Wagener Oval

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This park is situated on part of two land grants - one granted to the Reverand Richard Johnson in 1793, and the other granted to J. Lucas in 1794. In 1803 Robert Campbell purchased the area from William Cox, who had overstrained his credit after purchasing many properties in the area. Campbell named his land the "Canterbury Estate".

Robert Campbell left "Canterbury Estate" to his son-in-law, John Jeffreys, who sold twenty-five acres in December 1912 to Frederick Charles Green (gentleman), Harry Ward Alderson and Albert Edward Boroughs (builders), and Stanley Josiah Gentle (brickmaster). Two months later the title was transferred to the Ashfield Brick Co. Ltd., who set up the brick works to tap local Wianamatta shale. The shales from the Ashfield Brick Company's pit produced mainly brown-toned colours: "the good dark tones with a glaze on it being a very prized brick in the 20s, 30s and 40s".

The huge quarries created by the brickpits were always a danger to local children. In 1939, nineteen month old John Shepherd crawled through the fence from the yard of his adjacent Yabsley Avenue home, and fell sixty feet into the quarry of the pit. He escaped with concussion, a fractured leg and lacerations to the face. Several men working below saw the small boy as he hurtled to land on a ledge about thirty feet from the bottom, after which he rolled further down the slope.

In the early 1960s various subdivisions of the brickworks land took place, enabling the erection of factories which now line the Milton Street frontage. The balance of the brickpits land was acquired by Canterbury Council, and the pit was progressively filled with garbage. It was known as Ashbury Tip for a short time, and later as Whitfield Avenue Tip. Council called for tenders for the supply and installation of an electrically operated centrifugal pump and switch during late 1960. By 1966 the tip had been filled by Council, and by 1969 a children's playground was constructed on part of the site.

After prolonged negotiations, Canterbury Council leased the land in 1975 to the Western Suburbs Australian Football Club. On 16 March 1982, the Western Suburbs Australian Football Club requested permission from Council to re-name the oval at Whitfield Avenue "The Wagener Oval", in honour of this man's great service to football in the Western Suburbs area. William (Bill) Wagener had played for the club during the 1940s and 1950s, and later served as a first grade umpire and club office-bearer.

SOURCE: Peek, Nora and Chris Pratten Working the clays: the brickmakers of the Ashfield District Ashfield: Ashfield & District Historical Society, 1996.