Canterbury and District Historical Society s2 n11

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S2 N11

October. 1981


Early this century life along the Wolli Creek valley was anything but easy. Between where the Bardwell Park and Bexley North Railway Stations are now there lived a handful settlers eking out a living for their families.

Mrs McDonald (Elsie King) of Earlwood was born in 1898 there, Wolli Creek. Her parents had three children when they started up a pig and poultry farm down past the end of the present Richard Avenue, behind where Earlwood School is now. The year is thought to be about 1895, judging by the dates and places of birth given on two of her older brothers' birth certificates. The family does not appear in Sands’ Directory until 1903. In that year the address was given as 'off Homer Street'. Richard Avenue did not appear in the Directory until 1917. Curtayne Lane was named in 1920 as running from Homer Street to Wolli Creek. Six more children were born on the farm after they went there, the last one in 1910.

Mrs Pearce (Hazel Perry) of Belfield was about six in 1916 when her parents bought a pig and poultry farm on the other side of the creek, about where the tennis court is, near D Slade Road. Her parents had two children when they went there and seven more were born on the farm, with the help of midwife who travelled around in a sulky. Mr Perry's mother, Kathleen, was the daughter of William Charles Wentworth.

Molloys lived in the stone house that is now 112 Slade Road which had been Hilsdon's Nursery. They had a windmill. The Robinson farm was between Molloys’ and Perrys', and Shaws' was on the other side of Perrys', near where Bexley North Railway Station is now. Mr Jones had a dairy farm near the present Flat Rock Road and Jones Avenue. They also had windmill. At the other end of this little settlement, near Bardwell Park Station, Blackwells had loam pits. On top of the hill above Kings' farm, in the present Wolli Avenue, was the Cox dairy farm next to the Goldsborough farm.

Mrs Cox and Mrs King were sisters. Other names associated with the area at different times were Brown, Smith, Grives, Faulks, Pendlebury, Wilson and Burrell.

Wolli Creek was not as overgrown then as now, and when in flood swept all before it. Each farmer living near the creek d his own rickety creek crossing using a plank and a guide re. During floods the brown, swirling waters swept these away as well as fences, sheds, even animals, as the water rose higher and spread wider.

Strong winds turned the gully into a wind tunnel, and Mrs Pearce remembers the whole family at one time sheltering under a rock in a wind storm as the house threatened to blow off its foundations. The King children mostly walked everywhere they went. They were forever out scouring the bush for firewood or looking for their horse. All except the youngest walked to Canterbury School and back every day from the age of seven, sometimes playing in the quarry at the bottom of River Street on the way. They crossed Cooks River via a bridge near Hutton's. The youngest, Arthur, went to Earlwood School when it opened in 1916.

The Perrys went to Earlwood School too, crossing the creek by their plank bridge, and cutting through yards and up the hill. If floods swept their bridge away they could not go to school. The closest crossing was near the present Kingsgrove railway station, and that made their journey too long.

In her search for firewood on the Bexley side of the creek, Mrs Pearce would tie the dried ti-trees to the horse’s chain traces and stand up on top of the load to guide him home.

Travel into Sydney took a long time and happened rarely. There was a horse bus that went along William Street, then along Homer Street to the tram at Undercliffe. From there, there was a choice of continuing all the way to Sydney by tram, through Marrickville, Enmore and Newtown, or of catching the steam train from Marrickville. The tram was cheaper. On the Bexley side, there was a steam tram from the Mimosa Street Terminus at Bexley which connected with the steam train at Arncliffe. Getting to Earlwood or Bexley was mostly a matter of walking through the bush.

Conditions on these farms have been described as isolated and primitive. There were few made roads, only rough bush tracks, no electricity or gas - in fact none of the comforts we have today. The very earliest shelters were quite simple, using earthen or rock floors until something better could be built. Most farmers grew vegetables and fruit trees, and kept a cow and poultry.

To conserve the rain water, the children were often bathed in the creek in fine weather. Even the washing was done on flat stones in the creek. At other times kerosene tins of water were boiled in the yard for the washing, and bathing took place in a tin tub in the kitchen in front of the fuel stove with its simmering black iron pots.

The kitchen table was bare wood, sometimes deal. This and the chairs and the bare wooden dresser were scrubbed daily with sandsoap until they were almost white. The Colonial oven was blackened and the surrounds whitewashed until everything was spotless.

Except for the pigs, the valley was quite pretty in the years before the First World War. Wild flowers were prolific, especially flannel flowers and Christmas bells. Watercress was plentiful, and wild nasturtium leaves were found to be quite tasty on bread and butter. The sarsaparilla weed was boiled to make a syrupy tonic.

Home remedies for common ailments abounded. Concentrated ‘Heenzo' was boiled with squill candy and licorice to use as a cough mixture, while grated camphor was mixed with a little olive oil, Vaseline and eucalyptus to rub on the chest for bronchitis. A drop of eucalyptus on sugar was supposed to cure a sore throat, while a drop of kerosene on sugar was wrongly used for the same purpose. It was known to take one's breath away. Camphor carried in a bag around the neck was used to cure a cold, as was a red flannel under-vest.

If talcum powder was scarce, baby could be rubbed with corn flour. Burns were smothered with olive oil or castor oil. The latter mixed with orange juice had been known to relieve constipation. Sweets were home made in the form of fudge or toffee. Charcoal from the back of the stove, rubbed on a rag, could be used to clean the teeth. A poultice of soap and sugar was supposed to draw infection from a wound, and linseed oil, Goanna oil and Zam-buk were all popular.

The farmers who kept pigs would rise very early each day, sometimes in the dark, in order to catch the horse and harness it to a cart, loaded with empty drums. Then they would proceed to the wharves or the hospitals or the markets or the cafes and shops in Sydney or Newtown where they would collect all manner of waste food scraps. By the time they reached home, other members of the family would have big coppers of water boiling. All the waste, even bones, was tipped into these vats and boiled and boiled.

As they could not afford grain to hand feed their animals, this was a cheap way to feed them and make a little money on the side. The fat was skimmed off the top, stored in a drum and sold. The bones were sold.

The 'soup’ was poured off, mixed with stale bread and fed to the pigs for breakfast. Some of the compact residue was given to them at night. Pollard, mixed with the rest, fed the poultry.

Some farmers concreted their pig pens and kept the yards whitewashed and scrubbed them every day. Even so, disease in the form of Swine Fever swept the gully a few times after the war. It was probably carried by the creek or lingered in the soil. Health Inspectors called in regularly.

The 1914-18 War made times even harder in the gulley. Prices of farm products dropped. Eligible young men away to fight went and Chris King was killed in France. In March, 1917, Mrs. McDonald, writing to her brother-in-law in France, said:

’Times are bad just now. Dad sold eleven pigs to Stone this week for only £2.17.6 ($5.75) each. She also told him that the little Progress Hall at the top of River Street that held weekly dances was, that :week, unveiling a Roll of Honour to twenty-five Earlwood men who had gone to the War.

In August of the same year, she wrote that thousands of railway and tramway workers were on strike against the Government’s proposal that they should all carry a 'system card'.

Once excavations commenced for the East Hills Railway Line, the Perry children enjoyed using the cutting as a race track for their horses. Nevertheless, it brought some sadness to the farms at first. The licenses to boil up scraps for the pigs were refused and pig farming ceased.

Except for the house in Richard Avenue, the King farm was subdivided and some of it sold as part of the Stevens Estate. The line cut through the Perry farm, leaving more than half of it inaccessible on the other side. It was impossible to get a decent price for the rest. Mr Perry levelled his land, sold off the loam he had excavated, built four tennis courts, and commenced a new, quite successful tennis coaching school.

In the long run no one really missed the pigs, and progress followed the railway line into parts of the gully, though we are grateful today for the sections that have been kept as a green belt, and for the little ducks that enjoy their freedom there in what is left of Wolli Creek.

My thanks are due to Mrs McDonald and Mrs Pearce for permission to use their memories.

Audrey J. Barnes


After 38 years, the drought has broken and Canterbury Bankstown has won the 1980 Sydney Rugby League Premiership. It won the Premiership only twice before – in 1938 and 1942 although it was runner-up on five occasions - 1940, 19479 1967, 1974 and in 1979.

Canterbury-Bankstown was accepted into the Sydney Rugby League competition in 1935.

In that first season, the Berries (as they were then known), won only two of the sixteen games and suffered humiliating losses, including 91-6 to St George (which still stands as the greatest score in first grade) and 86-7 to Eastern Suburbs.

In 1936, Canterbury lost only four matches in the Premiership, reaching the semi-finals. In that semi, played at Belmore, Easts won 25-13. That semi-final at Belmore is unique in Sydney Rugby League history, the only one played on the home ground of a competing team.

Two years later, the Berries won their first Premiership 19-6 against Easts, unbeaten in the two preceding seasons.

Canterbury's second Premiership success was on 12 September, 1942, when the forwards lead the way for an 11-9 victory over St George, in pouring rain. Balmain defeated Canterbury in the 1947 Grand Final. Twenty years later, in the 1967 preliminary final, the Bulldogs beat St George, who had ruled the Sydney Premiership or eleven straight seasons, but Canterbury finished as runner-up to South Sydney. In 1974, the club defeated Easts 19-17 in the minor semi-final but went down 19-4 to Eastern Suburbs in the rand Final.

In 1979, Canterbury just went down 17-13 to St George, after making Rugby League history by being the first club to each the Grand Final from fifth position. Many regarded his 1979 achievement as a fluke, and at the start of the 1980 season, the Bulldogs were rated well down. However, Canterbury-Bankstown and Eastern Suburbs each won 15 competition matches, but Easts had a better points for and against record and became Minor Premiers. Easts had eaten Canterbury 20-5 in the first round, and 14-7 in the second round.

Canterbury defeated Wests 22-17 in the major preliminary semi-final and Easts 13-7 in the major semi-final. In the final, Easts defeated Wests 41-5.

For the Grand Final between Canterbury and Easts, a writer in Big League magazine (24-30 September) asked whether 1980 would be an uncanny replay of the 1974 season. In 1974 and 1980, Easts were the Minor Premiers. In 1974, Canterbury beat Easts 19-17 in the major semi-final, to go straight to the Grand Final, and in 1980, Canterbury won again. In 1974 Easts thrashed Wests 25-2 in the final and in 1980, again thrashed Wests. In 1974 Easts beat Canterbury 1974 in the Grand Final.

But, as "The Bankstown-Canterbury Torch" predicted on 24 September, 1980, '38 + 42 = '30, and on 27 September, 1980, Canterbury-Bankstown defeated Eastern Suburbs 18-4 in the 1980 Grand Final.

Before a crowd of 52,881 at the Sydney Cricket Ground, Chris Anderson scored a try, and Steve Gearin scored the remaining points with a try and six goals (from six attempts). A try by Gearin in the 75th minute will go down as one of the greatest ever scored in a Grand Final.

To inspire the firsts, the reserves won their Premiership from 1980 Minor Premiers and 1979 Premiers Parramatta 18—16 after playing extra time, repeating wins in 1939,1971 and 1972. Parramatta had downed Canterbury 22-2 in 1979. Canterbury won the Third Grade Premiership in 1971, before it was replaced by the under-23 competition.

1980 was the second consecutive year that both firsts and reserves played in the Grand Final, and 1980 wins by both teams avenged the 1979 losses.

Let us hope that the 1980’s will see more success for the Bulldogs.

B. J. Madden. September, 1980.


The Cemetery of St Peter's Church, Cook's River is the oldest is the District, and contains the graves of many of the pioneers of Canterbury. The best known, of course, are Cornelius Prout and Frederick Wright Unwin; but many others have interesting stories as well. Items from contemporary newspapers throw some light on the lives of two women whose sandstone headstones tell us only the bare outlines.

Sacred to the memory of


who died 24th November 1844

aged 37 years

Mary Ann Parkes (born in Sydney on November 9, 1807) was the eldest daughter of John Parkes and Margaret Southern, both emancipists, who lived on their grant of 50 acres (20.23 ha)at present day Earlwood. The land's boundaries are marked approximately by today's Woolcott Street, William Street, Earlwood Avenue, Hamilton Avenue and Spark Street. The Parkes brothers were all sawyers, and the three youngest, William, Isaac and Thomas also found fame in the 1840's as bare-knuckle boxers. Before they moved to the grant, however, the family lived on one of the farms which made up Thomas Moore's Petersham Estate; here, in 1818, Mary Ann Parkes witnessed the robbery reported in this account from the Sydney Gazette, and later gave evidence against the robbers:-

"Yesterday's night a robbery of the most atrocious kind was effected by some villians at Mr. Moore's Farm, about 4 miles (6.44 km) from Sydney, the same being inhabited by J. Sparks (a nailer), and family, consisting of a wife, who was lying in at the time, and seven or eight children. Two men on Thursday underwent an examination for the offence, and both were remanded. The following are the circumstances:-

A man, sworn to be one of the persons under examination, called in the fore part of the day, and asked for work; Sparkes was himself very ill at the time, and could not employ him. The man remarked that there was a fine cock and hen in the yard, and said he thought the cock was game. He then went away, and at night two men rushed in upon the indigent, suffering family, and threatening the life of Sparkes, demanded all his property. The latter replied that he had nothing but a little food for his family; of which the unfeeling monsters immediately possessed themselves.

One of them next remarked that he had a cock and hen, and demanded to know where they were; ’In the skilling at the back’, replied the poor man. Then (said one of the villians to a daughter of 11 or 12 years), do you bring the light and show us where they are"; at every instant threatening the life of the unresisting father. The girl obeyed the ruffian; and with a greater degree of courage than could have been expected, observed the villians attentively while in the skilling, wherein they secured and killed the fowls. The merciless ruffians next demanded if there was not a pig about the place, and being answered in the affirmative, they compelled the daughter to assist in catching it; which cost them three hours labour; but having at length succeeded in making a capture of the pig, they took him into the house to bind him; but, although one had his knee upon the animal, while the other was preparing to tie the legs, the creature gave a sudden start, and getting again into the yard, eluded every other effort to retake him. The father and daughter were the evidences against the two persons who are in custody; both of whom, it appears, have been for some time past absent from their masters".

Sacred to the memory of


The beloved wife of JOSEPH HILTON

Who departed this life On the 12th of March 1862

Aged 58 years

Elizabeth Hilton was married to Joseph, known as ”Joe the basket maker", of Cooks River. They both arrived in Australia as convicts, and lived in 1841 on land known as Nobbs Flat, near today’s Wardell Road Bridge, where they had a market garden. After the Cooks River Dam was built, Joseph Hilton kept boats for hire, and had a house near the Cooks River Road - but he was better known as the pugnacious individual who offered to match himself, his dog, his cock, or his wife, against any other in the Colony.

It was inadvisable for anybody to accept the challenge from Mrs Hilton, as the following extract shows:-

“THE HEROINE OF COOK'S RIVER:- Mrs Elizabeth Hilton is tall, powerful woman, whose face outvies in colours those of round of spiced beef. Her nose has a very aristocratic tendency to climb between her eyes. Her husband is a basket maker, of hammering notoriety, living in the suburban retreat of Cook’s River. Mrs Hilton displayed her buffalo-like dimensions in the witness box, to complain of Mr M. Gannon, the well-known inn keeper of Cook's River, and also of William Gannon his son, for assault and battery. The basket-maker's wife was rigged out in a style that completely overtopped the smartest midnight rover of Pitt-street. Her slate colored satin bonnet was adorned with a complete resemblance of a fruit and flower garden. Imitation sunflowers, roses, caches, grapes, green peas, &c., &c., were wreathed around it in delightful variety.

Her gown was of a bright damask and black carpet pattern. IT mantle shone like a black man's well-oiled skin, and her colors - her fighting colors - nailed to her mast-head were red, white, pink, black, green, and yellow. Thus togged out, and evidently bent upon conquering the magistrates by the splendor of her appearance, with the same facility with which she has welted opponents at fisticuffs, she , ‘perpetrated' the following: 'There was a slogging match, or fite, a'tween two coves at the River t' other afternoon. Von has his called Jones, and a stranger cove. Gannon, the old ’un, offers to bet £5 ($10) on Jones, and my husband sends for five sovereigns ($10) to stake on the other.

Fluffem Bill hits out at my 'usband. I lets drive at Fluffem, and knocks him over a bush. Old Gannon gives me a right-handed spank between the peepers, and sends me on the broad of my back. Up comes young Bill Gannon, and he jumps on me, and up comes two or three of them, friends of Gannon, and they jumps on me, and kicks me, and precious nigh knocks the breath hout of me. I never hit a blow, but behaved like a baby.

Mr Shuttleworth appeared for the Gannons, and he proved by his witnesses that the basket-maker's wife was the most dangerous character in the community, and a terror to all the peaceable folks at Cook’s River. Her husband was also very pugnacious being, and they had put an advertisement in some of the papers, to the effect that Hilton the basket maker, Elizabeth his wife, and their dogs and cocks, would fight any like number throughout New South Wales.

The witnesses proved that on the afternoon of the row, Mrs Hilton attacked and knocked down a person called Fluffem Bill, who was too drunk to defend himself that she struck him when on the ground; that Mr Gannon, sen., expostulated with her on her unwomanly and brutal conduct, when she turned upon him in a fury, and with her husband's aid would doubtless have inflicted a most serious injury upon him but for the opportune intervention of his son. That the force used to Mrs Hilton was only necessary to prevent her from murdering some person, as she fought with her hands, legs, teeth, and with glass bottles, stones, and old boots. A decent looking young woman, named Elizabeth Taylor, was the only person who gave any colour to the statement of Mrs Hilton, and she (Mrs Taylor) complained that she had been kicked in the scuffle by the younger Gannon.

Mr Shuttleworth said that his clients were not aware of any such fact, and knew of no reason for anything of the sort. He advised Mrs Taylor to effect reconciliation with William Gannon. The Bench gave similar advice, which was rejected, and in consequence of the lateness of the hour the case of Taylor v Gannon was postponed. In the case of Hilton v Gannon, senr. and jun. , the Bench ordered Mr Gannon, senr., to pay £1 ($2) and costs. W. Gannon was fined 10s. ($1)."

Lesley Muir

(The extract referring to the robbery at the house of John Parkes was found in the Sydney Gazette, 18 April 1818, p.3a. The new baby mentioned in the extract was William Parkes, the most famous of the boxing brothers. His professional name was Bill Sparkes, or Honi Heki)

(The Heroine of Cooks River came from the sporting newspaper, Bell's Life of Sydney, which took great delight in reporting amusing court cases. Cooks River District was then well known as a wild place, and Michael Gannon's Inn on Cook's River Road was the centre for sporting activities, legal and illegal. The Hilton family was a favorite with readers, and appeared regularly in the newspaper's pages; they christened Elizabeth Hilton "The Fighting Hen of Cook's River".

The extract above was from 8 October 1853, P.3.)


In the "Daily Telegraph" of Saturday, 26 October 1889, is list of the successful tenderers for the conveyance of mails from 1 January 1890.

Included in the list is the name of James Slocombe for three trips daily from Ashfield to Canterbury, and two or three trips daily, as required, between Canterbury and Ashfield. The mail would be carried on horseback and the tender was for £85 ($170) per annum for three years, in Milner was the successful tenderer between Canterbury and Belmore, for six times a week. The price was £42 ($84) per annum for three years. Other means of conveyance of le mails by other tenderers were vans, two and three horse wagonettes, spring-carts and coaches.

James Slocombe was the Postmaster at Canterbury, where he kept a store. Belmore Post Office in 1889 was in Canterbury Road, near the present King Georges Road, opposite Wiley Park. Mrs Milner was the Postmistress, succeeding her husband James, who had died. James Milner had operated a horse-bus between Belmore and Sydney. Mrs Milner conducted a business in conjunction with the Post office, but I do not know whether she also ran the horse bus, although this seems likely).

B. J. Madden


It seems entirely appropriate that Clemton Park Public School, on Bexley Road, Earlwood, should celebrate its Golden Jubilee during 1979, the International Year of The Child. Also, it seems appropriate that the new accommodation built for the Infants' Department should be officially opened at the same time.

A Chicken-and-Champagne Reunion Supper, organized for Friday evening, 30th March, was extremely well attended, almost 400 expupils and teachers cramming into the Assembly Hall and the downstairs classrooms of the original building. Displays of old photographs covered the walls and, as these were, arranged in decades, most of the people in each room discovered that they knew each other. The excitement thus generated was tremendous.

There were 27 of the original pupils from 1929 in attendance and the birthday cake was cut by Miss Dorothy Lea, who was the Kindergarten teacher at the school from 1937 to 1943. In her speech Miss Lea remembered the air raid trenches dug in the school grounds and the air raid drills in the uncertain days of the Second World War. She told her audience how the authorities had made plans to evacuate city children to the country and how the reluctant parents said they would not mind if their teachers went with them. Fortunately, that did not have to be. Miss Lea remembers the school in her time during the war as being a small building of two storeys, high on the hill and visible from all over the Municipality and so vulnerable in case of air attack.

On the following day, Saturday, 31st March, the Opening Ceremony for the new Infants' Block was held in the grounds at 2 p.m.

Alderman Gorrie, representing the Mayor of Canterbury, presented the school with a plaque celebrating the Centenary of the Municipality. In his speech of thanks the Principal, Mr Dalton, expressed the opinion that Canterbury was indeed fortunate to have Clemton Park School celebrating its Jubilee in Canterbury's Centenary year.

The St George Regional Director of Education, Dr Gordon, reminded his audience that, early last century, Lewis Gordon owned considerable land in the area north from William Street to Northcote Street and stretching from Bexley Road to Woolcott Street. It was part of this section, back from the present St Bernadette's Church, that was purchased by Frederick Moore Clements in 1895 as a country retreat where he grew herbs, plants and trees and had a working farm.

Clements was something of a botanist and a qualified pharmacist. From his "Clements Tonic”, which became quite popular, the local Progress League later derived the name CLEMTON, {without a "p") and added PARK. This name was being used as early as November, 1925, on a letter from the League to the Minister for Education, requesting a school, and the name gradually became accepted as the districts name, although it is not a gazetted suburb. Children on the school's rolls live at Earlwood, Bexley North, Kingsgrove, Belmore, Campsie or Canterbury South, but not Clemton Park. Clements sold his interest in the district in 1911, and died in 1920.

Dr. Gordon also praised one of the school's notable Inspectors, Major General Sir Ivan Dougherty, who went on to become Director of The National Emergency Services.

The celebrations created widespread interest, people Dining from all parts of New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and Canberra.

The Hon. W. D. Lickiss, Queensland Attorney General, attended the celebrations on both days. He did his Q. C. (Qualifying Certificate) at the school in 1936.

Mr. Ron Willee, Balmain Rugby League Coach, is an ex-pupil. He visited the school a week before the Jubilee to wish it ell and to reminisce with his ex-teacher, Mr. Arthur Parkes. Mr. Parkes began his career at Clemton Park and became a School Inspector.

Letters of congratulations and good wishes came from many who could not attend. Mr D. G. Cumming, Principal 1950 to 1958, said his years at Clemton Park were the happiest and most rewarding of his career. He wished to be remembered to those who could recall "the school's rapid growth; the problems it had to overcome; its little crises and triumphs; the working bees, the fetes and social evenings that brought us all together".

Miss F.O. Schofield, Infants' Mistress 1944 to 1961, said he had "very happy memories of those interesting years".

Professor S. Ball, of the School of Education, Sydney University, started his career at Clemton Park, He also recalled the rapid growth of the 1950's when he had to each in the Methodist Church Hall. There were two periods of accelerated expansion in the district during the school's history.

On the very first day that the school was opened, 28th January, 1929, there were 239 children enrolled. By 1931 the enrolment had reached 504, still with the same accommodation of six classrooms built for 300 children. Classes were held in the Assembly Hall and two in the open weather sheds. These were the Depression years. The sheds were not enclosed till 1934. That year saw 89 children in First Class and 73 in Sixth Class with one teacher.

During the 1950's, when growth was again rapid, the enrolment held at 1,000 for several years. Today it is 600. More than 10,000 pupils have passed through the school in its first fifty years.

Actually, only the buildings at Clemton Park are fifty years old. Clemton Park School itself opened in May, 1926, in the Reginald Noake Memorial Church Hall at the corner of Mons and Cressy Streets, South Canterbury. Because of the overcrowding at Campsie School in 1926, the Church Hall was rented by the Education Department on weekdays for $180 (£90) per year and called Clemton Park School. When the new brick building on the then Northcote Street was finished and opened in 1929 it was called Clemton Park and the school in the Church Hall changed its name to Campsie South.

So it transpired that the dedication of the new Infants' accommodation at Clemton Park Public School was performed during its Jubilee year by the Rev. Flatau, who is Rector of St James' Church on the corner of Mons and Cressy Streets, South Canterbury.

The main function of the afternoon, the Official Opening of the new Infants' Block, was performed by the Local Member, Mr. Ken Gabb, representing the Minister for Education. Mr. Gabb contrasted the cost of the original building the equivalent of $17,000 --with the cost of the new one $570,000. The original school was built on 2.14 ha (5 acres, 1 rood, 8 perches) of land bought from Mr W. H. Fitzgerald, for which he accepted $4,250 (£2,125) in March, 1927. It was part of 202.34 ha (500 acres) that had been granted to Hannah Laycock in 1801 by Governor King and which she called Kings Grove Farm.

Mr Gabb praised the community spirit that moved the district's pioneers in their efforts to have a school established and noted how that community has changed over fifty years.

The school now has 17 different nations represented and is an ethnic enrolment of 55% we now seem headed for multi-cultural education for our children. What a fascinating, community should evolve by the time Clemton Park Public School celebrates its Centenary.

Audrey J. Barnes

Assistant Teacher, 1953 to 1959; Infants’ Mistress, 1976 to 1979; Clemton Park Public School.


It appears in a series "The suburbs of Sydney". No. XX1V. - Canterbury.

"For many years an agitation has been going on in the district for


with Sydney, and, in the expectation that this would be granted, Messrs Blacket and Co., some eight years ago, leased the sugar-works building with a view to turning it into engineering works. The building is in excellent order, having been well built of freestone from the company's own land; and the Canterbury freestone is not inferior to that of any place in the metropolitan district. Messrs Blacket and Co fitted up quantity of the most modern machinery, including turning lathes, moulding machines, punching and screwing machines, &c., which are ready for use at any time. The building was divided into the machinery, moulding, and pattern maker's hops. There are two cupolas for smelting, and travelling cranes inside and outside the building for carrying heavy castings, &c., from one part of the foundry to another, or loading them on waggons. Unfortunately, all this fine machinery is lying idle for want of the means of conveying he material to or from the city either by rail or water. A proposal was made to remove the dams in Cook's River, and clear away snags and other obstructions, so that produce, manufactures, &c., might be


via Cook's River and Botany Bay to Sydney, but nothing has been done, and the district is almost as effectually cut off from the city as if it was 100 miles (161 km) in the interior"



In an interesting article in the "Hurstville Propeller” of 27th September, 1929, Will Carter, of Hurstville, gives some details of the early inhabitants of the district.

After a rather long introduction, in which Mr Carter refers to "the old cemetery at Moorefields, near Dumbleton" (re-named Beverly Hills in 1940), the article continues -

"Was it mere coincidence that led me first to the grave of James Chard (2), who gave this plot of land (3) to the Methodists upon which they erected this little brick church in 1851 (4). What richer gift could he have given from his estate than this same God's Acre, this Soul Garden out at Moorefields? And here lies James Pithers, a Peakhurst pioneer, aged 84, with his wife 87, a venerable couple, truly. A tailor he was by trade, and died at Newtown. There is a parting touch of sardonic humour in the warning he leaves upon his headstones:

Farewell dear friends,

When this you see,

Prepare yourselves

To follow me.

Henry Homer! How the classic name impresses on the instant, and leads the migrant mind away in a flash to Paris and fair Helen, the strife of gods, the heroic Hector, and wandering Ulysses and all the sweet hours we spent in touch with the great Greek bard! But this Henry Homer, although he left no Iliad nor Odyssey behind him, is not unremembered for near his old Kingsgrove farm-site flows Homer's Creek to perpetuate his name - and he lived to the ripe old age of 88, that same man. And here lies John Parkes,(6) aged 74, one of the fine pit-sawyers operating in the magnificent forest around here in his day. James Forrester, (7) a road-contractor, and later a market gardener, who grew for the city market, and produced fine vegetables over there opposite the new gasometer at Kingsgrove. And now we come to Stephen Bown, who kept the famous 'Robin Hood' hostelry near the junction of Stoney Creek Road, and Gloucester Road (8). A jovial Englishman was Steve, who rode many a good race on the old course down behind the 'Robin Hood'. George Kemp left this world at the age of 70. Many will remember his farm and citrus orchard at Mortdale. John Robert Peake, 71, and his good wife, Esther, 72, are resting here. Fine old Peakhurst pioneers they were, "and large land-holders in the neighborhood of Hurstville. Beneath a fine monument there lies the mortal remains of Martha Humphreys for so many years the popular proprietress of 'Gardener's Arms' Hotel,' which occupied the site of the present Strand Theatre.

She was a fine specimen of womanhood physically, an extensive property-holder, and left a family of thirteen, the youngest of which is Mr Alf Humphreys, an ex-Mayor of Hurstville. Evan Evans - surely we catch the odour of the leek - died at 77. He kept a pub in Sharpe Street, Kingsgrove (10)- the dilapidated remains may still be seen - and later he made wine and sold it in bulk."

A little later in the article, Mr. Carter comments that (even in 1929) things were much different from the funeral scenes of earlier days. He refers to the many funerals seen each day and the line of motor vehicles.

He continues -

In the old times it was very different. Everyone knew everyone, or seemed to do so and when one died there was a gathering in, a pilgrimage to the abode of the dead, who was yesterday alive and one of themselves. 'Old Jack', or 'Old Jim', or 'Sandy So-and-so', or 'Good Old Granny Gray', or 'Poor Fanny Freeman' (someone's wife) had passed out, and the one and immediate duty of every shopkeeper was to put up a shutter in his window, and of all to go to the funeral, no matter what trouble or travel or inconvenience it cost, to pay his last respect to the dead and those left to mourn. Can you not, old time pals of mine, see the large assemblage if vehicles, the horses hitched at the fence, the ceaseless stream of folks passing up to the front door, and handing in their hats to be promptly taken by nimble females stationed inside to receive them, and take them in to be draped with funeral crepe and then returned to their owners. Can you not see the solemn visage neighbors slipping from post to post on tip-toe, even outside on the grass, as if they were within the precincts of the chamber of the dead. What a spirit of rough, but sincere reverence characterized the whole proceedings! Then the coffin borne to the simple hearse on sturdy shoulders, and the comments on the 'lovely coffin', if the cedar casket was in evidence, or the respectful silence when the humbler circumstances necessitated pine. The moving off of the hearse, and then the falling silently into places, and the slow advance in buggy, sulky, or on horseback in pairs, riding side by side, silent for a while and then to drift into conversation to horses, logs, teams, investments, and the like, till the cemetery is reached, and then the graveside, and bowed heads, and the clergyman, moving many a rugged heart to tears with his eloquent eulogium.

The good old days and the kinder, warmer, and more sympathetic association of souls. It all came back to me that afternoon in the old Moorefields sanctuary of the dead."

NOTES. 1. Present day location of cemetery is Moorefields Road, Kingsgrove.

2. Died 29/3/1856

3. Actually given by his son, John.

4. The church, opened in 1851, was demolished in 1967. The foundation stone is on the new church.

5.Homer's farm was at the corner of Kingsgrove Road and Homer Street. Can anyone tell me the location of Homer's Creek?

6.Born in Sydney 5/8/1810, died 20/5/1884. His father (also John Parkes), a convict arriving in Sydney in 1797, was granted 50 acres at Parkestown, now Earlwood. promised 1816 and confirmed 1831. (50 acres = 20.23 ha)

7.Married a granddaughter of James Chard.

8."The Robin Hood and Little John" Inn was first licensed on 1 July, 1854.

9."The Gardeners Arms" was demolished when the railway was built in 1884.

10.Now Kingsgrove Road, "The Man of Kent" Inn was first licensed on 1 July, 1850, and was at the corner of Kingsgrove Road and Morris Avenue.

B. J. Madden


Have you ever wondered how Canarys Road was named? It seems peculiar to name a road after a cage bird, especially in the mid-nineteenth century, when a track usually took the name of the person or settlement it led to. For example, Canterbury was the local township which became Canterbury Road's focal point. Homer Street was named because it led to Henry Homer's land at Kingsgrove; Northcote Street's original name was Kingsgrove Road, that is, the road to the Kingsgrove Estate. Why Canary's Road?

The answer lies in the name of an Irish farmer who could neither read nor write, and so wasn't able to check the spelling of his name on official documents. In 1857, an emigrant from Tipperary, Michael Kennery, bought 40 acres (16.2 ha) of land on Wolli Creek; Edward Flaherty's grant, which had en occupied by George D'Arcy. In all official documents, the new owner's name was spelt "Kanarey" , and the road to his farm thus became Kanarey's Road. This track led from Canterbury Road, diagonally across a subdivided grant to the south east, then turned south between grants until it reached the farm - just about where Beverly Hills railway station is today The old farm boundaries are marked approximately by today's Morgan Street, Ponyara Road, King Georges Road, and a parallel line cutting across the first bend in Tooronga Terrace.

A description of the farm and farmhouse, Rose Cottage, appears in an advertisement of 20th February 1863:

"About two miles (3.22 km) from the Village of Canterbury, and half a mile (0.8 km) from West's Public House (The Traveler’s Home)..Mr M. Kanarey... The land is all enclosed, and, with the exception of a few acres (few ha), quite clear and ready for agricultural purposes, and about one acre and a half (0.607 ha) under choice fruit/trees. The other improvements comprise a comfortable well-finished dwelling house containing six rooms, detached kitchen, shed, stable, fowl house, piggery &c., and abundance of water."

Michael Kennery or Kanarey's name didn't stay with those two variations: his mortgage of 1870 calls him Michael McKinnery, so he probably wouldn't be the slightest bit surprised to find that part of his road is now officially called "Canary's Road”.

Lesley Muir.


Richardson & Wrench Auction Records, 1863. Mitchell Library.

Old Title registers Registrar-General's Department.


There are no recognised boundaries of Clemton Park, but it is generally regarded as being in the vicinity of William Street and Bexley Road. The park on Moorefields Road, near Chapel Street, is also called Clemton Park, despite its distance from the other area. Officially, east of Bexley Road is in the postal district of[[]Earlwood]], and on the west side, north of William Street is Campsie and south is Kingsgrove.

In 1925, the William Street Progress and Tramway Extension League decided that the district known as Earlwood covered too large an area. According to Mr E. A. Moncur, who was Secretary of the League at the time, and who supplied these details in August 1978, members of the League decided to hold a competition to find a suitable name for the area in the vicinity of William Street. The name Clemton Park was suggested by Mr Len Loxley, who was an enthusiastic worker for the League. (Later, he was Secretary of the League for three years and was Vice-President).

Members of the League were aware that a Mr Clements had owned a property at the corner of William Street and Bexley Road, that Mr Clements was a successful business man, and that he was associated with Clements Tonic. Because of the standing of the man, Mr Loxley suggested Clemton Park as he, and others in the League, believed they had some claim to an association with Clements Tonic and the Clement's name.

On the Education Department file concerning the establishment of a public school at Clemton Park is a letter dated November, 1925, from the Clemton Park Progress and Tramway Extension League (with the words "William Street" as printed crossed out, and the words "Clemton Park" typed over) saying the new name had been officially recognised by the Postal and Lands Departments and the local Council.

Canterbury Council on 6 October, 1925, (page 388) agreed to the name, after noting that the P.M.G. and Lands Departments had no objection. Earlier, on 10 August, 1925, (page 326), boundaries were suggested as "from Woolcott Street to the top of the hill on the Towers establishment" - and from Wolli Creek to Cup and Saucer Creek. (This was before the East Hills Railway was built). However, nothing concerning the name Clemton Park can be located in the records of Australia Post or the Lands Department.

Frederick Moore Clements of Newtown, a chemist, purchased in June 1895, 42 acres (17 ha) of land bounded by William Street, Bexley Road (then known as Northcote Street), the present Northcote Street, Cup and Saucer Creek, the Boundaries of J. N. Walters lot, the Glenore Creek back to William Street. (Certificate of Title Vol. 1160 Fol. 230). Clements disposed of the land to Robert Woods Thurlow and John Robb Baxter Bruce in December, 1911, (Certificate of Title Vol.1178 Fol. 169).

It is not known when the house was built on the property, although descriptions of well-established trees behind the high fence suggest a reasonable age. The only evidence to suggest that Clements may have lived on the property is that is name is listed in Sands Directory for Sydney in Northcote Street, Canterbury, and William Street, Canterbury, between 1908 and 1911. However, his name also appears at 40 Cambridge Street, Stanmore, at the same time. The Stanmore address continued in 1913 and 1914 after the Canterbury addresses had ceased. His name does not appear in the Electoral Rolls or the Sub-division of Belmore in the Lang Electorate (which was the appropriate sub-division) in 1908 or 1909, but it does appear for 40 Cambridge Street, Stanmore, in the Sub -division of Petersham, Division of Parkes. There were no further rolls until 1914. Clements was unmarried and he could have had tenants in the house in Bexley Road, and, after he sold the property, the occupants of the house could have been tenants or the new owners.

Clements' property from Marana Road to the creeks and which was advertised for sale at auction on Saturday, 19 October, 1918, shows "Glenore House and Gardens" as being between Marana Road and Bexley Road in line with Baringa Road. The area bounded by William Street, Bexley Road, Northcote Street and Marana Road was sub-divided in 1921, after being surveyed in December, 1919, so that the house was probably demolished around this time.

Clements was a pharmacist, manufacturing chemist and an amateur naturalist. He was born in England in 1859 and was apprenticed in a Birmingham pharmacy and worked there and in London before going to Africa in 1880. In 1881, while working in a Port Elizabeth pharmacy, he "discovered" "Clements Tonic". Also there at this time was another English pharmacist, T. B. Melhuish. In Sydney, Melhuish was to manufacture a range of concentrated galenicals and basic tonics.

Clements followed Melhuish to Sydney where he worked in his pharmacy. In October, 1884, Clements passed the Board of Pharmacy's Qualifying Examination and two years later he opened the shop in Newtown where he began the manufacture of his tonic. In its original form, it was similar to Melhuish's tonics. "Clements Tonic" enjoyed a far greater commercial success because it was widely advertised to the rapidly growing, medicine-taking public.

Michael Cannon, in a chapter on unqualified medical "quacks" and makers of patent medicines in his book "Life in the Cities", quotes (P. 135) from an advertisement in the Melbourne "Age" of 24 February, 1894, that Clements Tonic would "permanently restore manly virility" while removing the symptoms of yellow jaundice (i.e. hepatitis). Dr D. Haines, who has kindly supplied the biographical details given here, says that, according to a 1910 testimonial, Clements Tonic was a splendid cure for many ailments, "nervous breakdown in particular" - a veritable "twin brother of health and strength". A well-known jingle was; "Clements Tonic for nerve and brain helps to make you well again". It may still be purchased today.

In 1894, despite the depression, Clements sold his pharmacy and opened a factory next door to his Stanmore residence, for the production of his tonic, "Fletchers Pills" and "Clements Certain Cure". In 1905, he sold most of his interests in these nostrums to Elliott Bros.

Retirement left Clements free to travel and to indulge his many scientific interests. A catalogue of the plants in his Stanmore garden contained some 800 names, and he maintained aviaries with hundreds of native and foreign birds. During the 1914-18 war, he gave generously to patriotic funds in Australia and overseas. He died a bachelor at his Stanmore residence on 17 August, 1920.

Frederick Moore Clements is still remembered in Clements Tonic and in the name bestowed after his death on the district where he owned property for fifteen years, although, if he lived on the property, it was only for about three years.

I acknowledge the assistance given me by:

Dr. G. Haines: MSS for entry on Clements in Australian Dictionary of Biography.

E.A. and A.E. Moncur: Interview with Mrs Conway and Mrs Pearson on 23 August, 1978.

Members of the Clemton Park Parents and Citizens’ Association, and also Mrs A. Barnes, Infants Mistress, Clemton Park Public School

Mr F. Larcombe, who researched Canterbury Council records. Australia Post, Geographical Names Board, Miss L. Muir, Mr T. Quigley and Mrs M. Quigley.

B. J. Madden


Earlwood School could have been built in Hamilton Avenue. There were quite a few applications and deputations requesting a school last century. As early as 1884 the good citizens of the area, then called Parkestown, were concerned for a school for their children. Canterbury Council wrote to the Minister of Public Instruction with an offer from the Sydney Permanent land and Building Society to set aside half an acre of land on their nearby Undercliffe Estate for a school. The half acre would have been near the present Hamilton Avenue, between Thompson Street and Earlwood Avenue (1/2 acre = 0.202 ha).

In April, 1885, an application for a school by Mayor Taylor and Aldermen Slocombe, Campbell Sharp, Quigg, Davis and Scott was forwarded on behalf of the seventeen families of George Nicoll, W. Stores, A. Parkes, E. Warr, Macdonald, Bentley, Monk, William J. Nobbs, J. Dolphim, Benjamin Bush, , Wilson, George Gunter, G. Burton, T. Parkes, Andrew Lees, T. William Lees and Edward Lees. There were 38 children of school age in the area, whose closest schools were Canterbury, Marrickville West or Moorefields. Some of them claimed to be three miles from a school, especially those on Wolli Creek, yet the official reply was that the educational wants of the reality were fully provided for, and it was recommended that a Public School be not established at Parkestown.

In October, 1896, there was another application, this time presented to the Minister personally by a deputation from Canterbury Council consisting of the Mayor, Alderman Lorking, the Council Clerk, Benjamin Taylor and Alderman Scahill, and introduced by the local M.P. Varney Parkes. The petition they presented was from 34 homes representing 90 children, so the district had grown in 10 years. The occupations of the residents were given as small farming, wood getting, keeping duck farms, piggeries, vegetable gardens and stone quarrying. The Inspector commented that they were poor but likely to remain permanently in the area.

However, this petition was also declined and the children of the area continued to walk long distances. Those attending Canterbury School proceeded down River Street and scrambled over the rocks of the quarry there to cross Cooks River by four metre wide weir at the foot of Church Street that had originally been designed for the tannery, to keep the salt and fresh water separated. In flood times this was particularly dangerous for the children and the alternative route via "Prout's Bridge" added even further to the daily hike to school.

But the residents were not satisfied and within about a year there was another application, this time sponsored by George Parkes, George Campbell, Frank Hocking, John Green and George Nicoll, all of whom lived locally. This was on behalf of 31 families with 90 children, but they were told it was "no hardship" for the children to walk a couple of miles to school.

In 1890, Canterbury School had been declared a Superior Public School, meaning that at least 20 children had completed their Primary schooling and wanted to remain at school to study secondary subjects such as French, Algebra, Euclid, English Literature or Woodwork and maybe prepare for the University. Perhaps the establishment of smaller, outlying school's such as at Parkestown would have interfered with this arrangement by drawing children from Canterbury and reducing its classification.

Whatever the reason there was to be no school at Parkestown. Earlwood School was not opened till October, 1916. I wonder what the dozens of children who are picked up by the rows of cars double parked outside schools at 3.30 p.m. each day would have to say if expected to walk two miles to school and back each day?

Ref: A.O. 5/15778

Audrey J. Barnes


There is an interesting reference to early Canterbury in the St George Call of 10 March, 1906, about the then newly appointed Mayor of Bexley, Alderman C. A. Howard.

The newspaper report says that Charles Amey Howard

"....was born on June 25, 1846, at the village of St Albans (near the historic Abbey), Hertfordshire, England. His parents emigrated to this colony when Charles was but 11 months old, the voyage to Australia in the full rigged ship "Castle Eden" taking seven months. This voyage was an eventful one, as in mid-ocean, with every stitch of canvas set, a sudden squall dismasted the ship, and, although a number of the crew rebelled and refused further work, willing hands were found to complete repairs, which enabled the vessel to reach her destination in safety.

Station life was the avenue of employment for the Howard family on arrival, and many hardships were endured by country dwellers of that time. Sandy blight almost blinded both father and mother, and in the lonely waste a second child was laid to rest.

Being a maltster by trade, Mr Howard found town life more comfortable, and having obtained employment at Wright's Brewery, at the corner of Pitt and Liverpool Streets, the family returned to Sydney. In 1852, a shift of residence was made to the village of Canterbury, six or seven miles (9.66 or 11.27 km) from Sydney.

The Turon rush took place about this time, and, like many another, the Howard family packed up and joined the gold seekers. Luck was against the party, who having sunk a shaft for some distance, and not reaching 'colour', decided to move to another patch. This proved worthless, and the party returned to the scene of their previous labours – only to find that a party of four had lumped the claim, struck a rich pocket, and netted £16,000 ($32,000) out of the shaft, which if worked for another day would have made rich men of the original prospectors - Howard and his mate. Still, this was not an uncommon experience in those days, but the sickness of Bexley's future Mayor, decided the family on a return to Canterbury.

The village at this time was a lively place. The Colonial Sugar Company had their works there, and timber getting was profitable means of employment.

Bushmen, shingle-splitters, girder beam squarers, sawyers, charcoal burners and wood carters formed the bulk of the population, and most of the timber used in city buildings was drawn from this source. Naturally, the supply could not last forever, and with the timber giving out, and the Sugar Company's removal to Blackfriars, many of the residents migrated.

Mayor Howard's early recollections carry him back to the time when his parents kept the Toll Gate at Prout's Bridge, for which Prout charged toll for crossing, he having (it was understood) erected the bridge at his own cost. The Toll Gate keeper's residence was known as the Round House, it being of octagon shape. It was a two-storey building, on the bank of the river, adjoining the bridge, and instances are on record of the inmates having, in times of flood, to be taken from the top windows in boats. It was in this house that Alderman Howard's sister (Mrs John Quigg, wife of Alderman Quigg of Canterbury) was born. The Round House has been pulled down for many years, and the bridge replaced by the substantial structure now crossing Cooks River. The family on moving from the Toll Gate, opened up business in the centre of the village, which was carried on till their departure for Kingsgrove in 1855.

Charles Howard's school days were few owing to the lack of opportunity. From his 6th to 8th years, he was a smart and perceptive scholar at the C. E. Denominational School, but owing to the death of the master, his school days were closed at this tender age. Charles started his life of toil at 10 ½ years by driving a horse and cart to Sydney with wood and charcoal - chiefly the latter. There was a place in those days on South Head Road called the Pump, and this pump supplied the neighboring residents with water.

Its present site would be at the intersection of Burton and Oxford Streets. About the pump the wood carters from the Canterbury quarter brought their loads and offered them for sale. Often the young Howard waited there until 11 p.m. before disposing of his load, and then the wearisome journey to Kingsgrove had to be made through the bush and scrub - reaching home about 2 a.m.

"Things were rough, in those days, said Mr. Howard. I knew what it was to live in a cottage with an earth floor, stools for chairs, a colonial bedstead made by driving four forks into the ground, placing four poles to form a square, a few slats across, then a sheet of stringy bark, and you could sleep as well as in the finest finished tester of today. I sometimes question whether the former days were not the best. No bustle, no worry, no anxiety; content with your rough life. Small was the income, but few comparatively were your needs'".

Mr. Howard married at 19 and commenced to cultivate an orchard on 10 acres (4.05 ha) on Stoney Creek Road (part the present Bexley golf course), where he lived for e next 63 years. He established a Baptist Church adjoining his land in 1875. He continued to be actively associated with the church throughout his life.

When the Municipality of Hurstville was incorporated in 1887, Mr Howard was elected to the first Council. When Bexley separated from Hurstville in 1900, he was elected to the first Bexley Council. He continued to be an Alderman for an unbroken 17 years, and was Mayor for three terms, 1906-7, 1907-8, and 1911 -12. He agitated for 36 years for the establishment of a Public School at Kingsgrove, and then became the first President of the Parents & Citizens' Association.

He was probably the first man to propose the Tempe to East Hills railway line, and about 1908, Bexley Council on his motion, approached the government on the subject. It was a coincidence that the decision to proceed with instruction of the line was announced on the day Mr Howard was buried (12 April, 1928). He had died at his house in Stoney Creek Road the previous day.

B. J. Madden

This is an article from "Sydney Morning Herald", Wednesday, April 30, 1930, page 9, under heading "Real Estate",


Canterbury, one of the most prosperous of the westernsuburbs, last year celebrated its jubilee. It embraces such rapidly developing centres as Campsie, Belmore, Lakemba and part of Punchbowl and Hurlstone Park. It is served by a fast and frequent electric train service, by which passengers may travel through to St James Station. Trams also run from Sydney, via Dulwich Hill, the line terminating at Canterbury Station. Belmore and Campsie bid fair to soon rank amongst Sydney’s most popular suburban residential areas. Land that was locked up for a long time in this neighborhood is now being subdivided and much sought after. Lakemba is fast becoming a favorite residential suburb,and Punchbowl and Earlwood have fine residential sites to offer.

The Municipality has a population of 75,000 and an area of 11,480 acres (4 645.791 ha). There are 70 miles of roads and streets (112.654 km), of which about 30 miles (48.28 km) are tarred macadam and 9 miles (14.49 km) concrete. Water, gas and electric light are available throughout the district, the greater part of which is sewered. The Council is now spending £250,000 ($500,000) on improving its roads and footpaths and in kerbing and guttering.

The unimproved capital value of the land in 1925 was £3,218,561 ($6 437 122) compared with £6,276,114 ($12 552 228) last year. The improved capital value of the land last year was £18,994,932 ($37 989 864), being about double what it was five years earlier. In 1925 there were 19,055 assessments, which gave a rate revenue of £57,342 ($114 684). Last year the number of assessments was 26,446 and the rate revenue £162,500 ($325000)

In 1925, 1,386 new buildings were completed, total value of which was £936,830 ($1 873 660), compared with 1,108 last year, which were valued at £889,738 ($1 779 476). In the five year period from 1925 to 1929 inclusive no fewer than 6,968 new buildings were completed. Land values in the shopping areas range from £20 ($40) to £200 ($400) a foot. The value of residential sites ranges from £4 ($8) to £15 (130) per foot. The prospects of development of this district are said to be exceptionally bright."



In the short space of 70 years, the world of the Aboriginal tribes of the Sydney region, which had remained unchanged since the Dreamtime, became a living nightmare. The land which had been theirs alone for so long was suddenly and irretrievably lost to the fair-skinned newcomers of the First Fleet. The Aborigines were in no way prepared for the cataclysm which engulfed them as settlement spread, and they found themselves dispossessed not only materially it also spiritually.

A recently-published book by Keith Willey, "When the Sky Fell Down”, traces the dynamic years of the colony's growth between 1788 and 1860. It is the story of the effects of the exploits and achievements of the white men on the country’s original inhabitants. Keith Willey had used such information as is available in personal journals, newspaper article and official documents to find the world of the nineteenth-century Aborigine. A number of the incidents mentioned in the book are of interest to our local area.

The attack by Aborigines on Bond's farm at Punchbowl on October, 1809 was not an isolated incident. It was part of the resistance, verging on what we would now call guerrilla warfare, by the Aborigines to the white settlers who were taking possession of their hunting grounds. As mentioned in an article in the Canterbury and District Historical Society Journal, Series 2, No. 8, the Aborigines were led by Tedbury, who was the son of Pemulwoy, and both father and son had been leaders of the resistance to white settlers over a number of years. Keith Willey's book discusses this quite extensively.

Willey refers to a trial of a number of settlers on the Hawkesbury in 1799 on charges of having murdered two Aboriginal boys. During the trial, Sarah Hodgkinson, whose husband had been killed by Aboriginals about three weeks earlier, admitted asking the defendants to kill the boys. Is this the same Sarah Hodgkinson who was given 60 acres (24.3 ha) at the present-day Canterbury-Ashfield on 12 November, 1799? If so, it is an example of the possibility of finding local history information and references in a variety of unlikely sources.

Another interesting reference is to Mahroot, also known as the Boatswain, who was said to be the last man of the Botany Bay tribe, who gave evidence to the N.S.W. Legislative Council’s Select Committee on Aborigines in 1845. Mahroot was born at Cooks River, probably about 1796, and he related the changes which had resulted from the arrival of the white men.

Some of his evidence was hearsay, since the First Fleet arrived eight years before he was born. When he was born, the Botany Bay tribe numbered about 400. By 1845, it had been reduced to four people, himself and three women. His evidence stands almost alone as an Aboriginal overview of the succession of calamities which befell the tribes of the Sydney area after the arrival of the First Fleet.

Not mentioned in Willey's book is the fact that Boatswain died on 31 January, 1850. The "Sydney Morning Herald" of 2 February, 1850, refers to him as "the well-known Aboriginal Boatswain, whose intelligence and superior manner, coupled with the fact of his being the last of the Botany Bay tribe, rendered him a favorite with all who knew him, especially with his white countrymen".

Willey's book, which is very readable, increases our understanding of this era of Australian history.

B. J. Madden


As well as researching the past for the information of present and future generations, we need to record many of the present day happenings to assist future researchers.

I have had in mind the need to do some work concerning the change in the nature of the population of the Municipality of Canterbury by reason of the influx of migrants into our suburbs. Although I was aware of the marked increase in the number of non-English speaking migrants, I was amazed to read some figures in the July 1979 Newsletter of the Ethnic Communities Council of N.S.W.

The Newsletter reported on a survey in 1976 on the percentage of children in schools for whom English was not the language usually spoken at home. These figures are for schools in the Canterbury Municipality:

School Total enrolment Percentage of homes where English is not usually spoken

ASHBURY 382 70

CAMPSIE 956 70







LAKEMBA 1368 52





At the time there were 93 schools in N.S.W. where the number of students coming from a home where English is not usually spoken was over half the class. These figures will be of interest to historians in showing he change in the social composition of the Canterbury population in recent years.

B. J. Madden


Dunstaffenage Street is one of the streets in a subdivision of Miss Sophia Campbell's Canterbury Estate made in September, 1875. Other streets in the subdivision were Fernhill, Crinan, Duntroon, Kilbride, Melford, Hardy, Hanks, Louise and Garnet.

The name "Dunstaffnage" is the name of a castle on the coast of Argyll, not far from the city of Oban, Scotland. The Campbell Clan inhabited Argyll, supposedly from the time of the legendary Fingal - so Dunstaffnage ( this is the correct spelling) is a name associated with Robert Campbell's family. Since the street is actually part of the estate owned by Robert Campbell, it is fairly safe to assume that either the family, or a developer with a sense of history, named the street.

The first appearance of Dunstaffenage Street in Sands' Directory is in the 1883 edition, where it is mistakenly spelt "Dunslaffnace Street", and is shown as the home of Richard and Anthony Blamire, brickmakers, Robert Marshall, and James Newman. James Pendlebury, another brickmaker, moved there in 1884, and, with Robert Marshall and the Blamire Brothers, started a brickyard. William H. Turkington was their carrier. In 1894 Ashfield's garbage was being tipped into the brick pit by Elijah Pendlebury.

There have been three attempts to change the name of the street; in July 1881, to Campbell Street; about 1882, to Beaconsfield Street; and in 1898, to any shorter name so that "the average present day man would be able to get his tongue round without so much loss of time."

The road was cleared and stumped in October 1880 for £5 an acre ($10 for 0.404 ha)(indicating that the undergrowth was fairly thick) and the sewerage system reached there in 1914.

Dunstaffnage Castle (now in Strathclyde) was the home of the Scottish kings before they removed their capital and Coronation Stone to Scone; the castle was later the fortress of the MacDougalls, but was stormed and taken by King Bruce who gave it and the hereditary title of Captain to the Campbells. Flora MacDonald was imprisoned there after leading Bonnie Prince Charlie to safety following his defeat at the Battle of Culloden. Ruins of three round towers and walls forming a four-sided stronghold dating from the 15th century are all that remain.

Incidentally, the small village of Kilbride is near Dunstaffnage Castle, fairly close to another castle called Duntrune, a 17th century fortress on the shores of Loch Crinan. Lesley Muir.


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