Wednesday 22 November 2023

Patrick Street: dust, camels and Carmel

Driving or walking down Campbelltown's Patrick Street today is a rather uninspiring journey. There is very little to get enthused about. However, if you dig a little deeper into the street's past, an interesting story comes to light.

Confusion reigns over the origins of the Patrick Street name. In that wonderful resource Campbelltown's Streets and Suburbs: How and why they got their names written by Jeff McGill, Verlie Fowler and Keith Richardson, it is claimed that the thoroughfare was originally named Hurley Street, in honour of John Hurley- the sub-divider of the land. They write that it later changed to "Patrick Hurley Street" and named after the owner of the nearby Kings Arms Hotel, Patrick Hurley before eventually referred to as Patrick Street. This could have arisen over confusion or small town politics the authors theorised. However, in my research I discovered from a Campbelltown Council column in the Campbelltown News of 1933, a reference to Patrick Hurley Street AND Patrick Street. Earlier local newspaper references dating back as far as 1898 had referred to the street as Patrick Street. Therefore, it seems as though there were two different streets containing the name Patrick. I wonder was Patrick Street named after early hotel owner and businessman John Patrick? This man is perhaps best known as the licensee of The Harrow Inn which is where John Farley startled drinkers by claiming he saw the ghost of Fred Fisher in 1826. The Harrow was located in Queen Street and not far from its intersection with Patrick Street.

It appears as though Patrick Street once had an undesirable reputation. In 1924 the local rag described it as Campbelltown's darkest thoroughfare after money was stolen from a number of houses in the street. 

One of my favourite photographs from the library's collection and dated around 1900 is of two men leaning on a fence in Patrick Street casually keeping an eye on some grazing livestock, including cattle and camels! (see image below) I wonder what the camels were used for? Behind the camels and on the corner of Patrick and Queen Streets is Reeve's Emporium. It was built in 1897 and supplied the town with everything from gunpowder to sheet music!

Other notable buildings located in Patrick Street and now long gone included Brunero's saw mill. It was located between Patrick Street and Milgate Lane. Brothers Leslie and Albert Brunero became partners in the sawmill trading as Brunero Bros. In the early years logs were brought to the mill by horse teams. About 1936 the horse teams were replaced by a Caterpillar tractor and motor lorries. Leslie became the sole owner and continued trading as Brunero Bros. until his death following a fatal accident at the sawmill in 1941. The sawmill was not always popular with locals however. In 1925 there were complaints written to the newspaper about the dust nuisance from the sawmill. In fact, the dusty state of the street had long been a concern of residents and business owners. In 1900 Thomas Reeve, owner of the newly built Reeve's Emporium, raised the dusty state of the street with Council. Eventually Patrick Street was kerbed and guttered in 1922 and completely tarred by 1933. 

The street was also the location for the Campbelltown News Office, JP Seddon's house 'Wargela', an electricity sub-station built in 1928 and demolished in 1970 and Vardy's beautiful home 'Carmel'. Located at the bottom of Patrick Street, 'Carmel' was built in 1930 and was well-known for it's stunning flower garden. It was home to William Carroll Vardy, better known as "Bullah". 

An aerial view from 1970 showing Patrick Street in the centre of the photograph.

Written by Andrew Allen


Campbelltown's Streets and Suburbs: How and why they got their names written by Jeff McGill, Verlie Fowler and Keith Richardson

More than Bricks and Mortar: Remembering Campbelltown's lost buildings by Andrew Allen

Campbelltown News articles from Trove

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