Oran Park Town

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 The area was originally made up of two principal land grants, one of 2,000 acres, Harrington Park, granted to William Campbell in 1815 and another to George Molle in 1817, Netherbyes, of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.

 

Oran Park: Raceway to Residential

Oran Park is one of the newest and most rapidly developing residential areas in the Camden LGA. But that does not mean it doesn’t have a long history. Featuring an extensive legacy as a raceway and possessing a fine example of colonial architecture, Oran Park is far from being the new kid on the block.

Oran Park House* was built some time before 1939 by John Douglas Campbell. The land was part of a land grant given to John Campbell’s uncle, William Douglas Campbell, called Harrington Park, itself also subdivided into a housing estate earlier this century.

Oran Park House. Copyright: Camden Council Library Service.

Oran Park House. Copyright: Camden Council Library Service.

The house, like many of its contemporaries including Camden Park House, was in a Georgian palladium style, featuring expansive vistas. Like other Macarthur Era homes of its kind, it was one of the domains of the “powerful colonial elite” (Ian Willis, quoted in Ward, 2011). However, unlike the continued residence of the Macarthur descendants in Camden Park House, Oran Park House was sold to the Moore family of Bagdally and Campbelltown. It would continue to move through several owners and uses, including a golf club, military camp and grenade firing range in WWII, until the estate was subdivided into small hobby farms in 1961.

The south-west and western part of the original estate was transformed into the raceway, built in 1962. The following year it opened and has since seen a great amount of racing from a variety of motor sports, including V8 Super Cars, Australian Touring Car Championships, Superbike World Championships, NASCAR and AUSCAR, and twice hosting the Australian Grand Prix. By the time of its closure it not only saw many kinds of notable races, but earned a reputation as one of the best circuits in the country (Bertola, 2007).

Prime mover truck motor race, c.1997. Copyright: Camden Historical Society.

Prime mover truck motor race, c.1997. Copyright: Camden Historical Society.

The estate’s latest transformation is into a residential area for the rapidly developing Camden LGA. The first residents moved into their new homes on the estate in 2011, and sales have been booming ever since (Stillitano, 2011; Georgopoulos, 2014). 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 being constructed, and a new library and community centre are in the final stages of planning.

Oran Park’s history, with its legacy of the raceway and colonial house, is set to be integrated into all of these new developments as it enters a new phase of its future.

References:

Bertola, V. (2007). Last lap closer for Oran Park. Camden Narellan Advertiser.

Georgopoulos, M. (2014). Sky-high sales for town. Macarthur Chronicle.

Stillitano, I. (2011). New town welcomes first residence. Camden Narellan Advertiser.

Ward, M. (2011). Domain of “powerful colonial elite.” Macarthur Chronicle.

* In 2015, the current owners of Oran Park House, Harrington Estate, renamed it Catherine Park House as part of the Catherine Park Estate development to the north of the house.