs Marlow, Scattergood, Kershler and Olarenshaw." (Liston, C:1988 p.193)
The first female Mayor of Campbelltown was elected in 1962 and was Mrs Kath Whitten. Mrs Whitten is the mother of currently serving Councillor Verlie Fowler.
Campbelltown is very fortunate to have the Campbelltown City Bicentennial Art Gallery celebrating its 10 year anniversary in 1998. It is a showcase for local art and has a nationally renowned reputation for the exhibitions showcased. The Japanese Tea Gardens at the Gallery are a permanent reminder of our sister city relationship with Koshigaya in Japan.
Since the end of World War Two Campbelltown has become the new home to immigrants from all over the world. Today 24.5% of the population of Campbelltown are born overseas. (ABS 1996 Census) This ensures that our cultural life is a rich blend of cultures from around the world.
Campbelltown is also the location for the Macarthur Campus of the University of Western Sydney, providing higher education facilities for the residents of Western Sydney.
Historically, the residents of Campbelltown enjoy a variety of social activities in their leisure time. The more well to do members of society hosted balls, tea parties and lavish dances in homes and lifestyles that were built to reflect the stately homes and lifestyles of Europe. With the advent of the radio, families all over Campbelltown gathered around the radio of an evening to listen to serialised dramas such as Blue Hills. In recent decades local community radio, run and managed by the local residents have been in operation throughout Western Sydney.
Horseracing was a popular pastime during the nineteenth century. In the 1860s Judge Cheeke at Varroville overlooked the old Campbelltown racecourse on the flat below the property. He even started a horse stud at the property. In 1865, his filly Clove won the first Australian Derby.
Agricultural shows were primarily a means of showcasing the produce and livestock of the district but over time became an integral part of the social life of the district. Camden Agricultural Show and Campbelltown Agricultural Show, celebrating its centenary in 1998, have long been organised by the 'whos who' of the local society with many committee and 'ladies committee' members having links to the district dating back generations.
Movies were a favourite leisure activity for decades in Campbelltown. Silent films were screened at Campbelltown Town Hall and Ingleburn School of Arts. The Macquarie Cinema was the first picture Palace in the district. It was on the corner of Queen and Brown Streets and opened in 1927. Many children spent their Saturday afternoons at the matinee. When they grew older they attended dances and social events that were held in the cinema on a Saturday night.
Churches were often the focal point for leisure activities for local youth up until recent decades. With tennis parties, dramatic clubs, Sunday Schools and youth fellowship groups, many a Sunday picnic was organised for the youngsters of the district.
Before the advent of the local pool most children learnt to swim in one of the local rivers or baths, as they were known. Bent's Basin and the Woolwash were two popular spots along the Georges River where children could be seen and heard skylarking until well after World war Two.
Scouting and Guides were also popular organised activities for young people of the district.
Of all the organised sports cricket football and tennis have been pursued by many in their leisure time. Cricket has been a popular game, for well over a century. In 1902-3 Campbelltown Cricket Club was considered to be the strongest outside Sydney. Tennis was also a popular pastime, with many of the larger houses in Campbelltown including their own tennis court. Rose (Babe) Payten was the most prominent sportswomen to reside in the district. Liston points out;
In the first decade of the twentieth century Rose Payten had the rare distinction of holding the triple crown in state tennis, being simultaneously the New South Wales Lawn tennis Association's singles, women's doubles and mixed doubles champion for 1901 to 1904 and again in 1907. Her victory was even more applauded because she was the first Australian-born woman to win for several years. (Liston: 1988, p.161)
Today we have Alyson Annan, Olympic gold medallist in Hockey, as our home grown sporting heroine.
Campbelltown keenly supports the Western Suburbs Magpies Football Club. They have called Campbelltown their home since relocating here in 1987(?) from Lidcombe in the inner city. They continue the long association Campbelltown has had with rugby league at an amateur and professional level.
Campbelltown City Council is committed to conserving our natural environment. This is no better illustrated than in the campaign Council joined to preserve Holsworthy Rifle Range from becoming Sydney's Second International Airport. As the result of the efforts of all councils and community groups involved, the area is now registered as part of the National Estate, recognising the importance of the area to Aboriginal peoples and the natural beauty of the bushland.
Campbelltown City Council is also opposing the location of a second Sydney Airport at Badgery's Creek, citing noise and air pollution problems as a threat to the quality of life for residents and native flora and fauna of the area. Wedderburn, in particular, is home to an extensive colony of Koalas whose habitat would be threatened by the presence of an airport in Western Sydney.
Our Council is actively taking steps to preserve our environmental heritage wherever possible. Recently the Council purchased residential land from developers in Fig Tree Park, Glen Alpine. This was necessary in order to preserve the old fig tree after which the street and park were named. The tree and its parkland setting provide a beautiful resource for residents, and are a permanent reminder of Campbelltown City Council's commitment to environmental conservation.
The Council's "State of the Environment Report", provides residents with an annual update on the condition of the local environment, and strategies in place to preserve our environment - an important aspect of our heritage.
A Heritage Park
When the National Trust Parks and Gardens Conservation Committee assesses the heritage significance of an urban park, two of the questions they ask are:
According to the National Trust, parks can have heritage significance attributed to them by being associated with events in the past. Often there is no surviving physical evidence to prove this association but it can be one important factor in assessing a park1.
As a public reserve, Mawson Park is as old as Campbelltown itself. It was here that Governor Macquarie named Campbelltown in 1820. A commemorative plaque attached to a boulder recalls this event thus:
At a place close to this stone on 1st December 1820 Governor Lachlan Macquarie named this township Campbelltown in honour of Mrs Elizabeth Macquarie whose maiden name was Campbell. This plaque was unveiled by his Grace the Duke of Argyll on 1st December 1988 as part of the Australian Bicentennial Programme.
A plan drawn up by surveyor Robert Hoddle in 1831 showed the area bounded by Cordeaux, Howe, Browne and High Streets as a market reserve. Howe and Browne Streets were named after Magistrates William Howe and William Browne. In fact, land adjoining Browne Street was not included in the Public Reserve. High street was later renamed Queen Street in honour of Queen Victoria.
On 1st September 1822, Father Therry was about to say the Mass on the reserve (the first Mass in Campbelltown), when a sudden rainstorm forced a change in plans. Father Therry quickly shepherded his congregation into the unfinished St Peter's Anglican Church, which by then had a roof. This unauthorised use of the church infuriated the Reverend Reddall; however, after three decades of the Colony not having a Catholic Priest, it is understandable that Father Therry should be determined to celebrate Mass, regardless of the downpour.
A house erected by Daniel Cooper opposite the reserve was sold to the Government in 1827, and was altered to make a court house and gaol. A new court house was erected on the same site in 1888, the year of the Centenary of the Colony.
The Reverend Thomas Reddall was not only the first incumbent of St Peter's Church, he was also a Magistrate and Justice of the Peace. The proximity of court house and church was no accident. It was commonplace back in England for the rector to also be a magistrate, and retaining a reserve between the court house and the church maintained a visual link between the two institutions.
The Reserve was a focus for community life, surrounded by church, court house, gaol and the three inns. In 1831 Thomas Hammond licensed The King's Arms on the southern corner of Cordeaux and High (Queen) Streets; opposite the reserve was the Forbes Hotel, built by Daniel Cooper in 1830.
Here the brutal penal system was seen in action. Five criminals, including bushranger Richard McCann, were hanged on gallows erected on the reserve in February 1830. Near the gallows were the stocks. Punishment in the stocks was for a period of public exposure according to the nature of the offence. In 1878 the old stocks were uncovered during work on the reserve, and townsfolk reminisced about the last occupant, an old woman who spent four hours in the stocks in the rain for using obscene language2.
On a building lot immediately facing the court house was the Hope Inn. Liverpool also had a public house under the sign of The Hope opposite its gaol and court house3. In Campbelltown, the triangle for whipping convicts who had misbehaved were probably near the stocks, as was the case at Liverpool. Magistrate William Howe, when called upon to supervise corporal punishment, was distressed to see the pain it caused, but Dr Kenny, who had long served with the army in India and repeatedly witnessed army punishment, thought the punishment light compared with that of the army4. It takes little imagination to guess whey the Hope Inn might have been thus named, given its proximity to the court house where life and death judgements were handed down5.
Cricket and tennis were played on "The Green", formally dedicated as a Public Recreation Reserve in 1876. The hotel on the corner of Cordeaux and Queen Streets (known earlier as The King's Arms) now was known as the Sportsman's Arms. A sporting pavilion was erected on The Green (pictured in the photograph dated 1924 included in this report).
Located within Mawson Park is a milestone which reads "XXXIII Sydney" (33 miles). An obelisk erected in 1818 in Macquarie Place records that "all the Public Roads Leading to the Interior of the Colony are measured from it". Ultimately milestones were erected on the Great Western Road as far as Penrith, on the Windsor Road from Parramatta to Windsor, on the South Head Road, on the Southern Road to Liverpool and on the Liverpool-Campbelltown Road.
When riots broke out on the gold diggings at Lambing Flat, troops were sent by train to Campbelltown in February 1861. The troops camped on The Green, before being transported in horse buses to Lambing Flat. On their return to Sydney, the red-coated troops once again camped on The Green. A second expedition passed through Campbelltown in July, returning the following year. All camped on The Green6.
In 1885, the year of the Sudan campaign, the Campbelltown Infantry Reserve Corp of Volunteers was formed. By October that year, forty men practised drill twice a week on the reserve under the command of William L. Moore, a local solicitor and son of the Presbyterian clergyman. In 1890 a watering trough was erected in Queen Street near the entrance to The Green. It has since been removed to the entrance of the Civic Centre.
The Green continued to be a focus for important town celebrations. John Cheeseman, who lived in Campbelltown from 1911 until 1916, remembered that the Campbelltown Band regularly marched from the southern end of Queen Street to The Green on Empire Day7. Syd Percival recalls that during Campbelltown's Centenary Celebrations in December 1920, a large ferris wheel and other amusements were set up on The Green. The ferris wheel, which was ablaze with lights at night, was powered by electricity generators (electricity had yet to be connected to the town). Another amusement was "Gigglesville", which was set up with mirrors to produce a variety of effects to make people look fat, thin and other strange shapes. Then there was "Crazy Cottage", after entering the "Cottage", people were strapped - laughing and screaming - into seats while the building rotated around them8.
Most trees planted in the park were associated with commemorative events. Arbor Day 1921 was celebrated by the planting of trees by the Mayoress, Mrs. C. N. Hannaford, and other citizens. Mrs Thomas Gamble, when she was Mayoress in 1898, planted trees on The Green and in 1925 when her son Roy Gamble was elected Mayor, she again planted more trees there 9.
The Green was located a the top of Railway Street, making it the gateway to the town by both road and rail. In 1923, Alderman T. J. Bottin pushed for the beautification of The Green as a park but did not receive Council's support10. He persisted, however, and personally helped plant a formal garden, then asking that a water service be provided to the reserve. In November 1924 Bottin sought permission to hold a Children's Sports on the reserve "for the purpose of an opening day for the Garden". Unfortunately, lack of maintenance meant that the gardens did not survive. By 1926 a report described The Green as "a birds nest full of swallows, an eyesore to the town and a disgrace to the Municipality".
During the early 1900s, there were houses fronting Browne and Queen Street (opposite the Court House). Edwin Bamford lived in one of three terrace houses which had its frontage to Queen Street. Bamford was for twenty years Campbelltown's lamplighter. He was also church verger and bellringer at St. Peter's. One such kerosene lamp stood on the corner of Cordeaux and Queen Streets, adjacent to The Green11.
When the Bowling Club was established in the early 1920's, it was on private land. The Bowling Club was later extended by purchasing an adjoining house, "Lyndhurst", in Browne Street.
The Green was named Jubilee Park in 1935, to mark the occasion of King George V's Silver Jubilee. A number of trees were planted along the Queen and Cordeaux Street frontages by the citizens representing a variety of community organisations of Campbelltown12. Toilets and watering facilities were also installed.
In January 1938 the park was officially named Mawson Park in honour of Dr William Mawson, a highly regarded citizen who provided medical services to the Campbelltown community for 28 years, opened Milby Private Hospital and built the Macquarie Cinema13. A pergola, shelter shed and entrance were erected. Two plaques were erected on the pergola: "Commemorative pergola to William Mawson Esq., M. B. Ch.M." and "Erected by the citizens of Campbelltown in appreciation". The gardens were planted with roses and dahlias and watered by the fire brigade when it practised. At this time the Fire Brigade was located in Queen Street, almost opposite Cordeaux Street.
Also located within the park is the Dr. K. O. Jones Memorial Baby Centre, officially opened by Mrs. H. Jones, the widow of the doctor, in 1950. Dr Jones came to Campbelltown in 1931 as a partner to Dr. Mawson. He was keenly interested in local affairs, a member of Council, captain of the cricket and bowling clubs, and had a particular interest in baby health and welfare.
Mawson Park has not always boasted carefully manicured lawns. Old-timers recall when the grass was long enough for young children to hide in. When Syd Percival was eight years old, Appin Public School played a cricket match against Campbelltown Public School on The Green. A white-painted two-rail fence surrounded The Green in those days and the grass was long and unkempt. When Syd came on to bat, he hit the ball and scored half a dozen runs while the Campbelltown team scrambled around in the long grass, searching in vain for the ball14.
Reminiscing about the 1950's Solicitor Jim Marsden told how he used to search for locusts in the two large poplar trees in Mawson Park. "If we were having trouble trying to flush them out with water, then the most effective method was to stick bungers in the trees15.
Numerous carnivals and pageants have been held in Mawson park over the years. In 1954 ratepayers petitioned Council to protest the use of Mawson park for a carnival in aid of the Coronation Gift Fund. Shrubs and flower beds might be trampled by visitors - or so was the fear expressed by some residents. However, the carnival was a success and a subsequent inspection proved the gardens were unscathed. Another fund-raising event of the 1950's unlikely to be repeated was a ladies woodchop16!!
Commencing in 1956, the annual Fisher's Ghost Festival and Miss Spirit contest raised funds to build an ambulance station (opened in 1961) and a music shelter in Mawson park. The music shelter erected in Mawson park was dedicated to the memory of members of the services of World War II by Major General I. N. Dougherty in conjunction with the Fisher's Ghost Festival in February 1964. The music shelter was later replaced with a War Memorial unveiled by his excellency Rear Admiral Peter Sinclair, A.O., Governor of New South Wales on 16 April 1991. It is in memory of those who sacrificed their lives in the following wars":
A Field Artillery 25-pounder, 31/2" (9 cm) bore owned by Campbelltown Returned Soldiers League holds pride of place.
Howe Street once linked Broughton and Cordeaux Streets. Action to close part of Howe Street commenced in 1962 and was completed in 1967, and it was merged into Mawson Park by 1970. Historic St Peter's Anglican Church, with park gardens in foreground, then became a popular setting for wedding photographs.
In 1965 the Senior Citizens Centre facing Browne Street was officially opened by the Mayor Alderman Tregear. The Senior Citizens wishing well is a memorial to Quotarian Dora Browne.
A number of commemorative plaques have been erected in the park - The Girls Brigade Australia17, descendants of James Ruse18, and the Campbelltown-Ingleburn News, who (in 1980) buried a time capsule near the south-eastern pergola in the park19. On Australia Day 1962 the Deputy Mayor Alderman D. R. Ayling planted a tree to commemorate the 175th anniversary of the founding of the first settlement in Australia. In May 1993 the 25th anniversary of the declaration of the City of Campbelltown was marked by the burying of a capsule and unveiling of a plaque20.
A bird bath and watering place for animals was erected in memory of Patrick (Paddy) Hunt for a lifetime spent in caring for the city's stray animals. Hunt raided garbage bins to feed his beloved cats and dogs21.
To mark the International Year of the Tree in 1982, E. J. McBarron prepared a booklet identifying the species of trees in Mawson park. This booklet was published by Campbelltown City Council22. Trees include Maiden's Gum, Illawarra Flame Tree, Canary Island Pine, Hoop Pine, Jacaranda, Cape Chestnut, Butterfly Tree, Brush Box, River Peppermint, Japanese Cedar and Blueberry Ash. Some of these handsome trees can be seen in photographs taken in the 1920's. The Butterfly Tree ( Bauhinia variegata) existed in the front garden of a house which once stood in Queen Street, and nowadays is a constant source of enquiries as to its name. A stand of indigenous Narrow-leaf Ironbark, Forest Red Gum and Grey Box in St Peter's Churchyard, combined with the large number of mature trees in Mawson Park, attract native birds such as Eastern Rosellas.
The leaflet produced by Ed McBarron was updated in 1989. Mawson Park presently contains an area of 1.6 hectares - a valuable public space in an ever burgeoning commercial business district.
Mawson Park meets the definition of a heritage item, since it is "a place having historic, cultural, social and aesthetic significance".
c. Verlie Fowler, 1994
1. National Trust of Australia (NSW), Urban Parks of Heritage Significance: A Collection of Essays on the History, Conservation and Management of Urban Parks, 1993.
2. Cumberland Mercury, 3 August 1878.
3. Liverpool City Library, Fit for the Purpose, No. 2, November 1982.
4. NSW Government: Convict Discipline 1833, facsimile edn. Gryphen Press, 1977. Included "Return of Corporal Punishments inflicted by the Bench of Magistrates at Campbelltown from the 1st to the 30 September, 1833". An example of the punishments meted out in the 1820's and 30's was: John Jones, absent from his gang on a Sunday without leave, and found in a public-house, sentenced to 25 lashes.
5. Ray Veness, in an interview for "Why Campbelltown?" (9 April 1985), identified what was once the Hope Inn: "One of the old houses opposite the Court House had been a hotel at one time or another. I remember seeing the remains of a great cellar underneath when they were pulling the houses down".
6. W. A. Bayley, History of Campbelltown, 1974.
7. Campbelltown & Airds Historical Society, Grist Mills Vol. 4 No. 2, "John Cheeseman remembers his childhood at Campbelltown 1911-1916" by Joan Warton, 1987.
8. Pers. Comm. Syd percival.
9. The Campbelltown News, 26th October, 1934, "Leaving Campbelltown after 79 Years a Resident", a report about the departure of Mrs Thomas Gamble.
10. Campbelltown Municipal Council, Minutes dated 1 May 1923: Alderman Bottin moved that the Reserve (or Green) be made into a park according to sketch produced, at a probably cost of £350, the Council to vote £10 for initiatory work. The resolution was lost.
11. E. J. McBarron, Mawson park, Campbelltown NSW, Notes on History and Trees, 1982.
12. The Campbelltown News, May 10, 1935. "The first tree was planted by the Mayor on behalf of the citizens of Campbelltown, which was planted near the pergola on the eastern side. The next tree was planted by the wife of the Town Clerk, and then Mrs W. P Mullany planted a tree to the memory of her late father, who many years ago laid out the garden plot and planted trees facing Queen Street. Opposite the Court House in a line with those trees previously referred to, Mrs McCarthy planted a tree on behalf of Miss Kitt for charity workers, and extending towards the Bowling club a further line of trees were planted by Mrs J. Thompson (on behalf of her husband); Mrs. J. Carroll, of "Sugarloaf", as representative of one of the oldest families of the district; Mr R. A. Sidman on behalf of the Campbelltown Agricultural Society; Mr Ross Warby, a descendant of one of the pioneers of Campbelltown; Mrs Sheather on behalf of Miss Alkin, whose father was Rector of St Peter Church of England from 1876 to 1902; Ald. P. C. Marlow on behalf of the Campbelltown Bowling Club; Mrs C. N. Hannaford on behalf of the Campbelltown Ladies' Bowling; Mr J. G. Vardy, representing one of the oldest families of the district, and as President of the Golf Club; and Miss A. E. Toor, who during the war was a matron at a large Wounded Soldiers Hospital at Southhampton in England. A further line of trees were then planted along Cordeaux Street side of the park, the first being by Mr. W. Loftus, near which Mrs Marlow planted two, one being on behalf of the Ladies' Miniature Rifle Club. At the end of that line Mr. A. Munnery planted one, and then in a line towards the Pergola, another batch of five more trees were planted by Mrs. J. T. McMinn, representing the Red Cross Society; Ald. V. A. Ducat on behalf of Mrs J. T. Bottin, and Mr J. H. Lack planting the last three in that line. Crossing over the entrance path, three further trees were planted, the first by the Deputy Mayor (Ald. T. Devlin), Mr F. Sheather on behalf of the Memorial School of Arts, in the absence of Dr K. O. Jones, who on account of illness was unable to be in attendance; and the 24th tree was planted by Mr. L. Topham on behalf of the P & C Association for which he is Secretary, in the absence of the President (Mr C. N. Hannaford), who was ill and unable to be present.
13. The Campbelltown News, 16 April, 1937.
14. Pers. Comm. Syd Percival.
15. Why Campbelltown? A Social History of Campbelltown published by Campbelltown City Council, 1985. 16. Campbelltown & Airds Historical society, Grist Mills Vol. 5 No. 5, "Excitement on the Settlement" by Syd Percival, 1991.
17. "The Girls Brigade Australia Motto, Seek, Serve, Follow Christ commemorating their diamond jubilee 1927-1987 plaque unveiled by Miss Betty Allen A.M. Senior International Vice President 10th Sydney Division 24th May 1987"
18. "This tree planted at one second past midnight on 1st January 1988 in presence of descendants of James Ruse and civic dignitaries marks the start of the Australian Bicentennial Year".
19. "1880-1980, to mark the centenary of the Campbelltown-Ingleburn News first published on February 14th 1880, a steel time capsule was buried beneath this plaque on March 10th 1980 by his worship the Mayor of Campbelltown Alderman G. K. Fetterplace in the presence of a gathering of district citizens. The capsule contains a copy of the 1880 Campbelltown-Ingleburn News and copies of other papers published in 1980 by the S. Richardson Newspaper Group in addition to a variety of everyday items of general use".
20. "This plaque was laid to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the declaration of the City of Campbelltown in May 1993. Beneath the plaque is a capsule containing the local newspaper, the Macarthur Advertiser, a Fairfax community newspaper and various items of interest".
21. "In memory to Campbelltown's friend to animals Patrick (Paddy) Hunt who passed way on 7th January 1979 "All things bright and beautiful All things great and small".
22. E. J. McBarron, Mawson Park, Campbelltown N.S.W. - Notes on History and Trees, 1982