Canterbury and District Historical Society s2 n10

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JOURNAL OF THE CANTERBURY AND DISTRICT HISTORICAL SOCIETY (SERIES 2)

February 1978

The Society meets on the Fourth Tuesday of each month at 7.30 p.m. in Senior Citizen’s 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.


HON.SECRETARY

Mrs. F. Muller

14 Willunga Ave

Earlwood 2206

PH. 183937


THE STORY OF THE HURLSTONE ESTATE

A wedge-shaped piece of land, sloping gently from the heights of Ashfield towards Old Canterbury Road was the first bearer of the name 'Hurlstone'. However, before its special significance to the district was established by John Kinloch in 1874, it was to have several owners.

History of Occupancy Hurlstone Estate 1793-1865

Land grants to Richard Johnson (1793 and 1796) and John Clepham (1794) sliced diagonally through the block, giving the hill to Clepham and the creek to Johnson: Robert Campbell eventually acquired both pieces, unifying them into part of the Canterbury Estate. At his death, his estate was divided between his two daughters - Arthur Jeffreys (the husband of the younger) received the part covering Canterbury to Ashbury, and Sophia, the Ashfield to Hurlstone Park portion. In 1865, Miss Sophia Campbell had her estate subdivided and offered for sale. It was then that our piece of land was given the shape existing today.

The Reverend John Graham, minister of the Pitt Street Congregational Church, bought Sections 13 and 28, together with a smaller block closer to Ashfield Station, on which he built his house, 'Mountjoy'. No evidence has been found to suggest that there were any buildings on his 26-acre piece, or, indeed, that he ever lived in the house he built: Sands Directory gives only city addresses for him the whole time he was in the colony.

In October 1874, the Reverend Graham was making plans to go home to England permanently, so the land was sold by private contract. John Kinloch, MA, a teacher, who had been in the first class of graduates from Sydney University, saw a way of realizing a lifelong ambition to set up his own school combining the education of boys and the accommodation and tutoring of university students on 'a healthy site' with his own curriculum differing 'in many respects from the usual one'. He signed the papers on 16 October 1874, making him the owner of 'that piece of land situated at Canterbury in the Parish of Petersham and County of Cumberland containing twenty six acres and thirty seven perches or thereabouts commencing at the intersection of the Canterbury Old Road and Ashfield Street and bounded thence on the South East by that road bearing North Easterly nineteen chains and eighty links to Prospect Road, on the North East by that road bearing North Westerly fifteen chains and fifty links to Sea View Road, on the North West by that road bearing South Westerly eleven chains to Ashfield Street aforesaid, and on the South West by that street bearing South Easterly thirty two chains and twenty one links to the point of commencement.'


HURLSTONE ESTATE -ASHFIELD 1876 for sale by Auction on the Ground on Saturday 16th September at 3 o'clock- HARDIE & GORMAN


The next two years were occupied in designing the school and college buildings and organising a partial subdivision which would help to pay for his enterprise. He named the estate 'Hurlstone'. This was the maiden name of his mother, Helen Hurlstone, who died of influenza in 1849, when he was sixteen.

The subdivision plan from Hardie & Gorman shows 75 blocks, approximately 50 x 150 feet each, having both street and back lane access. Two new roads were laid out: Hurlstone Street, and Kinloch Street, both family names. Victoria Square (the next block) had sold reasonably well in the May of the same year, so Kinloch had every expectation that he would do as well in the auction of 16 September 1876. However, Lands Department records show that only one block was sold - fronting Old Canterbury Road. Further advertisements brought no further sales, so Kinloch mortgaged the residue of the estate to the Bank of New South Wales on 8 August 1877 and went ahead with building the school in the hope that it would be as successful as his present College, University Hall, Elizabeth Street, had become.

This advertisement appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald, 2 January 1878:

Hurlstone School and College} Ashfield

Principal ... John Kinloch, MA

Mr Kinloch intends opening the above in January 1878.

The building is being erected on a healthy site, in the highest part of Ash fields within a few minutes walk of the station. Attention has been paid to ventilation, construction of desks and seats, and other matters essential to health and comfort. Four acres of level ground have been set apart for house and school purposes, cricket and gymnastic grounds &c., and about 16 acres, well sheltered and watered, for recreation ground and run for ponies.

School Subjects

Mathematics, English Grammar and Composition, Geography, Reading aloud, French, Elementary Physics, Surveying (Theory and Practice), Bookkeeping, Gymnastics. One form will be reserved for boys about to enter business, and THE highest for those intending to matriculate at the UNIVERSITY.

GREEK and LATIN will be taught as SPECIAL subjects; the study of them will not be compulsory, and will not affect the classification of the boys. So far as possible, teaching by lecture will be adopted.

TERMS

per quarter per quarter

Resident boarders ...£ 18.18; if under 12 ... £16.16 Day boarders ...£ 8.18; Day pupils... £5. 5

EXTRAS - German, 2 guineas; Music, 3 guineas;

Drawing, 2 guineas; Washing £1. 1s a quarter

The College

Will be arranged to meet the requirements of gentlemen (such as those now received as Resident Pupils at UNIVERSITY HALL), needing special preparation for professions, or attending the University Lectures. They will be suitably lodged and under discipline adapted to their ages.

Terms - At the rate of £150 a year during residence. Applications to be addressed to University Hall, Hyde Park, on receipt of which prospectus and full information -will be forwarded.

The School opened halfway through 1878, but, as frequently happens with innovators, Kinloch's plans were ahead of their time, and Hurlstone College was too far from the-University to hold his old students, and not close enough to the Centre of population to attract new ones. The distance from public transport was probably a factor which influenced students against using it as a University Residential Hall, even though his reputation as an educationalist was well established. The College, grounds, and another subdivision were all put on the market in November 1880:


THE RESIDENCE, HURLSTONE COLLEGE


HURLSTONE ESTATE, ASHFIELD HEIGHTS

Known as the PROPERTY and RESIDENCE of JOHN KINLOCH, Esq., MA, situate near to the SUMMER HILL and the ASHFIELD RAILWAY STATION, Opposite to VICTORIA-SQUARE, and ABERGELDIE, the residence of Dr CHISHOLM, Comprising an area of 26 acres 1 rood 27 perches of MAGNIFICENT and HIGHLY-IMPROVED LAND, bounded by VICTORIA STREET

SEA VIEW STREET PROSPECT ROAD

CANTERBURY ROAD

Together with that new, commodious, and well-arranged scholastic institution HURLSTONE.

This large intact suburban estate, which for so many years has been the ADMIRATION of the residents of ASHFIELD, will be submitted to public competition ON THE GROUND, SATURDAY AFTERNOON, NOVEMBER 27th, upon a model plan of subdivision, now being prepared by Messrs. ROBERTS, HARRIS and WESTON, surveyors.

The title is Torrens Act, the terms will be liberal.

HURLSTONE is bounded by MADE STREETS

HURLSTONE is surrounded by FIRST-CLASS PROPERTIES,and is in the immediate vicinity of the highly-improved grounds and residences of Dr. Chisholm, Henry Moses, Esq., MP, George Griffiths, Esq., F Clissold, Esq., and others HURLSTONE is convenient to two RAILWAY STATIONS, SUMMER HILL and ASHFIELD

HURLSTONE is very elevated, and easily capable of judicious subdivision

HURLSTONE is close to the JUNCTION of the proposed tram route HURLSTONE is opposite to VICTORIA SQUARE, upon which are erected the prettiest villas on the railway line (SMH, October 9, 1880, p.13.)

Newspaper records show that individual-blocks sold well, sales totalling 5200 pounds, but the College remained unsold. The whole property of 26 acres was resumed by the Crown just after the auction, on 17 February 1881,which must have infuriated the buyers, and was taken over by the Department of Public Instruction to be converted into a residential Training College for Female Teachers.

Kinloch remained interested in the area after he moved to Burwood. He still owned land in Garnett Street, and, although his school had failed, the principle to him remained that the district needed adequate public transport. Accordingly, he attended the Canterbury Council Meeting in August 1881 to discuss 'the acquirement of increased facilities of communication between Sydney and the suburb townships of Belmore, Kingsgrove, St George's and Canterbury, and to form a deputation to wait upon the Secretary for Works with a petition. His own particular needs would have been served by an extension of the tramway via Petersham or Marrickville to the district, and, although it was too late to save his school, he moved that the efforts of the deputation be directed towards this end.


HURLSTONE ESTATE-ASHFIELD Parish of Petersham - County of Cumberland


At the Canterbury Council Meeting of 6 June 1881, it was moved that, among the street name changes suggested, Garnett Street should be changed to Kinloch Street; but nothing further was ever done about it, so the man who gave the name later applied to a whole suburb was never acknowledged, and the connection was eventually lost.

Hurlstone Training College for Female Teachers opened in 1882, under the direction of Miss Caroline Mallett, a lady with very high-class testimonials from England. The Report of the Minister for Public Instruction for 1882 states: At present the accommodation at Hurlstone is limited to twenty-eight students, a number which seems ample to meet the requirements of the Service in providing for new schools and supplying the places of teachers who, for any cause, may retire from the profession. The same buildings, prepared by Kinloch for the education of boys, were used by the Department to accommodate the lady teachers for 24 years. They reverted to their rightful use when, in 1906, the Teachers' College at Blackfriars was built to serve the needs of a growing profession, and Hurlstone College became Hurlstone Agricultural School, Ashfield.

By 1910, the suburb was becoming closely settled, and confusion reigned supreme over the official name for the district. The Railway Station on the branch line to Belmore, opened in 1895, was called Fern Hill; the people varied between calling the area Fern Hill and Wattle Hill, and the Postal Department was thinking of calling their new Post Office Silver Hill. Eventually, to sort out the question, the Fern Hill Progress Association asked the Canterbury Council to call a referendum in association with the Municipal Elections of 28 January 1911, so that the people voting at Fern Hill Polling Booth could decide. The choice of Fernboro, Garnett Hill and Hurlstone was given to them, and the vote was in favour of the name 'Hurlstone'. By then, the Railways Department was interested in a change of name for the station, so they, too, agreed to come into line with the wishes of the public after an initial argument about the merits of the name 'Berala', and an objection that 'Hurlstone' was too like 'Hillston'. They agreed to the chosen name provided that 'Park' was added to avoid any confusion. A Post Office known as Hurlstone Park was established on 15 August 1911; the station was renamed on 19 August and thus the seal of approval was given to the suburb's name. The trams, when they began to run in 1913, carried the destination sign of Wattle Hill for some time, but eventually these were changed as well.

Hurlstone Agricultural High School was bought from the New South Wales Department of Public Instruction, at a cost of 13 000 pounds, by the Church of England in 1925, as accommodation for their growing school for boys, Trinity Grammar School. Many of Kinloch's buildings still stand: the residence and buildings facing Prospect Road are part of the original College - used at last for the purpose he intended. The land he tried twice to subdivide is now Yeo Park, and the creek and dam site is covered by Ashfield South Public School, altogether an appropriate end to the land called the Hurlstone Estate.

(The surname, Hurlstone, is an example of an Old English locality name being taken by a family living in the location the name applies to. In Cheshire, where Helen Hurlstone came from, the name was given originally to 'a place surrounded or protected by hurdles (a fence of wooden stakes); an enclosure made of hurdles'. Old English: Hyrdel-es tun.)

- Lesley A Muir

References

NSW Registrar General's Department. Certificate of Title, Vol. 193, Folio 42. Mitchell Library. Ashfield Subdivision Plans. Map of part of the Canterbury Estate, the property of Miss Campbell, 1865. The Suburbs of Sydney, No. XVIII - Ashfield. The Echo, August 21, 1890. Sands Directories, 1868-1898.

Sydney Morning Herald, 1849-1881.

New South Wales. Department of Public Instruction. Annual Reports of the Minister for Public Instruction, 1881-1883. Jervis, James. A History of the Municipality of Canterbury, 1951. NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages. Records of the Kinloch family. Sibtain, Nancy de S P. Dare to look up: a memoir of Bishop George Alexander Chambers. Sydney, Angus and Robertson, 1968. New South Wales. Public Transport Commission. Archives Section. Historical notes on the Bankstown line, compiled by J H Forsyth. Sydney, the Commission, November 1976.

FREDERICK MEREDITH - FIRST FLEETER

It is a matter of pride these days to be able to claim as an ancestor a person who arrived in Australia in the First Fleet in 1788. But Jack Meredith can claim 5 different ancestors who arrived in the First Fleet.

Recently, Mr Meredith, a Lecturer in History at Sydney Teachers College, told the Canterbury & District Historical Society about his ancestor Frederick Meredith who was the Captain's steward on the Scarborough, one of the transports of the First Fleet. Soon after arriving in Sydney, Frederick Meredith had the doubtful distinction of appearing at the first sitting of the Court of Summary Jurisdiction (similar to a Court of Petty Sessions) for breaching the Governor's regulations by giving rum to a convict in exchange for a possum. He was sentenced to 100 lashes but Governor Phillip personally reduced this to 50 lashes.

Frederick Meredith apparently transferred to the Sirius and may have gone to Norfolk Island. He must have returned to England in 1792, because he was selected as one of the first free settlers who came to Australia in the Bellona in 1793. With the other settlers, he was given a grant of land at Liberty Plains, at the present Homebush, but in 1799 he sold the land to a neighbor. His next grant of land was 60 acres right on the point at Rhodes, which he is supposed to have disposed of for a quantity of rum.

He had a number of children from 1790, and in 1801 he had a son, also named Frederick, who was Jack Meredith's great-great-grandfather.

From 1800 to 1809, he was a member of the Volunteer Association, a group of respectable citizens who were prepared to turn out to defend the Colony by assisting the soldiers. Later he was a police constable.

In 1809, Frederick Meredith was given a grant of land of 120 acres at the present day Punchbowl, the grant being bounded approximately by Punchbowl Road, Canterbury Road, Moxon Road, Salt Pan Creek, Cullens Road and Rose Street. William Bond was given 50 acres bounded approximately by the present Victoria Road, Wiggs Road, Cullens Road, Rose Street and Viola Street.

This item appears in the Sydney Gazette of Sunday, 1 October 1809:

On Tuesday last, a number of natives assembled about the farm of Mr. Bond, at Georges River, and behaved in a very outrageous manner. They manifested an inclination to plunder but were prevented by the :determination that was shown to resist them. They threw several spears, and one of which grazed the ear of Mr. F Meredith, who assisted in the defence of the place, which it was at length found necessary to :abandon. Tidbury is said to have been one of the assailants.

Tidbury led many attacks on the white men who were taking their land. This was part of the resistance by the aborigines to the white invasion.

Soon after he arrived in NSW at the end of December 1809, Governor Macquarie revoked all land grants made illegally after Bligh was deposed. Bond and Meredith had to return their deeds, which were originally granted in November 1809, but they asked for re-grants. Macquarie agreed to these requests, and the new grants dated from 1 January 1810.

Presumably Frederick Meredith worked his land at Punchbowl, but in 1815 he sold 30 acres, and in 1818 mortgaged the remainder. Within a year or so, he sold the land, together with some harness and a mare named Maggie.

In 1821, he was promised further land at Bankstown, which was actually granted in 1833. He became a Constable at Liverpool, later the first Chief Constable at Liverpool, and he may have been the first Postmaster there. His son, Frederick junior, also became a Constable at Liverpool, and was praised for the capture of bushrangers. Frederick senior ceased as Constable in 1826, and died in 1836. He is buried at St Lukes Liverpool, beside his wife who had died in 1832.

Interestingly, Mr. Jack Meredith's son, the sixth generation descendant of the man who arrived on 26 January 1788, was born on 26 January 1960.

- B J Madden

CHOICE INDUSTRIAL SITES FOR SALE IN CANTERBURY, 1876

This advertisement in the Sydney Morning Herald of 4 August 1876, mentions many interesting items about Canterbury's history.

The property for sale was at the junction of Cooks River and Cup and Saucer Creek, opposite the present Hutton's bacon factory, where the Sugar Works operated from 1841 to 1855.

The gold-extracting machinery offered for sale was fairly standard equipment of the period. The combination shows the results of engineering advice, however, as very few mines of the era owned stone-breaking machines - they preferred to use the labour of boys with sledge-hammers for the initial crushing of stone for the mill.

Lawson and Jaffray must have been very optimistic about their prospects for business, as a great deal of capital went into setting up such a permanent looking establishment. (In 1890 such equipment would have cost from 1000 to 1500 pounds.)The water supply available from Cup and Saucer Creek would have been adequate - but the site was a long way from Ashfield station, and the railway would provide the only means of transporting the quartz for crushing to the mill. In the period 1860-1890 several such plants were set up away from the goldfields to deal especially with difficult ores (the advertisement mentions 'the separation of gold from pyrites and other minerals'),but only one, the Smelting & Refining Co of Australia Ltd, at Dapto, survived past the turn of the century; and then only because it had a direct rail link to the Port of Sydney.

William Lawson abandoned his engineering enterprises after this unsuccessful effort, to become the Publican of the Rising Sun Hotel at Canterbury. Jaffray belonged to a family of engineers, one of whom became quite famous as an advisor to many Australian mining companies. This particular Jaffray is probably Thomas, from Bridge Street, Sydney, who gave the engineering advice, and who ended his days as a painter.

It is very doubtful that the death of one of the partners was the actual cause for sale, as both continue to appear in Sands Directory well into the 1880's. The Company lasted from only 1875-1876; but presumably the gold-extracting machinery could have been purchased and transported to a goldfield where on-site quartz crushing was done, thereby using it to its full capacity.

In his history of Canterbury, Jervis (pp. 22 and 24) says that about 1863, Samuel Lucas started a wool wash on Cup and Saucer Creek. In 1868, Hill and Clissold, who owned a wool washing establishment at Newtown, moved to Canterbury and established the works on the southern side of Cooks River opposite the Sugar Mill. They took up an area of about 10 acres with the old dam about opposite the centre of the property. An engine capable of lifting 15 tons of water per hour was installed and the works began operations. The plant could scour about 25 bales per day at a cost of 1 1/2 pence per pound. A drying ground of about 4 acres was used to dry the wool after scouring. No date is given, but Jeffrey Denniss & Co later started a Tannery on the property earlier occupied by Clissold and Hill.

The location of the quarry can be established easily today. Travelling from Fore Street, along Burlington Avenue to Thompson Street, the cliff face is on the right. A new house on the northern end of River Street has a magnificent view of the Cooks River valley and the adjoining suburbs.

As well as the Ashfield Railway Station mentioned in the advertisement, Jervis says on page 24 that white sandstone from one of the quarries at Canterbury was used for the columns of the St James Church, King Street, Sydney, and when the building was repaired and remodelled in 1902 by Varney Parkes, stone from the same quarry was used.

This is the advertisement:

Important and positive sale
LAWSON and JEFFRAY'S GOLD-EXTRACTING PLANT
Patent right and lease of Premises and Grounds comprising 20 ACRES 2 ROODS and 18 PERCHES LAND Cook's River, Canterbury together with the right of purchase of same. On portion of which, in addition to the :Gold-extracting Plant, are erected the Building and plant so favorably known as
CLISSOLD and HILL's WOOL-WASHING ESTABLISHMENT, all of which is comprised in the right of purchase.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


GILCHRIST, STUBBS, and WESTON are instructed to sell by public auction, on the ground, SATURDAY, the 5th August, at 3 p.m.

The whole of the above plant, being LAWSON and JEFFRAY'S PATENTED GOLD-EXTRACTOR complete, comprising - One Appleton 's stone-breaking machine One large Chilian mill complete, gold- extracting machine, and :set of patent amalgamators, with shafting, pullies, belting Sc.,

Also, reverberatory furnace on the most improved principle, together with the right of purchase of ABOUT 21 ACRES SPLENDID LAND, on portion of which are erected the buildings, plant, and machinery so well :known as the WOOL-WASHING ESTABLISHMENT OF Messrs. CLISSOLD and HILL, comprising all the necessary buildings, 25-HORSE POWER ENGINE and BOILER, equal to 40 h.p.; CENTRIFUGAL PUMPS, capable of throwing 20 :tons of water per minute, with all the other requisites for a wool-washing establishment of the FIRST CLASS. And about 2 ACRES EXCELLENT LAND, the main portion of which is CLEARED, FENCED, and WELL-GRASSED, :and on a smaller portion of which is opened up one of the best FREESTONE QUARRIES in the whole of the district, the stone being pronounced equal to the best PYRMONT, as may be seen by that used in the :building of the Ashfield station.
LAWSON and JAFFRAY'S GOLD-EXTRACTOR is known and admitted to be the MOST PERFECT IN THE COUNTRY for the separation and sorting of gold from pyrites and other minerals, results having been obtained within :a few pennyweights per ton of chemical assay, and is being disposed of, together with all the rights pertaining thereto, solely by reason of the recent decease of one of the partners.
The WHOLE OF THE WORKS are erected above flood level
The BUILDINGS are of brick, stone and wood, in excellent order
The LAND is immediately opposite the old Sugar works and dam, and being within seven miles of the Circular Quay, and a mile and a half of the Ashfield station, affords every :convenience for transit. Comment on the great value of this property is almost unnecessary; as land simply it has few equals as a site or in regard to quality; while for either of the businesses, for the :conduct of which the whole machinery, plant, buildings &c., are on the ground, it cannot fail to yield the most satisfactory returns; in fact, it is estimated that within a very short time the patent right :and royalties from the GOLD EXTRACTOR alone will produce a large income.
Being for ABSOLUTE and BONA-FIDE SALE, intending purchasers are desired to visit the property and inspect for themselves. Cards to view may be obtained from the Auctioneers, who will also furnish all :desired particulars in respect to the several plants, lease, rental, right of purchase, &c., &c.
THE SALE will take place on the ground, and a conveyance will leave the rooms of the auctioneers at TWO 0 ’CLOCK SHARP on the DAY OF SALE 5th AUGUST.
(Sydney Morning Herald 4 August 1876, p.10d.)

- Lesley A Muir

BUSHFIRES SWEEP DISTRICT

A disastrous bushfire which swept over several miles of country in the southern suburbs on Thursday, 6 February 1902, caused the loss of a number of houses, miles of fencing and large areas of grass and bush. The temperature in Sydney that day was 96°, but unofficial readings put the Parramatta maximum at 104°. The first report in the Sydney Morning Herald said that the fire commenced in the vicinity of Bonds Road and swept with terrible rapidity through the bush known as Griffith's. The next day, the Herald said that the fire was believed to have started from a swagman's camp in lower Bankstown (presumably the Peakhurst - Riverwood area). The Daily Telegraph on Friday, 7 February said that the fire broke out at Peakhurst, probably when some careless person dropped a lighted match, and then 'swept the country almost clear for a distance of about six miles,' as far as Belmore and Moorefields.

A dense pall of smoke soon covered the district and large numbers turned out to fight the fire. Fed by the dry grass and dense scrub and bush, the fire soon had a complete mastery of the area. It widened as it advanced speedily, and in a very brief time, fences were being consumed and homesteads threatened.

Shortly after 3 p.m., the fire brigades from Kogarah, Rockdale and Hurstville were summoned to Moorefields. They saw that most of the country extending from Stoney Creek Road at Hurstville to the St George Hotel (at the corner of Canterbury and Kingsgrove Roads) was being swept by the fire. Assistance was first given to saving Mr. James Forester's house on the Croydon Road (probably the present Kingsgrove Road), where sparks were continually falling on the roof. Across Wolli Creek, on the Walker Estate (this was probably the Meadows Farm near Beverly Hills Station), some hundreds of acres of grass was consumed.The homestead on the property was said to be one of large dimensions, surrounded by numerous outhouses, and despite all efforts, a number of the latter were destroyed, but the house was saved. The house was one of the oldest residences in the district, and was said to have been erected by the convicts in the early days. On the farm of Mr. James Forester, senior, which was next reached, a shed and half a ton of Potatoes ready for the markets were consumed and the main building was for some time in danger of destruction. After travelling down Wolli Creek, the flames ignited the woodwork of a bridge spanning the stream, and the structure was only saved by the prompt arrival of the firemen.

A large haystack, estimated to contain over 100 tons, on the property of Mr. P Scahill, was enveloped in flames. Moorefields was next threatened. The fire swept towards the cemetery adjoining the Wesleyan Church in Moorefields Road, and was soon licking up all the vegetation and the wooden railings about the graves. For a considerable time the Church itself was menaced. The Hurstville brigade then had an exciting few minutes to keep the Public school (then in Moorefields Road near Ada Street) from being destroyed, and at the same time Kogarah brigade was similarly engaged in saving a cottage next door. A number of houses were burnt. Premises occupied by Messrs Lees and Walters and Constable Mannell was entirely consumed and others damaged. One of the largest buildings in the district, the St George Hotel, seemed at one time to be doomed to destruction, but when hopes of saving the property were reduced to zero, the wind changed. So narrow was the escape that the outbuildings were almost reached by the flames. Adjoining property, occupied by Mr. Ware, became ignited and was reduced to ashes.

Other houses destroyed included those of Mrs. Mary Waters, Mrs. Mary Ridgewell, and Mr. Hendry Thick.

In many instances, the fruits of long and arduous labour by the settlers were destroyed within a few minutes. Such was the case with a large stack of firewood, containing some hundreds of tons, which had been cut and carted together by the members of a family named Fitzgerald, and which were a prey to the conflagration. A poultry farmer lost over 400 ducks.

Damage was expected to reach several thousands of pounds.

The violent southerly change towards evening checked the destructive progress of the fire, which burned throughout the night and was still smouldering in some localities the following day. The scene on Thursday night was described as magnificent, the flames having ascended to the tops of hundreds of trees, and lighting up the country for a great distance on all sides.

On Monday, 10 February, the Herald reported: 'The more fortunate folk whose residences were untouched showed much compassion for those who had been rendered homeless, and this feature of the fire was the most pleasing to record.'

- B J Madden


References

Daily Telegraph, Friday, 7 February 1902, 7c, and Saturday, 8 February, 11b.

Evening News, Friday, 7 February 1902, 4e.

Sydney Morning Herald, Friday, 7 February 1902, 6d, Saturday, 8 February 1902, 8h, and Monday, 10 February 1902, 11g.

POSSIBLE LOCATION OF HANNAH LAYCOCK’S FARM HOUSE AT KINGSGROVE

In 1804, Hannah Laycock was given a grant of land of 500 acres to which she gave the name King's Grove Farm. It was a rectangular block, bounded by Kingsgrove Road; William Street; Bexley Road and a continued line to Preddys Road; and Stoney Creek Road and a continued line back to Preddys Road south of Canonbury Grove.

On Thursday, 13 December 1810, Governor Macquarie and his party visited Mrs. Laycock in the course of an inspection of the farms to the south of the Parramatta Road. In his Journal, Macquarie says that the party arrived at 2.30 p.m. 'at Mrs. Laycock's farm near Cooks River.' The Journal continues: '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.'

The title to Hannah Laycock's land at Kingsgrove passed to Simeon Lord in 1829, and Lord died in 1840. In 1841, the executors of the estate of Simeon Lord arranged the sale of his land at Kingsgrove in two parts - on 14 May and 17 August.

The first auction on 14 May 1841, was for that part of the original King's Grove Farm between Wolli Creek and Stoney Creek Road, together with the 250 acres to the west of Kingsgrove Road granted to John Townson in 1810, and the 120 acres to the north of William Street granted to Hannah Laycock in 1812. The land is described in an advertisement in 'The Australian' of 11 May 1841, (and earlier dates) and a plan of the lots to be sold, entitled 'Lord's Allotments in the Parish of St George', is held in the Mitchell Library (M2. 811.1853/1841/1). There is no reference to a house or cleared land in the rather fulsome advertisement, and the plan does not show any building or clearing on the lots auctioned on 14 May.

On 17 August 1841, the land between Wolli Creek and William Street was auctioned. The land is described in an advertisement in 'The Australian’ of 7 August 1841, (and other dates) and the Mitchell Library has a surveyor's plan of the lots, entitled 'Field Plan of the Kingsgrove Homestead'. (M2. 811.1851/1841/1) This plan shows an area of cleared land and tracks leading to it from three directions. Within the cleared area is a hut, a small orchard, two areas of corn, an area described as a paddock, two tents and a well. There are no other improvements on any other area. The advertisement says that lots 56 to 64 are chiefly cleared and that 'on 58 and 59 there is a slabbed hut with small orchard and garden.' The advertisement also says that about 60 acres are cleared, although the area marked on the plan seems to be about half of this, that is, about 30 acres. The remainder of the advertisement makes no mention of cleared land or any improvements other than the slabbed hut. Surely cleared land would be of more value than uncleared land, and it is assumed that the cleared area mentioned was the only cleared land on the whole estate. It must be mentioned that advertisements seeking to dispose of Kings Grove in the Sydney Gazette of 2 September 1815, and 12 October 1816, claim respectively that 99 acres and 100 acres were cleared. Whether these are exaggerations or whether some of the forest was allowed to regenerate in the next 25 years can only be guessed at.

The advertisement of 7 August 1841, also makes this significant statement: 'This portion of the estate was selected by the former owner as the best situation as a homestead.' This must be read in association with the title of the plan: 'Field Plan of the Kingsgrove Homestead'. Earlier in the advertisement, it is stated that the sale was on the instructions of Lord's executors, and the words 'the former owner' may refer to him. However, Lord owned extensive areas of land and was well established in the city of Sydney. It probably refers to the owner prior to Lord - that is, to Hannah Laycock.

The 'homestead' was presumably on the cleared area shown on the surveyor's plan. The fact that tracks led to the cleared area from three directions tend to confirm this. However, although the hut was the only structure on the whole estate in 1841, it is not clear whether the hut was, in fact, the 'homestead', and without further evidence in support, it is impossible to claim a connection between the hut and the farm house described by Macquarie in 1810. I believe that the advertisements and plans indicate that Mrs Laycock's farm house was in the vicinity of the cleared land existing in 1841. Translated to the present day, the hut was situated at the north eastern corner of the Rosemeath Avenue and Homer Street intersection, and the cleared area was bounded roughly by Homer Street, Killara Avenue, across to Thomas Street, and along Proctor Avenue.

The land auctioned in May 1841, realised 6000 pounds. However, the second auction in August appears to have been unsuccessful. There is no mention of the result of the sale in the Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian or the Monitor, and plans and references in subsequent years seem to confirm that the land was not sold in 1841.

- B J Madden


Present-day Street plan superimposed on Mitchell library map M2/811.1851/1841/1 Field Plan of the kingsgrove Homestead


Boundaries of grants by Lesley A Muir

BEAMISH STREET - A VERY OLD ROAD

Beamish Street, Campsie, has been in use as a public road since 1812, and probably since at least as early as 1804. It is much older than the section of Canterbury Road from Cooks River to Bankstown, but Punchbowl Road is probably even older than Beamish Street.

What is now Beamish Street was the access road to Mrs. Hannah Laycock's King's Grove Farm. In August 1804, Hannah Laycock received a grant of 500 acres in a rectangular block between Kingsgrove Road and Bexley Road, from William Street to Stoney Creek Road. On the same date her son William received 100 acres between Canterbury Road and Harp Street and Northcote and Charlotte Streets. Another son Samuel, also received 100 acres on the northern side of Canterbury Road directly opposite William Laycock's grant.

Mrs. Laycock's farm was probably occupied in 1804 if not before, but it was certainly occupied in 1806, when the Sydney Gazette carried a notice that strayed stock was held at Mrs. Laycock's farm at King's Grove.

On Thursday, 13 December 1810, Governor Macquarie and his party visited Mrs. Laycock's farm at Kingsgrove and John Townson's house on Kogarah Bay. In his Journal, Macquarie says that they crossed Cooks River 'twice over a very slender bad bridge within two miles of Mrs Laycock's farm.' This would have been at the northern end of Beamish Street, as explained below.

The claim that Beamish Street is the road to the Laycock farm is based on the boundaries of the grants of land between the Laycock farms and Cooks River. On the parish map for the Parish of St George, there is a distinct area not granted to anyone, and this was along what is now Beamish Street from Evaline Street north to Cooks River. This indicates that the road was in existence before the adjoining land grants were made.

On the western side of Beamish Street, there were grants to John Redmond (or Redman) and Thomas Capon. On the eastern side, the grants were to John Bentley and W P Crooke.

The wording of the grant to John Redmond of 100 acres, which stretched from Samuel Laycock's grant at Evaline Street and to the present Campsie Street, stated that it was bounded on the east by 'the present Cart Road, when it was granted on 25 August 1812. The grant to Thomas Capon of 200 acres, from Campsie Street to the river, on 11 September 1817, states that it was bounded on the east by the 'road leading to Mrs Laycock's Kingsgrove farm.' John Bentley's 100 acres, from Evaline Street to Clissold Parade, granted on 30 June 1823, was bounded on the southwest by 'a road leading to Laycock's farm.' When the area from Clissold Parade to the river was granted to W P Crooke on 19 October 1831, it was said to be 'bounded on the west by the road to Sydney.'

Thus, as early as 1812, there is mention in the official land records of a Cart Road, where Beamish Street is now located. In 1817 and 1823, the road is described as leading to Laycock's farm. It was probably in use from at least as early as 1804, as it would be unlikely that the Laycock's would have changed their access route in that time as this would have involved the felling of trees and clearing of the stumps to open up a second road on land which they did not own.

It follows that the crossing of Cooks River would have been at the northern end of Beamish Street, otherwise the road would have been elsewhere. This is confirmed by a plan of Crooke's and Capon's grants, Cooks River (Canterbury Sub-division Boxes, Mitchell Library, undated but after 1877), which shows the old crossing place at the end of Beamish Street.

When coming from Sydney, the Laycocks would have travelled along Parramatta Road and Old Canterbury Road, through the Canterbury Estate at what is now Hurlstone Park and Ashbury, and crossed Cooks River by the bridge at the northern end of the present Beamish Street. It is not known why the Laycocks did not use what was probably an existing crossing at the site of the present Punchbowl Road - Georges River Road - Coronation Parade intersection, which would only have meant a short additional mileage, without the need for their own bridge.

I believe that Hannah Laycock's farmhouse was near the corner of the present Homer Street and Rosemeath Avenue, and I have explained the reasons for my belief elsewhere. A check on a map will show that a track along the present Beamish Street through the grants made to Samuel and William Laycock and continued to Homer Street would be a direct line.

On the northern side of the river, William Faithfull's 1000 acres grant dated 1 January 1810, excluded roads including one to the Laycock and Townson farms. Part of this land was re-granted to Simeon Lord. I have been unable to locate any plans relating to Lord's land which show the road leading to Laycock's bridge and Beamish Street. This suggests that the crossing remained in use for only a comparatively few years. Certainly a sub-division plan of Brighton Farm, being Simeon Lord's 800 acres and dated about 1838, does not include any road which leads to the present Beamish Street. By this time there was a punt at what is now the Canterbury Road crossing of Cooks River, as well as the old crossing at Punchbowl Road.

Liverpool Road was constructed in 1814, and it is possible that residents south of Cooks River found that Liverpool Road was a better access route to and from Sydney, and that the connection between Liverpool Road and Punchbowl Road (which is now called Coronation Parade) was made quite early. If so, the Punchbowl Road crossing of Cooks River would have increased in importance and the Laycock crossing or bridge gone out of use.

'The New South Wales Calendar and General Post Office Directory, 1832' (page 51) refers to this route as servicing the farms between Georges and Cooks Rivers and on Salt Pan Creek. When a dam was built across Cooks River at Tempe in 1840, this provided a convenient road crossing for settlers in the St George area, saving them the long trek to Sydney via Enfield and the Liverpool Road.

Although I have not been able to locate any plans of Lord's land which shows a road leading to Beamish Street, for many years after, small scale parish maps and other maps of the Sydney district show a mushroom like road pattern between Punchbowl Road and the Canterbury Estate, and a branch from this road to Beamish Street. Perhaps this was a perpetuation from one map to another of the very early road pattern, but the actual roads had changed to a new pattern.

Whilst the actual dates are uncertain, it is clear that Beamish Street has a very long history indeed.

- B J Madden

BELMORE'S WANDERING POST OFFICE

The first Post Office known as Belmore was established in 1879 in what is now the Wiley Park-Punchbowl area, which was then known as Belmore. Belmore Post Office moved to other locations, and in 1907 its name was changed to South Belmore, when another Post Office was opened near the Railway Station and was called Belmore. South Belmore later became Lakemba and operated in various locations. The following article has been supplied by the Historical Section of the Australian Post Office. Where additional information or comments have been added by me, these are enclosed by double brackets.

- B J Madden


BELM0RE/S0UTH BELMORE/LAKEMBA POST OFFICE

In April 1879, residents of 'Belmore and surrounding neighbourhood' asked for the establishment of a post office.

The petitioners advised:

Your Petitioners request to inform you, that Belmore is situated about four miles from the Canterbury Post Office and on the main road to George 's River.

(As indicated above, the Punchbowl-Wiley Park area was known as Belmore at this time. For comparison, the Post Office at Canterbury was opened in March 1858.) Its population number between one and two hundred.

A new Public School is being erected. And there is every prospect of a large village being formed.
At the present a number of the residents are greatly inconvenienced by having to proceed to the Canterbury Post Office to post and receive their letters or papers.
Your Petitioners humbly seek the sanction of the above, and, as in duty bound, will ever pray.

The postmaster at Canterbury, W Slocombe, reported that about six letters weekly passed through his office for Belmore, which was three and a half miles distant. He thought that if an office was established a mail could be sent through the Canterbury office, and added: 'I send regularly to Belmore three times a week and deliver the letters to that locality.'

John Lucas MP recommended James Milner as postmaster 'in the Parish of St George.'

Post Office Opened

James Milner was appointed postmaster on 1 July 1879, when the Belmore Post Office was established. Milner who gave his occupation as 'Labourer, Freeholder', named as Sureties James Quigg and James Chisholm, both freeholders of Belmore. His salary was $10 per annum.

It was shown in October 1879, that for one month 106 letters, 2 packets, and 31 newspapers were exchanged between Canterbury and Belmore. A three times weekly mail service was provided by James Milner, on horseback, for £14 per annum.(Belmore PO File.) Unfortunately the location of the early post office was not given.

((An 1884 map (Mitchell Library X981.11/6A) shows the name Milner on a block on the southern side of Canterbury Road, near the present King Georges Road, and opposite the present Wiley Park. An 1886 map (M3. 811.185/1886/1) shows Belmore Post Office in approximately the same position. Milner operated a horse-bus between Belmore and Sydney in the 1880's. Jervis, in his History of the Municipality of Canterbury, says: 'In 1882, letters posted in Belmore numbered 1647, while postal revenue was fell.14.0. There was a decline in 1883 when 1221 letters were dispatched. In 1889, although 2000 letters were posted, the revenue was only £9.0.0.'))

A break occurred in the records to 1889, when on February 26,Mrs Ann Milner was appointed postmistress following her husband's death.(Campsie PO File.)

Post Office records of 1889 showed that on 20 April 1892, Mrs Milner, because of ill health, had to sell the business which she conducted in conjunction with the post office; and that she had held a contract to convey the mail between Canterbury and Belmore (a distance of 4 miles) six times weekly, for £42 per annum.

Mr Arthur Bransgrove, the purchaser of the business, was appointed postmaster on 20 April 1892. In applying for the position, he gave his address as 'Chapel St., Canterbury.'

((Sands Directory 1891 lists 'A Bransgrove' in Chappell (sic) St., near Rogers St., which would have been his address prior to taking over Mrs Milner's business. Sands 1892 lists 'Belmore PO - A Bransgrove' in George St. (now Canterbury Rd.) between Canarys Rd. and Bonds Rd. This confirms the earlier information on location of the first Post Office.))

Bransgrove forwarded his resignation in July 1892, in favour of 'Mr Bennett' of whom he said:

...Is a suitable person to fill the position and his premises are situated in the best place for a post office as he is taking over my business altogether...
(No location given.)

George H Bennett took charge on 16 July 1892, but forwarded his resignation the following November, advising also that he could not renew his contract for the mails. T Harrison of Belmore, on 14 November 1892, advised that ho had taken a lease of 'the premises at Belmore in which is included the post office', and was willing to take up the contract for the mails,'to be run by horseback.'

However, the postal inspector reported in favour of providing an additional letter carrier at Canterbury, so that one could deliver to 'that portion known as Belmore', and making it possible to cancel the Belmore - Canterbury mail service. This would obviate the need for a post office at Belmore. His report, which was very informative, referred to the extension of the railway and increasing settlement, and said:

After visiting Canterbury and Belmore in company with Mr Scahill, the Mayor, in reference to the necessity for improved postal facilities in that locality by extending delivery by Letter Carriers, I am of :the opinion that in view of the construction, early completion of the new railway from Marrickville to the Burwood Road through Canterbury, and the increasing settlement around, that such delivery by Ltr :Carriers is now necessary.
The postal arrangements at Belmore are not satisfactory, and Mr Bennett the Postmaster there, as well as being the Contractor for mail service between Canterbury and Belmore, is about to resign his position :of Postmaster and is unwilling to sign the bond for his accepted tender for this mail service for the next 3 years, and in consequence of private losses, he is about to withdraw all his Busses from this :road.
The existing postal arrangements at Belmore cost

Postmaster's salary £10

Mail contract to 31/12/92 £42
£52 per annum
A portion of Canterbury is now served by one Letter Carrier only, but as the beat is very large and complaints of delay often arise I consider it will be advisable to meet this case by recommending a second :Letter Carrier at a cost of £39 per annum salary and £36.10.0 forage, total £75.10.0, so that Canterbury can have the benefit of 2 Letter Carriers, one of these to take in that portion known as Belmore, thus :obviating the necessity for a Post Office there and dispensing with the necessity for a mail service between Canterbury and Belmore. I therefore beg to make the following recommendations, viz
1. That the attached resignation of Mr Bennett, Postmaster at Belmore be accepted.
2. That the Mail service between Canterbury and Belmore be abolished as soon as M C Bennett notifies his willingness to have present contract cancelled.
3. That as Mr Bennett is unwilling, as per attached letter, to sign bond for this contract for 1893 1894 & 1895, that this be not enforced, but cancelled.
4. That a temporary Letter Carrier be appointed at a salary of £39 per annum (as no local lad suitable is obtainable at a less amount) with the usual forage allowance of £36/10/- per annum. This temporary Letter Carrier to be wider the direction of the Postmaster, Canterbury for Letter delivery and Receiver Clearing in the Municipality of Canterbury, and who will regulate the work on beats as required.

Post Office Closed

As a result of the new arrangements, the Belmore Post Office was closed on 21 November 1892.

Petition for PO - 1899

The Belmore railway station (formerly known as 'Burwood Road') had been opened on 1 February 1895. However nothing was recorded on the post office papers until 1899 when representations were made for the establishment of a post office at Belmore.

Walter D'Arrietta wrote from 'Belmore' on 24 April 1899, that certain residents would be asking for a post office, but 'on behalf of residents of the western end of the Municipality' he wished to protest against any alteration of the postal arrangements. He claimed that such was unnecessary as most of the petitioners enjoyed the benefit of a morning and an afternoon letter delivery, and went on to say that any difficulty in obtaining stamps could be met 'by licensing some shopkeeper on the Canterbury Road and also one at or near the Belmore Railway Station.'

A petition, forwarded about July 1899, asked for a post office, and advised that the nearest office was at Canterbury. The petitioners said:

We whose names are subscribed to this petition beg most respectfully to bring under your notice the great need of a small post office in Belmore and we would suggest the main road near Chapel St. as a :suitable spot having the Moor fields District on the one side and the settlement round the Railway Terminus on the other....

The postal inspector considered that a site near the railway station would be most suitable. However as a deputation from the Council, and the petition 'proposed near the junction of Chapel and Canterbury Road as a suitable site, about 3/4 of a mile south from the station', and as Mr A J Davey, storekeeper and newsagent near there was willing to conduct a post office, he recommended that an office be established under the name of Belmore, in charge of A J Davey. He also recommended that mail for Belmore be sent via Canterbury and thence by letter carrier, and that mail be collected from Belmore twice daily by the Canterbury letter carrier in the course of his delivery.

Post Office Re-opened

A non-official post office, in charge of Alexander J Davey was opened on 21 August 1899, under the name of Belmore. Davey was paid £l0 per annum.

Approval was given for Davey to move the post office a distance of about '250 yards along the main road’ to a new building which the postmaster was erecting, in August 1900.

(Sands Directory 1902 lists 'PO & Store - A J Davey' in George St. (now Canterbury Rd.) between Chappell (sic) St. and Canarys Rd.)

(A rough sketch in 1906 showed the post office on the south side of Canterbury Road, east of Haldon Street.)

In May 1906, residents not receiving a letter delivery petitioned the Postmaster-General when the boundary of the Municipality was extended to include them in the Canterbury Municipality. They mostly were residents of Belmore, Bonds and Canterbury Roads, as well as residents of Bellona, Shorter and George Streets.

The postmaster at Canterbury reported that before the passing of the Shires Act, Bonds Road was the boundary of Canterbury Municipality but the boundary had been extended to Salt Pan Creek, and many of the residents believed that letter deliveries were always granted in a Municipality. Some of the people who petitioned were well back from the roadside and were miles apart. Their occupations were mainly gardening, poultry farming and wood carting.

Considerable correspondence ensued concerning the letter deliveries in the distant parts of the Municipality. A report on 11 December 1906, included the following remarks:

The Canterbury Municipality as originally constituted is 5 miles x 2 ½ miles} a daily delivery service being effected from the Canterbury Post Office to two different sections. A recent census of the :Canterbury Municipality shows an increase of 247 houses, the principal increase being in the Belmore Section.
The total delivery is affected by 2 mounted postmen and 3 messengers, two of whom are on bicycles, the other walking. These postmen were obliged to be back at Canterbury Post Office not later than 10.55 :a.m. so that letters collected by them from the 13 letter boxes throughout the delivery area may be dispatched by the 11.7 a.m. mail which arrives in Sydney in time to catch the 12.30 p.m. city delivery.

By 1907 complaints were being made concerning the inconvenient position of the post office at Belmore, where 'increasing settlement' was taking place.

In June 1907, a largely signed petition asked for the establishment of a post office near the Belmore Railway Station. This was presented by a deputation from the Belmore Progress Association, introduced by Mr T F H Mackenzie MLA.

Mr Brack, president of the Association said:

Of course these last few years Belmore had gone ahead by leaps and bounds. We see that our train is the largest that leaves the Sydney Station having 10 cars. The present Post Office is about 1% miles from :the Railway Station and is not at all central. It is alright for the people who use the old Canterbury Road and we do not want it removed but a new Office established near the Belmore Railway Station at Mr :Turton's (?) for preference, which is the most central position. This gentleman is willing to make alterations necessary and to act as Postmaster for a small allowance. The new Office would be about 1% miles :from the present Office and the population would be all around it. (Name believed to be Mr 'Tritton's'.)

The postal inspector reported in favour of the establishment of a post office at Mr Tritton's News Agency and Stationer's shop, close to the Railway Station. Tritton had agreed to build a suitable room in which to conduct the office.

It was also recommended that the new office be named 'Belmore', and the office formerly known by that name (in Liverpool Road) be changed to 'South Belmore'.

((The reference to Liverpool Road would be to Canterbury Rd., being the road to Liverpool. Sands Directory 1908 lists 'Belmore PO & Store' in Canterbury Rd., south side, between Chapel St. and Flora St.))

NEW 'BELMORE POST OFFICE'

A new office was opened under the name of 'Belmore' in charge of Mrs Ellen Tritton on 19 August 1907, when the name of the former 'Belmore' Post Office was changed to 'South Belmore'. Mrs Tritton received a postal allowance of 610 per annum.

A report by the postal inspector, in 1908, mentioned that mails were not made up at Belmore, the letter box at the post office and the letter receivers being cleared by postmen on their rounds. Apparently at this time a letter delivery was being made once daily, as in September approval was given for the extension of the letter deliveries twice daily to all places within one mile radius of [[Canterbury Post Office|Canterbury[[, Campsie and Belmore post offices. A dispatch of mails from Campsie and Belmore at 10.30 a.m. and at 8.30 p.m. was also approved.

((Campsie Post Office opened in April 1900.))

Mr David Durie succeeded Mrs Tritton and was appointed postmaster on 1 July 1908, with an allowance of 620 per annum.

Telephone

A public telephone had been opened at the Belmore railway station on 20 April 1905.

In November 1908, a telephone office was established at the post office, in charge of Mr Durie. This meant that telegrams could be sent and received at the office, and arrangements were made for a telegram delivery. The office hours were 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

A public telephone, connected to the Ashfield Telephone Exchange, was opened at Belmore Post Office on 20 February 1909.

By 1912, Mr Durie’s postal allowance had been increased to £ 73.10.0 per annum.

At present little is known about the Belmore Post Office in subsequent years.

The status of the office was increased to that of official post office on 8 July 1926.

A site for the post office was acquired in Burwood Road in January 1924, and additional land was acquired in September 1948. The post office building was completed on 13 January 1926.

SOUTH BELMORE POST OFFICE

When the former Belmore Post Office on the south side of Canterbury Road, east of Haldon Street, was re-named South Belmore in 1907, A J Davey had been Postmaster since 1899. His resignation as Postmaster at South Belmore is dated 22 May 1908. It was recommended that G H Jones should succeed him. Mr Jones had apparently bought the store from Mr Davey.

George Henry Jones took over the postal business on 12 June 1908, the salary for which was £20 per annum.

LAKEMBA POST OFFICE

On 12 April 1910, a request was made on behalf of the residents of Belmore West, that the name of Belmore South Post Office should be changed to Lakemba, for the following reasons:

(1) Belmore and Belmore South were often confused, and letters were left at the wrong office.

(2) Lakemba is the name of the Railway Station opposite South Belmore Post Office.

(3) Belmore South is misleading because the office is directly west of Belmore.

(Lakemba railway station opened on 14 April 1909, when the line was extended from Belmore to Bankstown. As the Post Office was apparently still in Canterbury Rd., the residents probably meant that the Station and Post Office were at opposite ends of a connecting street. The Post Office would have been south-west of Belmore Station and Post Office.)

It was decided to change the name of the Post Office as from 1 June 1910.

On 9 April 1910, it was recommended that a Postman be provided at Lakemba, and a forage allowance be granted to the Postman for his horse.

On 25 May 1910, Mr Jones wrote asking for authority to move the Post Office into the new premises he was erecting on the corner of Canterbury Road and Flora Street, Lakemba. This site was about 150 yards from the then position and was more central. It was on a straight road to the railway station, which was about half-a-mile away.

Later, it was decided to accept the offer of the Postmaster, Lakemba, to provide a horse and convey mails to and from the Lakemba Railway Station, four times daily, and provide for a letter delivery for the district.

In 1914, it was proposed to extend the delivery area towards Punchbowl, where an allowance office had been opened on 1 August 1913. Another mounted postman was engaged for which the Postmaster received an allowance.

On 15 May 1915, the Post Office was taken over by Mr B K Wilkinson, an Estate Agent. The office was in Canterbury Road, but in August 1915, he moved into new premises in Haldon Street.

On 31 January 1917, Money Order and Savings Bank facilities were extended to Lakemba.

On 1 May 1918, G E Grantham took over as Postmaster in place of B K Wilkinson, who had resigned his position.

The Post Office was moved to new premises in Haldon Street, opposite to the old Post Office site. The new building was of brick and included stable accommodation. The previous office was a weatherboard.

Mr Garton commenced as Postmaster on 1 June 1918, and the changeover to the new premises took place on 24 June.

((Sands Directory 1918 lists the Post Office as on the east side of Haldon St., while the 1919 Directory lists it on the west side.

((The 1923 Directory lists 'Post-Telegraph Office -AC Garton, P'master' in Haldon St., west side, between Canterbury Rd. and Oneata St.

((In the 1924 Directory, the Post Office is listed in Railway Pde., between Haldon St. and Croydon St.

((The official Post Office building in the Boulevarde was completed on 28 October 1924.


Map to Accompany Belmore's wandering Post Office