Memories of Your Suburb: Gledswood Hills

Before white settlement this was the land of the Tharawal and Gundungurra peoples. In 1810 Governor Macquarie granted 400 acres of land to Count Huon who had been a tutor to William and James Macarthur, sons of John Macarthur. Huon named his property Buckingham. He sold the property to James Chisholm, one of the founders of the Bank of NSW, in 1816 after a series of bad agricultural seasons. Chisholm built the homestead and out buildings on the property now named Gledswood by the second James Chisholm’s wife Elizabeth. Chisholm planted vines for wine and ran cattle and sheep. The Chisholms owned Gledswood for 128 years. From 1914 to 1971 Gledswood had a number of owners including Anthony Hordern. In 1971 the Testoni family bought Gledswood and opened the property as a tourist attraction. The present owners the Nasso family continue this tradition.

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

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

On part of the original Gledswood property bordering Camden Valley Way, El Caballo Blanco school for dancing Spanish Andalusian horses ran from 1979 to 1998. At its height this popular tourist attraction had an indoor seating arena holding 800 people.

Entrance to arena complex at El Caballo Blanco built by Western Australian business entrepreneur Ray Williams. Copyright: Camden Council Library Service.

Entrance to arena complex at El Caballo Blanco built by Western Australian business entrepreneur Ray Williams. Copyright: Camden Council Library Service.

The new suburb of Gledswood Hills, gazetted on 9th December 2011, is bounded by Camden Valley Way, Raby Rd and Gregory Hills Drive. It includes a 27 hole golf course and will eventually have 3000 houses. The first estate to be released is The Hermitage and includes the historic homestead of Gledswood as a central feature.

Memories of Your Suburb: Gregory Hills

Before white settlement this was the land of the Tharawal and Gundungurra peoples. Located between Camden Valley Way and St Gregory’s College, the new suburb of Gregory Hills is part of the South West Growth Area. It is built on land which was formerly St Gregory’s College farm. This land was given to the Marist Brothers by Thomas Donovan in the 1920s for the development of a boys school to teach young men the skills to have careers on the land.

Gregory Hills.

Gregory Hills.

Gregory Hills includes more than 280 hectares of rolling hills and undulating land with views across the district and beyond to the Blue Mountains. Nearly 300 families have bought blocks in the suburb in the last year and 2,400 homes are planned. Gregory Hills will feature its own primary school, shopping centre and an extensive network of parks linked by bike paths and walkways. Gregory Hills Drive will join Badgally Rd giving access to Campbelltown railway station.

Memories of Your Suburb: Camden South

The area known as Camden South is established on land originally home to the Dharawal and Gundangarra people and acquired by the Macarthur family as part of their extensive land grant in the early 1800s. The area supported the farming of wheat, sheep and dairy cattle. An original house Murrandah is now known as Camden House Nursing Home.

Bicycle track, Camden South, 1998. Copyright: Camden Historical Society.

Bicycle track, Camden South, 1998. Copyright: Camden Historical Society.

The expansion in population in Camden in the 1960s and 1970s saw the establishment of two large housing areas to the east and west of the Hume Highway. These were known as Elizabeth Macarthur, honouring the contribution to the development of agriculture by Elizabeth, wife of John Macarthur, and Ponderosa. The new areas were originally collectively known as Benkennie but this later changed to Camden South.

The 3.4km Nepean Cycleway links Camden South to the township of Camden passing under the Camden bypass and along the Nepean River. The flat lands of Camden South are home to a number of sporting fields for local soccer and rugby clubs. Camden Valley Inn is a landmark on the old Hume Highway and a popular gathering place for local people.

Memories of Your Suburb: Oran Park

Oran Park is on the traditional land of the Dharawal people. The area has a rural character with open pastures and rolling hills. The area was originally made up of two principal land grants, one of 2,000 acres, Harrington Park, granted to William Campbell in 1815 and another to George Molle in 1817, Netherbyes, of 1600 acres. Oran Park appears on the pre-1827 map as part of Harrington Park. The Oran Park portion was sub-divided from the Harrrington Park estate in 1829 and acquired by Henry William Johnston in 1852. The Oran Park estate is representative of the layout of a country manor estate with views afforded to and from the manor over the landscape and to the important access points of the estate.

Front facade of Oran Park House, 1991. Cpyright: Camden Council Library Service.

Front facade of Oran Park House, 1991. Cpyright: Camden Council Library Service.

The two-storey Georgian-style house was built in c.1857. The house was acquired by Thomas C Barker (of Maryland and Orielton), who sold it to Campbelltown grazier Edward Lomas Moore (of Badgally) in 1871. The property was later owned by Atwill George Kendrick and then the Moore family who sold the house and land to B Robbins and a Mr Smith operated a golf course with trotting facilities. It was sold in 1945 for £28,000, and in 1963, 361 acres was purchased by ER Smith and J Hyland, farmers. The homestead and stables were sold in 1969 by John and Peggy Cole and purchased by the Dawson-Damers, members of the English aristocracy. John ‘DD’ Dawson-Damer was an Old Etonian and car collector. He was a prominent motor racing identity and was killed in an accident in West Sussex in 2000. After her husband’s death his wife sold the house, with its historic gardens and 107 hectares of pasture, in 2006 for $19 million to Valad Property Group.

Old Silo at Oran Park, 1991. Copyright: Camden Council Library Service.

Old Silo at Oran Park, 1991. Copyright: Camden Council Library Service.

During World War II Narellan Army Camp was based at Oran Park. Part of the original estate is the location of the Oran Park Motor Racing Circuit. The main grand prix circuit is 2.6 km long with a mixture of slow, technical and fast sweeping corners as well as changes in elevation around the track. Apart from the main racing circuit there area has had a number of subsidiary activities including a two dirt circuits, two four wheel training venues, a skid pan and a go-kart circuit. The racing circuit has been used for a variety of motorsport including club motorkhanas, touring cars, sports sedans, production cars, open-wheelers, motocross and truck racing The track closed in 2010 to become a housing estate. Oran Park Town opened for land sales on March 2010. The suburb is being developed by

The main building at the Oran Park Raceway, 1997. Copyright: Camden Council Library Service.

The main building at the Oran Park Raceway, 1997. Copyright: Camden Council Library Service.

Leppington Pastoral Company (owned by the Perich family) in a joint-venture with Landcom with an estimated 11,500 dwellings and 33,00 people to reside in Oran Park and Turner Road. Oran Park is part of the South West Growth Area which is eventually planned to accommodate 295,000 people by 2031.

Oran Park Town has seen numerous community facilities emerge, from schools, churches, a retirement home, and the Podium retail complex and business hub. Camden Council’s new Administration Building is now open and a new library and community centre are in the final stages of planning.

 

Memories of Your Suburb: Leppington

The name Leppington comes from the property granted to William Cordeaux in 1821. Leppington Park House was a huge two storey home with its own private ballroom built by convict labour. It was destroyed by fire in the 1940s. The bricks at the base of the outdoor stage at Leppington School came from this building.
In 1914 an area of Leppington was subdivided as the Raby Estate, named after the property Raby some 3269 acres granted to Alexander Riley in 1810. The 1914. The subdivision was developed by Arthur Rickard & Co. People interested in buying a lot would be met by a sulky either at Ingleburn or at the Coach crossing at the Water Canal Bringelly Road. Rickard Road in the estate was named after the developer.

Public School at Leppington. The sign reads 'Raby 1923-1955, Leppington 1956.' 2007. Copyright: Camden Historical Society.

Public School at Leppington. The sign reads ‘Raby 1923-1955, Leppington 1956.’ 2007. Copyright: Camden Historical Society.

The school on the estate was opened as Raby School in 1923. The first teacher was Mr Cox and he taught about 40 pupils between the ages of 6 and 15. It remained a one-teacher school until 1951. In 1955 the name was changed to Leppington Public School. The Post office, also on the Raby Estate was established in 1930 and remained on its original site until 1981. The Riley estate south of the Raby Estate was subdivided in 1956.The area has supported small farms and vegetable and flower market gardens. The area is subject to planned development as part of South West Sydney Growth Area. A corridor of land is being resumed by NSW State Government for an extension to the Liverpool rail line with a station in the north-eastern part of Leppington due to open by 2014.

Memories of Your Suburb: Rossmore

The area was originally called Cabramatta an aboriginal word for place of the cobra grub. It was later named Rossmore, a Scottish name refering to high ground by John Dickson a Scottish engineer who was granted 3,000 acres of land here by Governor Macquarie. A number of other settlers received land grants in the area including Barker, Riley, Moore and Bell.
The area was initially used for wheat and sheep farming and later for dairying, poultry farming and orchards. The bushranger Jack Donahoe was shot by an ex soldier, Mugglestone on Robert Lowe’s property just south of Bringelly Rd in 1830.

Holy Innocents' Anglican Church, Rossmore, 2007. Copyright: Camden Historical Society.

Holy Innocents’ Anglican Church, Rossmore, 2007. Copyright: Camden Historical Society.

After World War 1 Ashley McCann bought 1,400 acres at Rossmore for dairy farming and named the property Allenby after General Allenby the hero of the 4th Light Horse.

Until 1948 Rossmore was part of Nepean Shire. This local government area no longer exists and was divided between Camden Liverpool and Penrith Councils. The southern third of the suburb of Rossmore is now in Camden Local Government Area.

From 1950s the area was settled by immigrants from Europe who established small farms and market gardens providing food for Sydney markets. The area continues to perform this function although large scale development is planned as part of the South West Sydney Growth Area.

Memories of Your Suburbs: Mount Annan

The suburb is on the traditional lands of the Dharawal and Gundungurra people. Mount Annan is the name given to a high point in the western part of the locality and is 190 metres above sea level. It only appears on published maps after 1834. This point was part of Glenlee which was owned by William Howe, who built a fine Georgian house (1824) on the property. Glenlee was acquired by James Fitzpatrick in the 1850s and his descendants ran it as a dairy farm until 1978 with associated cropping and grazing.
The first land release for housing at Mount Annan was in late 1980s for first home buyers and low income families. Later land releases such as Garden Gates were aimed at second and third home buyers. The population growth encouraged the establishment of new shopping facilities, a leisure centre and schools.
The Mount Annan Botanic Garden is the highlight of the suburb. It is a native plant botanic garden and arboretum in an attractive garden and parkland setting and is managed by the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust.

Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan, 1989. Copyright: Camden Historical Society.

Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan, 1989.Ceremonial opening of the memorial sundial in the Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan donated by the Macarthur Onslow women in memory of their mother Winifred Macarthur Onslow (nee Owen) widow of Edward Macarthur Onslow. L to R Pamela Harrison; Annette Macarthur Onslow; Phoebe Atkinson. Copyright: Camden Historical Society.

On the eastern side of the Mount Annan Botanic Gardens is a little piece of history which was constructed in 1880. It is a water canal (aqueduct) which is partly made of sandstone blocks thought to be quarried from Mount Annan. It is part of the Upper Nepean Scheme which supplies water by gravity from the dams on upper Nepean River to Prospect Reservoir along a course of 62 km. Until Warragamba Dam was finished in 1960 this canal supplied most of Sydney’s water.

Glenlee Coal Washery, viewed from top of Mount Annan, 2007. Copyright: Camden Historical Society.

Glenlee Coal Washery, viewed from top of Mount Annan, 2007. Copyright: Camden Historical Society.

In 2001 Mount Annan had a population of 6,761, and which was an 85 per cent increase from 1996. The demographic profile of Mount Annan is predominantly young families, with 35 per cent of the population under 18 years of age.

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.