The Helm family of Campbelltown settled in the area as early as 1859.
James Baptist Helm, born c1851, is thought to be the son of German immigrants who arrived in Australia on the ship Beulah as Assisted Passengers. His father was known variously as Ludwig, Louis and Levice, and his mother was generally known as Catherine.
His wife, Elizabeth Smith was born in Ireland, but came to Australia as a baby. Her family went straight to Maitland, but came to Campbelltown two years later. It was here she would meet James Helm and they married in 1876. Her father Robert was a Railway employee who was killed in an accident at the Sydney Rail Yards. Robert and his wife Mary are buried at St John’s.
James was one of the early fettlers employed at the Campbelltown Railway by NSW Government Railways. James and Elizabeth had three children, Mary Agnes, otherwise known as Pearl born 1877, Lewis James born 1883 and Patrick born 1887. The family lived at a tiny cottage in Lindesay Street. Tragically, Patrick drowned in a tragic accident at the Woolwash. During the holidays in 1907, Patrick headed to the Woolwash with four friends, none of whom could swim more than a few strokes. At a spot known as the “Elbow” he entered the water, found himself in difficulties and was unable to get back to the bank. His mates tried to render assistance to no avail. Patrick was buried at St John’s Cemetery.
Daughter Mary Agnes married John Walker, and they continued to live in Campbelltown.
Son Lewis James also continued to live in Campbelltown, but never married. He lived in the same small cottage in Lindesay Street, which was commonly known as Helm’s Cottage. His sister’s daughter Mollie Walker looked after him in his old age. Catherine Helm, Elizabeth and James Helm, Patrick Helm, Lewis James Helm, and Mary Agnes Walker (nee Helm) are also all buried at St John’s. The little cottage, which had been known as Helm’s Cottage in Lindesay Street was eventually demolished in 1973.
Helm's Cottage, 160 Lindesay St (Bagley Collection, CAHS)
Written by Claire Lynch
"More than bricks and mortar" by Andrew Allen