Clemton Park (Park)
HISTORY AND ORIGIN OF THE NAME AND LOCALITY
A tramline from the Undercliffe bridge was extended along Homer Street to Earlwood shops in 1924, but residents living further out towards Kingsgrove Road began lobbying for the tramline to be extended to their district. The William Street Progress and Tramway Extension League initiated a competition to find a suitable name for the area of Earlwood near to William Street and Bexley Road. They presumably wanted to give this area an identity for their campaign for the tram extension and to bring other services to the rapidly developing area.
Mr Len Loxley suggested the name Clemton Park, after Frederick Moore Clements (1859-1920), who was a pharmacist and successful businessman who produced the [picture] well known Clements Tonic. Mr Clements had owned 42 acres (17 hectares) of land at the corner of William Street and Bexley Road, up to Northcote Street and Cup and Saucer Creek. He owned this land from 1895 to 1911. Although a house was built on his land, Mr Clements may not have lived there himself, as records show him living in Stanmore, next door to his factory which manufactured Clements Tonic.
Canterbury Council approved the name of Clemton Park in 1925, and it was used as the name of the locality around where Clements' land had been. However it was never officially gazetted as a suburb with defined boundaries.
The William Street Progress and Tramway Extension League also campaigned for a local primary school, so that local children would not have to attend other overcrowded primary schools. Although the Department of Education at first claimed there was no need for another school, within a year the Clemton Park Infants School opened in a church hall on the corner of Mons and Cressy Streets in 1926. In 1929 Clemton Park Public School was opened in a new building at 185 Bexley Road, its current location. The school was designed to cater for 300 children, with 50 children in each classroom, but it was soon overcrowded and in 1931 there were 504 students enrolled. This is an indication of the rapid growth in housing development in the 1920s in this area, as well as the larger size of families at that time.
The Clemton Park post office opened in 1933, but deliveries of letters came from the Earlwood post office. A shopping centre developed along William Street near Bexley Road and is known as Clemton Park shops.
Clemton Park had an active progress association from 1946 until 1979. The progress association campaigned for improvements to footpaths, roads and other local facilities.
THE PARK The site of this park is on an 80 acre grant of land to Charles Watson in 1823. Four years later he sold it to James Chard, one of the original settlers in the Moorefields district, now the suburb of Kingsgrove. The park is located some distance away from the historic locality of Clemton Park and the current suburb of Clemton Park.
In 1928 Peach Bros auctioneers advertised land for sale around the already defunct St Albans Church of England Kingsrove, located near the corner of St Albans Road and Rolestone Avenue Kingsgrove. The church was built and consecrated in 1888 but closed 19 years later in 1907. It closed because housing in that part of Kingsgrove was slow to develop as there was no public transport nearby. When the tramline from the Undercliffe bridge was extended along Homer Street to Earlwood shops in 1924 this area became more accessible. St Albans Church was rebuilt in Victory Street Belmore where development was booming, nearer to the Belmore railway station, but we have St Albans Road Kingsgrove as a legacy of the former location of the church.
Peach Bros advertised the land around St Albans church as the Clemton Park Church Land Estate Belmore. The developers' poster stressed the rapid growth in population of the Canterbury municipality during the 1920s, and the proximity of the planned Tempe to East Hills Railway. They also promoted that it was "close to Earlwood Tram Extn" as though that was a certainty to happen (it never was extended past Earlwood shops). Presumably they called the location of the blocks for sale "Clemton Park" because it had a profile as a go-ahead suburb by then, despite the fact that the name was used for an area to the east of Kingsgrove Road, and the address of the former St Albans Church was Kingsgrove.
The naming of this subdivision as "Clemton Park" probably explains why Canterbury Council later named the park as Clemton Park. The park was not gazetted until 1977 but the park was in use by 1940. In the early days it had a "Reserve Committee" who would have done some volunteer work caring for the park and lobbied council for improvements to sporting facilities. The park bordered Speare's Brick and Pipe Works.
Wirega Avenue adjoining the park was previously known as Lyle Street until at least 1958. Lyle Street may have been considered "on the nose": it was a private road that ran to the Canterbury Council Sanitary Depot. This was where Council's night soil collections were dumped before sewerage was connected throughout Canterbury.
By the 1940s Canterbury Council had acquired a cottage in the parklands owned by the Redman family. Mrs Redman was allowed continue to rent the cottage until 1976 when she left, and after being rented for some time to a community group, the cottage was demolished.
THE SUBURB OF CLEMTON PARK The name Clemton Park was used for the locality around the shops in William and Homer Streets until suburb boundaries were officially gazetted by the Geographical Names Board in 1993, when Clemton Park officially became Earlwood.
In response to lobbying by residents, Canterbury City Council supported an application to the Geographical Names Board in 2000 to create a new suburb of Clemton Park from sections of South Campsie and Belmore South. In 2001 the following streets were officially included in the area between William Street, Kingsgrove Road, Bexley Road and Cup and Saucer Creek. They share the Earlwood postcode of 2206. The new suburb is on Hannah Laycock's 1812 land grant.
- Jarrett Street
- Reid Avenue
- Biara Avenue
- Alfred Street
- Liney Avenue
- Chisholm Avenue
- Turton Avenue
- Hillside Avenue
- Julie Avenue
- Tasker Avenue
- Ferrier Parade
- Lawn Avenue
Some properties in the following streets are also in the new suburb of Clemton Park:
- Kingsgrove Road
- Bexley Road
- Viking Street
Note that this new suburb does not include the land owned by Frederick Clements which formed the historic locality of Clemton Park, or the shopping centre on William Street near Bexley Road which is known as Clemton Park shops. It also excludes the Clemton Park Catholic, Anglican, Uniting and Baptist churches.
- Hill Ron and Brian Madden, "Kingsgrove: the first two hundred years", Canterbury and District Historical Society: Campsie, 2004.
- Larcombe FA "Change and challenge: a history of the municipality of Canterbury, NSW", Canterbury Municipal Council: Campsie, 1979.
- Madden BJ, "The origin of the name Clemton Park", Canterbury and District Historical Society Journal, Series 2, no. 11, pp.20-22, 1970.
- Madden Brian J and Lesley "Earlwood's past: a history of Earlwood, Undercliffe and Clemton Park, NSW", Canterbury Municipal Council: Campsie, 1989.
- Clements, Frederick "Australian Dictionary of Biography" online edition