Tuesday 3 May 2022

The lost name of Riversford

I recently came across a reference to Riversford Railway Station, in relation to Menangle, which I had never heard of. I started to investigate the name Riversford, and have come up with the following information. The earliest reference I could find was the death notice in 1852 of Joseph Edwards, late of Riversford, Menangle. Edwards leased a farm of about 180 acres. In 1856 a Post Office was established at Riversford, described as being between Campbelltown and Picton. Another death notice was for John Ryan in 1859, late of Riversford, Menangle, who was also a lessee farmer at Menangle. Mrs Sarah Rose also appears in the newspaper – she was a washerwoman and midwife from Riversford. Her husband George Rose was a shingle splitter. In 1859 a place was appointed for the sale of spirits etc, wholesale, at Riversford. All the above persons are mentioned in the book “They worked at Camden Park”. In 1860, an article about railways in the Sydney Morning Herald states that “Beyond the Nepean a high embankment carries the railway to a cluster of houses known as Riversford, the residents in which are chiefly cultivators of the rich agricultural land though which the line runs for some distance, and which is the property of the Messrs. Macarthur”. The roads must have been pretty bad, as William Dawson, office and farm worker at Camden Park, was advertising for labourers for five weeks work of road repair in 1860. In 1861, another railway article in the SMH stated “Beyond the Menangle River, a long embankment is finished as far as it can be, pending the erection of the viaduct. The adjoining cutting, and some light embankments, extending though a small hamlet known as Riversford, are almost finished…” In the same year Riversford was appointed as a place where a Public Pound would be erected, established and maintained. William Dawson was appointed poundkeeper. Another lessee farmer, John Ryan of Riversford, Menangle, was also reported as deceased as well as John McCain, storekeeper and blacksmith of Riversford.
The Railway Hotel, shown above, built in the 1850s, was on the then Eastern side of Menangle Rd but the re-alignment of the road would now place it either under or on the Western side of the road. 
The Riversford area was also where the railway camp was located. Due to the activity in the area between 1862 and 1864, many workers were camped in that vicinity. In September 1st 1862, the Riversford railway platform was opened as a temporary terminus. It was built by the contractors for the line, at a cost of 115 pounds, and closed in July 1863, when the Menangle Bridge was opened. In 1863, the Riversford post masters wife, Mary Anne Kelly was reported deceased, her husband Dennis Kelly was also the Catholic school teacher. The name Riversford was beginning to fall from general use, being replaced by Menangle. In 1865 the Post Office was to be known officially as Menangle rather than Riversford. Bailliere’s NSW Gazetteer and Road Guide of 1866 referred to Menangle with Riversford in brackets after it. The last mention of the name Riversford I could find was 1879, when the public pound was abolished, and Riversford was no more. Riversford is remembered today only in the name Riversford Road in Menangle Village.

Written by Claire Lynch
Sources - 
"They worked at Camden Park" Burnett, Johnson, Nixon & Wrigley
"Early Menangle" J.J. Moloney

No comments:

Post a Comment