Sunday, December 27, 2009

Charles Street, Marrickville and surrounds - a potted history. Part 1.

Where will I start? This is a bit of a brain dump folks.... I should say I grew up in Marrickville, hence the immediate interest...

  1. In fact I grew up in Charles Street, so this web reference to Stuart Alchin Laing, "born at Marrickville in May 1896" is interesting. Stuart left a will dated 23rd August 1917 stating in part that "I devise and bequeath all my real estate unto my mother Charlotte Laing wife of Charles (sic) Laing of “Tara” Charles Street Marrickville Sydney in the State of NSW. ”

  2. Do I know which house was the aforementioned "Tara"? No, but I'll keep looking...

  3. Interesting that the Princes Highway was, in part, called Cooks River Road, extending as you'd expect from Parramatta Road to Cooks River. Before that it was known as Bulanaming Road (until the 1820s) and perhaps also as Newtown Road (once New Town store lent its name to the district, anyway.

  • The section of Cooks River Road between Bligh Street and St. Peters Station was renamed as King Street in October 1877.

  • A local government document on Marrickville village history may be found here. Especially interesting to me is that "Marrickville Road’s length formed a portion of the extensive farms and grazing areas which had belonged to the consolidated Wardell Estate. From the time of Dr Wardell’s death, smaller units developed. The soil was suitable for agriculture, gardening and grazing and came to be used by proprietors serving the Sydney market." Dr Robert Wardell was killed (presumed by local aboriginals, but there are other possibilities...) down by the Cooks River. Wardell helped start The Australian newspaper. Wardell Road was named after him.

  • Also, "In the 1850s, there was some subdivision. Chalder’s Marrick estate (60 acres) was auctioned in 1855. It became a simple village bounded by Illawarra Road, Chapel Street, Fitzroy St, and Sydenham Road. The last of these, originally Swamp Road, gave access from Parramatta Road and continued across the swampland to Unwin’s Bridge Road. The little centre of Marrickville (the name was adopted with the arrival of local government in 1861) was never substantial. It had shops, a school, a hotel and, in 1879, the Council Chamber. But the population remained small and the district semi-rural."

  • Much of that "village" is still there - the pub on the corner of Chapel Street, some shops, the chapel attached to the school and the site of one of the first council buildings, now demolished for the (approx 100 year old) Primary school building on the corner of Shepherd Street. That's the school I attended in the 1960's. Chalder donated much of this school land and Chalder Street was named for him. Chalder himself lived in St Peters.

  • Other council chambers were on Addison Road, near the Post Office, and (perhaps later) next to the Marrick (or Henson Park) pub itself. When the school took over the site on Shepherd Street the council built on a new location in Illawarra Road. In 1922 the council moved to Petersham Road and that earlier site also became part of the school.

  • The principal access roads to the Marrick village were Illawarra Road, a narrow track running south and Swamp (later called Sydenham) Road, running from the west to the south-east. A western track ran from Parramatta Road through Petersham and downhill to link up to Swamp Road, later becoming Petersham Road, and another (again from Parramatta Road) became Livingstone Road. To the south (on higher ground) was another track which became the present Marrickville Road. As now, it ran from current New Canterbury Road to the swampland at Sydenham. Crucially, it connected all the north/south tracks in an east/west fashion and came into its own when the trams were routed down Victoria Street (Road) and the Bankstown railway line came into being.

  • Another Council document on the History of The Gumbramorra Swamp is worth a look, especially this extract: "early settlement of the upland areas naturally impinged on the swamp. Since much of the region was given over to grazing and timber-getting, the edges of the Swamp served a useful purpose to the inhabitants who worked the later Wardell estate. The existence of habitation on both sides of the Swamp encouraged some traffic across. By the 1840s, a track, and then a road, ran across the swamp to Unwin’s Bridge Road. This ‘Swamp Road’ is Sydenham Road".

  • And "in 1855 the 60 acre estate of Thomas E Chalder, called Marrick, was subdivided. It became the village named Marrickville (1861) and the centre of the municipality. The village remained small, with only the minimum of community services. It was bounded, generally, by Illawarra Road, Chapel St, Fitzroy St and Sydenham (Swamp) Road and was in the vicinity of the north-western section of the Swamp. The construction of the tramway along Victoria St, the principal north-south route on the western side of the Swamp, in 1881 promoted settlement in the district at a time of large-scale suburban expansion. At the same time, plans for the Illawarra Railway (opened 1884) concentrated on the eastern side of the swampland, adjacent to Unwin’s Bridge Road. The Swamp area was no longer a relatively isolated and neglected sector."

  • Sydenham railway station (on the Illawarra line) was originally Marrickville Station, renamed when today's Marrickville station, closer to the intersection of Illawarra and Marrickville Roads, was established.

  • Going further back, the Marrickville Council website reports that "the original residents of Marrickville were the Cadigal people, who lived in the area for more than 40,000 years. The Cadigal were a clan of the Darug people and spoke the coastal Eora language. Other clans of the area included the Wangal, the Kameygal and the Bediagal. They did not settle in the Marrickville area, but for thousands of years roamed through territory that stretched from Port Jackson to Botany Bay. Aboriginal artefacts found around Cooks River and Alexandra Canal area indicate at least 7,000 years of occupation."

  • I previously reported in this blog that when the Alexandra Canal was dug aboriginal remains were found, including evidence of Dugong predation (something unexpected this far south).

  • Further, Marrickville's "European settlement of the area commenced with the first land grant in 1789. By 1809 all land within the district had been granted. By the 1830's Marrickville had been consolidated into five great estates. The area was not heavily populated. Only several hundred people from a variety of ethnic backgrounds, including English, Scottish, Italian, German, Dutch and Chinese, lived here. With just a small proportion of the land having been cleared and cultivated, the principal occupations were rural - grain-growing, market gardens, timber cutting, dairy farms, pig and poultry farms."

  • I would add that Charles Street was almost certainly in a dairy area. The Dairy Farmers Coop was also sited not far away on Addison Road.

  • "In 1861 the Municipality of Marrickville was proclaimed. It was soon followed by Newtown (1862), then St Peters (1871) and Petersham (1872). Camperdown was proclaimed in 1861 but did not function until 1868. From the 1880s to the 1920s Marrickville grew from a sparsely settle rural area to a densely populated industrial region. By 1948 the combined population of the original municipalities peaked at over 113,000 people. The 1996 Census indicates that this has decreased to 76,000."

  • "Following the introduction of the Local Government (Areas) Act of 1948, there was an amalgamation of Marrickville, Petersham and St Peters Municipal Councils. They became the enlarged Marrickville Municipal Council on 1 January, 1949. Camperdown Municipal had been amalgamated into the City of Sydney in 1908 and Newtown followed in 1948. In 1968 there was a readjustment of local government boundaries and parts of Camperdown and Newtown were added to the Marrickville local government area (LGA) to form the present Council area." All of these quotes are from the Council website.

  • From which you may also peruse the History of Marrickville Suburbs.

  • There's an interesting and detailed chronology there as well, from which I have gleaned what really interested me:

  • "1700 - Lieutenant James Cook at Botany Bay; his probable examination of the Cooks River entrance. 1788 - First Fleet at Botany Bay and Port Jackson. Settlement at Sydney Cove and first exploration of surrounding area. 1789 - Captain Hunter and Lieutenant Bradley, on separate expeditions, explore Cooks River."

  • "1793 - Land grants available to officers and officials. Grants to Johnston (Annandale), Rowley (Kingston) and White (Hammond Hill). Timber yard at Petersham. 1794 - Numerous grants to officers, soldiers and emancipists in order to form a “chain of farms” along Parramatta Road. 1797 - Major repairs to Parramatta Road (first formed 1790-2). 1799 - Beginning of consolidation into large land holdings: main beneficiaries were Moore, Smyth and Johnson. 1803 - Rowley consolidates Kingston Farm", now known as Newtown and Camperdown.

  • "1805 - Bridges erected on Parramatta Road. 1806 -Camperdown grant to Governor-elect Bligh. 1808 - Rum Rebellion. Campbell acquires Smyth’s property. 1809 - Last free grants in Marrickville region. 1810 - First road to Cooks River." I presume that's Cooks River Road, now King Street or the Princes Highway, but Unwin's Bridge Road parallels it.

  • "1810 - Toll bars on Parramatta Road. 1813- Crossing of Blue Mountains. 1815 - End of Napoleonic War. Beginning of large-scale transportation of convicts to New South Wales. Road over Blue Mountains. 1817 - Rough paving of portions of Parramatta. 1821 - First stage coach service to Parramatta. 1826 - W.C. Wentworth begins land purchase at Petersham." Wentworth was both a prominent citizen and a partner with Dr Robert Wardell.

  • "1827 - Racecourse on Camperdown estate (O’Connell)." Makes sense, but exactly where? the current Camperdown oval, given the proximity of Derby Street? (Wikipedia says the hospital site was on Missenden Road instead.)

  • "1830 - Robert Wardell purchases Thomas Moore’s land and amasses a 2000 acre property based on Petersham House and Sara Dell. 1831 - Abolition of free land grants and beginning of a policy of minimum upset price. Campbell subdivides Smyth’s farm. 1832 - New Town Store (John Webster) opened". Leading to the naming of Newtown itself.

  • "1833 - Punt on Cooks River." I assume (again) that this was on Cooks River Road, but perhaps closer to the end of Unwin's Bridge Road than the current road alignment.

  • "1834 - Murder of Robert Wardell. This initiates the process of breaking up his large estate. 1835 - Subdivision of Wardell estate begins."

  • "1835 - Second road to Cooks River with punt crossing." Now I presume (again) that this is Unwin's Bridge Road.... there are probable remnants at the river of old crossings and the later dam at Tempe, mixed in with later works to divert the Cooks River and to build the railway but it's unclear to my inexpert eyes what's what.

  • "1835 - Temporary Anglican church at later St Peters. Enmore House (John Verge) built for Captain Browne. 1836 - Unwin’s Bridge across Cooks River. Completion of A.B. Spark’s Tempe House. 1838 - Foundation stone of St Peters Anglican church. Beginning of construction of Cooks River dam. 1839 - Consecration of St Peters church."

  • "1840 - Completion of Cooks River dam. Opening of St Peters cemetery. St Peters village laid out. Beginning of land sales for workingmen at Tempe. 1841 - Subdivision of Enmore Estate. 1842 - Tempe village laid out. Petersham rececourse" (sic - I guess they meant "racecourse", but where? Petersham Oval?).

  • "1843 - Homlewood built. 1844 - Foundation stone of first St Stephen’s church (Anglican), Newtown. Economic depression producing many forced sales and bankruptcies. 1847 - Stanmore House begun. 1848 - Inauguration of National education system. Subdivision of Petersham estate. Reiby house probably erected by this time. Foundation stone of St Thomas’ Catholic church, Lewisham. Temporary building for St Peters Anglican school.(permanent building in 1855). Goodsell family brickworks. Fowler’s Pottery.

  • "1849 - Sydney Railway Company incorporated. Camperdown cemetery." To which I'd add that Fort Street Model School was started at the Rocks in Sydney in that year. Later, in 1916, the Boys' High School was split from the 'model school' at Observatory Hill and re-established on Parramatta Road, Petersham. The Girls' High School remained at the Rocks until reunification began in 1974. Trust me, I was there!

  • "1850 - First Methodist church at Newtown. Beginning of railway construction. 1851 - Gold Rush begins. J. G. Church builds The Grove. 1853 - Cast iron overbridge at King street, Newtown. 1854 - Large-scale subdivisions at Petersham (Sydenham village) and North Kingston. Petersham village laid out. 1855 - Chalder’s Marrickville estate laid out." That's the village described earlier in this post.

  • "1855 - Railway to Parramatta Junction opened. Station at Newtown. " That was at Station Street, to the west of the current location. 1856 -Sydenham House, Petersham, built. 1857 - Station at Petersham". Those original platforms remain intact, unused, on what is now the express lines on the northern side of the railway, with new tracks and platforms on a new alignment added later.

  • "1858 - Municipalities Act. Newington Inn opened. Thomas Holt purchasing land to form The Warren estate. 1859 - First municipalities (Randwick, Shoalhaven) incorporated. 1861 - Municipality of Marrickville (1920 acres) incorporated. 1862 - Municipalities of Camperdown (435 acres) and Newtown (442 acres) incorporated. Bellevue House erected. 1863 - Cook’s brickworks at Newtown (later Marrickville, then Tempe); Koll’s tannery (now Metro site); Schwebel’s quarry". I can only presume that Schwebel gave his name to a street in Marrickville...

  • "1864 - Holt’s The Warren substantially completed. Marrickville National school began (new buildings, 1865). 1865 - Marrickville post office in temporary premises." Possibly Addison Road, or perhaps in Chapel Street. 1868 - First street lamp in Newtown. Municipalities Act. 1869 - St Peters cemetery closed (Petersham cemetery opened 1863). Temporary Marrickville Council premises in Chapel Street." I'm unsure if this was the site next to the Marrick Hotel or further down Chapel Street, on the corner with Shepherd Street.

  • "1871 - Census statistics of existing municipalities: Newtown, 4328; Marrickville, 1464; Camperdown, 638; Petersham, 750. Incorporation of St Peters Municipality. Incorporation of Petersham Municipality. Roseby Congregational Church opened. Gladstone Hall, Dulwich Hill, built. Porter’s brickworks, Wardell Road. 1872- The Lodge, Stanmore, built. 1873 - Gentle’s brickworks, Newtown. 1874 - Alcock and Davenport’s boot factory (had taken over Koll’s tannery). Tempe Public school. 1876 - Main Roads Act (ending the Trust for Cooks River Road). 1878 - Marrickville Town Hall, Illawarra Road built (opened 1879). St Peters Town Hall (demolished 1927). Petersham Congregational church."

  • "1879 - New Undercliff bridge over Cooks River. Newtown Railway bridge widened. Marrickville Town Hall" opened, I presume.

  • "1880 - Tramways Extension Act. Work on Nepean Water Scheme, with reservoir at Petersham. Cranbrook (Fowler) built. Newington College moved to Stanmore. 1881- Steam tram from Newtown to Marrickville. Newtown tram depot. Newington College opened." The tram ran down Enmore Road to Victoria Road, skirting the swamp and running up the gentle slope to what became Seymour's corner, turning right onto Marrickville Road. A later steam service ran along Stanmore Road.

  • "1881 - Census showed Marrickville, 3501; Petersham, 3413; St Peters, 2272; Newtown 8327; Camperdown 1175. Fowler’s Cranbrook completed. 1882 - Newtown toll gate closed. Dixson acquires Abergeldie estate and begins to build on it. Auction of Terry’s Marionette estate; “Tempe Park” sub-division. Petersham Town Hall. 1883 - Enmore estate subdivision; Enmore House demolished. Stanmore Public school. 1884 - Illawarra Railway opened (to Wollongong, 1888). Petersham Public school. Petersham cemetery closed. South Annandale subdivision. Subdivision of The Warren. 1886 - Carmellite nuns occupy The Warren and grounds. New Stanmore station. Rebuilding of Petersham station. Whipple truss railway bridge over Long Creek completed. Lewisham Railway station. Standsure Brick company begun. 1887 - Petersham reservoir completed; Nepean water scheme in operation. Frogmore Estate subdivision. Camperdown Town Hall."

  • 1888 - Celebration of Centenary of foundation of New South Wales. Newtown telephone exchange. 1889 - Great Marrickville flood. Lewisham Hospital (for children). Unwin’s Bridge rebuilt. Tramway to Dulwich Hill. 1891 - Census showed Marrickville, 13507; Petersham, 10369; St Peters 4860; Newtown 17870; Camperdown, 6658. Beginning of western Sewerage scheme. Tramway to St Peters. Severe economic depression in South-Eastern Australia."

  • "1892 - Present Newtown railway station. 1893 - Vicars’ Woollen Mills. Banking crisis in Victoria has repercussions in New South Wales. Depth of economic depression. 1894 - Beginning of construction of Alexandra Canal (to 1896). 1895 - Railway to Belmore opened (to Bankstown, 1909). 1896 - Crago flour mill erected. Completion of Alexandra Canal. 1897 - Marrickville Cottage Hospital. Marrickville district pumping station. Enmore School opened. Petersham Post Office opened. 1899 - Cooks River Bridge at Wardell Road completed. 1900- Seymour’s Store opened." That's the "Seymour's Corner" I mentioned earlier, basically a large hardware store on the curved tram alignment, corner Marrickville and Victoria Roads.

  • "1899 - Tempe Tram Depot. 1901 - Federation achieved. Census shows Marrickville 18775; Petersham, 15307; St Peters’, 5906; Newtown, 22598; Camperdown, 7931. Tempe Park Wesleyan Methodist church (now Coptic) 1902 - Further Reiby House subdivision and alterations to house. 1903 - Sydney (formerly Jubilee) Brickworks on Silverleigh site. Peacock Jam at Stanmore. 1905 - Demolition of Annandale House. 1906 - Local Government Act. 1908 - Camperdown municipality merged with Sydney. Marrickville Margarine factory opened. Development of Grove estate. Australian Woollen Mill established (merged with Vicars, 1965). Newtown Rugby League Football Club begun. 1909 - Salvation Army at Ballevue" (sic - perhaps that should be "Bellevue"?).

  • "1910 - Final sale of Marionette estate. Sts Peter and Paul’s Catholic church built on site. William Thornley engineering opened. Sydney Steel founded. 1911 - Census shows Marrickville, 30653; Petersham, 21712; St Peters, 8410; Newtown, 26498. 1912 - Electrification of street lighting beginning."

  • Of special interest to me (because of family connections) is "1913 - Addison Road Army barracks" opened. My grandfather (with the Light Horsemen) stabled his horse here at some point after the First World War. Presumably the land here was boggy and undeveloped, or was used for dairy cattle up until this point. Charles Street (where we started, remember?) backs onto the camp, now a community centre.

  • "1914 - World War One. 1915 Malco Industries (Malleable Castings) founded." On Victoria Road, near Chapel Street.

  • "1915 - Illawarra Railway duplicated. Electric lighting along Parramatta Road. 1916 - Fort Street Boys’ High School to Petersham. 1918 - End of World War One. 1919 - Spanish Influenza epidemic. Local Government Act. Marrickville Winged Victory statue. Resumption of The Warren by Housing Department. Planned subdivision for returned servicemen."

  • That's enough for now - or on to part 2!


    DebB said...

    I am interested to know if Reiby House at Newtown is still standing or any details from when Mary Reiby sold the house. My great Grandfather, Alexander Bruce (Chief Inspector of Stock for NSW) lived there. My Grandmother listed "Reiby House, Newtown" as her address on her marriage certificate in April 1898. Her marriage took place at the Congregational Church in Newtown - is it still there? Thank you Debbie

    gtveloce said...

    Hi Debbie. I've blogged a lot of posts on Mary Reiby this month - look through the January archive to see them all. In summary, though, Reiby House was demolished in about 1966, but Elizabeth Reiby's Stanmore House still stands. They both by-and-large fronted Enmore Road, although they were set back and later shopfronts obscured both buildings. Plenty of "Reiby-related" streets and buildings to explore around Station Street/Don Street/Reiby Lane etc in Newtown/Enmore.

    The Congregational Church to my knowledge still stands but is Greek Orthodox now, 378 King Street, Newtown.

    Cheers, Rob.

    Unknown said...

    You might find this picture interesting, which I found in the National Library:

    Sally said...

    I am trying to find the site of Woodcourt College ( private anglican school for girls ) where My Mum went about 1925 . I came across photos of garden with a large palm tree and lots of students in uniform walking around . I did not bookmark and now cannot find it. I believe it was in Wardell Road . Hope you may have information re this school . Thanks Robyn

    gtveloce said...

    Hi Sally

    Woodcourt College was swallowed up by unit development and has pretty well vanished. I am assuming the site was bounded by Wardell and Marrickville Roads and roughly bisected by what is now Woodcourt Street. It was built as a private residence in 1885 and became a fully-fledged school over time, becoming an Anglican/Church of England Diocesan school around 1919. Sadly Woodcourt College closed in 1935 and the land subdivided in the late 1940s for housing. I have no exact location for the school buildings but suspect from some early maps that they were on the northern side, near Wardell Road. Searching the online Parish maps may help you further, as a Google search brings up a couple of old newspaper clippings that may interest you.

    Cheers, Rob.

    dorothy parker said...

    Great site for locals.

    Do you happen to know where the Camperdown Town Hall was located?

    I understand it was sold off as a result of the council going broke at the start of the twentieth century, with the council merging with the Sydney council, but haven't discovered where it might have been.

    gtveloce said...

    Hi Dorothy - I just had a quick search and posted sone details, but in brief the SMH public records say "George Street" - but there's no present George Street (renamed?). I believe however it was between King and Bishopgate Streets - but exactly where not sure.


    gtveloce said...

    UPDATE: Found it! George Street was (of course!) renamed - it's now Parramatta Road. The Camperdown Town Hall was beside the primary school, corner of Mallet Street and Parramatta Road.

    dorothy parker said...

    Hey that's great and prompt and much appreciated. Will now take a new look at our old local maps to see what they say, and will certainly stroll to that corner and take a look. Not expecting to see anything, just to feel the vibe.

    Great to see someone's keeping Sydney's past alive.


    Unknown said...

    This is a really intersting list you've got! Only one thing to make it better is to get pictures out from storage and turn the past into a walking tour of some sort!

    gtveloce said...

    I do have some relevant pics on Flickr but to do this list justice would take some time... and some more research. It's a good idea, though, Mark!

    Deb59 said...

    I was wondering if you know if Albermarle House (in Albermarle Street, Newtown) is still standing and what the street number for it would be. Thanks.

    Unknown said...

    have you thought abot setting up a facebook page