Friday, 16 March 2018

The "Gut Factory" - an update

After publishing our previous blog about the "Gut Factory" at Ingleburn, we were lucky enough to be contacted by a grandson of Wilhelm Klages, who was able to give us some more information about the family.
Wilhelm Klages was born in Elberfeld, Germany, on the 17th September 1885.  He studied Chemistry at the University of Kiel. He married his first wife Katarina Roeser at the age of 22 in Berlin in 1908. They had a son, Frederick, but after Katarina and Wilhelm divorced, Frederick lived with his Roeser grandparents for some of his early years.
Meanwhile, Wilhelm moved to Switzerland and married Dora Ziegler, gaining Swiss citizenship. He returned to Germany to reclaim his son Frederick and took him back to Switzerland.

Wilhelm Klages (Campbelltown City Library)
In 1921 the family moved to Japan. There, Wilhelm worked for the Tansan Kobe mineral water company. Whilst there, the family lived through the Great Japan Earthquake of 1923.
During 1927 and 1928 the family, Wilhelm, Dora, Frederick, and Frederick's three half-brothers Ulrich (later known as Eric), Arthur and Arnold moved to Australia.
It was from this time that the family settled in Ingleburn and Wilhelm started up the gut factory - (see previous blog).
The boys grew up during the years between the wars. Unfortunately, all but Frederick had Swiss citizenship, so when WWII broke out, Frederick was interned while his son James was still a baby, being sent to Alice Springs and Butlers Gorge in Tasmania.
Thanks so much to James, Frederick's son, who provided this great information to us!

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

A Conscientious Objector

Demonstrations outside the Ingleburn Army Camp in support of Simon Townsend (State Library of NSW)

Most of the older readers of this blog would remember Simon Townsend, mostly famous for compering the children's television show from the 1980s called Simon Townsend's Wonder World. However some of you would be unaware that Simon was also famous in the 1960s for disobeying the call-up notice to join the Vietnam War. It was at Ingleburn Army Camp that he was incarcerated as punishment, causing friction in the community and resulting in a demonstration march at the camp that attracted a huge crowd.
In the mid 1960s whilst living at Woy Woy and working as a columnist for a community paper he became a conscientious objector against the Vietnam War. He gained national prominence on his anti-conscription stance, saying "I suddenly decided to be a ...objector to the Vietnam War. I then went to Sydney, I met people, I joined the groups and I read. And suddenly I had an intellectual basis for my objection to the Vietnam War. And that was when I got very busy, objecting, going to court, and I ended up in Long Bay Gaol for a month. And in 1968 I ended up in the army prison for a month. I was court-martialed while I was there. "
Simon was one of the first to go to gaol for acting contrary to the National Service Act 1964. According to local military historian Brian Battle, it was reported that Townsend commenced his confinement in the cells at Bardia Barracks. He was placed in solitary confinement for 48 hours, to be woken up every half hour. He was released on 14th June 1968.
As mentioned, Simon Townsend's confinement at Ingleburn caused quite a stir and a demonstration march was organized to show the community's disapproval. Photographs from the Tribune show large crowds demonstrating and plenty of passionate speeches in support of Simon. Interestingly, local media didn't bother to cover the occasion.

Part of the large crowd at Ingleburn Army Camp in support of Simon Townsend (State Library of NSW)

Sources: Wikipedia
Nashos in Australia 1965-1973

Friday, 2 March 2018

Dr Abe and Dr Nelly

In 1947, Abraham and Nelly Wajnryb arrived in Australia as Jewish refugees from Europe. Both were born in Poland, Abraham in Kielce and Nelly in Warsaw. They were married before the war, and both were medical practitioners. They had survived WWII and the horrors of the Holocaust.
The Wajnrybs had become separated in Europe, and were incarcerated throughout the war. They would re-unite in Paris, before coming to Australia. After their arrival they studied for, and received Australian medical degrees and subsequently moved to Campbelltown.
They gained a loyal following of patients, despite the small town attitudes of the post-war 50s and 60s. As their surname was hard to pronounce, the Wajnrybs became affectionately known as Dr Abe and Dr Nelly. Children Eric and Ruth attended the local schools. The family lived in a house on a battle-axe block in Queen Street, the driveway of which ran between the Commonwealth Bank and Mort Clissold's building next to the School of Arts.
Ruth went on to university, gaining an Honours Arts Degree, and a Diploma in education. Anything I write here could not possibly do Ruth justice - in short, she became a globally renowned linguist, a regular columnist for the Sydney Morning Herald, obtained her Masters Degree and PhD, and authored numerous books and textbooks.
In 1988 Abraham wrote a book about his experience at the end of the war called "They marched us three nights : a journey into freedom". In it he describes how during the closing days of the the inmates of concentration camps were often forced to leave and marched towards an unknown destination. Dr Wajnryb described the death march of which he was a part.
In the latter part of the 1960s, the Wajnryb family moved from Campbelltown to Sydney. Nelly died in 1987 and Abraham in 1993. Ruth would sadly pass away at the age of 63 in 2012.
In her book "The silence : how tragedy shapes talk", Ruth talked about her early years growing up in Campbelltown. There are some episodes that made me cringe. But there were many memories of life in a small town that gave me hope. Hope that the Wajnryb family found a good life in Campbellown, that they were accepted and made to feel welcome here. Let's hope so.

Written by Claire Lynch

"The Silence : how tragedy shapes talk" by Ruth Wajnryb
AustLit - Abraham Wajnryb
Sydney Morning Herald obituary for Ruth Wajnryb
Ryerson Index

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Campbelltown Fire Station

The original Fire Station next door to the Town Hall is well known to Campbelltown residents. Designed by architect Alfred J. Payten, and erected in 1891, it was manned by volunteer firemen with a manual hose reel.

The Fire Brigade to the left of the Town Hall 1892 (Local Studies Collection)

....and in 2000 (Stan Brabender Collection)
It was not long after this that the Council decided to take over the Fire Station for further office space, and it became necessary to find a new location for the Fire Brigade. A site in Queen Street, on the northern side of Reeve's Emporium, was found. The weatherboard building already on the site was moved to the front alignment of the street. The brigade moved to this building in 1907, and the property purchased in 1908 by the Fire Board. More equipment was provided, including a horse drawn manual pump fire engine.

The Fire Station in Queen Street next door to Reeve's Emporium
(Photo - Alex Goodsell)
The Fire Station would remain at this location for 54 years. A site in Railway Street had been dedicated for a new Fire Station but this was exchanged for a site at the new Civic Centre precinct in Broughton Street. This new station was officially opened in 1962.

The Fire Station in Broughton Street 1962. The Administration
Building not yet constructed. (CI News)
....and again - the trees  have grown and the Administration Building
now complete. (Photo - Norman Campbell)
Fourteen years later, in 1976, the Fire Station would move once again. This time, it was to a location further up Broughton Street. Campbelltown Fire Station remains at this location to this day.

The Fire Station at it's second Broughton Street location 2001
(Stan Brabender Collection)

Written by Claire Lynch
"How it all began : the start of the Campbelltown Fire Brigade - the first 100 years" by Norman G. Campbell
Journal of the NSW Fire Service - Fire News Winter 1976
Campbelltown Ingleburn News 13.2.1962

Monday, 5 February 2018

Mawson Park

(Grahame Sandry Collection)
The site of Mawson Park is as old as Campbelltown itself. It was here that Governor Macquarie named Campbelltown after his wife Elizabeth’s maiden name Campbell. A plan drawn up by surveyor Robert Hoddle in 1831 showed the area bounded by Cordeaux, Howe Browne and High Streets as a market reserve. High Street later became Queen Street.
In its early days the area was the scene of many brutal punishments handed down to convicts. Five criminals, including bushranger Richard McCann, were hanged on gallows erected on the reserve in February 1830. Near the gallows were the stocks. It was here that an old woman spent four hours in the stocks in the rain for using obscene language. The stocks and gallows were opposite the court house in Queen Street.
The reserve was surrounded by three inns: Forbes Hotel, the King’s Arms (later the Sportsman’s Arms) and the Hope Inn. The latter also faced the court house and was next to the stocks. The first licensee recorded was Isaac Rudd in 1841. The Hope Inn was no doubt named because of its proximity to the court house where life and death decisions were handed out. The large inn burnt down in 1854. We can only guess at what it would’ve looked like as no photos exist.
The Reserve for Public Recreation was approved 23rd March, 1874, and dedicated 4th February, 1876. It would appear that a possible roadway parallel to Browne Street opposite the court house was in existence at some time and divided the Recreation Reserve from the buildings facing Queen and Browne Streets. This was absorbed into the Recreation Reserve by 1874. Howe Street once extended to Cordeaux Street but by 1970 it was merged into the park.

A view of the park from the tower of St Peter's Anglican Church

Cricket and tennis were played on “The Green” and a sporting pavilion was erected. There are some interesting and amusing stories regarding cricket matches over the years. Appin Public School played a cricket match against Campbelltown Public School on "The Green". A white-painted two-rail fence surrounded "The Green" in those days and the grass was long and unkempt. One kid hit the ball and scored half a dozen runs while the other kids searched for the ball in the long grass. It’s hard to believe today. Another story concerned John Hurley, the son of Campbelltown Pioneer of the same name John Hurley, who hit a massive shot into the window of St Peter’s Church! Similarly, local Jack Nash was recorded as smashing a ball from the park so far it reached the train line and landed on a train bound for Sydney!
Besides the Hope Inn, a number of buildings once stood in the reserve. A house called “Myee” was located at the corner of Browne and Queen Street and they were adjacent to three terrace houses which had there frontage to Queen Street. One of these was lived in by the town’s first lamp lighter named Bamford.
"The Green" was named Jubilee Park in 1935, to mark the occasion of the king’s Silver Jubilee. Toilets and watering facilities were installed. In January 1938 the park was officially named Mawson Park in honour of Dr William Mawson, a highly regarded doctor for 28 years in the town and brother to explorer Douglas Mawson. A pergola, shelter shed and entrance were erected at this time with two plaques on the pergola commemorating the event. Another doctor was honoured in 1944 with the establishment of the Dr Jones Memorial Baby Health Centre within the park.
The park was even the scene of a shooting in 1941. A young woman aged 19 named Pearl Medcalf received two bullet wounds after an altercation with a man in one of the shelter kiosks. The first shot blew the top off her finger and the other penetrated her left leg and lodged in her right thigh. She struggled across the park to the police station to report the incident. She was formerly a Rixon from Campbelltown. The man was later arrested.
Numerous pageants have been held in Mawson Park over the years. A carnival in aid of the Coronation Gift Fund was organized in 1954. Another fund-raising event in the 1950s was the ladies’ woodchop! In 1956, the annual Fisher’s Ghost Festival and Miss Spirit contest raised funds to build an ambulance station and a music shelter in Mawson Park. The music shelter was dedicated to the memory of those who served in World War 11. It was replaced in 1991 by a War Memorial.
Fisher's Ghost Festival celebrations in the park (Sloper Collection)
A number of commemorative plaques have been erected in the park. A bird bath and watering place for animals was erected in memory of Patrick (Paddy) Hunt for a lifetime spent caring for the town’s strayed animals. He died in 1978.
In 1977 locals objected vehemently to a proposed change of shape to Mawson Park. This would've been brought about by the extension of Railway Street through to Cordeaux Street. The proposal meant that 940 square metres would've been lost with a sweeping curve connecting both streets. People power won the day and the park remained unaltered. 

As far as the botanical beauty of the place is concerned, the park has come a long way since 1926. In that year a report described "The Green" as "a bird's nest full of swallows, an eyesore to the town and a disgrace to the Municipality". This resulted in a program of tree planting, including many evergreens. Most trees planted in the park were associated with commemorative events. Today the park is a haven from the hustle and bustle of the city with its trees, manicured lawns and beautiful flower beds.

Camden News, 27 February 1941
FOWLER, Verlie
Mawson Park, Campbelltown,  A Heritage Park
McBarron, E.J. (Ed)
Mawson Park, Campbelltown NSW: Notes on History and Trees

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Valuable Old Photos Come Home

Above is one of many previously unseen images of Campbelltown. This view is looking towards the court house and Railway Street. Note the ferris wheel in Mawson Park.

Campbelltown Library has purchased around 250 amazing photographs of Campbelltown dating back to the 1960s, 70s and 80s. In 2013 Fairfax Media sent the two million photograph archive of the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper to a company in Little Rock, Arkansas to be digitized. The scanning company was disbanded prior to completing the scanning, and the work was eventually managed by a court receiver. Part of the deal Fairfax made was to trade the vintage prints for the scanning services. From the turmoil in the scanning company, the archive eventually became bank owned by a regional Arkansas bank with no interest in holding these photographs. After much discussion and negotiation, Duncan Miller Gallery in Santa Monica, CA bought the entire collection of vintage photos, with the goal and purpose of repatriating many of these historical documents back to Australia.

The photographs are an extremely valuable and interesting addition to our photo collection. They cover everything from street scenes to people and buildings, with many filling a gap in the records. There’s even a whole folder on the exhumation of graves from the Presbyterian Cemetery in the 1980s! An exhibition of this valuable collection is planned in the near future.

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Not quite Hollywood...

Much excitement ensued amongst Campbelltown locals in October 1955, when a film unit from Australian Tradition Film Company arrived to film in Queen Street. The Wheelwright Arms, (a historic inn turned private home) became the "Woolpack Hotel" for the purposes of the film. Throughout the day residents and passing motorists stopped to watch the filming process.

Movie still from "Joe Wilson's Mates" (

The Wheelwright Arms 1960 (Photo: Alex Goodsell)

"Joe Wilson's Mates", part of a film trilogy called "Three in One" was based on a Henry Lawson short story named "The Union Buries It's Dead". Directed by Cecil Holmes, the film tells the story of a young man who dies along in a small town. With no friends or family, and only a Union Card for identification, the local Union members combine to give him a decent send off.
Cecil Holmes was a passionate and determined man who started making significant Australian films in an era in which finance for local features was drying up. Despite a positive reception overseas, "Three in One" was denied general release, probably due to its Socialist overtones. "Joe Wilson's Mates" was however shown individually as a support film.

Movie poster
Written by Claire Lynch

Campbelltown Ingleburn News October 4th 1955
Museum Macarthur Facebook page - Brendan Leenders