Memories of Your Suburbs: Smeaton Grange

Before white settlement this was the land of the Tharawal and Gundungurra peoples. The property later known as Smeaton Grange was originally called Naralling Grange and was a land grant of 283 hectares (700 acres) by Governor Macquarie in 1816 to Captain William Hovell.

Smeaton House Smeaton Grange, 1985. House built by Edward & Elizabeth Sedgewick in 1894. Now Magdalene High School. Copyright: Camden Historical Society.

Smeaton House Smeaton Grange, 1985. House built by Edward & Elizabeth Sedgewick in 1894. Now Magdalene High School. Copyright: Camden Historical Society.

Smeaton was also an adjoining land grant to Charles Throsby who was an early settler and town leader in Campbelltown. Both of these landholdings were purchased by James Fitzpatrick who had come to Australia as a convict in 1822 and who worked as a servant of Hamilton Hume. Fitzpatrick accompanied Hume and Hovell on their famous 1824 expedition to Port Phillip Bay. He later became a prosperous farmer. The property first grew wheat, and when rust developed, moved into sheep production and later dairy farming.
During World War Two the house was used as a residence for army officers. The Catholic Church acquired the property in the early 1960s and the Patrician Brothers Order used it as a religious house, retreat centre and novitiate till it was developed as part of Magdalene High School in 2000. In the early 1990s the area of land north of the house was zoned industrial. The new industrial estate has been able to attract a wide range of business both large and small and continues to grow as an industrial centre for the area.

Memories of Your Suburb: Spring Farm

Spring Farm covers the southern section of John Oxley’s land grant of 1816 and the south-western section of William Howe’s grant of 1818.There were also nine land grants to smallholders along the floodplain in the western part of the suburb. Spring Farm has had a long history of industrial, mining and agriculture activity. From 1930s-1970s there were extensive orchards and vineyards along Springs Road with a mixture of stone fruit, apples and grapes. Another land use has been the production of poultry: chickens for eggs, and both chicken and turkeys for meat. The Tegal family were one of the major operators from the 1950s.

Spring Farm, 2008. Copyright: Camden Historical Society.

Spring Farm, 2008. Copyright: Camden Historical Society.

There has also been industrial land use in the area including treatment of nightsoil, sand mining, gas extraction, coal washing and waste facilities.
The first urban development in Spring Farm in an otherwise rural setting was in the Ettlesdale Road area in the 1960s. The most recent urban development in Spring Farm comprises a series of urban villages. The area is planned to have around 3900 housing lots.In 2006 the population of the Spring Farm was 287 predominantly made up of young families with 44 per cent of the population under 25 years of age. The suburb will be subject to an increasing number of new arrivals.

Memories of Your Suburb: Harrington Park

Captain William Campbell was granted land in 1815 and built Harrington Park homestead in 1827 named after the supply brig Harrington of which he was commander. The property was bought by Sir Warwick Fairfax in 1944 and an extensive garden created.

Gatehouse at Harrington Park, 1880s. Copyright: Camden Council Library Service.

Gatehouse at Harrington Park, 1880s. Copyright: Camden Council Library Service.

In 1990s a residential estate centred around a 15 hectare lake was developed and further stages of development continue.

Memories of Your Suburb: Kirkham

John Oxley the surveyor general of the colony was granted land in 1815 on the eastern bank of the Nepean which he called Kirkham after his home in Yorkshire. Only Kirkham Stables 1816 remain from this period. Oxley’s son built a flour mill on the estate which operated until rust destroyed wheat crops in 1863. In 1885 James White a later owner of the property built a Gothic Revival styled mansion named ‘Camelot’ by the subsequent owners, the Faithful-Anderson family.
In 1811 Rowland Hassall was granted 400 acres in a loop of the Nepean river, west of Kirkham which he named Macquarie Grove. Camden Airport now occupies much of this property and was used in the Second World War as a flight training centre.

Camelot, 1983. Copyright: Camden Historical Society.

Camelot, 1983. Copyright: Camden Historical Society.

Charles Cowpers’s residence Wivenhoe was built in 1838 and was sold in 1910 to the Catholic Church. It is now the site of Mater Dei School.
Kirkham railway station at the bottom of Kirkham lane was a stop on the Camden to Campbelltown tramway to pick up passengers and milk. Remnants of the embankments for the line can still be seen.

Interior view of stables at Camelot, Kirkham. c.1995. Copyright: Camden Council Library Service.

Interior view of stables at Camelot, Kirkham. c.1995. Copyright: Camden Council Library Service.

From the 1990s there has been large block residential development of some parts of Kirkham with a preservation of hilltops and flood prone low lying land.

Memories of Your Suburb: Narellan Vale

Narellan Vale is on the traditional lands of the Dharawal and Gundungurra people. William Howe was given the original grant of 3000 acres called Eskdale in 1818 on which most of Narellan Vale is located. He was a member of the local gentry and a magistrate in the 1820 and later became Superintendent of Campbelltown Police. Howe was a member of the 1824 Hume and Hovell expedition to Port Phillip.

Narellan Vale, 2000. Copyright: Camden Historical Society.

Narellan Vale, 2000. Copyright: Camden Historical Society.

In the 1960s-1980s the Gayline Drive In Movie Theatre was a popular place of entertainment for people of the surrounding district.
The first land release in the Narellan Vale area was in 1990 with Narellan Gardens Estate in the Morshead Road area.

 

Memories of Your Suburb: Narellan

Narellan is on the traditional land of the Dharawal and Gundungurra people. Narellan lies in the central part of the Camden Local Government Area, although it was originally part of Nepean Shire Council until it was abolished in 1948.

The name Narellan is used for the village, the district and the parish and was probably derived from William Hovell’s 1816 grant of ‘Narralling’ of 700 acres. Most of the parish of Narellan was granted to settlers by Governer Macquarie between 1810 and 1818.

Coal loader, Narellan, c.1960. Copyright: Camden Historical Society.

Coal loader, Narellan, c.1960. Copyright: Camden Historical Society.

Farming in the local area consisted of vineyards, orchards and dairying. Narellan Railway Station was the hub of activity in the village on the branch-line between Camden and Campbelltown. The tramway operated from 1882 until 1963. Coal loading operations were centred here from 1940s until 1980s. St Thomas’s Church, Narellan Public School, Ben Linden and Narellan Hotel are examples of historic buildings remaining in Narellan.

Narellan grew as a residential suburb from the 1960s and by the 1990s commercial development in Narellan had usurped the dominance of Camden and become the commercial centre of the local district.
(Information provided by Camden Historical Society, Camden Council Library Service and Camden Council Community Profile)

Memories of Your Suburb: Cobbitty

On land originally inhabited by the Tharawal and Gundungurra people, Cobbitty lies in an area bounded by Bringelly Creek, Nepean River, Macquarie Grove Road and the Northern Road. Remnants of the Cumberland Plain Woodland are found in and around Cobbitty.

Land was granted in 1812 to Gregory Blaxland, who called his holding ‘Cubbady Farm’. Other land grants were made to the Reverends Cowper (Wivenhoe); Hassall (Macquarie Grove) and to Charles Hook (Denbigh).
Heber Chapel was constructed by Reverend Thomas Hassall and was dedicated by Reverend Samuel Marsden in 1828. St Paul’s Anglican Church was completed in 1842 with the rectory being erected opposite in 1870. The present Cobbitty School was constructed in 1882.

Heber Chapel School Cobbitty, 1868. Copyright: Camden Historical Society

Heber Chapel School Cobbitty, 1868. Copyright: Camden Historical Society

Dairying was the main industry in Cobbitty in the 1880s. A winery, along the Nepean River, was established by the Cogno brothers in the 1960s and continues trading today. The University of Sydney acquired land in Cobbitty and operates the Plant Breeding Institute, and Veterinary Science facilities, together with a number of farms.Turf farming along the Nepean River on the alluvial soils continues.

Cobbitty remains predominantly rural although the northern reaches of the area will become increasingly developed for housing as the NSW State Government implements the Metropolitan Growth Strategy.
(Information provided by Camden Historical Society, Camden Council Library Service and Camden Council Community Profile)

Memories of Your Suburb: Catherine Field

Catherine Field is located on what was once the Cowpasture Road, leading to Camden, on the lands of the Dharug people. The land was colonised from about 1807 onwards when land grants were awarded. George Molle was given 500 acres in 1817, along South Creek, which he named ‘Catherine Field’. James Chisholm built the property ‘Gledswood’ around 1817 and it remained in the family until 1940.

Gledswood Catherine Fields. 1997 Copyright: Camden Council Library Service.

Gledswood Catherine Fields. 1997 Copyright: Camden Council Library Service.

The Catherine Field area is located on the Cumberland Plain, however, only remnants of the original woodland remain. The area contains mixed agriculture and rural residential holdings. As the NSW State Government has designated the Catherine Field area as part of the South West Metropolitan Development Strategy, increased urbanisation will occur.
(Information provided by Camden Historical Society, Camden Council Library Service and Camden Council Community Profile)

Memories of Your Suburb: Bringelly

The township of Bringelly was established on land granted in 1818 to William Hutchinson, originally a convict, who later became one of the directors of the Bank of NSW. The area had been earlier settled by Robert Lowe, who built a house called Birling in 1812 on his land grant of 1000 acres. Many other settlers were given land grants in this area throughout the early 19th century, among them D’arcy Wentworth, John Piper and Ellis Bent. A notorious visitor to the Bringelly locale was the bushranger Jack Donohoe, who is believed to have established a number of hide-outs in the surrounds.

The township was first formally named in 1863. The establishment of a school occurred in 1870’s and was rebuilt before the present school building was erected in 1897.
(Information provided by Camden Historical Society, Camden Council Library Service and Camden Council Community Profile)

Original school building. 2007. Copyright: Camden Historical Society.

Original school building. 2007. Copyright: Camden Historical Society.

Bringelly is situated in an area of open grasslands set within areas of larger bushland, which is a remnant of the once flourishing Cumberland Plain Woodland. It at present contains a mix of agricultural and rural residential land use. Market gardens, dairy farms and other agricultural industries which have acted as a greenbelt and provided Sydney with produce, will soon give way to large housing estates, as part of the NSW State Government’s Metropolitan Strategy.

Memories of Your Suburb: Elderslie

Elderslie lies on the land of the Dharawal people. Governor Macquarie made land grants along the Nepean River including one to the surveyor John Oxley, and was named ‘Ellerslie’ in grant records of 1816. The name had changed to its present form by 1828.

It is believed that the first building in the Camden area was constructed in Elderslie, at the river crossing, sometime in 1803. A number of properties, including ‘Elderslie’ were eventually owned by Charles Campbell, who subdivided his land in 1841 to create a village.

St Mark's Church, Elderslie. Luker Street Elderslie. Sunday School gathering, perhaps prize giving. Some names on back of photo. 1955. Copyright: Camden Historical Society.

St Mark’s Church, Elderslie. Luker Street Elderslie. Sunday School gathering, perhaps prize giving. Some names on back of photo. 1955. Copyright: Camden Historical Society.

Agriculture was the main industry, in particular grape growing and market gardening. Grapes for wine were grown by Martin Thurn, a vinedresser from Germany who was brought out by the Macarthur family to Camden Park in 1852. More recent industries include sand mining of the flood plain.

The expansion of the coal industry in the 1950s- 1970s lead to a population increase, with more housing being built in Elderslie, and the construction of a primary school (Mawarra) and a high school. This growth is continuing with new residential subdivisions being created on surrounding remnant agricultural land.
(Information provided by Camden Historical Society, Camden Council Library Service and Camden Council Community Profile)