Monday, 14 August 2017

Minto Public School - then and now

This year marks a very special year in the history of Minto Public School. Turning 150 years old, the school is the oldest public school in the district of Campbelltown.
The school had had three locations. The first was on a small portion of land donated to the Catholic Church by Mr J. Pendergast, (who owned a rendering works on his 50 acres at Saggart Field, Minto) for the purpose of building a school. In June 1866 the small Roman Catholic School opened, called "Saggart Field School". The one acre block was on the western side of the railway line, on the south-east corner of Campbelltown Road and Redfern Road (now Ben Lomond Road). The first teacher, Mrs Clarke was unpaid, received free lodging at the school, and was supported in whatever way the families of the pupils could manage. Mrs Clarke wrote to the Council of Education to enquire about receiving a salary, but because the Council of Education could not give government funds to denominational schools, arrangements were made in 1867 to transfer the school from the Catholic Church to the government. The school was known as Saggart Field Provisional School for it's first eighteen years.
Due to severe overcrowding, and the inadequacies of the building, a new, single classroom school building with an adjoining teacher's residence was completed in 1882 on the corner directly opposite the old school building. In 1884 the school was renamed Minto Public School. At his second location the school grew over the years, with the numbers of students increasing and the addition of a garden, cricket pitch and tennis court.
In 1898, due to the number of children living in East Minto, many of whom did not attend at all, East Minto Public School was opened in Hansen's Road, East Minto, on the corner of Hereford Place. Unfortunately in 1947 the East Minto Public School burnt down. The Department of Education decided to resume a two and a half acre block on the edge of Minto village to build a new, larger Minto Public School to take pupils from both Minto and East Minto. This new Minto Public School on the corner of Pembroke Road and Redfern Road opened in 1954, where it still stands today.
The centenary of the school was celebrated in 1967 during the headmastership of Mr Arthur Jones. Mr Jones, a keen historian and photographer took the photo below during the centenary year.

(Jones Collection. (Campbelltown City Library, Local Studies Collection)
Minto PS students, staff, and Campbelltown Library staff recreated the photo in 2017

Written by Claire Lynch

"Truth and Courage : commemorating the first 125 years of Minto Public School 1867-1992" by Laurie Porter
Campbelltown City Library "Our past in pictures" photo database

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

50 years ago today - raining cats, dogs and shoes

Tuesday August 8 1967. The Campbelltown district had just experienced an astounding 17 cm of rain. Heavy winds blew down trees and a number of narrow escapes were reported. Electricity and telephone services had also gone down. Minto residents in Lincoln Street took to placing household items on tables as a precaution. A large bulldozer which had been working the previous day nearby was found completely submerged.

At Glenfield, water inundated Railway Parade and although cars could get through many stalled. Work ceased too on the electrification of the railway line as the deluge prevented both the "wire" train and "work" train from continuing.

Against this watery backdrop, Campbelltown police reported a number of car accidents during the flood but "most thankfully were not serious". An accident that occurred just prior to the storms involved a car crashing into Bunbury-Curran Creek, Macquarie Fields. The occupants were nowhere to be seen but the vehicle had previously been noticed at the scene of a burglary at White’s Shoe Store in Ingleburn. When towed from the creek a large quantity of shoes and boots washed into the water from within. News soon spread and the spot became hugely popular with swimmers, many of whom were soon sporting brand new, if sodden, footwear or as the newspaper put it "booty."

Bunbury Curran creek in flood in 1975. Photographer: A. Gleave.

written by Michael Sullivan

Source: Campbelltown Ingleburn News 8 August 1967 p 1,4, 9


Wednesday, 2 August 2017


During the early 1960s, it became apparent that there was a need for a history of Campbelltown to be put together in one volume. Both visitors and residents felt the need for such a history to be written. In 1963 Alderman F. Ward requested council have such a publication prepared. Other aldermen were also enthused by the proposal and an author was commissioned. He was William Alan Bayley, resident of Bulli, collector of local history, a teacher with the New South Wales Education Department and fellow of the Royal Australian Historical Society. He had previously written similar histories for other areas including Albury, Bega, Bulli, Crookwell, Goulburn, Grenfell, Kiama, Nundle, Shellharbour and Young.
In 1966 the finished work "History of Campbelltown" was launched in the Council Chambers. Mayor Tregear and other dignitaries were present. Both William Bayley and Mr Stephen Roach, local artist and designer of the book jacket were also in attendance.
After the launch everyone moved to the library where a display of historical items had been prepared in association with the Campbelltown Historical Society. The book went on sale for $2.70!
Not everyone was happy with the final product. A letter to the newspaper, although generally complimentary, noted the omission of references to cultural activities in Campbelltown and the importance of the St Elmo Estates to the growth of Campbelltown. These points must have been noted as they were addressed in the revised and expanded edition published in 1974.
The book remains an important reference tool for the history of Campbelltown and is commonly and affectionately referred to as "Bayley's". We hold both editions at H.J.Daley Library in the Local Information collection.

Written by Claire Lynch
Campbelltown Ingleburn News
National Library of Australia website

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Country track or city track?

Menangle Park Racecourse was officially opened in 1914, although racing had taken place there as early as the 1870s. By the 1920s, sixteen registered race meetings were being held annually as well as six pony racing meetings and six trotting meetings, however a great threat to the Menangle Racing Club's status as a provincial track was about to occur. This came by way of the deviation of the railway line between Regents Park and Cabramatta.
When the racecourse was originally opened it fell outside the 40 mile limit by railway set by the Gaming and Betting Act of 1912. This entitled it to certain rights and privileges, i.e. the number of race meetings which could legally be held. However, the deviation of the railway meant that the course was now only 38 miles from Sydney.
In November 1925 a special bill was approved by the State Labor Caucus to place the Menangle Park Racecourse in the same class as those courses that were situated more than 40 miles distant from the metropolis. Unfortunately Mr Lang, the premier of NSW dropped the bill in December, leaving the directors of the Menangle Racing Club in a dilemma. As a temporary solution, Menangle's race meetings were transferred to Kembla Grange which had been out of use for some years.

 The bill was presented again in 1927, and finally Menangle Park was restored to it's provincial status. After a two year hiatus, racing returned to Menangle Park in April 1927.

Written by Claire Lynch

Early Menangle by J.J. Moloney
Campbelltown Library pamphlet files