Canterbury and District Historical Society s2 n01

From Canterbury Commons
Jump to: navigation, search


The Canterbury & District Historical Society celebrates the CAPTAIN COOK BI – CENTENARY

It is with pleasure that we associate ourselves with these celebrations by publishing this volume. It includes some previously written history of this district together with much more that our researchers have garnered recently. The famous Navigator viewed our district in the raw - a natural paradise of trees, ferns and pastures as he was rowed along the river which bears his name. We are grateful to him for the daily jottings in his log book, the first history of the eastern side of Australia.

In two centuries the natural paradise has given place to a district bursting at its seams as a popular residential and industrial area. None can ever hope to know all the happenings of those 73,000 odd days since Captain Cook visited our district but these pages will tell some of them. We trust that they will be of interest to many.



ANNUAL SUBSCRIPTION: $5.00 Single Membership. $3.00 Members on fixed-incomes.

PRESIDENT: HON. SECRETARY: Mrs. T. Roberts, Mrs. F. Muller, 77 Banks Road, 14 Willunga Ave. EARLWOOD. 2206. EARLWOOD. 2206. Phone: 55 6716. Phone: 78 3937.

RST PRINTED JULY 1970. PRINTED NOV. 1977. PRINTED AUG. 1984. (The free insert replaces Pages 1 and 2 in previous copies.)



As we look at the Canterbury district today, its progress and wellbeing are self- evident. It is served by many buses and a frequent train service. Many of its citizens prefer their local shopping centers to those of the city, and those who do not, can easily reach the newly opened mammoth centers of Roselands, Bankstown Square or Burwood. For those who are not familiar with our local history, let us take a brief look backwards to the days of the pioneers who made all these things possible.

First of all came the Rev. Richard Johnson, the first clergyman in the colony of New South Wales. He was also the first settler in Canterbury, where he farmed a grant of land which he named "Canterbury Vale". The grant was made in 1793 when the district was still a forest. In order to get convicts to clear the land, Johnson forfeited his claim to an earlier grant of the Glebe side of the University, while he also had a noted garden at Brickfield Hill. He seems to have been a true agriculturist, for his farm at Canterbury flourished enough to dub him "the best farmer in the country". Further grants of land were, added to Canterbury Vale and in 1800 it was sold to Lieut. Wm. Cox, when the Rev. Johnson returned to England.

Cox, the man who made history by building a road over the Blue Mountains began a large dwelling on Canterbury Vale, but had to sell it owing to financial difficulties. However, mention is made of three shepherds being employed on the farm, so apparently Cox was breeding sheep as well as cultivating the land.

In 1803 Robert Campbell, the pioneer merchant of the colony, was one of the trustees who took over Canterbury Vale. Later in the same year he bought it and built Canterbury House, a most charming residence. By this time further land had' been acquired and the property extended from Cook's River to Liverpool Road, Ashfield. It is significant that Campbell's father's home in Argyllshire, was called Ashfield.

By 1842, the whole of the available land had been taken up. Many land grants were made, ranging from 30 to 100 acres. Some of these grants still bear their original names, such as Kingsgrove, which was of 500 acres, and belonged to Hannah Laycock, dating from 1804. Other names such as Sloe Hill and Smigborough, have passed into oblivion. Incidentally, the first white child born in Canterbury in 1802, was Joseph Ward.

By 1841 Canterbury had become a village. The original plan shows the following streets:-George (now Canterbury Road), Tincombe, Close, Charles, Palmer, Minter, Unwin, Jeffrey and Sugar House Road(now Church Street). A school had been established in a building also used as a chapel on Sundays.

Canterbury's oldest building is the worn sandstone structure between Hurlstone Park and Canterbury stations, which is plainly dated 1841 and was then a sugar refinery. It continued so until the gold rush and the consequent rise in the price of stores, wages and cartage made it difficult to carry on. This closing the mill dealt the district a severe blow.

The early settlers had difficulty taking their produce to Sydney, but Cornelius Prout eased the situation first by a punt over Cook's River (1833) and later (1839) by a bridge. By 1866 Canterbury was described as a postal hamlet in the parish of Petersham, and communication between it and Sydney was by coach. The main industries were wood cutting and brick making in a population of about 350. There was one hotel, the "Rising Sun".

From the forties onward, the grants at Canterbury gradually changed hands and many small farms were sold. The lost ranged from 3 acres upwards. From this time until the eighties, much of the land in the present municipality was occupied by orchardists and indeed, even in the eighties, the ad was more like country than city.

In 1889, a model suburb called "Harcourt" was laid out near the present site of Campsie. This was a complete township where builders were compelled to lay their foundations not less than 20 feet from the front fences and midway between the side fences. The estate was said to be three-quarters of a mile from the race course and ten minutes walk from the proposed Canterbury station. The name survives today in the Harcourt school, although the development scheme fell through.

In the eighties the houses were widely scattered and old-fashioned. Wells and tanks supplied the water. Only about ten miles of the 75 miles of streets had been metalled, while 25 were partially formed, and the 40 remaining, only pegged out. The total number of houses was 450.

Map of old Canterbury


John Hay Goodlet, owner of Canterbury House
At this time we learn that Dr Tucker, who conducted a mental hospital at St. Peters, had a model farm at Belmore. Alfred Miller owned Bramshott, originally granted to the Rev. Crook. J. H. Goodlet occupied Canterbury House, built by Robert Campbell and later tenanted by Major Fanning. John Sharp, one time mayor, built a house on a considerable block of land. William Kutnowsky built “Williamstower "at Moorefields. A house, "Wanstead", by F. Unwin about 1840 was later occupied first by Edward Campbell and later by his widow. Samuel Hockley, who originally owned “Essex Hill" loft the property to his daughters. Mrs Smith and Mrs Miller. Mrs Smith was still there in 1890. Half an acre of Mrs Miller's land formed the site of a Congregational Church erected in the seventies. Hockley came from Essex hence the name "Essex Hill".

John Slocombe kept a store and bakehouse for many years. He built a new house and shop alongside the old one built by his father in 1842. Thomas Davis, one of the original aldermen, opened a butcher's shop, and was later joined by John Nightingale. John Quigg also had a butcher's shop on the south of the river.

Other old residents were John and Jos. Wren, F. Beamish, Isaac and Thomas Sparkes, Mr Milne - well known as running the first bus to Belmore in 1880. The fare from Belmore to Sydney was 1/- and to Canterbury 9d. Three trips were made daily and a traveller who missed the last bus had to take a train to Ashfield and walk home.

Agitation for a railway to Canterbury began in the early eighties, but the line was not opened until 1895. Lack of transport and the depression of the nineties, held back development and it was not until 1900 that much growth took place. Indeed the first train line through Canterbury terminated its run at Belmore, and the extension to Bankstown was opened in 1909. There was also much agitation for a tram line, to Canterbury, but it was not until 1921 that a tram ran from Hurlstone Park to Canterbury Railway Station. Even at the present time, we have living links with those early days, and I would like you to read the following account - in his own words - of life as lived by Mr Henry Hatfield, who is still hale and hearty and now living in Earlwood. His parents were English and arrived in this country in 1877 on the sailing ship "Corona". This is Mr Hatfield's account of life in the days before Canterbury developed into the municipality we know to-day.

"I was born at Rocky Point Road, Kogarah, on February 26th, 1883. My father was the only policeman from Cook's River at Tempe to Sutherland. Our home was also the Police Station. It was situated about 100 yards from the junction of the road which goes down to Sans Souci. It is on the right hand side proceeding towards Tom Ugly's Point and still stands as good as ever.(A stone house). My father was senior constable at that time but was also classed as a sub inspector under the Licensing Law. His hours were anything up to 16 a day. He had to ride to the hotel at Tempe at 11 p.m. too see that it properly closed, and then ride back to the Blue Post Hotel at Hurstville for the same reason. He then had to be ready with his horse by 10 a.m. next morning for duty. His pay for same was £160 per annum - out of that he had to feed and maintain his horse."

In 1885 he retired from the Force and took up a block of land at Belmore situated in Station Street behind McMahon's tarpaulin factory. It was known as Blossom Farm. He who had been advised by an old shipmate of his, Mr James Rogers,Who had a fruit and vegetable shop in Petersham, to go in for growing vegetables. Unfortunately, it was not a success. About 1889 he purchased a block of land in High Street, Canterbury. He demolished the home and rebuilt it there. There were only two other homes anywhere from Cooks River Bridge. They were belonging to Messrs. J. and T. Willoughby. Their homes were built from stone which they quarried from their own quarries which were situated behind what is now the Junior Public school in High Street, and Cup and Saucer Creek. All the weatherboard houses in Fore Street were originally situated in small township between Broughton Street and Charles Street, and were sold by auction to make room for the Railway. The one house near High Street was the property of Mr Draper, senior, who also had a large weatherboard shop (butcher's) on the corner of Jeffrey and Broughton Streets. Two of his sons William and Henry, opened butchers shops later - William in Canterbury Road near Unwin Street and Church Street, and Henry the corner of Canterbury Road and Duke Street, Campsie. Alderman John, his other son, opened a soft drink shop on the corner of Wonga Street and Canterbury Road. He also had a charcoal burning plant at Salt Pan Creek. He was a man of over 20 stone in weight and it was a sight to see him perched up on a high load of bagged charcoal taking it into the city for refrigeration plants.

The view from outside the sugar mill looking across the Sugarworks Dam on Cooks River. The buildings were part of Denniss's Tannery
The stone house mentioned earlier was dismantled from the Railway site and re-erected by Mr Quigg and occupied by Mr Jeffrey Dennis, who had a tannery situated on the opposite side of the river to the {{Canterbury Sugarworks|old sugar works]] (now Huttons. Later, Mr Varney Parkes, a son of Sir Henry, became the Member for Canterbury. He was an architect by profession and built a lovely brick home for himself in Fore Street, on the left hand side from Canterbury Road. It now carries the number 10.

Some of the names of the people displaced by the Railway were Mr and Mrs Matthews, Mr Draper, Sen., the McCoy family, Adams, family, Quinlan family, the Wilsons, Harvey, Clifton and Shuttleworth families.

Dan Harkness had a handmade brickmaking plant there and Green's Wheatsheaf Hotel stood in Canterbury Road where the goods yard is now. The Rising Sun Hotel was on the left going from the station and the Woolpack Hotel on the right opposite to Rogers Bakery (now corner of Tincombe Street and Canterbury Road). All the area from Cooks River, Charles Street and close to Hutton's factory was occupied by Chinese gardens. They were also over the bridge from Canterbury Road to the dam opposite Hutton's."


Pendlebury - Brickmaker, Crinan Street.

Gilbert's Tannery - between Dunstaffenage and Melford Streets, afterwards moved to a quarry in Garnet Street Hurlstone Park.

Dan Harkness - hand mad bricks - between Broughton & Charles Streets.

Dennis - Tannery - near dam at Cook's River.

Parkes Bros. - Quarries - off Fore Street near Woolcott Street.

Mayne's Boiling Down Works - Fore Street and Woolcott Street.

Burke of Marrickville - slaughter yard - in bush off what is now Permanent Avenue.

Curtin Bros., Earlwood - Boiling down and tallow merchants.

A large area of the land now facing Permanent Avenue was used as a sanitary depot. They used to dig large trenches, tip the carts into them and then cover with earth. There were plenty of poultry farms and market gardens all through the district, and wood carters. All the area from Northcote Street up to Mr Quigg's residence was known as the "Bullock Paddock". Mr Davis, a butcher of Petersham, had his slaughter yard well back behind Quigg's residence. A son of Mr Quigg had a butcher's shop facing Canterbury Road.

Dein’s Tannery was situated in what is now known as Lakemba. One of his sons was M.L.A. for Marrickville and now has a large timber business in Marrickville Road, near Sydenham.

There were a lot of blue metal quarries along Moorefields Road and Chapel Street, Belmore. A Mr West of Fivedock had the contract to supply Petersham Council with metal. Mr Ted Lewry and Kennedy Bros. used to cart it to vacant land in Canterbury Road opposite to Garnet Street, and reaching down to Union Street, Petersham. Two brothers named Phelps, of Canterbury, had the job of breaking up the metal and it was delivered in large lumps, as much as a man could lift. They then had to break it up with large sledge hammers and then had small hammers, about 1 to 1 ½ lb., as knapping hammers. They had to break the metal to 2". It was then stacked in large heaps, somewhat in the shape of a house brick, but about 6-9 feet long and about 3 feet high. This was then measured and they were paid so much per yard for same.

The only transport before the railway came was by bus. Mr Milner ran a service from Belmore South Post Office, in Canterbury Road, near Canary Road, to Wynyard Square, Sydney. A four horse, double decker bus left about 8 a.m. and returned bout 6 p.m.

Mr Bert Bennett had stables behind the Town Hall, He ran a service from Canterbury Road and Park Street to the City. There was a grocer's store on the corner of Park Street with a large gum tree in front of it. It was known as "The Tree" Store. The people used to wait under this tree for the bus to come. This bus was later carried on by Mr Parker & Sons, Rome Street, Canterbury.

Artist's impression of a home suggested for the Harcourt Estate
Mr Lillybridge had a two horse waggonette plying from the store to Petersham station. Mr Jenning had a similar turnout lying to Summer Hill station. It was afterwards carried on by Mr Jack Hanna. Mr Tom Hoskins, coachbuilder, of Canterbury Road, Dulwich Hill, also had one plying from Crinan Street and Canterbury Road to Dulwich Hill tram terminus and one to Parramatta Road and Crystal Street, Leichhardt. Before the Railway was officially opened, there was a rain running between Marrickville and Belmore to pick up the workmen on the line to take them home. We school kids used to tell the guard when he reached Canterbury, that we all lived at Belmore. He was very sympathetic and allowed us to ride with the Men. We then had to walk all the way back home. There was no charge.

I knew Beamish Street, Campsie when there were only four houses in it - Mr Beamish's (street named after him), Mr Fulsham's (race horse owner), Mrs Cochrane's (widow) and Mr Watson's (carter for wholesale butcher). As a child of five years I walked from Blossom Farm to Canterbury Public School, a distance of about 4 ½ miles, through bush to Beamish Street. The only part cleared was known as Harcourt Estate. It extended from First to Ninth Avenue. A lot of money was lost in the laying out of this district. White rails and posts extended right along the streets with fancy shrubs and plants in them. At each corner stood various statues id across the avenue leading across the river to Burwood Road Enfield, was a large sign extending right across the roadway just before coming to the bridge. I am given to understand that this property was bought by a company during the land boom in the district. Unfortunately, a bank smash occurred at this time and they lost all their money. Many years afterwards it was sold for as little as 3/6 per ft. The first sale of Beamish Street property averaged 7/6 per ft.

With acknowledgment to "A History of the Municipality of Canterbury" by James Jervis.


Canterbury Anglican church building ca.1900
One of the best known churches in the Canterbury district is St Paul's Church which is celebrating its 110th anniversary with a special Service of Commemoration on Sunday, 12th April, 1970.

An important page in the history of Canterbury is contained in the Minute Book of the Parish of St. Paul which gins with the following entry:

"St Paul’s Church at Canterbury, New South Wales, was commenced in the month of June A.D.1858. The corner stone was laid on August 16. The Church was completed in October, 1859. The Church, together with the land on which it stands was presented to the Lord Bishop of the Diocese, Dr F. Barker in trust for the Church of England by Miss Sophia-Ives Campbell".

Miss Campbell was a member of the family of Robert Campbell one of the most famous pioneers of the Canterbury district. She provided the land and £1,848/19/6 needed for the building of St. Paul's and on its Consecration on April 12th 1860, made a further donation of £2,000/-/- to be"invested in perpetuity to provide an income towards the stipend of the incumbent".

Her brothers, George and John gave the Communion; vessels, Font and furnishings. The church was designed by Edmund Blacket who was responsible for some of the loveliest of our historic churches and around Sydney and on this occasion his work was described "of its kind an architectural gem and of great beauty".

The church is built of sandstone, beautifully weathered has a small bell tower on the west end and a "Celtic cross the eastern apex of the roof". The original roof was of shingles which were replaced with slate about 1880 and is now grey concrete tiles.

The furnishings were originally of cedar, but of these apparently only the pulpit remains. The first incumbent was the Rev. Percy Jennings Smith,who as rector of St.Paul's from 1860 to 1868 had a very large parish and had to work under very difficult conditions.

The first marriage recorded as having been celebrated the new church was that of James Monk and Elizabeth Stone and first baptism was that of Emily Elizabeth Reid. The interior fittings and appearance of the church have altered over the years; a new altar of light oak was installed in 1930 and in 1933 the reredos was built and erected by the late Mr B.O.Crook.

The pipe organ was dedicated in 1939 by Bishop Picher and new pews were placed in the church by various interested people, mostly as memorials and were dedicated in 1953.

The East window depicting the martydom of St. Paul is a World War 2 memorial and was unveiled on September 3, 1950 and murals which had been completed under the direction of the Rev. R. A. O'Brien were dedicated. The name of the church was repainted in 1951.

In 1860 a move for the erection of a Church of England School was made and a site was given by a Mr Jeffrys. The new school house was opened in 1861. At the opening it was stated that the cost of the building "up to the present time had been £275/-/- (inclusive of interior fittings)" and the. Building was described as "a substantial stone structure 40 X 20 with gothic headed doors".

The building still stands in the church grounds, facing Canterbury Road. It continued as a church school until 1877 when an application was made for the establishment of a public school at Canterbury in lieu of the church school which was to be closed. The public school was established in St.Paul's school house and was later transferred to the present site when the school building and teacher's residence was erected in 1878.

In 1955 the War Memorial Parish Hall was built and dedicated. This came about from an idea conceived by the Rev.W. N. Rook, Rector of the church, while on war service during the 1939-45 war. The actual building was carried out during the ministry of Rev. R. O'Brien, the foundation stone being laid by Archbishop Mowl D.D., on 15th May and upon completion in December of the same year was dedicated, again by the Archbishop.

The first church rectory was built on a large tract of land in Hardy Street, fronting also Princess and Florence Streets. It is not known when this was built and there is no reference as to whether the church purchased the land or if it was a gift to the parish. The building itself was in the style of an old English country vicarage. This served as a rectory until 1934 when a new residence was dedicated.

The small graveyard adjacent to the church was consecrated in 1861 and contains the headstones of many of e district’s pioneers. It has well been said that "it lends an air of quietness and solitude to the dignified and lovely old Church".

NOTE: We as a Society have among our founder members, one of the past Rectors of St Paul's, the Rev. N. Robinson, B. A. We were privileged in 1968, the 5th anniversary of the beginnings of Canterbury, to confer upon him, Honorary Membership of the Society.

I, personally, have always felt a great affinity with St Paul's as I attended Sunday school and Church for many years as a child and later was confirmed in 1933.My younger daughter forged a closer link with the old lurch by choosing it for her wedding ceremony.

THE foregoing information was compiled by T. M. Roberts from information supplied by I. E. Currey, Canon C. Gilhespy and "A History of the Municipality of Canterbury” by James Jervis A.S.T.C. F.R.A.H.S.

UPDATE: St Paul’ s Cemetery. Workers under the direction of Canterbury Municipal Council, with Commonwealth assistance, have re-fenced beautifully the front, facing Church Street and listing of graves, paving and as much restoration as was practicable to this time have been performed.



The short narrow river that ambles and winds its way slowly through a large area of our municipality, bears the name of the discoverer of our eastern coastline, that truly great seaman, Captain James Cook. It is said that during the time he spent in Botany Bay, Captain Cook went as far up the river as where the Princes Highway crosses it and commented very favorably on what he saw. The river at that time was much wider than today and must have been a pleasant sight, as we have on record a description of it being "a pleasant stream, lined with river oaks and flowing through a well timbered countryside".

From the early 1830's onwards, some of the wealthier citizens of Sydney Cove, began building their large homes and farm houses along the river and its environs, using its meadows to browse their cattle and surrounding their homes with trees and gardens. The scene must have been peaceful and pastoral, as much of the country was rolling wooded hills and meadow flats. True, the cliffs of what is now called Undercliffe, frowned on the river in places, but contrast reflects beauty.


Rowing on Cook's River ca. 1890s
At one stage in its early history, the river was used by small boats to ferry timber and shells to the river's outlet into Botany Bay. The shells were oyster shells, collected from deposits left by the Aborigines, who used all kinds of shell fish for food. These shells were burned for the lime they contained, this by-product then being sold to the builders of Sydney and the newly emerging suburbs.

Not only were commercial boats used on the river, but pleasure boats as well. From viewing photographs of the river taken many years ago, one realises that the quiet reaches of the stream offered many peaceful havens for picnics and the family parties of those days.

At one time the river boats could not pass under Unwin's Bridge, but later there was a clear passage from the Cook's River dam at Tempe to the Sugar House dam at Canterbury.

There were several places along the river where boats could be obtained for a few hours, or a whole days pleasure. The largest of these boatsheds was owned by Mr. Press.


We know that at one time during its history, the river had a steam boat service. It plied between Croydon Park and the dam below Canterbury. It was operated by a man named Farrows.


The river, in many places was subject to flooding, owing to the silt and gravel that found its way into the stream, caused by erosion. Also, in the upper reaches there were many snags in the river, making it unsafe. These floods caused considerable distress to the people living in the lower areas along the river banks and also to the market gardeners, who in the earlier years of the district helped supply Sydney with vegetables.

As the municipalities were formed, many repeated requests for dredging from councils and meetings of the private citizens concerned, finally brought results and in 1919, the dredge "Tempe", was at work in the lower river and later in 1920, was working above Unwin's Bridge.


From the early 1920's many schemes were suggested and improvement began to take place along the river. Playing fields have been reclaimed and added to, in several suburbs of our municipality through which the river flows. Along the banks, wasteland has been converted to parks, and in the neighboring municipality of Marrickville there is an 18 whole golf course.

In our own district, just past Canterbury station going towards Hurlstone Park, there has been constructed a modern boat harbour, which accommodates the T.S.Shropshire, naval cadet training centre.

In recent years the course of the river near its entry into Botany Bay, was diverted. This was done to enlarge Kingsford Smith Airport at Mascot. Work still continues this area with the new runway jutting out into the Bay.

One hopes that all these diversions will not have any more ill effects on our oft mistreated river. Through anecdotes told by our older citizens and early photographs, we have seen this small stream, with tree lined banks and pleasant sandy reaches, turned into a sluggish, dirty river over the years.

Perhaps the new spirit and pride emerging in our country's history and the knowledge that we are slowly polluting all our surroundings will grow, as our nation grows. Perhaps what has been started in our district to save and add to our river parklands, will be an inspiration to others and they too, will try and do likewise.


"In 1905 R. B. Parry, who had been headmaster of Canterbury Public School published some interesting reminiscences.

The journey from Belmore to Sydney was accomplished by three or four horse buses which rejoiced in the names of "Belmore", "Carrington", "Canterbury" and "Rose of Belmore".

The bugle calls of the conductor as the bus rumbled along through the ancient hamlet startled the residents from their lethargy and delighted the ears of the rustic school boys.

The fare from Belmore to Sydney was one shilling and to Canterbury, ninepence. Passengers were piloted by the never failing skill of Peter Lawrence, a justly famed Jepu of the day whose matchless dexterity with the reins was the universal theme.

The buses were generally overcrowded; a passenger thought himself in clover if fortunate enough to obtain a full share of a seat and in Elysium if he had not, before reaching his destination to get out and good humoredly struggle for standing room upon the doorstep.

The thrice a day trip in and out was deemed ample to meet the requirements of the day. If one missed the last bus then one had to take train to Ashfield and walk home".

(Once again we have turned to "A History of the Municipality of Canterbury" for our information.)



One of the most interesting stories of early Canterbury concerns Prout's Bridge.

The early settlers on the southern side of Cook's River had great difficulty in getting their produce to Sydney. They either had to cross the ford at Tempe which was rather hazardous, or drive round the bend of the river.

In 1833 Mr Cornelius Prout constructed a large punt which was capable of carrying a loaded wagon and a team of bullocks. This was of great advantage to the people, as it saved them 6 miles in their journey to Sydney and also saved their travelling along a road which was so badly in need of repair as to be almost impassable.

The Sydney Gazette of August 1, 1833 reported the occasion and said, inter alia, "Indeed the settlers in the district of Cook's River have long complained of the want of proper road to the capital; much of the inconvenience hitherto sustained, however, will now be remedied through the exertions of Mr. Prout".

In view of later events it would seem that their gratitude was shortlived. No mention is made as to whether any toll was collected.

Portrait of Robert Campbell
In 1839 it was decided to build a bridge over the River. Robert Campbell agreed to give the public a road through his land, on the understanding that Prout would erect the bridge and open up a road through his property which lay on the opposite side of the river.

Several people who had properties beyond Prout's land agreed to subscribe to the cost and £100/-/- was subsequently collected.

The masonry work on the bridge was done by a Mr Walsh for a cost of £220/-/- and the remainder of the work was carried out by prisoners of the Crown.

Travelers at first crossed the bridge without charge, but after three months, as several who had promised to subscribe had not “paid up" Mr Prout decided to charge a toll.

A toll house was erected on the south side of the river. This was a round stone building of two storeys. (Canterbury Road now passes over the site).

The people were happy enough to pay the toll; after all Prout still had £120/-/- to pay towards the cost of the bridge, but they were not at all happy over the fact that sixteen months later he had received £280/-/- over and above the original cost and when 13 years after the bridge was built they were still paying a toll, which someone estimated had yielded him the princely sum of £1,000/-/-, it was just too much and eventually a public meeting was called, in an endeavor to remedy the situation.

Prout had a very simple solution to the problem - if they didn't pay his toll, they couldn't use his bridge - and to emphasis his point he proceeded to lock the toll gate and refused permission for any person to pass.

One brave soul in the person of John Chard who had property at Moorefields, decided to test the situation. He drove up and offered to pay the toll. Prout, having made his stand, refused to accept the money and Chard, equally as determined, cut down the gate and drove through.

The victory, however, was shortlived as Prout immediately swore out a complaint alleging "John Chard, farmer of Cook's River, did on September 5 wilfully and maliciously destroy a gate, the property of Cornelius Prout of Cook's River Gentleman".

Chard wrote to the Inspector-General of Police giving his side of the case, pointing out that he had been prevented from crossing over a bridge which he had been in the habit of travelling over for the previous 10 years. Despite this explanation, Prout obtained a warrant for his arrest the following day. This was executed by three police officers who, according to Chard, spent several hours during the day drinking with Prout's son at a public house on Prout's property.

It was 11 o'clock the same night before they knocked on Chard's door demanding he open up. When he did not open up immediately, they burst down the door, while as he later said, "I was in the act of buttoning up my trousers". They proceeded to handcuff him and took him to the City Watch house.

When the case was heard it was claimed by Prout that damage to his gate had amounted to £10/-/-.

The whole incident sparked off such a public outcry that the Government was forced to step in and took over the ridge and the road. As for Prout, after his brief period of notoriety, nothing more was heard of him - he just faded from the picture.

By T .M.Roberts.

Developed from an extract from "The History of the Municipality of Canterbury".


"Back in 1905, George Dart, headmaster of one of the schools in the area asked the Council to intercede for permission for the school children to bathe in Cook's River during prohibited hours if clothed in costumes.

It was decided to write to the Inspector General of police to ask that bathers who were properly clad be not prosecuted. The Works Department asked the Council for suggestions concerning the control of bathing.

The Council suggested that ordinances be drafted allow bathing at any time of day provided proper costume be worn.

About this time the ordinances controlling bathing were amended and bathing in public places like the beaches and Rivers was permitted at any hour provided proper costumes were worn."

The above extract is quoted in toto from. "A History of the Municipality of Canterbury" by James Jervis A.S.T.C., F.R.A.H.S. (It must be remembered that prior to the ordinances being amended, bathing in a stream or a beach was prohibited between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m.)



By I.E. Currey.

Canterbury Sugar Mill ca. 1895
Travelling from Canterbury station by train to the City, if one looks on the river side when leaving the station, there is an old, time-worn building. This was the Sugar Works, and it is the oldest building in the Canterbury Municipality.

The manufacture of sugar marked the beginning of industry in the district, which up until 1841, was mainly a farming area. In England in 1839, a certain Francis Kemble, who had been in the sugar manufacturing business, decided to go into the same business in the colony of N.S.W, and open a sugar mill.

To raise the necessary money, Kemble approached Mr W. Knox Child, a banker and also the Deputy Lieutenant of the County of Kent. He assured Knox Child of good profits from the venture and persuaded him to put up the money to establish the Sugar Works. Thus was formed the Australasian Sugar Co., the forerunner of the Colonial Sugar Refining Company.


Kemble brought out engineers and skilled operators. Amongst these people was William Slocombe, whose descendants have played a prominent part in the civic history of our district.

The staff and machinery embarked on the ship "Ann Gales", under Captain Giles, enroute for the colony. They left England on 11th March, 1840, and arrived in Sydney Cove on 12th July of the same year.

The principals of the young company instigated the purchase of sixty acres of land at Canterbury, from Robert Campbell, that same Robert Campbell who had bought the estate from William Cox in the early 1800's. This transaction was registered on 8th December, 1840, the sum of £1200 changed hands.

The reason for choosing Canterbury for the venture was the plentiful supply of water in the nearby Cook's River. A small dam was to be constructed below where the Sugar Works was to stand, thus guaranteeing fresh water.

Also, Canterbury at that time was well timbered country, and wood, rather than coal, was used for the boilers.

An account from the Sydney Herald of October 4th, 1841 in its description of the Sugar House reads, "They are built a portion of Canterbury estate, lately bought by the Company of Robert Campbell, M.C. and will be five miles distant from Sydney when the new road, now in formation by the Petersham Gate is completed. The Sugar House is placed within one hundred feet of Cook's River, which is shortly expected to be fresh water, the dam being quite closed, and is built of beautiful white sandstone".


The coming of this industry certainly had social consequences in the district. On this subject, the same tide in the Sydney Herald stated, "We understand that the Sugar Works have given employment to above one hundred men during the erection and that above £30,000 had been expended on them. The Company has housed its Sugar House men in really convenient slab huts and we are glad to find that a school has ready been erected near the works, which is attended by above forty children. This is used as a chapel on Sundays".

The Sugar Works began production in 1841 but by 1842 there were misunderstandings between the management and a new company was formed. The head office of this company being at Bridge Street, Sydney. One of the directors of the new company was Frederick Unwin, who lived at "Wanstead" near Undercliffe.


The Sugar Works seemed to be dogged by disagreements and quarrels and in 1843 a libel action ensued between the founders of the company, Knox Child and Kemble. A new Manager took over, who was Edward Knox, but things did not prove.

Meanwhile in 1854 the Colonial Sugar Co. was formed and by 1858 it had absorbed the Australasian Sugar Company. The works in Canterbury were closed in 1855 and transferred to a property in George Street West.

The old Sugar House has passed through many vicissitudes in its time, including having been an engineering works owned by Blackett and Co., in the 1880's. It is the oldest building in our Municipality and its time-worn and darkened stonework stand as a monument to the beginning of industry in the district. It became incorporated in the factory of Hutton’s Ltd, bacon and small goods manufacturers.

My appreciation to James Jervis and his book "A History of the Municipality of Canterbury" and also to the booklet "100 Years of Methodism in Canterbury 1847-1947". Much of the material used in this article came from these books.

UPDATE: Old Sugar House building. Our district owes a great debt of gratitude to Hutton’s for their care of the Sugar House for many years. We trust that the new controllers will care also.


"Canterbury Road was for many years a Trust Road maintained by grants from the Government and by money collected at a toll bar.

In September, 1888, the Minister for Works visited Canterbury and he was driven round the Municipality and along the Canterbury Road. He was shown a culvert which cost £150 to repair; at this period the annual endowment for maintaining the highway was £75.

The report of the visit, said:-

"Mr Davis, evidently bent on fun, and for the Purpose of showing the Minister how £75 a year would keep a main road in repair, drove along Old Canterbury Road for nearly a mile. A worse road it would be difficult to find in the metropolitan area. Ruts, ditches and man traps innumerable were the order of the day".

The above extract is quoted from "A History of the Municipality of Canterbury".



With the opening of the Sugar Works and the subsequent influx of workmen and their families to the district, it was not long before a small school was established.

This was situated in Minter Street on half an acre of land purchased by the Wesleyan Methodists for £30 in 1841. The school house which also served as a chapel on Sundays was attended by about 40 children. This school closed in 1850 but already a Church of England School had opened in 1849 with 35 pupils.

Canterbury, at this time lay in the Parish of Cook's River, and the rector of St. Peter's Church, Cooks River, was responsible for the opening of the school which was conducted in a rented house. The school house was only 24ft. x 12 ft. and could only adequately accommodate 29 pupils. However, eventually 49 were enrolled. There were five classes and two teachers.

Classes were held 12 months of the year with one holiday a week and 21 other holidays during the year. Each child paid 6d. per week.

It was reported by the Inspector at the time that “The children are irregular in their attendance, but punctual. They are clean, but noisy and disorderly. They are attentive under instruction". This school apparently continued until 1861.


In 1861 the school house attached to St. Paul’s Church was opened, which building is still standing on Canterbury Road.

By 1864, 83 children were attending the school. The Inspector's report at that time praised the singing the elder children, but complained of "too much chattering lessons".

During this time a school had been opened in 1863 at Moorefields in the Wesleyan Church. This was attended by about 16 children. This school closed in 1865 but re-opened as a provisional school in 1867. By 1874 all eligible children d been enrolled, although of 40 children only an average of 25 attended.

Later, schools were established at Belmore and Essex Hill.

Owing to the proposed closing of St. Paul's School, an application was made for the establishment of a public school at Canterbury.


Two acres of ground were purchased and the school house was erected in 1878. The old school house, built of stone, and with provision for 253 pupils, still stands, beautifully preserved in the school playground.

While the school house was being erected, the school was established in St. Paul's school house.

The school opened with 80 pupils. The attendance increased to such an extent that by 1885 an extra wooden building which seated 148 children, was erected.

Further buildings were added over the years, until to-day the small school house is dwarfed by the number of buildings surrounding it.

By T.M.Roberts.

With acknowledgement to "A History of the Municipality of Canterbury".


This being our first Bi-centenary Journal, perhaps a resume of how and when the various suburbs of our municipality received their names would be appropriate in this issue.


Canterbury was first settled in 1793 by the Reverend Richard Johnson. He was given a grant of 100 acres of land by Governor Grose. To work this land he was allowed seven convicts Rev. Johnson called his grant "Canterbury Vale" and proceeded to farm the acreage very successfully.

The position of this first farm in our district was in the vicinity of what is now Trinity Grammar School, Summer Hill, and extended to somewhere near the Canterbury Park. Later this holding was increased to 600 acres extending the boundaries of the farm as far as Cook's River.


There are two theories offered for the name of Punchbowl this name was in use as far back as 1812, there was a notice in the "Sydney Gazette" of 26th September, 1812, warning trespassers from a farm. This farm included a "pond called the Punchbowl".

Again a farm by the name of Punchbowl was offered for sale in 1819 and in 1825, Wordsoppers Farm, known by the name of the Punchbowl at the head of Cook's River was offered for sale.

The alternative theory is that it was the name of an in built about 1830, by George Falkiner, "Punch and Bowl", so named because a sort of bowl or basin was surrounded by general rising ground.


Belmore was one of the earliest settlements in our municipality. It was probably named for the Earl of Belmore, who was at one time a Governor of N.S.W. A school named Belmore was established in 1878 and in 1879, a post office was opened. In 1895, the railway was extended to the area and so the suburb developed, but very slowly.


Lakemba was named after the home of Mr Ben Taylor, an entomologist. His first house was on the corner of Onita Street. The second home he built (after which the suburb is named) was on the corner of what is now The Boulevarde and Haldon Street.

There was little development in the district until the railway came in 1909. In 1910, the Post Office, then known as South Belmore, was changed to Lakemba.


Land in the location of Campsie was first sub -divided in 1885. The owners of this sub-division being the Anglo Australia Co. It was known as the Campsie Park Estate.

The name Campsie comes from the Parish and chain of hills in the Sterlingshire of Scotland - the Campsie Fells.


This district was first known as Fern Hill and when the railway came through, the station was called by that name.

It was the coming of the Post Office that caused the name to be changed. The postal department was approached in 1910, twice, before a public meeting was called to decide on a new name.

The name of Silver Hill was suggested and, in 1910, the Council was informed that this new name was under consideration.

However, in 1911, Fernhill Progress Association asked Council for a referendum and names Fernboro, Garnet Hill and Hurlstone were put forward. The referendum decided in favour of Hurlstone, but the railway department by that time were in the process of calling the station "Berala".

After conferences all round, the Council was informed that a Post Office known as Hurlstone Park would be established. This came into being on 15th August, 1911.


Narwee is an Aboriginal name, meaning "Sun". The suburb was named when the railway was built in 1931. Some early land owners were Richard Podmore, Richard Tuckwell, Patrick Moore, Robert Gardner, Dennis Stacy and Dr Robert Townson.


Patrick Moore was granted 60 acres in 1812, but this was in the Kogarah district, a long way from Moorefields. It is considered more likely the name was given to the area the large number of early settlers of the Methodist faith, followers of John Wesley, who lived in the district. The original spelling was Moorfields.

In 1851, John Chard gave an a care of land on Moorefields land for a Chapel. This was known as Moorfields Chapel, named after the London headquarters of John Wesley. In 1968 the Chapel was replaced with a modern building now called the Moorefields Peace Memorial Church.


This was the original name of Hannah Laycock's farm. The grant of 500 acres being given her in 1804. Both Samuel and William Laycock, Hannah’s sons, were given grants of 100 acres the same time. Another grant of 120 acres was added to Hannah Laycock's farm in 1812.


Before the coming of the railway, this area was known as Peakhurst. The name Herne Bay was given to the station in 1931. During the second World War, an American Military Hospital was built there. Later, this was turned into Housing Commission Homes, but it is now high density housing, again built by the Housing Commission. The name Riverwood was thought to have been given because the settlement was originally built on an inlet of the Salt Pan Creek. It was named Riverwood in 1958.


Mr J. F. Wiley, at his death, bequeathed 20 acres of land for park and recreation purposes on certain conditions, Council was undecided about accepting and a public meeting was called. After much consideration, Council decided to accept the offer, but wanted a board of seven trustees. This resolution was rescinded in 1906 and a common seal was fixed the conveyance of the land from Wiley's Estate to Council on 19th December, 1906.


This name was probably taken from the cliffs overhanging the Cooks River in this part of the district. Perhaps it would perpetuate the name of Undercliffe House built in this area in the 1800's. Undercliffe House was at one time owned by Mr P. A. Thompson, a solicitor, who later was responsible for building the first bridge over Cook's River in this area of the district.


Earlwood developed as a suburb much later than most in our Municipality. It was formerly known as Parkestown, then Forest Hill and later Earlwood.

The story of the name change to Earlwood is rather confused. Some authors have stated that it was called after Mr Earl, who was at the time Mayor of Bexley, and the Wood Brothers, who kept a pig and poultry farm on the other side of Wolli Creek.

This seems doubtful, as none of these persons had any direct contact with the actual place of Forest Hill.

The first recorded use of the name Earlwood seems to be on a sub-division plan of the land bounded by Homer St, Morgan St, Wolli Creek and Harold St (now part of Richard Ave), offered for auction sale on 23 September, 1905. This land was owned by Mrs Jane Earl in 1883, and sub-divided under the name of the "Earlewood Estate".


This suburb, only part of which is in the Canterbury Municipality, was formerly called Dumbleton, this name being taken from the Dumbleton Farm, which up until the 1890’s was still standing. The Post Office in Dumbleton opened in 1910.

This name was changed to Beverly Hills in 1940, as was also the name of the railway station.


Because the area was located between Ashfield and Canterbury, this new suburb was given the name of Ashbury. Previously, it was known as Goodlet’s Bush. This was after Mr F. Goodlet, who once owned the property, having himself bought it from a Major Bell. The writer can well remember walking through this bush many times as a child. The development of the area began about 1919, but it was not until June, 1926, that a non-official Post Office was open at 32 King Street, Ashbury. The Post Mistress was Miss King.

Note; Histories on Clemton Park, Croydon Park and Belfield will appear in our next issue - Series 2. No.2.


To: keep in line with the times, of some of the stories in this Journal, various denominations of money, length and area, then in use, have been retained.

If desired, a few approximate conversion examples will assist at a glance.

1inch=0.025m 1foot=0.305m 1yard=0.91Mm 1mile=1.609km 1ft2=O.O929n2 1yd2=O.836 m2 1acre=0.405 ha 1mile2=2.59 km 1gallon=4.54609liters

The following will revive the memory of some and answer the puzzle for the younger folk.

£ s.d. to dollars and cents

A guide for you when you go shopping after 14th Feb. (1966) PENCE TO ROUND CENTS.

1d………1cent 7d……6c 2d………2c 8d……7c 3d………2c 9d……8c 4d………4c 10d…8c 5d………5c 11d…9c 6d………6c exactly 1/- …..10 c exactly

SHILLINGS TO CENTS 1/- ……10cents exactly 6/-…….60c 2/-………20c 7/-………70c 3/- ……30c 8/-…….80c 4/-………40c 9/-………90c 5/-………50c 10/-……100 cents =£1

POUNDS TO DOLLARS. £1 = $2. £5 = $10. £10 = $20.

Remember this rhyme to convert pence to cents.

One and two remain the same, The only difference is the name,Three to nine lose one it's true, And for the rest you take off two.

Produced by the Decimal Currency Board.