Wednesday, 26 May 2021

Miss Clark's School

Last Saturday I gave a presentation to the Campbelltown and Airds Historical Society on a Campbelltown identity from the past named Zillah Dredge. One of the schools Zillah attended was Miss Clark's private school in Cordeaux Street. The Historical Society have since drawn my attention to a few images of this school, including this wonderful photograph of the school below and its children in 1910. A young Zillah Cooper, as she was known then, is standing at the back aged about 12 or 13.

At back standing: Zillah Cooper

Back Row: Edna Tallentire, Daphne Clissold, Marjorie Gore, A. Stubbs

2nd Row: C. Tripp, Biddles, Douglas, ? ? P. Tripp

Front Row: Augustus Gore, Biddles, ?

(Campbelltown and Airds Historical Society)

Little is known about the school. It was believed to have been built in the 1880s and was located at the back of a house at 5 Cordeaux Street. The house was known as "Rema". According to Zillah the school was a very big room at the back and attached to the house. She described it as like a big dormitory and a big room. Miss Clark ran the school and lived in the house with the owner, her sister Hannah Tallentire. Miss Clark was the daughter of Samuel Clark and Isabella Kearns. She taught about 30-40 students on her own. Zillah believed Miss Clark taught at the school for ten years. The house and the school were demolished about 1975 or 1976.

Despite a comprehensive search of resources, I am unable to find a first name for Miss Clark. If anyone has more information on the school, Miss Clark (including her first name) or photographs, I would be very interested.

The school is in the centre of the photo, attached to the white house in the middle (Campbelltown and Airds Historical Society)

An earlier photograph showing the school on the right (Campbelltown and Airds Historical Society)

Wednesday, 19 May 2021

The Eggleton Family

The recently named Eggleton Reserve in Englorie Park was named after a prominent Campbelltown family. David and Linda Eggleton have kindly given permission to use there notes from years of research into their family.

William Eggleton (alias ‘Bones’) born c.1756, was one of three known First-Fleet convicts awarded land grants in Campbelltown. Late of the parish of St Saviour, within the borough of Southwark, England, following an offence of stealing, he was sentenced to seven years transportation ‘beyond the seas’.

Transported on the ‘Alexander’, he arrived in Sydney on 26 January 1788.

The "Alexander" (Image supplied by marine artist, Frank Allen)

William married fellow First Fleeter, Mary Dickenson, who had been transported on ‘Lady Penrhyn’, on 17 February at St Philip’s Church of England at Sydney Cove and they had four children – Sarah, William (who died as an infant), William (2) and Elizabeth, who fell victim to Campbelltown’s notorious family mass-murder in 1849.

By 1790 the colony was desperately short of provisions and Governor Phillip decided to establish a new farming district at Prospect. He selected 26 of the most reliable convicts to begin a new endeavour and, as one of the chosen convicts, William Eggleton started farming his sixty acre property at the foot of Prospect Hill, on what is now Old Toongabbie Road, which he named ‘Eggleton’s Endeavour’.

In 1799 William was appointed by Governor John Hunter to check the quality and quantity of grain supplied to Government Stores in the Sydney and adjacent areas. Just prior to his appointment, Mary Eggleton died and was buried in the Old Sydney Burial Ground where Sydney Town Hall now stands.

By 1814 William was working on an additional sixty acres at Campbelltown (then known as Airds), which was granted to him in 1817, and was situated where this reserve now stands. William farmed this land with his son, William (2), with all of William (2)’s children being born on the property.

No official death record can be found for William Eggleton, although he is thought to have died between 1825 -1828, and is most likely buried on his Bargo property, which was granted in 1823.

Son, William (2) continued to live in Campbelltown for many years, with many of his descendants still living in Campbelltown today. Over two centuries after William and Mary Eggleton arrived on our shores, thousands of Eggleton descendants are now scattered across the length and breadth of Australia.

A significant event for modern day Campbelltown occurred on 16 February 1986 when thousands of descendants of William and Mary Eggleton gathered for the ‘Eggleton Muster’ organised by descendant, Shirley White at a nearby reserve. This gathering led to a proposal by Shirley White for a reserve to honour the Eggleton family’s First Fleet ancestors.

This present site, being situated in the centre of William Eggleton’s original land grant, was selected in 2014 as the most appropriate site to honour William Eggleton and his family.

St Peters Parish Map showing Eggleton's land

Tuesday, 4 May 2021

Characters of Menangle

Every town has its characters. Those people that are remembered fondly and talked about long after they are gone. Menangle was no different. Black Nellie, Granny Farrell and Billy Baldaxe were three personalities much loved from Menangle's early days and I thought I would tell their story. Their stories mostly come from J.J. Moloney and his book "Early Menangle".

Na Daang, also called Black Nellie, was born in the Penrith area and spent most of her life there. She was remembered as being generous, kind to animals and fond of young children. She made periodical visits to Menangle, accompanied by several dogs of various breeds. Her connection to Menangle originated from a visit she made to Camden Park in the 1830s. She met Johnny Budbury, an aboriginal constable and tracker, who had been born and raised in Camden. It was a case of love at first sight. They later moved to Windsor and Johnny at some stage passed away. When Nellie in later years returned to Menangle she stated that Johnny was dead, but that he was a good man and prayed to God before he died. She was very popular in the area and treated well by the locals.

In the years after Johnny's death, Nellie befriended a white woman by the name of Sarah Shand. She lived on her family's farm on Bringelly Road from 1891. Shand wrote about Nellie's life and painted a portrait of her. She was photographed a number of times, including by Sarah Shand. In one photograph her eccentricity is revealed by showing how she wore her usual two dresses. She would often wear as many as seven petticoats at once.

Black Nellie lived until the 1890s. There is some conjecture about where, when and how she died. There is a possibility that she sadly died at Newington Asylum on 10 December 1898. NSW Birth, Death and Marriage records indicate an aboriginal woman by the name of Nellie died there. I hope it is not her and that she moved away somewhere and experienced a peaceful end to her life.

Black Nellie photographed at Penrith in the mid 1890s (Local Studies Collection, Penrith City Library)

Another character from the early days of Menangle was Mary Ann Farrell. "Granny" Farrell was held in very high esteem by the Menangle locals. In the mid-1870s aged in her mid nineties, Granny would frequently walk four of five miles (6.6 to 8.04 kilometres) every afternoon around Menangle. She always stood out in her snow-white hood of the period. She had been married twice, her second husband Christopher dying in 1853 aged 80. Granny Farrell lived by herself after Christopher's death in a house located approximately on the left hand side of Menangle Road, just past the turn off to Glenlee Road, heading towards Menangle. Incredibly, she was aged 105 years when she passed away on 28 February 1885! She is buried with her husband in St John's Cemetery in Campbelltown.

The Farrell grave in St John's Cemetery

The third Menangle character was known as Billy Baldaxe. His real name was probably Baldock. He possessed a fiery temper and a thin physique. Billy was a convict and according to J.J. Moloney, took pride in exhibiting the marks of his 1500 lashes. Moloney went on to describe him as "possibly the best relic of the system" that he could remember. After his emancipation, he was employed by the pioneering Woodhouse family. A search of convict and other records for this man proved inconclusive. 


MOLONEY, J.J. 1929
Early Menangle
Newcastle: The Australian Society of Patriots

Karskens, Grace
'Nahdoong's Song'

Camden Museum Facebook site, 10 September 2020.

Wednesday, 21 April 2021

Letters from Thomas

We have written previously about Thomas Gamble, prominent shopkeeper and mayor of Campbelltown. Thomas wrote many letters home to his family, and we are lucky enough to have facsimiles of many of these. They start with his departure from Ireland, and continue until the early 1900s.
His first letter is reproduced here – I have illustrated it with images from that time, which gives a fascinating insight into his early observations. 

Bulls Hotel
Dale Street
July 22nd 1872

Dear Dada
I left Dublin Friday evening at 10 O.C. by the “Longford Steamship”. We got safe here on Saturday morning about 9 O.C.. We had a very fine night and I was not at all sick. I remained on deck until about 12 O.C. While on board I made enquiries about where I could leave my luggage on getting to Liverpool. I found I could leave it at the parcel office of the Princes Landing by paying 1 (sic) on each parcel or box. I thought it better to do that than to be taking them to my hotel and taking them back again. It is from the Princes Landing we will start.

Princes Landing-stage, Liverpool

You will be surprised to here (sic) that we will not leave Liverpool until Friday next, we are to go on board on Wednesday. Had I known that she would not sail until then I wouldn’t have come here until tomorrow however I am getting 3/- for the delay of course that will not pay me but still it is something. I feel very lonely here by myself. Now I know what it is to be away from ones friends. Now I know what it is to be without father or mother.
What most reminded me that I am in England is the absence of priests. I only saw two of them since I came here. Right opposite to where I took my dinner or yesterday I saw about 6 or 7 men preaching in the streets and a crowd listening very attentively to them. I went to church twice on yesterday but I do not like the way they conduct the services here. I went to St John’s church in the morning and to St Nicholles? (sic) in the evening.

St Nicholas, Liverpool

Two very fine old churches they both chanted the services which sounded very strange in my ear. The buildings here are splendid, the corn exchange is the finest I ever saw, also the North Western Hotel in Lime Street, I counted 50 windows in the front alone. I also went to see the Compton House it is much larger than Todd and Davies but unfortunately it is now closed.

The Corn Exchange
North Western Hotel

Compton House

I went to Berkenhead (sic) on yesterday by one of the ferry steamers which ply every 5 minutes for 1 penny. The agents are very nice people (I mean the agents of the Great Britain) they recommended me to this house which I like very much and is not at all expensive. I gave my money to the agents and got a receipt of it from them. The purser of the vessel will give it to me when I land at Melbourne.

The "Great Britain" a 3 masted steamer on which 
Thomas came to Australia

Tell Mama that it’s not that I forget her that I didn’t mention her name before this as she is not a moment out of my mind nor any of you for that matter. I shall always have a letter written on the voyage so that you will have one from me every opportunity I can
With love to Mama George Susan and all at home and accept the same
 from your affectionate son Thomas.

Written by Claire Lynch
Sources - Pamphlet Files Campbelltown City Library

Thursday, 1 April 2021

White Man's Justice

The year 1830 will be remembered as one of the most gruesome in Campbelltown's long history. Between 6 February and 31 August, nine people were hanged in the town for various crimes. This is interesting, as I can find no other records of executions outside of this year, apart from John Holmes hanged in 1829 for setting fire to a barn. Other capital punishment crimes outside this period were carried out in other parts of the Sydney area. 

The following is a list of people hanged in 1830 in Campbelltown and the crimes they committed:

  • Richard McCann – 6 February 1830 – Hanged at Campbelltown for theft, assault and putting in fear in the Goulburn district
  • Thomas Beasley - 8 February 1830 - Hanged at Campbelltown for burglary with assault in the Airds district
  • Joseph Moorbee (Mowerby, alias Nuttall) - 8 February 1830 - Hanged at Campbelltown for burglary with assault in the Airds district
  • Mark Byfield – 8 March 1830 – Hanged at Sydney for the theft of a silver watch[67]
  • Broger – 30 August 1830 – Indigenous. Publicly hanged at Campbelltown for the murder of John Rivett at Kangaroo Valley
  • Peter Dew (alias Saunders) – 31 August 1830 – Hanged at Campbelltown for burglary and putting in fear at Goulburn
  • William Haggerty – 31 August 1830 – Hanged at Campbelltown for cattle theft from Francis Lawless in the Liverpool district
  • John Spellary – 31 August 1830 – Hanged at Campbelltown for cattle theft from Francis Lawless in the Liverpool district
  • James Welsh – 31 August 1830 – Hanged at Campbelltown for burglary from the house of David Reece at Burra Burra, near Taralga.

The usual location for these public hangings in Campbelltown was "The Green" opposite the Court House at what is now Mawson Park. Each of the nine criminals appear to have been buried in the nearby St Peter's Cemetery. Burial records confirm this.

One of the unfortunate people hanged that captured my attention was the aboriginal Broger. He was indicted for the wilful murder of a stockman named John Rivett at Shoalhaven on 6 February 1829. Broger was tried at Campbelltown Assizes on 20 August 1830, found guilty and death ordered for 30 August. His execution had been postponed for a week.

Broger (sometimes written as Brogher), was born about 1800 at Broughton Creek, known today as Berry. His brother's name was Broughton. According to Keith Campbell in the Australian Dictionary of Biography, the brothers responded in different ways to the challenges posed by the increasing numbers of European settlers. Broughton tendered to accept the challenges posed while Broger refused to adapt. One day Broger and another native went to two sawyers, and promised to show them a quantity of cedar trees, but they suddenly attacked the sawyers in the bush, and killed one of them- John Rivett. The other escaped. Broger was eventually captured. When he was brought to the police court he encountered the surgeon, explorer and merchant Alexander Berry. Berry described how 'poor Broger smiled when he saw me. I addressed him and said 'I am sorry to see you here, accused of killing a white man. I did not think you would have killed anyone, I have more than once walked with you alone in the bush when I was unarmed and you were armed with a spear, and might have easily killed me, had you wished'.

Broger, who could speak English, replied, 'I would not have killed you, for you was my master, and was always very good to me'.

Broger's defence was that the sawyers threatened him, and that he killed him in self-defence. However, he was not allowed to speak in his own defence. Meanwhile, the Chief Justice visited him there, when he made a confession, and said that he had eaten the tongue of the sawyer "that he might speak good English". 

Broger's execution on a cold Monday at the end of a Campbelltown winter, was witnessed by a party of natives who claimed that Broger had suffered unjustly and that he had killed in self-defence. Given the nature of the time, I believe this is most likely and that an injustice was served. The fact that Broger was unable to defend himself in court was an appalling reflection of injustice at this time.

Various sources give different locations for the murder of John Rivett. These range from Kangaroo Valley, Gerringong and the Shoalhaven River. The location of Broger's End on the upper Kangaroo River is named after Broger.

Broger's brother Broughton became a tracker and constable, dying in about 1850. As his knowledge and skills lost their value, Broughton was gradually forced into the margin of European Society in the Shoalhaven. His devotion to Alexander Berry entitled him to regular rations but also alienated him from his relatives.

Next time I wander through old St Peter's Cemetery I will spare a thought for this proud aboriginal man. Although buried far from home in a white man's cemetery, I am certain his spirit still lingers in the land he loved in the beautiful Kangaroo Valley.

This is the reputed site of the murder of John Rivett by Broger


ORGAN, Michael 1990

Illawarra & South Coast Aborigines 1770-1850

Aboriginal Education Unit Wollongong University


Australian Dictionary of Biography

Monday, 22 March 2021

Wedderburn Charcoal Pits

Did you know that charcoal was once used to run cars instead of petrol? During World War II, petrol rationing forced many people to find alternative methods of running vehicles. The rationing meant business people with trucks were particularly affected. Campbelltown did not escape this problem, so some Wedderburn orchardists set up a charcoal production business on the opposite side of the road from the school and across the creek. Four pits were dug in the bush. The pit method required a large pit to be dug in the ground and lined with bricks or sheet iron to prevent the charcoal becoming contaminated, and then a small amount of kindling wood was placed in the bottom for lighting purposes after the pit had been stacked with the timber to be carbonized. 

The orchadists used hardwood from the Wedderburn bush for the pits. Once produced, the charcoal was stored and transported in disused grain stacks, with a sack of charcoal weighing about 18 kg. The charcoal was used by those who had fitted a charcoal gas producing unit to their vehicle. The charcoal was placed in a box at the rear which in turn produced gas power to the vehicle. Their are however many stories of poor performances using charcoal, particularly a loss of power.

Pits like these would have been used across Sydney, but most would have since been lost. The pits at Wedderburn still exist owing to their remote location and the stone lining which has helped to keep them from caving in. Only three of the four pits exist.

The Hawkes family with their charcoal burning vehicle at Leumeah around 1941


HOLMES, Marie 2012

A Scapbook of History: Stories of the Macarthur District

Campbelltown: Campbelltown and Airds Historical Society

Wednesday, 10 March 2021

A Local Treasure

Edward John McBarron, born in 1918 at Albion Park, was a well-known Campbelltown figure for many years. As a Veterinary Science student he graduated from Sydney University in 1942. Whilst studying at University, he had been obliged to collect 100 botanical specimens, but continued to collect long after 100. His collection grew to over 15,000 specimens, now a vital part of the National Herbarium.
Eddie, as he was known, became an Inspector of stock at Holbrook and Albury before his appointment in 1953 as a Veterinary Research Officer at Glenfield Veterinary Research Station. This began his long association with the Campbelltown area.
Eddie published many papers and books throughout his life, ranging from veterinary papers on metabolic disorders in cattle to books on the botany and history of Campbelltown. 36 veterinary publications included subjects such as poisonous plants, water-borne bacteria and endangered species. Over 40 publications on local history and flora mainly concentrated on the Campbelltown area.
As a member of the Campbelltown and Airds Historical Society Eddie helped to label and restore exhibits in the Stables Museum at Glenalvon. He was made a Life Member of the society in 1995.
Eddie married Olive Gadd in 1946 and had four children, two boys and two girls. His other interests included the search for the perfect home brew, buying and tinkering with rarely seen makes of cars, and learning foreign languages, particularly French. 

Edward John McBarron (Richard Lawrance Collection 
Campbelltown City Library. Copyright Richard Lawrance)

He was nominated by seven organisations from a cross section of interests for an Order of Australia Medal, which was awarded in 1992 for his efforts in conservation, the environment and systematic botany.
Edward John McBarron passed away on 23rd August 1996 leaving a legacy of a wealth of information collected throughout his lifetime and compiled into readily available formats. We are pleased to hold at Campbelltown a number of Eddie’s publications which have greatly enhanced our knowledge of our local history.

Compiled by Claire Lynch from an adaptation of funeral eulogy given by David McBarron

Grist Mills Vol. 9 No. 4