Wednesday 5 August 2020

Minto in the War Years

I came across an interesting interview in our collection last week. A Mr Dewar of Minto was interviewed in 1985 and he spoke about moving to Minto in 1942 and what the village was like during the war years. When the Dewar family first arrived in 1942, they lived on the corner of Pembroke and Stafford Streets for the first 18 months, before moving to Eagleview Road.

I would like to share some of the interview and display some of the photographs from the Dewar family that were donated to Campbelltown Library Service.

The following points are highlights from the interview:

  • There were no street lights, very few houses, one shop and the houses were far apart.
  • No houses were allowed to be built in the war years as material was needed for war purposes.
  • There was only one school with one teacher in one classroom who taught from Kindergarten to Year 6.
  • The roads were terrible. Redfern Road was the only street sealed. Most people walked.
  • The Dewar's had a horse and sulky but mainly walked to the Railway Station. 
  • Minto people had to go to Campbelltown to watch picture shows. Picnics were popular because that was one way that people got together for enjoyment.
  • The swimming hole at Casula station was a popular place to swim.
  • The Dewar's lived on Eagleview Road. It was named this because it lead up to a very high point at Leumeah Road, where you could see down to Bowral and across to Camden and then right around to the lights of Katoomba and Blackheath at night and then to Sydney. At some points you could see the Harbour Bridge.
  • There was a dance every Friday night at the School of Arts.
  • Telephone calls were handled by the switchboard operator Mr Williams at the Post Office. People only had a telephone between 9am and 6pm and none after midday on Sunday.
  • There was only one shop where Minto Mall is now.
  • Soldiers from the Ingleburn Army Camp would come to Minto to train and you would be walking along the street and would see a soldier behind the fence with a gun. They were training to go overseas.
  • A local dairy would supply the Dewar's with milk. They would take their jars up to the dairy and get them filled up with cream and it only cost one shilling.

The Dewar home on the corner of Pembroke and Stafford Street in 1942

The Dewar family home in Eagleview Road, Minto

Mrs Helen Douglas Dewar with her sister Miss Jessie Abbott and granddaughter Anne outside the family home on Eagleview Road

Dave Dewar with daughter Anne outside his car

Presbyterian Sunday School picnic on the Dewar's property at Minto

All of the photographs above are from the Dewar Collection, Campbelltown City Library, Local Studies Collection.

Written by Andrew Allen

"Why Campbelltown?" Interviews


  1. I believe that this was the home of Walter Wilkinson and his wife Esther Amelia (nee Oldham) ... from about 1910. When they left is unclear. Their son Henry "Harry" was listed in the 1913 electoral roll as 'dairyman'. Father Walter and son Frederick are shown as plumbers.... Wayne Williams.

  2. Thank you for letting us know that Wayne. Although I have heard of this Wilkinson family, I wasn't aware that they lived there. We have a photo of their plumbing business in Queen Street in our collection.