Poet's Corner Campsie

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It sounds rather like Westminster Abbey, London, but it’s not. The name is given to a group of streets in our municipality, running off Brighton Avenue, Campsie. This group of streets forms a rough triangle, bounded by Clissold Parade on one side and Beamish Street, the other side of the triangle. The base is the curved bed of Cook's River.

Each street which criss crosses the triangle is named after a poet (with the exception of Brighton Avenue) which roughly cuts the triangle from the apex to the centre of the base. In early maps of our district, Brighton Avenue was called Beamish Street. The history of the romantically named corner goes back to the 1830's, long before our municipality was formed. It originally was part of the grant of land, given to William Pascoe Crook in 1831. Then it passed into the hands of the trustees of Simeon Lord's Estate, in 1841. Many years later it appeared on a map of the area as the Mildura Estate. This estate gave its name to the surrounding district and early maps show the name suggested for the station on the hoped for railway line (Marrickville to Burwood). Indeed, the Recorder, in 1899, lists Mildura as a postal district, about one mile from Canterbury Post Office.

The first sales in the sub-division of the Mildura Estate took place on Saturday, 24th September, 1892 at 3:30p.m. The auctioneer was E. Broughton of 301 Pitt Street, Sydney and the solicitor for the sub-division, was Ickerson, of 36 Pitt Street, Sydney.

Prospective buyers could command a free bus ride from the auctioneers place of business to the estate. The terms for buying a block of land were 10 per cent cash deposit, the balance being paid in 18 equal monthly payments, bearing 6 per cent.

The streets formed by this first sub-division of the estate were Tennyson and Shelley, Byron Street having been in existence before this time, together with Beamish Street, (now Brighton Avenue). Altogether there were four sub-divisions of the Estate, with poet's names being given to every street. the Sand's directory for 1897 shows Browning, Dryden and Shakespeare Streets, so these must have been named during the second sub-division.

The three streets of the last sub-division were called Adam, Lindsay and Gordon. This took place on 24th February, 1912, the terms for this sale being 5 per cent deposit. The solicitor was Henry N. Collins. By this time the railway had come through the district, although not as originally expected, to Burwood. The station which at one time was designated Mildura, was instead called Campsie.

As to why poet's names were given to the area, the answer has been lost in antiquity. Perhaps the man responsible for the sub-division had a great love of poetry and included the names of those he thought of as the greatest of the English, Scottish and Irish balladists. Then again, perhaps he was inspired by the fact that Byron Street was already in existence at the time of the sub-division and decided to give poet's names to the rest of the streets.

With the exception of Shakespeare and Adam Lindsay Gordon, the period of time of the poet's births late from 1731 to 1812 and was known as the romantic period of British poetry. Adam Lindsay Gordon, although always looked upon as an Australian poet, was only that by adoption. He was born in Fayal in the Azores, in 1833 and arrived in Adelaide on 14th November, 1853 and until his death (by suicide) remained in Australia.

There are nine poets represented in our literary corner, Byron, Shelley, Cowper, Tennyson, Browning (all English poets), Moore (Irish), Burns (a Scot), Adam Lindsay Gordon (Australian), and the greatest of them all, Shakespeare. We are not unique in having this corner of our municipality dedicated to the poets. At least two country towns in N.S.W. share this honour with the Canterbury Municipality.


Sources By I. E. Currey - Canterbury and District Historical Society Journal, Series 2, no. 4