Friday, 8 January 2021

New Year 1921

Thought I'd take a look back to the Campbelltown-Ingleburn News of 7th January 1921 to see how our predecessors of a hundred years ago brought in the new year. Mayor Hannaford had had a tough year with the "influenza epidemic" still causing issues.

A quite prominent notice by T.H. Barnett, owner of the Mount Gilead Estate said he would impound any trespassing stock and prosecute anyone cutting timber there. Quite the new year's resolution! But it was the article about the Soldier's Settlement Social Committee which gave a great picture of life of the time. We know now there will be very rough years ahead for them but this new years' they gathered in the communal hall for songs, music and merriment, with the venue being "taxed by the large company present". The program began with a pianoforte solo by Miss Molly Menzies and continued with violins, cornet and Mrs Warner of the Hurstville Philharmonic's rendition of "Nocturne in F". The young Miss Eva Macintosh "gained the hearts of her audience singing "Here's to love and Laughter" later joining Mr Sidman in a duet. The happy group only dispersed at 2 am, to reassemble on new year's day for sports on the recreation reserve of the settlement.

One of the cottages in the soldier's settlement in Waminda Avenue

Sports Day

Delayed for an hour due to the extreme heat and with a tendency for the great majority to be "surf-bathing" the flat race for kids under-10 took place, followed by a potato race resulting in a dead-heat, a win eventually secured by Miss Cambourne over Miss Biehler. The article does not mention how many potatoes were collected for the win. 
Thirty-two entrants "stepped out" a 100 yards, with R.J Warby winning, after he was found to be only nine and a half inches off the mark. Miss Biehler triumphed however, in the egg and spoon race with several competitors losing their eggs entirely. Controversy was had in the men's heat though when the winner, Mr Hepher, it was alleged, GLUED his egg to the spoon! 

After the "Married ladies" heat, the pillow fight was hotly contested with Mr Hazel "knocking out" Mick Casey in the final. The extraordinary Miss Woods, after conceding two yards start to the other entrants, beat the field in the single women's race. Finally, after the "sweethearts race" was won and 39 contestants all "threw at wickets", the obstacle race took place. Involving climbing poles, tarpaulins and hurdles it caused much hilarity especially when everyone simultaneously went for the one "Big Barrel" 

What a day to remember!


Monday, 14 December 2020

Christmas in the 1890s


W. Wilkinson Collection

This delightful Christmas postcard from our photograph collection is of Queen Street. It was taken by the Sydney firm of Kerry and Co. The shot is taken from near the intersection of Queen and Dumaresq Streets and is looking south. Pictured in the postcard are Charles Tripp's Wheelwright business on the left behind the lamp post, a hairdresser business opposite and the Old Post Office behind it. 

Charles Tripp and his brother Thomas rented this building in 1884. It was later used as a garage after much alteration and served the people of Campbelltown until its demolition in 1966. The hairdresser building continued as a hairdresser for some years after this photo was taken. It operated under the name of Fred Joseph after 1900. It was demolished in 1977. The Old Post Office was built in 1881 and still stands.

Kerry and Co. began operation in 1892, taking over from Kerry and Jones. Given that the name on the hairdresser is different to F. Joseph that took over in 1900, we can assume that the postcard was created between 1892 and 1899.

Tuesday, 1 December 2020

Happy Birthday Campbelltown!

Three cheers from a crowd of 50-60 settlers echoed around the tiny settlement. The settlers were celebrating the naming of Campbell Town on this day 1 December 1820. Governor Lachlan Macquarie formally marked the boundaries of the township, the sites for the church, school and burial ground. He named it after his wife's maiden name. The ceremony was held at the current site of Mawson Park, probably close to St Peter's Church.

A portrait of Lachlan Macquarie

Wednesday, 18 November 2020

Left Hungry

On 17 August 1895, a banquet was held for John Kidd in the Town Hall at Campbelltown. Kidd, the owner of the Blair Athol property and prominent citizen, was a member of Sir George Dibbs' state government that had recently lost an election. Certain actions by Dibbs leading up to the election were seen as being too conservative and the reason why the election was lost. The banquet was a grand affair, with many dignitaries attending including the Mayor of Campbelltown. 

Despite being a political and social success, it was not a success from a banquet point of view. And considering that food can make or break a night like this, the verdict was that it probably failed. The Camden News described it this way: "...the viands being wholly insufficient for the wants of the guests. One party of four, after vainly attempting to get something to eat, went to a neighbouring hotel and had supper on their own". One would assume the caterers got the sack!

John Kidd successfully became a Member of the Legislative Assembly of the NSW Parliament. He was elected to the seat of Nepean in 1880. When Dibbs' lost the election, Kidd retired from politics. On hearing of his death, Sir Edmund Barton, Australia's first prime minister, said "I always found him to be a loyal colleague and a strictly upright public man".

John Kidd pictured with his family at Blair Athol in the 1890s (Campbelltown and Airds Historical Society Collection)


Camden News, 29 August 1896, p6

Tuesday, 3 November 2020

The Mighty Roos

The Campbelltown Kangaroos rugby league club has played a significant part in the lives of many locals. They have been around since 1908 and continue to play in the Group 6 competition. To write a comprehensive history of this club would too much of an undertaking for this blog and considering a history was written in 2008. I thought I would share some of the more interesting facts and stories in point form, using various sources including the excellent centenary publication written by Narelle Cullen and Lorraine Harris.

  • The club was originally known as The Wallabies
  • One of the teams the Kangaroos played against in the early 1920s was called Cordeaux Dam
  • At one memorable game against Fairfield in the mid 1930s club supporter Geoff Gore fired a revolver into the air to stop brawling spectators.
  • A game at Campbelltown saw the local sanitary truck pull into the oval with the truck fully loaded. The driver parked the truck and ran into the change rooms to get into his football gear, played the game and then ran back into the change room to get into his work clothes and continue to work which meant he had to go to empty the truck.
  • The Kangaroos first played at Campbelltown Showground on Warby Street before moving to Alfred Duguid Oval at the northern end of Queen Street. They moved to Orana Park in 1971.
  • A Group 6 representative team coached by Ray Corkery defeated the French touring team 2-0 at Orana Park in 1975 after a power outage caused the floodlights to fail.
  • After being wooden spooners in 1979, Campbelltown City Kangaroos claimed the 1980 premiership with a dominant season in which they lost only two games. They remain the only Group 6 club to have gone from last to first in one season.
  • Ex-Australian Kangaroos and ex-Wests Tigers coach Tim sheens captained the Campbelltown City Kangaroos to a first grade premiership in 1983. This was the Kangaroos last match in Group 6.
  • In the 1930s the club would hold meetings at Alf Duguid's bootmaker and repair shop.
  • In a match at Picton, Kangaroos player Ron New received a serious injury. He passed away a couple of days later from the injury. As a mark of respect to Ron his number 10 jersey has been retired and has not been worn by a senior team member since.
  • The 1972 semi final between fierce rivals Campbelltown Kangaroos and Camden was regarded as one of the greatest matches in the group's history. After both sides hammered each other and with the score at 10 all with little time left, Camden won via a controversial scrum penalty.
  • A supporter named Ray Muggleton using a booming voice would often use a famous catch cry of "COME ON YOU ROOS! GET SOME BLOOD ON YOUR BOOTS! This was yelled out just as the referee would blow his whistle to start the match.

An undated photograph of the Kangaroos football team (Campbelltown and Airds Historical Society)



CULLEN, Narelle and HARRIS, Lorraine
Campbelltown City Kangaroos Rugby League Football Club 100 Years 1908-2008
Campbelltown: Snap Printing

Friday, 23 October 2020

Glenfield Veterinary Research Station

 In 1923 the New South Wales Department of Agriculture opened its very first veterinary research station on a small property at Macquarie Fields. The Glenfield Veterinary Research station would make a remarkable contribution to veterinary science and agriculture for almost 70 years.

The Research Station was established in recognition of the economic cost of disease in livestock and the need for a facility to conduct research centred on problems of importance to the cattle, sheep, poultry and pig industries. Perhaps most significantly, techniques for the artificial insemination of cattle were pioneered there.

Approval for the establishment of the veterinary institute was given in 1913, but the outbreak of WWI and the shortage of funds meant that implementation was delayed until 1916 when 45 hectares was purchased from the Ross Brothers’ Macquarie Fields property. On June 1, 1919 Dr Sydney Dodd was appointed Consulting Veterinary Pathologist and took charge of plans for the buildings and equipment necessary for the Station.

At the time of the buildings being constructed in 1920, Glenfield was a small village on the east side of the railway line. There was a railway station, some houses and a primary school. Farming was the main activity in the district and the Veterinary Station was the only development to the west of the railway.

Staff of the Glenfield Veterinary Research Station, 1923 (Photograph donated by Col Clissold)

When the buildings were complete, Dr H. R. Seddon was appointed pathologist and the Glenfield Research Station was officially opened on November 2, 1923. The work of the station was not confined to animal health problems, research was carried out on animal husbandry and nutrition, drought feeding of sheep, artificial insemination of cattle and the control of noxious animals. Glenfield was also responsible for the development of a highly virulent strain of myxoma virus, (the “Glenfield Strain”), which proved invaluable to rabbit control throughout the continent. Glenfield will forever be synonymous with being the first to introduce the Myxomatosis virus to Australia for experimental purposes. 

Glenfield Veterinary Research Station
The Farmer and Settler (Sydney 1906-1955) 4 Sept 1925

In the early 1980s there were approaching problems at Glenfield from urbanisation and the need for improved laboratory facilities, it was decided to move the Station to land at Camden purchased by the NSW Government that had once been part of the Camden Park Estate, the site of early Agricultural development in Australia by John Macarthur and his family. Staff, equipment and livestock were transferred to the new Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute between 1989 and 1990.

Written by Samantha Stevenson

Grist mills Vol 22 No 1
The first 50 years – Glenfield Veterinary research station
50 years in animal research: Veterinary research station Glenfield 1923-1973
Glenfield Veterinary Research Station by P.J. Mylrea & D.W. Dredge

Thursday, 8 October 2020

Recognition for Norm


The Campbelltown and Airds Historical Society recently conferred upon Norm Campbell an Honorary life membership to recognize the many years of commitment to our community. Anyone who is interested in the history of Campbelltown would likely know of this kind hearted man with an infectious energy. For those who don’t, we would like to let you know a little about his life.

Norm was born in Lithgow Street Private Hospital in 1923. As a child he lived in Stanwell House, one of the colonial buildings in Queen Street, until the government purchased the strip of Georgian houses and took on the prohibitively expensive task of restoring them.

It was a childhood lived in the shadow of the Great Depression. His mother had been adopted by George and Margaret Chinnocks who could not have children of their own. George and Margaret also looked after children of the state who were very happy to live with them.

“Grandfather Chinnocks” was very fond of horses and where there might be family portraits there were photos of thoroughbreds. There were very few cars around then everyone owned a sulky and horse for their transport. There were a number of wild horses in Glenfield if you wanted a horse you would go there, grab one and break it in. 

Norm remembers leaving for High School at 7:30am every morning by steam train with his friend Greg Percival, among others.  It was a long day having to change trains, swapping between steam and electric having to be shunted from Granville to Parramatta and getting home after 5:00 pm.

Norm did not see war service, being rejected for medical reasons. He remembers those bleak times on the home front. The young men who came back wounded; the soldiers who did not come back at all. The town itself had rationing and coupons. Campbelltown had a lot of soldiers in those times coming through with troops camped in the showground and the train taking soldiers to and from leave.

After his mother passed away Norm worked as a shopkeeper in the general store which also happened to be the family home.

During his working life Norm had many varied jobs. He gained work as a movie projectionist in various areas around Sydney before Fred Eves, who had given him his start delivering flyers for him, invited him back as projectionist for the fabled Macquarie Cinema. The introduction of television in the 50’s curtailed the cinema’s activities but there was a silver lining.

Norm began doing stints as a news correspondent for ABC radio, reporting on local events. It was usually 6:30am but it had a large following. Later on he would buy a camera and delivered filmed news reports for Channel 2 and 7, even filming sequences for the Mavis Branson show.

During the sixties, Norm was hired by Jim Vernon to be a photographer for the Campbelltown Ingleburn news, Camden news, the Picton Post and Macarthur Advertiser

During that time there was only one scientific detective for a large area and so he and the police mutually agreed that he should take scientific photos for our area. Norm received criticism for doing this type of work but those photos were to prove the truth of many events. An illustration of that was the crash of a light airplane. One of Norm’s photos showed a twenty cent coin lodged in the rudder controls causing the accident.

But not every day in the newspaper business gained praise. When the newspapers started using computers, Norm was interested in the way they worked. He was banned when he “wiped out” an amount of the day’s work.

At the beginning of the 1950’s Norm had also joined the local fire brigade, becoming Captain in 1968 at one of the busiest and wide ranging of districts. He recalls fondly a fire engine, which could pump 250 gallons of water a minute remaining in use at the station from 1929 until 1964, being unsurpassed in quality for many a year after that.

Norm recalls that many strange things have happened in Campbelltown, luckily more good than bad.

“Retiring” in 1988, Norm Campbell has kept an interest in many pursuits and been so generous in providing Campbelltown Library with so many photos and recollections of Campbelltown’s past over the years. We will be forever indebted to him.

Written by Michael Sullivan