Canterbury and District Historical Society s2 n03

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FOREWORD(Series2 N3)

Since the Bi-Centenary journals our research team has brought to light for you still further history of the early colony, in particular of areas in our own Municipality. The Society is very grateful to them for their unremitting labour, done with such patience and accuracy. When the whole district has been covered it will be time to retrace steps. The faces of things keep changing and the history of each new era needs to be captured for our pleasure then posterity’s. This time, to add a little spice, a more modern story appears. We hope you will like it too.

June, 1971


PRESIDENT HON.SECRETARY. Mr. R. LIoyd Mrs.T.M. Roberts, 77 Banks Road EARLWOOD 2206 Phone. 55.6716.


“Ye ancientE village" of Canterbury was known very soon after the white man settled in Australia; grants being made for farming purposes so far back as 1795, when among the earliest grantees were John Clapham, Richard Johnson, James Hunt Lucas and Robert Campbell.

On the Canterbury Farm wheat ripened, and the first harvest was gleaned in 1795, scarcely five years later than that memorable first private harvesting by James Ruse, first farmer and settler on the virgin soil of New south Wales.

Governor Phillip had received special instructions from England to promote the cultivation of the land, and it was this that made him so remarkably free-handed with the land grants to anyone that showed aptitude for agriculture. The harvest of 1789, entirely a Government affair, had been very scanty, and up to the time of giving grants upon ability to use them being shown, even the officers, with abundance of assigned labour, could not, or would not, grow corn enough to feed the few head of stock they possessed.

The most successful farmer was Chaplain Richard Johnson, whose farm at Canterbury brought him the large fortune with which he, in 1800, retired to England. "His farm included 12 miles of beautiful country, in which were two acres of vineyard, that some years bore abundantly. An acre of orange trees, early nectarines, peaches, and apricots, also flourished," says Joseph Holt, in his memoirs.

Northumberland Farm (a grant to the Laycocks), for over 60 years in the possession of the Quigg family, had an orchard in it in 1807, showing that the settlement was spreading, whilst the remains of the huts and stonework of walls show the early presence of the Government men within a few hundred yards of where the present Canterbury railway station now is.

Until 1841 the district was purely agricultural, and was the home of the earliest timber getters, splitters, shingle makers, and sawyers, who were, scattered through the bush, with no great attempt of centralising into village form, though a small slab and bark settlement grew up close to where the racecourse now is, at the head of the waterway of Cook's River, a little west of the present village.

In 1836, Messrs. Knox Child and Francis Kemble came out to Australia for the purpose of forming a local sugar company. They bought by auction, from Mr Samuel Lyons, 60 acres of Mr Robert Campbell’s grant, and in 1841 saw a stone erection completed with "A.S.C. 1841" cut in its front wall, announcing its purpose. This new industry drew a considerable number of workmen to the place, and led a solid basis for the establishment of a township. A fine stone house was put up for Mr. John Bennett, manager of the refinery, another for Mr. Slocombe, overseer of the "boiling”, whilst slab and bark huts were to be seen scattered round, with a few smart weatherboard cottages the superior, workmen.

Naturally, the inevitable "pub" resulted. Mr. P. Murphy, of the Sugar Works, claims to be the first to supply the carters who brought the cane to the mill and took the sugar to Sydney, with grog.

His hotel was in Unwin Street, which was one of the firstnamed thoroughfares. It might be a misspelling of “Union", or might be called after Mr. Frederick Wright Unwin, whose bridge over Cook's river was used by the drivers. Mr. Pat Fox was overseer to the drivers.

Then came the Gardeners’ Arms, now the Woolpack, Sugar Loaf, near the river and later on the Rising Sun with Tom Sparkes, of fisticuff fame, for host. The Wheat Sheaf was kept by Mr. Cornelius Prout, who was Sheriff of Sydney. Butchers and bakers established businesses, and the directors of the Sugar Company made land available for a school and put up a building, which used both as a school and also for a church when visiting preachers attended. Dr. Macgarvie was the earliest Presbyterian minister; also, later, the father of G. H. Reid, who visited Canterbury, and, among the Wesleyans, the Rev. W. Schofield and the Rev. L.J.Draper, was stationed there awhile, afterwards being lost in London when she foundered in the Bay of Biscay, 1866,when the renowned actor, Mr. G.V.Brooke, also met his death.

The minister who perhaps made the deepest impression was the Rev. Mr M’Ilray, who afterwards went to Tasmania. He was a bachelor, living in a stone house (1854) in the village, where he conducted services in a big front room, celebrating many marriages of folks now grown in the district, and baptising the babies.

He had one of those deep resonant, singing voices that is as great a gift to a clergyman as is a power of oratory and like Whitfield, who could make a multitude weep by the uninteresting word "Mesopotamia", spoken by him in various cadences, Mr. M'Ilray only opened his doors and sent forth into the still, calm air his deep ponderous voice in

God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform
He plants His footsteps in the sea,
And rides upon the storm,

when the room would gradually fill, and soon a number of rough men in working clothes would come in forming a choir that made the Presbyterian metrical version of the Psalms roll gloriously down the main streets, penetrating the bark huts as a lullaby to put the children to sleep.

In 1849 Bishop Broughton opened a school church now St.Paul’s, the Rev. Thomas Hassall of St.Peters, being in charge. Miss Sophia Campbell, sister of Robert, gave £100 in perpetuity for the stipend. All who could afford carriages went to St.Peters, as many as fifty being drawn up along the Cook’s River road on a fine Sunday morning.

Among those who rest in the quiet St.Paul’s cemetery are Captain Strange Britson Hartigan, of H.M. 3rd W.I. Regiment, 1878; Hon. George Kenyon Holden, also his son, George Mackenzie Holden; Henry Andrew Palmer, for ten years vicar of "All Saints”, Petersham; James Cleghorn, of the 99th Regiment, Fanny Olivia, wife of Richard Fathers Penfold; Chas. Campbell Stiles, son of the Rev.Mr. Stiles, one time of St.Paul's; Chas. Vickers, architect; and William Hird, constable in New South Wales, killed when doing his duty 1885.

The district had great attractions for Dr. Lang. Many Sunday mornings Mr. Quigg went over to Balmain Road and met him to drive over in a gig to preach in a barn on Northumberland Farm.

During the days when the sugar mill was working, land round the township rose greatly in price, £80 being a record for half an acre in days when the same sized allotment would only have brought half that amount in such convenient places as Redfern.

Perhaps the greatest difficulty in those early days was in getting schooling for the boys and girls. Mr. Perrott was the first master in the village of Canterbury proper, but on many of the farms the residents were more than willing to put up buildings at their own expense if they could induce a teacher to come out and instruct their large families.

Owing to the very bad roads, the Sugar Company could make no headway at Canterbury. Therefore, the proprietors (Mr. Ralph Mayer Robey, Mr. Edward Knox, and, Clarke Irving) determined to purchase the old Cooper distillery in Sydney, and remove the works to the city. This was a practical destruction to the village, and suited in most of the shops, including at least two “pubs", being shut up.

The great disadvantage to the district has been that, whilst other suburbs as near Sydney were in touch with either train or, more recently with tram, twice a disappointment occurred when it was expected that Canterbury would be on the line of rail when the Liverpool line was made and again when it was projected to open the Illawarra suburbs via Balmain across country to Canterbury.

Fifty years ago a sort of coach took people to the city daily. "Buses, run by Mr. James Cook, Mr.William Rogers, and Mr. Coleman, brought fortunes to their owners, who, starting from what is still called the "Tree” Store, catered for the travelling public of Kingsgrove, Moorefield, Campsie, Belmore, and even Hurstville.

Among early grantees was Mr Oatley, an old-time watch and clock maker, who is said to have received a grant of 700 acres for his clock at Hyde Park Barracks. His farm at Moorefields has been many times resold (being at present in possession of Mr. Judd),a condition being that whoever buys the estate also takes over the family sepulchre with the occupants thereof.

"Do you mind the old man being on the estate?" was the inquiry of the owner of one of the private mausoleums of a would-be land buyer. "Not if he’s quiet", was the reply, not knowing that he was questioned re a dead ancestor.

(to be continued)

The above article was written for the "Evening News" by Mary Salmon).


The present modern complex situated in Beamish Street, Campsie, which houses the Canterbury-Municipal Administrative Building, the Baby Health Centre and the Central Library would appear to bear no relation to the old "Rising Sun" Inn at Canterbury which flourished during the later part of the 1800’s, but history records that on the 24th August, 1868, a public meeting was held at the "Rising Sun" Canterbury on the "subject of having, or not having, a Municipality… "

However, after a great deal of discussion, it was decided that the formation of a Municipality was premature as "neighborhood is not in a position to bear the expense necessarily incurred in supporting one...."

Ten years later, when the population was estimated to be about 800, a further petition, signed by 123 persons was published in the Government Gazette.

This was followed by a counter petition signed by 96 persons opposing the formation of a Municipality and alleging that several of those who signed the original petition were not liable for assessment and should not have attached their names.

In 1879, however, the Government decided in favour of the establishment of the Municipality and Frederick Clissold was appointed as Returning Officer. The Church of England school house was fixed as the polling place.

The early meetings were held at the home of the Mayor, but in June 1879 Mr. J. Quigg offered to build a room 24' x 14' at the bus stand or on his farm, for the use of the Council provided it was rented for 5 years at £10. per annum. At the same time the Rev. James Carter offered the use of the Church of England schoolroom at St. Pauls for £12. per annum.

It was decided by Council to call tenders for a building to use as a Council chamber and from among those received was an offer from the Rev. Carter for £4. For the remainder of the year, which was accepted by the Council.

At the same time the Council decided to purchase half an acre of land and the Mayor and an alderman were appointed to select the ground and report back to Council. Although the Mayor had prepared a plan for the Council Chambers and the Council were anxious to proceed, the Council Chamber was not built and they continued to meet at the school house.

In 1882 the rent of the school hall was increased £16. per annum. Sometime later a letter was written to Rev. Carter asking that the Council be given the exclusive use of the school hall. This was refused.

In the meantime they had received an offer from the Rev. Caldwell offering the use of the old Wesleyan Church as a Council Chamber. It was decided to accept this offer for a period of from 1 to 3 years.

This building was quoted as being "one of the ugliest and inconvenient buildings imaginable. It was sombre enough for a morgue, but it would do equally well as a vault". The people called it the "Canterbury State House". It had been built in the early days of the Colony and consisted of one room of heavy dull looking stone. This room which was only about 25' X 15' was used, not only by the Council to conduct their Municipal business and hold their meetings, but was the office of Council Clerk and in addition contained a free public library and was a reading room for the public.

During this time it was once again decided to purchase a piece of land, and tenders were invited from sons willing to supply Council with land suitable for erection of a Council Chamber. In 1884 the Mayor empowered to purchase land situated at the corner Canterbury Road and Charles Street for 80/- per foot from J. O'Neill. The owner at first refused to close deal, but two years later changed his mind and the Council acquired the property.

At a special meeting of Council it was agreed that the building be erected at a cost not exceeding £600 but this resolution was later rescinded.

Later a further block of land was purchased and instructions were issued for plans and specifications to be prepared for the proposed Town Hall. After many delays and setbacks a contract was finally drawn up and the corporate seal was affixed on 20th July, 1888, the work to be completed in 8 months.

The building progressed according to plan and the opening date was set for the 11th April, 1889.

During this time it was decided that such an event should not go unnoticed and great plans were made for a celebration.

So enthusiastic were the Aldermen, that they each promised to donate £2. towards the cost of the celebrations, and the Mayor, not to be outdone, promised to give £1. for each £1 donated by the aldermen. The Town Hall, which was situated in Canterbury Road, was officially opened by Sir Henry Parkes, who was accompanied by Mr, J.H.Carruthers, M.L.A. the Minister for Education.

What an occasion it must have been! The whole populace celebrated. Welcome banners were erected and the houses were decorated. A huge triumphal arch was built near the Cooks River Bridge bearing the words "Welcome to Canterbury" through which the official party passed on their way to the Town Hall.

About 700 children from the local schools attended and entertained the guests with their singing, and after Sir Henry Parkes declared the Town Hall open one of the schoolchildren presented an address.

During the afternoon the children were given refreshments and many amusements were provided. The official guests were entertained at dinner, after which they were taken on a tour of the district, and a Grand Ball was held at night.

Canterbury at last had a Town Hall of which she could be proud. In 1902 it was decided to extend the front of the Town Hall and to build a strong room. Mr. Varney Parkes, who was the son of Sir Henry, and very active in the Canterbury district, was asked to give an estimate and the Hocking Bros, who were also responsible for much of the building in the district were given the job.

Later the Town Hall, which had originally been lit by gas, was converted to electricity.

The Town Hall, with its high decorative tower, remained a landmark in the area for years, the centre of most of the large social functions and balls held in the district.

Finally there came a time when this fine old building had apparently outlived its usefulness. Despite protests and in spite of all efforts to conserve what many considered an important part of Canterbury’s history, it was finally demolished, and unkindest cut of all to those who had fought so hard to keep it, the site taken over by a petrol station. The present Administrative Building was opened on the 21st September 1963.

In its attractive setting of well kept lawns gardens, it is the busy hub of all things Municipal is incited a far cry from that first meeting which took place at the old "Rising Sun".

By T.M.Roberts.

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


The two earliest land grants in the suburb now called Lakemba, were given by Governor Macquarie on 1st January, 1810. One was given to James Bull (in the area where Garong, Yerrick and Baremia Streets now are) and his grant was for 90 acres.

The other was given to Samuel Hockley. This grant was of 50 acres and was known as Essex Hill, called after Hockley's native county in England. Fairmont, McDonald and Colin Streets now cross the acreage which belonged to this well known pioneer family of the Lakemba district.

Samuel Hockley belonged to the 102nd regiment of the N.S.W. Corps and had been given an earlier grant in Sydney. This first grant took up a section between Goulburn Street and Brickfield Hill.

Here he carried on a business as a butcher, but his Sydney grant was more renowned for the English Oaks and Elder trees which he had planted. Some of the seeds and acorns from these lovely trees were brought to his property at Essex Hill, where they thrived. Some of these trees, both on the Sydney and Essex Hill grants were still to be seen in 1890.

The Essex Hill farm was also well known in the district at that time as Potato Hill, because from this farm came the earliest grown potatoes in the district.

After his death, Hockley's property was divided between his two daughters, Mrs. Smith and Mrs. Miller. Although 84 years of age, Mrs. Miller still resided on her share of the property in 1890, with her daughter, Mrs. Tritton, and other members of the family.

Mrs. Miller's share of the property was sold to Mr. McDonald, on which he built a large home. About half an acre of this ground was given by Mrs. Miller for a Congregational church.

The site on which Lakemba station and post office now stand, was given as a grant to John Wall on the 19th October, 1831. This grant comprised fifty acres. Haldon Street now passes through what was the grant of Henry Butler, given him on 3rd June, 1823.

By 1840, most of the land in the area had been granted to various people. Farming, poultry raising, and farming were carried on extensively for years. The land opposite where St Theresa Catholic Church now stands, was at one time a large piggery.

The area around Binnerong Road and Yangoona Avenue was said at one time to have been the site of an Aboriginal Camp.

The suburb of Lakemba is named after the home of Mr Ben Taylor, an entomologist. This was his second in the area and the house was situated on what is now corner of The Boulevarde and Haldon Street.

At that time, Mr Ben Taylor owned vast tracts of Land in the district, but he made very little out of it. He sold most of it at small profit before the land boom began and prices rose.

Up until 1905, much of what is now suburban Lakemba was mostly forest country. Mr. Dean owned a tannery, situated in what is now Wangi Road. There were charcoal burners in the district, whose product was used by a small brickworks in the area to make handmade bricks. There was also Horton's nursery, which was managed by Mr. C. Brack.

The district was mostly rural in its pursuits and the suburb did not develop to any extent until the railway line was extended from Belmore in 1909. In the following October of 1910, the Belmore South Post Office transferred and renamed Lakemba.

Mr. Allaway is said to have been the first keeper in Lakemba, with Mr. Playford being the first milkman and Allen Bros, the first bakers. Mr. Gabb owned the butcher shop and Mr. Hardy was the grocer.

About 1912, a nine hole golf course was formed in the district, on land which lay between what is now Hillcrest Street and Rosemont Avenue. The first president of the club was Mr. Johnson, who at that time was station master at Lakemba. The secretary was Mr. W. Scarvill. The course was officially opened by Carnegie Clark, a professional golfer of the time.

By 1920, the shopping area was greatly increased, as the firm of Irwin & Veight had built shops in Lakemba and all were sold.

At this time there were three grocers, John Ryan, John Holland, and James Cranney. Mr. Clarke was the chemist and George Broughton the estate agent for the district.

By 1922, a Chamber of Commerce had been established and in October of that year, the members asked Canterbury Council to number the premises in Haldon Street because it had by then become a very busy shopping centre.

Ten years later in 1932, the Chamber of Commerce asked for Haldon Street to be tarred from kerb to kerb, as it was by this time a busy thoroughfare.

The first picture show in the district was an open air theatre, owned by a Mr. Spencer. It later changed hands several times. In 1915, there were two applications for the opening of picture shows. Mr. Smith asked permission of Council for the erection of an "up to date picture show near Lakemba Street". He was granted permission by Council. The other applicant was Mr. S. Quigg. He wished to erect a picture show in Canterbury Road. This too was approved by Council.

It was some years later before the Magnet Theatre was built by Greater Union Co , on the corner of Haldon and Gillies Streets. This theatre stood until after the second world war and the event of T.V. It was then pulled down and a garage now stands in its place.

Transport in the early days of the area was horse or horse drawn vehicle. With the coming of the railway, travel became somewhat easier. In June, 1915, Canterbury Council approved an application by Mr A. Hartrup to run a motor bus service from Canterbury Station to the Post Office at Lakemba. This appears to have been the first service of its kind in the municipality. Later the route for this bus service was altered. The new service was from Lakemba Post Office for Georges River Road, via Canterbury Road, Beamish Street and Brighton Avenue.

On October 15th, 1917, Mr. J.W. Swann was given permission to run a motor bus service from Lakemba railway station to Shorter Avenue. The fare charged was three pence and the journey took 20 minutes.

The educational needs of the district were first met in 1873, when a part time school was opened at Essex Hill. Later this part time school was merged with another part time school that had previously been opened at Belmore. This new school became known under the name Belmore School.

In 1879, a public school with the name of Lakemba, was opened on land given by Dr G.D.Tucker, to the then Council of Education. This school continued to function until 1913, when it was transferred to the site of the present school.

Although there had been fire stations at Canterbury and Campsie for many years, it was not until 1918 that a move was made for one to be situated in Lakemba, although there were volunteer firemen in the district. However, it was another three years, in 1921, before plans became concrete and the fire station was created by Mr. W. M. Marten from plans by Spain and Cosh.

And so to 1971, and the many changes in our suburbs. Alas, with the coming of T.V., no picture theatre survives, but there are compensations. We have a first rate library and baby clinic, and an amenities block in the main street. Plenty of off street parking areas. Three bus routes now serve from one side of the station to the Kingsgrove, Hurstville areas and on the Western side of the railway line there are bus services to the Greenacre, Bankstown districts. Lakemba is also linked to Wiley Park and Strathfield by some of these services and the train time table into the city is very frequent.

Each generation caters for its own needs. and although we perhaps hate to see many of the things we loved passing from existence, it is in the nature of things for man to progress. We, who have lived in the district for many years, perhaps miss the more leisurely of the early days of the suburb, but we must not forget that modern living has its compensations.

By I. E. Currey.

For much of the material for this article I wish to thank The Dept. of Lands, for old maps of the area, the Mitchell Library, for access to old newspaper files, and James is Jarvis’ book on the History of the Canterbury Municipality.


Coming triumphantly from the 19th Century to well over the half way mark of the 20th century, is a great achievement. The inauguration of St. Saviours Church of England, Punchbowl took place well over 100 years ago.

Situated on Canterbury Road, Punchbowl, the land for the first church of this name was purchased from Mr.L. Fetherstone in 1868, by the then Archbishop of Sydney.

The church was consecrated on 24th February, 1869, a small wooden building, it had the usual shingle roof of its times.

We do not know a great deal of the church's history at this period. However, the first service was probably conducted by the Rev. Palmer who was then rector of the Canterbury Parish.

For just on forty years this wooden building served the small population of Punchbowl. However, as has happened in all our suburban areas, small villages grew into larger districts and the need for a new church became evident.

In 1917, Rev. Arch-Deacon Boyce laid the foundation stone of the present church on the same site as that used for the older building. It was during the ministry of Rev. Rutledge Newton that the new church was opened on the 19th May of the same year.

At one stage during these past years, St. Saviours was proud to have as church organist, Matron Shaw, the very much loved, one time Matron of Crown Street Hospital. In the City of Sydney, Matron Shaw's name has become a legend of kindness and charity.

St. Saviours is one of our few older churches to still have a small cemetery at the rear of the building, dating back to early years, in which lie some of the district's pioneers, buried there in the peace and quiet Of the 19th century, but still not quite forgotten in age of rush and chaos.

Perhaps, during the 1970's, some of us will spare a few moments to stand quietly by their last resting place and dwell on the past, while looking towards the future of this church, which has served community of the district well, for over one hundred years.


I was privileged to interview a gentleman the other day, who prefers his identity to remain undisclosed at the moment - a man of consequence, well known - now retired and very alert. For the sake of anonymity let's just call him "Sandy."

Sandy came to Campsie when he was two. Let us add four more years and conclude that he remembers reliably from the time when he reached six years of age, that's 75 years ago.

The history of the earliest twenty of those 75 years is what I've had a burning passion to find out during most of my life. I know the rest. Well, my good reader, here is the near-beginning of Campsie straight from Sandy, much of it corroborated by younger members of the family, trusted personal friends of mine. Text books aren't needed - this is still in living memory.

Sandy wasn't the first to arrive in Campsie, no, not the very first. He remembers when it had FOUR houses only, two in Fourth Avenue (one still standing) one in Ninth Avenue (still standing) and one, the home of a Santa Claus type, white-bearded, old man and his wife, Mr. and Mrs. Beamish, in Beamish Street, the main street. I wonder what made it main then. The Beamishs' house was of wood, roofed with sheets of stringy bark.

"I know just where it was up the top end,"said Sandy. One of these days I hope to take him for a car ride so that he might point out the exact position, but with all the changes I reckon he'd need the direction sense of a homing pigeon to be spot on.

The railway from Sydney, up this way, terminated then at Canterbury.

Sandy considers that what really put Campsie on the map was an Easter military encampment, probably of militia. It was the only one held in Campsie, others were further out thereafter. He thought that the camp lasted a couple of weeks. People, by the hundreds came out to the camp over the holidays in buggies, carts and sulkies, on horseback and on foot.

To travel to Sydney from Campsie using public transport there were two choices; one was to walk to Canterbury thence go by train or better still, from where Sandy lived, was to walk to Enfield and catch the steam - tram which puffed along on a single set of lines (with passing loops) to Ashfield, thence go by train. Those were the days, the tram fare for all that delightful swaying and smoked and hissing and whistling was, per adult, one penny.

Campsie then had no electric-light or gas or laid-on water. Father's house had two up-to-date round galvanised corrugated iron tanks, and one older fashioned re ship's tank of heavy black iron.

The boys used to swim in "Slaty Bottom", a good water hole in Cooks River near the bridge which joins Fifth Avenue, Campsie with Burwood Road, Enfield.

Mother did the weekly clothes-washing in water from Cooks River in dry times when the tanks ran low.

There was, for many years, a Chinese Garden just the river opposite the end of Fourth and Fifth Avenues. To irrigate, the Chinese used a whim, that is, a horse wheel. The horse went round and round harnessed to a long pole which worked the cogs at the centre which worked the rope belt that drew, with slats or cups, a continuous supply of water from the river. Sandy could not remember which were used on the belt, cups or slats but he does remember the deep furrow worn by Neddy as it plodded the required number of daily rounds.

The water was drawn from the river on the top of a dam built by the Chinese. In the garden were several huge water holes into which the men walked, bare footed, of course, dipping and filling each pair of watering cans hung from a pole across the shoulders. Vegetables were cheap. When, occasionally, their drinking water ran out Chinese crossed over on the top of their dam to obtain from their neighbor’s tanks. The Chinese were peaceable, decent folk. They returned all kindnesses and generously to charity in vegetables.

"Could you blame them," said Sandy, "for trying to discourage the naughty Campsie boys who swam across in places to steal pears from a line of trees bordering the river?" The gardeners showed their displeasure sometimes by sneaking across their dam wall, along the bank on the Campsie side and gathering up the boys' clothes. Only after much begging and promising and sometimes tears did the boys get something to wear again on land. Evidently they did not fancy the thought of slinking furtively home in their birthday suits.

Sandy recalled the day that his dad smashed a leg off a chair in their dining room as he crashed it to the floor, killing a snake. There were plenty of snakes in Campsie then, the black, venomous, 5 ft. when fully grown, variety.

There was no school in Campsie, the closest was at Croydon Park. It had two big rooms, each partitioned, thus allowing for four classes. Those original rooms are still there. The Headmaster, when Sandy was attending, was Captain John Dart, a gentleman in nature and appearance, with a trim ginger beard. Another of the four teachers remembered by Sandy was Miss Crawford who also taught him on Sundays over the road.

Sandy remembers his mother's concern the day that the huge wooden arch which had spanned Fifth Avenue was removed. She worried that the children would become lost without that landmark to guide them through the tall scrub from school to home. She need not have, for they were all experienced enough by that time.

The top class in those days was called 4th class in most schools. Sandy and his classmates who "went on" were promoted to Canterbury Superior Public School to continue their education to 5th class standard. Mr. Parry, "Boss", was the Headmaster.

Sandy does not remember him for his nature, looks or head mastering but for his soup catcher type full length frock coat and flowing white beard. Whiskers were whiskers then. Many a bet was won when a lucky young man proved that he could twist the ends of his moustache around his ears. Mr. Varney Parkes, M.L.A., after representing two other electorates became the Member for Canterbury in 1894. He accepted the portfolio of Post Master General of New South Wales (1898-9) in the Reid ministry. It seems difficult to realise that our State had a Post Master General doesn't it, but of course that was before Federation. He was a son of Sir Henry Varney lived on the hill in Canterbury but moved down almost to the Campsie border.

Campsie's first Post Office was part of the enclosed side verandah of the home of Mr. & Mrs. G. M. Fitzpatrick on the eastern side of the junction of Browning Street with Brighton Avenue which was then part of Beamish Street. The office door faced Browning Street.

Can you imagine such a time as "Bullock Night?" Thursday night each week was "Bullock Night" for on that night bullocks were driven loose through Campsie to slaughter yards. Anyone out at that very time, just on dark, jumped over the closest fence or ducked under the lowest rail if he were small.

What a barbecue Sandy remembers - a bullock roasted whole just about where the Canterbury Swimming Pool is, to celebrate the opening of the railway extension from Canterbury to Belmore.

Land was selling well. In Claremont Street a choice house-block cost £25, on terms. "Ten shillings deposit, Thank you!”

Before Sandy was old enough for permanent employment, he worked for a butcher from 5.00 a.m. to 8.00 p.m. on Saturdays. Forequarters of lamb sold at one shilling three pence each, hindquarters for one shilling and nine pence. The butcher's bulk-loaded cart was a welcome sight as it trundled its rounds visiting the houses. Meat was “cut from the cart" as the housewives came out and selected.

"Would you like me to skip a few years? You would? Right! "

Well, time moved on fast. It moved faster as Sandy grew older. He joined the Railway Department at five shillings per day and rose to the position of Chief Examiner drivers. He personally examined the drivers to man steam engines for expresses. Those lovely things, the big, powerful, impatient express engines each had a personality of its own which a good driver, by patience, learned to recognize and love and pamper.

That was before the introduction of these heartless oblong boxes called super modern diesels with a radiator for the driver's toes, a fan for his head, an ice-box on his left and a small stove to his right to heat a pie or cook an egg.

Remember in 1970, that historic Indian - Pacific train pulled from Sydney to Perth and back by the two huge, specially rejuvenated 38 Class steam locomotives?

Sandy broke in both of those 38's when they were youngsters fresh from the manufacturers.


One of the loveliest homes in our district is Gladstone Hall which is situated in Ewart Street, Dulwich Hill. Standing well back from the road and beautifully preserved, it is a credit to its present owners the Civilian Maimed & limbless Association.

The land formed part of a grant of 700 acres to Thomas Moore by Governor King in 1803. He was one of the founders of the Bank of N.S.W. but is best known as the founder of the Moore Theological College and was to be the "first person in the colony to leave his wealth to the advancement of learning and religion".

This land was incorporated in the magnificent estate of Dr. Wardell which covered about 2,000 acres (nearly the whole of the borough of Marrickville). Dr.Wardell was a barrister and with William Charles Wentworth founded "The Australian", the first independent newspaper in the colony.

He laid out a big part of his land as a park and stocked it with deer which he imported from England and where he and his friends held frequent hunting parties.

One day in 1834, while riding over his property near Cook's River, he came upon a hut in which three escaped convicts were hiding. As he rode up, one of them shot and killed him. Two of the culprits were later hung, the third, said to be a mere boy turned Kings evidence and pardoned.

After his death, his land was divided between his three daughters and that part upon which Gladstone Hall stands came to his daughter Jane Isabella Priddle. She in turn sold it to her son, Charles Priddle who later sold half to George MacArthur.

In 1869 it was purchased by William Augustus Starkey. Mr. Starkey started business in 1838 as a cordial manufacturer and built the biggest ginger beer business of the day in the Southern Hemisphere. By 1850 he was employing 40 men.

He built Gladstone Hall from stone quarried on the property but apparently never lived in it. The house was built around 1870 as he is listed in the Sands Directory for 1871 as being at Terrace Road which is now Ewart Street.

In 1899 it passed to Arthur Starkey and in 1904 to Alexander Borthwick.

In 1907 it was advertised by auctioneers Richardson & Wrench as "a massive stone villa with spacious hall, wide verandahs, 8 large rooms, 5 smaller rooms and offices good order".

Also included in the Gladstone Hall Estate was a "stone cottage, slate roof, four rooms, kitchen and offices, on the corner of Starkey Street", and "facing Starkey Street, two stone cottages and stone stable with loft".

From then on it passed through several owners until in 1927 it was being run as a Convalescent Hospital by Florence Buzacott.

Later in 1951 it was owned by Ernest and Alice Evans. Their daughter, who was disabled, was associated with the Civilian Maimed and Limbless Association and subsequently married another disabled member. It was through her that the property was purchased by the Association and is now doing a fine job as a hostel for the Handicapped.

At a time when so many of our historic buildings seem doomed by so-called progress , it is very gratifying that this splendid old home has been spared and is serving such a useful purpose in the community. My grateful thanks to Miss Jan Hill the Public Relations Officer of the Civilian Maimed & Limbless Association for the wealth of information supplied for this Article.

By T.M.Roberts


Canterbury is one of four areas in the Sydney metropolis, where a course for the running of horse races still exists.

The history of the course goes back to the early days of the district. Canterbury always had a race track of sorts. On this course, bush race meetings were held, mostly on public holidays. The first track being in the vicinity of where the present modern race course now is.

The earliest race meeting, of which we have any official record, was held on the 9th November, 1871. Mr. Frederick Clissold, a well-known business man of that time, was steward. He later became a foundation director of the Canterbury Park Race club. So in this year of 1971, Canterbury Race course reaches its official centenary.

From 1871 on, the races at Canterbury began to play a part in the sporting life of Sydney. On Queen Victoria's birthday, May 24th, 1878, a special meeting was held. To this sporting event came over 3,000 spectators. This was a very large crowd, considering that travelling arrangements were far from ideal.

Race goers mostly had to take the train to Ashfield station and make their way to the course at Canterbury by the best means available and this until 1881, probably meant walking.

In that year a vehicle, probably a waggonette, started to ply between the villages of Ashfield and Canterbury. This service was owned by Mr. S. Clifton. There was an alternative way of travelling from Sydney to Canterbury. This was by coach, from the corner of Clarence and King Streets Sydney. The roads at this time being very rough, It was a most uncomfortable journey.

As early as 1881, Mr. J. L. Nightingale and Mr. C. J. Foord put forward the suggestion that a racing club should be formed. They were joined in this venture by Messrs. F. Clissold and W.L.Davis.

A news item in the Sydney Morning Herald, dated 10th January, 1884, has this to say of the formation of the racecourse ....."a considerable portion of the Jeffries' estate has been recently leased by a syndicate with a view to providing increased accommodation for sporting people and holiday makers. The plot of land, consisting of 36 acres which has been converted into a racecourse and recreation ground of the village of Canterbury, and originally portion of the Jeffries estate the promoters of Canterbury Park, have enclosed the area referred to, fenced it in, ploughed up and turfed a running ground, seven furlongs in circumference, erected a grandstand capable of holding 700 people . . ."

The first meeting on the new course was held on the 19th January, 1884. Again there were more than 3000 spectators present. It was a very successful meeting.

The "Canterbury Park Handicap" was the race of the day and was easily won by the horse "Polestar", followed by "Tact", with "Jack of Clubs" third. As in most events of this kind, the favorite "Prima Donna" was unplaced. Perhaps she had the temperament to go with the name.

Many of the important people and officials of the racing fraternity of the day, came in "four in hand" vehicles with their guests. Among these were the Hon. James White, Patron, and the Hon. Richard Hill, M.L.C.

In the year 1887, the affairs of the original syndicate were transferred to a company and about 1896, all the land between John and King Streets, Canterbury, was purchased to enlarge the course. Thus was formed the six furlong track.

With the improvements gradually taking place at the racecourse, it followed that racing stables were established in the district. Where Canterbury Girls High School now stands, there was at one time a large racing stable conducted by a Mr (Ike) Andrews.

During the depression years of the "thirties", the beginning of the Cook's River Improvement Scheme came into being. Debris from the river was used to raise that part of the racecourse along the river banks, by up to 20 feet and so averted the flooding of the lower areas of the course.

No doubt many of the older folk of our district can remember the small zoo, contained in the course. Most of the animals were housed in the Leger. This zoo remained in being until the army took over the racecourse during the Second World War.

The course was also used as a training track for trotters before the war, but this was later discontinued.

In 1945, the racecourse was taken over from the Canterbury Park Racing Club, (who had been responsible for the track from 1887) by the present owners, the Sydney Turf Club.

The course now has three covered stands and transport to the meetings is well organised. There are special race trains from the city on race days and buses run from several suburbs.

The course proper, which is a very good drying track, is 7 furlongs and 102 ¾ yards in circumference and the length of the straight, 1 furlong and 118 yards. Besides the main track, there are three training tracks, all about 7 furlongs. These consist of an inside grass track, a tan track and a cinder track.

Today, in spite of all the rush and bustle that goes with a modern race meeting, the pioneers of our early Canterbury racecourse have not been forgotten. The "Frederick Clissold Handicap" honours one of the founders of the course.

Another memorial race bears the name, the "Frank Underwood Cup". Mr. Underwood was for many years Chairman of Directors of the old Canterbury Park Racing Club. He married Mr. Clissold's daughter and lived to see this race run in his honour.

My appreciation for the use of material in this article goes to James Jervis and his History of the Canterbury Municipality, to Mr. R. B. Boulter, Secretary of the Sydney Turf Club and particularly to Mr. J. Gab to of Punchbowl.

By I. E. Currey.


In our municipality of Canterbury, in the suburb Campsie, we have a street named Clissold Parade and in neighboring municipality of Ashfield, there is Clissold Street. Both of these thoroughfares have been called after Frederick Clissold, an early business and sportingman of the district.

Frederick Clissold's birthplace was in the country of Gloucester, England, He was born in the year 1831, and seven years later, in 1838 came with his parents to the colony of N.S.W.

He was educated at Grantham House Academy in Glebe, Sydney and after leaving school he entered his father's business, this being the trade of fellmonger and wool stapler. He served enough time in the business to learn the trade well and left his father's business and joined the wool firm of James Henry Atkinson.

He did not remain with this firm for any great length of time but went to work for the much larger establishment of Prince, Bray and Ogg, as a departmental manager.

Again his employment with this firm was of short duration, leaving them to rejoin his father's business. Here he remained until his father's death in 1867.

While in his father's employment, business life had many ups and downs. These were inseparable from a large business in which speculation played a great part. After the death of his father, he opened his business of fellmongery at Newtown, and was very successful. He gradually extended his operations and it became necessary for him to take in a partner.

This new man in the business was Mr. George Hill, son of the Hon. Richard Hill, M.L.C. and his coming added much to the success of the business, both materially and socially.

One extension of the firm at this time was to Canterbury, where in 1868, Clissold and Hill established a wool wash works on the southern side of Cook's River, just opposite the old Sugar House (now Hutton's bacon factory).

This new wool wash had an area of about ten acres, with the old dam about the centre of the property.

An engine capable of lifting 15 tons of water per hour was installed. The plant was able to scour about 25 bales of wool per day, at a cost of approximately 1 ½ pence per pound. The drying ground for the wool after scouring took up over four acres.

His business ventures prospered and in 1874 he determined to retire from active work in the firm. He decided to enter some other business where the work would be less demanding. At the time he was not in good health and made up his mind to have a trip to England.

This he did in 1875 and later came back to the colony ready to again carry on his various business activities.

Before his trip to England, he went into mining ventures, mostly gold, which turned out well. On his return, he was in time to speculate in the Hill End Eldorado, which was the sensation of its time.

In 1877, the partnership with George Hill was dissolved, and Frederick Clissold again entered business on his own account. This time it was the land and property business. He made large speculations in city and suburban real estate, which turned out very profitable. It was during this time that Mr. Clissold became involved in the civic affairs of our district. We find his name as returning officer for the first election of a municipal council for Canterbury on 2nd May, 1879.

Mr Clissold's residence was in Victoria Street, in what is now the suburb of Ashfield. It was a very handsome property and it was called "Glenworth".

One could not write of Frederick Clissold without telling of his love of horse racing and the Turf. He was steward for the first official race held on the Canterbury race course on 9th November, 1871.

He was later foundation director of Canterbury Race Course Co. Ltd., which was founded in 1883, the first meeting under that name being held at the course 1884.

He was a prominent race horse owner of the period, his horse Activity winning the Sapling Stakes on 20th February, 1886. He also owned Bonnie Doon, who ran third in the Centennial Gift of 150 sovereigns, on 26th January, 1888. Besides prize money, this race carried a trophy of 100 sovereigns. This trophy Mr. Clissold presented to connections of the winner.

A race to honour his memory, called the Frederick Clissold Handicap, was first instigated at the Canterbury course on 6th April, 1940. During 1942- 1944, this race was discontinued but when the present owners of the course(The Sydney Turf Club) took over, it was revived and has been held each year since. The prize money for the Frederick Clissold Handicap is now $4500, and is run over 6 furlongs.

Thus this article tells of a man, who, though fully occupied with his business activities, could find time for civic duties and sporting relaxation. It is good that his name is honoured in the district by both civic fathers and members of the sporting fraternity.

Much of the information for this article came from "Men of Mark" and also James Jervis' "History of Canterbury Municipality". I would also like to thank Mr. Boulter, Secretary of the Sydney. Turf Club, for information in regards to Frederick Clissold's association with the Canterbury Park Race Course Co. Ltd.

By I. E. Currey.


John Bloodsworth was transported to Sydney Cove and in 1790 he was emancipated. Being a Master- builder, he became the first "architect" in the colony. Most of the public buildings in the colony, in the late part of the eighteenth century, had been erected under the supervision of this man. In 1804, he was appointed Superintendent of Buildings, with a salary of £50. per annum. This sum, like most, if not all salaries, was probably paid in kind - usually rum.

The first Government House in Bridge Street, was designed and constructed (under his supervision) by Bloodsworth. Begun in May, 1788, it was a two storey structure built of brick and roofed with clay shingle tiles. Its staircase was the colony's only one for some years.

Another of his designs, a dry stores in Sydney Cove in 1790, was 80ft. by 24ft. with a loft. The soldier's barracks on the west side of the Tank Stream, and houses for Richard Johnson, Mr. Alt (the Surveyor-General), and David Collins (the Judge Advocate) were among his other designs.

The clock tower on Church Hill, Sydney's first skyscraper, was designed and supervised by Bloodsworth in 1797. In recognition for services rendered to the community as a master builder, he was given a grant of land of 60 to 70 acres in what is known as Hurlstone Park. But he did not live long enough to really enjoy the title of squire, for he died in 1804 from the effects of a severe cold. He was accorded the equivalent of a state funeral by the Governor.

The above article was compiled by Miss Marilyn Bunt, for her "Duke of Edinburgh Award" project book. With her permission it is printed in this journal.