Monday 15 May 2023

The Collins family stores and Ingleburn

The Collins family arrived in Ingleburn in 1884, having come from Gunning. William John Collins Snr had established a brickworks in Gunning which supplied bricks used in connection with the railway in that district. He, his wife Honora and their five children then moved to Ingleburn where William set up a general store in the small village of Ingleburn. This wattle and daub building was on the southern side of the Oxford and Ingleburn Road intersection.

William Snr also continued to use his brickmaking skills supplying handmade bricks for local building projects. He was active in having a school opened in Ingleburn, starting a church, and providing the mail service from his home. He was one of the founding Aldermen of Ingleburn’s Municipal Council in 1896.

The early W.J. Collins General Store c1880 (Photo courtesy CAHS)

William Snr and his wife Honora’s (known as Nora) sixth child, a son, was born in Ingleburn, and was named Thanet. This name was derived from the place in Kent where William John Snr was born – the Isle of Thanet.

The J.W. Collins Store was on the corner of Oxford Road and Ingleburn Road, right near Ingleburn Railway Station. It sold everything, including explosives for which William had obtained a permit in 1888.

After their father died suddenly in 1919, the store was taken over by William John Jnr and his brother Thanet and became W.& T. Collins Store. In 1922 they called for tenders to build a new brick store. This would be situated on the northern side of Oxford Road opposite the old location. Groceries, paint, produce, hardware, haberdashery were among items sold. Eventually a milk bar and petrol and oil service were added. Train commuters were catered to with the store being open as early as 6am and closing as late as 7.30pm. 

W.&T. Collins Store c1930 (Photo Courtesy CAHS)

When William Jnr died in 1936 the store was continued by Thanet, and became known as T. Collins Railway Store. Thanet remained a storekeeper into the 1960s, but had retired by the time of his death in 1972. The Collins family had served the Ingleburn community for close to 90 years. 

Written by Claire Lynch

Sources: Trove, Grist Mills Vol.1, No.4, "More than bricks and mortar" - Andrew Allen

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