Canterbury and District Historical Society s2 n09

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The Society meets on the Fourth Tuesday of each month at 7.30 p.m. in the Senior Citizen Centre. Redman Pde Belmore. At each meeting a guest speaker addresses the Society on an historical topic. Visitors are very welcome. Publications are issued periodically.



The Canterbury Municipal District, as proclaimed in 1879, is almost wholly contained in the area bounded by Cooks River, Wolli Creek, and a section of Salt Pan Creek; with Cup and Saucer Creek running almost right through the center. The remaining part of the Municipality to the north of Cooks Riverwould constitute about an eighth part of the whole district. Until 1879, the boundaries of Canterbury varied. But the north section, mostly called the 'Village of Canterbury' by many people prior to 1879, is without doubt the oldest settled area of the district.

However, the other part of the district to the south of the river became most important to the economy and development of the Municipality. In this part of Canterbury, land grants were made mostly from 1810 onwards, and designated Botany Bay, or District of Cook's River, or Cook's River Parish of St George. A large number, in what would be today, Belmore to Punchbowl were granted by Governor Brisbane in 1823; it is one of these that I am writing about.

First of all, to give you an idea of the area: Canterbury Road, as we know it now, commences from Parramatta Road at Lewisham; after passing through the 'Village of Canterbury' it drops down to cross Cooks River at 'Prout's Bridge', then it gradually rises with the land falling away on the right to the river and on the left to Cup and Saucer Creek, until, after passing Beamish Street on the right, it reaches high ground, travels along the ridge, slightly undulating for four or five miles, with Wolli Creek then way down on the left, taking all the run-off from these high ridges back to where it flows into Cook's River at Tempe. The road, after Punchbowl is reached, begins to drop again as it approaches the flats of Salt Pan Creek, but not before quite spectacular views are obtained over Narwee and Riverwood to well beyond Salt Pan.

John Sullivan's 30 Acre Grant

Before 1854, Canterbury Road was known as a reserved or parish road; after a series of public meetings, between interested residents in 1854-55, the Government decided to proclaim it a Government Trust Road; and appointed trustees to administer it. It was also agreed to continue the line of road from a point on William Laycock's 100 acres at Campsie through various properties to meet up with Punchbowl Road and continue over Salt Pan Creek to Bankstown.

It was to continue as a Trust Road till 1885, when Canterbury Council took over its administration. Part of it was known for some years as George Street, but early in this century it seems to have reverted to Canterbury Road.

The earliest occupants of these lands are not very well documented. We know from various sources that settlers began to move out onto these lands in the early 1820's, possibly even earlier. The river and well- watered creek areas would naturally have been taken first by the settlers, if they had a choice. As grantees, they most likely took what was allotted to them.

We have been told that a considerable part of the area had been fairly well wooded. By degrees, the timber-getters cleared it. From then on, the drainage pattern and use of the land took on a different aspect. The small run-off creeks and gullies were gradually blocked and even filled in. Farming and market-gardening then ceased to be profitable, but they had served a very needful purpose for a number of years.

In many cases, the land-owners then turned to other ways to make use of their land. Quarries, brick-yards, timber-yards and various commercial enterprises took over. Many of them were taken over by speculators, who sub-divided and resold.

This was the general picture of the area, for the first hundred years after John Sullivan received a land grant in it on the 23rd June 1823.

John Sullivan's was one of twenty or so granted on the same day by Governor Brisbane, within the same area. They were mostly small, 30 and 50 acres. John Sullivan's was for 30 acres in the 'District of Cook’s River, Parish of St George. Of John Sullivan, there seems to be no record. There were at least three persons in the Colony by that name. He may have been an ex-soldier or earned a grant for some special service in the Colony.

I believe the property may have passed through a few hands, until in 1841, Thomas Jekyll was the owner by default. An agreement was made with Robert West and he became the owner of John Sullivan's 30 acre grant. The amount paid was 140 pounds. The memorial mentions that of the 30 acres, one side is bordered by Sheedy. the second by Cooper, the third by Mrs Jenkins and the remaining side by Simeon Lord.

The following four or five years were rather difficult ones for the Colony. I don't know how Robert West fared or what use the land was put to during those years.

It was during the 1840's that the Village of Canterbury developed. The Australian Sugar Co built slab and timber huts and houses for their workers and settled them there. Timber and other materials would have been needed for this and may have been the start of the timber cutters in the outer area; then perhaps some of the produce from the outlying farms would have been needed in the village.

Mostly as a community formed, there always appeared an inn or house not always licensed but carrying on the business of 'quenching the thirst'.

Just what Robert West's occupation in his first few years in the district was, is not known; whether he farmed Sullivan's 30 acres or even cleared it and lived there; but I believe because of later events he may have opened his house (or hut) to the thirsty timber- getter, farmer or villager.

In July 1845, he mortgaged Sullivan's 30 acres to Mr Valentine Fitzsimmons. This agreement was signed by husband and wife, Robert and Johanna West, and the interest rate was 10% per annum.

In 1847, Robert West applied for a Publican's License for premises known as the 'Seven Stars Inn' situated at Canterbury. Also an application was made by Michael Riley for a license for the Seven Stars Inn. Robert West won out and became 'mine host' of the Seven Stars; its exact location I cannot say. Whether the Seven Stars did not have all the requirements for an inn is again not certain, because in 1849 Robert West applied only for a license to sell beer and wine for the Seven Stars Inn.

By 1851, Mr Fitzsimmons, mortgagor of Sullivan's 30 acres, had died and trustees were administering his affairs. One, a Mr William Nash, described as a Bullion Broker, arranged a settlement and a new mortgage was taken out for 150 pounds at interest rate of 12% per annum. On this document Robert West was described as a 'licenced victualler'.

Then in 1852, Robert West applied for a Publican's License again. This time for 'The Sugar Loaf Inn' situated at Canterbury. We hear no more of the Seven Stars. The Sugar Loaf had been conducted since 1846 by various licensees, but Robert West continued to hold this license for the next three years. Then in 1855, the Sugar Loaf had a new licensee.

If you recall, it was just about this time the Government Trust Road was pushing out towards Salt Pan; it did not border along Sullivan's 30 acres, but cut parallel through the adjoining property, known as Thomas Wilde's 30 acres. The result of this was a strip of land about two hundred feet in width, running the entire length of the property, separating Sullivan's 30 acres from the Government Trust Road. Its area was 11 acres and it is possible Robert West may have rented or leased the strip to give a road frontage or even access to his property from the road.

So it is 1855, and the Publican's License for the Sugar Loaf at Canterbury was granted to James Douglas. Robert West applied for a license for premises named 'The Sugar Loaf Inn' situated at Mt Pleasant near Canterbury. It appears the first Sugar Loaf without a doubt was in the Village of Canterbury. This is the first occasion that Mt Pleasant is mentioned as a location, but it was to occur on later occasions.

An Impression of the " Sugar Loaf Inn " Mount Pleasant.1855

Old Street George Hotel Belmore

I have no doubt that Mt Pleasant would have been Sullivan's 30 acres.

At the meeting of the magistrates in 1855, to grant licenses, objections were raised to West's application, not to the name Sugar Loaf, but as to the suitability of the premises. The result of the inspection by a member of the Licensing Court was reported as follows: I considered it quite unfit for the purpose of a Public House; it was never licensed before as such, and was nothing but a common weatherboard one storey building; there was no accommodation whatever, there being no stables. (With reference to this Constable Harris stated there were stables a short distance from the premises but they were not enclosed by a fence), on asking the applicant's wife to show him the bedrooms, she pointed to a hole in the ceiling, through which he could see no means of getting; there was not a respectable room in it, neither was the yard enclosed.'

The Constable stated 'he had known the applicant for some years. He was an exceedingly well conducted man. There were a number of sly grog shops about that quarter, but as yet he had not unfortunately been able to detect any of them. There are no Public Houses situated on the road for some distance, along which there is a good deal of traffic. Applicant had been a Publican for nine years and he had not long built the house in question, which was erected on his own ground. Mr Roles (Magistrate) 'had known the applicant for 25 years, and believed him quite capable of taking charge of a Public House and spoke very much in favour of the applicant.'

This was reported in the 'Sydney Morning Herald' on the 5th May 1855. The case was adjourned for consideration and further inspection. On the 14th May, the Herald reported that a license had been granted to Robert West for the Sugar Loaf Inn at Mt Pleasant.

In 1856, James Douglas still retained the Sugar Loaf Inn at Canterbury. Out at Mt Pleasant, there was a change. Thomas West was granted a Publican's License for premises known as the Travellers House, situated at Mt Pleasant, Cook's River. The two sureties for Thomas were James O'Neil, Canterbury, and Robert West. I believe Thomas was Robert West's son. There appears to be no reason recorded for the change.

We can only speculate that some confusion and difficulty may have arisen over the name Sugar Loaf, the two inns being only about a mile apart. Why Thomas and not Robert as licensee? It is hard to speculate about that. Sometime during 1857, the Sugar Loaf Inn at Canterbury was transferred to a Thomas Cardwell and it was removed to Camperdown. Out on Sullivan's 30 acres, the Travelers House had a change of name to the Travelers Home. Then in 1858, further changes and the Travelers Home at Mt Pleasant had a new licensee, Timothy Fullin (see my notes) and Robert West was once again granted a license for the Sugar Loaf Inn, at Canterbury, Cook's River. Then we come to 1860. It seems Robert West finally laid the Sugar Loaf to rest along with the Seven Stars and we see he was back at the Travelers Home as the licensee and was to remain there for some years.

Robert West sold Sullivan's 30 acres in 1863 to Edward Brown. The conveyance states 'Robert West of Canterbury, Licensed Victualler and Edward Brown of Canterbury, Market-Gardener for sale of land for 350 pounds sterling estimated at 30 acres.'

Just what provision was made about the Travelers Home Inn, I am unable to say. Robert West is shown as Licensee of the Travelers Home till about 1866, and after that Timothy Fullin took it over again. Whether it was then rented from Edward Brown is not known.

The fact that it was built on West's property was made clear, but there are a few puzzling aspects. Sands and other directories listed Travelers Home till about 1870; a parish map and later a subdivision plan show Travelers Home on the opposite side of Canterbury Road to West's property.

But now Sullivan's 30 acres belonged to Edward Brown who, true to his given occupation, market-gardener, needed all that land to work to bring in an income sufficient to maintain his family. He had three sons and three daughters so manpower was no problem.

In 1876, Edward Brown purchased the strip of land. It amounted to 11 acres, part of the original grant to F Wilde of 30 acres. It adjoined Brown’s property and gave him a frontage to Canterbury Road of 2000 feet. This was the same land that the 'Travellers Home Inn', I presumed, had been situated on, and that Robert West may have made some use of. The seller was John Mooney, who owned a lot of land in what is now Belmore and Lakemba.

Edward Brown now had 40 acres. According to directories, he was still carrying on market-gardening. I find it hard to imagine how they carried on without an adequate water supply. He must have surely dammed his property as it sloped down along Sharp Street, to conserve the run-off, because it appears that Cup and Saucer Creek, when it passed through the end of the property, could have been not much more than a shallow gully as it was close to its source.

In 1879, Edward Brown died. By his will, made only a few weeks before his death, he directed his property be broken up into various lots for his children. The largest portion, 12 acres, went to his son Aaron, who was charged with the promise that, as he had the part with the home on it, he maintain and look after his mother for the rest of her life. To his other two sons, Edward and Orbell, he left 8 acres each. A proviso in that case was, that in the event of Orbell's death, the acres was to go to his (Orbell’s) wife Elizabeth Brown, but only while she remained a widow. On her death or re-marriage, it was to go to her children.

To his three daughters, Elizabeth, Eliza, and Rachel, Edward Brown gave 4 acres each. As well there were bequests of money to be invested for his grand-children. Of interest, the will was witnessed by two Canterbury identities, Thomas Perrott and John Sproule.

Strange to say, Orbell Brown had already died in January 1879, so his share passed straight away to his wife.

During the 1880's the Browns, Aaron and Edward, continued their market- garden, the difference now probably being that they each had their own property.

In 1883, Aaron purchased his sister Elizabeth's 4 acres, located next to his 12 acres. It was at this time, during the transfer, some question arose as to the correct boundaries of the properties. The result was a mammouth Indenture, drawn up between John Mooney on one part, and all members of the Brown family. (It is interesting to note that each of the daughters' husbands participated in this.) The Indenture stated that doubts had arisen as to the portions of land intended to be bequeathed to the various members of the family by their father Edward Brown, and for the purpose of settling all doubts and disputes, all parties agreed to participate for the purpose of confirming the original deed. It also included John Mooney, former owner of the land, whose boundaries were in dispute and had agreed to join in, so that the deed could be finally confirmed. This was in July 1884.

The various members of the family began to sub-divide and dispose of some of their land. Sullivan's grant took on a new look. Edward Brown Jnr had, sometime early in the 1880's, removed to Glenore Street, Canterbury. It was right on Cup and Saucer Creek, and probably more suited to market-gardening. He had a large family and most likely needed more than 8 acres. Also the land on Canterbury Road was rising in value. It appears that his 8 acres was by 1900, practically all sold as building allotments.

One daughter and her husband worked their 4 acres as a market-garden for some time, whilst Mrs Elizabeth Brown ran a general store, fronting onto Canterbury Road, on the land she held in Trust.

Belmore 1880

Aaron Brown with his 16 acres had by far the best of Sullivan's grant. He continued to work his as a market-garden for some time, but whether all his 16 acres was under cultivation I am unable to say. He took an interest in local affairs. By 1887, he had been elected an Alderman on the Canterbury Council.

In August 1888, his mother died, and the charge given him, to look after his mother, was ended.

During 1890 and 91, there is mention in the Ashfield Advertiser of Mt Pleasant at Belmore, home of Mr Aaron Brown, being the final stop by the Hunting Club on their afternoon's outing. Then the same paper in 1892, announced that, a hotel was being built by Aaron Brown on his property at Belmore. It went on to expand on the desirability of such a hotel in the district, and the social impact it would have on the community. Aaron Brown, it said, hoped his hotel would become the meeting place for the social elite' of the surrounding districts. He offered all kinds of amenities to those who patronized his hotel. I am not sure whether Aaron Brown built and financed the hotel himself. A report in the paper at the time indicated that he was the proprietor. Also, I do not know at what stage Tooth & Co came in on the deal. A sketch plan held in the Mitchell Library, dated 1892, shows Tooth & Co marked on an allotment on the corner of Canterbury Road and Sharp Street, being 119 ft x 132 ft, containing Ird. 17 perches.

A Certificate of Title, in Aaron Brown's name, for an adjoining allotment, indicates Tooth & Co as the owner of the corner block. This was dated 1897. But I am side-tracking from Sullivan's grant, as the St George Hotel was built on F Wilde's 10 acres. So to return to Sullivan ...

About the same time the hotel was being built the various members of the Brown family were deciding to realize on their lands. Part of the Estate was advertised for sale in 1895, excluding Aaron Brown's 16 acres. It was named 'Belmore Park Estate (Brown's Paddock)', it offered large or small allotments. Further down Sharp Street and over Moorefields way, other estates were being offered in 5 acre lots. With so many competing to sell land, is it any wonder that sales were slow?

It was still being advertised in 1897. Early in 1900, they sub-divided and Nelson Avenue and Liberty Street were formed, cutting the 24 acres into average size building blocks.

Aaron Brown, independent of the other members of his family, disposed of a greater part of his 16 acres, to Mr. J Summerfield, who owned most of the land on the opposite side of Sharp Street and along Canterbury Road, part of R J Robinson's grant. He lived in a large cottage 'The Homestead', standing back from Canterbury Road. He died sometime early in the 1900's, and in turn his estates were cut up and offered for sale.

It was not till 1907, that his portion of Sullivan's grant was advertised for auction sale. The advertisement stated it as 'Summerfield's Estate, 2nd Sub-division'. Platts Avenue and Rod Street were the streets formed to make this sub-division.

By this time the blocks were being sold over in 'Brown's Paddock', and houses were beginning to appear. The Summerfield's auction was not a huge success. Just twelve months later in September 1908, another auction was advertised. It had been put in the hands of H W Horning & Co.

The name was changed to 'Dudley Park Estate', and very elaborate brochures were issued, showing the plan with a very elaborated description of the desirability of owning land at Belmore.

:Plenty of room and plenty of fresh air. All the advantages of the country and all the conveniences of the city. Extensive Views. Healthy Locality. Beautiful Surroundings.

:Buy there and secure Wealth :Live there and secure Health.

The brochure went on to give the price of Workmen's Weekly Rail Tickets 2/3 per week for six days a week. Ladies Season Tickets, Half Rates (if relative and resident in same house as full fare ticket holder).

On the plan it showed only 10 blocks as being sold in the intervening 12 months. But now sales began to forge ahead and within 12 months the homes were being built. By the beginning of the War in 1914, Liberty Street had practically all been built on, and Platts Avenue had quite a few residents. Along Canterbury Road shops were being erected. Aaron Brown had retained some of the land, and on one block next to the hotel he built a shop and residence for himself. Along Sharp Street, building seemed to be a little slower, but by the end of the War, the development had advanced. On the western boundary of the original Estate another road had been formed (Nelson Avenue) and houses were being erected.

The cottages varied in size and type. Some were small weatherboard, typical working-man's homes. Others were a little more substantial weatherboard, whilst others built brick cottages. There were a few also then of the much more substantial brick home. One of these is still standing today 'Sunny-Brae', just down Sharp Street a short way. It would be about one of the first to be built on the Sharp Street side of the Estate. It was erected in 1909 for Mr Mathie Ebenzer. He lived there till about 1925. Although now it is in need of a coat of paint more than anything else, you can see it was one of the nicer homes of the day. It has a very nice sandstone fence and still has its original brass name-plate. Not all the houses remain as they were built and some do not even remain. Unit builders and renovators have been busy. After all it is close to 70 years since most were built. When you walk along and study them closely, it is easy in lots of cases to pick out the original structure.

In those early days, it was not necessary to number your house, but it was essential for your own sake to identify it. So all had names, from the humblest cottage up. In 1918 the cottages along Sharp Street after 'Sunny-Brae' were 'Killarney' (Richard Keating), 'Chelsham' (Wilfred J Willshire), 'Edgecombe' (Frank K Martin), then past Rod Street 'Lindon' (Matthew Leitch), 'Seabright' (Frederick W Perschell), 'Glenthorn' (Percy E Bohlsen) , John Heap and W J Garnett also built cottages.

By now we are entering the 1920's and just about completed the full circle of a century. Sullivan's 30 acre grant presents a vastly different appearance now. Gone are most of the people who had helped to develop it - the inns, the farms, the market-gardens. Of the people, very little is able to be told of their origin and lives.

With so little information I could not include much about them.

At the end of this article, after the references, I am giving notes from my research.

So I leave Sullivan's 30 acre grant. It will continue on. I wonder if, or what, will be told of it at the end of its second century?

Nora K Peek

(Note: Sharp Street south of Canterbury Road is now Kingsgrove Road.)


Sub-division Plans and Maps. Mitchell Library and Canterbury Municipal Library.

Land Title Records. Registrar General's Department.

Index of Wills. Society of Australian Geneologists.

Marriage Register, St Peters, Cook's River. Society of Australian Genealogists.

NSW Electoral Rolls, 1859-1900.

Records. Post Office Historical Section.

Government Gazette, 1865-1879.

Records of Publican's Licenses, 1847-1861. Archives Office of NSW. Sands Directories. Various years.

Ashfield 'Advertiser'. Ashfield and District Historical Society.

Sydney Morning Herald. Various dates.

I would like to thank the Librarian of the Canterbury Municipal Library, for permission to copy and use the photos of the St George Hotel.



These notes are from the jottings I made during research of this article. I consider the information they contain very valuable to the history of the Canterbury Municipality. So that a record will be kept, I am adding them on as an Appendix.

In some cases, I give my own reasoning in identifying certain places and people. Whilst, as I explained, it was not possible to include all the information, the notes did help me considerably to establish a continuous history of Sullivan's grant.

My curiosity to know more of the early residents came to a full-stop in so many cases. My note-book still has many empty pages. Perhaps some reader may be able to help fill it.


Raymonds PO Directory, 1832-37. Robert West, Milkman, Phillip Street, Sydney. (Was this the Robert West later to come to Canterbury?)

SMH, 7 June 1853. Death of William West, eldest son of Mr West,'Sugar Loaf Inn', Canterbury, at Canterbury. Aged 23 years, 5 months.

St Peters Church of England, Cook's River, Marriage Register, 10 June 1850. John West and Delia(?) Fullins. Witnesses, Timothy Fullins, Canterbury, Catherine West, Canterbury. (Timothy Fullins later of the 'Travellers Home'.)

PO History Records, Petition for Post Office at Canterbury, 1855. Robert West, Cook's River; Thomas West, Canterbury; John West, Cook's River.

Canterbury Electoral Rolls, 1859-60. Robert West, Freehold, Canterbury; Thomas West, Residence, Canterbury; Timothy Fullin, Residence, Cook's River, Canterbury.

Grevilles PO Directory NSW, 1867. Robert West, Publican, Canterbury Road; Thomas West, Contractor, George Street, Canterbury.

Publican's License, 1867 and 1868. Robert West, Woolpack Hotel, Canterbury.

Petition for a Municipality—Canterbury, 1st Petition, April 1877.

Thomas West, residing at Five Dock, eligible to sign, being a landholder in Canterbury.

Of Robert West I have no more information, except from T D Mutch, Register of Baptisms (Mitchell Library), the entries for two of his children:

St Phillips, Sydney. William West, son of Robert and Johanna West (Labourer). B. 24 December 1829. Bap. 17 January 1830. John West, son of Robert and Johanna West (Labourer). B. 2 June 1831. Bap.19 June 1831.

In The Australian 4 May 1828, there is mention of Robert West of Phillip Street having his watch stolen. The Sydney Gazette on various dates mentions: Robert West, obtaining Ticket of Leave, 9 July 1827. Robert West charged with drunkenness, 7 December 1827. Robert West, Ticket of Leave cancelled, 31 December 1827. Robert West obtained Certificate of Freedom, 9 April 1829. These last entries from the Sydney Gazette, of course, may not be the same Robert West, but I somehow feel otherwise, so have included them in the Notes.

It seems that by 1879, Thomas West (born 1837), moved to Five Dock and later to Ashfield. At Five Dock he worked a Quarry and also quarried on land he owned in the Canterbury District. An article in the CDHS No 1, 1970, by Zoe Keane mentions 'There were a lot of blue metal quarries along Moorefields Road and Chapel Street, Belmore. A Mr West of Five Dock had the contract to supply Petersham Council with metal.'

Thomas West, died at 'The Ranch', Parramatta Road, Ashfield in October 1912, aged 75 years. He was buried in St Pauls Cemetery at Canterbury, where earlier some of his children were buried. Mourners at the funeral included his son Grafton C West and a sister Mrs W Kelly. A little more informative was the notice of his wife's death. On 14 August 1940, at Canterbury, 'Elizabeth Jane, wife of late Thomas West of Five Dock, mother of Adelaide, John, Marion, Laurence (all deceased) and Ida, Leslie and Grafton. Age 98 years.'

Of interest possibly on the West family is the transcription of the tombstone in St Pauls made by members of our Society some years ago.

Thomas West died 28 October 1912, aged 75 years.

Also Elizabeth Jane, relict of above, died 14 August 1940, aged 98 years.

Also Adelaide Australia, eldest daughter of Thomas West, died 3 April 1873, aged 10 years, 8 months.

Also John Robert, son of Thomas West, died at Lasban, Fiji, 17 March 1897, aged 34 years.

Also Laura Edith, wife of G H Wilson, third daughter of Thomas West, died 2 May 1895, aged 28 years.

This letter is interesting. It appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald on 13 February 1855.

As the Licensing Session will soon arrive, I trust that the Magistrate will not be so liberal in granting licenses, as I believe the respectability of publicans will increase in the ratio of the diminution of public houses.
In the Village of Canterbury, containing about 150 inhabitants, there are now no less than three public houses, besides various noted sly- grog shops in the neighborhood, which the police allow to remain unmolested. About half-a-mile from the village, a house has been erected, for which a license is to be applied for.
Yours etc.
A Canterbury Proprietor

Just speculation, but could the 'erected house' have been the 'Travellers Home' on either Sullivan's or Wilde's grant?

When Edward Brown purchased Sullivan's grant in 1864, if Aaron was the eldest, he was then 19 years of age.

1867 Official PO Directory lists - Edward Brown/ Gardener, Canterbury Road. From then on till 1879, the entries in Sands Directories give much the same detail. A William Brown, Gardener, Canterbury Road, also is listed. If he was a relation, I have no information.

1877 and 1878 Counter Petitions against the incorporation of a Municipality. Edward Brown Snr, Aaron Brown, Orbell Brown and Edward Brown Jnr. This was the father and his three sons.

1877- Petition to Incorporate a Municipality. Edward Brown Snr had also signed this, perhaps in error.

1877- Of interest in Edward Brown's will, it is possible he may have had a daughter by an earlier marriage. He also bequeathed to 'My daughter Eunice (?) Knopp, the sum of 100 pounds. Also to the two daughters of E Knopp, Eunice Matilda and Susan, 100 pounds for each of them to be put in the Bank, the interest to assist in their education.'

Land values are interesting ....

1840 - Robert West paid 150 pounds for Sullivan's 30 acres. 1863 - Edward Brown paid 380 pounds for Sullivan's 30 acres. 1884 - Aaron Brown paid 400 pounds for Sullivan's 4 acres.

Aaron Brown bought the 4 acres from his sister, but it seems she received a very good price. Again by way of comparison, land just a short distance away, 64 acres of the Bemish Estate was sold by VF H Bemish to E A McPherson for 400 pounds in 1883.

In the Conveyance to Aaron Brown of the 4 acres, mention is made of the marriage dates and husbands of the Brown sisters.

Eliza Brown married Charles Curtis about 7 April 1866.

Elizabeth Brown married Charles Foord about 1 April 1876.

Rachel Brown married George Pifkins about 26 August 1879.

Orbell Brown, one of the three brothers died 7 January 1879, leaving his wife Elizabeth to take over his share of the property. She apparently stayed on the property and opened a store, where, according to Sands Directories, she remained till close to 1900.

Edward Brown Jnr, after moving to Glenore Street, carried on market- gardening there till he died on 22 August 1907, aged 69 years. There were six sons and four daughters living, Albert, Arthur, William, Herbert, Alfred, Joseph, Edith, Emma, Sarah Ann, and Mrs Alex Dolphin.

He was buried in St Pauls Cemetery. The inscriptions from the tombstones in St Pauls:

Brown, William Orbell

son of Orbell and Elizabeth

Brown, Orbell

Brown, Sarah Ann

Brown, Edward

Brown, Hanna

Brown, Annie Matilda

Brown, Edward Aaron

Brown, Esau

Brown, Albert

died 25 November 1871

died January 1879

died November 1885

died 22 August 1907, aged 69 years died 17 January 1911, aged 62 years died 20 April 1918, aged 37 years died 5 September 1882, aged 3 years died 22 July 1885, aged 10 days died 31 March 1929, aged 52 years (interred Woronora)

In the Brown Plot, Henry William and Caroline Giles were buried, they must have had some relationship. Also close by Eliza and William Henry Brown died 1884 and 1887. Again I don't know the relationship, if any.

The only other member of the Browns' was Aaron. In the middle 1880's, he began to take an interest in Local Government, and by 1888 he had been elected an Alderman on the Canterbury Council. He remained as such till 1895. He was fairly active. Reading the Council minutes over that period, Aaron Brown's voice seemed to be constantly heard on one matter or another. At social functions at the Town Hall Alderman and Mrs Aaron Brown were always in attendance.

During the early 1890's, Aaron Brown appears to have made his property 'Mt Pleasant' (as it then seems to have been known) a centre for hunting. 'Sands' have the Sydney Hunt Club Kennels situated on Brown's property for some time. News items appeared in the Ashfield Advertiser regarding the Hunt, with mention of Mt Pleasant at Belmore.

Another notice of a different kind, in the Ashfield Advertiser,

:25 April 1891

:Death of Mr George Price, of 'Fordham' Frederick Streets Ashfield. Deceased has resided in Ashfield for SO years. He was a cousin of Alderman Aaron Brown of Mount Pleasant, Canterbury. Funeral to take :place at St Johns Cemetery, Ashfield.

In 1892, it was mentioned of plans of Aaron Brown to erect a hotel at Belmore. Then on 8 July 1893, the following article appeared in the Advertiser:


Quite a palatial hostelry has been just erected on one of the most picturesque spots of Belmore. The site is at the corner of Canterbury Road and Sharp Street, and the balcony commends a view of Enfield, Ashfield, Hurstville, and the surrounding country, so that a more suitable spot could scarcely have been chosen. The building is of the Queen- Anne style of architecture, and the design is most tasteful. It is built of red brick, and a verandah and balcony, with a clear length of 150 ft runs around the building, with the exception of one side. The house comprises 16 rooms with the necessary out-houses. The bar is most elegantly fitted up, the shelving and all the woodwork being of polished pine. Under the bar is a most commodious cellar, cemented, so that in the hottest weather the liquor will be cool. In the vicinity of the bar are several parlours of various sizes, where a few friends can enjoy themselves quietly. Near these is a spacious store-room. But the dining room is the one that must be seen to be admired.

It is a magnificent apartment, and when the folding doors are thrown open and the tables cleared, 25 couples could be accommodated with a dance. On the first floor there is a fine room, suitable for holding meetings or a carpet dance. A superb drawing room looks out on the easterly aspect. The other rooms upstairs are bedrooms, they are all large, airy, light and well ventilated. The other conveniences are servants rooms, bath rooms, large kitchen, pantry, washhouse, stabling etc. The whole building has been furnished in the most perfect style. A beautifully polished cedar banister of an improved design runs along the staircase, and every attention has been paid to the decorations. The hotel is lit throughout with gas, and the chandeliers, globes and hall lamps are very handsome. Indeed, the premises are a credit ana an ornament to the district and the hotel is one of the most complete and commodious in any of the suburbs. The spirited proprietor (Alderman Aaron Brown) is to be congratulated on the enterprise that prompted him to erect so splendid a property. The architects were Messrs Shervey & Lenthall, the contractor Mr. E Hill, and the plumbing work was carried out by Mr Hart. The house has been elegantly and completely furnished throughout by Messrs Farmer & Co. The cost of the whole was £3000. It is now to be hoped that Alderman Brown will receive that support from the public he so richly deserves and we might here mention that, as the drive out is a very pretty one, residents in other parts could not do better than take a run out and receive a hearty welcome from the genial host and hostess. The hotel will be open for business today.

On Thursday evening last Alderman and Mrs Brown entertained a large party of ladies and gentlemen to dinner to celebrate the completion of the St George. The civic dignitaries, with their wives, were present and a number of visitors from various parts of the electorate were also present. The Mayor of Canterbury (Aid P J Scahill) presided, supported on his right by Aid and Mrs Brown, and on his left by the Mayoress and Aid G W Nicoll, JP, and Mrs Nicoll. The vice-chair was occupied by Alderman Slocombe. Apologies were tended from Messrs Carruthers, Bavister, Ms P, and others. After full justice had been done to a very sumptuous repast, Alderman Nicoll proposed 'The Host and Hostess’.

According to an interview with Aaron Brown in 1925, in The Alert, when he was 81 years of age, he stayed in the hotel for two years. Then in 1895 he leased it for 10 years at 3 pounds per week, but disposed of the freehold sometime after that.

In the intervening years, he did still reside on his property close by the hotel, where he built and ran a general store. His closing remarks in the interview were of Belmore. He said he 'knew it when there were less than fifty houses in it and had seen the bush give way to settlement and township development.'


Over the Easter weekend in 1904, 2600 officers and men of the new Commonwealth Military Forces camped under canvas in the Canterbury - Campsie area. The camp was within the area bounded by Canterbury Road, Cooks River, the railway line and Beamish Street. The camp comprised two infantry brigades, and numerically it was the largest of the annual camps of instruction for 17 000 officers and men held throughout the Commonwealth at Easter time.

Holding an Easter camp at Canterbury must have been an experiment which was not repeated. In 1903, La Perouse and Randwick were the sites for the infantry camps, and in 1905, these two locations were again used. It had been expected that there would be excellent results at Canterbury, because the camp site was on the outskirts of some fine open country. The First Infantry Brigade occupied tents in a paddock opposite Canterbury Town Hall, then situated in Canterbury Road, between Howard and Canton Streets. Part of the Town Hall was used for the brigade office. The Second Infantry Brigade were variously said to be 700 yards away nearly opposite Campsie platform, and on the crest of a gently rising hill, about half a mile away in the direction of Campsie.

Fatigue parties had erected the tents on the previous Saturday afternoon and on the Thursday afternoon. On the evening of Thursday, 31 March 1904, one newspaper reported some of the troops marching from Newtown to Canterbury, while another paper said they travelled to Dulwich Hill by tram and marched from there. Country companies disembarked from trains at Ashfield and marched to the camp, and the remainder boarded special trains at Redfern between 7 and 9 p.m. to travel to Canterbury.

Unfortunately for the soldiers, drizzling rain fell during the evening, and they arrived, wet through, at a wet and cheerless camp. During the night, fairly heavy rain set in, and in the early hours of the morning, it poured at intervals. Surplus water overflowed the drains and flooded many tents. According to the Telegraph: Every now and again through the night a heroic sally was made with spade and pick, but the damage was done, and there was nothing to do but cuddle down into wet blankets on wetter straw, and listen to the souse-souse of the water as it soaked under the tents, past the prostrate forms of the sleeping troops, and out again on the other side. A staff officer said in the morning: "I was lucky; I had a ridge in my tent, and on that I was able to keep fairly dry. I could have put my elbows into water on either side, but I didn't. I just let it rattle past into gutters". At daybreak, great difficulties were experienced in starting the cooks' fires, the trenches being full of water.

During Friday, all activities were abandoned because of the continued downpour. 242 points of rain were recorded in Sydney. It was found later that through some misunderstanding the troops did not receive, as was customary on very wet occasions, a little medical comfort in the form of 'a tot of rum', and at the end of the camp the whole stock of 45 gallons was returned to headquarters.

The rain cleared on Saturday and a strong wind dried out the ground. Manoeuvres then commenced in the neighborhood of Belmore (which is a reference to a much larger district than the present suburb of Belmore). The Sydney Morning Herald lists a few noteworthy incidents. Crossing Cooks River, many of the men got a wetting through indiscretion and overzeal. One stalwart Irishman disappeared in the water but quickly recovered, while only the feather of a Highlander's glengarry bobbing for a brief interval on the surface of the stream denoted its owner's whereabouts. The Company Commander of the Scottish Rifles was unfortunate enough to make a miscalculation or error of judgment when attempting to show his men the way to cross a substantial barbed wire fence in the vicinity of Belmore. His kilt became entangled in the barbs and he was released with his uniform torn. The soldiers then had to walk a mile or more to go around the end of the fence.

The State Governor, Sir Harry Rawson, Lady Rawson, and party, inspected the camp on Saturday afternoon. They were welcomed on arrival at Canterbury railway station on the 2.20 p.m. train by the Mayor, Alderman Benjamin Taylor, and introduced by Mr T F H Mackenzie, MLA, to the Alderman. Sir Harry was wearing his Admiral's uniform and was received by the customary guard of honour. Later, the Governor called for three cheers for the King, and these were lustily given'.

The two brigades then worked independently in evening outpost manoeuvres. Each covered some miles of close, rough and unknown country, thick with ti-tree in places, and it was fortunate that the troops had the advantage of a good moon. One brigade exercised on the basis that an enemy had been reported near Salt Pan Creek, advancing in the direction of Canterbury. They were defending from Canterbury Bridge, and were instructed to take up an outpost line from a point on Canterbury Road, about a half mile from Belmore station. The other brigade assumed that an enemy had seized the punt and crossing at Tom Uglys Point on Georges River and, having occupied Hurstville and Kogarah, were advancing on Sydney. Some of the defenders were to hold the ridge on the left bank of Wolli Creek extending from Canarys Road to Undercliffe Bridge and the remainder of the defenders were in position over about four miles from Canterbury Road near Belmore Public School (then situated near the present King Georges Road) to Gannons Forest Road, near Peakhurst.

Easter Sunday, 3 April, was hot and muggy. In the morning, church parades were held. Afterwards, the GOC, Major-General Sir Edward Hutton, inspected the troops. He particularly recognised men with service in South Africa in the Boer War, including those he remembered at the Vaal River. Sir Edward Hutton had commanded the NSW military forces from 1893 to 1896. After duties in Ireland and Canada, he served in the Boer War, and returned to Australia in 1902 to organise the new Commonwealth military establishment. He returned to England at the end of 1904. Massed bands played a program of sacred music during the afternoon. The camp was thronged with thousands of visitors. (Additional trains were run by the Railways Department on the Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday to convey visitors to and from the encampment, The trains stopped at Canterbury, Campsie, and Belmore (the terminus). The return fares from Sydney were:

First Class: to Canterbury 11 pence, to Campsie one shilling;

Second Class: to Canterbury 8 pence, to Campsie, 9 pence.)

Easter Monday was the big field day, and the day's work took the form of tactical manoeuvres by both brigades against a supposed enemy attacked in close country. One of the chief difficulties was in maintaining communications over as much as five miles, in country which was rough and thickly wooded. The cyclists did a good job as scouts and as signallers. The umpires were delighted with the manner in which the attack generally was developed and executed.

The enemy was supposed to have attempted to cross the left bank of Georges River at Liverpool on Sunday, but was repulsed and retired to the eastward. The defenders of Sydney were the two infantry brigades in camp. Early on Monday morning the enemy was reported to have crossed Georges River about five miles west of Belmore and, to defend Sydney, one brigade was placed in position near Wolli Creek at Arncliffe and from there and at Canterbury, the troops were ordered to push back the advanced portion of the enemy before the main body crossed the Georges River. The troops proceeded in a westerly direction covering a front from Punchbowl Road on the north to the old Illawarra Road on the south. The enemy was reported located between Belmore Public School and Peakhurst, with advance positions near Moores Bush, and the defenders were to stop the enemies movements towards the Illawarra railway line. The first brigade was ordered to seize the best position at the west end of Stoney Creek Road, while the second brigade was to hold the ground from the north end of Canarys Road to the meadows. The troops encountered all sorts of obstacles, such as thick scrub, houses, and cultivated paddocks.

About noon, when the exercise ended, the first brigade was formed up in line of battalions near the junction of Stoney Creek and Belmore (probably the present King Georges) Roads, and the other brigade was about two miles distant. The troops returned to camp about 2.30 p.m., hungry and tired, after having covered between 12 to 14 miles of stiff country. In places, the scrub was so thick that it was practically impossible to see a man 20 yards off. One company lost its way for a time.

Just prior to some of the troops leaving camp, a heavy thunderstorm broke over the district. These troops returned home in special trains, while others remained for further exercises the following day.

Heavy showers fell with slight intermission during the early hours of the morning, trailing off to a steady drizzle which lasted until midday. 56 points were recorded in Sydney, although 124 points were recorded in Camden. The result was that the last day's manoeuvres for those remaining in camp had to be abandoned. Of the five days under canvas, only two days could be spent in field operations. The lines were a quagmire again, and although the water did not enter the tents as on Friday, damp clothing and blankets were in evidence everywhere. The whole morning was devoted to cleaning and clearing up camp and returning stores and equipment. Straw utilized for bedding which (the Sydney Morning Herald says) many a poor person would have been glad of for stabling purposes was burned, the trenches were filled up, and the cooks' galleys were dismantled. It was decided not to strike tents until later in the week when the canvas was dry.

Each private received 32 shillings for his period of training under canvas, and the other ranks higher in proportion. No pay was given for the Sunday. The troops consumed about 8 tons of fresh meat, beef and mutton being served alternately, and some 7 tons of bread.

In an editorial, the Herald commented that the weather conditions were not favorable for the various Easter encampments, but that the defense forces were not the men to grumble at that. They had taken things as they had found them, in the true campaigning spirit, realizing that the object of the field training was to accustom them to the rough actualities of a soldier's life. The willingness with which the work is undertaken and whatever hardships may be incidental to camp life are endured, is some guarantee that if ever the call for active defense service in the field should come, our citizen soldiers will be found neither unwilling nor unprepared for its demands. There was an excellent stiffening' effect by the presence in the ranks of men who had served in South Africa. These tried veterans had known what real campaigning meant. The congratulations given by the State Governor will be echoed by the public generally.

In his report, the Federal Commandant, Major General Sir Edward Hutton, said that the results of the Monday's operations were highly satisfactory. He said that it would be hard to find a more difficult bit of country through which the men had to force their way and to maintain communications. However, he commented that he hoped a larger and better situated site for a camp could be found in the vicinity of Sydney.

One officer, who was at the Canterbury camp, was Lieutenant-Colonel William Holmes, who in 1914, led the Australian forces which took possession of German Colonies in the Pacific,and who served at Gallipoli and in France, where he was killed in 1917. In civil life, he had been Secretary of the Metropolitan Water Sewerage and Drainage Board, Sydney, for 20 years prior to his death.

I wonder how many other officers or soldiers at Gallipoli or on the Western Front in World War I had been at the Easter encampment at Canterbury and perhaps had been able to apply the experience gained there to save his life in some dangerous situation?

B J Madden


Sydney Morning Herald, 29 March - 7 April 1904.

Daily Telegraph, 2 April - 6 April 1904.

Evening News, 1 April 1904.


The present Public Schools at Punchbowl and Lakemba have as predecessors schools called Belmore and Essex Hill, while Belmore South Public School is a direct successor to Moorfields Public School, which commenced in January 1862.

In an article in Journal No.8 (Series 2); I pointed out that references to Belmore before the opening of the railway to Burwood Road in 1895, are to an area different from the present day suburb of Belmore. In fact, the centre known as Belmore was around Canterbury Road near the present Punchbowl Public School, and back to Wiley Park.

Belmore is presumably named after the Earl of Belmore, who was Governor of NSW from 1868 to 1872. He arrived in Sydney on 7 January 1868, and became Governor the next day.

On 5 January 1869, a Local Committee applied to the Council of Education for the establishment of a public school at Belmore, Post Town Canterbury, and the proposed location of the school was described in the application as at Belmore - Canterbury Road near Salt Pan Creek, 4 miles from Canterbury. The Schools Inspector in his report said: Belmore is situated on the Canterbury and Georges River Road about 1/2 mile on the Canterbury side of the Salt Pan Creek'.

The application was for the school to operate in a new building 33 ft. x 17 ft.,erected for a place of worship by the Church of England residents.

This would be on the site of St Saviours Church of England, Canterbury Road, Punchbowl, a short distance from the present Punchbowl Public School and almost opposite Belmore Road. The building was offered for lease at a peppercorn rental, but its use for religious and other purposes was reserved. The first service at Belmore was on the evening of Wednesday, 24 February 1869, according to a history of St Pauls Canterbury, by E Greenwood. The 1869 building at St Saviours was replaced in 1917.

In 1869, the Inspector said that there were at least 350 in the locality near the proposed school at Belmore and he expected an enrolment of over 70 children. There were 33 boys and 44 girls within a radius of 2 miles of the proposed school site.The Inspector reported that, with a few exceptions, the residents in the locality were in poor circumstances; some of them had small freehold farms and gardens,and obtained a living by selling their produce in Sydney; others were employed in cutting wood and carting it to Sydney.

The nearest schools were Bankstown Public, about 4 miles to the northwest, Irishtown Catholic, about 3 ½ miles to the northwest, Georges River Wesleyan, about 3 ½ miles to the south, Canterbury Church of England, about 4 miles to the northeast, and Moorfields Provisional School, about 3 ½ miles to the east.

After furniture had been provided by the residents, outhouses erected, and stationery and apparatus' sent by the Council of Education, the school opened at the end of July, with Mr Alfred W Page in charge.

On 1 March 1872, Mr Page submitted his resignation from the end of the month, when his bond expired. The Inspector thought an unmarried teacher was not suitable for appointment to Belmore and suggested Mr Scott, a teacher at the Provisional School at Peakhurst.

On 12 June 1872, the Secretary of the School Committee informed the Council of Education that Mr Scott had declined the appointment because of low enrolment. During the first 12 months, the school was large and flourishing, with an average attendance of 30 - 33. This dropped because the late teacher neglected his duty in absenting himself from the school, and want of attention.

Mr Thomas Taylor of Windeyer was appointed, and commenced duty on 1 July. He obtained a house and paid 3/6 per week rent. On 1 August 1872, he reported that the attendance for July was only 18.6. He thought the average attendance in fine weather would be about 20, although some families had left the district.

On 7 August 1872, the local Board asked that the school be a half-time school to retain a trained teacher, as it was impossible to maintain the attendance of 30. The Secretary stated 'the inhabitants of the Punchbowl (sic) who are now erecting a new school are willing to support a half- time school. This refers to a school known as Essex Hill, which was between what is now Colin and Fairmount Streets, Lakemba.

Congregational Church services had commenced in the vicinity of Punchbowl Road on 7 January 1872. A Sunday School was held on the same date. Services were then held regularly except when the weather was very wet. On such occasions, the Minister and congregation could not traverse the muddy terrain. At a public meeting at Essex Hill on Saturday afternoon, 17 February 1872, it was decided to accept the generous offer of the Millers of ½ acre of land for a 'School House’ and to erect a building.

On 6 May 1872, a Local Committee applied for assistance for a Provisional School to be established at Essex Hill on the Punchbowl Road, Post Town Canterbury. The position was described as 'on the old Punchbowl Road about 2 miles from the Enfield School'. It was said to be about l ½ miles in a direct line through the bush from Belmore School (that is, the school on Canterbury Road, Punchbowl). 43 children lived within 2 miles of the proposed school. A school room was to be erected of weatherboard, with a shingled roof, and the building was to be 25 ft. x 15 ft. x 10 ft. high. The Hockley family would provide 4 pupils, the Tritton family 2, the Miller family 5, Pettet 3, Bradbum 2, Stephenson 1 and Popje 6.

On 21 June 1872, the Inspector said there were 7 or 8 families with 25 children within ¼ mile of the proposed school. Some had attended Belmore Public School, but a large majority had not yet received any school instruction whatever. The building being erected was for use as a Church and for a Sunday School. The residents thought the distance too great for younger children to walk to any existing school. He recommended temporary aid and suggested that the residents combine with Belmore and Moorfields residents for one vested school to be provided in a central location for the three localities. The recommendation was declined. The building was first opened for worship on 25 August 1872.

On 9 September 1872, the Secretary of the Essex Hill Committee agreed with the suggestion to amalgamate with Belmore, and stated that the Essex Hill School was now finished and ready for use. In the formal application for establishment of half-time schools at Belmore and Essex Hill, the Belmore building was described as in good condition. It was stated that it was also used as a place of worship (C.E.). In his report of 21 October 1872, the Inspector stated that it was barely two miles between the two schools. He said that the schools were about 2 to 2 ½ miles apart by the road, but across the bush, the distance would not be more than 1 ½ miles. Mr Taylor was willing to accept appointment to the two schools and the two schools commenced official operation in October 1872. Two Burwood people visiting Essex Hill for Sunday School work had difficulty finding the place, but eventually located the small school building, with only three other houses being visible in the district. The two half-time schools continued until 1879. An application was made on 30 October 1877, by the residents for the establishment of a public school. The application was granted on 25 March 1878. The school was to be built on land donated to the Council of Education by Dr G A Tucker of Cooks River. The school site was on the southern side of Canterbury Road, where King Georges Road crosses it now. The site comprised 2 acres and was about half way between the half-time schools. The nearest full-time schools were 4 miles away at Moorfields and Peakhurst.

The building was erected at a cost of 926 pounds 10 shillings by Mr F Candish. The work was completed in July 1879 and the school opened in August that year. The use of the church buildings at Belmore and Essex Hill would then have ceased. Mr D. M. W. Thomas was the first teacher and the Local School Board comprised Messrs J Wiley, Jas Chisholm, Henry Berghofer, F C Popje and Peter Brandt. The average attendance for 1879 was 43 pupils.

A photograph of Belmore School shows it tucked away almost from view from the road, amid trees, ferns and wild-flowers, at the end of a narrow bush track.

In 1907, the name of the school was changed to Belmore South and on 2 June 1910, the school became Lakemba Public School.

In 1913, Lakemba School was transferred to its present site which was acquired in August 1911, at a cost of 348 pounds. An adjoining 2 acres was added in 1917 in exchange for the original evacuated site and in 1927 an additional 2 acres, 1 rood, 17 perches was added at a cost of 1470 pounds.

By 1916 the enrolment had reached 846 pupils and a building of six classrooms was added to the existing block, making 16 classrooms altogether. The cost of the additions was 2536 pounds. In 1923 a separate boys' building of 10 classrooms was completed at a cost of 8733 pounds. The enrolment by now was 1400 pupils. In 1926, six extra classrooms were added. In 1930, a new infants building and additions to the boys' school were erected at a cost of 13 510 pounds. Some of the accommodation problems at Lakemba were eased when Punchbowl Public School opened in 1928. Thus, the erection of the new Punchbowl School adjacent to the site of the original Belmore School which operated from 1869 to 1879 helped the accommodation situation at the school at Lakemba which had grown from the original Belmore School.

Incidentally, the Essex Hill building remained at its original site until 1899, when it was mounted on wheels and with a team of 20 horses was moved to the present Congregational Church land in Lakemba Street, facing Yerrick Road. During the journey, the building became bogged in the vicinity of Haldon Street and there it stayed for three days, completing the journey on Eight-hour day 1899. The Church was known as Punchbowl for the first nine months of 1872, then as Essex Hill from 1872 to 1899, when it transferred to the new site, as Belmore from 1899 to 1912 and finally as Lakemba from 1912. The original 'School House Church' of Essex Hill was still part of the Church Hall and being used for Sunday School and youth activities until 1975. The building was finally demolished in April 1975.

B J Madden


Council of Education 1/806 & 1/897 (Belmore) (Archives Office of NSW) .

Council of Education 1/904 (Essex Hill) (Archives Office of NSW).

Department of Education, Historical Section (Lakemba Public School).

Campsie News, 9 April 1975 (Lakemba Congregational Church).

CDHS Journals No. 3 & 4 (Series No. 2).


Lachlan Macquarie arrived in Sydney on 31 December 1809, to succeed William Bligh as Governor, after the Rum Rebellion. During the next 12 years, he made a number of extensive tours through NSW and Vein Dieman's Land. He kept a Journal during his tours, and this was published by the Trustees of the Public Library of NSW (now the State Library) in 1956.

The first tour commenced on Tuesday, 6 November 1810, and, during the next five weeks, Macquarie visited and named Liverpool, Windsor, Richmond, Castlereagh, Pitt-Town and Wilberforce. Using Parramatta as his main base and covering up to 40 miles in a day, he inspected farms in the area bounded by Menangle, Baulkham Hills and the Nepean at the foot of the Blue Mountains. This covered the full extent of settlement at the time.

On the last day of this first tour, Thursday, 13 December 1810, he set out from Parramatta to visit the farms to the south of the Parramatta Road, before returning to Sydney. On this day's journey, he visited Kogarah Bay, Kingsgrove and Canterbury, by way of what is now Campsie, Kingsgrove and Hurstville, and returning the same way.

Macquarie travelled with ceremony and state. On this tour, in addition to the carriage conveying the Governor and Mrs Macquarie, there were his staff (usually five or six), and sometimes there is mention of servants with two carts for tents, food and other gear. One day there is mention of four troopers. There is no reference to troopers on the day of his visit to this district, but they may have been present. There would certainly be the servants to prepare the 'breakfast (which we had carried along with us)' and presumably a cart to carry it.

The most interesting point to be gained from Macquarie's entry in his Journal is that there was a track through the 'thick forest' which was good enough for a carriage and a cart to use. The track ran from Parramatta Road, Homebush, to Kogarah Bay, by way of Campsie, Kingsgrove and Hurstville, and this was only six years after Hannah Laycock was given her grant at Kingsgrove, and two years after the Townson brothers were given their initial grants in the area between Bexley and Peakhurst. The track was sufficiently good for the journey (13 miles as the crow flies) to take only two hours from Homebush to Kogarah.

The entry for Thursday, 13 December 1810, in Macquarie's Journal is quoted in full. Some notes follow:

Thursday 13th Decr. 1810. The farms lying on the shores of Botany Bay, on Cook 's River and in the small District of Petersham between Sydney and Botany Bay, being the only ones in the Colony now remaining unexplored in my present tour of inspection. I set out this morning at 7 o’clock from Parramatta with Mrs. Macquarie in the carriage, and accompanied by the gentlemen of our family and the Surveyor, to visit those farms on my return home to Sydney. We struck off at Powell's Half-Way-House (1) through the woods and after a very pleasant drive through a thick forest, arrived at Capt. Townson's farm house on Botany Bay (2) at half past 9 o'clock.

We found the Captain at home in his very pretty neat clean little cottage, where he received us with hospitality and in a gentlemanlike manner; and whilst our breakfast (which we had carried along with us) was getting ready, he walked with us to shew us his garden, and all the other little improvements of his farm. His garden we found in excellent order and producing the largest and best strawberries I have yet seen or eat in this Colony. After breakfast we embarked on the water in Capt. Townson's boat, in order to see his own and his Brother Doctor Townson's farm, (3) which join each other at this place. The Doctor's farm we found in miserable bad order, with only the solitary hut on it, occupied by two of his indented servants, a man and his wife, the latter being very sickly and to all appearance half starved; there were no appearance whatever of any improvements on this farm which is as yet in a state of nature.

Having viewed these farms we proceeded for five or six miles down Botany Bay until we opened the Heads and entrance of it, and then returned to Capt. Townson’s cottage after a two hours very pleasant water excursion. At 1 p.m. we set out again from Capt. Townson's for Mrs. Laycock’s farm near Cook's River (4) and arrived there at half past 2 o’clock. We found Mrs Laycock and her two daughters at home, in a very neat comfortable well built farm house and well furnished; the good old lady's farm being also in a forward state of improvement in other respects. After resting for half an hour at Mrs Laycock’s, we pursued our journey on to Canterbury; thus crossing Cook’s Rive (5) twice over a very slender bad bridge within two miles of Mrs. Laycock’s farm, and is rather dangerous for a carriage. At 4 p.m. we arrived at Canterbury, (6) a farm belonging to Mr. Robt. Campbell Senr. mercht. at Sydney. It is an extensive farm and a good deal of the wood has been cleared, but the soil is bad and neither good for tillage or pasturage.

I quitted the carriage and mounted my horse at Canterbury in order to inspect the few remaining small farms between this and Sydney; Mrs. Macquarie proceeding in the carriage by the main road, to meet and wait for me at Grose Farm. I called at Mr. Moore’s, Mr. Blaxcell's, Mr Blaxland’s, Capt. Rowley's and several other smaller farms in the District of Petersham,(7) all of which are poor and of little value; the farm houses, however, are tolerably good and considerable pains have been taken to clear, enclose and improve the lands.

At half past 5 p.m. I joined Mrs. Macquarie, whom I found in the carriage near Grose Farm, (8) and there getting in to the carriage again, we drove in to Sydney, arriving at the Government House at six o'clock in the evening, having been absent on this very pleasant tour of inspection 5 weeks & 2 days.

B J Madden


1.This was at Homebush, near the present railway station.

2.Captain John Townson's house was called the Retreat on Kogarah Bay, north of Carss Park. It took half an hour from Parramatta to Homebush, so it took two hours from Homebush to Kogarah with a carriage and a cart through thick forest - so the track must have been in reasonable condition.

3.In actual fact, they didn't adjoin, being separated by the present Carss Park. Dr Robert Townson's grant of 75 acres comprised the whole of Tom Uglys Point.

4.Hannah Laycock's 500 acres extended from Stoney Creek Road to William Street, between Kingsgrove Road and Bexley Road. I believe that her cottage was situated near the present comer of Homer Street and Rosemeath Avenue.

5.The crossing was probably at the northern end of the present Beamish Street. Beamish Street was the road leading to Laycock's and Townson's.

6.Canterbury Vale was originally granted to Reverend Richard Johnson in 1793.

7.This refers to a much larger district than the present suburb of Petersham.

8. Grose Farm became the site of the University of Sydney.

Sydney Morning Herald, 2 July 1874

Canterbury Estate 1874


Sydney Morning Herald, 2 July 1874

A meeting took place yesterday afternoon at Ashfield ...The hounds threw off near Mr Clissold’s, and, going away at a great pace, led across two or three paddocks, and some good three-railers were thrown behind, over one of which Comet came down, and getting away, left Mr Town to walk back.A little further on they crossed the road, and four fair fences were nicely disposed of by the wearers of scarlet coats and a good number of outsiders who joined in. About a mile at a good sound pace, and over a few fences,brought them to a stiff three-rail fence, and some were thrown out. Then through forest country up to a farmhouse, where a check took place. After a slight delay the hounds again settled down to their work, and, getting on the scent of the kangaroo, dashed away into a thick scrub, and it looked as though there would be a fine run; but the game, finding himself hardly pressed, crossed Cook's River, near Flood's Paddock, and the fun was stopped. An hour or more was spent in casting about, and the Master, in endeavouring to pick up the trail, led over a lot of substantial timber. The ground was very slippery ... At length the hounds picked up the scent once again, and, after a short but sharp spin through thick scrub, ran into the kangaroo. Fortunately, Mr Bowes was close to them, and, assisted by others, succeeded in saving him ... The hunt was not a very great success, as, owing to some strange dogs getting on the scent, the hounds did not get fair play.

Frederick Clissold's house, in 1874, where the hunt began, was 'Mountjoy', Ashfield; located at the corner of Victoria Street and Clissold Street, where the Masonic Hospital stands today.

The chase seems to have wound around the area of the Canterbury Estate, across the undulating country of present-day Ashbury, until the kangaroo crossed Cook's River at Flood's Paddock near the end of Croydon Avenue, and led the hounds into the flatter lands of what is now Poet's Corner, Campsie. Descriptions of the terrain and vegetation give a fairly clear picture of this part of Canterbury Municipality before closer settlement took place.

Listed among the livestock for sale when Clissold auctioned the contents of his house the following year were: 'two kangaroos, male and female', and a 'fine Emu'; so Australian wildlife was Still common enough in the Sydney region for him to be able to obtain the odd kangaroo or two for a hunt, as well as keep them as pets, the mention implies, however, that they had acquired a certain novelty because of increasing rarity, at least around Ashfield stately homes. If hunts like this were common, it's no real wonder.

Frederick Clissold had a long association with sporting activities he was steward for the first official race held on the Canterbury race course on 9 November 1871; and later a foundation director of Canterbury Park Race Course Co Ltd, in 1883. Further lists of items in the auction sale give away his interests: the paintings from his study included one of a race horse, a still life of game, and two prints from Landseer's 'stag' series; fitting subjects to decorate the walls of a sporting man's home.

Lesley A Muir


SMH, 2 July, 1874, p. 4.

SMH, 7 August 1875, p. 14.

Currey, I E. Frederick Clissold, business man and sporting man. CDHSJ Series 2, No. 3, pp. 26-28.

Map of the Canterbury Estate: Jeffrey's occupation, and Miss Campbell's paddocks and sales. Canterbury subdivision boxes, Mitchell Library.