Essex Hill Heritage Panel
Fairmount Reserve, Fairmount Street, Lakemba This panel was erected by Canterbury City Council, 2005. Unveiled by Councillor Roberet Furolo, Mayor of Canterbury, on 21st April 2005.
Essex Hill was a farm bounded by Punchbowl Road, the present Macdonald and Lakemba Streets, and halfway between Fairmont and McCourt Streets. It was a land grant of 50 acres given in 1810 to Samuel Hockley, a soldier of the New South Wales Corps, who came from Essex in England. After he died in 1859, the property was left to his children John Samuel Hockley and Sarah Smith. John Samuel Hockley in 1875 sold his share to Colin Macdonald, hence Colin and Macdonald Streets.
In 1872, a timber building with shingled roof was erected on the land for use as both a Congregational Church and a half-time public school. The school closed in 1879. In 1899, the building was mounted on wheels and with a team of 20 horses was moved to Congregational Church land at the corner of Lakemba Street and Yerrick Road.
During the journey, the building became bogged in the vicinity of Haldon Street, where it stayed for three days. The building remained in use on the new site until it was demolished in 1975.