Tag Archives: Nepean District

Historical societies in districts near the Blue Mountains

The following historical societies were established in 1956 (Hawkesbury HS), 1958 (Nepean District HS) and 2001 (Kurrajong-Comleroy HS).

HAWKESBURY:  Hawkesbury Historical Society. According to the society’s website, the Hawkesbury Historical Society ‘was formed in 1956 to preserve the historical fabric of our City.’ The society now ‘promotes and encourages the study of the history of the Hawkesbury and collects and preserves matter relating to the history of the Hawkesbury.’ The Hawkesbury Regional Museum, in operation since 1962, originally run by the society, is now run by Hawkesbury City Council; the museum under present arrangements was opened in 2008. The society’s historical collection is housed in a separate building behind the older building, ‘Howe House’. The Hawkesbury City Council Library Service co-ordinates the Hawkesbury Family History Group, which has a website and is on Facebook.

KURRAJONG:  Kurrajong-Comleroy Historical Society. According to the society’s website, the society was formed in 2001 ‘to research, preserve and promote the heritage of “The Kurrajong”, the district north of the Hawkesbury River in the Hawkesbury local government area of New South Wales, Australia.’ In 1810 Governor Macquarie referred to the district called ‘the Kurry-Jung Brush.’ The area includes Kurrajong, Kurrajong Heights, Kurrajong Hills, East Kurrajong, Blaxlands Ridge, Colo Heights, Bowen Mountain, Grose Vale, Grose Wold, North Richmond, The Slopes, Tennyson, Glossodia and Wilberforce. Comleroy Road, as well as being the name of a road, was a name given to an early settlement to the north of Kurrajong. The road led to the Comleroy region (originally Coomery Roy; now reduced to a small locality called Comleroi) in the Hunter Valley. The society’s Family History Group is co-ordinating a register of family history studies relating to the area. The society has a digital archive of photographs (searchable online) and is developing a register of early land holdings. Back issues of the society’s bi-monthly newsletter, The Millstone (published 2002-2010), are accessible on the website.

NEPEAN:  Nepean District Historical Society. The society, officially formed in 1958, administers the Arms of Australia Inn Museum at Emu Plains. The inn, the oldest part of which was built c. 1826, was the last before the climb up the Blue Mountains. Trade declined when the railway came through in the 1860s. The society saved the inn from demolition in 1971 and supervised its restoration. The museum was opened in 1976. The society’s Open Day each July celebrates the commencement of construction of the road over the Blue Mountains by William Cox and involves re-enactments of life at the time by the ‘New South Wales Corps of Marines’. The latest edition of The Arms Chronicle can be downloaded from the website.

The five Macquarie towns

Just before Christmas in the year 1810, Governor Lachlan Macquarie issued an Order in which he noted the ‘frequent Inundations of the Rivers Hawkesbury and Nepean,’ the calamitous effects of these inundations on the crops in that vicinity, and the consequent serious injury to the subsistence of the Colony. To guard against a recurrence of such calamities, he had ‘deemed it expedient … to erect certain Townships on the most contiguous and eligible high Grounds in the several Districts subjected to those Inundations.’

The stated purpose of the townships was to provide accommodation and security to the settlers affected by the floods. Accordingly the townships were organised on a particular basis. Each settler was to be assigned ‘an Allotment of Ground for a Dwelling house, Offices, Garden, Corn-yard, and Stock-yard proportioned to the Extent of the Farm he holds within the influence of the Floods.’ These allotments could not be sold or alienated separate from the farms in connection with which they were allotted; they were always to be considered part of these farms.

The five districts concerned, and the names of the townships to be established, were: Green Hills, Windsor; Richmond Hill, Richmond; Nelson, Pitt Town; Phillip, Wilberforce; and Nepean, Castlereagh.

The local constables were to submit returns listing the settlers whose farms were affected by flood, the number of persons in their families, the size of their farms, and the number of animals in their flocks and herds. These returns, on the relevant form, were to go to the Principal Magistrate, William Cox, and from him to the Governor. The Acting Surveyor was then to mark out allotments.

Following this process, settlers were to erect houses as soon as possible and move in. The houses were to be of brick or weather-board, with brick chimneys and shingled roofs, and were to be no less than nine feet high. Official plans for the houses and offices would be left with the District Constable, and each settler had to build in conformity with these plans.

Christmas Day holiday and services

Just before Christmas in the same year, the Sydney Gazette also carried orders concerning Christmas Day (which fell on a Tuesday). ‘By divine Permission’ the church of St. Phillip, at Sydney, was to be consecrated on that day by the Principal Chaplain, Rev. Samuel Marsden. The Governor announced that he ‘is pleased to dispense with the Labour of all the Prisoners, and other Men working for the Government, on Christmas Day and the Day following.’ They were required to work as usual on other days of the week. Moreover, they were required on Christmas Day to parade at the usual hour and place for Divine Service.

Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser 15/12/1810, p. 1; similarly, ibid., 22/12/1810, p. 1. Cf. ‘The Macquarie Towns’, State Library of NSW website. St. Phillip’s church: Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser 22/12/1810, pp. 2-3. Christmas Day holiday: ibid., p. 3.