Canterbury and District Historical Society s2 n02
FOREWORD (S2. No. 2.)
Again the Society is privileged to enjoy the results of the diligence of our researchers. They have worked for months, since our last volume, collecting and collating information touching on more areas, this time mainly in the southern section of our Municipality. Some of us have witnessed, right under our very noses, the growth of Earlwood, Undercliffe and Moorefields from tiny settlements and scattered houses amid cow-paddocks, market gardens and waste lands to the full maturity of "inner” suburbs.
This volume completes our Bi-centenary task.
For inspiring this year’s efforts we salute the redoubtable navigator, Captain James Cook, R.N.
THE CANTERBURY & DISTRICT HISTORICAL SOCIETY meets on the FOURTH TUESDAY OF EACH MONTH (except Dec.) at 7.30 p.m. SENIOR CITIZENS CENTRE, REDMAN PARADE. BELMORE. GUEST SPEAKERS - FILMS - TOURS VISITORS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME
PRESIDENT: Mrs. T.Roberts, 77Banks Road, EARLWOOD.2206. Phone: 556716 $5.00 Single Membership. $3.00 Members on fixed income Hon. SECRETARY: Mrs. F. Muller, 14Willunga Ave, EARLWOOD. 2206. Phone:78 3937 First printed Oct.,1970. Reprinted Nov., 1977. Reprinted Sept., 1984.
This work has been assisted by funds allocated to the Royal Australian Historical Society by the Cultural Grants Advisory Council of the Premier’s Department of New South Wales. ISSN 0725 9034
- 1 THE EARLY HISTORY OF THE MOOREFIELDS DISTRICT
- 2 ST. ALBAN'S CHURCH OF ENGLAND MOOREFIELDS
- 3 "THE TOWERS"
- 4 THE MCCALLUM'S HILL INFANTS' SCHOOL
- 5 MOOREFIELDS SCHOOL 1863 - 1917
- 6 THE EARLWOOD / UNDERCLIFFE DISTRICT
- 7 FOREST HILL PROGRESS ASSOCIATION
- 8 THE COMING OF THE TRAMWAY
- 9 EARLWOOD POST OFFICE
- 10 THE SUBURBS OF OUR MUNICIPALITY: HOW AND WHEN THEY WERE NAMED
THE EARLY HISTORY OF THE MOOREFIELDS DISTRICT
The name may have come from the grant of land of 60 acres given to Patrick Moore in 1812, but this land was situated in what is now the Kogarah district. Moorfields (the original spelling) is a place in London with associations for the early followers of John Wesley. Many Wesleyans settled in the Moorefields area and it is considered likely that they gave it the name of Moorfields.
Previous to this time, there had been other grants in the area, one being given to John Miller in 1810. This grant was for 90 acres and was known as the Richland Estate. In the same year a grant of 30 acres was given to William Ward. Standing on this at the present day is that landmark of the district and one of the oldest homes in the area, "The Towers."
It was not until 1823, that further grants in the area were given. In that year Governor Brisbane saw fit to grant land to Thomas Braimson (80 acres), William Pithers (100 acres), Charles Watson (80 acres.) and William Lees (100 acres). These land grants were still described as being in the district of Botany Bay. From this time the Moorefields district became a settled farming area.
As mentioned earlier, a great number of the early settlers were Wesleyans. Around 1848-89, they commenced holding services in the homes of various residents. One of the homes was that of Mr Thomas Chard, adjoining the "Man of Kent" inn, on what is now the corner of Kingsgrove Road and Forrester Street. They also met at the Tompkin’s home, near where the Bexley Salvation Army Boys' Home stood and where now the Salvation Army Training College Stands.
MOOREFIELDS WESLEYAN CHAPEL
In 1850, John Chard, son of James Chard, an early settler in the district, gave an acre of ground on which to build a Wesleyan Church. This building was completed in 1852, at a cost of £100. In the early days of the church, the community was very scattered and many travelled long distances for church services. The Parkes family came from Canterbury Heights, the Peake family from what is now called Peakhurst and the Tompkin family from Bardwell Park.
To get to the church services, some of the congregation probably came by the Punchbowl Road and Canary Road, as these two roads were in use as early as 1812. Where there were no roads, there were doubtless many well used tracks through the timbered countryside. As Prout's Bridge had been built in 1839 and Unwin's Bridge in 1840, both of these routes, via Canterbury Road and William Street, could well have been used for access to the district.
With still more people coming to reside in the district, a school was a necessity, therefore in 1864, the little chapel became a public school house, under the auspices of the Wesleyans. Mr William Miller was thought to have been, the first teacher and was later followed by Mr Joseph Saxty from Canterbury, There was also Miss Sophia Ridgewell and Mr Frances Beamish.
Children came from the farther parts of the district to school. True, there was a school established by M, Thomas at Essex Hill in 1873, but it was a part time school and we have on record that the children of Mr James Quigg, who at that time owned Belgrove Farm (now Roselands) sent his children to the Wesleyan school at Moorefields on the days that the Essex Hill school was closed.
THE CHAPEL AND THE COMMUNITY
The Wesleyan Church seemed to be the center of the social of the district, serving both the spiritual and educational needs of the people. The small chapel was used by the people of the district for many years. Gradually time caught up and it was 3 that repairs to the chapel were becoming more pressing and more uneconomic, so the old building had to go.
The last service in the 116 years old chapel was held on the 17th September, 1967. Now a modern cream brick building stands in its place, opened in 1968 and proudly displaying side by side the foundation stone of the first little chapel with the stone of the new building.
SOCIAL LIFE IN THE DISTRICT
The church still caters for a certain amount of social in the district, but times have changed. On the Moorefields of today, we now have a Bowling green, and a golf course. Land has been given for a new Scout's Hall and a Woman's Bowling Club. However, for those of us who like to know the story of the past, a quiet hour spent in the little church graveyard at the rear of the new Methodist Peace Memorial Church, reading the inscriptions on some of the tombstones of the district's pioneers, will take us back into the 19th century and the beginnings of settlement of Moorefields.
SOME EARLY LAND GRANTS IN THE MOOREFIELDS AREA
WILLIAM LEES, his wife and daughter, came to the young colony in 1815. Lees, himself arrived on the "Mary Ann" and his womenfolk on the "Northhampton".
It is probable that they at first settled in the Windsor district, as a William Lees tendered to supply meat in 1817 and 1818.
He was promised a grant of land near Braimson's Farm. This was supposedly to be granted in 1821, but the actual grant was not until 1823, given by the then Governor Brisbane. He was probably in residence by 1821 and had cleared about 37 acres by 1828 and had 30 acres under cultivation.
WILLIAM PITHERS also received a grant of land in 1823 Signed by Governor Brisbane. His was for 100 acres and the, grant dated 30th June, 1823. By 1828, Pithers had cleared 20 acres of his grant and was running 20 head of cattle.
There is in the "Sydney Gazzette" dated November 1st, 1826, a notice stating "District of Botany Bay--to be constable, William Pithers. Appointment to bear date 1,11.1826". It would seem that this would be the same William Pithers.
We do not know how long William Pithers remained in the district, but by 1869, the land was described as "vacant and unfenced said to belong to James Pithers, a sawyer, lately residing in the district, but now removed to Newtown". In the small church yard at Moorefields Methodist church can be seen the headstone of William's son James. His grandson William was also buried there.
JOHN MILLER was given his grant of 90 acres on 24th October, 1809 and it was stated to be bounded on the N.E. side "Mrs. laycock's Kings Grove land". This grant was called the Richland Estate.
In 1828, this estate was sold to James Oatley, who was a Watchmaker in Sydney. Mr Oatley, later on by purchase and by original grants came to own considerable property in the district.
THE CHARD FAMILY - JAMES CHARD
It is thought that perhaps James Chard, who arrived in the colony in 1818 on the ship "Ocean", could have been resident in the Moorefields district from that time. His wife Rachael (who was his first wife) arrived in N.S.W. in 1823. She had travelled with their two sons, John and Thomas, on board the "Jupiter".
In February, 1827, James Chard purchased Charles Watson’s grant of 80 acres of land for £1. 0.0. an acre. This land had been given to Watson in 1823. A year later in 1828, James Chard had cleared 30 acres of this land and had about 20 acres under cultivation.
It is thought that James Chard also purchased Thomas Braimson's original grant of 40 acres, this land was received by Braimson also in 1823. It adjoined to the west, the land on which the Methodist Peace Memorial Church is now built.
James Chard is said to have lived on the land that he purchased from Braimson for some years, before he died in 1855. His grave can be seen in the small cemetery at the rear of the Moorefields church.
JOHN AND THOMAS CHARD
In 1845, James Chard transferred some of his land to his sons. John received 50 acres and Thomas 30 acres. It was one acre of this land that John subsequently gave to the Wesleyans in 1850, on which to build a church.
Six years later, John Chard sold out to Charles Saxby £3,000. He is thought to have gone to live in Newtown, as he had a considerable amount of property there.
It seems that Thomas Chard, the younger son, lived on the district, as we find his name cropping up at various times.
In 1878, when a petition for the formation of the municipality of Canterbury was in force, there were a number of people of the surrounding districts who were against this and signed a counter petition. One of the signatures on this document was that of Thomas Chard.
His two daughters both married probably continued to live in the district, as both of their husbands purchased land from the Kingsgrove Estate in 1855. One married James Forrester who was a ganger on the construction of the first railway. The other married a William Coleman.
Again as late as 1890, a Thomas Chard was said to be the oldest resident in Moorefields. From then on no more is heard of this family, who with other early settlers helped to lay the foundations of this area as we know it today.
THE LAYCOCK FAMILY AND KINGSGROVE
Hannah Laycock and her two sons, William and Samuel, were among the first free settlers in the colony of N.S.W. They came out in the "Gorgon", in 1790. She was the wife and later the widow of Quartermaster Thomas Laycock of the N.S.W; Corps and they had six children. Thomas, Samuel and William, Elizabeth, Sarah and Rebecca.
In 1804, Hannah was given a grant by Governor King'of 500 acres and her two sons, Samuel and William, 100 acres each. These grants were said to be in the district of "Bulanaming".
HANNAH LAYCOCK RETURNS TO ENGLAND
About 1808, Hannah Laycock returned to England where she was when her husband died in, 1809. She later returned to the colony to reside at her Kingsgrove Farm for another six years.
GOVERNOR MACQUARIE AND KINGSGROVE FARM
On the 10th December 1810, we have a record from Governor Macquarie's journal, his notes on a visit he paid to the district of Canterbury. On his way he stopped at Hannah Laycock's farm. He wrote, "We found Mrs Laycock and her two daughters at home in a very neat, comfortable, well built farm house and well furnished, the good lady's farm being also in a forward state of improvement in other respects. After resting half an hour at Mrs Laycock's, we pursued our journey to Canterbury".
Governor Macquarie must have been really impressed with Hannah Laycock's farm, because two years later in 1812, she received another 120 acres adjoining her grant to the north and both of her sons received 100 acres, each. These grants gave the family considerable property in the district, which now embraces much the suburbs of Bexley, Kingsgrove, Clemton Park and Campsie.
KINGSGROVE FARM TO LET
By 1815, Kingsgrove Farm comprised 700 acres of which were cleared. In this year it was advertised "to let", although at the time Mrs Laycock was still living on the farm. Again in 1816, the property was advertised "to let" a period not exceeding 10 years. The description of the farm at that time was of "a very delightful country residence farm .... Situated about 12 miles from Sydney in the district Botany Bay and late the property of Mrs Laycock".
Hannah Laycock moved into Sydney and in 1828, she was living in Pitt Street. She died at Sydney Hospital, on 12th May 1, aged 73 and, a service was held in St James Church, Sydney.
Hannah's son Thomas, later blazed the trail from Launceston to Hobart. All her daughters married into pioneer families of the time and in 1930, one of her descendants, Miss Marie Fearn, was still living at Stanmore.
Meanwhile, the property seems to have changed hands several times and in 1841, owned by the trustees of Simeon Lord's estate, it was subdivided and put up for sale. Certain sections were small lots and the remainder, larger holdings.
At the time of the sale, there was much valuable her on the land. Oak, ironbark, stringy bark, blue gum and mahogany, the last timber being very much in demand at the time for cabinet making.
So passed into oblivion the original holdings of the family who opened up so much of our district. Not completely though, as the name of Hannah's farm lives on in the name of suburb, "KINGSGROVE".
James Norton came out to N.S.W. as a convict on the “Hercules" in 1824. He was born in Norfolk, England and was a farmer.
His sentence was for not less than 14 years and it was poaching. He served his full term, most of it at Morton Bay, in the number 19 road gang.
He was emancipated in 1837 and married Charlotte Prentice, the daughter of a free settler. He leased or purchased 127 acres of land at Moorefields, where he and his family settled. His tenth child was born when he was 64 years of age and his wife 44. He lived to be 90 years old.
In the possession of Mr P. Norton of Stoddart Street, Lakemba, great, great grandson of James, is a copy of the birth certificate of James' youngest child, Eliza, born in 1864, on which James being unable to write, had made his mark before the Registrar, Mr H. Briggs.
James and his family had close association with the Moorefields Methodist Chapel for many years and both he and his wife with many of their descendants are buried there. Unfortunately, the position of the earlier graves cannot now be found, but the stones of some of James' descendants are still in existence.
In James Jervis’ History of Canterbury there is a record of a James Norton, in 1878, of having signed the counter proposal to the formation of a Municipal Council. The district given was Moorefields. This could have been James Snr., but it seems more than likely that it was his son, also James, for the abovementioned reason that James Snr. could not write.
ST. ALBAN'S CHURCH OF ENGLAND MOOREFIELDS
During the early years of the young colony in N.S.W. church services were held in many surprising places.
In the Moorefields area of our district, the first services of the Church of England, were held in a slab hut and later transferred to a coach house. These services were conducted by the Rev. Thomas Steele, from the parish of Cook's River.
The slab hut was the property of Mr Chard and was situated on the southern side of the now St Alban's Road, Kingsgrove. The Government bus depot is situated on this site now.
In 1886, the people of the Church of England, decided to transfer the holding of services to Mr Homer's coach house. This building was situated on what is now approximately the corner of St Alban's Road and Homer Street, Kingsgrove.
On the 8th October, 1888, the foundation stone of a new church was laid. The building was to be constructed on a two acre site, which had been given by Mr F. Oatley. It faced the newly constructed road from Burwood to Hurstville (now Kingsgrove Road).
Mr David Jones of Moorefields, (The Towers) was the contractor for this school-church. It was to be a temporary building of brick in the Gothic design. The building took only three months to be completed at a cost of £200, and was in the charge of Rev. G. Stiles, The dedication of the new church was carried out by Bishop Barry 22nd December, 1888.
In 1906, the estate on which the present St Alban's stands (on the Canterbury Road, Belmore), became available. The church wardens of the time, Messrs. G. Dunnage, G. Forsythe J.G. Tedder, decided that the Parish Church should be relocated in the new area that was then developing.
The then bishop gave his permission for the selling of old church. It was purchased by Mr A. H. Andrews and used as a barn for many years.
When this site was excavated years later, in July, 1946, there was found a bottle, encased in cement, which contained portions of the "Evening News", of 5th October, 1888, and also "Sydney Morning Herald" of 6th October, 1888, together with a document.
The contents of this document named the church "St Alban’s", and stated that the foundation stone had been laid by Rev William Cowper, M.A. Dean of Sydney. Since 1888 there have been three churches of the name St Alban's. The existing one is in Canterbury Road, Belmore, and is built of cream bricks, with a distinctive separate steel bell tower. This new church was dedicated in 1961.
Sources for much of the material used in the articles on the Moorefields District came from James Jervis' book "A History of the Municipality of Canterbury", a "Century of Methodism" (Moorefields Methodist Church 1851-1951), papers and documents in the Mitchell Library & documents and letters at Registrar General's Department.My thanks to all sources
By I. B. Currey
Standing in a commanding position on the corner of Forsythe and Robert Streets, Belmore, is "The Towers". Pale grey, fortress like, with its distinctive short tower on one side, this is one of the 'oldest, inhabited homes in our municipality.
The original grant of land on which "The Towers" is built, was given to William Ward, on 24th October, 1809 under Patterson's governorship. It was stated to lie north west of Laycock's farm, Kingsgrove, extending to Robinson's south west corner, also near Millers farm.
In the 1880's, this land passed into the hands of Mr David Jones, who was a builder from Bathurst. On this site, he built "The Towers".
Mr Jones was also responsible for the building the first Church of England Church in the district, St Alban's, on what is now Kingsgrove Road, in 1888. Apparently he was a Wesleyan, because he was a member of the Methodist Chapel in Moorefields Road and a trustee of the church for about 30 years, from 1893, until his death.
In 1894, Mr. Jones was in charge of the reroofing of this Methodist Church. A band of volunteer workers placed a new iron roof over the existing shingles under his supervision.
Later the ownership of "The Towers” was taken over by the Forsythe family, who were rope manufacturers. I understand this firm is still in existence. In 1920, "The Towers", was sold to the War Service Homes Commission, but in 1941, Mr Fletcher, whose family are descendants of Mr David Jones, took possession of "The Towers". He and his family still occupy this historic home.
THE MCCALLUM'S HILL INFANTS' SCHOOL
The McCallum's Hill Infants' School was originally opened on rented church premises in 1929. It was not very long re the premises were found to be unsuitable for their purpose and complaints to this effect were made by the Mothers' of whom Mrs. Taylor was then Secretary.
It was suggested that a portable room be erected on the church site, but as this was not considered to be fully desirable, it was decided to acquire a site elsewhere.
"Representations from the Mothers' Club were made through Stanley M.L.A. and finally the then Minister for Education Drummond, personally visited the school and recommended that action be taken immediately to relieve the position.
The present area of land was resumed in May, 1930, and the erection of the building on this site was to be treated as an urgent case. For various reasons, however, we were unable to proceed at the time with the erection of the new building and please were made to renovate a weatherboard cottage located on the site.
Lack of finds prevented this, however, as it was con- red that a sum of £4,366 were needed for the work. The matter was deferred from time to time and it was not until July 1944, that positive steps were taken to provide single portable room for the use of the school.
This building when completed cost in the vicinity of £650. In 1945 the school had an enrolment of nearly 100 pupils under Headmistress Miss Elsie Erickson who had two other teachers assisting her During the last twenty-years it has grown enormously; buildings now surround three sides of the quadrangle. Children now attend up to the sixth grade.
MOOREFIELDS SCHOOL 1863 - 1917
Toward the close of the year 1861, resident of Moorefields submitted to the Commissioners (Board of National Education) an 11 "Application for the establishment of a Non Vested National School at Moore fields, Parish of Canterbury" dated 5th December.
For school purposes the four local Patrons had provided one room measuring 36 feet by 18 feet equipped with twelve forms, one blackboard, two dozen inkwells, half a gross of penholders and pens, half a gross of pencil holders and pencils and 3 dozen slates. The school room which belonged to the Methodist church possessed brick walls, a shingle roof and a floor (early schools often began with no floor). It was expected that 48 children would attend and for their accommodation the residents hoped to provide eight desks.
Mr W H Miller, an unmarried man of 22 years, who was a native of Sydney, was appointed the first teacher. He had been trained at Fort Street Model School but had no teaching experience. He was assisted by his sister. The school opened early in the new year, on 13th January, 1862 (?). Unfortunately the promised enrolment of 48 was not maintained.
THE SCHOOL HAS A NEW TEACHER
In December, 1863 Mr Miller requested removal, alleging that the average attendance had "slipped" and that the parents "were not very interested". Mr Samuel Ironside, a Moorefield’s resident, requested that the Board appoint Mr Saxby in Mr Millers place and in April, 1864, Mr Miller transferred to Wingham. As requested, Mr Saxby, a 19 year old Ashfield native, was appointed. He had just completed his training at Fort Street Model School and thus had no teaching experience.
Mr Saxby remained in charge a shorter term than his predecessor. In fact, in August, 1865 he resigned and the school was closed, The school evidently remained closed as a public school but a small private school conducted by Miss Ridgwell catered for educational needs of 32 children in the district.
A PROVISIONAL SCHOOL IS OPENED
In March, 1867, a resident of Moorefields asked the newly instituted Council of Education for assistance. He proposed that Miss Redgwell's school should become a Provisional School.
In order to provide information upon which a decision could be made, Inspector Huffer was sent to investigate. In 1867, he reported:
"Moorefields is about three miles from Canterbury and at same distance the Certified Denominational School at Georges River and Lord's Forest. The people in the district are small farmers, wood carters and charcoal burners etc.
Within a radius of two miles there are I believe about 40 children of an age to attend school. Many of these do not attend any school at present. On the day I visited the private school, taught by Miss Ridgwell, there were 11 children present and on some occasions, she has as many as 20. Miss Ridgewell informed me that there are several children who do not attend school because their parents are unable to pay school fees.
The private school referred to, is conducted in the chapel belonging to the Wesleyan Denomination. The building (40 x 16) is of brick and is very suitable for school purposes. But it appears to me that a Public School is what is needed in locality; and if the council could obtain a lease of these premises for the purpose, I am of the opinion that an attempt should be made to establish such a school.
Should it be found impracticable at once to establish a public School in the locality, I am further of the opinion the interests of education would be advanced were the council to accept the present school as a provisional one. Miss Ridgewell is, I think, fairly well qualified to conduct a school of that character".
Miss Ridgwell, a Wesleyan of 23 years of age, belonged to Hartland Farm, Irishtown and had opened the private School about September 1866. Between June and September 1867, the private school became Moorefields Provisional, with Miss Ridgwell charge of 21 children.
During July 1867 (9?), Miss Ridgwell became seriously ill and Mr Frank Beamish took charge in a temporary capacity. The next month Miss Ridgwell died and her successor's appointment confirmed. Mr Beamish fell ill in August, 1871 and the council permitted the teacher's father to assume control of the school temporarily.
To assist the teacher in the efficient conduct of the school, the Council encouraged the formation of a Public School Board. At Moorefields, it had been difficult to maintain a body of interested patrons. However, in June, 1875, Mr James Ridgwell (woodcutter) and Mr Charles Howard (Gardener) agreed to assume the responsibility of supervising the school.
MOOREFIFLDS ATTAINS PUBLIC SCHOOL STATUS
Mr James Ridgwell, secretary of the local board, requested that the council raise the school to the public school status, "as was done with Peakhurst", and this was achieved in September, 1877.
The school was still conducted in the Wesleyan Chapel in Birrell Street (now Moorefields Road) and Mr Birrell offered two acres at £10. per acre for a school site on the opposite side of the road (this site was near the corner of what is now Ada Street and Moorefields Road)
Towards the end of 1878, Mr Thomas Birk's tender for the proposed building (brick) for a sum of £1,037 was accepted. Because the site had not been properly surveyed and because of wet weather, the building (to accommodate 55 pupils) was not completed until September 1879. Mr William Bernard assumed control of the school in October 1879.
REPAIRS TO SCHOOL
By the year 1890 many repairs were needed at the school, so the department called for tenders for repair of building, pump and fencing in that year. Four years later the weatherboard shed in the playground was repaired by Mr David Jones and in 1895, he repaired the large gate and two small ones.
BUSHFIRE THROUGH SCHOOL GROUNDS
By 1901, the enrolments at the school had risen to 106 and the school was getting overcrowded. Then on 7th February 1902, the headmaster informed the Department that ..."a disastrous bush fire swept over Moorefields yesterday, taking the school grounds in its course. Fortunately none of the school buildings were ignited, but the fences round the middle and northern ends of the grounds were either totally burnt or to such an extent as to require renewing".
In order to alleviate the difficulties caused by overcrowding, it was decided to add a class room capable of accommodating 39 children,a hat room and a porch. The inadequate accommodation was a recurrent problem. The old school certainly needed enlargement. In October 1908 whilst Mr McKean was in charge of the school, a deputation led by Mr Varney Parkes, M.P. waited on the Minister of Public Instruction, the Hon, J. A. Hogue.
It was claimed that Moorefields School was located in “a very bad position"; the land was low and consequently the received the drainage from the road. The Minister sought advice of the District Inspector who recommended that a new between Belmore South and Moorefields be secured and that a new school be erected upon it to serve both localities. At time there were schools operating at Belmore South (later Lakemba) and Belmore.
LOCATION OF NEW SCHOOL SITE
This recommendation could not have been accepted because it was nearly ten years after that change began to take place in re-locating the school. In 1917, Belmore South School opened on a 2 ½ acre site on the corner of Canterbury Road and on Avenue. The cost of the building was £7,000.
The old school at Moorefields, situated about half a mile away, ceased to exist and the school previously called Belmore South was renamed Lakemba. In May 1917, Mr. Arthur right of Newtown, contracted to re-move the school residence outbuilding for a sum of £165. By September, all the school furniture from the old Moorefields school building had been transferred to the new school at Belmore South.
Condensed by Mrs I .E.Currey from an historical account prepared by the Division of Research and Planning, New South Wales Department of Education, from records held in the Mitchell Library, Government Archives and the Department of Education.
THE EARLWOOD / UNDERCLIFFE DISTRICT
That portion of the municipality which extends over the Earlwood/ Undercliffe area has been said to have been the last in the municipality to develop. From earliest times Undercliffe seems to have been known as such, but Earlwood was known both as Parkestown and Forest Hill.
It is generally claimed to have been called Earlwood about 1906, but old records show that in February 1909, the Postmaster at Canterbury received a letter from the Forest Hills Progress Association asking him to "strike out on all letters addressed here, any name of locality other than Forest Hill".
In May 1914 it was proposed to hold a meeting of delegates, from the Forest Hill and Undercliffe Progress Associations to consider the change of name of the district.
In June 1914 the meeting was held and a number of names were submitted for a preference vote, but it was apparent the only favorable name was Earlwood.
It seems certain that either a mistake has been made in the year or it was an extreme case of "old habits die hard".
The area was described by one of the old residents as "a veritable beauty spot, abounding in giant trees, green valleys and wild flowers. In the bush land, Christmas Bush, Flannel Flowers, Rock Lilies and Native Fuchsias grow in profusion and added to its charm".
While a great deal has been written regarding the more well known of our district's pioneers, little has been told regarding many of the early land grants in the Earlwood / Undercliffe area.
ABRAHAM BRIAN POLACK
By far the biggest landowner in the district was Abraham Polack. Between the years of 1835 and 1836, he acquired by auction, 790 acres ranging from Canterbury Road, along Cooks River and covering most of the area of Earlwood. A portion being known as the Undercliffe Estate.
Another one of his acquisitions was "Bramshott" which was Originally owned by the Rev. William Pascoe Crook. He is said to have purchased it in 1833 and actually farmed the property which was of 100 acres and lay south of Cook's River.
A weather boarded cottage with a brick nogged verandah stood on the grant and the property was divided into paddocks with a "first rate garden" and a small orchard. An immense lagoon provided a never failing supply of water. It was advertised, under instructions from Polack's trustees, in 1841 was sold for £2,050.
The man himself had such a colorful background, that a few details of his life may perhaps be of interest to readers. Son of a well-known society painter, whose miniatures and engravings are now much sought after, he was sentenced to 7 yrs. transportation for the alleged stealing of a lady's watch.
He arrived in the colony on the "Agamennon" in 1820 at the age of 25 years. He was married on September 27th 1824 at St Philips Church Sydney, his wife Hannah having arrived free settler on the "Elizabeth" in 1824. By 1827 he had children; a daughter Sarah and a son Solomon. On the birth certificate of his daughter in 1825 he was listed as a Clerk and shopman and on that of his son, as a publican. (Later a third child, a son was born).
He appears to have prospered considerably, for he is shown in the 1828 census as being an Inn Keeper and having one horse and twenty horned cattle. His inn the "London Tavern" opposite the Police Court on the corner of Druitt and George Streets, Sydney.
He became associated with Jacob Josephson who carried business as a jeweller and silversmith in George Street, and later became an auctioneer. His last stand in that business was in a building in Charlotte Place (now Grosvenor). As an auctioneer he became very successful. His activities covering sales in Melbourne, Darling Downs, Wollongong and West Maitland to name just a few.
In the late 1830's he was associated with John Thomas Wilson, an ironmonger to whom he sold his commission business. This person, whose real name was James Abbott had a long history of crime as a "Confidence man". He had in England induced a young lady to elope with him and abandoned her, he robbed a lady of a large sum of money and escaped to the United State of America, and started business as an auctioneer in Boston under the name of John Thomas Soanes. After "fleecing" Americans, he fled to the Cape and having had no successes With the Dutch burghers, arrived at Hobart Town.
After more adventures he landed in Sydney under the name of J. T. Wilson, and entered the employ of Lancelot Iredale and was soon dismissed for immoral conduct. Later after a series of positions he became in possession of the extensive ironmongery business of Burdekin & McDonald. He entered into auctioneering and being a man of fine presence and plausible manners had no trouble in obtaining the confidence of the Sydney merchants. Suddenly he made a grand coup, filled a ship with cargo and joined her at the heads. It was discovered that nothing could be done to apprehend the ship, as it had been regularly cleared at customs. While a great number of merchants were involved in the swindle, Abraham Polack declared himself the chief victim.
However, a newspaper item later reported that "Mr Polack intends to leave the colony for Europe. His estate real and personal is estimated to be above £50,000 after liquidation of all claims against him", so fortune had not entirely deserted him. The same item also stated that the "residents of the Hunter River and environs" would be very pleased to hear that the steamers "Sophia Jane" and "Tamar" would run as usual, so evidently he was also interested in the shipping trade.
Despite his successes he appears to have attracted quite a bit of trouble. At a later date we read of the report of a trial, in 1842 of George Jones, former clerk to Abraham Polack, for forgery.
When Abraham Polack left the colony in 1839 he left a Promissory Note for £60 in favour of George Jones signed by himself to be presented to his trustees. Jones altered it to £300. The trial lasted a great length of time, and the prisoner was convicted and sentenced to be sent to Van Diemans Land for ten years. Feeling at the time was very high in view, of his previous good character and the severity of the sentence and efforts were made to set the verdict aside.
An indication, however, of how well-known Abraham Polack had become, is shown by a society clipping in a later newspaper which reported that Mrs Polack had returned from London after seeing her family placed in the best schools suitable to their ages, "whence the boys will in due time be removed to one of the colleges, it being Mr Polack's intention to employ a portion of the ample reward, which his industry and skill in business has brought, in giving his sons the best education in his power as well as the advantages of the best society". Abraham Polack died at Newtown in 1873 at the age of 76 years. His must have been one of the many great success stories of his time and an indication of what could be achieved in the young colony by hard work and initiative.
Joseph Nobbs obtained sixty acres on the 5th January, 1841. The land in question was described as extending to Mangrove Island in Cooks River and was "previously promised to George Tyrell on or before 4th July, l8l4, and now granted said Joseph Nobbs in accordance with report on case No. 754. On the 25th November, 184O". It covered an area from Flinders Road to the river and was later Known as Nobbs Flat.
Joseph Nobbs was a widower who married Lucy Harding widow at St James Church in 1827. A rather ambiguous entry in the church records under Joseph Nobbs reads "Margaret Silk - her name was taken as wife but she was not." Unfortunately, no further details are supplied so we are left in doubt as to what part she played in his life. A further complication arises when it is learned that among those buried in St Paul’s Church of England cemetery are Joseph and Ann Nobbs. No details are supplied.
To the west of Frederick Unwin's land and extending from Wolli Creek to Cooks River were two grants of land given to Joshua Thorpe, one for 50 acres in 1836 and the other for 30 acres in 1838.
The grant for 30 acres was for land previously promised to one, Abraham Champion and the entry reads "Obtained 30 acres on 6.1.1838 being land promised to Abraham Champion on or before 31.3.1821 and claimed by Joshua Thorpe. Case No. 73 before Commissioners appointed under Act of Colonial Legislature 5th William 1V No. 21 who felt themselves compelled to deride against his claim the property being in the Crown. Governor Burke was pleased, however, notwithstanding such derision, of the Commissioners, to order a grant to issue in favour of said Joshua Thorpe, it appearing that he was a bona fide purchaser of the land and the Crown having been out of possession of the same since 1821".
Upon further research the only reference I could discover relating to Abraham Champion was an entry in R. Darling's Dispatch of 1827 with the very odd heading of “List of persons originally convicts who have cleared out of this part of Sydney and are supposed to have left the Colony during year 1826. Among the names was that of Abraham Champion, freed from servitude in 1825. Joshua Thorpe married Sarah Ann Garratt in 1827 at St Philips Church.
Sometime later there is mention of Thorp's Punt Crossing the river between Tempe Dam and Prouts Bridge and it was still there in 1854 when permission was given to Mr P.A. Thompson and T. J. Fisher to build a bridge which was erected at Undercliffe.
Undercliffe House was occupied by Mr P. A. Thompson who was responsible for building Undercliffe Bridge. The house was described variously as a "handsome stone, built residence with verandahs front and back, containing nine large rooms. There was an acre of garden and orchard". In 1868 it was described as "a large neat looking cottage with several outbuildings stood on the left bank of the river near the bridge. The bold and steep cliffs which lay to the rear of the place rendered it worthy of the name".
FREDERICK WRIGHT UNWIN
Adjoining Joshua Thorpe's grant and extending over the whole area bounded by Wolli Creek and Cooks River was the 100 acre grant obtained by Frederick Wright Unwin.
His land was formerly the grant promised to Arthur Martin on or before 1814 and re-advertised at his request in favour of Mr Unwin in the Government Notice dated 14.12.1839. during the time of Governor Gipps.
Mr Unwin was a Sydney Solicitor. He lived for some time in Argyle Street, Sydney, where he built a house in 1829. It was described as having the first slate roof in the town. He married Ann King in 1831.
He built his home on that portion of his estate known as Unwins Hill and named it "Wanstead House" after his native home in Essex, England. This hill, on the point formed by the junction of Cooks River and Wolli Creek was said to command a magnificent view over Botany Bay and the adjacent country. Bayview Avenue is shown on the old parish maps as Unwin Bridge Road.
Mr Unwin's stables were on the Opposite side of the river, and a bridge was constructed at his instigation. Unwin's Bridge as it was called was created by 100 men whose services were provided by the Government. In 1889 it was removed and replaced by a more permanent structure built on pillars made of iron cylinders filled with concrete. This in turn has been replaced by the railway bridge now in use.
He was one of the directors of the Sugar Works and Unwin Street Canterbury is said to have been named after him. However, in a copy of "The Echo" of 2nd October, 1890, it stated that the name plate erected by the Council showed the as "Unuin" and an article written by Mary Salmon for the "Evening News" suggested that it may have been a misspelling of "Union", although she agreed it could have been named after Mr Unwin, so there is some doubt as to origin.
Edward Campbell, a Sydney Merchant later occupied "Wanstead" and at his death it was occupied for many years by his widow. It was described in 1868 as "a very pretty object in the landscape with well wooded cliffs in the background and beautiful gardens, groves and paddocks round or near it." The house was said to be a commodious family residence. A stone quarry had been opened upon the estate.
On the western side of the area, one of the earliest grants was that given to Thomas Sylvester. He obtained 100 acres on the 25th August, 1812, His land was bounded by what is now Bexley Road, William Street and Wolli Creek and as far be east as roughly where the junction is now of Woodlawn Avenue and Homer Street.
To the east of Thomas Sylvester's grant, John Riley obtained 30 acres on the 19th October, 1831. His grant was bounded by William Street to the north and extended almost to Wolli to the south.
To the east of John Riley's land Winifred Flaherty obtained 30 acres also on the 19th October, 1831. Her land was bounded by William Street to the north and stretched awards to Wolli Avenue and included the site of the present Earlwood Reservoir. Winifred Flaherty came out as a convict and received certificate of emancipation in May,1810.
John Perks was sentenced to transportation for life in 1811. He arrived at the colony in the ship "Indefatigable" obtained his ticket of leave in 1829. He also obtained a grant of land on the 19th October, 1831 which was bounded by Woolcott, Spark and William Streets and stretched almost to Earlwood Avenue. This contained the site of Earlwood Park.
Lewis Gordon had two grants of land, one of 68 acres was obtained in 1838 and the other of 114 acres in 1841. These adjoining grants stretched from William and Hannah Laycock's acres to the west and lay north of William Street and extended east to Woolcott Street. Cup and Saucer Creek flowed through the property and a small creek called Glenore Creek.
OPENING UP OF THE DISTRICT
Towards the end of the 1800s the large grants were being subdivided and more people were coming to the district.
Bridges were being built over the river which made the area more accessible. Apart from Unwins Bridge, there was a bridge at Undercliffe, commonly called Thompsons Bridge and in 1892 there were sufficient residents at Nobbs Flat to petition the Council for a bridge to be built at Wardell Road.
Canterbury Council and Marrickville Council both supported the idea but the bridge was not built. A petition was presented three years later to have a bridge built to connect Parkestown and Kingsgrove with Fernhill (Hurlstone Park) Station. This was not supported by Marrickville Council as they favoured the Wardell Road Bridge scheme.
Agreement was finally reached on this point and in 1898 work was begun on the Wardell Road bridge and finished in May 1899. It was suggested that the bridge be named the Graham bridge but finally it was called Wardell Road.
Among the well-known homes in the district was that of Mr G. W. Nicols which was built about 1882. Mr Nicols came from Dundee in Scotland and called his home "Blink Bonnie".
Mr Hocking lived in a big home on the site of the present Roman Catholic Church at Earlwood. He was a builder and had a family of seven sons and was responsible for much of the building in Earlwood.
METHODISM IN EARLWOOD
The first services held at Parkestown or Forest Hill were in the home of Mr Thomas Parkes in William Street, then alternatively in Mr Walter Stores' home in what is now Doris Avenue.
Prior to this it had been necessary to journey to either Moorefields or Canterbury.
In 1875 the local residents met at the home of Mr Parkes to consider the possibility of building a "Meeting House".
This small band of dedicated people raised sufficient money to build the "Little Stone Church" on land donated by Mr Walter Stores, the site being in a 17' lane running between William Street to Sparks Street. This lane was widened as the area developed and is now known as Cameron Avenue. The building during 25' x 15' was of stone and had a shingle roof, which later replaced by iron. It was lit by kerosene lamps, having two center lamps and 4 wall brackets. For the first two or three years, it appears that the building was known as a Union Church.
In 1878 the "Wesleyan" Church offered to take over church and supply the preachers. This was quite agreeable to those who had built the church and Forest Hill became attached to the Ashfield Circuit.
By this time the name Parkestown was being forgotten and the records only show the name Forest Hill.
This small church continued until land was purchased in William Street from Mrs J. Ward and a new church opened in 1922. This appears to have been the only church in the area his time. People of other religious faiths apparently travelled to churches in the surrounding areas.
FOREST HILL PROGRESS ASSOCIATION
In 1902 there were sufficient interested people in area to form a Progress Association. The inaugural meeting was held on the 23rd December, at the home of Mr Boucher in River Street. It was decided to hold monthly meetings on a Wednesday nearest to a full moon.
The early meetings were held in the Wesleyan Church and Mr Hocking was elected President with Mr Campbell as Secretary. Later meetings were held in Mr Hockings workshop.
From the beginning they campaigned vigorously for improvements in the area, but their greatest interest was the establishment of a local school as children in the area had to walk to Canterbury Public School which was a great distance away and involved crossing the river which could be very hazardous in bad weather.
The following extract written by Mr. William A. Turnell for the Earlwood Public School Golden Jubilee and taken from the Minute Books of the Association (of which he was the Hon. Secretary for many years) gives some idea of their wonderful efforts.
10/6/09. Moved that Mr Parkes,M.L.A. be written to re deputation to Minister for Education for a public School in the locality. An application form, with signatures attached, has already been forwarded.
25/6/09. A letter from Mr Varney Parkes, M.L.A. confirming the proposed deputations was read, and B. J. Hocking, Ald. Barnes and E.E. O'Connor were elected spokesmen.
1/7/09. The President furnished a report on the deputation to the Minister re an infants' school. The deputation was well received and the Minister promised to give his attention to the establishment of at least an infants school.
26/8/09. No news having been received since the deputation, Mr Parkes was again written to.
Feb. 1913. The Association offered the use of the Progress Hall for use as a school.
6/6/13. Another petition was circulated, and the School Inspector, Mr McKenzie, was approached to visit the district and meet members.
3/4/13. The Secretary stated he had shown the inspector over the district and given him all possible information. The petition was almost complete.
13/8/13. A further letter was sent, and again in September, to the inspector, referring him to his promises.
March 1914. Agitation for a school had been continued, with the result that a site was now being decided upon.
6/8/14. Resolved that Mr Peters, M.L.A. and the Department be again written to, asking for construction of the classrooms (plans now in preparation) to be expedited.
Dec. 1914. Re proposed School at Forest Hill, the Department was approached suggesting that the name of Earlwood, instead of Parkestown be given to the new school.
The school was finally opened in 1916.
Apart from their efforts to secure a school for the district the Progress Association was very active in other matters.
By 1907 they had purchased land for a School of Arts Hall and later Mr Varney Parkes M.L.A. offered to prepare a plan and submit it to the Government for the erection of the hall. In 1908 they were meeting in their new hall in River Street. This appeared to become the social center of the district and many concerts were held there.
They made many moves to have the train services improved and one of their main concerns was the extension of the tram to Forest Hill. In 1903 they were very concerned at the unprotected state of the district and letters were written to the Minister for Justice asking that a constable reside in the district.
Residents were complaining of the nuisance of Cooks River dam near the old Canterbury Sugarworkssugar works through pollution as far back as 1903.
Many of the streets were in a shocking condition and frequently it was necessary to cross private properties to reach existing streets.
Property owners of Perks Grant apparently had no access road and many representations were made to Council to have alignments of streets made and a lane opened leading from Sparks Street to William Street.
Among the many representations to Council which are of interest was one made in 1906 asking that a finger board be erected at junction of Fore Street and Canterbury Road informing travelers the route to Forest Hill.
In 1908 a letter was forwarded asking Council to erect sheds on the River bank next to the dam for the benefit of bathers.
In 1909 the Rev. Heffernan from the Church of England, Canterbury, held services in the Progress Hall as it was then known, on Sundays between 7 & 8 p.m. This apparently was the first Church of England service held in Forest Hill. Later other churches held services in the Progress Hall.
A great deal of the early development of the district can be directly attributed to this hardworking group of enthusiasts without whose efforts many of the amenities which are taken so much for granted today would not have been possible.
THE COMING OF THE TRAMWAY
Proposals for a branch line to Undercliffe had been received as early as 1903. Construction of the line was, however, considered premature as the population was very scattered and it was considered that the residents were well served by the then Belmore Railway (which is now the Bankstown line) and the Dulwich Hill Tramway.
In 1906 the Minister for Works was conducted on a tour of inspection as far as Forest Hill. As a result of this inspection, the tramway officials again investigated the proposals, this time considering a line extending from Undercliffe, through Forest Hill to Sharp Street (now known as Kingsgrove Road) Belmore, almost four miles from Marrickville. This too was eventually rejected.
The residents of Undercliffe were not easily deterred and in June 1908 they petitioned the Railways Department urging that a branch tramway be built. It was discovered, upon investigation, that many of the signatures on the petition were those of children and of persons not living within the area and once again action was deferred.
It was not until 1911, after further representations had been received, that construction of a line to Cook River Bridge at Undercliffe, received Ministerial approval.
Once authorised, work proceeded quickly and was completed within thirteen months. It was officially opened on Saturday, 9th November, 1912. The line was unusual in that it was one of the very few in Sydney which was opened by a Premier, in this case Mr J.S.T. McGowan.
The Undercliffe line crossed low-lying land adjacent to Cooks River. During periods of heavy rain or abnormally high tides, Cooks River spread across this land covering the line and forcing trams to terminate at Hill Street. After the extension of the line to Earlwood and the establishment of Government bus services in the early 1930's substitute bus services operating by a devious route were provided when the line was blocked by floodwaters.
UNDERCLIFFE TO EARLWOOD TRAMWAY
One of the last tramlines to be constructed in Sydney was the extension from Undercliffe to Earlwood. Although agitation for the tramway could be traced back to at least 1901.
No definite action was taken until after the opening of the Undercliffe Tramway; the reason being the lack of population in the district. In 1915 a survey revealed that a favorable grade could be obtained on the length from Undercliffe to Forest Hill. However, the estimated cost and the overall financial position of the Department caused the Minister to defer the proposal.
The extent of interest of local landowners was such that in 1916 a letter written by the Earlwood Progress Association stated they were prepared to guarantee the tramway against loss when built. The Minister replied that construction would proceed when funds became available and subject to the signing of guarantees by property owners and Councils concerned.
A report by the Proposals Committee in 1916 strongly recommended the extension of the line but no further action was taken, owing to the lack of funds.
Further representations were made during 1917/18 and in 1919 the Minister for Works made an inspection of the proposed route, following which he received a deputation of representatives of Marrickville and Canterbury Councils and two local M.L.A.'s.
He promised that if the necessary money could be obtained he would endeavor to procure its construction.
In October 1919 the Department advised it would agree to the proposal if an earlier promise of a guarantee against loss was provided by local residents and if the Government's plan to construct War Service Homes near the line eventuated.
The Government, however, decided not to construct the homes as the land was considered too expensive.
By 1920 the then Minister for Public Works decided that the extension should be built regardless of the decision not to build War Service Homes. Departmental evidence showed that the number of homes along the route had increased from 153 in January 1919 to 236 In September 1920 which together with the nature of the land in the district rendered the proposal an attractive one.
People spoke in glowing terms of the features possessed by the area and they expected Cooks River to become a popular pleasure resort.
A bill authorising construction of the line was introduced into the Legislative Assembly in November 1921 but was not brought in and consequently lapsed. A year later the Undercliffe to Forest Hill Tramway Bill was introduced and passed all stages, receiving the Royal Assent in November 1922. Construction commenced in January 1923 when it was found necessary to construct a separate tramway bridge over Cooks River which included provision for the duplication of the line.
It was completed by February 1924. The line was one mile 19 1/4 chains long with a five chain crossing loop at Watkins Avenue and a double-track dead-end at the terminus on the Sydney side of William Street.
The line was such a success that one week after it opened, it was necessary to increase the morning and evening peak hour service from 20 to 10 min. intervals.
Following the opening of the Undercliffe to Earlwood line, the Public Works Department received many representations for the line to be extended to Sharp Street Belmore. These were rejected on the grounds that there was insufficient development in the area to justify the construction of the line.
In 1926 the Minister visited the area and was informed by the local residents that the existing bus service was expensive and inadequate and that many landowners along the proposed route was waiting for the construction of the line before commencing building.
The Government, however, was reluctant to proceed with the plan and in 1930 the combined financial depression and the opening of the East-Hills Railway line ended any hope that the line would be built. Local groups, nevertheless, continued to campaign for the extension until the mid-1930's by which time the bus services along the proposed route had been acquired by the Government and were providing a reasonable service for the local residents.
EARLWOOD POST OFFICE
In 1916 the Postmaster-General's Department received a letter from the Hon Secretary of the Earlwood Ratepayers Progress Association, a Mr S. D. Cameron, asking that a receiving office established in Earlwood. Later correspondence received from Mr Cameron pointed out that two sites had been suggested, his own general store and "Mr White's place".
A report received from the Postmaster at Canterbury showed that 120 residents would be benefited by the proposed office which was about 1 1/2 miles from both Canterbury and Campsie. At that time a delivery was being made by postmen twice daily to about two thirds of the district and once daily to the remainder of the district.
The Department, however, considered that the area was adequately served and the request was declined.
Several more representations were received and in 1917 a petition was received from the residents of Earlwood asking for the establishment of a post office in the district. The report from the postmaster at Canterbury at this time indicated that about 60 residents would be served and again the Department considered the establishment of an office unjustified.
At this time a stamp license was held by one of the local storekeepers end letter deliveries were being made to the area from Marrickville and Canterbury post offices. The area served by Canterbury received two letter deliveries daily. It was reported that the bulk of the settlement was taking place about 1 1/2 miles east of the Earlwood district "towards the Cooks River Bridge, Undercliffe".
By 1920 approval had been given for the establishment of a receiving office which was known as "Earlewood". Unfortunately, a break occurred in the records at that time, and the reason for the selection of this spelling and the actual date of the opening of the office is not known.
The first receiving office keeper was Mr C.0 .Hudson, a businessman. After he sold his business it was taken over by Mr J.S.H. Young and later in 1923 was taken ever by a Mr Ryan.
Further representations were made in 1924 for the establishment of a post office and in January 1925 a Mr French offered to rent premises to the Department for a post office.
In August 1925 the Earlwood Progress Association approached the Department and approval was finally given to raise the status of the receiving office to that of non-official post office, and Mr T. Ryan became postmaster.
W. J. Hartman succeeded Ryan as postmaster on the 14th May, 1927.
About this time there was another break in the records but it would appear that the Department adopted the spelling "Earlwood" about 1927. The office became an Official Post Office on the 3rd July, 1941, and Mr M. Rogers was appointed official postmaster.
The above article on the Earlwood/Undercliffe area was compiled from information obtained from "A History of the Municipality of Earlwood" by James Jervis, Mr Ward re "Methodism in Earlwood", Mr Sanderson and the Postmaster General's Department. Also from documents and papers in the Mitchell Library, the Registrar General's Department and the Department of Lands. My grateful thanks to all. Also to "The Green Lines" for Tramway data.
THE SUBURBS OF OUR MUNICIPALITY: HOW AND WHEN THEY WERE NAMED
As promised in our previous journal, the following suburbs complete the series.
From information supplied by the Postmaster General's Department, it is noted that the name "Belfield" first appeared their records in 1930 when the Belfield Branch of the A.L.P. wrote asking that the Department establish a post office at North Belmore.
Although several applications were made over the years , it was not until 1936 that the postal inspector reported in favour non official post office. His report read:
- ...There is a business centre here consisting of 16 shops, 1 garage and 1 hotel. It is a prosperous business section. Part of the locality is approximately mid-way between Belmore and Enfield. It is known as Belfield. The name is derived the first portion of Belmore and the last portion of Enfield".
The Department of Lands advised that it had no objection to the use of the name "Belfield" and approval was subsequently for the establishment of a non-official post office.
In July 1930 the Secretary of the Earlwood A.L.P. wrote e Postmaster General's Department asking that postal facilities be provided for the residents "in and around the Clemton Park Estate"
The letter advised that the place was situated about 1 mile from the Earlwood tram terminus and was thickly populated. The post office, however, was not opened until 1933 as conducted in a section of the grocery store owned by Mr E. K. Howlett, at 162 William Street, formerly known as Earlwood. The Dept. of Lands advised that there was no objection name "Clemton Park" being used for the post office.
In October 1914, the "Croydon Park Parents and Citizens' Association" sent a petition through their Member asking that a post office be established at "Croydon Park".
- "..At the present time there are five shops established at Croydon Park, six others are nearing completion, the whole of which are let and plans are out for four more. We also have a Public School of 700 scholars and two churches and from the petition it will be readily seen that a very large residential area will be served”
The place was about one mile from three official post offices, viz Ashfield, Campsie and Croydon.
The Department of Lands'advised that there was no objection to use of the name "Croydon Park" for the new office.
The Post Offfice was opened in 1915 at "Mrs Parker’s shop" and Mrs Parker was appointed postmistress.
The foregoing was compiled from information supplied by the Historical Office of the Postmaster-General's Department T .M. R
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.
1 inch = 0.025m 1 foot = 0.305m 1 yard = 0.914m 1 mile = 1.609km 1 ft² = 0.0929m2 1 yd² = 0.936m2 1 acre= 0.405ha 1 mile²= 2.59km2 1 gallon=4.54609litres
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........3c 10d.......8c 5d........4c 11d.......9c 6d........5c exactly 1/-.......10c exactly
SHILLINGS TO CENTS
1/-......10 cents 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.