Canterbury and District Historical Society s2 n05

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We do hope that you find all of the articles in this Journal interesting and informative and some of them very much to your liking. Again we thank our writers who through research and story have helped to bring more of the past to life, relating events and people. It is, of course, our aim to preserve the record of our district’s past for the people of the present and the future.

Had we kept an "Important Events Book" for most of our lives what a mine of information would be available to us now.

"The first motor car ever seen by our town came to-day. It could not manage the steep hill back out again. Two mail coach horses pulled it up."
"The last of the three Turon gold dredges has ended it service here. It will be dismantled and transported to Stanthorpe to dredge for tin.”
"Chemists must be licensed in N.S.W. as from today.”
"Tramlines have been extended to Canterbury.”
"Regulations were declared for the licensing of electricians."
"Much of Cooks River is now bordered by concrete. It is anticipated that flooding will be eliminated."
"The last tram ran to-day. Trams are said to be obsolete"
"Our last Picture Theatre closed to-day - business declined"
"A new Post Office is being built - business increased.
"Generations of memories," you might say, "some of them dug from old chronicles," but they are not. Some of us remember them ALL, not all in our district here but all in our life time.

Perhaps you too might to indulge in keeping an Important Events Book - no paste no storage problem. A start could be made with a 20 cent school exercise book. The records, starting with a date or an approximate one, might be weeks or months apart according to what each writer thinks is important enough to jot down and on what footing - our district - our country - the world - the lot. If nothing personal is included then the whole family or your friends or the Society can benefit if you so wish at any time, and you don’t run the risk of laughs - just stick to events. It would be an interest.



When in 1839 in England, a certain Francis Kemble enlisted the assistance of W. Knox Child, in a venture to start a Sugar Works in Australia, they started a chain of events which have had a long lasting effect on the history of Canterbury. As a result of their persuasion, many skilled operators were engaged and these men signed an agreement to remain with the Sugar Company for one year after their arrival in Australia.

One of these men was William Slocombe, who was engaged as the overseer of the sugar boilers. There are on file in the Mitchell Library, two letters written by John and Mary Fry of Chipstable England, to William and Betsy Slocombe at Bristol. These letters written on the 12th and 19th May, 1841, very strongly attempted to dissuade them from coming to Australia.

The letters read in part "...if that you will not be persuaded and will go, then I hope the almighty God will go with you and prosper you, but I hope you know better than to go and take four young children into a foreign land to starve". They go on to say "....I have seen many bad accounts of Australia. A few months ago I read the copy of a letter from a young man to his brother and sister which gives a shocking account. Wearing apparel is exceeding dear, the climate is very hot that if any person should fall asleep the ‘flys’ and insects will blow in a person's nostrils and ears".

They also made reference to "....whirlwinds which will take up the sand (which the soil consists of) and by and by down comes the sand storm again like a snow storm is here with us, and continued danger there is by the ’verments’ and the wild animals".

William, however, decided that notwithstanding these dire predictions, he would make the journey. What his wife and four young children thought of the venture, is not recorded.

The Principals left England on the barque Ann Gales on March 11th 1840 and reached Sydney in July 12th of the same year. Later in the year the Company purchased 60 acres of land at Canterbury from Robert Campbell for the sum of £1,200 and in 1841 the large and substantial sugar house was erected on the banks of Cooks River. Canterbury was chosen for the venture because there was an adequate supply of water and an abundance of timber which was to be used for the furnaces.

The remainder of the land was laid out as a township and many years later in an edition of the Echo of October 2nd 1890 it mentions that a plan showing the 95 allotments to be sold "is still in the possession of Mr James Slocombe (William’s son)".It sets forth that "the land adjoins that on which the Australian Sugar Co. Works are erected to be sold by auction by Mr. Lyons on Friday, July 20th 1841. Lithographed by W. Baker King, King Street East."

It also records that Mr. William Slocombe overseer of the sugar boilers and Mr. John Bennett, Manager of the refinery built more substantial residences, and says of Mr. William Slocombe’s house, "....this house was said to be too large and Mr. Slocombe was laughed at for building it. He had a large family, however, and the house soon proved to be small enough. It is still standing and it is said to be the oldest two-storied building in the ancient village".

In a further newspaper article, written for the Evening News by Mary Salmon, it was noted that "...a fine stone house was put up for Mr. John Bennett, Manager of the refinery, another for Mr. Slocombe, overseer of the ‘boiling’".

So obviously, Mr. Slocombe was a man of some standing in the community. The article also mentioned that slab and bark huts were to be seen scattered round with a few smart weatherboard cottages for the superior workmen. However, despite these grand beginnings, things did not work out as expected and after a series of misunderstandings between the directors, culminated in a libel action in March 1843. Eventually the Colonial Sugar Company was formed in 1854 and in 1855 the works at Canterbury were closed and transferred to a property in George Street West.

The closing of the Sugar Company was a great tragedy to the people of Canterbury, It was reported in "The Echo” in 1890 some 35 years later, that "The closing of the sugar mill was a great blow to the ’ancient village’ from which, in fact, it has not yet recovered. The removal of the men employed made a serious reduction in the population and caused two of the hotels to close up almost immediately”.

William Slocombe, however, remained in Canterbury and far from being crushed by the disaster, apparently became very much a public figure. His name appears regularly on the lists of those active in civic affairs. When in 1854 the Government took over the road and bridge at Canterbury after the Prouts Bridge episode (see Journal No. 1).it was decided to open and maintain a road from Parramatta Road at Petersham to Prouts Bridge. In 1855 it was stated in the Government Gazette, that the road had been formally marked and opened and a further notice in the same year named five persons as trustees for a period of three years.

However, there had earlier been a public meeting at the "Canterbury Arms” (the first licensed inn in Canterbury) where the question of the route of the road was discussed and it was unanimously agreed that the road should continue over Prouts Bridge to the crossing place at Salt Pan Creek, to join with the existing Government Road leading from the Illawarra Road to Irish Town, in as direct a line as possible to Lansdowne Bridge. Apparently the meeting was successful, because it is noted that in November, 1858 William Slocombe, John File, James Quigg, Timothy Daniels and William Rogers were elected trustees. The road was controlled by the trust until 1885. A toll bar was erected at the corner of Canterbury Road and Floss Street and the money collected in tolls provided the main source of revenue for road upkeep.

William Slocombe also had the honour of being the first postmaster in Canterbury. During this time the people were clamouring for better conditions. One of the worst examples was the mail service. We read that in 1855 a petition was sent to the Postmaster General by the people of Canterbury, Cooks River and Georges River asking for a post office to be established at Canterbury. This request was refused and in 1856 a letter written by a Mr. Barnabas Hartshorne pointed out that the nearest post office "was a mile and a half away and the only means of communication was a bush track. The man who brought the mail across and undertook delivery could neither read nor write”. Once again the request for a post office was refused, but it was agreed that a bag could be made up at Ashfield for delivery to Canterbury provided someone was elected by the local residents to receive it. William Slocombe was the man nominated.

Finally, in March 1858, it was decided to establish a post office at Canterbury and our William Slocombe was appointed postmaster with a salary of £12.0. 0. Per annum. For this princely sum he was also required to carry mail bags to and from Ashfield daily between 7 and 8 a.m. At this time he operated the local store and it was from here that the post office was conducted. In 1863 he sold his business to a Mr. Thomas Davey who succeeded him as postmaster. However, in 1867 he once again took over the business and again became postmaster.

His interest in civic affairs never seemed to abate and when the question of the formation of the Municipality was raised, a petition was published in the Government Gazette in September 26th 1878. It was signed by 123 persons and among the names there appeared that of William Slocombe.

William Slocombe died on the 15th January, 1886 at the age of 76 years. He was buried in the St Pauls Church of England Cemetery at Canterbury. His wife Betsy died on the 2nd October 1887 at the age of 79 years. They both rest quietly among their family in the large family grave in this picturesque little cemetery. William Slocombe left a legacy of public service which was ably carried on by one of his sons, James. Of the remainder of his numerous children, little is known.

By T. M. Roberts.

The above article was compiled from letters & newspapers held in the Mitchell Library & information contained in the History of Canterbury Municipality.


James Slocombe was born on the 19th June, 1844 in the large two-storied house built for his father, at Canterbury.

He lived at Canterbury until 1862, when at the age of 18 he apparently began to experience some of his father’s earlier wanderlust. He left the district and spent many years droving cattle from North Queensland and New South Wales to Victoria.

His activities were not solely confined to droving, as years later while living at Goulburn he appears to have become involved in a misadventure which became the front page news of the day. James Jervis in his "History of the Canterbury Municipality" gives the following account.

...... .’’On January 5th, 1874 Slocombe was riding towards Burrows. About midday he fell in with another horseman; they rode together for some time. Suddenly the other man put a revolver at his head and ordered him to go into the bush where he was compelled to tie himself to a tree. The bushranger searched him, took his money and proceeded to cut his throat. Slocombe struggled free and ran for his life.
The robber fired two shots at him neither of which hit. Slocombe jumped on his horse and rode hard to Wheoo where he met the local postmaster who took him to a doctor where the wound in the throat was sewn up. The bushranger, John Hawthorne alias Perry, was arrested by Sergeant Cotter, tried at Goulburn and sentenced to death. Hawthorne confessed to four murders committed in a similar manner..."

Quite obviously, James had a very lucky escape!

He returned to Canterbury in 1881, and in an edition of The Echo of October 2nd, 1890 it records ......."Mr. James Slocombe has for many years kept a store and bakehouse, and some 10 years ago a handsome building was erected by the side of the old house, with a modern-looking shop, at the corner of George Street, as the Canterbury Road, Canterbury is now called and across street. Behind are extensive stables, a large bakehouse and other conveniences..."

He most certainly inherited his father's interest in civic affairs as shortly after his return to Canterbury a meeting was called on the 29th August 1881 at the Council Chambers to discuss a proposal to construct a tramway to Canterbury, Kingsgrove and St. George. It was decided to send a deputation to the Minister for Works and among those nominated we find James Slocombe. Unfortunately, the deputation was unsuccessful and it was many years before the tram came to Canterbury. As a matter of interest the line to Canterbury railway station was not opened until 1921.

In 1882 he was elected as an alderman, and in 1883 we find him serving on a "Free Library Committee” which was formed as a result of pressure to Council to establish a public library. A clause in the Municipalities Act permitted the establishment of public libraries and it was suggested that the Bylaws and a list of proposed books be sent to the Government. The Council was informed in 1884 that £200 was to be granted by the Government to establish a library which was subsequently housed in the Council Chambers. On the 3rd February 1886 he became Mayor of Canterbury and remained in office until the 7th May 1887.

In August 1886 as Secretary of the Railway Committee he called a meeting at the Royal Hotel in Sydney, "...of those interested in the construction of the St Peters - Liverpool Loop Line". As a result of the meeting they proposed that the Government be urged to bring the scheme before Parliament. However, once again, as in the matter of bringing a tramway to Canterbury, it was many years and many proposed routes later before the Government finally acted. In this case it certainly pre-dated the tramway as the line was opened on February 1st, 1895.

When the Canterbury Park of 20 acres was proclaimed in 1885, his name appears among those in whom it was vested.

James Slocombe died on the 17th January, 1894 only eight years after his father’s death, at the comparatively young age of 49 years. He also is buried in the family grave in St Pauls Church of England Cemetery, Canterbury.

Shortly after his death a public meeting was called by the then Mayor in an effort to give some recognition for his services to the Municipality. It was decided that a public subscription be launched and a suitable memorial be established in his honour. This took the form of a fountain which was built at the corner of Broughton Street and Canterbury Road and which was dedicated in 1895 and remained a land¬mark for many years. In 1918 it was suggested that the fountain be moved to the Canterbury Park but nothing eventuated until the 1930’s. Today nothing remains of the original memorial which has been replaced by a plaque set in a memorial wall, surrounded by an attractive shrubbery, in the centre of the park. The Slocombe family remained in the district and a grandson of William Slocombe, Mr. Percy Slocombe also became an alderman of the Canterbury Council, ably carrying on the tradition set by his forebears.

By T. M. Roberts

The above article was compiled from Newspapers held in the Mitchell Library and information contained in the "History of the Canterbury Municipality" by James Jervis.


A talk given to the Society at Campsie by Mr. C. Tanner - 22nd August, 1972.

Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen,

History is the story of any time before now.

Most people want a history story to be like a bride’s outfit, something old - something new. In my short talk, I’ll give you just that.

The world was created and developed. We believe that during that development Australia became separated from Asia by the sea which rolled in over sunken land. "Dream Time" gradually faded deeper into the past and legend gave way to certainty.

Captain Cook’s men rowed him up Cooks River, just down there. Captain Phillip started the colony at Sydney Town. Governors handed out Crown Land.

William Bennett received a grant of 100 acres close by here. It was Part of Portion 75, Parish of St. George, County of Cumberland; deed issued 25th August, 1812 - come next Friday that will be 160 years ago. Then 58 years ago I pulled a cord over a pulley and opened a little trap door letting out the fowls into that same paddock at the back I opened the back gate and went out too, flew my kite, raced around, tried to dodge Bindii, caught tadpoles in the creek, and admired every horse grazing there or being rounded up into one corner of what by then had become known as "Gunn’s Paddock", for the Sunday morning horse sale.

Our beloved 5th Class teacher and sports master told us in 1918 that "they", he probably explained who "they" were, "they" were going to make Gunn’s Paddock into a park and would spend a great deal of money developing sporting fields. As he verbally unfolded the plans to us we smiled in utter disbelief.

The centre of Gunn’s Paddock, 8 acres 1 rood 22 perches of it, was purchased on 28th February, 1918, in fee simple, £ 2,432/7/6 by the Minister for Lands on behalf of the New South Wales Government Lands Department, it being that land comprised in Certificate of Title Volume 3329 Folio 164, signed by the Registrar General on 22nd June, 1922, and dedicated as a public park. The Canterbury Municipal Council appointed trustee. As the ownership remains with the Government, no major changes may be carried out without prior Governmental approval.

To this centre area the remainder of Gunn’s Paddock added, 2 acres 3 roods 9 perches on the Belmore end, and 12 acres 3 roods 2 perches on the Campsie end due to the purchase of it on 2nd April, 1921 from the same previous joint owners of the centre by Canterbury Municipal Council, in fee simple, for £4,350. These two additions were covered in one Certificate of Title Volume 3547 Folio 24 signed by the Registrar General on 8th January, 1924. The "metamorphosis" was complete. "Call it a park" we were told, "not a paddock".

As the years passed by, huge covered concrete pipes replaced my tadpole creek, cricket pitches were laid and a white picket fence enclosed a football field. The "M.A.Noble" large grandstand-pavilion was purchased for a "song" from The Sydney Cricket and Sports Ground Trust.

I was told that it took about four years to re-erect it here because money was scarce in those "Depression Days". It was opened on 14th March, 1936 as the "Parry Pavilion", after Mr. S. E. Parry, the Mayor. At the Belmore end of the park, stand children’s playground equipment, surrounded by a few acres of lawns and trees and, in the South West corner is the Belmore Bowling Club. The Bowling Club has three greens, two of Couch Grass and the other of New Zealand Bent Grass.

The membership exceeds 300. In less than 30 years it has progressed from owning a temporary, ex-army, weather-board hut to possessing the beautiful permanent club building you can see now with all the space and amenities the members wished for and paid for.

In 1967 the football spirit in this district was at fever heat as our Canterbury- Bankstown District Rugby League Football Club’s 1st Grade team climbed higher and higher up the Competition ladder. At the ending of the season the Metropolitan champion teams, Canterbury-Bankstown and South Sydney met in the Grand Final for the Premiership. And how they met!

It was a mammoth struggle with Canterbury-Bankstown leading 10 points to 7 virtually at the end of the day when an almost unbelievable full-field run gave South’s Bob McCarthy a try right under the bar levelling the score ten points to ten points with Souths having the right to kick for a conversion.

Then it came, right on the bell, one straight true kick and we were defeated. Oh Gosh, Oh Gosh: Beaten for the match and beaten for the Premiership by just one kick! We had lost, but who cared anyway - the whole district was thrilled to the core with their glorious Runners Up. "Up the Berries!" was yelled in adoration, blue and white ribbons and pennants were worn and waved and I’m told that schools full of teen-age fans pasted up the pictures and scores of their idols, the "Berries", above their study tables, then in mesmeric state studied those muscular forms and figures not avoiding their homework, just postponing it. Events moved fast.

The Council had resolved to transfer general sports to other and larger grounds and to give football Number One priority here. A few days before that breath-taking match, to be precise, on 30th August, 1967, substantial remodeling of the football ground had commenced.

The finished job, 5 1/2 months later, has given us one of the finest of football fields in New South Wales. Much credit goes to our Council and its engineers and staff. The football ground in the center of the park is a splendid amphitheater - the playing field being closely surrounded by a complete, wide, artificial hill of approximately 30,000 tons of soil as high as 23 feet in places above the ground level.

Seemingly endless rows of seating all around the lower levels of the hill, according to my reckoning, seat 7,000 spectators, then above those levels rise the tarred area one end and the grassed area the other end which permit more thousands to sit or still more thousands to stand, some days when necessary.

The first match here, a pre-season match, was played on 23rd February, 1968 between Canterbury-Bankstown and Western Suburbs. It was a night match with an estimated capacity crowd of 27,000 people. How is that for a suburban crowd? It certainly was a night to remember, not only for the players but for the patrons and the groundsmen.

The fence was fully finished five weeks later and the opening ceremony took place; it was 31st March, 1968 and we played Cronulla.

The cost of this reconstruction was 200,000 of which the Council supplied half, the New South Wales Rugby Football League supplied one quarter and the Canterbury-Bankstown Rugby League Football Club, well supported by the Canterbury-Bankstown League Club Limited became responsible for the remainder.

The pavilion, as a spectator grandstand is no longer used, the view is blocked, for it became far too small for the crowds who follow League and who, at close quarters, want to see the game, not the back of someone’s head or hat.

On the ground level under the pavilion, the hall and rooms are put to great use. The hall, for 30 years before this reconstruction work, was constantly let for many types of functions - dances, wedding receptions, concerts, parties and meetings - but now it is used solely by the Club and its opposing teams.

Parts of the hall are partitioned off for the Committee, the Referees, and the Medical Team, and, there is a kitchen. Alongside these and still under the same huge roof are the showers, the change rooms and the bathrooms etc. You should see that extraordinary, heated bath - the whole team gets into it at once after the practices and matches to relax and recuperate. That bath is really "something".

A box-framed tunnel under the spectator hill leads from these amenity rooms out to the playing field, for the benefit of the players and the referees. On the Campsie end of the park, that is the recently levelled end, where the soil for the hill came from, there is a Rugby field for minor teams and a Soccer field.

On "big" match days all of this end is closed to sport and can become smothered with parked cars, one and a half thousands of them. When it is chock-a-block the overflow of cars some days parked in the neighboring streets would add up to miles long if they were put end to end.

We that know this place, are as proud of our park with its marvellous amphitheatre and surrounds as Sydney is of its Opera House and India of its Taj Mahal. Come up and see it some time!

CORNELIUS PROUT(1793 - 1855)

After reading "Revolt at Prouts Bridge" by Mrs Roberts in the 1970 Bi-Centenary No. 1 Journal of the Society, I decided there must be more to learn of Mr Prout. He was never mentioned in any of the early newspaper articles on Canterbury, nor did I know that he had actually lived at Canterbury for over 20 years.

Cornelius Prout first saw Sydney from the deck of H.M.S. Warspite, when it sailed into Port Jackson late in October, 1826. Prout was born in England in 1793 and joined the Navy in December 1812. He was assigned to the office of Rear Admiral Lingee as a Clerk, after a few months on shore, he was sent to sea to commence training to become a Purser, promotion was rather slow; he became an Acting Purser after a few years, but it was not till 1819 that he finally obtained his Purser's Ticket. After serving in various ships in the West Indies and the Home Waters, he was transferred to the Warspite in 1825. It was ordered firstly to India and then to proceed to the Colony of N.S.W.

I should think by this Prout was not at all happy with conditions in the Navy. In the fourteen years of his service he was still only a Clerk, (for a Purser was only a Clerk) and there did not appear to be any prospects of further promotion.

Is it any wonder that he made the decision to resign from the Navy and start anew.

He was able to obtain his discharge here in Sydney; it was dated from 1.1.1827. On the same day he was appointed to the office of the Colonial Secretary still as a Clerk but prospects here seemed much better. He did not waste any time applying for a Land Grant, which he thought he was entitled to, as he was a free immigrant. His first application was dated 12th January, 1827 and it was the first of many unsuccessful ones over the next ten years.

His family in England even made representation on his behalf to the Secretary of State at that time Viscount Goderich, to see if he could influence Governor Darling to make an exception of the Regulations. Under Secretary Hay writing to Governor Darling, on instructions from Viscount Goderich in July 1827, says ..."as his claim of this Indulgence must depend upon the extent of his capital, Lord Goderich does not think it right to say more upon this point, than that, he should be glad to meet Mr Prout's wishes, so far as may not be inconsistent with the established Regulations".

Prout, writing later on the same subject, said at the time of his discharge from the Navy he was possessed of available capital of £2,000 which he was prepared to invest in agricultural property. On his applications to Governor Darling for Land Grants he asked if land could even be held in Reserve, till such times as he quit the Government Service, but Darling "desired him to wait" and promised to give "Favourable consideration". So Prout continued to make application 1828, 1829, 1830, the reply was always a refusal on the ground that "neither by his past services nor by the nature of the employment he then held was he entitled to it".

The late 1820’s were very difficult and turbulent years for Governor Darling, and he must have got tired of Prouts and possibly many others application for Land Grants. He made a note on Prout’s 1830 application to the effect " is unnecessary to refer any application to me for land from persons employed by the Government, you had better prepare a general answer to be returned to all such applicants".

Towards the end of 1831 Governor Darling was recalled to England. New regulations were introduced abolishing present system of granting Crown Lands and a new system was introduced. Prout continued his applications to the new Governor Sir George Gipps.

But returning to 1829, Prout had been appointed to the position of Under Sheriff of the Colony of N.S.W. The Sheriffs Department was located within the Supreme Court and was responsible for issuing all writs, from the Supreme Court in the Colony. Soon after on the 28th March 1829 he married Catherine Garrett. Now he had to set up house somewhere.

In 1832 he was listed among buyers of land on "The Old Racecourse" approx. 1 acre it cost £67. "The Old Racecourse" as far as I can make out was situated in the Darlington area, but nothing more is heard of that. It was about this time he purchased about 50 acres on the southern side of Cooks River close by the village of Canterbury, it had a frontage to the River, Canterbury Road and Prouts Bridge occupy part of that original property now.

It would have looked vastly different then, many early visitors wrote of the trees and woodlands along the banks of Cooks River. Prout called his property "Belle Ombre", translated it means "Beautiful and Shady" so he must have thought it appropriate to the locality.

It seems he took up residence here from 1833 and probably travelled into Sydney each day on horseback. There is mention of him having a fall from his horse in a newspaper article. You could only speculate that he may have stabled his horse on the Sydney side of the River until such times as he had the Punt built.

Still Prout continued with his Land Grant Applications, and finally in 1838 he petitioned the Governor, Sir George Gipps, to have his application referred to Lord Glenilg in England who was the Principal Secretary of State, stating in his memorial that he was now in possession of capital of £3,000 or more.

This was done accordingly and on 28th September 1838 the "Australian" printed a notice that title of land had been granted to Cornelius Prout at St. Lukes.

During this period life at "Belle Ombre" was not going well. He and his wife probably had one child already when they came to Canterbury. The first child born at "Belle Ombre" was a daughter, stillborn on 9th November 1833, next another daughter born on 15th May 1835, a son stillborn on 20th January 1837, and still in the same year twin sons were born on 13th December 1837, they only survived five and twelve days respectively and on 27th February, 1839 another son was born.

Later still a death notice in the Sydney Herald announces the death of Mrs. Cornelius Prout at "Belle Ombre", Cooks River on 6th February, 1841 "after an illness of 30 hours leaving a husband and four children". It was about this time the Bridge was being built. Twelve months after his wife's death he married again on 12th February 1842. His bride was Eliza, eldest daughter of J. P. Morris of Washington, U.S.A. They continued living at "Belle Ombre".

Over the next few years the papers mention Prout only in a social sphere attending different functions, attending Lord Mayors Dinner and a Levee at Government House. Then there is mention of charges against two persons for refusal to pay the toll on his bridge.

Next in 1845 his salary as Deputy Sheriff came under question by the Council assisting the Governor and it was reduced from £200. per annum to £100. This must have been a blow, one of the things noted at the inquiry was that the Deputy Sheriff received private fees in addition to his salary. These fees amounted to £297 in 1843.

Prout protested many times during the next few years, it was not till 1847 that his case came up again in the Legislative Council, whilst it was agreed "that he had a perfect right to receive remuneration for any work done not the absolute duty of the Sheriff".

After much discussion the Council still did not alter their earlier decision, so his salary in its reduced form continued.

Cornelius Prout never received any higher position, the positions of Sheriff and Deputy Sheriff were yearly appointments, whilst the position of Sheriff was filled by several different men over the years, Prout for some reason was never appointed to anything higher than the Deputy. He retained this position for several more years through all the difficulties and trials he had associated with his Bridge. He never moved away from "Belle Ombre" and he died there on the 19th February, 185., His funeral left from there the next day and he was buried in the Cemetery at St. Peters, Cooks River.

I think you will agree Cornelius Prout could be called one of Canterbury District Pioneers, perhaps one of the few very earliest landowners, who lived in the district till the end of his life. I call him a Pioneer because by organizing the building of "Prouts Bridge” he was instrumental in opening up the large area of land between Cooks River and Salt Pan Creek.

History does not give us a very favorable impression of Cornelius Prout, but it is hard to imagine what living in those times was like. He seemed to have been "fighting" for one thing or another all his life but "Pioneering" no doubt, was never easy for anyone, some I believe had to "fight" more than others.

If ever the Historical Society considers asking Canterbury Council to erect a plaque or signboard to denote Historic Landmarks, Prouts Bridge should be among the first to be considered, with reference to Cornelius Prout.

I am grateful to the Mitchell Library for making the Historical Records and Maps available, the Public Library of N.S.W. for access to the Newspapers, and lastly to Mrs. Roberts for introducing me to "Cornelius Prout".

Nora Peek


By R. G. Lloyd

The district of Canterbury passed through three stages of development from the virgin country side to the present day busy, heavily populated suburban area. The following article is written to show this transition using as an example an East Ward lot in which title the author has a personal interest. The process outlined here has been repeated many hundreds of times across the Municipality and is part of our history of development where demand for building lots brought about subdivision after subdivision.

James Jervis has described this phase of our development as taking place over three distinct periods. From 1793 to 1840 the land was being granted or sold to settlers who in many cases cleared and cultivated their grants by growing maize and wheat; bred pigs and cattle in a small way.

The second stage 1840 – 1900, saw the sub¬division of large tracts of Canterbury land into ten and twenty acre farms up until the seventies. This period also saw fruit-growing; the exploitation of timber for building and for fuel for the Sugar Works and later for brickmaking kilns.

The third period from 1900 (and in some instances earlier) up to the postwar years - late forties, saw the growth of residential building on small allotments.

Our example lot in East Ward was originally located in John Homerson’s grant of 12,11.1799 known as Homerson’s Farm, John Homer son’ s name appears on the current title.A thirty acre rectangular farm stretching north east across the new" Canterbury Road from the top end of Garnet and Duntroon Streets of today to a point which is now the southern boundary of Arlington Soccer Field, Dulwich Hill. A water course crossed it at this point on its way to Long Cove and Parramatta River.

Later in 1842 the lot was situated within Robert Campbell’s 177 acres grant of which much has been written in previous Journals. On the 15th April, 1848 a deed of partition concerning John Campbell, Robert Campbell, Arthur Jeffries, George Campbell, Robert and Ann Sophia Campbell and James Norton was conveyed. Twenty four years later an application by Sophia Ives Campbell - Spinster of Campbell’s Wharf, Sydney (and later of Bournemouth, England) sought to have the land brought under the Real Property Act.

This was lodged on 14th February, 1872 - the property value of £13,366. 5.7. being mentioned. The document which can be perused at the Registrar- Generals Office, Sydney, Vol. 182, Fol. 108, shows a map of the 177 acres contained within the following boundaries - Cooks River, Garnet Street, Canterbury Road and Sugar House Road (now Church Street) and down to Cooks River but excluding the properties held by the following – Messrs. Coleman, Newton and T. Daniel on Canterbury Road near Sugar House Road.

The document describes Miss Sophia Ives Campbell as proprietor of a total of 343 acres including the aforementioned 177 acres which subsequently on 3rd June 1874 was subdivided into fifty-six parcels of varying sizes. Our example lot is now to be found contained in one of these subdivisions measuring 2 acres, 1 rood and 28 perches and sold for £650 . 0. 0. on the 4th October 1881.

It remained as such until 1898 partly due no doubt, to a general depression in which land prices slumped during the 1890’S. The owner, Tomaso Compagnoni - Gentleman, of Marrickville and one time restauranter and caterer of Pitt Street, Sydney probably saw the boom coming and had his land surveyed for further subdivision resulting in our example lot now part of a smaller, 1 rood, 24 ¼ perches lot, for which the price was £205.0.0.

The railway had been pushed through and people were keen to move further out from the City. The area was, after all only about five miles out!

Mr. Edward Gallagher - Pipe and Brick Manufacturer of Canterbury was the purchaser in 1898 who in turn divided the lot into two pieces of 32 perches each. The Misses Kate and Elizabeth Gallagher each paid £800. 0.0. for each lot on 21.8.1902.

Our lot was within Miss Kate Gallaghers land which after further survey was divided into two lots with 25 feet frontages and an area of 16 perches - value £475. 0.0. to a Mr. Stuart Blair - Sanitary Engineer of Dulwich Hill on 23rd November 1912, from whom the author’s family purchased same in 1913 (value of land not known as included in price of house then built). The current U.C.V. is now $4,000.

Population growth, extension of transport, both rail and tram, increased the demand for land and the law of supply and demand, as today, determined the prices being paid for smaller lots. After 180 years of settlement in the Canterbury District, the population is still increasing and further sub-division is virtually impossible. Housing development in the last 10 years has been mainly skywards with high rise buildings.

James Jervis wrote in 1951 "that the development of the area had hardly reached finality". In 1973 that seems a fair comment in respect to high rise dwellings.

Acknowledgments to History of Canterbury Municipality, James Jervis 1951 , and Registrar Generals Department Records.


I came to Campsie in June, 1910 and we bought a home at the corner of Beamish Street (This section of it is now known as Brighton Avenue) and Browning Street. On the other corner stands a two storied building - some thought that it was going to be a hotel. Our house had been the first Post Office. It was opened on 1st April, 1900 and was run by Mr. and Mrs. Fitzpatrick from their side verandah.

We lived there for five years. My sister-in- law, Mrs. Ann Burdett, M.B.E., J.P., and Mr. Burdett lived opposite to us, facing the end of Browning Street but later went to Hazelbrook, on the Mountains. Belmore's main street in 1915 was still called Mooney Street (now Burwood Road). It was timbered on both sides from the railway to Leylands Parade. On the eastern side it was bordered by a thirteen acre block of thick Ti-tree scrub and on the western side by a forty acre block of tall timber.

I think that the first house to be built on the forty acre block, then known as "Mooney's Bush" was "Midlothian" opposite the gate of McKenzie's Timber Yard.

After South Belmore school was opened in 1917, children took a short cut through more timber which covered some of the area between Leylands Parade and Chalmers Street.

I have been interested in "The Canterbury Hospital" for many years. "The Canterbury Hospital" is in Campsie, on its boundary with Belmore. I remember the first meeting called for the purpose of building a hospital for the district. It was held in Campsie and I still recall some of the others who attended - Mrs. Bradney, Mr. and Mrs. Harding, Mr. and Mrs. Burdett, Mr. and Mrs. Kingsley.

The railway line had been extended from Belmore to Bankstown by 14th April, 1909. The Bankstown station stood lonely in a huge open-country area as if the line had reached nowhere. How times have changed! People do not walk enough these days. I walked through Belmore and through Campsie pushing a pram via Ninth Avenue to Burns Street to visit my mother-in-law.

There wasn't much in Haldon Street, Lakemba; just a few shops, nor was there any Wylie Park then between Lakemba and Punchbowl.

I remember Fenwick’s Paddock and knew some of the family. How different it is to-day, with Roselands Shopping Centre standing on some of that paddock. It used to have such a lovely rose garden in it at the homestead. When I first came to the district there was one hotel at Canterbury, the "Woolpack" just east of the railway bridge, the next going out was the "St George" at Belmore, then none till Bankstown.

We were pleased to find upon our arrival in Campsie that the minister who had performed our marriage ceremony. Rev. A. M. Yates, had been appointed to Campsie, in charge of the Methodist Church. The building stood at the corner of Clissold Parade and Beamish Street, where the C.B.A. Bank now stands. It was all of timber. The older half of it had been pulled there on wheels by a team of horses from its original site in Brighton Avenue, four years earlier. It was moved again but that’s another story.

If I can give you any further help about the district during this period, I shall be pleased to do so. If these notes can be of any use to you I am pleased to have given them. I have had a very happy life in the Canterbury Municipality.

We share with you this delightful and informative letter from Mrs. Mary Longbottom to whom we give our best wishes and sincere thanks.



The first reference to the question of fire protection for the Municipality of Canterbury appears in 12th Annual Report of the Fire Brigades Board, Sydney for the year 1895 when the Municipality was added to the list of municipalities contributory to the Board. The Annual Report of that Board for the year 1904 discloses that the Minister had allotted monies for the purchase of ground and initial buildings in certain areas, included in which was Canterbury.

Arising out of an application by the Canterbury Municipal Council under date 4th September, 1907 to the Fire Brigades Board for consideration to be given to the question of placing reels in central positions in the populous portions of the Municipality a Volunteer Fire Brigade consisting of eight (8) members with hose reel was established at rented premises in Beamish Street, Campsie, in October of that year.

The original membership was as follows: Messrs. A. Crockford (Captain), A, Attenborough, H.Smith A, Bell, Jo Hardy, E. Davies, W, Turner, W. Nichols.

In 1906 land at the intersection of George and Church Streets, Canterbury was purchased by the Government as a site for a fire station and a weatherboard building erected thereon by a Mr G. A Liggs in 1908. This building was occupied by the Volunteer Brigade on 15th May, 1908.

The original staff was Messrs. F. Lane (Captain) M. L. Philpott, S. E. Grace, S.A. Foord, H. G. Hofel, H. Wren, T.E.Moss and W. G. Wainwright.

The major firefighting appliance installed was a horse drawn manual engine. The existing site of the Campsie Fire Station at the corner of Beamish and Claremont Streets was purchased by the Crown in 1909, the Fire Station being erected in 1912 - 1913 by a Mr. W. Mounsey to plans prepared by Messrs, Spain, Cosh & Minnett, Architects.

The new station was officially opened by the President of the Board, Mr. F. A. Coghlan on 28th August 1913.

Upon the resignation of Captain Crockford the Brigade was placed under the command of an officer of the permanent staff. Fire Protection for Canterbury Municipality came under the jurisdiction of the Board of Fire Commissioners of New South Wales, upon the operation of the Fire Brigades Act, 1909.

The fire protection of the Municipality was reviewed by the Board during 1918 when consideration was given to a recommendation for the closure of Canterbury Station and the erection of a new station at Lakemba. Following inspection of the Municipality by members of the Board, Campsie Fire Station was motorised, the existing site in Haldon Street, Lakemba purchased and the Canterbury Brigade remained active.

Lakemba Fire Station site in Haldon Street was purchased by the Board in 1918, and a fire station was erected thereon in 1921. The building was erected by a Mr. W. M. Martin to plans prepared by Spain & Cosh, Architects, and was officially opened by the President of the Board the Honourable E. H. Farrer M.L.C. on 21st December, 1921. The newly formed Brigade was motorised, the staff consisting of two permanent and six volunteer firemen.

Original members were Messrs. J. S. Hodge, J. Jones, J. H. Jones, E. D. Spears, F. Trendt and C. Wasson.

A motor fire engine was installed at Canterbury Fire Station in August 1924. Having regard to the fact that most fire stations in the metropolitan area were established in the days of horse drawn appliances the constant increasing cost of fire protection, improved road facilities, and that all Brigades were motorised, the Board reorganised the fire protection of the Sydney Fire District in September 1945 whereby a number of stations including Canterbury were closed as active units, the staff being transferred to other stations. Upon closure the old Canterbury Fire Station property reverted to the Crown, and the premises were subsequently occupied by the Forestry Commission.

Campsie Fire Station is at present manned by 12 firemen and 4 officers, and Lakemba by 8 fireman and 4 officers. Each Brigade is equipped with most modern fire engines, the Dennis Jaguar, which is capable of pumping 500 - 600 gallons per minute .

The above resume of the history of the firefighting services in the Canterbury District was supplied by the Secretary of the Board of Fire Commissioners of New South Wales, We are most grateful for their co-operation.


EAST SIDE (Crinan St.)

PHELPS William ADDIS William- Contractor GRICE EDWARD G.-Upholsterer "DONNYBROOK" BOYD Adam MANN James- Surgeon

(Floss St.)

CRUMP Edwin - Saddler Fell Robert H. ROSSITER Fredrick – Store- keeper

(Church St)


(Minter St.)

DAVEY Alexander C. Bootmaker WREN Joseph – Carpenter and Storekeeper

(Tincombe St) (Close St.)


(Queen St)


(Princess St.)

SHAW Alexander- Tailor HIRD Isabella -Dairy Keepr CHURCH OF ENGLAND SCHOOLROOM BENNETT Geo.J & Co- store

(Chuch St.Unwin St.)

MILLER Alfred B.-Bootmaker RODGERS Geo.W. – Baker DAVIS Fredrick-Fruiterer & House & land Agent

(Minter St)

POST TELEGRAPH & MONEY ORDER OFFICE- James Slocombe Postmaster SLOCOMBE JAMES- Storekeeper RISING SUN HOTEL- Henry Hughes FORD Charles-Produce Merchant COLEMAN Charles- Tobacconist FOORD S. – Blacksmith

(Jeffrie St.)

DRAPER Thomas W.-Butcher

(Broughton St.)


(Charles St.)

QUIGG Miss Ellen - Dressmaker


SING KEE - Gardener

(Fore St. Rome St)

SHARKEY Neil -Stonemason

(Canton St.)

TOWN HALL -Benjamin Taylor Council Clerk QUIGG Mrs. Maria FEATHERSTONE Daniel -Carter

(Northcote St)

BAGUST George MACKEY Edward QUIGG Charles T. - Butcher TROY Thomas - Gardener GARDINER E.P. -Farmer,Market Gardener TROY Thomas Jnr. - Market Gardener MAKINSON Richard - Gardener SMITH Sydney - Gardener SCAHILL Thomas -Farmer and Market Gardener CARROLL Phillip - Gardener VAN DE VELDE Marcel - "Elim Cottage" FORBES William M - Agent

(Sharp St.)

BROWN Aaron PRESTON Fredrick -Nightman PRESTON John - Nightman BROWN Mrs. Eliz.- Storekeeper

(Chapel St)

MAMMEL William P. - Constable KUTNEWSKY Wilheim - Importer "Wilheims Ruhe" MANEWELL Ambrose HUMPHRIES John BRANDT John - Gardener RIDGEWELL James NORTON James

(Canary Road)

STRANGE Joseph - Storekeeper HANNON James - Nightman Milner Mrs. - Bus Proprierot O'HARA Samuel - Dairy Keeper COLEMAN John - Bus Proprietor

(Gould St)

MCBAIN James - Storekeeper GABB & THOMAS - Butchers BOWHEY Richard - Storekeeper

(Park St. Duke St. Beamish St. & McPhersons Bush)

SPROULE Joseph - Bootmaker

(Burwood Rd.)

LEE & SCHUPP -Poultry Farmer STOCK John - Poultry Farmer LEYLAND John B, - Poultry Farmer HARDY & DAVEY - Poultry farmer WILCOX - Poultry Farmer FOX Thomas - Carpenter TAYLOR Mrs. WOOLLCOTT Mrs. S TREGEAR Charles -Gardener GARDINER Geo Snr. -Market Gardener. PENFOLD R.J.-Poultry Farmer HUMPHRIES John VOSS & KAHLE - Poultry Farmer COOK T. MILES William HOBE Henry - Market Gardener

(Wylies Lane)

BELMORE POST OFFICE - Mrs. J.Milner Post-mistress BELMORE PUBLIC SCHOOL - William Booth, Schoolmaster ROSSITER Edwin T. -Storekeeper COLLINS James - Poultry Farmer FENWICK Captain John GRAHAM George SALTER William - Comm. Agent D'ARRIETTA Walter "Murrillo"





CHAPMAN James - Currier TOMKINS George -Stonemason CHURCH OF ENGLAND - Rev. Carter

(George Street - later Canterbury Road)


(Kilbride St.)



PUBLIC SCHOOL - Robert B. Parry - Teacher PRESTON W. - Bootmaker JONES Kate - Laundress JONES James C.-Beltmaker MOSS Peter

(Tricombe St.)

BLACKET & CO. - Iron Foundry A. Harding, Caretaker.




(George St.)

BEMISH Francis A. FOULCHAM William - Horse Trainer

(Amy St. Anglo Rd.)

CORCORAN Michael MCGRAW Daniel – Brickmaker

(Campsie St)

SEE MONN - Market Gardener.



At this re-printing time we have taken the opportunity to up-date the Journal by showing at a glance the approximate conversions to Metric values of all numbers quoted in British/Imperial values. Most numbers requiring decimals are rounded to two places.


1 foot = 0.3048 metres (m) exactly 23 feet ..7.01 m 25 feet...7.62 m

DISTANCE Basic 1 mile = 1.609 344 kilometres (km) exactly 1.5 mile...2.41 km

MASS Basic 1 ton = 1.016 046 908 8 tonne (t) exactly 30,000 tons...30 481 t (decimals omitted, as insignificant)

AREA Basis 1 acre = 0.404 685 642 24 hectares (ha) exactly 16 perches...0.04 ha 24.25 perches...0.006 ha 32 perches...0.08 ha 2 acres 1 rood 28 perches... 0.98 ha 2 acres 3 roods 9 perches...1.14ha 8 acres 1 rood 22 perches...3.39 ha 13 acres...5.26 ha 20 acres...8.09 ha 30 acres...12.14 ha 40 acres...16.19 ha 50 acres...20.23 ha 60 acres...24.28 ha 100 acres...40.47 ha 177 acres...71.63 ha 343 acres...138.81 ha


40 perches = 1 rood 4 roods = 1 acre

1 acre = 0.404 685 642 24 ha 1 rood (1/4 acre) = 0.101 171 410 56 ha 1 perch(1 /160 acre)= 0.002 529 285 264 ha

(These days cheap conversion calculators are available)

How difficult it is to forget the "Imperial" tables. A young friend put it this way:

"I just can’t forget the fairy tale giant’s seven league boots nor the song which tells that ’the dog sits on the tucker box nine miles from Gundagai’ nor the tongue twister about that 'peck of pickled peppers’Peter Piper picked. Oh well!"

In Australia decimal currency was introduced on 14th February,1966.

MONEY CONVERSION £ s.d. to dollars and cents

£12 = $24

£100 = $200

£200 = $400

£205 = $410

£297 = $594

£475 = $950

£650 = $1300

£800 = $1600

£1,200 = $2400

£2,432- 7- 6 = $4864.75

£3,000 = $6000

£4,000 = $8000

£4,350 = $8700

£13,366- 5-7 = $2 6732.56


1d. ...1 cent

2d. ...2c

3d. ...2c

4d. ...3c

5d. ...4c

6d. = 5c exactly

7d. ...6c

8d. ...7c

9d. ...8c

10d. ...8c

11d. ...9c


1/- = l0 cents exactly

2/- = 20c

3/- = 30c

4/- = 40c

5/- = 50c

6/- = 60c

7/- = 70c

8/- = 80c

9/- =90c

10/- = 100 CENTS =$1


£1 = $2 £5 = $10 £10 = $20

In some of the stories in this Journal what appeared to be cheap purchases, most likely were fair value, no more no less, at those particular times. A.C.T.


The story that commences on Page 8 took us up to 1968. This up-dates that story to 1980 and a little beyond.

Within the Belmore-Campsie Park is the Belmore Sports Ground, the home ground of the Canterbury-Bankstown District Rugby League Football Club.

These days to give encouragement or praise to our teams for outstanding accomplishments or even to incite them to better and better play, we yell, "Up the Bulldogs!" not "Up the Berries!" as we used to do. Have you seen the Bulldog statue, over two metres high and two metres long, sitting pensively watching every move on the playing field?

The Stewart Stand towers high above the hill that had blocked the view from the replaced Parry Pavilion. At one entrance to the football ground enclosure a notice board erected in early 1980 announced the following information of interests:


Well, that grandstand has been built.

It has been named "The Stewart Stand" in honour of the late Mr. Frank Stewart Snr and two of his sons, the late Frank Stewart M.H.R. and Hon. Kevin Stewart M.L.A., the Patron of the Football Club since 1971. The Stand did not just appear. It had been dreamed of for a decade before the decision was made to bring the dream to fruition and it took two more years of solid work to put that plan into operation. Canterbury Municipal Council, led by the then Mayor, Alderman John Mountford, kindly cooperated by re-negotiating the lease. One clause permits the right to sell ground advertising.

The amount expended, $m1.96 in all, was carried by the Canterbury- Bankstown League Club Ltd, the Canterbury- Bankstown District Rugby League Football Club and a bank which granted a loan over a ten year period.

The Stewart Stand is an imposing sight; a massive structure unequaled, at present, on the ground of any other football club in New South Wales. It holds, under cover, 3,800 people in comfortable bucket-shaped chairs. Similar accommodation is available at lower levels, in front of the Stand for 1,600 more enthusiasts who are prepared to face the elements along with up to 24,000 others, at times, seated or standing on the spectator hills or on long benches.

Higher than the sloped seating of the Stand, behind i and under it, are three full storeys of rooms and a mezzanine floor.

The top level, from end to end, is a continuous observation area partitioned into rooms giving perfect viewing above all seats and people. These rooms contain varying numbers of seats according to the requirements of the users. There are spacious rooms for Sponsors. Two large Broadcasting Rooms, with the necessary connections for relaying, are reserved for the representative of up to seven broadcasting stations, both city and country.

The Press Room for the journalists of a number of Sydney newspapers has a video section so that matches can be taped for re-running at various speeds, to show as desired, full games, parts of games in detail or stills. Another is the Football Club Committee's Observation and Ground Broadcasting Room. Still another large room is for the use of the Board of Directors of the Canterbury- Bankstown League Club Ltd. Lastly, a small room is for the Home Teams' three coaches, who cannot afford the luxury of even the little chit-chat of a friend during match play.

Seven rooms occupy the whole of the next level. In the centre is the licensed Bulldog Bar with closed circuit T V. Amongst many photos on the walls is an eye-catching one of the well-known bewhiskered captain being chaired shoulder high by some members of his victorious team.

On each side of the Bar are cafeterias and conveniences for gents and for ladies. The mezzanine floor supplies space for meeting rooms and offices. On still another level are the Visiting Teams' Dressing Room with showers, the Training Gear Room, the Referees' Room with amenities, the First Aid Room and lastly what is referred to as the Home Teams’ Dressing Room. It is certainly that and more.

One end of this Home Teams’ Dressing Room is for the use of the Reserve Grade and the Under 23’s Teams, but down the other end, the First Graders have a beautiful, warm spa, whole team size, with jets of water control-heated being forced through spouts in the sides at different levels to soothe any affected spots on the weary players after tough matches or training. TV and Video give waiting First Graders the chance to watch for talent amongst their comrades playing in the preliminary matches. Affixed gymnasium apparatus stands ready for immediate use in the body-building of sturdy, resilient men of will.

The Stewart Stand, on completion, was officially opened on 24th August, 1980 by Hon, Jack Ferguson M.L.A., Deputy Premier who unavoidably had to officiate in the place of Hon. Neville Wran Q.C., M.L.A., Premier of our State. This edifice, The Stewart Stand, is indeed a wondrous engineering feat of charm and function.

On 27th September, just thirty-four days after the Official Opening, our First Graders won the Grand Final match which therefore meant that they had won the New South Wales Rugby League Football Premiership Competition 1980. To the players, to the coach, to the staff, to the members and to the vast army of loyal, vociferous spectators, CONGRATULATIONS.


PRESIDENT : Mrs T. Roberts, 77 Banks Road, EARLWOOD.2206 Phones. 556716 HON. SECRETARY: Mrs F. Muller, 14 Willunga Ave, EARLWOOD. 2206 Phones 78 3937 Cultural Grant Assistance for this project is acknowledged.