Page 1

Earlwood’s Past A History of Earl wood, Undercliffe and Clemton Park, NSW


Brian J Madden and Lesley Muir

Earlwood’s Past A History of Earl wood, Undercliffe and Clemton Park, NSW by

Brian J Madden and Lesley Muir


No. 2 in the series: Bicentennial History of Canterbury’s Suburbs No. 1 Campsie’s Past

Published 1988

CONVERSIONS 1 inch 1 foot 1 yard 1 chain 1 mile 1 acre 1d (penny) 1s (shilling) £1 (pound)

2.54 centimetres 0.30 metre 0.91 metre 20.11 metres 1.60 kilometres 0.40 hectare 0.83 cent 10 cents $2

First published 1989 by Canterbury Municipal Council Copyright 1989 Canterbury Municipal Council All rights reserved National Library of Australia Card No. and ISBN 0 9590704 3 5 Printed in Australia by Prince & Martin Pty. Ltd. 361-365 Clyde Street, South Granville, N.S.W.

CONTENTS Page The Territory of the Gwiyagal People (To 1803)


Settlers in the Forest (1803-1834)


The Sequestered Studio (1835-1850)


Parkes Camp becomes Parkestown (1851-1882)


A Railway for Parkestown? (1883-1896)


Parkestown becomes Forest Hill, then Earlwood (1896-1919)


Housing Boom (1920-1930)


Depression, War and After (1931-1980)


Present and Future (From 1981)

54 60 61


FOREWORD Earlwood’s Past is the second of a series of publications on local history commissioned by Council during last year’s Bicentenary. The Earlwood community has always played a vital part in the development of the Municipality as a whole. Residents of Earlwood have taken a strong interest in local affairs and this is evidenced by the quality and range of activities undertaken by local community groups, sporting clubs, religious groups, businesses and schools in the area. Earlwood’s civic pride manifests itself in many ways, including the large number of well-kept homes and gardens in the area. People throughout the Municipality will be pleased to have the opportunity to purchase this book as it chronicles Earlwood’s history in an interesting and informative way. This book will meet the need for historical information and will encourage more people to take an interest in local issues. You can help Council preserve our local heritage — anyone who has individual copies of local newspapers, copies of other local publications, written material or historic photographs or information on local people, families, schools, churches, clubs, sporting bodies or ethnic groups represented in the Municipality are invited to make them available to either the Canterbury Local Studies Centre, 139 Beamish Street, Campsie or the Canterbury and District Historical Society. These items will be kept safe or copied for future generations to see. JOHN GORRIE MAYOR

PREFACE This book focuses on Earlwood, Undercliffe and Clemton Park, but mentions adjoining areas when this is needed to tell the story of Earlwood, Undercliffe and Clemton Park. The detailed histories of the adjoining suburbs is given in separate books. The book is written to be of interest to past, present and future residents, to inform them of events in the past which shaped the suburbs as they are today and to report some of the changes occurring at the present time. The authors have done their best to make the book as comprehensive and informative as possible, but necessarily, it deals only very briefly with persons, organisations and events of the past. Details are invited of other persons, groups or organisations, or an important event not mentioned. The authors wish to thank the many people — local residents, representatives of local organisations and firms, government bodies and Council staff — who have assisted them by supplying information and photographs. These include Audrey Barnes, Ralph Hocking, Kath Twist, Ada Cutbush, Les Wadds, Mrs Webster, Mrs J. Waterworth, Joy Golds, Judith Rooke, Adrian Salem, Kevin Cork, Denise Smith and Dr C. A. Gluskie, the State Library of N.S.W, and the Canterbury Local Studies Centre. Their co-operation is sincerely appreciated. LESLEY MUIR BRIAN MADDEN


CHAPTER 1: The Territory of the Gwiyagal People (To 1803) places subject to seepage, native fuchsia and communities of ferns such as rainbow fern occurred in association with mosses, liverworts and algae. Some of this vegetation can still be seen in Girrahween Park. Bardwell Creek valley was full of the cabbage-tree palms much prized by the early settlers. Towards the west, the sandstone outcrop was covered by a layer of Wianamatta Shale, and, where these soils were dominant, the forest contained the more widespread blackbutt and Sydney blue gum, with grey ironbark, bloodwood and red and white mahogany forming a dense forest. Grey kangaroos, wallabies and koalas were all native to the area, as well as possums, sugar-gliders, bandicoots and echidnas. Snakes, goannas and bluetongue lizards were common, while many species of parrots, honeyeaters and flycatchers lived in the trees. The waterways were the home of water birds: ducks, moorhens and herons. The aborigines of the Botany Bay area had a wide variety of food to choose from. They hunted kangaroos, emus and possums, smoked bees’ nests to get the wild honey, and fished the bays and rivers with shell hooks and pronged spears. The women gathered yams and lily bulbs, hunted goannas and snakes, and dug witchetty grubs from their holes in rotted timber. In summer, the men lit fires in the grass to drive the game into a waiting line of hunters, while autumn was a time for feasting on sea mullet as they set out from the estuaries on their annual migration. Near the mouth of Botany Bay, shellfish were gathered, and the banks of Cooks River were lined with heaps of oyster shells, the remnants of thousands of years of occupation. Apart from the shell middens, these people have left us only one reminder of their occupation of over 40 000 years — white hand and foot paintings within the sandstone cliffs. Foot paintings are very rare in the Sydney region, and are therefore seen as aboriginal heritage items of great significance. These paintings must be preserved at all cost, and for this reason, their exact location cannot be given. In a 1974 survey, a National Parks and Wildlife Service ranger identified twenty-three white hand stencils at the site — two showing forearm details. There were also two white foot stencils at the site, as well as extensive, unexcavated midden deposits. Extensive rock carvings of fish-like forms no longer exist, as they were covered in concrete many years ago. These days one would hope that a greater appreciation of our heritage would prevent such action — which in any case is against the law and carries steep fines. The precise locations of tribal boundaries in the Sydney region are not known, as the aborigines died out before any detailed anthropological research was attempted. However, it is believed that from Port Jackson to Botany Bay was the country of the Cadigal tribe, with the Wangal immediately to the west. The Gwiyagal (or Gweagal) lived in the swamps between Botany Bay and Port Hacking. The Territory of this band probably stretched south from Cooks River, and from the shores of Botany Bay westwards towards Liverpool, meeting the land of the Waranjgal in the south-west. In the Sydney region, the population density has been estimated at five to ten persons per square mile. The local group may have consisted of about thirty to fifty persons, related to each other as an extended family. With about thirty such bands in the environs of Port Jackson and Botany Bay, the total would be somewhat under 2 000 persons. Lieutenant James Cook’s ship, the Endeavour, sailed

At the eastern end of the Municipality of Canterbury, the Hawkesbury Sandstone, which underlies the Sydney Basin, has been cut by Cooks River and Wolli Creek, forming high cliffs overlooking the junction of the two waterways. It is thought that, a few thousand years ago, these cliffs formed the very edge of Botany Bay — once a much wider bay than it is today. All the silt and sand banks which are now the suburbs of Tempe and Kyeemagh, the Airport, and the sandhills of Kurnell peninsula were under the sea, and the sandstone outcrops at La Perouse and Cronulla formed the entrance to the bay. The sandstone ridge at Cape Solander was probably a small offshore island. Even earlier, during the Ice Age, when the sea level was much lower than it is now, Botany Bay was part of a flat coastal plain which was flooded as the ice began to melt 20 000 years ago. Wave action of the rising sea pushed sand into the coastal indentations, and the great open inlet proved to be an excellent sand trap. Cooks and Georges Rivers added to the silty deposition until a shallow bay, lined with sand dunes and wetlands was formed. The sandstone ridge at the western edge of the bay sloped up to fifty or sixty metres before it gave way to the undulating Wianamatta shale country. It was cut deeply by Wolli and Bardwell Creeks on their way north-east to Cooks River, forming a rugged terrain of steep cliffs. Natural vegetation was very different on the northern and southern sides of the sandstone outcrop. The slopes facing Cooks River to the north were those most exposed to the sun, and here, on the thin sandy soil, stringybarks and angophoras dominated the bushland, with some grey ironbarks, turpentine and blackbutt trees. Banksias were common,

The mouth of Cooks River about 1822. (Joseph Lycett. View of the heads and part of Botany Bay. Courtesy Dixson Galleries, State Library of NSW).

and, on the rock faces grew tick bush, pittosporum, Port Jackson fig, sweet wattle and drumsticks. Beside Cooks River was a narrow saltmarsh zone, with reeds and sedge near the banks, and melaleuca thickets and swamp oak on the terraces. Towards the mouth of Wolli Creek a small mudflat, on which grew grey mangroves, provided a rich environment sheltering many species of crabs, prawns, shellfish, oysters and other marine life. On the south side of the cliffs, overlooking Wolli Creek, the aspect was more sheltered, and many species which grew in sandy moist conditions were found. Angophoras, mahogany, blackbutt, pittosporum and coast myall grew tall, with banksias and forest oak forming an understorey. Various pea-flowers grew wild, and, in crevices and shady


Aborigines with spears at waterside. (Browne. Sketches in Australia and the South Seas. 1842-52. Courtesy Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW).

into the quiet harbour of Botany Bay on April 29, 1770, starting a chain of events which was to alter the course of history for the Unknown South Land. He found the harbour “ safe and capacious” and was impressed with the tranquil lifestyle of the aborigines fishing from canoes and along the banks. His own men caught an abundant supply of fish, including huge stingrays, to supplement their diet, and his companion, Joseph Banks, enthused over the new varieties of plant life he found in the surrounding country. So delighted was he with his plant specimens that the original name of “ Stingray Bay” was changed to “ Botany Bay” Banks became a man of influence in the years after his return to England, so when the Government searched for a solution to their problem of overcrowded jails and the need for a trading post in the South Seas, Banks was able to persuade them that Botany Bay would be an ideal place in which to locate a new colony.

they are of the wolf kind, with long shaggy hair. When they found that our people did not molest them, they ventured to come near us in their canoes, and when the boats were returning down the river, they ran after them along upon the beach and sometimes stopped abreast of the boats calling out as usual warraw! warraw! The country was here observed to be very low and marshy, but very fit for growing rice. This is one of the earliest English descriptions of the land along Botany Bay and Cooks River Valley, written by one of the officers who accompanied Captain Phillip on the excursion. The party’s disappointment was obvious, especially since Sir Joseph Banks had led them to expect a paradise. Phillip’s historian later explained: The Botany Bay should have appeared to Captain Cook in a more advantageous light than to Governor Phillip, is not by any means extraordinary. Their objects were very different: the one required only shelter and refreshment for a small vessel, and during but a short time: the other had great numbers to provide for, and was necessitated to find a place wherein ships of very considerable burthen might approach the shore with ease, and lie at all times in perfect security. The appearance of the place is pleasing, and the ample harvest it afforded, of botanical acquisitions, made it interesting to the philosophical gentlemen engaged in that expedition; but something more essential than beauty of appearance, and more necessary than philosophical riches, must be sought in a place where the permanent residence of multitudes is to be established. Phillip quickly saw that land along the sides of a “ small creek th a t. . . had only water for a boat” varying between

In January 1788, eleven British ships arrived in Botany Bay, laden with new settlers and provisions to occupy the land of the aborigines and found a new British penal settlement. The land around the bay did not look promising, so Captain Phillip explored further afield: The appearance of this part of the country not promissing so favourable as was hoped, the commodore with a party and two boats coasted along the shore for about twelve or fourteen miles; they examined two rivers, one in a north east direction up which they proceeded about six miles [i.e. Cooks River]; the other in a south west. As they advanced up the first, numbers of natives seemed fishing in their canoes, while others were employed dressing the fish on its banks: they ran away on our people’s approach, howling and making a strange noise, they were observed for the first time to have dogs,


(Kyeemagh) and had to rescue several of their number who became stuck up to their armpits in the mud. The aborigines, of course, had fled. Private Easty described the excursion in his diary: Crossed [Cooks River] at V2 past 2 on the 23rd in the morning up brieast high in water and att V2 past 3 Crosed over a Swamp of mud which was up to the armpits and Like to have Smothred Sevarai of the men in the mud and by 6 o ’clock Came up to the natives huts but thay had fled from thier huts So we returned back across the rivers as fast as Possible and arived att the Place we Startd from att 10 0 'clock after a teadious Run of 14 or 16 miles as fast as Posible we could run all wet with Crosing the R ivers. . .

rocky high ground, thick forest, and “ marshes, the draining of which would be a work of time and not to be attempted by the first settlers” was not suitable country for his purpose. He moved his ships northwards to Port Jackson, and the Botany Bay district was left largely undisturbed, until increasing food shortages drove the new settlers to go further and further afield into the woods searching for anything they could eat. No supply ships arrived in the new colony between January 1788 and June 1790, and starvation was a very real possibility for the white settlers, who did not have the aborigines’ knowledge of the country’s resources. Governor Phillip was forced to authorise three convicts to carry arms, so that they could hunt kangaroos to supplement Sydney’s meat diet of salt pork, which was by then two years old. The game hunters travelled far afield, eventually crossing over the ford on the “ North arm of Botany Bay” [Cooks River]. Here they came up against the Gwiyagal people, whose territory extended from Port Hacking north along the beaches of Botany Bay — men who had seen the effects of white settlement on the people of Port Jackson, and who defended their own lands and game with determination. The hunting expeditions continued throughout 1790, and, by December, suspicion of the white man had reached such a pitch that when three hunters camped overnight in “ a hut formed of boughs, which had been lately erected on the peninsula, for the accommodation of sportsmen who wished to continue by night in the woods” they were stalked by “ two natives with spears in their hands, creeping towards them, and three others a little further behind” The Governor’s gamekeeper, McEntire, already an object of dread and hatred to Bennelong, attempted to talk to them, but was speared by Pemulwy, a young man from the Botany Bay people who had been “ lately among u s . . . evident from his being newly shaved” Governor Phillip, forced into the position of having to punish this murder, sent Captain Watkin Tench and a large party of men into this unexplored territory to “ bring in six of those natives who reside near the head of Botany Bay, or, if that is found to be impracticable, to put that number to death’! A “ terrific procession” was formed, consisting of two captains, two lieutenants, two surgeons, “ three sergeants, three corporals and forty private soldiers, provided with three days provisions, ropes to bind our prisoners with, and hatchets and bags, to cut off, and contain the heads of the slain” They marched down to the treacherous fords on Cooks River, and tried to cross at low tide at the only place shallow enough, near today’s Undercliffe. The ford consisted “ only of narrow slips of ground, on each side of which are dangerous holes” The men then crashed through the bush towards Botany Bay, became bogged in the “ morass” of Muddy Creek

Watkin Tench’s journey across Cooks River into the Botany Bay District, 1790. (Section redrawn from: A map of the hitherto unexplored country contiguous to Port Jackson . . . [J. Walker, engraver] 1791 or 1792. Map by Lesley Muir).

Tench was disgusted by the results of this expedition, especially at being beaten by “ naked, unencumbered indians” on their own territory, and wrote in his diary: “ we had passed through the country, which the discoverers of Botany Bay extol as ‘some of the finest meadows in the world! These meadows, instead of grass, are covered with high coarse rushes, growing in a rotten spungy bog, into which we plunged knee-deep at every ste p . . . when forced to quit the sand, we were condemned to drag through morasses, or to clamber over rocks, unrefreshed by streams, and unmarked by diversity” Pemulwy and his companions had retained their land for the time being.


CHAPTER 2: Settlers in the Forest (1803-1834) pleased to restore him the said Lease and Deeds of G ran t. . . Macquarie was impressed by this petition, and returned the land in Cambridge Street, in the Rocks district, and also the Cooks River property. He later gave Martin an additional 100 acres at Lane Cove. Arthur Martin continued in the service of the Government as Overseer of lime burners, and was appointed a constable in Sydney in 1821. A small house was built on the land at Cooks River, and the Laycock family acquired a new neighbour. At the end of 1810, Governor Macquarie and his wife visited many of the farms on the Cumberland Plain, finishing up on December 13 with a carriage ride through the occupied properties in the Botany Bay district. They visited Hannah Laycock’s “ neat comfortable well-built farmhouse” and Townson’s tenants on Kogarah Bay, crossing Cooks River twice over the “ slender bad bridge” at the end of Beamish Street. Macquarie believed that farming should be encouraged, and, after this excursion, he began to grant away the remainder of the good land around Sydney to those he considered deserving of such patronage. Thomas Sylvester, a free settler who had arrived in 1807 on the Brothers, was given 100 acres adjoining King’s Grove in 1812, and John Riley was promised a small 30 acre farm next door, but was reminded that he would not receive any more land “ unless he goes to live on his grant” He had arrived in 1803 on the Rolla with a seven-year sentence, but by 1828 was living with his wife and family in the district of Airds. Governor M acquarie was always generous to “ currency” children — those who had been born in the colony. George Tyrrell, the son of William Tyrrell and Ann Wade, two first fleet convicts, was promised 60 acres of land in 1814, when he reached the age of twenty-five years. He selected the river flat surrounded on three sides by Cooks River, with rich alluvial soil which could be easily cleared and cultivated. He made a good living in Sydney as a carpenter, so hired a tenant to look after his farm. The same year as Tyrrell was promised his grant, Gowan Pickering arrived in Sydney on the Somersetshire, followed by his wife, Mary Toft, on the Broxbornbury. Because Pickering had a life sentence, he was not free to begin farming on his own account, so his wife, as a free settler, applied for him to be her assigned servant, and together they took up farming on Tyrrell’s grant. A crossing was built at the site of a shallow ford (opposite today’s Garnet Street), which became known as Pickering’s Punt. Gowan and Mary Pickering and their three children had cleared and cultivated 30 acres by the 1828 census, and had four cattle pastured on the farm. In 1816, one of Thomas Moore’s employees was allowed to select a 50 acre grant in the District of Botany Bay. He was John Parkes, a nailmaker from Halesowen, Worcestershire, who had been transported on the Barwell in 1797 for seven years for stealing “ a great coat, called a beaver coat, worth sixteen shillings” John Parkes served his sentence working at his trade in the Government Boatyard on the west side of Circular Quay, during which time he was well trained by Moore to assess the quality of colonial timber. He married Margaret Southern, a girl from Manchester, who arrived on the Experiment in 1803, and together they set up house, at first in Sydney, and later on Moore’s farm at Petersham. When he received Mac­ quarie’s promise of grant, John Parkes crossed Cooks River, looked around, and selected his 50 acres at the top of the ridge, surrounded by ironbarks, red mahogany trees and gullies full of ferns, flannel flowers and gymea lilies.

Botany Bay district and its resources went un­ appreciated by the new settlers until 1803, when Thomas Moore, Government Boatbuilder, at the order of Governor King, led an expedition to Georges River in search of timber resources for the Royal Navy. He reported that many of the trees had great potential as shipbuilding timber, and became very excited at the discovery of stands of “ lignum vitae” (casuarina) on the river banks, a timber which had many uses. Moore’s report led to a reassessment of the forest lands south of Cooks River, and, in August 1804, Governor King made the first land grants in the district. 500 acres was granted to Hannah Laycock, wife of Thomas Laycock, Quartermaster of the New South Wales Corps, and his sons, William and Samuel, received farms of 100 acres each. Hannah, in gratitude, called her farm “ King’s Grove” a property west of today’s Bexley Road, covered with huge ironbark trees. The Laycock family’s access road did not cross Cooks River at Tench’s “ treacherous fords” but rather followed today’s line of Georges River Road as far as Croydon Park, and crossed the river at a point at the end of today’s Beamish Street. The sandstone country east of King’s Grove was to remain undisturbed for a few years longer. In the early days of the Colony, no limestone deposits could be found near the new town, so mortar could not be produced for the building trade. One of the earliest occupations of the convicts was to burn shells to produce lime from the abundant middens left by the aborigines along Cooks River. When these supplies were exhausted the large mud oysters from the bottom of Botany Bay were dredged up and burned. Live oysters were very much sought after, as it was thought that they produced higher quality lime. The clearing of trees for fuel for the limekilns in this area caused timber resources to be depleted rapidly, although the dense forest south of the river continued to supply Sydney with building timber and firewood for much of the nineteenth century. Lieutenant-Governor Paterson granted a great deal of land in Sydney to citizens who had helped keep the peace during the difficult time after Governor Bligh’s arrest. In 1809, Arthur Martin, Government Overseer of the Botany Bay limeburners, was given 100 acres of land bounded on three sides by Cooks River and its tributary, “ Chain of Ponds” later named Wollar (Wolli) Creek. Martin had arrived in the colony in 1792 on the Marquis Cornwallis, a convict with a life sentence. By 1809 he was a trusted employee with a conditional pardon. When Governor Macquarie took over the Colony on January 1, 1810, he asked that the deeds to all land granted by Colonel Paterson be returned, so that he could assess whether it had been given for the right motives. Arthur Martin obeyed the order, but wrote Macquarie a petition for return of the property: Petitioner has ever been known to be an industrious man and has always endeavoured to Support his Family, which is Large, and in that State, not to be able to render any Service tow ards their own su pp ort — in consideration of his Services and Large Family His Honor the late Lieutenant Governor (Colonel Paterson) was Graciously pleased to grant him a Lease of his House and Premises, situate on the West Rocks, and a grant of One Hundred acres of land which Lease and Deeds of Grant Petitioner has returned to the Secretary’s Office, in conformity to Your Excellency’s orders on that head. Petitioner most humbly begs your Excellency’s consideration in his Case and with that Humanity that always attends your feelings for the distressed will be 4

Promises of land 1809-1841. (Map by Lesley Muir).

planted and a house was built. He intended to set up an estate for himself, so he applied to the Governor for an additional grant adjoining his farm, intending to use the property as a “ run for cattle’! Chandler called his estate “ Bexley” after Bexley, south-east of London. The farmhouse was built on Sylvester’s grant, high on a hill overlooking the chain of ponds which provided household water. Today’s Angus Street leads up to the site of the old Bexley homestead, which was located at the highest point of the ridge. Because he was a man of status, with money to invest in improving the land, the Governor granted him the 1 200 acres adjoining on the south-east, extending to today’s Princes Highway. Bexley Road and Harrow Road cut the property in half lengthways, and the suburb of Bexley now gets its name from the original estate. In 1825, Chandler advertised in the Sydney Gazette that he was willing to graze cattle on his land, “ any quantity above twelve head at the rate of fourpence per week each, and promises that every care shall be taken of such as may be sent to him” Botany Bay district was then the home of isolated farmers and sawyers living in small clearings, and the thick forest provided cover for escaped convicts and bushrangers. On April 12, 1824, Chandler had written to the Colonial Secretary, recommending that one of his “ ticket-of-leave men” should be appointed as a constable under his direction, as the person then holding the job was most untrustworthy: Moss, who is a constable of Botany Bay district lives at a distance of three miles from me and if there is an occasion to send for him as I have done twice today he is probably not at home, or if found, may even then be unable to attend for two or three days afterwards — being also the only Constable in the District there is no magistrate or even respectable person (unless myself may be excepted). I think a person acting under my

John Parkes’ grant is now the centre of the suburb of Earlwood. In 1821, just before he left the Colony, Governor Macquarie made his last promises of land grants. Winifred Flaherty, wife of Edward Flaherty who lived west of King’s Grove, was promised the 30 acres adjoining John Riley’s land, and, as well, Arthur Martin acquired two potential next door neighbours, although neither person took up his grant. Fifty acres stretching from the ridge down to Cooks River was promised to Patrick Moore, a settler who already owned a 60 acre grant near Botany Bay, and 30 acres extending from the other side of the ridge south to Wolli Creek was promised to Abraham Champion. A long delay in measuring out the grants meant that the deeds could not be registered. In the meantime, Champion’s 30 acre piece of land was occupied by James Briely (also called Brailey or Brierley), a gaol constable in Sydney, and later at Liverpool. A deed of grant was prepared in his favour, but he died before it could be issued in his name, so his wife, Maria, took possession of the property. In 1817, Hannah Laycock sold King’s Grove to Simeon Lord, a Sydney merchant, for £1 500. He placed herdsmen and farm labourers on the property, and sawyers began to clear the timber. The land south of Cooks River slowly started to be settled by the British immigrants, who cut down the forest cover and drove away the game of the original owners, substituting their cattle and horses for the native kangaroos and wallabies. By the 1820s, the colony of New South Wales became known in Britain as a place where a young man might make his fortune, and many free settlers of moderate means were attracted to Sydney. One such gentleman was James Chandler, a merchant, who bought Thomas Sylvester’s 100 acre grant in 1822. The land had been occupied and cultivated before 1820, and, by the time Chandler bought it, an orchard had been


Bexley House in 1861. (Samuel Elyard. Bexley, 1861. Courtesy Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW).

Belfield) catered for travellers on George’s River Road, while Laycock’s old bridge still served many of the settlers around Redman’s farms (now Campsie and Belmore) and King’s Grove. The most easterly ford available at low tide was Pickering’s Punt, where people crossed on steppingstones. The roads north of Laycock’s Bridge and Pickering’s Punt both led through private estates, and access was dependent on the landowners being willing to allow the general public to roam through their property. In 1824, W. H. Moore, a solicitor in the Supreme Court of Sydney, bought the Brighton Estate north of Laycock’s Bridge. He immediately had his land fenced in, and advertised in the Sydney Gazette that all trespassers would be prosecuted. Travellers were forced to skirt his property, and use the new road to the west (now Coronation Parade, Enfield), crossing Cooks River at the Punch Bowl. This was very inconvenient for those who lived as far east as the Bexley Estate and beyond, but worse was to come. The same year, Dr. Robert Wardell, a wealthy barrister, bought Thomas Moore’s “ Petersham Estate” almost 1 300 acres north of Cooks River, stretching from today’s Garnet Street to Unwin’s Bridge Road. He had a burning wish to establish himself as “ landed gentry” so, over the next four years, he stocked Petersham with imported deer to provide hunting sport for his guests, who often included the Governor and the chief military officers. He certainly did not want the common people trespassing on his exclusive domain, so he closed off all roads through Petersham, and took out an advertisement a page long in the newspaper, warning all of the “ law against deer stealers, etc!’ This meant that Pickering’s Punt became inaccessible also, and people had to trudge up to twelve miles out of their way to cross the river. It was clear that a battle over right-of-way was developing, but, before this story is told, another of the Cooks River settlers must be introduced.

direction might prove a reasonable check on him, particularly as he is a man devoid of all principle and only valuable as being well acquainted with haunts about our neighbourhood — independent of this a man to assist him must be very desirable as it is well known that the District is much infested with Bushrangers. James C handler’s assessment of John Moss’s character was later proved right — he was arrested in December 1825 for “ illegally and unw arrantably impounding eleven head of cattle, with intent to extort money from the gentleman to whom they belonged” John Hayward, the ticket-of-leave man mentioned above, was appointed an honorary constable of the “ District of Cooke’s River” and Moss was dismissed. Chandler established a comfortable farm at his Bexley property. It was described in 1836 as: . . . buildings 60 feet long by 18 feet broad, consisting of a dwelling house having a parlour and bedrooms; also a store and out offices: a Garden, six acres and a half in extent, containing five hundred choice trees, most of them in bearing, pear, plum, almond, peach, nectarine, apricot, and pomegranate trees of the best kind, a Vinery; an excellent Stockyard with Milking Sheds, Pig Sties, a Gardener’s Cottage and a Dairy and a Well of good Water. The settlers south of Cooks River were to face new difficulties in the years ahead. As Watkin Tench found out very early in the years of British occupation, crossing Cooks River was always a problem, and the closer to the mouth of the river, the more of a problem it was. By 1824, there were four bridges or fords along the course of the stream. To the west, Moore’s Bridge formed the permanent crossing place on Liverpool Road (now South Strathfield), a crossing at the Punch Bowl (now Coronation Parade,


On July 1,1828, Joshua Thorp, the Assistant Engineer of the Colony, wrote to Governor Darling, asking that he may obtain “ a small plot of vacant ground adjoining Cooks River for a paddock — at a place of refreshment for my horse . . . Arthur Martin, a constable, has cleared 6 or 7 acres of it beyond his boundary, the expense of which I shall be willing to pay at a fair valuation . . . ” The plot Thorp had selected was the land promised to Patrick Moore, a narrow strip of fertile alluvial terrace, ending in a sheer sandstone cliff. In August 1828 Thorp bought the 20 acres on the east side of the property he had chosen which had been partially cleared by Arthur Martin, moved his horses and cattle to Cooks River, and sent his convict employees to clear and fence his new acquisition. In the meantime, the Governor, who could not comprehend why “ a person residing in Sydney wished to have a paddock at Cooks River for his horse” sent the Surveyor General to find out more about the request. They concluded that Thorp had bought access through Martin’s land, and that he would have to negotiate a price with Patrick Moore if he still wished to buy his additional 50 acres. £20/5/- secured the property. Joshua Thorp had arrived in Sydney in 1823, a young man of thirty from a Quaker family in Leeds, Yorkshire. He had a very strong belief that his future lay in the new country, and he carried with him a recommendation from the Secretary of State that he should receive a grant of land on his arrival. His qualifications were welcome, having been trained in Sheffield as an architect, civil engineer and surveyor, and he was immediately employed by the Government as Assistant Engineer, deputising for Major John Ovens in the Sydney office while Ovens went away on the exploring expeditions which occupied much of the senior officer’s time. Governor Brisbane granted him 1 000 acres in the Hunter Valley, a property which he called “ Beckley” ; he later bought 40 acres at “ Wullanora” (Woronora River). Thorp placed a farmer from Durham on his Hunter property, and wrote home proudly in 1825 of the progress of his estates. He looked on his high status in the Colony with wry amusement: I should like to go down to see [my property] again but my subjects in the Capital, I fear, would take occasion to be insubordinate, despising their inferior rulers. My eye is cast over them twice a day and notwithstanding its commanding glance, signs or symptoms of treason arise too plainly . . . a watchman at one of the works came whispering to me last week, “ They are very busy now you are here. They’ve always a pilot ahead looking out for you’! From these slight hints you may perceive that I am a man in authority occupying a post which requires constant vigilance. As a post it is not amiss. It affords excitement through the day, drawing plans and seeing their progress. Then there is the pleasure of hectoring over men, and of being saluted at every step in passing the streets. But I suspect that if I had it long, it would make an unfavourable alteration in my manner. Even now my step is, as it were, more circumspect and my voice frequently assumes a cold dry tone, and an absent mode of answer, as though thinking of something else . . . If we had you Leeds people here we should show you that we were not to be trifled with — soon let ’em know what o ’clock it was!! Joshua Thorp liked living in Australia: A fine climate is a life-long blessing. In cold weather people put up with existence and strive against death. The sun for me, for in a warm sun, when I walk I scarce seem to feel the earth, and in this country people do not become anatomists by experiencing disease. I never liked the English climate and I never s h a ll. . .

It is quite common for men of all ages to marry girls from 16 to 20. A reverend Doctor who is upwards of 70 married a girl of 16 and now she has a child. The females never seem to think disparity of age an objection. What a lucky thing for bachelors. If a girl reaches 3 and 20 she is in a sad plight. In 1827, he married Sarah Ann Garratt, a young lady of sixteen who had emigrated with her mother and two sisters, and Joshua and Sarah moved to the Cooks River land. One of the sisters, Catherine, married Cornelius Prout, Under-Sheriff of the Colony in 1829, and they also set up house south of Cooks River, two miles west, at “ Belle Ombre” in 1833 (present-day Campsie). Joshua Thorp called his 70 acre farm “ Juhan Munna” a name supplied by the aborigines. The words actually mean “ go away” which is no doubt what they said to Joshua when he first approached them. After all, he had just bought land within which their own cave dwellings were located. When Joshua Thorp bought his property, he understood that he had bought access to the land over the two existing roads through Petersham Estate. Reality was somewhat different. There were two lines of road (now today’s Livingstone and lllawarra Roads), but neither had been officially gazetted, and Wardell believed he was within his rights to close them off. By August 1828, the landholders of the Cooks River district had had enough. Market gardeners and sawyers were spending hours longer than necessary in the journey to market at Sydney, while James Chandler found that his estate was useless to him if he could not offer an easy road to market to potential lessees. Without access roads, nobody could use his land productively, so a memorial to Governor Darling was prepared: The Memorial of the undersigned Settlers and Grantees of Land in the Parish of St George, Cooks River, Humbly Sheweth That your memorialists have recently and for some time back experienced considerable obstruction in passing to and from Sydney to their several grants on account of the Government Road Communicating with them, not being clearly defined. The two thoroughfare roads are marked on the Old Charts of the Contiguous Parish of Petersham, one of which, may be ascertained at the place by marked trees, but has never been used on account of the difficulty of getting a cart over a portion of it — the other is not marked on the place but Carts have passed somewhere near it during the last Seven or Eight years — without frequent interruption, 'till latterly that several small Grants of Land adjoining this road with other larger Grants having come into the possession of Dr Wardell he contends that the Right of Road itself has merged along with them and that he will enforce this claim by an Action at Law against Trespassers thereon. That as your Memorialists (part of whom have been accustomed to supply the Sydney M arket with vegetables) are not able without great expence to enter into Litigation, but as their farms as well as the Crown Lands adjoining, will be of little value without a road — they humbly trust that your Excellency will be pleased to interfere in their behalf & cause a line of Road to be taken into possession of to set the question at rest. Grantees Acres George Tyrrill........................................................... 100 John X Parks........................................................... 50 Arthur X M artin....................................................... 100 Michael M cC abe.................................................... 50 Thomas Brimson.................................................... 40


Map of estates, Cooks River Crossings, and Mitchell’s Road to lllawarra, 1828-1840. (Map by Lesley Muir).

the Surveyor General’s staff most of all, and Peter Bemi, an emancipist draftsman working for Thomas Mitchell, was dismissed by the Governor for taking a weekend surveying job for £5 which involved his measuring a track made by persons unknown through Petersham, the enemy’s territory. Bemi’s sketch map had been produced in Court. Mitchell was outraged at his staff being blamed for an omission in the maps which had taken place under an earlier, and, to Mitchell, more inefficient, administration. Both Darling and Mitchell wrote home complaining letters about the incident, and the hostile attitude of each to the other hardened. While the Government Officers shifted the blame from one to the other, Robert Wardell, the cause of all the confusion, sat smugly in his Petersham Estate, waiting for his fee. Mitchell was determined not to be beaten, and, by 1831, he had a solution. His new line of road to lllawarra should go through Petersham Estate, using one of the closed roads, cross Cooks River at Pickering’s Punt, and proceed south following today’s line of Wardell Road across the forest past John Parkes’ land. It would be built in conjunction with the new lines of road to Parramatta and Liverpool. In a letter to the Colonial Secretary on August 30, 1831, Mitchell said: The idea of a still more direct line of road to lllawarra from Sydney, however, has occurred to me from a very able survey of the intervening country made by Assistant Surveyor Govett; this would cross the lowest ford on Cook’s River (where the settlers of that district wish to have a road) and George’s River by a ferry across a breadth of two hundred and fifty yards . . . The matter was referred to the new Governor, Governor Bourke, soon after his arrival in 1832, and another petition was sent in support. Chandler went to Wardell to find out his views, but went away disappointed. If the road were to

Grantees Acres Sim. L o rd .............................................................. 2800 Jas. Chandler....................................................... 1200 Thomas X M cCaffray........................................... 80 Richard X Broadbier............................................ 50 Purchasers


Jas. Chandler.......................................................... 100 John Connell......................................... upwards 1700 All these people were affected by Warden’s decision, as was Joshua Thorp. He moved his stock to his property soon after the petition was sent to the Governor, and requested permission to rent the adjoining 400 acres. After much Government discussion, it was decided in 1829 to allow Joshua Thorp to become the nominal defendant in a case against Wardell. The AttorneyGeneral’s opinion was that Wardell had bought the property knowing that a right of road existed, so he could not remove that right. He advised Thorp that he should “ proceed along the road, breaking down any fence which might intervene” He and his servants (with others) did this, and an action for trespass was brought against them in June 1829. Wardell had done his homework thoroughly, and when all the old maps in the Surveyor General’s Department were produced, it was found that no right of road existed on the earliest of them, so he won his case. Only one road crossing, ten miles from Sydney at the Punch Bowl, remained open to give access to the land between Cooks and Georges Rivers. To add insult to injury, Wardell had represented himself in court, and, although he was awarded only forty shillings damages, he claimed £69/0/8 court costs, which Thorp insisted that the Government pay. Darling was furious, and looked for a scapegoat. He blamed


be a high road, carrying a compensation payment from the Government, he would be happy to agree, but “ if the line .. . were merely a private road to accommodate the settlers between Cooks and Georges River, he would not for £5 000 that it should be effected’! Deputy Surveyor General Perry, sent to interview Wardell on the subject, got no further: “ This would . . . open a thoroughfare . . . for a class of persons through the improved part of his Estate whom he would rather keep at a distance’! One can imagine James Chandler’s and Joshua Thorp’s reaction to being included among the class of persons that Wardell despised. Governor Bourke reorganised the Works Department in 1832, and Joshua Thorp’s position was abolished. He left the Government’s service with a year’s salary as compensation, and set up in business in Elizabeth Street Sydney as an architect. He described his life at Cooks River in a letter home to his brother, John, later in 1832: Therefore, I am now a gentleman at large, and feel, as I dare say many a mighty official has felt when out of office, forlorn of his dignity. Heads bow and hats are touched when I ride through the streets, but I am not the man I was. There is not that virtue in my beck or nod as before, when to see was to obey!. . . yet I would rather live on my farm, or rather garden, with half the income I had than own a master. One thing that teases me, when I am walking about the garden in the beauty of a fine morning, and the birds offer to sing in full chorus — I think of you in England and wish that you could come and see u s . . . My next door neighbour here informed me that the magistrates of Liverpool proposed to ask the Governor to make him & me magistrates, and so hereafter I may say to you, “ Nay you shall see my orchard, where in an arbour we shall eat a last year’s pippin of my own grafting’!

We had no rain this last summer but frequent rains this autumn. . . We have not been able to keep the grass down in our vineyard, and we are now cutting for hay, as May is here, perhaps the most universally fine month in the year. We keep at this place 6 or 7 men including a tailor and shoemaker, both good hands in their line. By June 1833, the new road had still not been built, and by then James Chandler had given up the idea of an estate on Bexley, and had offered the whole of the land for lease. In the advertisement, he mentioned the road with more optimism than accuracy: . . . it is proper to premise that a promise has been given by Government to construct a new line of road from Sydney to the Parish of St George, in which this Estate lies; this will make the distance only 6 miles from the Capital, as it is at present, by crossing Cook’s River at either of the Punts; at Mr Thorp’s or Tyrrell’s Farm . . . The problem was, the punts could not be used because the access roads were both within Warden’s boundaries. Chandler recommended the Bexley Estate to “ market gardeners, sawyers, shingle and wood splitters, fencers, charcoal burners and others” because of its “ abundant supply of fine fresh water” and the “ valuable qualities of the timber trees which have been preserved on the estate.” On the same day as Chandler’s advertisement appeared in the Sydney Gazette, another announcement was made which eased the problem of the crossings considerably. Joshua Thorp’s brother-in-law, Cornelius Prout, finished “ a large and substantial punt, at his residence, Cook’s River, capable of conveying a loaded waggon and a team of bullocks across the river with perfect ease and safety” It would be of great advantage to the settlers in the district “ as they may save a distance of six miles . . . and avoid a long range of bush-road . . . indeed, the settlers in the district of Cooks River have long complained of the want of a proper road to the capital. . .” The site of Prout’s Punt is now the bridge at Canterbury. On September 10, 1834, “ Juhan Munna” was advertised in the Sydney Gazette: TO BE LET For One or Three Years COUNTRY RESIDENCE All that delightful Country Residence, Garden, Vineyard, and 70 acres of Land, situate on the South Branch of Cook’s River, half a mile from Tempe, the residence of A.B. Spark, Esq.; and within five miles of Sydney. The house contains a dining-room, bed-room, kitchen and cellar, each 18 feet by 14 feet; two other bed­ rooms, store, and dairy, with spacious stabling and men’s hut contiguous, all stone-built. The vineyard comprises an acre and a half of the choicest vines, mostly in bearing; and in the garden are two dozen full grown orange trees, the same of lemons bearing, with other fruit trees. To Civil Officers and Gentlemen fond of rural economy and convenience, this is an eligible opportunity; the Proprietor being about to remove. Enquire of Mr WOOLCOTT, Boot-maker, George Street. If Joshua Thorp had waited, his problem of access would have been solved. On September 8,1834, all Sydney was talking about a new sensation — Robert Wardell had been murdered while riding around his quiet estate on his grey horse. Three convict runaways had been disturbed in their hiding place among some rocks, and, in fear of being reported, had shot him. It was eight hours before the body was found, arm still upraised in alarm, but with a smile on his face.

Joshua Thorp. (Courtesy Auckland-Waikato Historical Journal).


The murderers had entered the Petersham Estate across the ford at Pickering’s Punt, which was so deep that they made a raft of some branches to float across their fowling-piece together with some provisions. When they escaped south after the murder, they had to swim across near Mr Thorp’s house, with their clothes on their heads. They were eventually captured a week later near the Punch Bowl. A correspondent to the Sydney Gazette about the murder (who sounded suspiciously like James Chandler) could not resist drawing a moral: I would suggest the necessity of placing gangs for the formation of a road (which has been much wanting for years past) to a very populous and thriving district, possessing a rich soil and capable of producing all kinds of grain, between which and Sydney considerable traffic is carried o n . . . It is not improbable that, had this road been made before the death of Dr Wardell, it would have been the means of preventing that unhappy catastrophe, as the line passing through the estate would have rendered it less liable to become the haunts or hiding places of bad and desperate characters’.’ There is now a road across the Petersham Estate which crosses Cooks River very near the old site of Pickering’s Punt. It is called, with true irony, Wardell Road.




r d e l l




Memorial stone to Robert Wardell, St James Church, Sydney. (Courtesy Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW).

Joshua Thorp’s home, ‘Juhan Munna", in 1859. (H.G. Lloyd. Undercliff, Cooke's River. Courtesy Dixson Library, State Library of NSW).


CHAPTER 3: The Sequestered Studio (1835-1850) Greek temple in the Vale of Tempe. It was described by R. G. Jameson in 1839: In front of the mansion, a lawn, tastefully and ornamentally laid out, sloped gently down to the edge of the river, across which the visitors were ferried in boats. The mansion itself, a large cottage ornee, with an exterior verandah and colonnades and snow-white walls, constituted the chief ornament of a very pleasing landscape, and presented a lively contrast with the variegated and umbrageous foliage of a garden, rich in specimens of the rarest plants, native and exotic, which had been scientifically grouped according to their botanical characters. . . The apartments were richly and elegantly furnished. There was a library and an aviary, and the walls were hung with Flemish and Italian paintings. A. B. Spark and his friends saw the land beyond Unwin’s property as the home of people who were less than gentry. Whenever a theft was discovered on Tempe, the constable was always sent over Wolli Creek to search the homes of the emancipists and their “ currency” children who had moved in during the 1830s. One of the grants within the Earlwood area had changed hands while the battle of the Cooks River crossings was taking place, but the new owner did not occupy his land until the problem was solved. This was George Tyrrell’s 60 acre grant, which was sold to Joseph Nobbs on November 24, 1830, for £160. Joseph Nobbs came from Evesham, County of Worcester, and was transported in 1802 for stealing one guinea, plus five promissory notes for five guineas each from the dwelling of Mary Hughes. He left a wife and two sons at home, and had two further Australian families. In 1830, at the time of his land purchase, he was 75 years old, the licensee of the “ Swan with Two Necks” Inn at the corner of George and Park Streets. His first son, John, came to Australia in 1829 to see if the colony would provide a better future for his family, and obviously liked what he saw. They had settled in Surry Hills by 1832 as market gardeners. The tenants, Gowen and Mary Pickering, remained on the Cooks River property for several years, but about 1835 they moved further south-west to “ Green Cottage Farm” at today’s Peakhurst, and Joseph Nobbs’ market gardener grandson, also called Joseph, moved to Cooks River. He shared the farm with Joseph Hilton, a basketmaker, and renamed the property “ Cooks Angle” or “ Angle Farm” The new name came from the shape of the land, as the farmhouse was located within a sharp loop in the river at the north of the farm. However, it became better known as “ Nobbs Flat” Joseph Nobbs junior married Elizabeth Pasfield on January 5,1841, and they had eight children. Their first house near the river was flooded out several times, so a new stone house was built above the flood line in 1853, and it still stands at 173 Riverview Road — the oldest house in the Municipality. During the 1830s, John Parkes, the nailmaker, also moved his family to his grant. Once a Cooks River crossing was established, the Parkes family could earn a good living as sawyers, cutting down the ironbarks and other eucalypts to supply Sydney with building timber and firewood. Since there were eleven surviving children in the family, and the elder children were already married, the population of the district increased substantially once they moved there. The grant became commonly known as Parkes’ Camp, although the family used the more picturesque names of “ Parks Folly” and “ Mount Clear” when giving information for the 1841 Census. A “ camp” denoted the headquarters

After Warden’s death, more people moved permanently to Cooks River district. In July 1834, Joshua Thorp tried to purchase the adjoining 320 acres of land, and the following year he increased his offer to 490 acres. The “ Cooks River allotments” as this land was known, were measured in 1834, including all the vacant sandstone country beside Cooks River and between the farms of Cornelius Prout and Joshua Thorp. The property was eventually bought in 1836 by an emancipist auctioneer, Abraham Polack, for five shillings an acre. In 1835, Joshua Thorp rented his farm to Captain Frederick Charles Ebhart, of the 45th Regiment of Foot, and moved his family further away from Sydney to his land at Wullanora. He added Champion’s 30 acre grant to his Cooks River property in 1836, but never again lived there. In 1839 he sailed with Cornelius Prout on a trip to the Bay of Islands, New Zealand, and returned full of enthusiasm over the country he saw. The whole family moved from Sydney to settle in the Coromandel Bay area in April 1840. Descendants of Joshua Thorp still live in New Zealand. Frederick Charles Ebhart lived with his young family for four years at “ Juhan Munna” Cooks River. He cultivated the land, growing crops and running cattle in the forest. In January 1838 he rented Polack’s 790 acre adjoining property for £150 per year, but was not destined to enjoy his rented estate. In 1839 he sailed to India, and died on the return journey. A plaque to his memory was placed in the wall of St Peter’s, Cooks River, and his wife moved back to Sydney. Abraham Polack, the purchaser of the Cooks River allotments, was a very interesting character. He arrived in 1820 as a convict with a seven-year sentence, but, by 1827, had commenced business as an auctioneer in Sydney, with acquaintances among the merchant fraternity. His trading activities were spectacularly successful in the boom years of the 1830s, and, by 1836, he owned nearly 1 000 acres of land in today’s Earlwood and Campsie. He built a country house on Bramshot (Poet’s Corner, Campsie), purchased the “ London Tavern” in George Street, Sydney, near Market Street, and owned a city house furnished with “ two superior pianofortes” and “ one of the richest cut-glass chandeliers in the country” In 1839 he returned home to England, so that his sons could be placed in a “ first-class seminary, preparatory to their receiving a college education” In under twenty years, he had amassed an estate worth £50 000, and had become known as “ the Rothschild of New South Wales” Abraham Polack and Joshua Thorp both found an eager buyer for their properties when they left for overseas. Frederick Wright Unwin, a solicitor and merchant, had bought all of Arthur Martin’s land in February 1835 for “ £331/18/-, plus an annuity of £1 per week and the use of the house in Cambridge Street, Sydney” By 1837 he had built a house which he called “ Wanstead” on the Cooks River land, with stables on ten acres on the other side of the river. The property was heavily mortgaged to other merchants in Sydney, but in 1840 he went further into debt when he bought Joshua Thorp’s 100 acre “ Quarry Minna” for £1 400, and 390 acres of Polack’s allotments as well. He mortgaged these for £4 000, and moved, with his wife, Ann Plaistowe, to “ Wanstead’! Frederick Wright Unwin’s nearest neighbour was Alexander Brodie Spark, a merchant, who lived on his 250 acre estate, “ Tempe” just across Wolli Creek. He had an even grander mansion than Wanstead, a Georgian house designed for him by John Verge, built on the model of a 11

of a group of sawyers. Their access road to and from Sydney led across Pickering’s Punt, and several houses were built on top of the hill for the children as they got married and established their own families. Mary Ann, the eldest daughter, never married, and died in 1844. Sarah married Edward Stores, a sawyer, and they continued to work with the family. Their son, also called Edward, married the sister of Joseph Nobbs junior in 1853, and they farmed in the area as well. John, the eldest Parkes boy, married Martha Irwin in 1835, and also remained on the grant. Ann, or Nancy, the third daughter, married Alexander McCoy, a sawyer from Kingsgrove, and they later moved to a farm on Robert Townson’s grant, now Narwee. Joseph married Mary Ann Fullam in 1840, and stayed to work with the family. Esther married John Robert Peake in 1833, who was the only member of the family who could read and write. They moved south-west, near Ann, and bought land in the welltimbered ridge country towards Salt Pan Creek. The district was eventually to be known as Peakhurst. James married Hannah Lees in 1837, daughter of William Lees, a settler from Moorfields, and they were later to leave Parkes Camp altogether for a farm in the Snowy River area at Timbery Ridge. The younger sons, William and Isaac, and their sister Elizabeth (Betsey) also married young. Isaac and Betsey Parkes married a brother and sister, George and Sarah Dent, the girls being only about sixteen years old when they were married. James Dent, their father, had worked a farm in the Parish of Petersham at the same time that John Parkes the elder lived there, so no doubt the families had grown up together. James Chandler finally found a buyer for his Bexley Estate in 1836. It was sold, with the house and garden on Sylvester’s grant, to Charles Tompson, a grazier from South Creek, for £991. He advertised the property for sale through the agency of Abraham Polack in 1837, but could not find a buyer. James Chandler died in Sydney in 1839, at the age of forty-two years, so he never saw his estate appreciated at its true value. Tompson placed tenants on “ Bexley” to look after the house. In the 1841 Census, William Craigie and Charles Parham were shown as the occupants. In 1838, a young clergyman from Liverpool, the Rev. Richard Taylor, set out to visit the farms between Cooks and Georges Rivers. He had a problem finding the road to Cooks River, but eventually wound his way past the “ sand rocks rising to a considerable height covered with that foreign looking plant the grass tree” and found Prout’s Punt. I passed two men busily employed stripping the bark of the stalks of the cotton tree which they use instead of oziers for baskets. The Cook River is narrow, a punt is kept by which I crossed paying a shilling the husband and wife putting me over — thence the path was composed of beautiful white quartz sand, when I came to a cleared spot with two cottages one occupied by a man called Perks the nailor, an old man upwards of seventy with eleven children none could either read or write. I spoke to him and left some tracts. I got one of his sons to show me the way; he accompanied me nearly four miles, I had several creeks to cross and [my] mare would not pass them without tying my pockethandkerchief over her eyes. Thence I got an Irishman to show me the way, I was much amused with him, he was stationed in this retired spot with another convict to clear the ground which was all on fire when I passed through i t . . . Thence I reached at V2 past seven the residence of Mr A. B. Sparke, a merchant of Sydney, who has an excellent residence here, beautiful grounds and gardens which much surprised me having passed thro so wild a

country in a ride of not less than 30 m iles. . . There are some of the largest blue gum trees which I have seen in the Colony in this part, I found there is a population of upwards of a hundred within 2 or 3 miles of Mr A. B. Sparke's house, and a similar number round the Redman farm. The Rev. Richard Taylor need not have worried about the spiritual welfare of the local people — the gentry of Cooks River District had the problem well in hand. In June 1836, Bishop Broughton had approached Spark and others about building a church at Cooks River. A committee of the gentry was formed to take up subscriptions for the land and building expenses, and Spark pledged himself to raise £250. Robert Campbell donated a block of land on the Cooks River Road (now Princes Highway), and the foundation stone of St Peter’s, Cooks River, was laid on July 9, 1838, with much ceremonial. There were three sittings at the banquet table that day — the “ distinguished guests” then the “ guests” and finally the workmen. The church was opened on November 20,1839, and two of the earliest marriages in the church were Joseph Parkes to Mary Ann Fullam on March 9, 1840, and Alexander Brpdie Spark to Frances Maria Radford on April 27, 1840. Although Surveyor-General Thomas Mitchell had planned his New Line of Road to lllawarra in 1830, and the chief obstacle to its being built, Robert Wardell, had died in 1834, still the Government delayed practical action on building the highway. Settlers south of the river continued to cross at the Punch Bowl, at Prout’s Punt, and at the fords at Nobbs Flat (formerly Pickering’s Punt). Further towards the mouth of the river, Unwin and Spark kept boatmen to ferry them across. 1838 was a year of drought in the Colony, and, by November, special church services were being held to pray for rain. On November 5, the Governor approached A. B. Spark with a scheme for damming Cooks River to provide a constant supply of fresh water for Sydney, and, four days later, an official party called at Tempe to survey the land. By January 7, 1839, matters were far enough advanced for Spark to record in his diary: Major Barney and Mr Unwin came to breakfast, after which we went on the river and sounded to ascertain how much below the house the proposed dam might be taken. This we ascertained and afterwards fixed on a spot for the stockade [for the convict labour]. 200 convicts were sent to the stockade in September, and a further 170 commenced work on the Tempe side of the dam in December. It extended three quarters of the way across the river by the beginning of April 1840, and, by August, Spark had a road from Tempe across the dam and into Sydney. The crossing for Mitchell’s Road to lllawarra had been provided by the sandstone dam, and, at the suggestion of the Cooks River Road Trustees, a re-survey of the route was carried out in July 1843 by Roderick Mitchell, Sir Thomas’ son. The new road by-passed the settlement at Parkes Camp, following, instead, the route of today’s Wollongong and Forest Roads to a punt at Lugarno. Under the guidance of the overseer of convicts, an inn, “ The Yorkshireman’s Coat of Arms” was built by the men on Sundays, their day off, and this attracted the custom of the woodcutters of the parish of St George. The Wollongong Road route, with its inn, became established as the main road to and from Sydney. While the convicts were in the district, Frederick Wright Unwin took the opportunity to write to Major Barney, asking that he might use their labour to form a road across the swamp in front of his house, leading to his new wooden bridge over Cooks River:


“ Wanstead”, the home of Frederick Wright Unwin, built 1836. (John Vine Hall. Residence, S. H. Marsh, Cooks River, Sydney, 1854. Courtesy Dixson Library, State Library of NSW).

commonly used as an access road into Sydney, once he had built his low-level wooden bridge over Cooks River. The official highway, Cooks River Road, was managed by a Road Trust, who had the right to charge tolls to pay for its maintenance. Throughout the 1840s, they battled toll evaders, who bypassed the toll houses by using side roads, rejoining Cooks River Road once the toll gates were passed. Side road turn-offs commonly used were Church Street, Newtown (evading toll at Forbes Street), Gardener’s Road (evading toll at St Peter’s) and Unwin’s Bridge (evading toll at Cooks River Dam). Despite many applications from the Trust, they were not allowed by the Government to place an additional toll gate at Unwin’s Bridge, so this road continued to be used by carts heavily laden with firewood and building timber. Since the toll for a two-wheeled cart with one horse was fourpence, and for a four-wheeled dray with two horses was eightpence, and this charge was trebled on a Sunday for people carrying on trade instead of going to church, there was a clear incentive for travellers to avoid paying if they could. Towards the end of the 1830s, the price of land skyrocketed, and the last Crown Land allotments in the Cooks River district were sold by the Government. On August 29, 1837, 68 acres at “ Cup and Saucer Creek . . . reserving the present road 50 links wide” was advertised at five shillings an acre. It was bought, together with 15 acres at Alexandria, by a surveyor, Lewis Gordon, for £24/10/-. The following year, Gordon sold the 68 acres, with 3 acres at Alexandria, for £300, and it was sold again, two years later, to William Woolcott for £595. This was inflation in 1841. William Woolcott was the brother-in-law of Cornelius Prout and friend of Joshua Thorp, who worked as a shoemaker and part-time estate agent in Sydney, and who continued to write to Thorp over the next twenty years. Gordon next bought the adjoining allotment of 114 acres

30 July 1840 Sir, On behalf of myself and other proprietors of land at Cooks River I beg to request the assistance of the Government of ten men in the construction of the new road leading to the Punch Bowl and Georges River districts — for two or three months — I hereby undertaking to pay the expences of their rations. I shall feel obliged by your communicating our request to Flis Excellency the Governor and as this Bridge will be useless till a road is made across my swamp, perhaps you will not object to recommend that we have the use of a few men from the gang at the dam immediately for that portion of the Road, the distance not exceeding four hundred yards — the rest of the road is passable, and for that we must wait a convenient opportunity. The “ new road leading to the Punch Bowl and Georges River districts” described by Unwin became commonly known as Unwin’s Bridge Road — the Undercliffe side has since been renamed Bayview Avenue. Major George Barney was not particularly helpful on this occasion; he referred Unwin’s letter to the SurveyorGeneral with the comment: I am not aware of any road upon the line in question having been traced by the Surveyor General. . . [it is not an approved line of road]. I do not recommend that Prisoners be removed from Cooks River Stockade for this duty. The Deputy Surveyor-General confirmed: The roads in the Parish of St George are mere tracks established by usage and have never been submitted for approval or even marked by this Department. Frederick Wright Unwin was compelled to pay for the maintenance of his road himself, even though it was


to settle their overdrafts. Duguid called his new purchase of 37 acres 10 perches “ Ballater” after the town in his native Scotland. In January 1843, Spark wrote in his diary, “ Drove out with Mr Duguid to his last purchase on Wolla Creek, part of which he has drained and brought into cultivation, and he advises me to do the same with my swamp” Between 1840 and 1842, the Sugar Company’s factory was built at Canterbury, and a small village of slab huts and brick houses grew around the stone building. A low-level dam was constructed on the river downstream from Cup and Saucer Creek, stepping stones along the top of the dam wall forming a new foot crossing for the people south of the river, so that they could obtain provisions from the new stores in Canterbury. Cornelius Prout’s punt was replaced by a substantial stone bridge with wood planking and guard chains along the sides, but he continued to charge a toll for allowing people to cross, so the locals were not really much better off. The Sugar Company commenced to refine sugar in September 1842. This process required a constant supply of firewood to keep the boilers going, and woodcutters in the district were assured of an income as a consequence. So was Cornelius Prout. The gentry of Cooks River District were not so well off. Many were forced into bankruptcy during the 1840s, as the value of property fell sharply. A. B. Spark was bankrupt by 1843, while Lesslie Duguid was dismissed as Managing Director of the Commercial Bank in 1847 for “ gross embezzlement” and compelled to sell most of his property. Joshua Thorp’s sister-in-law wrote with the news: I think you were fortunate in disposing of your place when you did. You would not now have £200 for it. Mr A. B. Spark’s place was exposed for sale and only £900 was bid for it. It is mortgaged to the bank for ten times that amount. Property in Sydney is not worth half it once was. During the last 20 months there have not been less than 3000 insolvents; in fact, on average, two thirds of the population of Sydney, and nearly all the large settlers. Frederick Wright Unwin continued to invest in the Sugar Company, while its Directors argued about management. In 1842, William Knox Child was dismissed from the post of Managing Director, after a barrage of unjust criticism was directed at him by his partner, Francis Kemble. Kemble took over the position which was left vacant, and also moved into Juhan Munna. He did not enjoy it for long — by 1844 he was dead, and the sugar company had a new, more efficient manager in Edward Knox. By 1847, Unwin was also bankrupt. He had mortgaged Capital Stock and Debentures in the Australasian Sugar Company to the value of £12 860, and his insolvency papers included a long list of people to whom he had lent money — only for them to be declared bankrupt. His Juhan Munna property, now renamed “ Undercliff” was advertised for lease: A Market Garden at Cook’s River, with two small cottages, situate at the foot of Unwin’s Bridge. Contains nine acres of very rich soil, planted with a great variety of vines and fruit trees. Rent £40 per annum. A Garden, Vineyard, &c., at Cook’s River, known as “ Undercliff ”. There are ten acres of land, a neat small cottage in good order, and a large one which will be put into repair for a permanent tenant. There are also 320 acres of forest land adjoining, which may be leased with the above, with right to cut wood, &c., &c. Rent £40 per annum. Lesslie Duguid’s Ballater was also for sale: In the Supreme Court, Sheriff’s Office. Knox, Managing Director v. Duguid. On Thursday, the 5th August next, at noon, at a Farm called “ Be/later’,’ near Cook's River Dam, in possession

at Cup and Saucer Creek, but in 1841 he had to pay the Government £456 for it. In July 1840, two investors arrived in Sydney, with a group of bounty immigrants, to begin a sugar refining venture somewhere in the vicinity. They were offered 60 acres of land from the Canterbury Estate by Robert Campbell, and, since he was happy to accept shares in the new company as payment for the property, the investors were delighted to take up the offer. Mrs A. B. Spark expressed some displeasure at having industry added to her neighbourhood, but she was overruled — in the boom days of 1840, new enterprise was paramount. Frederick Wright Unwin invested £2 200 in the new company, and offered part of Juhan Munna to one of the Managers, William Knox Child, as his residence. No lease documents exist for this transaction, so it was probably considered as a further investment in the Australian Sugar Company. The other half of Juhan Munna was sold to Joseph Newton, a merchant, for £1 300, and, to raise more money, Unwin subdivided his remaining 160 acres of Wanstead and Juhan Munna into the “ Village of Wanstead” described in September, 1841, as: On the banks of Cook’s River, in the immediate vicinity of the Dam and the splendid Estate of Tempe, the property and residence of A. B. Spark, comprising 67 allotments of land. The Village of Wanstead is beautifully situated on the C ook’s River above the Dam, consequently its inhabitants must be at all times abundantly supplied with fresh water — a consideration of the first importance — and the want of which has been a serious cause of complaint in many settled parts of the Colony. The distance from Sydney is very trifling, affording a pleasant drive or walk along an excellent road, enlivened by a delightful change of scene; in fact the view from the

Subdivision map of Wanstead, 1841. (Redrawn by Lesley Muir).

New Town Road cannot be surpassed for extreme beauty; while on the banks of the Cook may be enjoyed all the sweets and retirement of a country life. The allotments were described in detail, and included: No. 61. Contains 5 acres, forming a garden now in the occupation of F. W. Unwin Esq. cropped and stocked with fruit trees and grape vines. One of the best sites for the erection of a “ Villa” in the country. There is a stone cottage for a gardener on this allotment. No. 64. A paddock of fourteen acres, having an extensive frontage to Cook’s River, and capable of being irrigated at a trifling expense. This property is worthy the attention of Market Gardeners, and growers of green fodder, &c., &c. Several investors bought parts of this property from Unwin, but only one, A. B. Spark’s friend, Lesslie Duguid, was able to settle his bill. At the end of 1840 a crash had occurred in Sydney’s financial circles, and almost every land speculator was in trouble when the banks asked them


of defendant, the Sheriff will cause to be sold, a quantity of household furniture, five pigs, two cows, ahorse, some iron hurdles, plate, plated-ware, and sundry other articles, unless this execution is previously satisfied. Both properties ended up in the hands of trustees. Other land in the vicinity had been subdivided by desperate owners, attempting to recoup some of their losses. Kingsgrove was subdivided by the Lord brothers after the death of their father; Charles Tompson planned to subdivide Bexley, using the new road to Wollongong and the value of the building timber on the land as a drawcard. Across Wolli Creek, the Village of Arncliffe was laid out along Wollongong Road, beside the inn which was renamed the “ Bold Forester” in 1847. None of the owners made much money. The people who flourished in the depression of the 1840s were those who had not had the money or status to speculate in land on borrowed capital, and so could afford to buy up small allotments in the bankruptcy clearing sales. These were the children of convict settlers, who had been so despised by the gentry a few years before. The “ Australians” as they liked to be called, loved sport and the theatre, and congregated in the public houses which became the centres of entertainment. The “ Cabbage-tree Hat Mob” from Cooks River were the best-known group of Australian youth in Sydney. They were the terror of upright citizens, congregating in the doorways of the Sydney theatres especially to knock black top-hats over the eyes of their respectable wearers. The daughter of one of the men later wrote: (It has been said that) the cabbage-tree hat m ob . . . were rough men. Well, Sir, I am an old Sydney native, and I know something about them. The “ mob” consisted of a school of young men, a great many of them married. They frequented the pit of the theatres, and very seldom sat down, always standing in a corner by themselves. One practice of theirs was this, if anyone wanted a seat, they would hoist him, and pass him overhead from seat to seat till he found a resting place. Of course, they all wore the much admired cabbage-tree hats . . . Bill Sparks, the pugilist, took tickets at the pit entrance of the theatre, and I suppose that accounts for the freedom they had. “ Bill Sparkes” or “ Honi Heki” were the names under which William Parkes of Parkes Camp fought his bare­ knuckle boxing bouts. The family seem to have used all the surnames “ Sparkes” “ Parkes” “ Perks” and “ Parks” at different times; variations which can be traced back to the fact that none of them could read or write. Three of the younger Parkes brothers, William, Isaac and Thomas, were all pugilists, but William became the most famous. He began his sporting career as a runner about the age of twenty, and also earned his living as the doorman of the pit of the Victoria Theatre. Between 1839 and 1842 he had a de facto relationship with Betsey Pithers, a local girl, and they had two children, William and Jane. In 1845 he married Frances Rosa Blanchfield, whose family were connected with the Victoria Theatre. They lived in Sydney, but Bill continued to train in his “ sequestered studio” at Parkes Camp, along with his brothers and their friends. Isaac Parkes’ wife, Sarah Dent, was kept busy making the hats which distinguished the Cabbage-tree Hat Mob, as her daughter remembered: Mother used to make all our school hats from the leaves of the cabbage-tree palms which grew wild in the Bardwell Creek gully. These cabbage-tree hats, as they were called, were very popular in those days and worn by nearly everybody. At times my mother used to make extra ones for the gay young “ bloods” of the district. The


I* A 1)1) Y S IN C L A IR , T11K KNK 1K I.I) G E N K R A L, A N D W 11. L IA M S P A R K E S , A t.IA S JO IIN N V I IE K I.

Bill Sparkes (right) and Paddy Sinclair in characteristic pose. (Bell’s Life in Sydney, July 8, 1848).

best hats brought three or four guineas each. The menfolk used to wear white moleskin trousers, with scotch twill shirts and white socks. Mother had to scrub the trousers on a board with a brush — and, of course with home-made soap. When hung on the line to dry the trousers came out white as snow. The bare-knuckle boxing bouts were illegal, so were fought in the depths of the bush. The word would go round the “ fancy” or followers of the sport, and men would gradually disappear off along tracks through the forests of St George, or Lane Cove, to congregate at some secluded spot where a rough ring was roped off in a clearing. As many as 600 people could be in the audience for one of these fights, and constant watch had to be kept out for a raid by the police, or “ bluebottles” Stakes were high, £50 to £100 a side, and the number of rounds to be fought was only limited by the endurance of the opponents. After one fight of sixty-seven rounds, Sparkes’ opponent was said to have been “ in so battered a state that it will be months before he is able to resume his trade as a carpenter” A fight which ended after only a few rounds was not taken well by the audience, and, for instance, at one such bout, Isaac Parkes, “ The Cooks River Bloomer” was persuaded to go “ ninety-four well-contested rounds” with another of the audience in order to avoid a riot. In this society, some women matched their men: To Man, Woman, Dog or Cock I hereby challenge to fight any man in the country of 44 years of age, and 12 St., and my wife shall fight any woman in the country bar none; and my dog shall fight any dog in the country 48 lbs; and my cock shall fight any cock in the country of any weight; each battle shall be for £5 a-side. Joseph Hilton. Joseph Hilton — “ Joe the Basketmaker” lived with his wife, Elizabeth, on Nobbs Flat, and kept boats for hire at the Cooks River Dam. Mrs Hilton was known as “ The


Fighting Hen of Cooks River” and her appearances in court were always reported with great delight in the sporting paper, Bell’s Life in Sydney. It was no wonder that the curate of St Peter’s, Rev. James Hassall, later wrote: I must say, I never have had since a worse class of people to deal with than some of the old fishermen at Botany, and the charcoal-burners between Cooks and Georges Rivers (although I was a gaol chaplain for fifteen years). The district was as wild and godless a place as I have ever known, although so near Sydney. In 1847, Bill Sparkes was sent to London to fight the English champion, Nat Langham, who was sponsored by the “ Rising Sun” tavern. He fought bravely, and returned

a hero, having fought on gamely for five more rounds after breaking his arm in the sixty-second round. His brotherin-law, George Dent, built an inn in Canterbury called the “ Rising Sun” in 1848, and the licence was taken over by the youngest of the Parkes Brothers, Thomas, “ The Sprig of Myrtle” when he gave up his successful boxing career in 1850. It was this generation who founded the first schools and churches south of the river, and who, although barely literate themselves, brought a permanent settled society to Parkes Camp.

Boxers training under the supervision of one of the Parkes family, Cooks River. (Courtesy Bob Parkes).


CHAPTER 4: Parkes Camp becomes Parkestown (1851-1882) the Bexley Estate, for the bargain price of £200, bought from his uncle by paying off the mortgage. Between 1847 and 1853, he acquired Undercliff, 590 acres of Polack’s allotments, and parts of Kingsgrove, by paying off other unpaid mortgages of the bankrupt speculators. By this time, he owned most of the land between today’s Undercliffe Bridge and Kingsgrove Road. Undercliff was a wreck when he bought it. William Woolcott had visited there in 1846 to gather some “ Indojo seeds” (acacia) for Joshua Thorp and reported: Paid a visit to your old residence at Cooks River in hopes to get the seeds, but the tree was just about flowering and at the proper time, the party in charge will save them f o r m e . . . You would be much vexed to visit your old residence at Cooks River. The house is uninhabitable and the garden and vineyard a perfect wilderness. Tompson and his wife, Jane Ann Armytage (step­ daughter of Charles Tompson), restored Undercliff as their country house, living in Bexley until the work was complete. In October, 1854, he applied to the Legislative Council for permission to build a bridge over Cooks River at the site of Thorp’s Punt. A road of half a chain to one chain wide was cleared through Petersham (lllawarra Road), and a bush road was being formed on the south side (now Homer Street). The Undercliff Estate was advertised for sale in July 1855, mentioning the bridge and road as an attractive feature: The house is very large and roomy, is built of stone, and contains nine rooms and passages, with a very large verandah and extensive cellarage. It is replete with every convenience, including a large Russell stove. The garden is nicely laid out, and contains better than an acre of land; it is well stocked with fruit and other trees. The lawn is well grassed, its size extends an acre. The ground is bounded on all sides but one by Cook’s River, and an excellent road just on the point of completion, leading from Sydney to lllawarra, over the new bridge, erected by a recent Act of Council. The house is situate near the bridge, and an omnibus will pass the house several times daily directly the road is opened. Unfortunately for P. A. Tompson, the Government had taken over the bridge at Canterbury from Cornelius Prout in November 1854, and was planning to open a new road through the district crossing Cooks River at that point. His

By 1851, the population south of Cooks River numbered almost 1 000, mostly living towards the north of the Parish of St George. The woodcutters and charcoal burners were to be found on the Kingsgrove and Bexley estates, and, to cater for their needs, Evan Evans opened an inn, “ The Man of Kent” some distance on the southern side of Wolli Creek. (Corner of today’s Morris Avenue and Kingsgrove Road). Here he advertised that he would take bags of charcoal as payment for goods purchased from the inn and his adjoining store, the “ Ne Plus Ultra Store” A schoolmaster was brought out from Sydney, and “ the residents built a house of heavy slabs, with a bark roof for him . . . and the children came a long distance to attend the school” Closer to Cooks River, market gardeners moved into the river terraces along Wolli Creek and on Nobbs Flat. Joseph Nobbs junior rented 20 acres of his property in 1849 to tenant farmers, on condition that they planted “ one hundred thriving fruit trees of proper growth” and kept the garden grounds adjoining the house “ well cropped and manured, and manage the same according to approved methods of gardening in the Colony” This was the section of the farm near the old Pickering’s Punt, which still had a slab hut standing on it. Joseph Nobbs and his wife and family moved into their new house, standing now at 173 Riverview Road, and in 1853 held the license of the Pulteney Hotel, on the site of the present Tempe Hotel. Frederick Wright Unwin died on October 1,1852, aged 54. His wife moved away from Wanstead, and the trustees of the estate sold the property for £1 000 to Stephen Hale Alonzo Marsh, an importer of music. In 1856 the property was sold again, this time to Edward Campbell, a merchant, whose family were to stay on Wanstead until after the turn of the century. He consolidated the land subdivided by Unwin in 1841 back into one holding, with Ballater on the southern boundary and Undercliff on the northern. Between 1850 and 1855, the problem of crossing Cooks River was again raised by the gardeners and woodcutters, looking for a way to get their carts to market. There were bridges at Canterbury and Wanstead, and the dam at Tempe, but each had a problem associated with its use. Unwin’s Bridge at Wanstead had bad roads on either side, which became quagmires in wet weather. It was said of the roads in this district that On one occasion a dray, with its load, was so deeply imbedded that it had to be left with a tarpaulin over the loading for three weeks, until the ground became dry enough to allow it to be dug out. The few residents on the side of the road were in the habit of laying down slabs when it was necessary for them to cross to the other side; and these slabs, if not taken up again, almost immediately sank out of sight in the mud, and were lost. At Cooks River Dam a toll was payable, which was very expensive for the woodcarters at up to eightpence a trip, but at least the money went towards the upkeep of the road. At Canterbury, Cornelius Prout continued to charge his bridge toll of threepence per crossing, and all that money went into his own pocket. Many attemps were made by the local people to ask the Government to take over the bridge, and make a road from Canterbury to Salt Pan Creek, but it took five years of petitions and letters before the battle was won. In the meantime, Piddocke Arthur Tompson, nephew of Charles Tompson of South Creek, became one of the largest landholders in the district. His first purchase was

House on the site of the Mitre Tavern. 17

bridge, though valuable, was not worth as much to the district as he had hoped. In September, 1855, he wrote to the Government, offering to hand over the new road and bridge for the amount of money they cost him in forming. The Surveyor-General recommended against this, on the ground that the new road would not shorten the distance to lllawarra, and its support would act against the interests of the Cooks River Road. Nevertheless, the new Road was promoted as “ New lllawarra Road” and a branch was cleared which led over Wolli Creek and through the Bexley Estate to meet Gannon’s Forest Road. An inn was opened at the highest point on the road, just before the steep descent to Wolli Creek. The “ Mitre Tavern” was never a financial success. It carried only £1/1/- worth of grog in its first year, had a long succession of innkeepers, and sent two people, Joseph Bishop and John Burton, broke. The “ Mitre Tavern” opened at the wrong time: many of the workers left the district altogether to seek their fortunes at the goldfields, and the only industrial employer, the Australasian Sugar Company, closed down the Canterbury factory in 1854 and consolidated their works on a site in Parramatta Road (Broadway). There is now a house on the site of the Mitre Tavern; a small white Victorian cottage built close to the road in Homer Street, just near Singleton Place. In 1856, William Woolcott, brother-in-law of Cornelius Prout, took up residence in “ The Hermitage” Northcote Street, west of Bexley Road, to look after his 68 acre property. He later wrote to Joshua Thorp: Landed property of all kinds is a drug on the market . . . You may have some idea of country property from the circumstance of my being obliged to take the “ Cup & Saucer” into my own possession after trying tenants for some time till they had nearly destroyed the place altogether. I am obliged to resume it and place my

youngest son on it for protection. I have been planting some orange trees and intend to make a small orange orchard as I consider a few years will produce a good return. If you have any orange trees to give away, I am your man. William Woolcott was able to send a small box of oranges to New Zealand two years later, the produce of his orchard. Landed property, however, remained depressed in value. In 1859, he reported: “ Yesterday I attended a sale of the Bexley Property 1 000 acres adjoining our place at Cooks River and the highest price per acre was £5” P. A. Tompson had been forced by his creditors to sell off most of his property, beginning with Bexley. C. J. Tindell, a speculator, bought the 1 200 acre section, but promptly went bankrupt. At the clearing sale, the land was bought by several small investors, including Isaac-and William Parkes, but most was bought by John Garsed, a merchant, who also bought Bexley House, the home paddock of 8 acres, plus 28 acres 20 perches bounded by Wolli Creek. This piece was later subdivided as “ Coventry” but not sold. William Sims Bell purchased the house and home paddock from Garsed for £545, and set up house there. Between 1859 and 1864, P. A. Tompson lost most of his extensive land interests in the area. Kingsgrove Farm was sold to the lessees, chiefly market gardeners, as small farms. A branch road was cleared off New lllawarra Road which led through these small Kingsgrove Farms, right to the western edge. The garden in the north-western corner of the property was owned by Henry Homer, and eventually the road became known as the road to Homer’s farm, now Homer Street. The rest of Tompson’s land went the same way. Parts of lots 7 and 8, originally Polack’s grants, were mortgaged

The district in 1850-1860. (Map by Lesley Muir).


property. He was permitted by the agreement to take one load of wood per day, plus the produce of the orchard, he was also lent £10 to purchase a horse. In 1862, just before his death, William Woolcott sold the land for £200 less than he paid for it. It was divided into two farms — the southern part to Joseph de St Croix and the northern, with orchard, to Phillip Legge. In 1864, Samuel Lucas, innkeeper and engineer from Liverpool Road, leased two sections of land at the mouth of Cup and Saucer Creek, bounded by Redman’s Estate, Phillip Legge’s orchard, the “ rocks forming the falls into Cooks River” and an intended street leading to the falls. On this property he opened a fairly primitive woolwash, using the strong flow of water over the rocky falls to remove the grease from the wool in the final cleansing operation. He built a washhouse for soaking the greasy wool, and a woolshed with press on his leased land, and began to employ some of the local men in the work. In March 1866, Frederick Clissold and George Hill the younger (nephew of Richard Hill), fellmongers, bought 15 acres of Richmond Grove next door to Lucas’ property for £425. Clissold had been in the fellmongering trade all his life, being trained by his father in the family business. In September 1866, Lucas, perhaps overwhelmed by the expertise of his new rivals, gave up his mortgaged property and went back to Ashfield. Clissold and Hill began setting up a more elaborate woolwash opposite the sugarworks, opening for business in the first half of 1868. They soon added to their landholdings, and, by the end of 1868, they owned the whole Cooks River frontage of Richmond Grove. Until a district became a Municipality, there were no restrictions on land use, or on the waste materials which were poured into the creeks and rivers, despite the risk of polluting the water supply. At this time, Canterbury was as yet unincorporated, but, on the other side of the river, Marrickville had been declared a Municipality in 1861, and the aldermen were very sensitive about the state of Cooks River. Reports reached them about the woolwash, and in July, 1868, a committee sailed up the river to take a look at the suspected “ nuisance” The Sydney Morning Herald later reported: They found from the first, strong evidence of the pollution complained of. A greasy scum was gathered about the floodgates and the stone-work, in their vicinity. Smaller accumulations of a similar scum were observed at various points along the banks of the river, and minute particles, of a woolly character, were floating in the water throughout the distance.. .As one result of this pollution the river no longer, as heretofore, abounds with fish; in particular, the prawns for which it was most celebrated are now not to be found in it. Two months later, the Herald sent a reporter and his friends down Cooks River to take a look for themselves. A boat was hired from Joseph Hilton at Cooks River Dam, and the party rowed upstream. The aspect of the river from the dam at Tempe, is anything but attractive. A little further up, however, is Unwin's Bridge, where the stream begins to be confined more closely within its banks, and the banks themselves begin to grow more picturesque. Woolli Creek enters the river between the dam and Unwin’s Bridge, but as the place where it so enters is a large reedy flat, the magnitude of the creek itself is not seen. It is, however, although not navigable by boats, a stream of considerable size, and after heavy rains, pours an immense body of fresh water into the main river. Near Unwin’s Bridge, on the left bank of the river (going upwards) is the residence of Mr Edward Campbell; a very pretty object in the landscape, with well wooded cliff in the back grounds, and some beautiful gardens, groves, and paddocks round or near it. On the right bank, a little

to the Australian Trust Company. 10 acres on New lllawarra Road he sold to John Burton, labourer (next door to the Mitre Tavern), and a further small parcel east of Parkes’ grant was purchased by Henry Warr, blacksmith (now, in part, the site of the Earlwood Hotel). The remainder of Polack’s property and the Undercliff Estate was bought by Richard Hill, settling a debt to W. C. Wentworth on behalf of Tompson and William Elyard. Mrs Tompson continued to occupy Undercliff, as Hill’s tenant, after her husband’s death in 1863. In the meantime, Polack’s lot 2 had been sold to a succession of merchant-speculators of Sydney. In 1855, it fell into the hands of William Redman, a solicitor whose father had extensive estates in today’s Campsie and Belmore. He subdivided the land in 1856 as “ Richmond Grove” tiny allotments of 20 ft x 97 ft fronting half-chain roads. The streets were named after the families of the adjoining landowners — Woolcott and William Streets; Jane, Ann, T[h]ompson, George and Charles Streets; Spark and Louisa Streets; and, through the centre of the estate, River Street ran down to the old sugarworks dam on Cooks River. The allotments sold for between £2 and £4 each to labourers living in the poorer areas of the city. When Redman travelled through the Braidwood and Lachlan goldfields, defending claim and license disputes, he took his estate agent’s portfolio with him, and it is possible to trace his wanderings by the addresses of Richmond Grove purchasers. Some of the streets in this estate have now been renamed: William and George Streets are now Stone and Richmond Streets; Charles and James Streets have become Bedford and Grove Streets; and Jane Street is now Burlington Avenue. In the same year, 1856, another subdivision, this time into small farms, took place. Allan Williams, a grazier, bought Lewis Gordon’s 114 acre grant for £400. He called his new estate “ Glenore” and built a house for himself on the south-western section. The northern part around Cup and Saucer Creek was measured into thirteen small farms of from 2 to 10 acres each. This area was known locally as “ Sheedy’s Waterhole” after a farmer living in the vicinity in 1841. Williams surveyed a road between the new farms, named Glenore Street, and here settled two market gardeners, John Swanton and William Merkel, and a basketmaker, William Furman. James Quigg, a pre-gold rush immigrant living on Canterbury Road, bought one of the sections for his son John, whom he started off in the butchering trade. By 1880, “ Shady Waterholes” (the later version of the name) housed the slaughterhouses of three local butchers, and the picturesque name became steadily less appropriate. On March 24,1859, Margaret Parkes died, leaving the 50 acre Parkes’ Camp property to be divided between her ten surviving children. Each child received a small farm of almost 5 acres, and the grant was criss-crossed by narrow lanes, dividing up the property. John, Joseph and Thomas Parkes, and Edward Stores, stayed on the land, continuing as the sawyers of Parkes Camp, while the others retained their small farms although living elsewhere. After 1860, the area around the lower reaches of Wolli Creek and Cooks River became home to a considerable number of noxious industries. These had been outlawed from Sydney by various governments and municipal regulations, and owners were forced to seek other locations. At first, Shea’s Creek was a popular location, but, by 1868, sewage dumping and the by-products of the woolwashes, gut-scrapers and boiling-down works had made the stream a disgusting smelly swamp, and woolwash owners looked further afield. William Woolcott let his Cooks River orchard in 1859 to a tenant rent free, in exchange for looking after the


9 >W> IY

Cooks River at Undercliffe about 1860. (Samuel Elyard. Cooks River, near Sydney. Courtesy Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW).

further on, is the commencement of Mr Holt’s splendid property, “ The Warren’! The mansion itself, of noble extent, and standing on the summit of a hill, is the most prominent feature in the view. For some distance the river passes the properties of these two gentlemen, but the general features of these properties, near the borders of the stream, are very different. On Mr Holt’s side the banks are for the most part rocky, while on Mr Campbell’s side they are alluvial. The scenery of The Warren is bold and fine. Nature has done much, but she has been materially “ assisted" by art. The sight of a rabbit or two scampering off now and then towards their burrows gives life to the scene. On Mr Campbell’s side there is an extensive and evidently rich flat, and the aspect of the country is of a more sylvan character. Mr Holt has erected a very picturesque little building for a “ Turkish bath’,’ near the river, and opposite to this building stands a small bathing house, belonging to Mr Campbell. Undercliff Bridge (or Tompson’s Bridge, as it is more generally called because of its having been erected by the late P. A. Tompson) lies immediately beyond “ The Warren’! Undercliff House — a large and neat-looking cottage with several out-buildings — stands on the left bank of the river near the bridge. The bold and steep cliffs which lie to the rear of this place render it well worthy of its name. A t this point the left bank of the river is high, and on the right bank is an extensive flat, which is flooded whenever the river rises but a foot or two above its ordinary level. A little further on there is a great bend in the stream, leaving on the right bank a large horseshoe­ shaped flat, richly grassed, and furnished here and there with a fair proportion of timber and shrubbery, which is a very favourite resort of picnic parties, happy families, and cooing lovers on Sundays and holidays. . . . From Undercliff to Canterbury, a distance, by

water, of, I should say, nearly four miles, the scenery is very good, the banks of varying height, but in no place lofty — being, for the most part, well w ooded. . . The great stone building formerly used as a sugar manufactory and refinery, with its towering chimney, has an imposing look. But its broken windows and the forsaken kind of aspect which hangs about it, render it withal a somewhat melancholy feature in the scene. . . The wool-washing establishment of Messrs Hill and Clissold stands on the bank of the river opposite the deserted sugar factory. A dam has been constructed across the river for the purposes of the sugar works, and this has proved equally useful for the wool-washing operations. The fresh water is raised from one side of the dam by a powerful steam pump, and, after having been used to cleanse the wool, is discharged on the other side. It will be remembered that Messrs Hill and Clissold‘ ‘got into a row ” some short time since with the Marrickville Council on account of their (Messrs H. and C.) having polluted the river, and killed the prawns, &c., by discharging refuse water in a foul state. Like sensible men they are, they set themselves earnestly to work to remedy the evil complained of, and all the water used on their establishment (an enormous quantity as will presently be seen) is now carefully strained and filtered ere it is returned to the river. The ‘ ‘boom ’ ’ of their steam pump may be heard from a considerable distance. We, of course took a look at the establishment, and, although neither of the proprietors were there, we were shown through it by the overseer. The pump was then drawing up between six and seven tuns of water per minute although at less than half speed. At full speed we were told, it will raise fifteen tuns per minute. Worked constantly, and at its full power, it would therefore raise more than four and a half million gallons in the twenty-


in a series of hollow drums at the end of the process. It was claimed that the proprietors had obtained from fifteen to sixteen pennyweights of gold from the crushed stone which had yielded only one pennyweight at the Tambaroora mill. The enterprise opened with high hopes and great predictions for the future, but by August, 1876, the patent right and lease of the premises were offered for sale. The woolwash machinery, 21 acres of “ good quarrying land” and the gold extractor were all included in the deal, but no sale was made. In December of that year, George Hill bought himself out of the partnership with Clissold for £800, and William Lennox Lawson, gold smelter, moved into the Village of Canterbury to take over the license of the Rising Sun Inn. Another industry had collapsed. Along Cup and Saucer Creek, the farmers and livestock dealers had moved in after Lucas moved out. In 1874, William Mayne sited his farm and carrying business very near (or possibly in) Lucas’ old buildings, and set himself up in the trade of boiling down horses and cattle which had died of disease or old age. Two years later, William Merkel sold his market garden above the creek to Charles Leistokow and John McMinn, provedores, for £150. They added still more extras to the Marrickville and Canterbury water supply when they opened their bacon-curing factory on the site, complete with “ new smokehouse, brick built, fitted with all the necessary appliances; sheds for hanging carcases, salt and drying benches, 3 iron coppers, various sties, and large fowlhouse” Between the two, on the southern half of Woolcott’s former orchard, the local butcher, Thomas Austen Davis, had his stockyard. His slaughterhouse was behind the shop in the main street Canterbury, but both John Quigg and John Nightingale used the water of the creek to wash out their killing pens at that time. It seemed that Marrickville Council had fought a losing

four hours. As we saw it, it was lifting about a million gallons during the hours of labour. I have heard it said in reference to the availability of Cook’s River for the supply of fresh water to the southern suburbs, that it could be “ pumped dry” at Canterbury by Hill and Clissold's engine. Well, perhaps it could. Many a promising stream could be pumped off in dry weather by such an engine as this. But a good deal of water would have to be discharged during the process, whatever might be the state of the weather. Our boat had to be lifted or “ ported” over the dam at Canterbury, but this was accomplished without much difficulty. Near the wool-washing establishment the water has a rather muddy look . . . As we got higher up we found it more clear. With the adverse publicity happily over, Clissold and Hill expanded their interests, particularly in the Ashfield area. John Burton, who had lost his money running the Mitre Tavern, found employment in the woolwash, but it was short lived, as in 1872, an attempt was made to sell the property, and it finally closed down in 1874. Wool prices were down, and the industry was not as profitable to the owners as land speculation. At the beginning of 1875, a new industry opened up in Clissold’s woolwash buildings. Lawson and Jaffray brought in the latest machinery and advertised through an obliging article in the Sydney Morning Herald the services of a goldextracting machine at Canterbury. A demonstration load of quartz was imported for the occasion of the report from the “ Peep of Day” Claim at Tambaroora, made up of discarded tailings already crushed on the gold field. Lawson was the man with the idea, Thomas Jaffray was the engineer, and together they designed a new machine which would crush and sift quartz using a Chilean Mill and a range of fine screens, washing and collecting the gold

P. A. Tompson’s bridge at “ Undercliff" on Cooks River, built 1854. (Samuel Elyard. Thomson's Bridge [sic], Cook's River, 1863. Courtesy Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW).


of the quarry by the men of the Cooks River Valley, that River Street became a two-level street, cut in half by the quarry face. The part below the quarry is now known as Karool Avenue. The tiny house at 3 Ann Street once belonged to the caretaker of the quarry, and the separate wooden kitchen at the rear was once used to store the dynamite.

battle to preserve the purity of Cooks River. The continued use of the Lachlan-Botany system for Sydney’s water supply diverted new industries of the 1870s elsewhere, and several slaughterhouses, woolwashes and boiling-down establishments were located on the estates of Wolli Creek, where the waste added itself to the sludge from Cooks River and Cup and Saucer Creek, slowly backing up behind the dam at Tempe. Even land as far up the creek as the Mitre Tavern paddock was advertised as a “ potential site for a woolwash’! In rainy seasons, Cooks River would back up behind the Tempe Dam and overflow its banks, submerging part of Marrickville, and leaving a deposit of its enriched mud at the doorstep of Thomas Holt and the worthy aldermen. The land of the market gardeners probably benefited, but workers with homes along the Sydenham Road lived with an increased risk of typhoid and cholera. Despite the pollution of Cooks River, the district was still considered picturesque. The Rev. Stanley Howard, curate of St Peters, described a morning ride over Undercliffe Bridge and up Homer Street in his letters home to England: After passing the lodge of “ The Warren” (as it is styled), the road quite lost its highway appearance, and became a genuine country road; with a rough stone wall on one side (a rare thing in these country roads, reminding me of Devonshire and Cornwall, or Somerset), and on the other side the fence of a small farm. Down we came until we came to the river, which was approached by a road passing through a rather pretty low scrub. Then over the rustic wooden bridge; and up the other side, under the shade of overhanging acacia trees, with grey rocks jutting out from the steep hill in front; two or three pretty little houses giving a little appearance of life to the scene, nestling prettily under the trees. Then the road wound up, in a very English looking fashion; only those flat casters plants don’t look like England, nor that maiden hair by the road side. At the top of the hill a very lovely view appeared far away beyond. The hill sloped steeply down to Arncliffe, which looked very pretty; and then the land stretched away in a half wooded plain, until in the distance you had a perfect view of Botany Bay which was as blue as it could be; and the heads stood out so clear against the great blue Pacific. . . The view, as I came back, was also very delightful, with the river winding in and out among the hilly country covered with a thick growth of young sapling trees with their rich colour from the fresh young summer leaves. The Rev Stanley Howard had contracted tuberculosis, and had been sent out to Australia by his family in the hope that the better climate would restore his health. He concluded his letter: “ I reached home safely, feeling as if I had a fresh lining to my lungs; and at lunch time I found myself talking to Mr Baber almost in my normal voice, without the slightest effort’! By the end of the 1870s, Sydney was experiencing a building boom, as money again became available from sales of Crown Land and from overseas, especially Britain. The Government invested in buildings and in public transport, and many people made vast profits from selling subdivided land. The brisk demand for building materials encouraged the formation of a sandstone quarry in River Street, and here Tom Parkes and his sons from Parkestown and William Nobbs and Benjamin Bush from Nobbs Flat at last found employment. They provided stone not only for such grand uses as the Medical School at Sydney University, but also for kerb stones, house foundations, and for building their own houses and chapel above the quarry. Canterbury sandstone was considered to be of very fine quality, and so much stone was taken out during the life

Canterbury Quarry, River Street, c 1900. (Courtesy Mrs Twist).

By this time, the name of the district had changed from Parkes Camp to Parkestown, as the timber was cut out and the local people changed their occupations to suit the resources available. James Parkes sold his share of the grant to his nephew, Walter Stores, and he and his neighbours, Henry Warr, William Purchase and William Johnstone each ran small market gardens where once ironbark trees had flourished. Some people from this vicinity gave their address as “ Forest Hill” a name not associated with any particular family, but which described the landscape as it had once been. Although its exact location is not known, it seems from the names of those involved and reference to Directories that a Post Office operated in the vicinity of the present Bexley Road and Homer Street in 1870 and in the 1880s. The first Kingsgrove Post Office was established in 1870 with Mrs Peninah Mary Favell as Postmistress, to be replaced soon after by George Charles Tompson for a few months before it closed in September 1870. The Post Office re-opened in 1883 with David Lewis in charge until Charles Astley Smith took over in 1885. This Post Office finally closed in 1887. The first Methodist services in Parkestown or Forest Hill were held in the home of Mr and Mrs Thomas Parkes in William Street (just west of McKenzie Lane), then alternately in the home of Mr Walter Stores in what is now Doris Avenue. In 1875, when there were churches at Canterbury and Moorfields, the people meeting at the Parkes house decided to build the “ Little Stone Church” on land donated by Mr Walter Stores at the corner of the present-day Cameron Avenue and Spark Street. The foundation stone was laid by Mrs Dawson. The stone building was approximately 25 ft by 15 ft, and had a shingle roof, which was later replaced by iron. Kerosine lamps provided the illumination, with two hanging lamps and four wall brackets. It would appear that for the first two or three years the building was known as a Union Church. In 1878, the Wesleyan Church offered to take over the small parish and supply the preachers, and Forest Hill was added to the Ashfield Circuit. The first wedding took place in 1878 between Miss Stores and Mr Johnson. A tablet to the memory of Stephen Bown was erected in the old church


At the time, most of the roads then in use were merely wheeltracks. In 1880, a section of Undercliffe Road was cleared, and in 1882 money was spent in forming William Street. Often there was a regrowth of trees which had to be cleared again later; then there was the need to provide kerbing and guttering; later surfacing with bitumen or concrete; and much later sealing of road shoulders or perhaps road widening. There was a bus service operating from Kingsgrove, through Marrickville, to Sydney in 1870. It probably ran through present-day Earlwood and Undercliffe. These buses provided a sometimes erratic service, as this item in the Sydney Morning Herald shows: It is said that, since the recent agitation as to the m ism anagem ent of p u b lic vehicles has been commenced, the behaviour of the drivers and conductors has, on several of the roads, been rather worse than better. On the Waterloo line, racing, we are told, is very frequent. At Marrickville, the second morning 'bus on Wednesday started for Sydney nearly ten minutes before its proper time, leaving the Marrickville passengers behind, while the ’bus which ought to have left the Undercliff stand at about half-past twelve did not make its appearance at all. Yesterday there was some information given through one of the passengers that the second ’bus running from Kingsgrove, and through Marrickville, had been “ taken off”, but there had been no previous warning of this; and up to Wednesday evening there was a time table posted inside one of the vehicles with the usual announcements as to the starting of the two ’buses from Sydney and Marrickville. In the 1880s, Canterbury Council approved a number of horse bus services affecting what is now the Earlwood area. In August, 1881, T. Hascham and W. Jolly applied for permission to run buses between Kingsgrove and Sydney, and Council raised no objection. Later in the year, William Farrell began to run a bus to Sydney via Undercliffe Bridge. In 1888, R. Kilkelly told Council that the residents of Parkestown intended to present him with a coach and sixteen horses and asked for permission to run the coach four times a day to Sydney. Council recommended that his application be granted. About 1880, Frederick Clissold leased his Cooks River allotments near Cup and Saucer Creek to Edward J. Tebbutt, a tanner. This industry proved a success, and was to last on the site until 1917. With its bus services connecting the district to the city, and its successful industrial development, Parkestown was rapidly developing into a desirable piece of real estate on the rural-urban fringe of Sydney.

(and later transferred to the present Church). Coming from the Hurstville area, he apparently took the services at Forest Hill until his death in 1884 at the age of 42. Services were held in the old building until the new church was erected in William Street in 1922, where stones taken from the old church were used to form part of the Parsonage fence and the verandah copings.

Wesleyan Church, Parkestown, built 1876.

Between 1877 and 1879, several moves were made by the people of Canterbury and its vicinity to have the area incorporated as a Municipal District. On February 20,1877, Charles Gabb and John Nightingale from Glenore took round a petition, praying that the land from Petersham to Salt Pan Creek be declared a M unicipality. The representative of Canterbury industries, Frederick Clissold, William Mayne, John McMinn and Charles Leistokow all voted for the municipality, as did the quarrymen, Tom Parkes, William Nobbs and James and Donald McBean. The people at the western end of the proposed area, up near Salt Pan Creek, saw no benefit to them in paying rates, so they arranged a counter-petition, which collected more signatures, so their opinion prevailed. The following year, Gabb and Nightingale had another go, and, in a sensible move, this time they left out of their proposed area the land of the opposition west of Bond’s Road. The Municipal District of Canterbury was proclaimed on March 17,1879, a smaller area than the one which now exists. One of the first tasks faced by the new Council, and something we do not think about today, was the need to clear, stump, form and build the miles of roads and streets (and the footpaths) in the Municipality, that is, convert the natural condition of the land to trafficable thoroughfares.


CHAPTER 5: A Railway for Parkestown? (1883-1896) Between 1873 and 1880, many negotiations had been carried on by the Government over the building of a railway line to the lllawarra Coast. Several routes through the parish of St George had been suggested, one of them cutting through the “ Wolli Ranges” somewhere around the western boundary of today’s Earlwood. By 1881, however, the Minister for Public Works had decided on the route that the line now follows, and this meant that suburban development, encouraged by the presence of public transport, would take place towards the south of the parish. Earlwood and Canterbury were left as a backwater, a fact which did not please the Aldermen of the new Council at all. The people of Canterbury, spurred on by land speculators who had commenced to buy up vacant blocks of land, held a series of public meetings in 1881 and 1882, with a view to forming a “ Tramway League” Sydney’s tramway system expanded rapidly after the building of the first line in 1879, and the local people saw no reason why their district should not be favoured by a public transport route. Again, several rival routes were suggested, but the one which gained much support was an extension of the line from Newtown to Marrickville (opened 1881), across the Canterbury Estate to the valley of Cup and Saucer Creek, then following the line of today’s Harp Street to Salt Pan Creek. No sooner had this line been suggested, than speculators began to buy up land along the route. Then a railway surveyor named Bell appeared, to survey a “ Loop Line” connecting the lllawarra Line to the Great Southern Line by a branch railway from St Peters, through Marrickville, Nobbs Flat, Parkestown, Moorfields, across Salt Pan Creek to Bankstown and Liverpool. In November 1882, the gentlemen of the Sydney Permanent Freehold Land, Building and Investment Society negotiated with Mrs Jane Ann Tompson and the Hon. Richard Hill for the sale of the 450 acre Undercliffe Estate for £18 000. Two of the Directors of the Society, John Fitzgerald Burns and George Withers, were Members of the Legislative Assembly. The Society also bought parts of the subdivision of Nobbs Flat in June 1883, giving them substantial holdings of property through which Bell’s Line of Railway was to run. No doubt the market gardeners and quarrymen of Parkestown and Nobbs Flat were also very excited about their prospects of making a small profit on their own parcels of land. Joseph Nobbs junior had died on March 15, 1880, leaving his property at Tempe to his family, but making no mention of the Nobbs Flat farm. This resulted in an equity suit in the Supreme Court, and the farm was subdivided to be sold on behalf of Jo se p h ’s children and grandchildren. The family home on lot 4 went to F. J. Barker, but lots 6 and 12 went to William James Nobbs (son of Joseph), his sister Eliza Louisa Bush, and her husband Benjamin Bush. Both men were employed in Parkes’ quarry, and also worked as market gardeners and poultry farmers. The old house near the loop in the river still stood at this time, and was only demolished when Cooks River was diverted in the 1930s. All buildings pertaining to it have now gone, and the only distinguishing object to indicate the site is a large fig tree (now on the opposite side of the river after the diversion), which grew near the house. Benjamin and Eliza Bush lived for a period in a small stone house which had been Ben’s first home when he had been married to Eliza’s elder sister, Mary Jane Nobbs. (She died in 1875). The first house was too small for Ben and Eliza’s growing family, so Ben built, on the same property, another stone house. He demolished and used a portion of the stone walls of the first dwelling to build a Dance Room

Joseph Nobbs junior's house, 173 Riverview Road, built 1853.

near his second home, where he taught dancing. In early 1916 the property was sold and a dairy farm was established. The second home was demolished and the cow bails erected in this area. “ Nobbs Flats” have now been built in the vicinity. The Parkes sisters remembered the enjoyable times they had at barn dances on the neighbouring farms, including the Nobbs farm. Frank Lee (brother of Catherine Nobbs) and Francis Nobbs were accomplished accordion and concertina players and provided music for the dances. While the excitement about the coming of public transport to the area continued, the first of the speculators to try his luck was an estate agent, Richard Whitley Webb, of Burwood, who owned the parcel between William Street and Homer Street, extending west almost as far as today’s Glenview Avenue. In January 1883, he measured this land out into one-acre allotments, and advertised it as the “ Cintra Estate” It did not sell, principally because there were many subdivisions much closer to the new lllawarra Line which were more attractive to buyers. Other important people began to show an interest in acquiring the remaining large blocks of land in the Parkestown area. On January 31, 1884, Thomas Parkes sold for £875 the small farm which he had inherited from his mother (lot 3) to George Wallace Nicoll, joint proprietor of steamships engaged in the coastal shipping trade between Sydney and the Richmond River. On this land Nicoll built “ Blink Bonnie” a fine single-storeyed late Victorian mansion, set in landscaped gardens, with a view across Arncliffe towards the entrance of Botany Bay. His brother and business partner, Bruce Baird Nicoll, bought land just south of Cooks River at Canterbury, where he also built a house, “ Taybank” The Nicoll brothers were born in Scotland and for this reason gave their houses distinctly Scottish names. George Wallace Nicoll became interested in local affairs and was an alderman of Canterbury Council from 1890 to 1899 and Mayor in 1899. Owing to ill-health, he was forced to resign as an alderman, but when the Forest Hill Progress Association was formed in 1902, he attended many meetings. G. W. Nicoll died at “ Blink Bonnie” on November 4, 1906, at the age of 58, leaving a widow, seven sons and one daughter, Mrs G. F. Hocking. “ Blink Bonnie” was one of the illustrations in a publication Our Beautiful Homes NSW published about 1908, when it was the home of Mrs Nicoll’s second husband, E. E. O’Connor. The mansion may still be seen today as 1 Doris Avenue, near Cameron Avenue — only a shadow of its former glory, completely surrounded by houses which have 24

“ Blink Bonnie’’, off William Street, Canterbury, the residence of E.E. O ’Connor, from Our Beautiful Homes, Vol 2, originally published c. 1908-1910. (Courtesy Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW).

The drawing room of Blink Bonnie, from Our Beautiful Homes, Vol 2, originally published c. 1908-1910. (Courtesy Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW).


Homer Street, Undercliffe, 1895 — the cottage is one of the Undercliffe House buildings. (Taken by J. Harvey, Campsie).

The Royal Commissioners visited several places which used the local water-supply as drainage, and produced notes on their observations: Joseph Baker’s Poultry and Pig Farming, Arncliffe (Bardwell Creek). 3 acres, worked by a family: proprietor, wife and seven children. 750 head of poultry and 22 pigs; water supply from creek. Removes about 5 tons of refuse from hotels and restaurants per week. Produces 3V2 cwt. of tallow per week and 20-40 dozen eggs per week. All refuse consumed by pigs and poultry. Primitive, but in fair order. David Tuck’s Poultry Farm, Arncliffe (on the banks of Wolli Creek). 4 acres; 6 tons of refuse from restaurants of Sydney dealt with. Creek and rainwater tank for water supply. This place is the filthiest I ever witnessed. The fumes from this place adhered to my clothes for many hours. . . I brought the abominable stench with me some 10 or 12 miles into Sydney. This farm sends into market on an average thirty dozen eggs per week. Mr E. J. Tebbutt’s Tannery, Cooks River. This tannery is situate a quarter of a mile from the Canterbury Road, and stands on an area of 22 acres. Plenty of water. Surface drainage. The works comprise large block of wood and iron buildings, two open sheds, and boiler shed, one 25 horsepower boiler, twenty-six tanpits, six lime pits, two water pits, one soak, and one bate; they use on an average 15 tons of bark, and 15 tons of coal per month. Employ fourteen men and one boy. Produce 250 hides per week, exclusive of calf-skins and pelts. Mr William M ayne’s Knacker-yard, Canterbury. This establishment is situate in Fore-street, off Canterburyroad, on a creek running into Cook’s River, and is used for boiling-down horses and cattle which have died either from disease or old age. Fifteen pigs and 100 head of poultry are kept, which are fed from refuse. There is one

encroached practically to its verandahs. It takes a great deal of imagination to conjure up a picture of it in its heyday. Bexley House had been sold after W. S. Bell’s Bankruptcy to Ann, wife of James MacDonald, of Newtown for £500 in 1875. She and her husband moved into the old homestead, and occupied it until their death in 1902. The house is said to have burned down, but the date is not known. A small block of 1 acre 26 perches was sold to Caleb Felix Wilson, accountant, in 1882 on the Homer Street frontage, and here he built “ The Pines” as a residence for himself. This house stood on the eastern corner of today’s Malley Avenue, until the whole “ Bexley” homestead block was subdivided as “ The Pines Estate” in 1927. In 1883, A Royal Commission was set up to enquire into the location of noxious trades within the outskirts of Sydney. Many of the industries requiring a good water supply and a drain for their liquid refuse had located along Wolli and Bardwell Creeks, and, while the owners of these establishments could be prosecuted for polluting the water supply, or for having filthy premises, often aldermen of the local Councils were also proprietors of related industries, and were reluctant to press charges. Poultry and pigfarmers either doubled as boiling-down works, or were located near such places for stock feed purposes. These owners would take the refuse from Sydney’s restaurants, plus meat which had gone bad in the heat. What was not fed to stock was boiled down in large cauldrons. The fat floated to the top, and was poured off to make candles, soap and other products — the “ soup” which remained drained away on the ground. The offensive smell lingered for months, and vegetation would not grow where it had been poured.


for subdivision. . . equi-distantfrom Tempe and Arncliffe stations.

copper, and there are three sheds, and one residence. Employ one man besides the family. Buildings dilapidated. A good supply of water. Drainage into the creek, and finds its way into Cooks River. Bones are sent to sugar-works. There were loud complaints about these places, especially since the new residents who had bought land after the coming of the lllawarra Railway, had moved there because suburban living was “ healthy” Many people thought, at this time, that germs were carried in the smell from noxious industries, and in the damp ground where there was bad drainage — the “ miasma” theory. It was noticed that typhoid was often com m on in the neighbourhood of boiling-down works, and, in the years between 1871 and 1890, the infant mortality rate in the suburbs rose to be higher than that in the city — 167 children in every 1 000 dying at under one year old. The water-supply of the people of Canterbury and Parkestown came chiefly from the rivers and creeks, with all the “ extras” that the establishments described above allowed to flow into them. 1875 and 1885 were both epidemic years in Canterbury district, and St Paul’s graveyard received many burials of children and old people who had died from gastro-enteritis, typhoid, and other diseases associated with an unclean water supply. During 1883 and 1884, although deputations from the Municipality of Canterbury went regularly to the office of the Minister for Public Works, no decision was made on building the Loop Line. There was a split in the ranks of the Loop Line League, and a breakaway group hired their own surveyor, H. T. Sanderson, to plot a line which branched off the lllawarra Line at Arncliffe, and snaked along Wolli Creek Valley to join Bell’s main survey line at the head of Salt Pan Creek. (This line was to be built, fifty years later, as theTempe-East Hills Railway.) In early 1885, property on Beamish Street was bought by a Building and Investment Company, the Anglo-Australian, in which the Minister for Public Works had an interest, and soon the local people saw yet another railway surveyor in the vicinity. This time, a line was pegged towards the north (known as Kennedy’s Line) — right through the centre of the estate on Beamish Street. This land was promptly subdivided as the “ Campsie Park Estate” with advertising literature which promised a railway shortly to the spot. While Thomas Kennedy was measuring out his new line of railway, other property owners were attempting to capitalise on the fact that Bell’s Line was still the major survey line for the railway extension. In 1885, F. J. Barker put his 6 acre estate on the market, “ part of Nobbs’ celebrated Vegetable Garden . . . close to the present survey of railway from St Peters to Liverpool” containing the stone house once owned by Joseph Nobbs, small flower garden and fruit trees, and surrounded by the lands of the speculators, the Sydney Permanent Freehold Land Building and Investment Society. After the fall of the Stuart Government in 1885, some speculators showed renewed interest in land along the alternative routes of railway. Joseph Hector Carruthers, a solicitor, who was soon to enter Parliament as M.L.A. for Canterbury, bought Bradridge’s 58 acre Ballater Estate on Wolli Creek for £6 600. This was a hillside and river flat property which had returned to scrubland surrounding Lesslie Duguid’s old deserted “ Ballater House” burned down in 1884. There was a crossing place over Wolli Creek somewhere opposite today’s Jackson Place, leading to Arncliffe. The property had been advertised as: A most charming situation, commanding some of the Loveliest Views of Water and Land Scapes to be enjoyed around Sydney. Heights of Undercliff. . . a grand block

On the other side of Wolli Creek, William McNamara’s boiling-down works was particularly notorious, and made it very difficult for Carruthers to sell his estate. He took up the matter in Parliament, using MacNamara as his example: “ a johnny-come-lately to Rockdale, having moved there only 18 months previously, when homes were already built in the district” In 1886, the premises of Tebbutt’s Tannery were sub­ let to Jeffrey Denniss and Co by the executors of Tebbutt’s estate, and sold to him in 1900 for £2 750 — a business which was to continue on the premises until 1917. At a quarter to twelve on Saturday night, November 3, 1888, Constable Plunkett of Canterbury and Thomas Foord saw a fire in the tannery buildings just over Cup and Saucer Creek and raised the alarm. The Marrickville Fire Brigade reached the scene at half past twelve, quickly followed by the Ashfield, Leichhardt and Burwood brigades, the excitement causing a crowd of spectators to gather. The Sydney Morning Herald reported: The works covered an area of slightly over a quarter of an acre, this being one mass of flame, fed by great quantities of tan bark, oils and tallow, the grandeur of the ravaging scene may be imagined. The terror with which the Chinese gardeners, living in proximity to the works, viewed the scene was most affecting. Women were running away from the houses, or rather shanties, carrying children to a place of safety, while the men jabbered and gesticulated in a most excited manner, scampering in all directions with some article or another in their arms. The fire brigades quickly decided that it would be useless to try to save the building, so they turned their attention to the engine house and splitting shop. The fire hose was laid to a large well, into which a continuous stream flowed from the river. After an hour, this water ran out, so the men had to move the heavy hose out of the well and down to the river itself, causing a long delay. By 6 a.m., the fire was under control. The brick engine-house had been saved, but the other buildings — currying shop, soleing shop, bark storeroom, manufacturing shop, and numerous sheds covering the twenty two tanpits — had been constructed of wood with iron roofs, and were totally destroyed. Jeffrey Dennis had lost all his equipment except the two engines and the splitting plant, as well as very heavy accumulated stocks including over 900 sides of sole leather and 2 200 of kip and tweed; a loss estimated at £3 000. He was only insured for £1 000. On the weekend of May 25-27,1889, seventeen inches of rain fell in Sydney. All the low-lying land was flooded, especially the river and creek terraces of Marrickville, Canterbury and West Botany (Rockdale) Municipalities. Many Chinese market gardeners had settled along Cooks River, and they faced ruin of both their crops and their houses. Sands’ Directory of 1888 lists three market gardeners, King Young, Che Sing and Ah Chong, living in River street beside the tannery, and this land was kept continuously in production until the land use was displaced by suburban development of the 1920s. On Nobbs Flat there were several poultry farmers, while Edward Campbell’s wife and daughter kept dairy cattle on the terrace at the junction of Cooks River and Wolli Creek. All these people had their land inundated. On the other side of the river, people living in the low-lying subdivisions around Tramvale, Marrickville, had to be evacuated, as the water covered their houses up to the roof line. Questions were asked in Parliament about how this land had been


The body of the boy was later found, 200 yards along the river. He had been weighed down by the heavy fare-bag strapped to his waist, and had no chance of survival in the raging torrent. After the flood waters of 1889 had subsided, the state of Cooks River forced itself on the attention of the public. More urban dust and rubbish than usual had been picked up and swirled away when the rain rushed through the tiny terrace houses of Marrickville and Tempe and the cleared fields of Undercliffe and Nobbs Flat, and all this was deposited as sludge, marking where the floodwaters had been. In June 1889, a deputation presented itself at the door of the Minister for Public Works, Bruce Smith, asking that a portion of Cooks River, extending from Unwin’s Bridge to the Dam, be dredged. “ Since the dam had been thrown across the river, it had the effect of blocking the flow of water, and in the event of a flood caused an accumulation of sewerage matter which emitted a dreadful stench” Despite occasional attempts to dredge the riverbed, this accumulation was to build up over the next few years, until it was said to be twenty feet deep near the lllawarra Railway bridge just past the junction of Cooks River and Wolli Creek. A scheme was put forward to resume the flood-prone land in Marrickville which had been subdivided by greedy landowners as The Tramvale Estate — cheap allotments for the working classes. The existing houses were to be demolished, and a new subdivision with a park, lake, canal and safe building sites was to be created. This clashed with the Government’s own scheme for drainage of the inner southern suburbs, so the matter was deadlocked for the next seven years. The Borough (Municipality) of Marrickville, established in 1861 with about 600 people, had reached a population of 10 000 by 1880. As part of a large tramway construction

permitted to be subdivided, as it was known to be a swamp at the best of times. The Sydney Morning Herald reported: At Marrickville especially the condition of affairs was deplorable. Subject at all times to unpleasant accumulations offlood-water, after the torrents of Sunday the area known as Tramvale was transformed into a huge lake. But the worst had not been realised. . . By daylight the surface of the country lying between Victoria-road on one side and the railway line on the other was completely blotted out by the surging waters. Looking across the space nothing but the tops offences, the tufts of trees and the roofs of huts and houses was visible. And the outlook was the same as far as Tempe and Cook’s River. Every moment added to the volume of the flood. From all directions poured streams of turgid liquid, and to add to the misery of the situation the wind and rain swept in violent gusts across the surface. At Canterbury, the driver of the horse-bus found the bridge covered above the hand-rail. Nevertheless, he tried to take the vehicle across: After getting into the water some distance the four horses attached to the vehicle were swept off their feet, and the animals and vehicle were swept away with the current. Those upon the 'bus at the time, in addition to the driver, were Constable Plunkett and the fare boy named Price, who it is said resided at Newtown. After being in the water some time Plunkett and Hindron were rescued — the former by some Chinamen, and the latter was caught in a tree. The boy Price was not again seen . . . The horses were drowned, and the 'bus, completely wrecked, was found later in the day some distance down the stream. At Canterbury it is reported that three Chinese houses were swept away, while the gardens along the river bank are fully 6ft. under water.

Sydney Long’s “ By Tranquil Waters'/ painted in 1894 at the junction of Cooks River and Wolli Creek. (Courtesy Art Gallery of New South Wales).


scheme, a steam tram line was opened from Newtown to Marrickville in 1881, and the connection to the remainder of the system by a line from Newtown to Parramatta Road the following year. This line was extended along Marrickville Road from Marrickville to Dulwich Hill in 1889, and the line was electrified in 1900. In the period from 1881 to 1889, the number of houses in the borough of Marrickville increased from 2 650 to 10 000. Other factors influencing an increase in Marrickville’s population were the opening of the lllawarra Railway as far as Hurstville in 1884 with stations at St Peters, Sydenham (then called Marrickville), and Tempe. In 1890, the New South Wales Parliament finally approved that part of the loop line, staked by Kennedy, be built to encourage suburban settlement and to provide transport for race meetings at the popular new Canterbury Park Racecourse which had been officially opened in 1884. Frederick Clissold, the former wool-scourer, was one of the racecourse directors. The new line was known as the “ Line from Marrickville to Burwood Road” Bell’s Line, the hope of Parkestown, was forgotten, and speculators like the Sydney Permanent Freehold Land Building and Investment Society were left with nearly 500 acres of “ prime investment property” beside a river which was badly polluted. Cooks River was, however, still the venue for many weekend picnic parties, and at Undercliffe Bridge, a boatshed, hotel, shops and a swimming hole attracted crowds of people. Further along the river, near Nobbs’ Flat, was another favourite swimming place, as was Wanstead, near Tempe railway station. Some swimmers attracted more than their share of attention: To the Editor of the Herald: Sir, — I have often heard it said that it is impossible

to take ladies down to Cook’s River on Saturday afternoons and holidays. Last Saturday afternoon there was abundant evidence that this is the case. From “ Starkey’s Corner’’ to Tempe there could be counted 30 to 40 men and boys openly bathing in a perfectly nude state, some standing on projecting rocks without the slightest show of concealment. This is a state of things calling for summary treatment, and should not be allowed to continue. A few convictions would have a magical effect. Something should be done to make this pretty little river bearable in the summer time, and I trust the matter will be taken up. I am, &c., January 5, 1891. Petersham. When the new railway opened on February 1,1895, the junction station was renamed from M arrickville to Sydenham and a new station at a level crossing on lllawarra Road was called Marrickville. Other stations on the new line were at Wardell Road (now Dulwich Hill), Fernhill (now Hurlstone Park), Canterbury, Campsie and the terminus Belmore (at Burwood Road). Although still some distance away, each of the improvements to public transport (the tram to Marrickville and Dulwich Hill, and the railways to Hurstville and Belmore) were of some benefit to the small numbers of people in the Undercliffe and Forest Hill area. The construction of the railway to Belmore also began a new phase in the history of Canterbury Municipality. It took some time to have a noticeable effect, but it meant the inevitable change to the residential character we know today. While the people of Fernhill, Canterbury, Campsie and Belmore were enjoying the novelty of their new railway service, the owners of land in the Undercliffe and Forest Hill districts found it difficult to sell their land because of

At the turn of the century, Cooks River was still a rural landscape — Riverview Road, Undercliffe, 1904.


many houses built on the banks of the river or near the water” and travellers crossing the river in summer complained about the unbearable smell. Alderman John Quigg remembered the river when the tide had flowed up to Hilly’s Crossing (Fifth Avenue, Campsie), and the water had been so deep in places that it was over his head. That place was now so silted up that it had become a Chinese garden. Less than thirty years before you could bathe in Cooks River, and he had caught sea mullet at Hilly’s Crossing. Miss Mary Campbell, of Wanstead, told the Committee how she had tried to let her property for woolscouring purposes, but had been prevented from doing so because of the salt water. She opposed the removal of the dam, claiming that it would make her land useless for grazing. Wolli Creek was always fresh water behind the mangroves, and had been used as an emergency water supply; the railway embankment had caused the creek to silt up and encourage the growth of reeds. The Public Works Committee was told by officials of the Sydney Permanent Society that the value of their land had been lowered considerably by the state of the river. All the fish had died in dry seasons, because the dams had turned the water into merely “ impounded sewage” Other people gave evidence that rubbish and sewerage matter was washing into the river from local streets (including Canterbury) and there had been an outbreak of typhoid fever at Rosedale (Croydon Park) contracted by children bathing in the river. The Cooks River Improvement Act, 1897, provided for a relatively small expenditure on work at Marrickville and Tempe Dam to improve the water flow, but no other action was taken on the problem, so it remained with the citizens of Forest Hill, Wanstead and Nobbs Flat as they began a new century of suburban development.

the lack of public transport. Joseph Hector Carruthers, M.L.A. for St George, who had made a wrong guess about the route the railway would take, tried to sell his property of 58 acres between Unwin’s Bridge Road (Bayview Avenue) and Wolli Creek with the assurance that the land was only “ about 10 minutes from Arncliffe Railway Station” There were no takers — the mortgagees had to wait until the tram line was extended from Marrickville to Undercliffe in 1912 before they were repaid. The south-eastern part of the Municipality was still a place for empty estates, small farms and country houses. The mortgagee of Allan Williams’ “ Glenore” advertised the 42 acres with its “ commodious cottage and outoffices” having “ extensive frontages to Northcote and William Streets, and extending to Glenore and Cup and Saucer C reeks,. . . accessible to the new Burwood-road Railway, admirably adapted for a subdivision into good-size building blocks” It eventually attracted the attention of Frederick Moore Clements, the maker of Clement’s Tonic, who secured, for £1 000, a country residence. By 1896, grave concern was being expressed at the level of pollution in Cooks River. The major problems were identified as the Cooks River Dam, which impeded the ready escape of storm w aters, and the railw ay embankment, which contracted the original discharging area of the river, forcing the current of Wolli Creek from its original bed towards the north into a less direct and shallower channel. The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works considered proposals to lower the dam, and to carry out major drainage works within the Municipality of Marrickville. Anybody having an interest in the area was invited to give evidence, and many local people came forward. It was noted that there were “ not


CHAPTER 6: Parkestown becomes Forest Hill, then Earlwood (1896-1919) M unicipality was sewered in 1920, with a small improvement to 29% in 1929, increasing to 67% in 1939 and 77% in 1949. Early settlers dug a cess pit at some distance from the house and periodically these were emptied and dumped, or used on home gardens, market gardens, orchards and farms. This use of night soil was both unhygienic and offensive as population grew. Between 1907 and 1911, the Council introduced a pan system and nightsoil was dumped at the Sanitary Depot in Moorefields Road near Chapel Street. Sewerage was extended to the Earlwood and Undercliffe areas in the late 1920s, though some sections were not sewered until after World War II. Part of the district across Wolli Creek from Earlwood began its municipal life as the Municipality of West Botany (later changed to Rockdale) in 1871, while the western section began as a ward of Hurstville Municipality which commenced in 1887. However, the residents of Bexley were very dissatisfied with their treatment by Hurstville council; they successfully petitioned for a separate municipality, and the Municipality of Bexley came into being in 1900. Bexley was amalgamated with the Municipality of Rockdale in 1949. Along the Wolli Creek valley, a few settlers eked out a living for their families. About 1895, the King family with three young children started up a pig and poultry farm past the end of the present Richard Avenue, and six more children were born on the farm. There were two children in the Perry family when they bought a pig and poultry farm in Slade Road, and seven more were born on the farm with the help of a midwife who travelled around in a sulky.

The population of the whole of the Canterbury Municipality was only 2 426 in 1891 and the next ten years saw a small increase to 4 226 in 1901. A few changes took place in the district. In 1892, the residents of Nobbs Flat requested that a bridge be built at Wardell Road, and both Canterbury and Marrickville Councils agreed. However, the bridge was not built. When the railway to Belmore opened in 1895, the ratepayers on the southern side of the river asked for a bridge to give access to Fernhill (Hurlstone Park) Station. Marrickville Council preferred Wardell Road and finally the Government agreed to build the Wardell Road bridge. Work began late in 1898 and was completed the following year. The Southern and Western Suburbs Ocean Outfall Sewer, which crosses Cooks River, passes through Undercliffe by viaduct and under Bayview Avenue, and then crosses Wolli Creek, was constructed between 1895 and 1899 for the disposal of sewerage from much of southern Sydney. The decorative brickwork is typical of the time. It flowed to a sewage farm at present-day Barton Park at Kyeemagh, but it was extended to Long Bay in 1916. As a result of various sub-mains provided since, the whole of the sewerage of the Cooks River and Wolli Creek valleys now drains to this Outfall. Because it was a significant technical achievement, the sewerage aqueduct was being considered by the Australian Heritage Commission in 1988 for listing on the National Estate Register. The proposal said that it was an important part of the history of Sydney’s early disposal system. However, Earlwood and Undercliffe were slow to obtain a sewerage service. In fact, only 13% of Canterbury

King Family’s pig farm, Wolli Creek. (Courtesy Mrs A. Barnes).



The Newest and Most Convenient Model Suburb

R IG H T O n ly f o u r

m ile s




(15 m i n u t e s ) f r o m


The Petersham of the lllawarra Line


S y d n o y , w ith


--- — -------------- -yi ~3T~—

tra in s


w ay

d a ily



‘ ^

T h is m agnificent area of 120 acres, w hich stretches from T em p e S tation across the highlands to beyond Undercliffe Bridge, has been liberally subdivided into over 200 L ots, and is for A U C T I O N SALE,, on the ground, a t 3 p .m on


It’s such Good Land

It’s so Very H andy and


v e ry

h e a lt h y

It h as so m a n y present adv an tag es , and

such great

future prospects. CIOSC C h e a p


th e

T r a v c u in g

D ra in a g e

V lC W S

C ity




,f " “ n llnill*' f n u n iV n [" a w l f i v IMIi!111 - fiu iii S t. I '. 't . 'i ' I tiiin . M a in , k v ill. s t a t i o n aiw l t r a m « a n i»U ol«r m . i l y m t t l t n l f ro m tlw l l i u l m lillt* I t * p o r t i o n o f t h e i -

\V«>.kin«n* W ~ k ty Tt< U t * from T n .il> ..........t 1 0 , • 3d |- . .1 .> return fare. A W a r ly S«- «••>!» T i c k r i , a v ailM .lo l.y a \l tm f n - . c o « i, s.4 7 o r t i g h t l y u n d . r 3d fo r o n . o i. tu r r i * v. r y il.ty in th e y e a r , w ith a n y a d d itio n a l trijM th r o w n in .

K \* t\ • •n»irierati'>u I.a. h«>»i yiv.-n I., till- thoui*h tin- |*»»*|- rt_\ th a n in y oth er «**tate around Sydney. -



I -

! '! • - ’

- u j- rh

»u b d iri» in u h.\* he m

.n o

o l.t.t’ii.tM o

fro m


n; •u’liit i'e n t

arranged th .it th e y can never !-• h u ilt o a t.

..... . «<>'»■■>■»>■ It »y . 1.1 II* ...IIh v k d a lc , T h e W arren. e tc .. e tc .




T IC K E T S .

Art,- lull-

H av in g been up to the present the largest tinsubdiviilrd estate so near Sydney, it oders great opportunities.

a n d so n e a r t o w n .

ilv t - in | l .

E a sy T e rm s fo r P a y m e n t

T h e Land


S tre e ts a n d R o ad s T i t l e ..............................



I. il„. ml|.knu«ii Torn

B u ild in g - C o v e n a n t -


T l m f Mill !>• ,i lm iliding i i n e a a n t w ith r e |-> t o n lv t o I ." '- J i !^»t* IT t.. 2S ( S h It). It liv* U - n J iv ^ l a t b in jm r. i.u -rr* . t o h u ik l u n til th e y d i-sire t o d o so.

•m il in v » . « n t m t i lw lr a b tf Ite m f i .m u .- e t . . V « * \ I t i v . i .iti.l \V „ lli i n .

ha* n aturally l- tt. r d r a in ...

h i.-h l.iiM l.


tt .

d .-u t.


T h e \ iew* are panoramic* in

S t. I V l .i - , lti ii;l ,l„ i i.|, >-a n ,l« t K o ta n y ,


I«Lmi,» Mily. IWIia-w m«y '"to-■••n »* >• improve or I"iiM un ' li<- i.trul \i.<l may pay nil any it ■ ml . t It at :iiiv time No intrnnt ,,n ptitrl ,-e. ■*•nn-t*-1-•I withii, 3 ■ .i‘ I I , , , . a t ........mi- >.| il„- finest a v a ila b le I.uiltlh iil »it«. : t.> • fated l» ittt

\ |.

G e t o n e f o r t h e d a y o f S a le a n d r u n o u t a n d s e e t h i s E s t a t e .


m e Ifkew ro- . . . i :.i - VWJ rie lt tiv w f t

fWt ui.l • ifi




I t ’s a s i g h t w o r t h

Text and photograph on the reverse of the subdivision plan of the Unwin’s Hill Estate for auction on September 30, 1905. (Courtesy Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW).

Enlargement of the photograph in the previous illustration. (Courtesy Mitchell Library. State Library of NSW).

between Hartill-Law Avenue and St James Street. In the 1920s, Ted Hocking built shops on his Homer Street land, including the first shop for Andy Hyde, the butcher, and the picture theatre later called the Mayfair, which he owned for a number of years. Like his brother Fred, Ted was an active member of Campsie Bowling Club. He died in 1945. The fifth son was Walter Henry, who built a house in Fore Street, Canterbury, and later “ Colon” at 126 Homer Street. He was foreman on country jobs for Hocking Bros, and later worked at the Canterbury District Brick Co Pty Ltd at Campsie in charge of all brick burning in the early thirties. He died in 1959. William Herbert, the sixth son, lived at “ Linga-Longa” in Unwin’s Bridge Road (now Bayview Avenue), and John Joseph Wesley, the seventh son, was a joiner, who later co-owned the iceworks at Canterbury and lived in Redman Parade, Belmore. Descendants of the brothers also lived in the district. The eldest sons, Francis T. and Alfred Ernest, were not involved in the Earlwood area. The Forest Hill Progress Association held its inaugural meeting on December 23, 1902, at the residence of Mr Boucher in River Street. It was decided to hold meetings on the Wednesday nearest to a full moon (this would have been because of the condition of the roads and the lack of street lights). Early meetings were held in the Wesleyan Church. The constitution of the Waterloo Progress Association was adopted with slight alteration. In 1903, Mr F. Hocking was President, Mr Green was Treasurer, and Mr Campbell was Secretary. Later meetings were held in Mr Hocking’s workshop. Although the district was still known as Parkestown, the name of Forest Hill was not new. It was used at least as early as 1884 when it is mentioned in Sands Directory. However, the reason that Forest Hill was the preferred

Molloys lived in the stone house that is now 112 Slade Road, and which had been Hilsdon’s nursery and orchard; the Robinson farm was between Molloys and Perrys and Shaws were on the other side of Perrys, near where Bexley North Station is now. Blackwells had loam pits near Bardwell Park Station; on the top of the hill above Kings, in the present Wolli Avenue, was the Cox dairy farm next to the Goldsborough farm. Wolli Creek was not as overgrown then as now and when in flood swept all before it. Each farmer living near the creek had his own rickety creek crossing using a plank and a guide wire; during floods the brown, swirling waters swept these away as well as fences, sheds, even animals, as the water rose higher and spread wider. The children walked to Canterbury school, and later to Earlwood school, but could not go if floods swept their bridges away as the closest crossing was at Kingsgrove. The very earliest shelters were quite simple, with earthen or rock floors, until something better could be built. There was no electricity or gas, and the only running water was the creek, where the children were often bathed in fine weather and washing was done on flat stones. The valley was pretty in the years before World War I; wild flowers were prolific, especially flannel flowers and Christmas bells, and watercress was plentiful. The farmers who kept pigs would rise early each day to go to the wharves, the hospitals, the markets, the cafes or the shops in Sydney or Newtown where they would collect waste food scraps to feed to their pigs. Swine fever disease swept the valley a few times after the war. Finally, the licences to boil up food scraps for the pigs were refused and pig farming ceased when construction of the East Hills Railway line commenced in the late 1920s. Francis Hocking purchased just over an acre of land in William Street from Thomas Perks (Parkes) in 1895, built a house for his family which he called “ Grandview” (the same name as his house at Waterloo), and moved there after retiring from his general store at Redfern. Five of his seven sons were carpenters, some of whom travelled to San Francisco after the 1906 earthquake and fire and also worked in South Africa for a time. They formed Hocking Bros and built Government buildings, post offices and banks, and such jobs as additions to Canterbury Town Hall in 1909. They operated from a timber-yard and joinery shop at the rear of the William Street property. George Frederick (Fred) Hocking, the third son of Francis Hocking, married Margaret Nicoll, daughter of G. W. Nicoll, of “ Blink Bonnie” Six acres in Homer Street (present-day St James Street to near View Street) was purchased in the name of his wife Margaret in 1907 on which they built the house “ Duranbah” which was purchased by the Catholic Church in 1923, became the convent and was subsequently demolished to become the site of the present church. Having built the house, they then lived at 5 Hocking Avenue until they died. Hocking Bros ceased building operations about 1913 when Fred Hocking, together with Ted, Walter, Wes and a number of other local identities formed the Canterbury District Brick Co Pty Ltd in Elizabeth Street, Campsie, on land they had purchased, Fred becoming and remaining Managing Director until he died. Fred was an alderman on Canterbury Council from 1911 to 1925, and Mayor in 1913-14 and 1920-22. As Mayor, Mr Hocking supported the Greater Sydney Scheme but the rest of the Council did not. He was the first President of the Campsie Bowling Club. He died in 1949. Edward John (Ted) Hocking, the fourth son, purchased the William Street land from his father about 1901 and built the house “ Kia-Komena” on the corner of Hocking Lane, now McKenzie Lane. Later he moved to the corner of Nicoll Avenue. In 1909, he also purchased land in Homer Street

Undercliffe Bridge, with lllawarra Road, Marrickville, in background, 1901.

name for the new Progress Association is not stated in the original Minute Book. Progress Associations performed a very important function in earlier years, passing the needs and wishes of local residents on to Councils and government bodies; in particular, they dealt with such matters as public transport, education, health and safety. For example, the Forest Hill Progress Association in March, 1907, asked for five street lamps to be placed as follows: top of River Street; junction of William and Homer Streets; Methodist Church corner [that is, Spark Street and Cameron Avenue]; opposite the lane at the junction of Messrs Campbell and Green’s properties; opposite the lane at corner of J. King’s property [Homer Street and Woodlawn Avenue]. In April, 1907, it


decided to ask Council for a finger board to be erected at the corner of Canterbury Road and Fore Street informing travellers the route to Forest Hill. Other improvements sought were the appointment of a resident constable in the district, the prevention of pollution of Cooks River, the need for repair of roads, the extension of the tram service, and the establishment of a local school. Unsuccessful applications for a school at Parkestown had been made in 1884 and 1885 (when there were thirty eight children of school age in the district, whose closest schools were C anterbury, M a rrickville W est or Moorefields), 1896 (when there were ninety children, the Schools Inspector reporting that the residents were engaged in small farming, wood-getting, keeping duck farms, piggeries, vegetable gardens, and stone quarrying) and 1898. Another move for the establishment of a school was made in 1903 by the Forest Hill Progress Association. The applications were based on the need to cross Cooks River via the weir at the Sugarworks at the foot of Church Street and the danger when the river flooded, to attend Canterbury Public School (on one occasion, mention was made of children crossing Cup and Saucer Creek on a nine inch plank), but the requests were rejected because the school was in easy walking distance. Over the Easter weekend in 1904, 2 600 officers and men of the new Commonwealth Military Forces camped under canvas in the Canterbury-Campsie area. The camp was within the area bounded by Canterbury Road, Cooks River, the railway line and Beamish Street. Holding an Easter camp at Canterbury must have been an experiment which was not repeated. It had been expected that there would be excellent results at Canterbury, because the camp site was “ on the outskirts of some fine open country” Jeffrey Denniss was elected an alderman on Canterbury Council in the 1890s, and held the office of Mayor from 1900-1904 and again in 1906-1908. He built a large stone house, which is still standing, at 37 Fore Street, Canterbury, on land formerly owned by John Quigg. Alderman Quigg’s daughter later married Leslie Howard Denniss. The “ Canterbury Tannery” was acquired by Vacuum Tanning Pty Ltd in 1912, a company formed by Denniss and partners to “ buy, sell, manufacture and deal in leather and leather goods of all kinds, both wholesale and re ta il. . . ” and, “ to buy, sell and generally deal in real estate” The company went into voluntary liquidation on May 25, 1917, and the buildings, equipment, and 21 Vz acres of land were sold to George Rogers Sutton who subdivided the land in 1921 as the Denniss Estate. 198 building blocks in the Unwin’s Hill Estate were auctioned on the ground on Saturday, September 30,1905. It was described as being “ Magnificent Highlands with Superb Panoramic Views” and there was a further auction of unsold lots in February, 1907. As a result of the sale of land in the Unwin’s Hill Estate, a small settlement developed at Undercliffe in Undercliffe Road and in Unwin’s Bridge Road (now Bayview Avenue). They gave their address as Wanstead rather than Undercliffe, roads were unmade and there was no kerbing or guttering, there was no water or gas, and the nearest shop was in Cooks River Road (now Princes Highway) or at Marrickville. Cooks River flooded regularly, causing distress to those living in low-lying areas, but there was an improvement when the flood-gates at Cooks River Road were removed. In 1907, the Marrickville Baptist Christian Endeavour Society established a Sunday School at the Clendinning house in Undercliffe Road, and then a church building was built next door. Unwin’s Bridge Road was later renamed Bayview Avenue when the level crossing at Tempe Station was replaced by the overhead bridge. As with the meetings of the Progress Association, the

.GroundSAT. 23 * FEBRUARY-07* 3 * TEISPS: Hole . let? colored iai arc ndd

* * IE 9 |

Subdivision plan: Unwin’s Hill Estate for auction on February 23, 1907.

condition of the roads in the district and the lack of street lights meant that night church meetings were held on the night of the full moon. Gas was installed about 1910 or 1911, gas street-lights were tended by a lamplighter who came twice a day, and water and electricity were eventually connected. There was a local band but this folded during World War I. Mrs Jane Earl subdivided her land before she sold it in 1884, and the first known use of the name Earlwood, or at least a close version of it, was when the name “ The Earlewood Estate” was used as the name of the property when it was surveyed to bring it under Torrens Title later that year. Most of this land was re-subdivided in 1905 (see illustration). This appears to explain the origin of the name, but over the years, there have been a number of suggestions as to how Earlwood got its name. One was that it was named after Earl (alleged incorrectly to have been a one time Mayor of Bexley living on the Bexley side of Wolli Creek) and the Wood Brothers (who had a pig and poultry farm in the locality). The Hocking family say that, when a new name for the suburb was being sought, Walter Henry Hocking thought that, as the brothers had been members of the Earlswood Cricket and Recreation Club at Waterloo, this would be as good a name as any, but the Secretary of the Progress Association wrote down Earlwood. A descendant of Mrs Earl claimed that she opened a tavern in the Earlwood area in the late 1880s and called it Earl’s Wood, which had been the name of her family’s property in England, from which she had migrated. In any case, the Progress Association continued to use the name Forest Hill for many years. A person who came to Forest Hill in 1905 said many years later: “ This hill was then a veritable beauty spot, abounding in giant trees, green valleys and wild flowers. In the bushland, Christmas Bush, Flannel Flowers, Rock Lilies and Native Fuchsias grew in profusion, while fields of maize waved in the breeze and the songs of the birds added to its charm; . . .” In 1906, the daily postal delivery service to the whole of the existing Canterbury Municipality (that is to Bonds Road at Punchbowl, and including Forest Hill and Undercliffe) was provided from Canterbury Post Office by two mounted postmen, two postmen on bicycles and one on foot. Australia Post and its customers in the 1980s will envy the efficiency of the following: these postmen were obliged to be back at Canterbury Post Office not later than 10.55 a.m. so that letters collected by them from the thirteen letter boxes throughout the delivery area might be despatched by the 11.07 a.m. train which arrived in Sydney in time to catch the 12.30 p.m. city delivery.


sufficient children under eight to warrant an Infant’s School at that time. The population of the Municipality of Canterbury, which had been 4 226 in 1901 had risen to only approximately 6 000 in 1909. It then rose to 11 335 at the Census of 1911, and 24 000 by 1914. Most of this increase would have been in Campsie, Canterbury and Hurlstone Park. There were two quarries in Undercliffe, Jackson’s and Schwebel’s, and the stone was used in kerbs and gutters, monumental headstones, foundations, homes and public buildings. Canterbury Council purchased the ballast for road making and the rockery stone for council gardens and landscaping. The last big project on which Undercliffe stone was used was the runway at Mascot Airport during the 1940s. Stone from the Jackson quarry was used in the homes in Jackson Place, built before 1918. One suggestion is that some of the material used in these houses came from the demolition of Wanstead. George Schwebel was born in Australia of German parents. His wife Jessie was formerly Miss Jessie Meeks, daughter of James Meeks who settled in Marrickville in 1838, coming from Leigh, Scotland. In the late 1800s, George Schwebel began quarrying in the area around Schwebel Street, Marrickville, and continued opening quarries along lllawarra Road down to Undercliffe. In 1907 he purchased land in Undercliffe Road and started to quarry the stone. George Schwebel had six sons, two of whom worked all their lives in the Undercliffe Quarry. Other stonemasons and labourers were also employed. All stone was carried by horses and waggons in the early days. Teams of eight horses could pull stones up to eight tons. The early quarrymen worked hard, and most of the work was done with pick and shovel, gads and hammers. Long heavy steel bars were used for making holes in the rock so that the rock could be blasted with gelignite. 66 Undercliffe Road is a stone house built by George Schwebel. Practically all the cliff face is now covered with vegetation and all the land has been built on. Waterworth Park was dedicated in 1911 with an area of over 5.6 hectares. Formerly known as Wolli Park, it was renamed Waterworth Park in honour of Alderman Ashton Waterworth, who served from 1928 to 1934. The Alert Newspaper, which circulated from Marrickville to Bankstown, was established in Campsie in 1911 by W. L. Ford, of Fifth Avenue, Campsie. The issue of April 27, 1912, although numbered Vol 2 No 48, said that it was almost twelve months since the first issue, and that the size had increased from four pages, to six and then to eight pages. It had been issued free until that issue, but would be sold for one penny from the next issue. It had a circulation of over 5 000 weekly. A later proprietor was James Augustus Wilson, who between 1914 and 1917 was an Alderman of Canterbury Council and served as Mayor during this peirod. A public telephone was provided at Forest Hill in June, 1911. The Permanent Avenue-Prince Edward Avenue area was described as “ the wilds of Cooks River country” and in the “ hinterland of Australia” by newspapers reporting on the visit to a weekend Boy Scouts camp by the founder of the Boy Scouts Movement on Saturday, May 18,1912. The Chief Scout, Sir Robert Baden-Powell, was on a world tour when he visited a camp of 800 scouts from the metropolitan area and 250 from the country, plus about 100 Aids. Thousands of sightseers walked from Wardell Road (now Dulwich Hill) Railway Station to watch the visit. The newspaper reports use many interesting descriptions, such as, that it was “ to give the distinguished visitor some idea of the Australian bush the camp was pitched in the wilds of Cooks River country” ; that the sightseers “ trudged over the hills and through the gullies” “ to a point out in the

If MILES FROM fin Rssidcntinl Sites 8, Poultry Finn Hocks. M

land with Jentle slope

5 A T T 2 3 - S E P T ? W at3 pm


I I per Lof Deposit Mance bi maitlltlf instalments

of 1(1/ mi p u tt e e s up In 1 31) j

.llpcr Int mi purchases mrcr.f.10 liilercsl only iZ per annum.


ARTHUR RltKAMit-L™ 84-' Pitt Street.

F .w m m ( / ihceauJ Sotif ft*

Earlewood Estate, 1905: Subdivision plan. (Courtesy Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW).

Most roads at that time were furrowed by cart wheels and there was no kerb or guttering. Canterbury Road was macadamised and the footpath was paved. The gutters were not lined and therefore became very deep. Vehicles were mostly horse-drawn during this period: tip-drays, spring-carts, the pantechnicon, sulkies, buggies, waggonettes, sociables, drays, hansoms or broughams. Supported by the Forest Hill Progress Association, a School of Arts was opened in River Street in 1908, but the next year it was wound up and all property and funds were transferred to the Progress Association. The Progress Hall appears to have become the social centre of the district. The application for a school was renewed in 1908, when the Progress Association asked for an infants school in the district. Subsequently, an application form was signed by thirty three parents on behalf of seventy five children. The report of the Inspector of Schools, which gives an interesting description of the district at the time, is as follows: Forest Hill is the name given to a cluster of about 90 houses situated within 15 minutes walk of the Public School at Canterbury. Most of the houses have been built during the past two or three years and appear to be occupied by laboring men's families: several of them are of very inferior character and made of old tin. Between the school and Forest Hill, the Cook’s River is situated. The distances given in the application are in nearly every instance wrong. Most of the houses are under a mile of the Canterbury School, and all are considerably within a radius of two miles. 35 of the children named are now attending the Canterbury School; the remainder are attending a private school kept by a young lady. The Inspector thought that there was no need for a Primary School “ as it is no hardship for all the children over eight years to walk to Canterbury” and there were not


Picnic crowd on Cooks River at Undercliffe early this century. Note the steps leading to Bayview Avenue.

from Fort Macquarie to lllawarra Road Junction, forty eight minutes to Warren Loop, and fifty three minutes to Undercliffe Terminus. The fare for the full journey was threepence, and the destination sign was “ Undercliffe” with one green circle on a white background. Requests for a school had been renewed in 1912 and 1913, the Forest Hill Progress Association offering the lease of their building (presumably the Progress Hall in River Street) at a nominal rental. This time, the Inspector of Schools was a little more impressed. In 1913, he reported: There is a space between Canterbury, Campsie, Moorfields, Marrickville West, and Bexley, the central point of which is over two miles from any school by road, and natural difficulties lie between the residences of many of the pupils and existing schools. Settlement is steadily progressing; a n d . . . there can be no doubt that a new school is wanted here. Although the population was growing slowly, perhaps more important in obtaining the school was the fact that Canterbury school and the new Campsie Public School, which had commenced only in 1908 and grown quickly, were overcrowded. The Inspector did not support opening a school in any existing building, but recommended that a site be acquired and a temporary building to accommodate 100 be erected as soon as possible. This was approved in June 1913, and in March, 1914, an area of just over two acres in the Earlewood Estate was purchased. As there was already a school called Forest Hill (near Wagga), the Principal Senior Inspector of the Department, Mr L. E. Lawford, in June, 1913, wanted to know whether the residents would like to use the old name of Parkestown or prefer some new one, such as “ Le Foret” (The Forest), “ Silvestris” (Woody), or “ Endendros” (Well Wooded). Whether he consulted the residents is not stated, but the

wilds” ; that the Chief Scout “ ventured into the hinterland of Australia” and went “ into the fastness of the country around Cooks River” “ through the scrub and over the rocks and along the sandy tracks which barred the way to this unconventional camp” Baden-Powell himself in his book about his world tour said that the Scouts “ were camped in the scrub among the rocky hills, each patrol in its own little spot very much hidden from view” Proposals for a branch tram line from Marrickville to Undercliffe were considered in 1903,1906,1908 and 1911. The 1906 investigation followed a tour of inspection by the Minister for Works, Mr C. A. Lee, in August of that year of the area as far as Forest Hill (now Earlwood): a line from Undercliffe through Forest Hill to Sharp Street, Canterbury (now Kingsgrove Road) was considered but rejected on the grounds that such patronage as was offering was better served by the railway. In August, 1911, construction was approved by the Minister of the line from Marrickville Road to the Cooks River bridge at Undercliffe, and a Ceremony of Turning the First Sod was held at the corner of lllawarra Road and Barnett Avenue by Mr Lee on October 12,1911. Mr Lee was afterwards presented with a silver spade to mark the occasion. Construction of the line included a bridge over the railway line at Marrickville Station to replace a level-crossing, and it was a single track with a crossing loop, known as the Warren Loop, just south of the railway line. The Official Opening took place on Saturday, November 9, 1912, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Marrickville by the Premier, Mr J. S. T. McGowan. The official party then travelled by a “ flag adorned and heavily laden” tramcar to the terminus, where a banquet, and a picnic for children, had been arranged in Riverside Park. The small population of Undercliffe and Forest Hill from that time had access to public transport which provided a twenty minute service to and from Fort Macquarie (on the site of the Opera House), with journey times of forty five minutes


Milium! is m is


ICSTSTC] L w ln t

Cooks River at Undercliffe, with tram waiting on Marrickville side. Bridge described as Riverside Bridge. (Undated postcard probably soon after tramline opened in 1912).

Inspector replied that he had found “ that the part of Forest Hill near the school site is known as Parkestown by people in Canterbury and elsewhere’! His recommendation that the school be called Parkestown was approved, and for some time the Departmental papers carried that name. Without any explanation for it being raised being given in the Minutes, a proposal to alter the name of the district was discussed at the meeting of the Forest Hill Progress Association on May 7, 1914. Perhaps it was because the school which the Association had sought over many years could not be named Forest Hill and it probably did not wish to revert to the old name. The decision of the meeting was to have a joint meeting with the Undercliffe Progress Association to consider the matter. A number of names were submitted for consideration at the next meeting on June 6,1914 (the actual names are not known), and voting was 21 to 2 in favour of Earlwood. The motion was moved by Mr Barrett and seconded by Mr Lyons. It is assumed that this name was suggested because the school site was on the Earlewood Estate. It wasn’t until the November, 1914, meeting that it was decided to ask the Education Department to call the school Earlwood instead of Parkestown. Although the letter requesting the change and the Department’s comments are not held at the State Archives, this was successful, as the name Earlwood is used at least from May, 1915. The letterhead used by the Progress Association in writing to the Education Department was changed to Earlwood in February, 1915. Meanwhile, the Undercliffe Progress Association was asking for a school at Undercliffe, saying that there were 80 to 100 children in the area. These were attending Marrickville West and Tempe Public Schools, and the parents complained of the risk of crossing Cooks River, particularly in wet weather with the river rising. The request

People walking up from Undercliffe Terminus about 1912. (Courtesy Mr F. W. Sinnett).

was rejected, but a further application was made almost immediately. The Inspector visited the district, but did not favour the Baptist church building offered for rent as a tem porary school. Most of the children attended Marrickville West School, and the bridge at Undercliffe was wide and as safe as could be expected. Those attending Tempe School had to cross the railway line at a level crossing at Tempe Station, but there was a woman in charge of the crossing and the gates were controlled from the signal box. The a pp lica tion was d eclined. Subsequently, the Department suggested a meeting between the Forest Hill and Undercliffe Progress Associations to discuss the location of a school to meet the needs of both districts, but Forest Hill did not want to


change. The Department saw no reason to change from the site already acquired by the Department. On further inspection in 1916, the church building at Undercliffe was found to be satisfactory, and a request was made for an infants school there, but tenders were about to be called for a building at Earlwood. Rather than a temporary building as recommended by the Inspector in 1913, a three-roomed brick school was built, and this was occupied in October, 1916. The enrolment in the first quarter was 110. By 1918, the effective enrolment had risen to just over 200 pupils, and another classroom was erected that year. Further additions were made in 1923 (two classrooms), 1929 (eight classrooms) and 1938 (nine classrooms). Although a school was thought necessary at Undercliffe and a site was resumed in February, 1917, in Unwin’s Bridge Road (now Bayview Avenue) on the hill overlooking Tempe, no further action was taken for a few years. Church of England services arranged by St Paul’s, Canterbury, were held on Sunday evenings in the Progress Hall in River Street in 1909. To serve the growing population in the area, the boundaries of the Anglican parish of St Clement’s, Marrickville, were extended across Cooks River to cover the present Earlwood and Undercliffe districts in 1915, the present site of St George’s, Earlwood, in Minnamorra Avenue was acquired (an article in the St Clement’s Parish Notes referred to the site as at Undercliffe Heights), and a brick and stone Mission Hall was erected. The opening and dedication by Archbishop Wright took place on Saturday, December 18,1915. The first services were held the following day. It was not until 1926 that Earlwood was made a separate parish, with a resident Rector living first in a rented house until a Rectory was completed a few years later. An article in the Campsie News of September 21,1966, following the death the previous August of Mrs E. M. Schwebel, gives some interesting sidelights on Earlwood when she and her husband Stan arrived in 1916. The shopping centre of Earlwood consisted of three shops, namely, a butcher’s shop, a produce merchant and a general store, serviced by a horse-drawn bus “ Brady's" which ran from Undercliffe to Earlwood along what is now Homer Street. The “ Riverside Inn” was a hotel on the banks of Cook’s River at Undercliffe. On the opposite side of the road was a boatshed, from which one could hire a boat and spend a pleasant day rowing up and down the river or go down during the evening to watch the fishermen netting prawns and fish at various places along the river. Primary production was the main source of income for many people in the district. Chinese market gardens were plentiful along the banks of Wolli Creek and Cook’s River, while pig-farming was carried on profitably near where Bardwell Park Station now stands. Dairies dotted the area, and the milkman sold his wares, with much noise, to anyone who came out with a billy-can or jug. In those days anyone wishing to do so could walk practically a straight line from Earlwood Terminus to Canterbury or Dulwich Hill, without striking more than a few scattered houses. Earlwood and Undercliffe both had their gangs, and many a brawl occurred between them before the advent of the police and a lock-up cell in View Street. When the famous Fanny Durack gave an exhibition of Olympic swimming in 1916, the river was a lively place. A Venetian Carnival was held in the evening, with stalls on the land. Roller skating was the popular sport. This special day was to raise funds to send comforts to the servicemen at the 1914-1918 war. In 1916, the Earlwood Ratepayers Progress Association applied to the Postmaster-General’s Department for a

The General Store on the corner of Bayview Avenue and Homer Street and its proprietor, Mr Andrew Lyon, in 1915. There were only three shops in Earlwood at this time, and Mr Lyon would call and collect orders from people in the bush and return them on his horse or sulky. (Courtesy Earlwood Community News and Mrs Nellie Thomas).

receiving office at Earlwood. Sites suggested were at the general store in William Street (near Homer Street) of S. D. Cameron (who was secretary of the Association) or at Mr White’s (which was on the south side of William Street apparently towards the present Bexley Road). The area around both stores received a letter delivery from Canterbury post office, near Cameron’s twice daily, and White’s once daily. A letter receiver and public telephone were situated about 250 yards from Cameron’s store. The department thought that the existing facilities reasonably met the needs of the district, and refused the request. A petition signed by eighty four local residents requesting a post office at Earlwood was forwarded in 1917 by Bruce Nicoll, president of the Earlwood Progress Association, and S. D. Cameron and Henry A. Christersen (whose store was on the south side of Homer Street apparently towards the present Bexley Road) were nominated in the event that a post office was established. However, for the same reasons, the request was unsuccessful. William Brady commenced the first public conveyance to Earlwood with a horse bus service in 1916, running from Sydenham rather than Tempe because the steep hill in Bayview Avenue would be too much for the horses with a loaded vehicle. His daughter says that a waggonette drawn by two horses was used first and this carried ten to twelve passengers inside. The driver sat outside on a high seat at the front. Fares were passed up to the driver from the inside of the carriage through an opening in the bodywork. When a larger vehicle became necessary, a double decker horse bus drawn by six horses, with outside stairs to the top deck, was used. Sometimes the load was too great up the Homer Street hill and some passengers had to walk the distance to lighten the strain on the horses. Horse buses on other runs were drawn by only five horses. Motor buses began operating on the route very early in the 1920s. Later, the route was extended to commence at Eddy Avenue (Central) and ran to what is now Bexley Road and later still to Sharp Street (now Kingsgrove Road). Council records give further information on public transport serving the district. In 1917, Thomas Scahill obtained permission from Canterbury Council to run a “ sociable” from Sharp Street (now Kingsgrove Road) to Undercliffe Bridge via Homer Street. The sociable carried seven passengers, the time of journey was thirty minutes, and the fare was sixpence. In 1918, S. V. Dunn received permission to run a motor bus from Earlwood to Sydney railway station. In 1919, Council approved of services by


out for high location and picturesque views” Finley Mclnnes was a well-known estate agent in Undercliffe for many years from 1910. A person who, as a youth, visited the area from his home in Canterbury says that Forest Hill about 1918 had some lovely big gum trees and was a typical little country-type town, with a General Store, little weatherboard cottages and red dusty roads. It appeared to be quite isolated from Canterbury and Campsie. He also remembers the entrance gates to “ Glenore” (elsewhere said to have been at the corner of Bexley Road and Northcote Street), and these were typical of the entrances to most of the stately homes built last century or in the early 1900s. Wrought iron gates supported by stone pillars, two for the carriageway in the centre and two for the walkway on each side. A high timber fence and big pine trees surrounded the property. He thinks there was a small cottage and a neglected orchard and the remains of what would have been “ Glenore House” Although he never saw one, he thinks there was a caretaker. Another early resident describes the house as “ a beautiful country cottage surrounded by fir trees. It had a little lake and a stream with a footbridge over it” Another recollection is of a two-storey building, with pine trees, roses and a picket fence, and another of a weatherboard house with a low iron roof and verandah posts, gardens and lawns, fruit trees, fowls, horses, ponies, snakes, and a swamp on the property. The Glenore Estate was subdivided in 1918. The notice for the auction sale on March 9, 1918, refers to 72 choice building sites (east of Marana Road) “ within fruit and flower gardens of Glenore House” The plan shows Glenore House in the area bounded by Northcote Street (now Bexley Road), William Street, Marana and Calbina Roads. The plan of the second subdivision (west of Marana Road) for sale on February 22, 1919, does not show the house, suggesting demolition about 1918. War Service Homes were built on the area in the early 1920s. In the ten years from 1911 to 1921, the population of Canterbury Municipality increased from 11 335 to 37 639 and there was an increase from 2 329 buildings to 8 225 occupied dwellings. Campsie would have figured prominently in this huge increase, but there would have been some increase in Earlwood and Undercliffe. However, the big increase in Earlwood was to be in the next ten years.

A. J. Fullagar from Wardell Road to Undercliffe Tram Terminus, and A. G. Dunn from Westfield and William Streets via lllawarra Road, Stanmore Road, City Road to Central Station. In 1920, approvals included B. C. Wickens from Earlwood to Canterbury Station, and E. H. Smith from Earlwood to Dulwich Hill. New services in 1923 included W. Brady from Earlwood to Central Station, and in 1924 T. W. Draper from Earlwood to Sydney. In 1926, buses on route 580, Burwood-Earlwood, via Campsie, were discontinued for seven days to fit pneumatic tyres in place of the solid tyres previously used. Although the population of the district was only small, many of the young men went overseas to fight in World War I. In March, 1917, a Roll of Honour to twenty five Earlwood men who had gone to the War was unveiled in the Progress Hall in River Street. From the small population of the Canterbury Municipality, 608 residents served in the armed forces and eighty six of these died. Campsie being the main centre in the Municipality, Anzac Square in Anglo Road near the Post Office was dedicated and the band rotunda carries the inscription: Anzac Square Dedicated to the memory of Canterbury’s sons who at their country’s call fought and fell in the defence of freedom and liberty in the Great War. Greater love hath no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends. J. A. Wilson Mayor (Mr Wilson was Mayor from 1914 to 1917.) A fountain was erected in Anglo Road to “ honour the Fallen Heroes of the Canterbury District” and Canterbury Council erected an Honour Roll at the Town Hall in Canterbury Road listing the names of the 608 residents who served. The entry for Undercliffe and The Warren in a publication, Where To Live, in 1917 says that Undercliffe “ is only really just beginning to open up, and there are any amount of fine building sites available . . . The tongue of land at Undercliffe, extending from Tempe railway station, to as far out as Eastwood (sic), would be extremely hard to beat as a desirable place to build for people on the look­


CHAPTER 7: Housing Boom (1920-1930) War Service Homes Commission. To assist servicemen returning from World War I, a Repatriation Department was set up in Australia in 1918 and the War Service Homes Scheme was an important part of the repatriation measures introduced. The War Service Homes Act received Royal Assent on Christmas Day, 1918, the Act was proclaimed on March 6,1919, and operations were well and truly under way by 1920. The first home completed under the scheme was in the Municipality of Canterbury (at Belmore), and of the parcels of land in the Commission’s records as Groups 1-13, six were in Canterbury Municipality. The land in the Undercliffe Estate mentioned below was numbered Group 142. The maximum loan available under the scheme was £700, and the cost of the houses built in Earlwood would have been just above this amount. The speediest and most economical method of operation was thought to be buying large areas of land for subdivision and letting contracts for the erection of houses on the land. However, building contractors could not be found at reasonable prices and the Commission became a constructing authority, as well as being involved in the production of building supplies. In 1921, the Government decided to build only for individual applicants for specified houses, and to use only private contractors to build. Between March 6,1919, and June 30, 1921, the Commission provided 16 354 homes, either built or financed under the Scheme. This was a considerable achievement despite major difficulties and administrative problems. Construction then slowed, although 39 059 homes had been provided throughout Australia by 1929. On May 21, 1920, the War Service Homes Com­ missioner purchased a little over 73 acres of land from The Sydney Permanent Freehold Land and Building Company

In the years immediately following World War I, Earlwood changed from a semi-rural area with a scattered and small population to a settled suburb. With Belmore, Lakemba, Punchbowl and Ashbury, Earlwood figured in the housing boom and large growth in population in Canterbury Municipality in the 1920s. In the Annual Reports of the Metropolitan Water, Sewerage and Drainage Board between 1920 and 1929, Canterbury is shown as having by far the greatest growth in Sydney of properties connected to the water supply with 10 618, the next highest being 6 068 in Randwick Municipality. In the same period, Canterbury accounted for 16% of Sydney’s population increase. According to Census figures, in the 12 years from 1921 to 1933, the population of Canterbury Municipality increased from 37 639 to 79 050, and occupied dwellings from 8 225 to 18 551. The Daily Guardian on January 5, 1926, reported that the Canterbury district again headed the list for the building record, and that the locality within Canterbury which showed the most “ phenomenal progress” in the twenties was Earlwood. Two other aspects of life in Canterbury in the 1920s which would have applied perhaps more in Earlwood than in the other growth suburbs in the Municipality were the high rate of home ownership and the fairly high average cost of new dwellings. A 1925 article said that 90% of the population in Canterbury owned their own homes, though the 1921 census gave the figure of 71 % of owner-occupied dwellings and the 1933 census 60%. In 1928, the average cost of new dwellings in what is described as mixed-class Canterbury was £869, compared with £585 in working-class Bankstown and £1 692 in middle-class Mosman. Much of the growth was the result of the activities of the

/ —

M uninpjMg or C m lnrbuiy

o r ,» n



/Y /J /\/

* //«

l„ ,d


com prise*



I tttu i fin ,/

/v ,


Certs -rT ti/c

S ' George

M 2760. 61711. M 26L\ fe /8 S

County Qr Cum b e rk

f3^0 in*tv.)


froporstf Oex/fi/ Cw//h /r j r .


S/t/r. Kh'.tor

Ik/idj, /.? ifa*'// •‘.v.Tf/rrr/j/ /J

Ye//o»v C o/our

C /✓///) /o

cvw w w /

/o Hrstf/or f&rp/r CUrnr.



j/>tn/ n w t/re n /

/{j C<wiin/.\.i/on^r

AV /i /ur/if.r /o utiJrf/> ***". ffbtf tr/trn <//♦*■/• 3v </<x/Srx ffty n/fj>unf/y ctjns/n/cJ /i)//jc jr J iu r y /nontci/^i/ ftforrrrrj/y M r rtMt/s

iW/rcf /*/?/ /'.*;<A-.,/»/ /s/fan's fifr+n CoAn/f’ /.? pr&/i / Ji/nwv// /o (/rern

/to* •


/for//lrrn Aj.y/je/..ry ///r /t/H/ /•} f c />or*-/i+3*%V

Ay //jc Gho/wSSwht

J/ys oA ;V

nA //vtcAvr*• Jr.-*•vyvrv-o' /_- .*<•



ff/ur S/.icJu/fr;

0/ /-V Cc/.'.MfSAvy<v'" Pr , Kv r / n m/

o f a proposed Subdivision o f p o r t o f


Plan of land at Earlwood purchased by the War Service Homes Commission in 1920. (Courtesy Defence Service Homes Corporation).


Limited of Sydney for £16 445/0/9. This land was situated between Thompson Street and Vimy Street/Wardell Road, from about Kitchener Avenue to about Prince Edward Avenue, providing over 300 home sites, and was part of the Undercliffe Estate. This area was commonly known at that time as “ the Company’s paddocks” although later nobody knew the name of the company. Although the land was purchased in 1920, it was from 1926 onwards that the houses were constructed. Land to the north of Prince Edward Avenue, part of the Wardell Park Estate, provided about 180 further sites. Erection of War Service Homes on the Glenore Estate, which was bounded by Bexley Road, W illiam and Northcote Streets, has already been mentioned. The early arrivals in the 1920s came to a district lacking made roads, sewerage and stormwater drainage, with few shops and churches, and long distances to rail and tram routes for access to jobs and leisure activities. The next few years saw many changes. It is interesting to note the influence on Earlwood of Marrickville rather than, say, Campsie, which is in the same M unicipality. M arrickville was responsible for the commencement of a number of the churches in Earlwood and, no doubt, the existence of the tram service from Undercliffe to Marrickville was a factor in the link between the two communities. Campsie was a young community, and still growing, and still intent on building and consolidating its own structure of churches and services, and probably not in any position to begin to think about the needs of its neighbours. Marrickville had many years start on Campsie, was well-established and secure, and could afford to look beyond its own needs to those of its neighbours. The extension of the tram from Undercliffe to Earlwood in 1924 also would have strengthened the links between Earlwood and Marrickville, providing Earlwood residents with access to the railway system at Marrickville Station and to a larger shopping centre than its own, and, of course, a direct transport link to the city through Marrickville. Until the availability of private motor vehicles allowed travel in any direction, people tended to restrict their movements to a familiar pattern for work (with most jobs in the city or inner suburbs, shopping (locally or to the nearest large centre), or leisure (mainly picture theatres which Marrickville offered). After the previous failures, a further petition in 1920 asking for a post office at Earlwood was successful, and C. O. Hudson, a local businessman, was appointed receiving office keeper. The name given to the office was “ Earlewood” but the postal department cannot indicate the reason for adopting this spelling. (We know that it was the spelling of the name of the 1905 subdivision.) It was used in the official post office guides and in early documents until it was changed to “ Earlwood” in late 1928 or early 1929. In 1921, J. S. H. Young bought Hudson’s business and became receiving office keeper. In 1925, the status of the office was raised to an allowance post office with T. R. Ryan as Postmaster. Undercliffe Progress Hall in Riverview Road (now the Greek Hall) was probably erected after World War I. It was widely used by the district. The first Catholic Masses and the first Parents and Citizens Association meetings were held there, Friendly Societies met fortnightly, and balls and weddings took place there. The land comprising Earlwood Park was acquired for park purposes in 1921. Around this time it was used to give joy-flights and one plane touched the electric light wires with lots of sparks. The Catholic parochial district of Earlwood has at various times belonged to Marrickville and Tempe, while those parts close to Campsie and Dulwich Hill gave

“ Duranbah” in Homer Street, formerly owned by Mr G. F. (Fred) Hocking, as the Convent about 1923, and at rear the Catholic Church-School, formerly the garage of “ Duranbah'I with fibro extension. (From Catholic parish newspaper about 1929.)

allegiance to those parishes. (Prior to the opening of the railway to Belmore, a Catholic church-school had been built at Canterbury. On November 11, 1894, Cardinal Moran opened and blessed St Anthony’s Church at the junction of Howard, High and Canton Streets near the old Canterbury Town Hall. No doubt this seemed a very suitable location for the future development of the district. However, with the residential growth of Campsie, the building was moved to the present site at the corner of Evaline and Duke Streets, Campsie, in 1915.) As part of Tempe Parish, the first Mass in the Earlwood district was said in the Progress Hall at Undercliffe in November, 1922. In January, 1923, the first school, with twenty three pupils, was opened at “ Linga-Longa” the home of Mrs William Hocking in Unwin’s Bridge Road (now Bayview Avenue). (The home was being used at the same time for Methodist services, as mentioned below.) The present property in Homer Street had been acquired in the previous November, and on February 14,1923, the Sisters occupied the former home of Fred Hocking as a convent. School was then taught in the garage and Mass was said in the convent hall. The garage, with a fibro extension, became the first school-church, which was blessed by Archbishop Kelly in March, 1923, the Archbishop himself choosing the name of Our Lady of Lourdes. In 1928, Earlwood became a separate parish, and the Grotto was built in 1936. On March 4, 1922, foundation stones of the Earlwood Methodist Church in William Street were laid by Mr John Green and Mrs William Barrett, old residents and workers for the church, and the church was opened on May 13, 1922. Alterations and enlargements were made to the church in subsequent years. Rev R. B. Lew, PresidentGeneral, unveiled the plaque on the Methodist War Memorial Hall on August 7,1955. At different times, Sunday School attendances have been too large for the church building. During the lifetime of the old church, the Progress Association Hall in River Street was used, and later, when the Sunday School ranked as one of the largest in the state, Kennedy’s Hall and the Mayfair Theatre were used. The Church is now part of the Campsie-Earlwood Parish of the Uniting Church. Services were held for about two years at the home of Mr and Mrs William Hocking in Unwin’s Bridge Road (now Bayview Avenue) before the Undercliffe Methodist Church, originally built as a Sunday School Hall, was completed in November, 1923, and opened as part of the Marrickville


the term “ Memorial” was dropped) in Canterbury Road, Campsie, was opened on October 26, 1929. Sir Ronald Grieve (Herbert Ronald Robinson Grieve, to give his full name) was not only a general practitioner at 113 Homer Street, Earlwood, but served medicine and the community in many other capacities. He was a member of the NSW Legislative Council from 1933 to 1935; a member of the NSW Council of the British Medical Association from 1937 to 1956, and President of the NSW Branch in 1947-48; a member of the Federal Council of the Association from 1947 to 1956; and a member of the NSW Medical Board from 1941 to 1963. Sir Ronald was a member of a small investigative committee which devised Australia’s first comprehensive medical insurance fund, the Medical Benefits Fund of Australia, was its first President from 1946 and continued in that position until his resignation in 1975. He was President of the International Federation of Health Service Funds from 1968 to 1970, and he held numerous other honorary positions. For his service to medicine, he was knighted in 1958. Sir Ronald Grieve died in 1982. The Gem of Earlwood Estate (Cameron Avenue and Nicoll Avenue) was auctioned on February 28, 1925. The Pines Estate (Homer Street, Malley Avenue and Main Street) was advertised in October, 1927, as being on an outstanding plateau embracing most extensive views, two minutes from the motor ’bus route, eight minutes walk from the tram terminus, close to the shopping centre and schools and adjacent to the proposed route of the Tempe-East Hills Railway. Agitation for a tram service to Earlwood can be traced back at least to 1901 when a trial survey for a line as far as Sharp Street (now Kingsgrove Road) was made. The opening of the line to Undercliffe in 1912 brought further

circuit. Sunday School classes commenced in 1924. In 1929, the Church was transferred to the Earlwood circuit, and a Kindergarten Hall was added in 1930.

Public transport in Earlwood in 1920 before the tram extension.

The Western Suburbs Cottage Hospital opened in 1893 and Marrickville Hospital opened in 1895 and these would have served early Undercliffe and Earlwood residents. Doctors from Marrickville and perhaps Ashfield would have visited patients in the Earlwood area early this century, and it would have been necessary to visit a chemist in Marrickville for medicine. Doctors set up practice in Campsie just before World War I. The first doctor in Earlwood listed in Sands Directories was Dr T. Nelson in Homer Street near Wardell Road (later Dr Moss’ address), in 1922, suggesting a 1921 commencement. For the next three years, Dr D. G. Goddard was at that address. In 1925, the name of Dr R. (later Sir Ronald) Grieve appears in Homer Street (opposite Bayview Avenue). The following year, Dr H. St Leger Moss replaced Dr Goddard, and Dr A. R. Hudson commenced in William Street (corner School Lane), where he practised for about forty years. Dr G. Russell commenced in about 1930 and practised until the early 1960s. Doctors then worked twenty four hours per day, seven days a week and were paid ten shillings and sixpence in the surgery and twelve shillings and sixpence for a home visit, plus an extra five shillings for a visit at night. Lodge patients were a large part of most practices and attracted a fee of £1/6/10 per year for the whole family. There were no antibiotics, and tuberculosis was usually a death sentence. People with peritonitis nearly always died, and it you had pneumonia, you were very lucky to survive. Most babies were delivered at home, and minor surgery was commonly done at home on the kitchen table, pushed up to the window for light, and the doctor scrubbed up in a basin. Some small private general hospitals and midwifery hospitals served the area. Romani Private Hospital was established at 152 Homer Street about 1924, with Mrs E. Davidson as Matron. St Helens Maternity Hospital was opened at the corner of Cameron Avenue and Clarke Street and was run by Nurses Brett and Nash. Later, they bought a new house in William Street nearly opposite Cameron Avenue and called it Valesco Private Hospital. When Nurse Brett died, Nursh Nash was joined by Sister Green, who ran it until its closure about 1952. Meanwhile, in the early thirties, St Helens had moved to the former home of Edward Hocking in William Street at the corner of what is now McKenzie Lane, and Sisters Johnston and Whitton apparently ran it until the mid forties. Canterbury District Memorial Hospital (as it was known until 1972, when

^ 9 ^ ] The B E LL E V U E HILL of the WESTERN SUBURBS 75 Magnificent BUILDING SUES within a few Minutes of the BUS ROUTE p. the new


E le v a te d P o s it io n ^ P a n o r a m ic V iew s • M o un t a i n A ir W Jj

fE jM M o i!


Ry PRIV&TF TRFATY jH^Tnl m l t I n if tH

B iM w m iB ija Distributing AQentsu,„„,M , TO Marnttoitlc MitIiIIi fotnJatiw’.' tto». hTm

t o r




t] tle

tuildmQ Carrrun/ for protethon c* Bufttrt

ysxw m ' f ' Deposit ' f

B alancc in 20 equal Q uarterly In stalm en ts In te re st 7?. p^nmim

C /D |0 \0 J J ,CARROLL ta tini fn»ti

h a n i l o r a

II C«Mtnu$b£!|tlnn

c/o$co L o c a l Sk e t c h

W . A . O 'D O N N E LL liccnwid Surveyor (» 43 H ijabelh S' Sydney

Subdivision plan: Grandview Estate, “ the Bellevue Hill of the Western Suburbs’,’ about 1923. (Courtesy Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW).


line was a single track with a crossing loop at Watkin Avenue and a double-track dead-end at the terminus on the Sydney side of William Street. After a trial run the previous week, regular services began on Monday, February 18, 1924, with a twenty minute frequency throughout the day and evening, including Sundays. The running time from Undercliffe to Earlwood was eight minutes, and the through running time from Fort Macquarie to Earlwood was sixty minutes (fifty eight on Sundays). The extension was a new fare section, the fourth section. The line was such a success that, one week after it opened, morning and evening peak-hour frequencies had to be increased from twenty to ten minute intervals. The destination sign for Earlwood was “ Earlwood” above a green circle on a white background. The Official Opening ceremony took place on Saturday, February 23, 1924, at the Undercliffe terminus and was performed by the daughter of the Minister for Public Works, Mr R. T. Ball. She was presented with a pair of gold-plated scissors by the Undercliffe Progress Association. The principal reason for the building of the Tempe to East Hills Railway line was to relieve congestion on the Bankstown and lllawarra lines, but the decision flowed from agitation for a tram line from Hurstville to Dumbleton (Beverly Hills) and for a rail line from Bankstown to East Hills. Another proposal was to extend the steam tram (which had commenced to operate in 1909 from Arncliffe through Bexley and along Stoney Creek Road to Preddeys Road) further along Stoney Creek Road to Dumbleton and on to Lakemba. In 1921, the Railway Commissioners suggested the line midway between the lllawarra and Bankstown lines. In 1923, a line as far as Salt Pan Creek was recommended, then was proposed as far as East Hills, and even at that time, a connection to the Southern Line at Glenfield was suggested. Local groups along the line took up the proposal e n th u s ia s tic a lly , and the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works recommended the line to State Parliament in August, 1924, expecting a small operating profit and opening up good building land. The debate on the Bill to construct the line took only fifteen minutes after it was introduced at 5.12 a.m. on December 17, 1924, and the Governor’s Assent was given on December 23, but no funds were provided. Just before the State Elections in 1927, the Premier, Jack Lang, performed the Turning of the First Sod ceremony at Padstow on September 3, 1927, but he lost the election. However, the new non-Labor government on April 11,1928, instructed the Railways Commissioners to commence work on the line. Even before the line was approved, subdivisions closer to W olli Creek m entioned the line, often exaggerating the proximity, particularly as it had not been decided where the stations would be. The Salvation Army Boys Home in Kingsland Road, Bexley North, had opened in 1915, and accommodated seventy five boys committed to the care of the Army by the Childrens Courts. In 1924, Bexley North Public School opened under the name of Kingsland Road, with enrolments restricted to pupils of the Home. In 1930, enrolment was opened to all children in the area. By 1943, there were 146 pupils, and by 1952, 632. The Wardell Road bridge over Cooks River erected in 1899 seems to have outlived its usefulness by the 1920s, and steps were taken to have it replaced. After a contribution of £1 000 by the State Government, the remaining cost of £11 375 was shared equally by Marrickville and Canterbury Councils. The bridge was completed in 1925. The Public Works Department built the bridge over Cup and Saucer Creek at Fore Street in 1926. A picture theatre under construction in Homer Street near Watkin Avenue was blown down in a wind storm in


Ot/rCf 0XIPJ*.' SMS

/* A


-CI'l;d!B^;ir7TTTTTV * ,•tauwtar srtnsat, iami


■stattok *n ,.„ .r/r.;______



3 rd M A Y




p.m .


W A T K IN S W A T K IN Metmunt*uto*umsi.ftaum**ir

151 •• i’

-*•^'•^^1___ I) ■

h I


h \

, .1 ■’ \y rtHMS. V ' - •'

1••'■ . /t . mwfg/s mu

|~rrrrcr.^” f

Subdivision plan: Wardell Park Estate No 3, 1924, part of the property of the Sydney Permanent Freehold Land, Building and Investment Society, hence Permanent Avenue. (Courtesy Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW).

requests, and a fresh survey in July, 1915, found that a favourable grade could be obtained on the length from Undercliffe to Forest Hill, but estimated revenue was far less than the expected running costs, including interest payments. In 1916, the Earlwood Progress Association indicated that they were prepared to guarantee the tramway against loss when built. The Minister replied that construction would proceed when funds became available, and subject to the signing of the guarantees by the property owners and Councils concerned. Lack of funds prevented a start, although there were further requests and favourable inspections by Ministers for Works in 1919 and 1920. Evidence given to the Parliamentary Public Works Committee showed that the number of houses along the route had increased from 153 in January, 1919, to 236 in September, 1920, and that further expansion was expected, whether or not a War Service Homes proposal eventuated. Private witnesses spoke of the favourable features of the area, including their expectation that Cooks River at Undercliffe would become a popular pleasure place. The Committee recommended the extension, and a Bill authorising construction was introduced into the Legislative Assembly by the Minister for Public Works, Mr J. Estell, on November 23,1921. However, the Bill lapsed and it was not until almost a year later that a new Bill was introduced. There was little discussion, and the Royal Assent was given on November 24, 1922. Construction of the tramline commenced in 1923. A separate tramway bridge had to be built over Cooks River as it was found that the road bridge was unsuitable. The

The official opening of the Undercliffe to Earlwood tramway extension on February 23, 1924. (Courtesy D. Keenan collection).


suggested that the district had some claim to an association with Clements Tonic and Mr Clements’ name. Because of pressure on accommodation at Campsie Public School, the church hall at the corner of Mons and Cressy Streets, Canterbury (later St James Church), was rented in May, 1926, and a new school called Clemton Park Infants School opened there. By April, 1927, there were fifty six girls and sixty boys enrolled. This school became Canterbury South School, when a new six classroom building was opened in Northcote Street (now Bexley Road) in 1929 and named Clemton Park Public School. This school was built for 300 pupils (50 pupils for each classroom). On February 13,1929, the enrolment was 292, with pupils transferring from Campsie, Belmore South, Earlwood and Clemton Park Infants schools; in April the enrolment reached 331; in June 380; and in October 386. By August 1930, the enrolment was 450 and from then on, classes were housed in the Assembly Hall and the weathersheds. It was not until 1944 that work commenced on enlarging the brick building.

November, 1924. A year or two later, MrE. J. Hocking built another theatre and some shops on the southern side of Homer Street, opposite the present hotel. Originally, it was called the Earlwood Theatre, probably until the Chelsea was being established, when it became the Mayfair Theatre. It was licensed in March, 1927, and had seating for 1 412 patrons. Kennedy’s Hall at 285 Homer Street was licensed as a hall in 1926, and the building was rebuilt to become the Chelsea Cinema, opening on Wednesday, October 16,1940. It had seating for 824 in stalls and circle, and was operated by Chelsea Theatres Ltd, which was part of a chain which included theatres at Kingsgrove, Beverly Hills, Canterbury, and Rose Bay, as well as the Mayfair at Earlwood.

Some of the more common fathers’ occupations of the pupils who enrolled in 1929 were market gardener, bacon curer, lintel maker, blacksmith, winchman, stone mason, wool classer, soap maker, baker, tram driver, hod carrier, brick maker, bricklayer, dairyman, ash trimmer, tiler, carpenter, leather worker, wood turner, broom maker, box maker, bootmaker, smallgoods merchant, greengrocer, farmer and one described as an “ emergency man” The first Presbyterian service held in Earlwood was conducted by the Rev G. M. Scott, the Minister of Marrickville, on June 13,1926. It was reported that a very inspiring address was given by the Rev Thomas Morgan, the Convenor of the Home Missions Committee to well over

Shoppers in Earlwood in 1924 outside the bakery three doors from Watkin Avenue. Note the storm damage in the background and the women’s 1920s dresses. (Courtesy Mrs K. Watson).

From the time of the opening of the tramline from Undercliffe to Earlwood in 1924, there were requests for the further extension along William Street to Sharp Street (now Kingsgrove Road). There was a deputation of local residents to the Minister in July, 1925, and on May 13,1926, the Minister visited the district. He was told that the existing bus service was expensive and inadequate. The Minister referred the proposal to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works, which heard that the expenditure on the line would be greater than the anticipated revenue. However, because of the expected development of the area, the Committee in 1927 decided that the extension should be built. The Government did not wish to proceed with further tramway construction because of the competition from private bus services, and the Depression of the 1930s and the opening of the East Hills Railway Line in 1931 ended any hope of the tramline being built. Local residents continued to campaign until the mid-1930s, by which time the Government had acquired the bus services along the proposed route and these were providing a reasonable service. It was the desire for the extension of the tram beyond Earlwood (as well as for a school, park, and telephone service) that caused the formation of the William Street Progress Association and Tramway Extension League. In 1925, the League decided that a separate name for the area was needed and held a competition to find a new name. A member of the League, Mr Len Loxley, suggested Clemton Park. Frederick Moore Clements had purchased the 42 acres at the corner of William Street and Bexley Road from Allan Williams in 1895 and held it until 1911, was a successful businessman and had been associated with a patent medicine, Clements Tonic. Mr Loxley

Frederick Moore Clements, who owned 42 acres fronting present-day Northcote Street, Bexley Road, and William Street from 1895 to 1911, was the maker of “ Clements Tonic" The Clements name and the tonic inspired the name Clemton Park in 1925.


Although a site had been acquired for a school in Unwin’s Bridge Road (now Bayview Avenue) on the hill overlooking Tempe in 1917, and plans prepared for four classrooms, this site was found to be too far away from the population developments which occurred subsequently. The present site of Undercliffe Public School was purchased in 1922, but, despite many approaches, it was not until 1925 that it was decided to proceed with the building. A tender for eight rooms was accepted in 1927 and the first teacher commenced in November, 1927. The school was officially opened on March 24, 1928. The Earlwood Ex-Servicemen’s Club in Fricourt Avenue had its beginnings in a meeting of returned servicemen in the Earlwood area held on a vacant allotment at the corner of Gueudecourt Avenue and Thompson Street in 1927, when it was decided to form an organisation called “ The Earlwood Soldiers Welfare Association’! After some argument as to whether it should be an RSL Club or an ExServicemen’s club, it was decided to affiliate with the Australian Legion of Ex-Servicemen. Membership gradually increased and a move was made to Kennedy’s Hall in Homer Street for the meetings of the Association. Then in 1928 the Catholic School was used for meetings and social functions. To build a hall and club rooms, land was purchased and an old military hut moved from Randwick. During the Depression, voluntary labour was used to erect clubrooms. The foundation stone of a new hall was laid on March 3,1934, by the Hon Sir Charles Marr, who was a Patron of the Club, and a memorial stone was unveiled by the Federal Member for Lang, Mr D. Mulcahy, on June 8, 1935. In November, 1928, members of the Marrickville Baptist Church decided to establish a fellowship in Earlwood, and again Kennedy’s Hall was used for the first service, afterwards moving to the Earlwood Theatre (later the Mayfair). Within six years, the present site on the corner of Homer Street and Richard Avenue had been acquired and a church building erected, where on August 4, 1934, stones were unveiled by Rev P. J. Dunkley, Home Mission Superintendent, and Rev A. Jolly, President, Baptist Union. The first open-air Salvation Army meeting in Earlwood was conducted in September, 1925. Until the formation of the Corps at Earlwood, it was considered as an Outpost of Campsie Corps and was frequently visited on Sunday mornings by the Campsie band. The Earlwood Corps was established in 1929 and met first in Kennedy’s Hall. Mrs Ethel Williams was the No 1 soldier in the new Corps. She held a number of Local Officer positions and was involved in the Corps until her death in January, 1987, at the age of 91. Land was acquired in Earlwood Avenue, and the first Citadel was opened in 1933. This was demolished in 1973, and a new Citadel was built and opened on August 10, 1974. The site of the Clemton Park Methodist Church at the Corner of Miller Street and Dunkirk Avenue, Kingsgrove, was acquired in 1925, and a church was built by voluntary labour in 1929. As an indication of the condition of the river, it is said that at one time there was a steam boat service on Cooks River between Croydon Park and the dam at Canterbury. Later, because of silt and gravel that found its way into the river, the river was subject to flooding in many places, and considerable distress was caused to people living along the banks, especially the market gardeners who supplied Sydney with vegetables. In the upper reaches, there were many snags in the river, making it unsafe. Following requests by councils and meetings by private citizens, dredging was commenced and in 1919 the dredge Tempe was at work in the lower river and in 1920 was working above Unwin’s Bridge. It seemed to have worked to little

Nurse Sullivan R edfern


P arram atta

of 3 4 y e a rs c om n o riin g se r­ vic e ta ib e a b o v e d istric ts w rites tk a t in H er o p in io n

CLEMENTS TONIC I t a m e d icin e sp e cially su ited to co ea titu tio o s w e a k e n e d by illness, sh e w r i le a : — C L E M E N T S T O N IC L T D . M I c a r rie d o » m y p r o f e u io n a t Y e u f S t r e e t , R c d le rn , (o r ZS y e a n , a n d (o r tb e I a i t mine y e a r s a t P a r r a m a tta . '* I L av e b a d a l a r f e n u m b e r • f t ic k p e o p le a a d e r m y c a re a o d it b aa b e e n a p le a s u r e to r e c a m m e a d C lem e n ts T o n ic . 1 k n e w i t w o u ld g iv e g o o d r e s u lts . M y a e ic e w a s r a tb e r r a n d o w n in b e a ltb la te l y , b u t sb e is g e ttin g o a s p le n d id a s tb e r e s u l t o( ta k in g y o u r m e d ic in e ." ( S ig n e d )

Nurse 0 Sullivan

EiKBtialljr the medicine (or ihe Invalid of lot lho*e weak lio n overwork, lever. of operation). Il |ive« new tile lo the •ftlM i. tooea gp the ilomtch. liver, or nerve*. T R Y IT T O -D A Y . A L L C H E M IS T S S T O C K IT

Typical advertisement for Clements Tonic (The Land newspaper, January 17, 1919).

100 persons. This service was held in Kennedy’s Hall (the site of the later Chelsea Theatre) where services were held each week until August, 1927, when they were transferred to the Mayfair Theatre. To have their own place of worship, a church hall was erected in Collingwood Avenue, and this was dedicated for worship on December 18,1927. The first Session was constitued on March 11, 1928. In 1940, a school hall was erected and thereafter the old building was used exclusively for worship. The Manse was acquired in 1948, enabling the call of the first ordained minister. In 1927, there was an Earlwood-Undercliffe Separation League seeking the establishment of a municipality separate from Canterbury. At a deputation to the Minister for Local Government (Mr Bruxner), it was claimed that the area did not get a fair share of the benefit from revenue and taxation, and that the administration of the affairs of the council was not satisfactory. A commissioner was appointed to consider the proposal, but in 1928 Canterbury Council was informed that it was thought inadvisable to agree to the request. Earlwood’s first police station was established in 1927. It was a rented brick cottage in View Street which was closed in 1936 and replaced by a weatherboard call box erected at 60 Earlwood Avenue. An Earlwood Scout group was originally formed in 1915 with Mr Gregory Atkinson as the Scout Leader. Little is known about this troop which by 1926 had ceased to exist but in 1927 the 1st Earlwood Scout Group was formed and registered with Mr Harry Barnett as the Scout Leader of a troop of fourteen boys. A rover crew was started in 1931 and a cub pack in 1932. The clubroom in Joy Avenue was opened in 1935 and became the meeting place of the Girl Guides, Earlwood Progress Association, a dancing class and many other voluntary organisations. 2nd Earlwood was formed in 1957, but 1st and 2nd combined in 1976, as the number of boys had declined. The first company of Girl Guides in Earlwood was registered in 1930.


waggon, leaving in the early hours of the morning. At a time when the extension of the existing St George’s Anglican church had been approved and funds were being raised, there was a proposal in 1930 to purchase the Baptist church property in Homer Street “ near the tram terminus” on which to build a new church, and for the Baptist Church to purchase the land and buildings in Minnamorra Avenue. However, these arrangements fell through — the Baptists retained their land in Homer Street, and the Anglicans remained in Minnamorra Avenue, where extensions were completed in 1933. An application to transfer the licence of the Rose and Crown Hotel, Parramatta, to a site at the intersection of Homer Street and Earlwood Avenue, Earlwood, was opposed by both the police and local residents in the Parramatta Licensing Court in March, 1930. Constable Steele said that there was no need for a hotel in Earlwood; in proximity to the proposed site were three churches and the public school. William Barrett, a retired traveller, said that he had resided in Earlwood for thirty years, and he did not think that a hotel was justified; the suburb was mostly composed of men paying off their homes, there were hundreds of young married men who would take to drink if a hotel was established, and they would be unable to pay for their homes; the corner at the proposed site of the hotel was extremely dangerous. The objections to having a hotel in Earlwood were unsuccessful: the Earlwood Hotel opened about 1931. A large mulberry tree was a landmark on the site prior to the erection of the hotel. The house at 78 William Street was built about 1930 by Nicolo Catalono, who built five shops in Earlwood. His two sons began trading as grocers in a store known as Catlan Bros, other stores were opened and the chain later became Flemings. Features of the house include high ceilings, chandeliers, and a library which had leadlight french doors and windows.

effect during the 1920s. The Cooks River Improvement League was formed in 1924 to demand that something be done to improve the river. In a publication originally published in 1925 and revised in 1929 called Our Oceanto-Ocean Opportunity, photographs only twenty years old showed tree-lined banks and swimming and boating to indicate recreational uses of the river. The League sought to link Cooks River by canal with the Parramatta River at Homebush Bay and as a first step build a canal between Tempe and Burwood Road and dredge the river. The aim was to remove the swamps and mud-flats. The concreting of the banks, the removal of the swamps and mud-flats and the “ improvement” of the river seemed like a good idea at the time. The local skinny-dipping boys swam in Wolli Creek (known as “ the gully” in earlier days), where the favourite swimming holes were from near the junction with Cooks River stretching up the creek as far as the sewer outfall (this area was also a favourite spot for prawning by local residents), in the fresh water area approximately opposite where Turrella Station is now situated, near Bardwell Park Station and at Flat Rock past Bexley North Station. The boys made canoes of corrugated iron sheets, which were often sunk in “ naval battles” Some of the more daring lads would occasionally nick a cabbage or two from the market gardens around Turrella-Arncliffe, but were rarely success­ ful because the Chinese were always on the lookout. The Chinese market gardeners lived in very primitive conditions in tumbledown shacks with earth floors. During floods the gardens were often washed away, and these hard-working people would have to start all over again. Water for their crops was pumped from the creek, filling square shaped wells. The crops were watered by carrying two large cans with a yoke across their shoulders. They filled them by walking down a wooden ramp into the square well. They took their vegetables to the city markets in a horse-drawn


CHAPTER 8: Depression, War and After (1931-1980) owned bus services began in 1933, and in 1937, route 90 Drummoyne-Campsie was extended to Earlwood with the takeover of private bus route 38 Earlwood-Campsie by the Department of Road Transport and Tramways. Route 212 Belmore to Earlwood was also taken over and extended to the city. In 1940, these two routes were combined as route 990 (re-numbered 490 in 1943), and a new route 413 (re-numbered 412 in 1943) Belmore-city began. Route 72 (later 472) Dobroyd Point-Bexley North Station began in 1941. In the summer of 1938-39, weekend services operated between Punchbowl Station and Maroubra Beach via Earlwood and Sydenham. In the summer of 1940-41 and for a short time late in 1941, route 414 operated at weekends between Earlwood and Maroubra Beach. From 1926, several requests were made for the establishment of a post office at Clemton Park, but it was not until 1933 that E. K. Howlett was appointed postmaster. He conducted the office in conjunction with his grocery business at 162 William Street. Mails were exchanged once daily with postmen from Canterbury Post Office. Postal notes were sold but it was not until 1946 that money orders were made available. Bexley Road as a link between Bexley North and Bexley was constructed in the 1930s, providing a new route from Rockdale to Campsie. A footbridge over Wolli Creek to give access from Earlwood to Bardwell Park Station was provided about the same time. For the young men in the 1930s, the Earlwood Bicycle Club held track racing on a flat dirt track around Earlwood Oval, while road races commenced in Homer Street near the terminus and out to the present-day Kingsgrove Road and back. On Thursday evenings, club members trained on the board track at the Canterbury Velodrome, situated on the banks of Cooks River near Canterbury Station. The Dulwich Hill Bicycle Club road course commenced in Permanent Avenue, proceeded to Fore Street, into Canterbury Road, along to Sharp Street (now Kingsgrove Road), out to Lugarno, returning to Permanent Avenue for the sprint finish. An active life saving club operated on Cooks River at Undercliffe until the beginning of World War II. For those interested in a less strenuous pastime, the Earlwood Horticultural Society was operating in the 1930s. The Undercliffe (later Undercliffe-Earlwood) Scottish Society, which was formed in 1923 by homesick Scots, held gatherings at the Undercliffe Progress Hall and organised social and community activities until after World War II. There was a very active Earlwood Younger Set which held dances and balls in Kennedys Hall. The cubs were taken out to camp in the bush towards where Roselands is now. Girrahween Park, the attractive area of natural bushland on Wolli Creek, was dedicated in two parts, in 1935 and 1957. The total area is about 12.5 hectares (31 acres). Fortunately, it is still largely in its primitive state with much native fauna, and is ideal for bush walks. Some necessary amenities, such as a shelter shed and barbecues, and a children’s playground, have been provided for visitors. After graduating from Sydney University during the depression when times were difficult and women pharmacists rare, Miss Helen Bradley purchased the chemist shop at the corner of William and Homer Streets which she was to operate for nearly forty years. The depression of the 1930s was felt in Earlwood as much as anywhere else in Australia. Wages were reduced, there was a lot of unemployment, municipal services were reduced, unemployment relief works were undertaken and drives were undertaken to collect groceries, vegetables, clothing and cash for the needy. Among relief works were

The Tempe-East Hills Railway opened as far as Kingsgrove in September, 1931, and the section from Kingsgrove to East Hills in December, 1931. Much to the annoyance of the residents of the larger settlement of Dumbleton, the double line and the electrification ended at Kingsgrove. The first train left Kingsgrove for Tempe at 4.59 a.m. on Monday, September 21,1931, and there was an Official Opening ceremony the following Saturday. The Official Opening of the Kingsgrove-East Hills Section was on Saturday, December 19,1931, and the regular service by rail motor began the following Monday. Passengers from beyond Kingsgrove had to change from the rail motor to the electric train at Kingsgrove and on most journeys change trains again at Tempe. It was not until December, 1939, that the Kingsgrove-East Hills section was electrified, and the double line was extended to Herne Bay (now Riverwood) in 1948. The name given to Turrella Station is said to be an Aboriginal word meaning “ reeds growing in water” An earlier suggestion was Wincanton, the name of a sub­ division in the Arncliffe area. Bardwell Park is named after Thomas Hills Bardwell, who received grants of land bounded by Wolli Creek and Wollongong Road. During the construction of the line, Bardwell Park station was called Earlwood and Earlwood residents thought that Earlwood should have been retained. Bexley North was called Bexley during the construction period, named after the then existing Bexley Municipality, which had taken its name from the Bexley Estate, which in turn was the name given to his farm by James Chandler in 1822. It is interesting that a letter-writer in the Hurstville Propeller of February 8,1929, stated that for years past it had been and even then was the custom of the Bexley Sanitary Contractor to bury all nightsoil right on the spot laid down for the Bexley station, with the platform within 100 feet and the line right through the d u m p .. In April, 1932, police launched a massive search at Bankstown for two missing picnickers and their bodies were found bashed and shot. There were many reports of sightings along Wolli Creek of the murderer, William Moxley, although he was eventually captured at Balgowlah. He was hanged for the crime on August 18, 1932. Earlwood Church of Christ was established in 1932, the first service being held in the Sunrise Hall, Canterbury Road, Canterbury. The site of the present church in Burlington Avenue (then called Jane Street) was acquired in 1933-34, and the building was erected by voluntary workers in 1938. During 1933, the single tram track between Undercliffe and Earlwood was duplicated. The through running time from Fort Macquarie to Earlwood, which had been reduced to forty nine minutes with the introduction of conditional stopping in 1931, was further reduced by one minute. In the 1920s, private bus services offered serious competition for government tram services, often along the same routes. A common sight for city workers was to see the buses engaging in a race with the trams, trying to reach the tram stop first to pick up passengers, and they were mostly successful. A move by a non-Labor Government in 1930 to regulate the services of private buses was largely unsuccessful, but a new Labor Government in 1931 introduced an Act which had the effect of taxing the private services out of business where they were classed as competition with trams and trains. Some services through Earlwood to the city were discontinued and others were converted to feeder services to railway stations and trams, including Belmore to Earlwood Tram Terminus. State48

Subdivisions in the district. (Map by Lesley Muir).

without a local news medium, and Mr Merritt established the Campsie News newspaper, which proved successful. Later, Mr Merritt amalgamated the two papers into The Campsie News and Lakemba Advance, and in 1960, he sold the paper to Byrnes Publishing Co Pty Ltd, Burwood. The Lakemba Advance had begun in 1927 as a four-page paper with a circulation of 3 000 copies, but by 1958, The Campsie News and Lakemba Advance had become a regular 20 pages with a circulation of 14 000 copies from Canterbury to Wiley Park, East Bankstown and Beverly Hills. In 1963, the circulation was 25 000, having extended to Croydon Park, Belfield and Earlwood. In 1976, The Campsie News and Lakemba Advance was sold to Eastern Suburbs Newspapers, Randwick, and it ceased publication in 1979 (the last issue being Tuesday, November 6,1979) when it was incorporated into the Western Suburbs Courier. Another local newspaper was the Earlwood Review. As part of the Earlwood parish, a timber church, St Bernadetteâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s, Bexley North, was erected in Bexley Road on the northern side of the Wolli Creek Valley, and the first Mass was said on July 31, 1938. This church has since been demolished as it was in the path of the South-Western Freeway. It was replaced by the new St Bernadetteâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s, Clemton Park, in 1965. The Earlwood Baptist Church saw the need to extend the Witness to Clemton Park, and services began in the Clemton Park Progress Hall, Shackel Avenue, Kingsgrove, in 1940. Despite wartime difficulties, a timber church building was opened in October, 1942, and Clemton Park separated from Earlwood in 1945. 1st Bexley North Scout Group was formed in 1940 by members of the Bexley North Progress Association. Its hall

drainage, roadworks, park improvements and the Cooks River Improvement Scheme, which saw the construction of the Cooks River Canal in the upper reaches of the river, the straightening of the river and the forming of parks along the river bank by filling the old bed with garbage. This was completed to River Street, when it ceased in 1941 due to the war. The establishment of terminating building societies was encouraged by the State Government to stimulate home building as the effects of the Depression eased. The Earlwood-Canterbury Terminating Building Society was one of the early societies, being formed in 1938, and was originally located in Canterbury, moving to Campsie later. In 1979, the permanent building society run by EarlwoodCanterbury merged with the Premier Permanent Building Society, which in turn was acquired by the State Building Society, but the terminating society moved to Lakemba a few years ago, before being amalgamated with a group at Blacktown. The Board of Fire Commissioners acquired a site for a Fire Station at the corner of William Street and Cameron Avenue, Earlwood, but did not proceed with the proposal. In 1938, The Alert newspaper, the paid circulation publication (cost three pence), was purchased by Mr C. C. Merritt, who also took over the Star at Campsie and the Lakemba Advance. The Alert had serviced all districts between Sydenham and Bankstown, and was the principal source of district information for residents. After three months, Mr Merritt was forced to close The Alert, claiming that neither revenue nor circulation was as he had been led to believe. This led to legal action in the District Court. Without The Alert, the Canterbury-Campsie district was


were completed and the club opened in 1947 in temporary premises. The permanent building was officially opened on April 26, 1957, and the Women’s Bowling Club was formed later that year. The amalgamation of the Bowling Club and the Earlwood-Bardwell Park R.S.L. Club was finalised recently.

in Shaw Street, Bexley North, was built in 1947 by volunteers. In 1977, 1st Bardwell Park Scout Group amalgamated with Bexley North. A few of the businesses in Earlwood in the late 1930s and early 1940s were Wadds the newsagents (the first in Earlwood in 1929) about where the Commonwealth Bank stands now, Hyde the butcher, Cruise haberdashery, Jack Toohey menswear, Allens milk bar, Steele hairdresser, Jim Shepherd barber, Hayes boot repairer, Davis fruitshop and “ Try-My” laundry. Some others at that time were Barnetts hardware, Youngs produce merchant, Hocking and Harding plumbers, Thorncraft draper, about where the Commonwealth Bank is now at 352 Homer Street, Saunders, Derrin Bros, Catlans and Moran & Catos, grocers, Stewart and Miss Bradley, chemists. Dentists were Clarke, the son of the person after whom Clarke Street was named, Hawthorn and Stewart. Earlwood post office became an official post office on July 3, 1941, and M. Rogers was appointed official postmaster on September 4, 1941. Despite the Depression and the outbreak of World War II, Bexley North boomed, and by 1941 there were over 400 families living in the area and so many children that it became known as “ Nappy Valley” World War II was a little closer to home than World War I, and the physical aspects of day-to-day life were felt more with rationing of food and clothing, air-raid precautions and the possibility of evacuation of schoolchildren to the country. To give warnings of possible air-raids, sirens were placed around the district. The sirens were tested at 1 p.m. each Sunday, and fortunately were only sounded in genuine warning on a couple of occasions. Immediately after the bombing of Darwin in February, 1942, there was a great community effort, in which literally hundreds of people rushed to assist, of digging slit trenches in various parts of the grounds of Earlwood school. Much sandstone and ironstone was encountered, and this necessitated the use of jackhammers and similar equipment. Men quite unused to this heavy work laboured for several weeks until the task was completed. Scores of women formed themselves into catering parties to provide refreshments for the workers. The Infants Mistress said she could not forget these trenches in which the children had to hide if the air-raid warning was given. Being tall, she always felt that the trenches were not nearly deep enough. The Infants building was chosen as an Emergency Hospital. Its entrances were sandbagged, and dark blinds and shutters masked the windows to ensure that the hospital could function at night, unseen by the enemy. At Undercliffe Public School, the members of the Parents and Citizens Association used the school for first-aid lectures and making camouflage nets for the army. There were air raid trenches in the school grounds at Clemton Park School, with air raid drills. The Undercliffe Telephone Exchange (situated in Livingstone Road, Marrickville) opened in 1942 with “ Linefinder” automatic exchange equipment, a new English switching system, and 1 700 subscribers in the Earlwood area who were previously on the Petersham manual exchange were transferred to it. The exchange was expanded about 1950, and in the early 1980s Undercliffe was the first AXE computerised exchange installed in NSW. Bardw ell Park Infants School com m enced in September, 1943. The enrolment increased to sixty five in 1948 and ninety in 1952, but was down to sixty seven in 1968. Mrs. V. Hooker retired in 1982 after twenty five years as Principal. The Earlwood Bowling and Recreation Club in Doris Avenue was formed at a public meeting convened by the Earlwood Progress Association in January, 1944. Greens

Trams at Earlwood Terminus. (Courtesy Earlwood Community News).

The Cooks River Improvement Act of 1946 provided for alignment and dredging of parts of the river, construction of levee banks and protection works, reclamation and improvement of low-lying adjacent areas and removal of the tidal gates at Tempe. The aim was to clear stormwater, prevent flooding of low-lying areas, greatly improve recreational areas, and eradicate menaces to health. The effect was to have concrete replace the natural beauty of the banks and the river became a canal with uniform width. Significantly, the pollution of the river continued unabated. A new Methodist Church at Clemton Park was opened in 1948, and a Sunday School hall in Miller Street was opened in 1957. The Cumberland County Council was created in 1945 to study development of the Sydney metropolitan area, with particular emphasis on traffic problems. Its report, compiled in conjunction with the Department of Main Roads, was com pleted in 1948, and provided for six m ajor expressways, ring roads and other major roadworks. One of the expressways was the South-Western Expressway, through Alexandria and the Wolli Creek Valley, connecting with the Hume Highway beyond Liverpool. The term “ freeway” replaced “ expressway” in the 1970s, and the proposed route along Wolli Creek is now known as the F5 Freeway. The road bridge over Wolli Creek in Hartill-Law Avenue (named after W. E. Hartill-Law, an Alderman of Canterbury Council 1934-44) was constructed about 1949. A Catholic school was commenced at St Bernadette’s, Bexley North, in 1948 by the nuns from Earlwood. When a new Catholic parish of Kingsgrove-Bexley North was established the same year, the small school of three classes, infants to second, was the only school in the parish. The Ursuline Sisters from Ashbury took over in 1949. The school at Bexley North, by then with an enrolment of 127, closed in December, 1952, and a new school opened at Kingsgrove in 1953. The present Catholic Church of Our Lady of Lourdes in Homer Street was commenced in 1950 with the foundation stone being laid on Sunday, December 3,1950, by Cardinal Gilroy, Archbishop of Sydney. The stone encases a stone from the rock of Massabielle on which the Blessed Virgin appeared in 1858. It was over three years in construction and was opened in May, 1954.


The water service reservoir in Glenview Avenue was commissioned by the Metropolitan Water, Sewerage, and Drainage Board in 1950 to cope with local demand variations and to ensure a continuous supply. It has a capacity of 2 000 000 gallons, the top water level is 170 feet above sea level and it has a water depth of twenty five feet. Vince (Decio Vincenzo) Galimi bought his own fruit shop in Homer Street in 1952. Since then, Galimi’s Fruit Market has doubled in size and many family members have worked in the shop. Having previously been located in a small cottage at the corner of Earlwood Avenue and Clarke Street, the Earlwood Baby Health Centre was erected at the corner of Homer and William Streets by Canterbury Council in conjunction with the Department of Public Health and was opened on September 1, 1951, by Mr M. O’Sullivan, Minister for Health. Sister Mabel Douglas spent a total of eighteen years as one of the clinic sisters, from 1940 to 1946 and from 1951 to the early 1960s. A temporary branch Municipal library was opened in a garage at the corner of Homer and William Streets in 1947. The present library premises were officially opened on Friday, November 21,1952, by Alderman H. R. Thorncraft, Mayor of Canterbury. Earlwood R.S.L. Sub-Branch was granted its charter in 1945. Bardwell Park R.S.L, was formed in 1947 and a Memorial Hall was built near Bardwell Park Station in 1953. Also in 1953, the Earlwood and Bardwell Park SubBranches amalgamated to form the Earlwood-Bardwell Park Sub-Branch. The Earlwood-Bardwell Park R.S.L. Club has grown from the 250 needed to be licensed in 1959 to its current membership of 8 600. In 1987, Mr Andrew Hyde was re-elected President of the Club for a record twenty fifth time. The amalgamation of the R.S.L. Club and the Earlwood Bowling Club took place recently. The foundation stone of St Mark’s Anglican Church, Clemton Park, was laid by Archbishop Mowll, the Archbishop of Sydney, on September 19,1954. It was then part of the parish of South Canterbury. A liquor licence was granted in 1955 to the Earlwood Ex-Servicemen’s Club, which had been established in 1927. This resulted in additions to the club in 1956 and major extensions in 1958. The Governor of NSW, Sir Roden Cutler, opened the new club premises in 1967. The St George’s War Memorial Church was opened and dedicated on Sunday, September 25, 1955, by the Archbishop of Sydney and Primate of Australia, the Most Reverend H. W. K. Mowll. The first sod had been turned by Mr William McMahon, Minister for Navy and Air (later Sir William McMahon, Prime Minister of Australia) on Sunday, February 7, 1954, and the foundation stone had been laid by the Governor of NSW, Sir John Northcott, on Sunday, May 30, 1954. The foundation stone itself consisted of a small piece of stone from the tomb of St George the Martyr in Lydda in Palestine, presented by the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem. The Church was consecrated on Sunday, September 26, 1965. As part of the Government policy to replace trams with buses, tram services through Newtown, including the Earlwood trams, ended on Saturday, September 28,1957, although the final journeys were early on the Sunday morning. The last trip departed Fort Macquarie for Dulwich Hill at 1.30 am on the Sunday morning, and at Newtown Bridge, tram 1869, which was an R class, was waiting to take on board any passengers for Earlwood. Both trams departed for their respective destinations to provide the last service, and on their return to Newtown Bridge both trams proceeded to other depots. Thus ended over seventy five years of tramway service through Newtown, and over thirty three years of service to Earlwood — services which had

a major influence on the development of Earlwood to that time. Later that day, buses from Kingsgrove and Tempe provided services on Routes 422 (Tempe Depot), 423 (Earlwood), 426 (Dulwich Hill) and 448 (Canterbury) to Circular Quay.

Mayfair Theatre, Earlwood. (Courtesy Barry Sharp).

As with so many suburban theatres, the advent of television in 1956 had a great effect on the theatres in Earlwood. Firstly, the smaller Chelsea closed after the screening on March 6, 1958, in order to preserve the Mayfair (they were operated by the same company). However, the Chelsea re-opened from Friday, July 4,1958, for Friday and Saturday screenings only. In late October, 1958, the Chelsea reopened fulltime, and the larger Mayfair, being less viable, succumbed to television by closing in December, 1958. The building was demolished in 1964, and was replaced by shops. In the late fifties, the district was terrorised for three years by the “ Kingsgrove Slasher” a night stalker who gained entry into hundreds of houses and slashed the clothing of sleeping women before vanishing as silently as he had arrived. As he grew bolder, he began cutting his victims, making tiny scratches with a knife or scalpel, at first just deep enough to draw blood but gradually cutting deeper. He was never seen and police had no idea who they were looking for. He was finally arrested at 11.35 pm on April 30,1959, at the foot of Nannygoat Hill near Turrella Railway Station when he literally ran into the arms of waiting police. He was convicted on eighteen charges and given an eighteen year sentence. On release, he began a new life and a new identity. As a result of the arrest, DetectiveSergeant Brian Doyle, who was in charge of the case for the five months prior to the capture, received the Peter Mitchell Trophy, an annual award for outstanding achievement.


the spiritual well-being of church members generally. To The site of St Bernadette’s, Bexley North, was acquired by the Department of Main Roads, as it was in the path of achieve this aim, a property has been acquired near the South-Western Freeway. A property in Bexley Road Gosford and a house in Bayview Avenue. was purchased with the intention of replacing it there, but The final stage of recreational development at Beaman then the church at the corner of Bexley Road and William Park was officially opened by the Premier, Mr Wran, on July Street was built. The last Mass at Bexley North was said 11,1978. Formerly the Western Suburbs Churches Sports on October 24,1965, and the first Mass at St Bernadette’s, Ground, Canterbury Council had originally gained control Clemton Park, a week later. Clemton Park became a over the area in 1964, and in 1966 began by construction separate Catholic parish on February 1, 1966. of dressing sheds and toilet block and children’s play­ ground at the northern end of the park. Council then estab­ The Earlwood Senior Citizens Centre, which provides lished grass over the whole of the area, floodlit two football a meeting place for a variety of activities, was established fields and provided an underground watering system. The by Canterbury Council in 1973. The present Police Station final stage included another toilet block and dressing in Earlwood Avenue was occupied in August, 1975. H. R. (Bert) Thorncraft, MBE, an Earlwood resident and sheds, a cycle path along the banks of the river, all-weather tennis courts, barbecue facilities and picnic tables, practice Campsie businessman, was one of the district’s most cricket nets and general landscaping of the area. Grants colourful personalities and a driving force in the community. from the State Government assisted the Council in the As well as being a prominent businessman, he was an development, which provides for a wide range of activities energetic worker for community organisations, a popular for both organised sport and passive recreation. The sportsman, and an alderman of Canterbury Council for Hordernian Sports Ground became Wills Ground after thirteen years, including Mayor for two years in 1951/52. purchase by Canterbury-Bankstown Rugby Club. He was a director of Canterbury Hospital from 1930 to 1964 After twenty eight years as the Member for Earlwood, and a patron and life member of the board at the time of Sir Eric Willis resigned from State Parliament in 1978. He his death. Thorncraft House was named in his honour and had won the newly-created seat of Earlwood in the 1950 the adjacent Charlotte Street was renamed Thorncraft State election; was Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party for Parade to perpetuate his comm unity service. His over fifteen years and leader for two years; was a Minister association with the Earlwood-Canterbury Permanent in various portfolios from 1965 and Minister for Education Building Society began at its foundation in 1937 and he was from 1972; became Premier and Treasurer for four months chairman of the board of directors for many years. He in 1976; and was Opposition Leader after Labor formed a served as President of the Canterbury Spastic School in Government in 1976. As the long-serving deputy, it had Lakemba, was a life member of the NSW Society for Crippled Children, a Past President of the Rotary Club of been expected that Sir Eric would replace Sir Robert Askin Campsie, a patron and life member of Campsie Bowling when he retired in 1974, but outsider Tom Lewis was successful. By the time Mr Lewis was ousted by Sir Eric Club after having been an active committee member for twenty years and a former president for ten years. Mr in 1976, it was already too late to stop the rise to government of Neville Wran. Sir Eric is now the Executive Thorncraft set up his drapery business in Beamish Street, Campsie, in 1923, after three years in Belmore, and Director of the Arthritis Foundation. remained for forty years. He was awarded the MBE in 1966. Mr Ken Gabb was elected as Member for Earlwood at Mr Thorncraft died in October, 1975, aged 81 years. a by-election in July, 1978, at the age of 28. He became The Chelsea Theatre closed in March, 1971, but was Minister for Mineral Resources in 1986 and was given the reopened for a few years under new management additional portfolio of Aboriginal Affairs later that year. In screening foreign dialogue films. By 1974, it had closed November, 1987, he was appointed Minister for Minerals again. In October, 1975, it reopened as the Atlas and and Energy and Minister for Aboriginal Affairs. Mr Gabb’s screened predominantly Greek dialogue films. After ancestors settled in the Canterbury-Campsie district in the opening for Saturday evening screenings only for some middle of last century. He was defeated as Member for years, and with a continuously falling patronage, the Atlas Earlwood by Mr Phil White at the 1988 State Elections. closed on Saturday, October 8, 1983. It was sold in 1984 Former Earlwood resident, John Howard, was elected and converted to a furniture store. as the Liberal Member for the Federal seat of Bennelong Sunday School attendances at the U ndercliffe in 1974, became a Minister in the Fraser Government Methodist Church had been falling for a number of years, elected in 1975, was made Treasurer in 1977, and became and in 1972 the classes closed, with the remaining pupils Leader of the Opposition in September, 1985, when transferring to the Earlwood Church. Then, in 1976, owing Andrew Peacock did himself out of Liberal leadership. John to dwindling congregations, the Church itself was forced Howard was born and raised in William Street where to close, and the closing service was held on November Kentucky Fried Chicken is now situated, attended Earlwood 21,1976. The congregation continued its association with Public School and Canterbury Boys High School, and the Earlwood circuit. At the closing services, tributes were continued to live in Earlwood until 1971. John Howard’s paid to the many people who had worked for the Church father had a garage at the present site of the Baby Health over the years, one being Miss Catts who was church Centre and later at the corner of Wardell Road and organist and Sunday School teacher, and who rarely Permanent Avenue. missed a church service in forty years. A major works program of dredging, bank stability The Greek Orthodox Church purchased the Undercliffe works, and foreshore improvements for Cooks River at a Methodist Church at 175 Bayview Avenue (mentioned cost of $19.4 million was recommended in the Report of above) in 1976, where the Greek Orthodox Monastery had the Cooks River Advisory Committee in 1978. The conducted its first service on September 9, 1976. The Committee comprising representatives of local councils church was shared by both denominations for the next few and government bodies said that major problems of the months. Since then, the building erected in 1923 has been River were impaired water quality, untidy and unattractive totally transformed, with extensions in 1977 and 1982. The foreshores, litter and rubbish in the river and along the Greek Orthodox Monastery and Missionary Centre not only foreshores, a shortage of recreational areas and uncertainty relating to proposed major roads adjacent to provides for the spiritual needs of the members of the church in Earlwood and district, but envisages the the river. Apart from its essential function as a stormwater establishment of a Missionary Brotherhood to work towards drainage system, the committee believed the major future


use of Cooks River was recreational. Development of parklands and tree planting along the banks, prevention of littering and an expansion of cleaning activities, dredging to solve the siltation problem and reduce nuisance flooding, and bank protection works were all recommended. Following the Report, Canterbury Council and other Councils bordering Cooks River decided to form the Cooks River Co-ordination Committee. The object of the Committee is to co-ordinate action for the future control and management of Cooks River and its environs, and to press the Government to implement improvement measures recommended by the Cooks River Advisory Committee. The Salvation Armyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s new Training College at Bexley North was officially opened by the Governor of NSW (Sir Roden Cutler) in March, 1980. Built on the site of the former Boys Home at a cost of $2.7 million, it replaced the College at Petersham where Salvation Army cadets had trained since 1921, and is one of two training centres in Australia â&#x20AC;&#x201D; the other being in Melbourne. The new College provides residential accommodation for students, their families, and staff members, and a library, and utilises the old homestead which was on the site when it was purchased in 1915 and the remodelled 1937 two-storey building.


An attempt to move Earlwoodâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s historic postbox to Birkenhead Point was thwarted in 1980. The postbox, which is located in Homer Street at the terminus (near the library), is an example of the Bell-type letter receivers which first came into use in 1856 and were based on a model used in France. Those with a horizontal posting aperture were originally for newspaper postings, but became the most common of the Bell-type in use. It is one of only about ninety still in existence in NSW. In 1980, a newspaper real estate writer said that Earlwood had been almost untouched by the boom in renovations and restorations in the previous twenty years and was almost unchanged since the houses were originally built. The houses were rock-solid and boasted many features unheard of in more modern homes, such as ornate leadlight windows and bay windows. Only in the previous few years had many of the original owners begun to sell up, to be replaced by migrant families drawn by the proximity to the city and the quality of the houses. The most expensive and sought-after homes were those along the top of the ridge with views of the city skyline, the airport and Botany Bay.

CHAPTER 9: Present and Future (From 1981) Compared with forty years ago, there has been a major change in the population mix in Earlwood, with different languages, traditions, customs, cultures and social relations from that recognised as traditionally Australian, that is, the Anglo/Celtic traditions and customs. Although there were many Chinese market gardeners on Cooks River at the turn of the century and there were Greek, Italian and Lebanese shopkeepers in the Municipality in the 1920s, increasing numbers of Greek, Italian and many other nationalities have been settling in the district since World War II, and there has been a big increase in numbers of Lebanese since 1975 and Vietnamese since the early 1980s. In 1976, with an enrolment of 891 at Earlwood Public School, the precentage of homes of the children where English was not usually spoken was 60%.

16% medium density housing. 79% were either owned or being bought. • At 940 dwellings, there were no motor vehicles, while at 478 there were three or more. • 65% of Earlwood’s population lived in the same residence as in 1981, indicating a relatively stable resident population. • 61% of Earlwood’s population was born in Australia, 11% in Greece, and 4% in Italy. • Of those born in non-English-speaking countries and over five years of age, 26% spoke English not well or not at all. • Languages other than English spoken at home included Greek 50%, Italian 15%, Arabic/Lebanese 9%, and Chinese 4%. • Catholics (32%) formed the largest religious group in Earlwood, then Orthodox (26%), then Anglicans (14%), while 13% reported no religion or did not answer the question. • 28% had left school under fifteen years of age or had not attended school, while 6% had diplomas or degrees or higher qualifications. • 21 % had an income of less than $12 000, while 18% had an income over $40 000. • 3% of the labour force was unemployed and looking for full time work. The first of the major migrant groups to come to Earlwood post-war were the Italians, most of whom came direct from overseas. More recently, numbers of Greeks have settled in the suburb, but these have mainly moved from other areas such as Petersham and Marrickville. As well as Lebanese and Vietnamese people, twenty seven nationalities are now represented. About 44% of Earlwood’s total population was either born overseas of non-English-speaking background or are their children. For many years, there has been a Reservation for a County Road along the banks of Cooks River. This was one of three principal options considered at an Enquiry conducted by Mr D. S. Kirby for the NSW Government into the options available to establish a road link between Kyeemagh and Chullora, to serve the transport needs of this region. In more general terms, the road would link Port Botany, the Airport and surrounding industrial areas with the western suburbs. The three options studied were: 1. A new road from Kyeemagh along the reservation for the F5 Freeway in Wolli Creek to King Georges Road, then using King Georges Road and Roberts Road to Chullora. 2. A new road from Kyeemagh along the banks of Cooks River using the Cooks River County Road Reservation, then using Coronation Parade and the Hume Highway. 3. Bay Street from Brighton-le-Sands, a by-pass of Rockdale Shopping Centre, along Bexley Road to Campsie, a by-pass of the Campsie Shopping Centre via Viking Street, Orissa Street, Loch Street and Second Avenue, then along the Cooks River County Road Reservation to Coronation Parade and the Hume Highway. If it were to proceed, the construction of a new road along the banks of Cooks River would have a major effect on the physical environment together with the loss of parks, recreation areas and houses, although reducing traffic on other roads. At the Kirby Enquiry, Canterbury Council opposed any of the three options in favour of improved rail links and better public transport. In his Report published in 1981, Mr Kirby recommended against all three options, in favour of spot improvements

The 1986 Census shows that the Municipality of Canterbury had a total population of 128 622 persons, of whom 74 675 (58.1%) were Australian born, including children born in Australia of parents born overseas, and 53 951 (41.9%) were overseas born. In the overseas-born category, Lebanon as a birth place accounted for 8 963 which was 7.0% of the total population of the municipality, Greece was next with 7 190 (5.6%), Vietnam 4 742 (3.7%), UK and Eire 4 428 (3.4%) and Italy 3 864 (3.0%). Comparing the 1976,1981 and 1986 Census details for the whole Municipality: • the population was approximately the same; • the proportion who were overseas born (including English-speaking countries) increased from 30.6% of the total population in 1976 to 35.1% and 41.9%; • the number born in Vietnam increased considerably, in Greece and in Lebanon increased slightly, in Italy decreased slightly and in the United Kingdom and Eire decreased considerably; • for religion, the number professing to be Christians decreased from 104 124 to 100 252 to 95 540, and Muslims increased from 2 929 to 5 567 to 8 833, and the remainder, including those who did not answer the question, decreased steadily. At the time of writing, not all of the results of the 1986 Census were available. In 1981: • Fairfield had the largest number of persons born in nonEnglish-speaking countries in any Local Government area in the Sydney statistical district. The figure was 42 846 of a total population of 129 557 or 33.1%. Canterbury was second with 35 143 or 27.7%, Marrickville third with 31 488 or 37.7% of the population, while Bankstown with 26 868 of 152 636 (17.6%) was fourth; • the proportion of the population born in non-Englishspeaking countries in Local Government areas in the Sydney statistical district was greatest in Marrickville with 37.7, followed by Botany 34.5, Fairfield 33.1, Ashfield 31.3 and Burwood 30.7, Canterbury was seventh with 27.7, Rockdale was twelfth with 22.1, and Bankstown eighteenth with 17.6; • For New South Wales as a whole, 11.6% of the population were born in non-English speaking countries. Italy was largest with 77 087, Yugoslavia was next with 58 547, Greece 47 965 and Lebanon 36 950. The results of the Census taken on June 30,1986, give an interesting “ snapshot” of Earlwood at that date: • It had a population of 17 269 in an area of six square kilometres, giving a low population density compared with most other suburbs in Canterbury Municipality. • There were 5 773 occupied dwellings and 298 unoccupied dwellings. 84% were separate houses and 54

The sewerage aqueduct across Cooks River, part of the Southern and Western Suburbs Ocean Outfall Sewer, constructed between 1895 and 1899, and being considered for listing on the National Estate Register in 1988.

State Government, Canterbury Council, and the NSW Amateur Cyclists Union. The opening cycling carnival was held on Wednesday, October 13, 1982. The centre of the track area provides touch football enthusiasts with a firstclass playing area for their sport, and the velodrome is the headquarters of the NSW Touch Football Association. There is a grandstand seating 400, which can be extended in the future. The reinforced concrete track is the same as that used at Edmonton in Canada and in Brisbane for the 1982 Commonwealth Games. Engineering problems had to be overcome by supporting the track on timber piles. These piles are treated hardwoods and have a projected life span of 100 years. Canterbury Municipality has had a long association with cycling: the previous track at Wiley Park served Sydney for over thirty years and before that time there was a velodrome at Canterbury. The Earlwood Community News was born in June 1983 when the Canterbury Earlwood Caring Association called a public meeting to discuss the fact that no other local newspaper was prepared to deliver their paper to every home in the district. The aims of the Earlwood Community News are to give residents the opportunity to voice their opinions on what is happening in the area, and to bring residents news of local activities and identities and information they may find useful. The paper is compiled and delivered by volunteers, and the cost of typesetting and printing is covered by the local business community which supports the paper with advertising. Whereas Campsie is the largest of the strip-type shopping and commercial centres in the Municipality and is designated as the District Retail/Commercial Centre, and Roselands is the Regional Shopping Centre, Earlwood and Belmore are known as Area Neighbourhood Centres, and Canterbury and Clemton Park are Local Neighbourhood Centres. Neighbourhood Centres provide a wide range of

to existing roads to reduce traffic congestion, co-ordinated traffic signals, a network of truck routes, and the transport of 47% of containers between Botany and Chullora by rail. The Report was strongly in favour of environmental and conservation issues. Mr Kirby presented his recommendations to the State Government, but many of the recommendations have not been acted upon. The Festival of Earlwood began in 1981 with the support of twenty five community groups, and attracted over 5 000 people. Initiated and developed by the Canterbury Earlwood Caring Association, the Festival has been held each year since, with a doubling of the number of groups and residents involved. Activities of the Festival include a Street Parade, a program of entertainment, an art and craft exhibition, childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s activities, and stalls selling food and goods and promoting community groups. The naming ceremony of Gough Whitlam Park at Undercliffe took place on Thursday, December 2, 1982, when Mr Whitlam unveiled a plaque acknowledging his governmentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s assistance to Canterbury Council and local government generally during its term of office. The area was handed over to Council by the State Government in 1978, having formerly been used by the Department of Public Works for the storage of materials used in the maintenance of the river banks and for the disposal of dredgings. Council then carried out a great deal of work to develop it for recreational purposes, transforming the area into an attractive landmark. There is 18.7 hectares of parkland in Bayview Avenue at the junction of Cooks River and Wolli Creek. Canterbury Velodrome and Touch Football Stadium near Tempe Station, was officially opened by the Premier, Mr Wran, on Saturday, December 11,1982. Built at a cost of almost $2 million, the velodrome provides cyclists with an arena of international standard. Funding came from the


SNACK BAR MR-60 Chicken

Earlwood shopping centre

active force in Earlwood since 1902. The remaining funds of the Association were transferred to the Canterbury Earlwood Caring Association, and all minute books, cash books, reports, correspondence, etc, were deposited with the State Library of NSW. Earlwood’s development into the suburb we know today is in great part due to the years of effort by members of the Earlwood Progress Association. As a Neighbourhood Centre, the Canterbury Earlwood Caring Association undertakes a variety of programs directed to the broad community, including Community Aid services, an information service, counselling services, accommodation for ageing and disabled people, programs benefiting local ethnic communities, the Earlwood Italian Group, community development, youth work, social activities, the Festival of Earlwood, Earlwood Adult Leisure Centre, Earlw ood Community News, art classes, community arts and an occasional child care service. Pending the provision of a new Community Centre building, interim locations have been used, currently at 63 Earlwood Avenue, Earlwood, which was provided by Canterbury Council in 1983. This is a community-based organisation conducted on a non-profit basis and registered under the Charitable Services Act. The Association has successfully encouraged and coordinated the self-help principle within the community, at the present time seeing 700 hours of work by volunteers every week. The Earlwood Caring Association, later to become the Canterbury Earlwood Caring Association, was formed at a public meeting in August, 1975, which followed a study sponsored by the NSW Council of the Ageing of the needs of Earlwood’s aged. In these changing times and with different needs from the past, the Caring Association is the successor of the Earlwood Progress Association in its role of serving the community. A shortage of funds has prevented the dredging of Cooks River, but there have been some encouraging

functions for the residential areas they service from food outlets to localised services such as Post Offices, newsagents, chemists, etc. Further studies to improve the functioning and appearance of individual centres are to be undertaken by the Council. The investigations will include landscaping, traffic improvements, and adequate car parking facilities. The problems of heavy traffic and a lack of pedestrian facilities in the Earlwood Shopping Centre have been a concern for many years. In 1985, Canterbury Council commissioned a consultant to study the traffic flows and make recommendations to solve the problems. To provide a focus for the shopping centre, the preferred option was for the creation of a pedestrian mall in Clarke Street, with re-routing of bus and car traffic around various suburban streets. Because of opposition by the Chamber of Commerce, the proposal was deferred. Traffic lights at the corner of Homer Street and W ardell Road were subsequently approved, together with upgrading and relocation of the signals at the corner of Homer and St James Streets. In the block between Spark, Woolcott, Caroline and Thompson Streets, a scheme is to be constructed to create more safety for pedestrians, improve parking on streets, and improve the appearance of the streets. This will be done by constructing devices to slow down cars, putting in angle parking and one-way streets, and planting shrubs and trees. Traffic control measures to slow speeding traffic and improve safety are also proposed in Canterbury Council’s management for Permanent Avenue. The final meeting of the Earlwood Progress Association was held on May 5, 1986, at the home of Mrs. Joyce Waterworth, long-time Secretary of the Association. The President, Mr E. Gibney, spoke of the sadness felt by members in closing the Association which had been an


Cooks River, 1988.

Local councils are moving towards the creation of an unbroken walking and bicycle path from Homebush Bay to Botany Bay, along the river, and signs depicting the river have been erected at intervals along the river banks. Today, much of Cooks River is surrounded by parks and reserves, and large parts of the river banks are attractive. As earlier plantings grow and mature, and steps continue to improve it, our river gives promise of returning to something of its beauty of earlier days. A number of bodies continue to show an interest in Cooks River and Wolli Creek. The Cooks River Valley Association, founded about 1952, has similar objects to those of the Cooks River Improvement League which operated from 1925 to about 1950. It is concerned with the development and beautification of the river and valley, and the improvement of the human environment, including clean water, clean air and quietness. Formed in the mid-1970s, the Cooks River Festival Committee works to awaken interest and concern for the river through an annual festival at different parks along the river bank. The Wolli Creek and Bardwell Valley Preservation Society and the Friends of Wolli Creek are interested in preserving the bushland along these two watercourses, and are particularly concerned about the freeway proposal along the Wolli Creek Valley. The proposed F5 Freeway along the Wolli Creek Valley, originally conceived in the 1940s, has generated increasing opposition as it has slowly come closer to reality. Wolli Creek is a major tributary of Cooks River, rising in Beverly Hills and flowing east through the last remnant of natural bushland in the inner south of Sydney. The Kirby Report said that this should be preserved and recommended the release of the road corridor between Tempe and Beverly Hills and its return to the public as open space. The former Premier, Mr Unsworth, when opening his campaign to win the seat of Rockdale in 1986, said that the Freeway

developments. The Public Works Department has completed a hydrographic survey of the river, and consultant planners have been engaged to develop, in conjunction with councils bordering the river, a report which will provide options for developing the waterway. The State Pollution Control Commission has been concentrating on the control of pollution in the river and significant gains in water quality have been achieved by controlling licensed discharges since the introduction of the Clean Waters Act. Industrial discharges have been largely eliminated or controlled, and all toxic discharges have now ceased. The number of other discharges have been reduced from well over 100 to nine, all of which meet stringent quality requirements. Water quality is much improved, but further improvements are likely to be marginal. Water quality deteriorates during and after wet weather because of urban run-off and sewer overflows in very heavy rain. Stormwater run-off and sewer overflows are now being addressed by the State Pollution Control Commission and local and state government bodies, although opportunities to reduce these are limited as the catchment area is fully developed. However, a significant aesthetic improvement with some benefits to water quality could be brought about by raising public awareness of the impact of littering and household activities on the river, an increased clean-up and litter reduction activity in the catchment area, and the installation of trash racks in the storm drainage system where possible. As a result, the Cooks River Litter Reduction Campaign began in November 1986 with the aims of educating the public on the effects of rubbish and other pollutants on the river, encouraging proper methods of disposing of rubbish, and trialling of interception systems. The Campaign will also promote the image of Cooks River and its foreshores as a major active and passive recreational area, and develop a river-based clean up campaign including the regular collection of litter and special clean ups.


Girrahween Park, 1988.

between Moorebank and Alexandria would be built within seven years and probably be financed by a toll. He said that the banishment of heavy container trucks from the local streets of Rockdale electorate was of vital concern to the people of Rockdale and that the road through Wolli Creek would be on a five kilometre viaduct to ensure the least environmental impact. Freeway opponents see this as death for the Valley. The NRMA sees improved traffic flows on the Hume Highway and Canterbury/Newbridge Roads by building the Freeway. Canterbury Council has given its qualified support to construction of the road, stating that it wishes to get the best deal for the residents by having an imput in the planning stage. At the time of writing, construction from Moorebank as far as King Georges Road, Beverly Hills, has been deferred because of lack of funds but its construction as a tollway is being considered, and it has been announced that the road reservation through the Wolli Creek Valley is to be lifted. Recently, it was suggested that, if it proceeds, the V.F.T. (Very Fast Train) project might use the Wolli Creek Valley as part of the route for the super train between Sydney and Melbourne. Newspaper reports say that the train would travel only at half speed through the Wolli Creek area and a good quality track would have a low noise level. Planners of the privately owned bullet train, which will travel at speeds of up to 350 km/h, expect a journey time of one hour to Canberra and three hours to Melbourne. Thirty trains a day in either direction are possible. If studies confirm the likelihood of success of the project, construction would commence in 1990 and the first passengers would be carried in 1995.

The suggestion first made in 1923 for the then proposed railway line from Tempe to East Hills to be extended to the Main Southern line at Glenfield was talked about on many occasions over the years, and finally got under way with work commencing in 1984. Fifty six years to the day from the commencement of the service between Kingsgrove and East Hills, the new line was officially opened by Mr Unsworth on Monday, December 21,1987. A limited peakhour service between Campbelltown and the city began on the same date, with a full service in 1988.

Earlwood, Undercliffe and Clemton Park forms a wellestablished residential district, with good-quality housing stock, well served by public transport with easy access to rail services, and ideally located for access to the city and other parts of the metropolitan area to enjoy the range of facilities available â&#x20AC;&#x201D; whether employment, shopping, recreational, cultural, educational, sporting and so on. Attractive parklands along Cooks River and Wolli Creek are a particular advantage to life in the area. In recent years, there has been an influx of people from around the world, bringing with them new ideas in all facets of life. Steady changes will occur to the suburb and the surrounding districts as the years pass â&#x20AC;&#x201D; not quick changes as occurred in the 1920s. Alterations to houses should be made in sympathy with the existing building and its surroundings, without forgetting our heritage. It is to be hoped that these developments will add to the environment and quality of life and personal happiness of those living in Earlwood, Undercliffe and Clemton Park.


Cooks River at Undercliffe Bridge in 1897, from Glimpses of Australia — An Album of Photographic Gems, Gordon and Gotch Ltd, Melbourne, 1897 — Republished 1987 (Courtesy Gordon & Gotch).

Gough Whitlam Reserve, 1988


REFERENCES To assist with style, detailed footnotes have been eliminated. Details are available from the authors.

The Parish of Our Lady of Fatima, Kingsgrove-Bexiey North,

1958. Pioneer Registers of the 1788-1820 Association, The Association, Sydney, 1976-81. Polack, Abraham, Newspaper Cuttings Book. ML. Sharp, Barry, A Pictorial History of Sydney's Suburban Cinemas, Vol 1, The Author, Sydney, 1982. Sheahan, Ursula, OSU, Green Pastures — History of the Ursulines, Kingsgrove 1949-1981, 1982. Spark, Alexander Brodie, Diary. ML. Spearitt, P., Sydney Since The Twenties, Hale and Iremonger, Sydney, 1978. Story Without End 1940-1980, Clemton Park Baptist Church, 1980. Taylor, Griffith, Sydneyside Scenery, Angus and Robertson, Sydney, 1958. Taylor, Rev. Richard, Diary, 1836-39. ML. Tench, Captain Watkin, A Complete Account of the Settlement at Port Jackson, in New South Wales, London, 1793. Reprinted Angus and Robertson, Sydney, 1961. Thorp, Joshua, Correspondence, including letters from Maria Thomkins and William Woolcott. Private collection of Miss Jessie Thorp, Auckland, New Zealand. Travers, G., From City to Suburb . . . a Fifty Year Journey (The story of NSW Government Buses), The Sydney Tramway Museum and The Historic Commercial Vehicle Association Co-op Ltd, Sydney, 1982.

Aird, W. V., The Water Supply, Sewerage and Drainage of Sydney, MWS&DB, Sydney, 1961. An Authentic and Interesting Narrative of the Late Expedition to Botany Bay, as Performed by Commodore Phillips . . .

written by An Officer. 1789. Republished Library of Australian History, Sydney, 1978. Burden, A., The Story of the 1st Earlwood Scout Group 1927-1976, 1976. Cannon, M., ed. Our Beautiful Homes, Vol 2, Reprinted 1976. (Originally published c. 1908-1910.) Canterbury Earlwood Caring Association, Annual Reports. Clemton Park Public School, 1929-1979 Golden Jubilee,

1979. Colonial Sugar Refining Company Ltd, Archives. Cooks River Environment Survey and Landscape Design Report of the Cooks River Project, Total Environment

Centre, Sydney, 1976. Cork, Kevin J., Earlwood Chelsea/Atlas, “ Kino” Theatres Historical Society, 1984. Earlwood Ex-Servicemens Club 1927-1977 Souvenir of the Club's 50th Anniversary, 1977. Earlw ood Progress Association Records, ML (MLK

04306-04310). Earlwood Public School Golden Jubilee 1916-1966, 1966 Gluskie, Dr C., Synopsis of Medical Practice in CanterburyBankstown, prepared for the Golden Jubilee of Canterbury-

Undercliffe Public School 50th Anniversary 1928-1978,


Bankstown Medical Association, 1980. Easty, John, Memorandum of the Transactions of a Voyage

The Voyage of Governor Phillip to Botany Bay; with an Account of the Establishment of the Colonies of Port Jackson and Norfolk Island . . . John Stockdale, London, 1789. War Service Homes Jubilee 1919-1969, Commonwealth

from England to Botany Bay, 1787-1793: a First Fleet Journal, Public Library of NSW, Sydney, 1965. Glimpses o f Australia — An Album of Photographic Gems,

Department of Housing, Canberra, ACT, 1969. Ward, Gilbert G., Notes on Methodism in Earlwood, 1964. Willey, Keith, When the Sky Fell Down, the Destruction of the Tribes of the Sydney Region, 1788-1850s, Collins, Sydney, 1979. Willson R., Keenan D., and Henderson R., The Green Lines, Australian Electric Traction Association, Sydney, 1966.

Gordon and Gotch, Melbourne, 1897. Harris, M. A., Where To Live: ABC Guide to Sydney and Suburbs, Sydney, 1917. Hassall, James Samuel, In Old Australia, reprinted by the Library of Australian History, Sydney, 1978. Historical Records of Australia. A History of St George’s Earlwood, 1980. Hunt, R., Parkestown to Earlwood, R. Hunt and Canterbury

Australian. B ell’s Life in Sydney. Currency Lad. Echo. Earlwood Community News. Sydney Gazette. Sydney Herald and Sydney Morning Herald. Sydney Monitor. Truth (Old Sydney, by “ Old Chum” ).

and District Historical Society, 1982. Jervis, J., A History of the Municipality of Canterbury, Canterbury Municipal Council, 1951. Kirby, D. S., NSW Commission of Enquiry into the Kyeemagh-Chullora Road Report, Govt Printer, Sydney, 1982. Larcombe, F. A., Change and Challenge, Canterbury Municipal Council, 1979. Macquarie, Lachlan, Journals of His Tours in New South Wales and Van Diem en’s Land 1810-1822, Library of Australian History, Sydney, 1979. Madden, B. J., Tempe-East Hills Railway, Hurstville Historical Society, 1981. Mahoney, Denis, Botany Bay: Environment Under Stress. Charden Publications, Epping, 1979. Marrickville and District Historical Society and Marrickville Municipal Library, Pictorial History of Marrickville, undated.

Colonial Secretary. Correspondence. Colonial Secretary. Memorials re land. AO 4/1822. Executive Council. Correspondence. Insolvency Files. James Meehan. Fieldbooks. AONSW. Surveyor-General. Roads to Cooks River. AO 4/7168. Surveyor-General. Correspondence and accompanying maps. Census 1828, 1841, 1976, 1981, 1986. Electoral Rolls, 1859 + Sands’ Directories.

Methodism in Earlwood, 70th Anniversary, 1878-1948,

1948. Mitchell, Sir Thomas Livingston, Report Upon the Progress Made in Roads . . . 1855. ML. Muir, Lesley, A Wild and Godless Place: Canterbury, 1788-1895, MA Thesis, University of Sydney, 1984. NSW Legislative Assembly, Parliamentary Standing

Land Title records of the NSW Registrar-General. GPO Archives. Canterbury and District Historical Society Journals, Newsletters and other records.

Committee on Public Works Report . . . Relating to the Proposed Improvement of Cooks River, 1896. NSW Legislative Council, Noxious and Offensive Trades Inquiry Commission Report, M ay 1883. The Nobbs Story. Compiled by James and Edward Nobbs

Oral history: Mr W. H. Clendinning. Mrs Pat Dostine. Mrs Kit Watson.

and Families. Privately published, 1981. O ur

O cea n-to-O cean

O p p o rtu n ity,


Unfortunately, files of local newspapers The Alert, The Campsie News, The Lakemba Advance, The Campsie News and Lakemba Advance, The Punchbowl Punch and other


Improvement League, 1924 & 1929. Parish of Earlwood, Silver Jubilee 1922-1947 booklet, and

small local papers do not appear to have survived, and this valuable source of local history is denied to us.

parish newspaper c. 1929 (Catholic).


INDEX Aborigines 1,2,3,4 Ah Chong 27 The Alert newspaper 36,49 Allen's Milk Bar 50 Angle Farm 11 Anglican Church 12,16,22,39,47,51 Angus Street 5 Animals 1 Ann Street 19,22 Armytage, Jane Ann 17 Arncliffe 15 Atkinson, Gregory 46 Atlas Picture Theatre 52 Australasian Sugar Company 18 Australian Sugar Company 14 Baby Health Centre, Earlwood 51 Bacon curing 22 Baker, Joseph 26 Ballater 14,15,17,27 Band 35 Banks, Joseph 2 Baptist Church 35,38,46,47,49 Bardwell, Thomas Hills 48 Bardwell Creek 26 Bardwell Park Infants School 50 Bardwell Park R.S.L. Sub-Branch 51 Bardwell Park Railway Station 48 Barker, F.J. 24,27 Barnett, Harry 46 Barnett's Hardware 50 Barrett, — 38 Barrett, Mrs William 42 Barrett, W illiam 47 Bayview Avenue 13,30,31,34,35,37,39,42,43,46,52,55 Beaman Park 52 Beamish Street 4,27 Bedford Street 19 Bell, William Sims 18,26 Belle Ombre 7 Bell's Line of Railway 24,27,29 Bemi, Peter 8 Bexley (House) 5,6,17,18,26 Bexley Estate 5,6,9,12,15,17,18,48 Bexley North Catholic School 50 Bexley North Progress Association 49 Bexley North Public School 44 Bexley North Railway Station 48 Bexley Road 4,23,39,40,42,45,48,49,52,54 Bishop, Joseph 18 Blackwell Family 34 Blanchfield, Frances Rosa 15 Blink Bonnie 24,25,34 Boatshed 29,39 Bold Forester Inn 15 Botany Bay 1,2,3,4 Boucher, Mr 34 Bown, Stephen 23 Boxing 15,16 Boy Scouts 36,37,46,49,50 Bradley, Helen 48,50 Bradridge, Edward 27 Brady, W illiam 39 Brett, Nurse 43 Bridges 12-18,20,22,23.28,29,31,34,38,44,46,48,50 Briely, James 5 Briely, Maria 5 Brighton Estate 6 Brimson, Thomas 7 Broadbier, Richard 8 Burlington Avenue 19,48 Burns, John Fitzgerald 24 Burton, John 18,19,21 Bus service 23,45,48,51 Bush, Benjamin 22,24 Bush, Eliza Lousia 24 Bush, Mary Jane 24 Cabbage Tree Hat Mob 15 Calbina Road 40 Cameron, S.D. 39 Cameron Avenue 23,24,43,49 Campbell, — 34 Campbell, Edward 17,20,27 Campbell, Mary 30 Campbell, Robert 12,14 Campsie Bowling Club 34 Campsie News and Lakemba Advance newspaper 49 Campsie Park Estate 27 Canterbury-Bankstown Rugby Club 52 Canterbury District Brick Company Pty. Ltd. 34 Canterbury District Memorial Hospital 43,52 Canterbury-Earlwood Caring Association 55,56 Canterbury Estate 24 Canterbury Municipal Council 23,24,27,31,34,36, 44,51-53,55,56,58 Canterbury Municipality 23,29,31,36,40,41,46,54 Canterbury Park Racecourse 29 Canterbury Public School 34,36 Canterbury Road 35,36,48 Canterbury South Public School 45 Canterbury Town Hall 34 Canterbury Velodrome 48 Canterbury Velodrome and Touch Football Statium 55 Canterbury Village 14 Caroline Street 56 Carruthers, Joseph Hector 27,30 Catalono, Niccolo 47 Catholic Church, Bexley North 49,52 Catholic Church, Clemton Park 49,52 Catholic Church, Earlwood 34,42,50 Catlan Bros 47,50 Catts, Miss 52 Cave paintings 1 Census, 1986 54 Champion, Abraham 5

Chandler, James 5-10,12 Charles Street 19 Che Sing 27 Chelsea Picture Theatre 45,46,51,52 Child, William Knox 14 Chinese 27,28,39,47,54 Christersen, Henry A. 39 Church of Christ 48 Church of England 12,16,22,39,47,51 Cintra Estate 24 Clarke, dentist 50 Clarke Street 43,50,51,56 Clements, Frederick Moore 30,45 Clements Tonic 30,45 Clemton Park (name) 45 Clemton Park Public School 45,50 Clendinning, - 35 Clissold, Frederick 19-21,23,29 Collingwood Avenue 46 Colon 34 Commonwealth Military Forces 35 Connell, John 8 Convicts 12 Cook, Lieutenant James 2 Cooks Angle 11 Cooks River 1-13,15,17,19-22,24,26-31,35-39, 44,46-50,52-58 Cooks River Bloomer 16 Cooks River Dam 12,16,17,28,30 Cooks River Festival Committee 57 Cooks River Improvement League 47,57 Cooks River Road 13 Cooks River Valley Association 57 Coventry 18 Cox Family 34 Craigie, W illiam 12 Cruise Haberdashery 50 Cup and Saucer Creek 14,19,21-24,26,30,35,44 Dairy farming 34,39 Davidson, Mrs E. 43 Davis, Thomas Austen 22 Davis Fruit Shop 50 Dawson, Mrs 23 Denniss, Jeffrey 27,35 Denniss, Leslie Howard 35 Denniss Estate 35 Dent, George 12,16 Dent, Sarah 12,15 Depression 48 Derrin Bros 50 Doris Avenue 23,24,50 Douglas, Mabel 51 Doyle, Brian 51 Draper, T.W. 40 Duguid, Lesslie 14,15,27 Dunkirk Avenue 46 Dunn, A.G. 40 Dunn, S.V. 39 Durack, Fanny 39 Duranbah 34,42 Earl, Jane 35 Earlewood Estate 35-38 Earlwood (name) 35 Earlwood Adult Leisure Centre 56 Earlwood Avenue 46,47,51,52,56 Earlwood-Bardwell Park R.S.L. Club 50,51 Earlwood-Bardwell Park R.S.L. Sub-Branch 51 Earlwood Bicycle Club 48 Earlwood Bowling and Recreation Club 50,51 Earlwood-Canterbury Terminating Building Society 49,52 Earlwood Catholic School 42,46 Earlwood Community News 55,56 Earlwood Ex-Servicemen's Club 46,51 Earlwood Horticultural Society 48 Earlwood Hotel 19,47 Earlwood Italian Group 56 Earlwood Oval 48 Earlwood Park 42 Earlwood Picture Theatre 45,46 Earlwood Progress Association 39,44,46,50,56 Earlwood Public School 34-38,50,54 Earlwood Railway Station 48 Earlwood Review newspaper 49 Earlwood Soldiers Welfare Association 46 Earlwood-Undercliffe Separation League 46 Earlwood W om en's Bowling Club 50 Earlwood Younger Set 48 Easty, Private 3 Ebhart, Frederick Charles 11 Electricity 35 Encampment 35 Evans, Evan 17 Farrell, W illiam 23 Favell, Peninah Mary 23 Festival of Earlwood 55,56 Fighting Hen of Cooks River 16 Fire 27 Fire Station site 49 First Fleet 2 Flaherty, W inifred 5 Flat Rock 47 Flemings 47 Floods 34,47,50 Foord, Thomas 27 Ford, W.L. 36 Fore Street 26,35,44,48 Forest Hill 22,34,35-37,40,44 Forest Hill Progress Association 24,34,35-38 Forest Hill Public School 36,37 Forest Road 12,18 Freeway route 49,50,52,54,57,58 Fricourt Avenue 46 Friends of Wolli Creek 57 Fullagar, A.J. 40


Fullam, Mary Ann 12 Furman, William 19 Gabb, Charles 23 Gabb, Ken 52 Galimi, Decio Vincenzo (Vince) 51 G alim i's Fruit Market 51 G annon's Forest Road 12,18 Garratt, Sara Ann 7 Garsed, John 18 Gas service 35 Gem of Earlwood Estate 43 Geology 1 George Street 19 Georges River 4 Georges River Road 4 Girl Guides 46 Girrahween Park 48,58 Glenore 19,30,40 Glenore Estate 40,42 Glenore Street 19 Glenview Avenue 24,51 Goddard, Dr D.G. 43 Gold-extracting works 21 Goldsborough Farm 34 Gordon, Lewis 13,19 Gough Whitlam Park 55 Grandview 34 Grandview Estate 43 Greek Hall 42 Greek Orthodox Church 52 Greeks 54 Green, - 34 Green, John 42 Green, Sister 43 Grieve, Herbert Ronald Robinson (Sir Ronald) 43 Grove Street 19 Gueudecourt Avenue 46 Gwiyagal people 1,2,3 Harp Street 24 Hartill-Law. W.E. 50 Hartill-Law Avenue 34,50 Hascham, T. 23 Hassall, Rev James 16 Hawthorn, dentist 50 Hayes, boot repairer 50 Hayward, John 6 The Hermitage 18 Hill, George 19-21 Hill, Richard 19,24 Hilsdon Family 34 Hilton, Elizabeth 16 Hilton, Joseph 11,16,19 Hindron, - 28 Hocking, Alfred Ernest 34 Hocking, Edward 43 Hocking, Edward John (Ted) 34,45 Hocking, Francis 34 Hocking, Francis T. 34 Hocking, George Frederick (Fred) 34,42 Hocking, John Joseph Wesley 34 Hocking, Mrs G.F. 24,34 Hocking, Walter Henry 34,35 Hocking, William Herbert 34,42 Hocking and Harding, plumbers 50 Hocking Avenue 34 Hocking Bros 34 Hocking Lane 34 Holt, Thomas 20 Homer, Henry 19 Homer Street 17-19,22-24,26,34,39,42-48,50,51,53,56 Honi Heki 15,16 Hooker, Mrs V. 50 Hordernian Sports Ground 52 Horse buses 23,28,39,43 Horticulture 34 Hotels 15-19, 21,29,39,47 Housing 41,53 Howard, John 52 Howard, Rev Stanley 22 Howlett, E.K. 48 Hudson, Dr A.R. 43 Hudson, C.O. 42 Hunting 3 Hyde, Andy 34,50 Ice Works 34 lllawarra Railway 24,27-29 lllawarra Road 17 Inns 12,15-19,21,35 Irwin, Martha 12 Italians 54 Jackson Place 27,36 Jackson’s Quarry 36 Jaffray, Thomas 21 Jameson, R.G. 11 Jane Street 19,48 Joe the Basketmaker 16 Johnson, Mr 23 Johnston, Sister 43 Johnstone, William 22 Jolly, W. 23 Joy Avenue 46 Juhan Munna 7,10,11,14,15 Karool Avenue 22 Kemble, Francis 14 Kennedy, Thomas 27 Kennedy s Hall 42,45,46,48 Kennedy’s Line of Railway 27,29 Kia-Komena 34 Kilkelly, R. 23 King, Governor Phillip Gidley 4 King Family 31,34 King Young 27 King's Grove 4-6

INDEX Kingsgrove 23 Kingsgrove Estate 15,17,19 Kingsgrove Road 17,37,39,43,45,48 Kingsgrove Slasher 51 Kingsland Road 44 Kirby Enquiry 54 Kitchener Avenue 42 Knox, Edward 14 Land grants 4,5 Lawson, William Lennox 21 Laycock, Hannah 4,5 Laycock, Samuel 4 Laycock, William 4 Laycock's Bridge 4,6 Lebanese 54 Lee, Frank 24 Lees, Hannah 12 Lees, William 12 Legge, Phillip 19 Leistokow, Charles 22,23 Lewis, David 23 Library 51 Life Saving Club 48 Limestone 4 Linga-Longa 34,42 Loam pits 34 Lord, Simeon 5,8 Lord Family 15 Louisa Street 19 Loxley, Len 45 Lucas, Samuel 19,21 Lyon, Andrew 39 Lyons, - 38 McBean, Donald 23 McBean, James 23 McCabe, Michael 7 McCaffray, Thomas 8 McCoy, Alexander 12 McDonald, Ann 26 McEntire, - 3 M clnnes, Finley 40 McKenzie Lane 23,34,43 M cMinn, John 22,23 McNamara, William 27 Macquarie, Governor Lachlan 4,5 Main Street 43 Malley Avenue 26,43 Man of Kent Inn 17 Marana Road 40 Market gardening 17,27,28,39,47 M arrickville Baptist Christian Endeavour Society 35 M arrickville to Burwood Road Railway 29,31 Marsh, Stephen Hale Alonzo 17 Martin, Arthur 4,7,11 Mayfair Picture Theatre 34,42,45,46,51 Mayne, William 21,23,26 Medical services 43 Meeks, James 36 Meeks, Jessie 36 Merkel, William 19,21 Merritt, C.C. 49 M ethodist Church, Clemton Park 46,50 Methodist Church, Earlwood 23,34,42,52 M ethodist Church, Undercliffe 42,52 Miller Street 46,50 Minnamorra Avenue 39,47 Mitchell, Sir Thomas 8,12 Mitre Tavern 18,19 Molloy Family 34 Moore, Patrick 5,7 Moore, Thomas 4,6 Moore, W.H. 6 Moorefields Road 31 Moran and Cato 50 Morris Avenue 17 Moss, Dr H. St Leger 43 Moss, John 5.6 Mount Clear 11 Moxley, William 48 Muddy Creek 3 Murder 3,10 Nannygoat Hill 51 Nash, Nurse 43 Ne Plus Ultra Store 17 Nelson, Dr T. 43 New lllawarra Road 17-19 Newton, Joseph 14 Nicoll, Bruce 39 Nicoll, Bruce Baird 24 Nicoll, George Wallace 24 Nicoll, Margaret 34 Nicoll Avenue 34,43 Nightingale, John 22,23 Nobbs, Catherine 24 Nobbs, Frank 24 Nobbs, Joseph (sr) 11 Nobbs, Joseph (jr) 11,12,17,24,27 Nobbs, William 22-24 Nobbs Flat 11.16,17.20,22,24,27,29,31 Nobbs Flats 24 Northcote Street 18,30,40,42,45 Noxious industries 19,26,27 O 'Connor, E.E. 24,25 Our Lady of Lourdes Church 42,50 Parham, Charles 12 Parkes, Ann 12 Parkes, Elizabeth 12 Parkes. Esther 12 Parkes, Isaac 12,16,18 Parkes, James 12,15,22 Parkes, John 4,7,8,11,12 Parkes, John (jr) 12,19 Parkes, Joseph 12,19 Parkes, Margaret 19

Parkes, Mary Ann 12 Stores, Edward 12,19 Parkes, Sarah 12 Stores, Miss 23 Parkes, Thomas 15,16,19,22-24,34 Stores, W alter 22,23 Parkes, W illiam 12,15,16,18 Sugarworks building 14,18,20 Parkes Camp 11,12,15,16,19 Sugarworks dam 35 Parkes Quarry 21,22,24 Sutton, George Rogers 35 Parkestown 22,23,29,34,35,37 Swanton, John 19 Parkestown Public School 35,37 Sydney Permanent Freehold Land Building and Parks Folly 11 Investment Society 24,27,29,30,41,44 Pasfield, Elizabeth 11 Sylvester, Thomas 4,5 Paterson, Lieutenant-Governor William 4 Tannery 23,26,27,35 Peake, John Robert 12 Taybank 24 Pemulwy 3 Taylor, Rev Richard 12 Permanent Avenue 36,44,48,56 Tebbutt, Edward J. 23,26,27 Perry Family 31,34 Telephone 36,39,50 Petersham Estate 6-8,10 Tempe 11 Phillip, Captain Arthur 2,3 Tempe-East Hills Railway 27,34,43-45,48,58 Tench, Captain Watkin 3 Pickering, Gowan 4,11 Pickering's Punt 4,6-10,12,17 Theatres 15,34,44,45,51,52 Pig farming 34,39 Thompson Street 19,42,46,56 The Pines 26 Thorncraft, H.R. (Bert) 50,52 The Pines Estate 26,43 Thorp, Joshua 7-11,13,14,18 Pithers, Betsey 15 Thorp's Punt 7,9,17 Timber 1,4,9,11 Plunkett, Constable 27,28 Polack, Abraham 11 Tindell, C.J. 18 Toft, Mary 4,11 Police 5,6,35,39,46,48,52 Tompson, Charles 12,15,17 Population 17,28,29,31,36,40,41,54 Post Office 23,35.39,42,48,50 Tompson, George Charles 23 Tompson, Jane Ann 24 Postal service 35,53 Tompson. Piddocke Arthur 17-20 Poultry farmers 27 Presbyterian Church 45,46 Tom psons Bridge 17,18,20 Price, - 28 Toohey, Jack 50 Prince Edward Avenue 36,42 Traffic control 56 Progress Hall, Clemton Park 49 Tramway 24,29,30,35,37,38,42-45,48,50,51 Progress Hall, Forest Hill 36,37,39,42 Tramway League 24 Try-My Laundry 50 Progress Hall, Undercliffe 42,48 Prout, Cornelius 7,9,11,13,17,18 Tuck, David 26 Prout's Bridge 14,18 Turrella Railway Station 48 Tyrrell, George 4,7,11 Prout's Punt 9,10,12,14 Pulteney Hotel 17 Undercliff (property) 15,17,19,20,26 Punch Bowl 6,8,10,12 Undercliffe Bridge 17,18,20,22,23,29,34 Undercliffe Estate 24,26 Punts 4,6-12,14,17,18 Purchase, W illiam 22 Undercliffe Estate (subdivision) 41,42 Quarrying 21,22,24,36 Undercliffe Progress Association 38 Quarry Minna 11 Undercliffe Public School 38,42,46,50 Quigg, James 19 Undercliffe Road 23,35,36 Quigg, John 19,22,30,35 Undercliffe Scottish Society 48 Radford, Frances Maria 12 Undercliffe Telephone Exchange 50 Union Church 23 Railway 24,27.29-31,34,43 Redman, W illiam 19 Uniting Church, Earlwood 42 Unwin, Frederick W right 11-15,17 Richard Avenue 31,46 Richmond Grove 19 Unwin's Bridge 13-15,17,20,28 Richmond Street 19 Unwin's Bridge Road 13,30,34,35,39,42,46 Riley, John 4 Unwin’s Hill Estate 32,33,35 Rising Sun Inn 16,21 Vacuum Tanning Pty. Ltd. 35 River Street 19,27,34,36,37,39,42,49 Valesco Private Hospital 43 Riverside Park 37 Vegetation 1,4 Riverview Road 17,42 Verge, John 11 Road to lllawarra 8,12 Very Fast Train 58 Robinson Farm 34 Victoria Theatre 15 Rogers, M. 50 Vietnamese 54 Romani Private Hospital 43 View Street 34,39,46 Royal Commission on Noxious Trades 26 Vimy Street 42 Russell, Dr G. 43 Wadds Newsagency 50 Ryan, T.R. 42 Wanstead 11,13,14,17,29,30,35,36 St Bernadette's, Bexley North 49,52 W ar Service Homes 40-42, 44 St Bernadette's, Clemton Park 49,52 Wardell, Robert 6-10 St Croix, Joseph de 19 W ardell Park Estate 42,44 St Georges, Earlwood 39,47,51 Wardell Road 8,10,31,42,44,56 St Helen's Maternity Hospital 43 Warr, Henry 19,22 St James Street 34,56 The Warren 20,22 St M ark’s, Clemton Park 41 W ater supply 27,35,51 St Paul's, Canterbury 27 Waterworth, Ashton 36 St Peter's, Cooks River 12,16,22 Waterworth Park 36 St Peters to Liverpool Loop Line 24,27,29 Watkin Avenue 44 Salt Pan Creek 24,27 Webb, Richard Whitley 24 Salvation Army 46,53 Wesleyan Church 23,34 Salvation Army Boys Home 44,53 Western Suburbs Churches Sportsground 52 Salvation Army Training College 53 Western Suburbs Courier Newspaper 49 Sanderson, H.T. 27 W estfield Street 40 Sandstone 1 White, - 39 Sanitary depot 31 White, Phil 52 Saunders, grocer 50 Whitton, Sister 43 Scahill, Thomas 39 Wickens, B.C. 40 School Lane 43 W ildflowers 1,34,35 School of Arts 36 Wildlife 1 Schools 17,34,35-38,42,44-46,50,54 W illiam Street 23-25,30,34,39,40,42-45,47-49,51,52 Schwebel, Georqe 36 W illiam Street Progress Association and Tramway Schwebel, Mrs E.M. 39 Extension League 45 Schwebel's Quarry 36 W illiam Street, Richmond Grove 19 Senior Citizens' Centre, Earlwood 52 Williams, Allan 19,30,45 Sewerage sen/ice 31 Williams, Ethel 46 Shackel Avenue 49 Willis, Sir Eric 52 Wills Ground 52 Sharp Street 37,39,43,45,48 Wilson, Caleb Felix 26 Shaw Family 34 Sheedy’s Waterhole 19 Wilson, James Augustus 36 Wincanton 48 Shell middens 1,4 Withers, George 24 Shepherd, Jim 50 Wolli Avenue 34 Shops 17,34,39,45,48,50,51,55,56 Singleton Place 18 Wolli Creek 1,4,5,11,15,17-20,26-28,30,31,34,39,47-50, Slade Road 31,34 54,55,57,58 Smith, Charles Astley 23 Wolli Creek and Bardwell Valley Preservation Society 57 Wolli Park 36 Smith, E.H. 40 Southern, Margaret 4,19 Wollongong Road 12,15,48 Southern & Western Suburbs Ocean Outfall Sewer 31,55 Woolcott, William 10,13,17-19 Spark, Alexander Brodie 11,12,14 W oolcott Street 56 Woolwash 19-21 Spark Street 19,23,56 World War I 40 Sparkes, Bill 15,16 World War II 50 Sprig of Myrtle 16 Steele hairdresser 50 Yorkshireman’s Coat of Arms Inn 12,15 Young, J.S.H. 42 Stewart, chemist 50 Young, produce merchant 50 Stewart, dentist 50 Street lighting 34,35 Stone Street 19


Earlwood, Undercliffe and Clemton Park have undergone many changes since the time of the Aborigines to become the multicultural suburbs of today. Cooks River served as a barrier to early settlement until bridges were built from the 1840s onwards. Population remained small and the district consisted of small farms until early this century. Originally known as Parkes Camp, then Parkestown and Forest Hill, it became Earlwood about 1914. It was only in the 1920s that suburban development really began. Building construction was then rapid and shops, churches and community facilities were provided. The Earlwood tramway opened in 1924, and the Tempe-East Hills Railway in 1931. Growth has continued, and the suburb has become the home of a large ethnic population. This book describes the area before the coming of the white man, and details the changes since that time.

The authors are the two Vice-Presidents of the Canterbury and District Historical Society, each has undertaken considerable research into the local history of the district and each has published many articles on aspects of the area’s history. Lesley Muir is a librarian at the Sydney College of Advanced Education, is an historical geographer, and contributed the chapter “ Public Spending and Private Property: The lllawarra Line Cabal” in the recently published "Sydney: City of Suburbs’! She has also written “ The History of Cooks River” and “ They’re Racing at Canterbury” ; she has lived in the same house in the Municipality of Canterbury all her life. Brian Madden was formerly a tertiary education administrator, and is the author of “ Tempe-East Hills Railway” “ The History of the Suburb of Hurstville” and “ The Background to the Townson Grants in the St George Area” ; he has lived in the Municipality of Canterbury for over fifty years at four different addresses. Both authors have academic qualifications. To mark the Bicentenary of white settlement in Australia, Canterbury Municipal Council commissioned the writing of histories of the suburbs of the Municipality. The series complements “ Change and Challenge” a History of the Municipality of Canterbury, NSW, by F. A. Larcombe, which was published in 1979 at the time of the Centenary of the Municipality.

National Library of Australia Card No. and ISBN 0 9590704 3 5 COVER PHOTOGRAPH: The house of Thomas Parkes in William Street, between Woolcott Street and Cameron Avenue, about 1890. (Courtesy Jim Cutbush.)

Earlwood's Past  

A history of Earlwood, Undercliffe and Clemton Park, NSW. By Brian J Madden and Lesley Muir.

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you