The Jersey Butter Factory on Windsor Terrace and its conversion to flats

The decision to draw up the Articles of the Association for the Hawkesbury Dairying Company and to select a site for the establishment of a butter factory in Windsor was made at a meeting held on Thursday, 14 January 1892 at Bushell’s Royal Hotel in Windsor. The meeting was chaired by Mr James Bligh Johnston and was attended by a large number of Hawkesbury farmers and interested local residents. It was estimated that £2,000, in £1 shares, would be required to form the company and a further £1,000 would be required to run the factory. This cost was based on figures obtained from Mr Josephson of Messrs Waugh and Josephson, ‘boilermakers, dairy and refrigerating engineers’ of Sydney for a building that would ‘do for 1,000 to 2,000 gall[on]s per day’.

Messrs J.B. Johnston, B. Hall, J.T. Gosper, A. Tuckerman, S. Gow, W. McGrath and J.C. Fitzpatrick chose the factory site and paid £320 for approximately five (5) acres (a little over two hectares) on part of Mr J.T. Gosper’s land on The Terrace at Windsor, on the banks of the Hawkesbury River. The site is now known as 63 The Terrace, Windsor.

By 18 March 1892, tenders were being called ‘for erection and completion of buildings for butter factory at Windsor’ and Mr J. Lavor from Parramatta was the successful tenderer.  With the buildings costing £120 and the machinery costing £510, the factory was completed and ready for business by 1 August 1892. It was officially opened on Wednesday, 24 August, by His Excellency the Governor (Lord Jersey) and afterwards became known as the ‘Jersey Butter Factory’.

There was an underground Cooling or Butter Room built into the bank of the river with dimensions of 30 x 12 feet. ‘The floor, like the rest of the building, is of concrete. Brick walls of double thickness, and round this building outside is an air-space or shaft of 3 feet in width which allows a current of fresh air to be continually passing round the room, and by means of many moveable ventilators the air can be admitted or excluded from the chamber…The room is roofed with patent Traeger Wellbleck iron and covered with 4 feet of earth and turf to exclude the heat of the sun…Outside of the cooling room is a flight of brick steps, which communicate from the road into the building…The rest of the building is below the road and is on a level with the cooling chamber…Outside the building, adjoining the cooling room, is a large underground tank from which cool water is obtained…The tank has a capacity of 10,000 gallons’.

There was also a Separating Room on site, with dimensions of 20 x 20 feet. The roof was ‘covered with the new patent fluted red French tiles from a Marseilles maker, which, besides keeping the building wonderfully cool, gives a pleasing and artistic appearance to the building. The milk is received from the road at a door which is immediately above the separating-room, the road being almost level with the roof of the building’. Other rooms in use were the Engine Room, Boiler Room, Washing-Up Room and the Board Room. The windows were ‘all provided with Venetian shutters to exclude the heat of the sun’ and ‘the floors are all granolithic pavement’.

Despite the initial success of the Jersey Butter Factory during the first few years of its operation, it appears that the company was in financial trouble by 1907 as a report in the local newspaper states that it was the intention of Mr I.N. Woods ‘to remove the plant of the Windsor butter factory to the Ebenezer wharf, near Mr Cross’ residence, and will there establish a saw mill. Mr Woods has given an undertaking to send 100 tons of wood per week to Sydney, and it will be shipped by the S.S. Narara. When the wood is cut out around Ebenezer, the plant will be shifted to another spot, and so on, up and down the river.’

By 1911, the butter factory and the land had been acquired by Mr Ray H.H. Brown of Ebenezer and it was from him that the Hawkesbury Condensed Milk Company Limited purchased the ‘fee simple’ and moved the machinery and plant from the Pitt Town Dairy and Butter Company to the factory on The Terrace at Windsor. The company spent ‘over £5,000 in alterations and additions to the building, and in new and up-to-date plant and machinery’. They began operations in Windsor on 28 January 1911, with the intention of manufacturing ‘Red Cross’ and ‘Swan’ brands of condensed milk and sweet cream. ‘The new factory buildings were built by Mr G.H. Hardy of Sydney and the whole of the new machinery was installed under the supervision of the well-known Sydney consulting engineers, Messrs J. Wildridge and Sinclair, who also provided the plans for the building…the floors of the factory are laid in cement or petrite, and the walls are all metal, so that the whole place can be sluiced down morning and evening and kept thoroughly sweet and clean…a fine can-washing room has been provided for suppliers…once the fresh milk enters the vacuum pan, it is never exposed to the ordinary atmosphere again, the whole process being conducted in either air-tight plant or hermetrically sealed chambers.’ It was recorded as ‘that attractive structure on the bank of the river, in the four corners of which the milk-preserving industry will shortly receive attention’.

In 1912, Windsor Council gave permission to Mr Frank A. Waller, Managing Director of Australian Milk Products Limited, to ‘erect additional factory premises, in the shape of a packing shed, which would be in keeping with and in the same material as the present buildings, to cost £200.’ By December 1916, Windsor Municipal Council Health Officer recommended approval of a request from Mr Hilton Clarke of Australian Milk Products Limited, for additions to the packing shed at the factory.

On Wednesday morning, 14 December 1921, it was reported that ‘a bad accident happened at the A.M.P. factory. Mr Stan Daniels was coming down the steps from the condensing room when he slipped. There is a window near the bottom and his arm went through a broken pane of glass. He sustained a terrible cut on the forearm, one of the arteries being severed.’ Mr Daniels was immediately rushed to hospital after treatment by Dr Alsop. The same newspaper also reported on the impending closure of the Australian Milk Products factory in Windsor by Nestles and Anglo-Swiss Condensed Milk Company Limited, who had acquired the Windsor condensed milk industry. On the same day, 14 December 1921, staff were told they would not be required after 24 December. That was a poor Christmas present for the staff and Mrs Margaret Kooy, the daughter of Fred Davis who was one of the workers at the factory, commented to the author recently that ‘they bought the factory to close it down’.

By 1926, the condensed milk factory had been sold to the Peacock Jam Company (called the Nepean Tomato Products Factory) for pulping of fruit and tomatoes for jam-making. This venture was apparently not successful and by December 1933 Windsor Council’s Electricity Engineer, Mr K. Mortley, had carried out removal of the ‘disused mains and equipment’ from the site of the factory on The Terrace at Windsor and tenders had been called for the demolition of the wooden buildings on the site. In 1934, Mr S. Busby, Surveyor from Parramatta, submitted to Windsor Municipal Council for approval, plans for the proposed subdivision of land in Terrace Street, Windsor, on account of Nepean Tomato Products. The request was approved subject to payment of ‘necessary fees and charges’.

From 1937, it appears that the extant building on the site of the old condensed milk factory at 63 The Terrace, Windsor was acquired by Mr C. Hall and approved by Windsor Municipal Council as flats. A report of the Council meeting in the Windsor and Richmond Gazette dated Friday, 2 April 1937 on page 7 states that ‘Inspections have been carried out at buildings in course of construction and drainage inspected in accordance with the regulations. The installation of the septic tank at C. Hall’s flats, on The Terrace, has been completed satisfactorily, and with the exception of external pointing, the converting of the factory into flats has been completed with excellent results’.

The external brick walls of the building (which was known locally as Hall’s Flats) are of solid (not cavity) load-bearing design using semi-dry-pressed face and common bricks of modern Imperial dimensions laid in English garden wall bond which has been described as:

English garden wall bond. The general arrangement of bricks in this type of bonding is similar to that of English bond except that the heading courses are only inserted at every fourth or sixth course. Usually the arrangement consists of one course of headers to three courses of stretchers. A queen closer is placed next to the quoin header of the heading course to give the necessary lap.

The window openings of the flats feature bull-nosed brick sills and concrete lintels. This construction is typical of multi-story industrial buildings constructed in the late Victorian/early Edwardian period and is consistent with reports of the Jersey Butter Factory building constructed on the site in 1892. The entrance doorways to the flats are installed in original window openings that have been opened up to floor level. The doorways feature terrazzo thresholds over the full width of the opening and the original two-inch timber (probably Oregon) quad moulding that covered the joint between the verandah decking and the brick wall on each floor is still in place on some of the flats. These are typical of construction details used between the wars and are consistent with the reported conversion of the factory building into flats in 1937.

(This article by Carol Roberts first appeared in Hawkesbury Historical Society Newsletter, April 2015.)

copyrightCarol Roberts, 2017.

References:

All newspaper references from the National Library of AustraliaTrove, http://trove.nla.gov.au, accessed between 14 November 2014 and 23 March 2015.

‘Butter Factory and Dairying Company’, Windsor and Richmond Gazette, Saturday, 16 January 1892, p. 4.

‘Butter Factory, Windsor – Tenders’, Windsor and Richmond Gazette, Saturday, 19 March 1892, p. 9.

‘Hawkesbury Dairying Company’, Windsor and Richmond Gazette, Saturday, 13 August 1892, p. 5.

‘Visit of the Governor to Windsor: Opening of a Dairy Factory’, Sydney Morning Herald, Thursday, 25 August 1892, p. 8.

‘The Jersey Butter Factory’, Windsor and Richmond Gazette, Saturday, 15 October 1892, p. 2.

‘Dyer’s Windsor’ (removal of plant to Ebenezer wharf), Windsor and Richmond Gazette, Saturday, 15 June 1907, p. 3.

‘Windsor as it is – and as it was – by The Wanderer’, Windsor and Richmond Gazette, Saturday, 19 November 1910, p. 1.

‘A Local Industry: Hawkesbury Condensed Milk Coy., Limited – Now Established in Windsor’, Windsor and Richmond Gazette, Saturday, 4 March 1911, p. 7.

‘Windsor Municipal Council, Full Council present at the Ordinary Meeting on the 23rd October’, Windsor and Richmond Gazette, Saturday, 2 November 1912, pp. 1 and 2.

‘Early Days of Windsor, Industries’, by Rev. Jas. Steele, Windsor and Richmond Gazette, Friday, 2 October 1914, p. 12.

‘Windsor Municipal Council, regular fortnightly meeting, Health Report’, Windsor and Richmond Gazette, Friday, 8 December 1916, p. 1.

‘Week to Week’, Windsor and Richmond Gazette, Friday, 16 December 1921, 22 September 1933.

‘An Enterprising Firm, Jam Factory for Windsor, Purchase of A.M.P. Buildings’, Windsor and Richmond Gazette, Friday, 7 May 1926, p. 4.

‘Local and General News’, Shoalhaven Telegraph, Wednesday, 9 June & 4 August 1926.

‘Windsor Council, Electrical Engineer’s Report’, Windsor and Richmond Gazette, Friday, 8 December 1933, p. 1.

‘Windsor Council’, Windsor and Richmond Gazette, Friday, 6 April 1934, 2 April 1937.

Information on English garden wall bond brick pattern from The Construction Civil website, http://www.theconstructioncivil.org/, accessed 10 December 2014.

Construction information about extant building at 63 The Terrace, Windsor, from Geoff Roberts, former CSIRO Research Scientist (Building).

 

Lost tradition of making cabbage-tree hats comes alive

The popularity of the cabbage-tree hat spread throughout Australia and has been immortalised in folk song and poetry.

cabbage-tree-hat-photo-susan-brian

Photo provided by Sue Brian 2016.

The art of cabbage-tree hat-making was a thriving cottage industry in the Hawkesbury during the 1800s and early 1900s. A cabbage-tree hat was included in items held by the Police to be sold at public auction in 1841 – ‘taken from Bushrangers and other persons’ and the bushranger Ben Hall was photographed with a cabbage-tree hat supposedly about 1864/65 as it was ‘at the height of his inglorious career’.

Some of the best palms for hat-making grew in Cabbage Tree Hollow, or Fox Hollow as it was known, in the Kurrajong district and some of the most accomplished hat-makers were Fairlie Frances Pittman, Mrs Thomas McMahon, Mrs John Tierney, Mrs R. Turner, Mrs Tom Overton and Mrs Richard Ezzy. The tradition continued in later years with Ethel Overton, who married Syd Sheldon from Blaxlands Ridge.

Children would plait the sinnet on their way to and from school and they could earn good money for each hundred yards (about ninety metres) of plaiting. Families all along the Lower Hawkesbury also earned extra money making cabbage-tree hats and, depending on the quality of the workmanship, the hats could sell from £2 to £5 each which would be quite expensive in today’s money.

To prepare the bark for making the hats, the ‘hands’ of the palm trees were scalded in hot water for about ten minutes to make the leaf open out like a fan before bleaching in the cold night air. The whitened leaf was split into narrow, ribbon-like lengths, then folded and plaited into long lengths. The sides were made first and shaped onto a wooden hat block, followed by the brim, the lining, black velvet band, leather chin strap and finally the shaping of the centre over the crown. A well-made and well-stitched hat could last for up to three years.

The popularity of the cabbage-tree hat spread throughout Australia and has been immortalised in folk song and poetry. An old poem by John Barr recalls that ‘We shrink not from the iron gangs of ruthless days of cabbage-tree hat…In famous days of cabbage-tree hat, they danced in hobnailed boots and spurs, they polka’d high, with stamp and go; they kissed the girls through whiskered furze, with smacks you’d hear at Bangalow’. A folk song from 1925, ‘A bushman’s farewell to his cabbage tree hat’, eulogises ‘I trust life may close with a record as true, as that of my cabbage-tree hat’.

hat-from-helen-webster-2

Photo by Geoff Roberts, 2016.

The hat in the photograph above was made by Fairlie Frances Pittman (wife of Charles Pittman, of ‘Thorn Hill’, Hermitage Road, Kurrajong) who died in 1934 aged 89. Born and reared in Kurrajong, Fairlie was the daughter of James Charles Mostyn (Admiral Gambier) and Mary Francis. This hat was shown to members and visitors to  Colo Shire Family History Group on 16 July last year by the great-grandson of Fairlie and Charles Pittman, Don Webster and his wife Helen, during a presentation on cabbage-tree hat-making by Sue and Don Brian, collectors of folk lore and folksongs . The traditional skill of cabbage-tree hat-making is being kept alive today by Sue and Don, who have developed a passion for learning about traditional hat-making skills. If you get the chance, don’t miss one of their interesting presentations.

cabbage-tree-hat-03

Sue and Don Brian demonstrating how to separate the cabbage-tree palm leaf. Colo Shire Family History Group meeting 16 July 2016. Photo by Geoff Roberts 16 July 2016.

Just do a search for Sue and Don Brian and you will see why they are so popular as guest speakers/demonstrators at community meetings and events.

(A version of this story by Carol Roberts first appeared in Hawkesbury Gazette, Wednesday, 30 November 2016, titled ‘Hawkesbury a hat hotspot’.)

Carol Roberts   copyright

References:

Ben Hall 1837-1865, Threads of Connection, Through a Glass Darkly, http://sydneylivingmuseums.com.au/threads-of-connection/through-glass-darkly#data6860, accessed 13 January 2017.

Gould genealogy and history, https://www.gould.com.au/new-south-wales-government-gazette-1841/au2100-1841/, accessed 13 January 2017.

Australian Folk Songs, The Federal Capital Pioneer, ‘A bushman’s farewell to his cabbage-tree hat (1925)’, http://folkstream.com/494.html, accessed 28 November 2016.

‘Cabbage-tree hats – a lost industry’, by Will Carter, Sydney Morning Herald, Saturday, 2 November 1929, National Library of Australia Trove Newspapers, http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/16598483, accessed 28 November 2016.

‘Deaths – Pittman’, Sydney Morning Herald, Monday, 26 February 1934, National Library of Australia Trove Newspapers, http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/17075747, accessed 28 November 2016.

‘Legal Notices – Will of Charles Albert Pittman’, Sydney Morning Herald, Thursday, 7 May 1936, National Library of Australia Trove Newspapers, http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/17341853, accessed 28 November 2016.

‘Personal – About Men and Women’, Windsor and Richmond Gazette, Friday, 9 March 1934, National Library of Australia Trove Newspapers, http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/85796015, accessed 28 November 2016.

‘History group teach how to make cabbage-tree hat’, Hawkesbury Gazette, Wednesday, 1 July 2016 (submitted by Carol Roberts).

St Stephens Church, Kurrajong, Parish Registers 1861-1902, the Family History Group, Kurrajong-Comleroy Historical Society, 2013.

 

 

 

Councillors had to guarantee to repay loan if Council defaulted: times were tough 110 years ago.

At the time, each Councillor had to sign a personal guarantee with the bank to repay the loan if Council defaulted.

50-year-luncheon-colo-shire-1(Programme courtesy Hawkesbury Local Studies Collection, Hawkesbury Central Library, Windsor, NSW.)

Almost sixty years ago, on 9 December 1957, the President of Colo Shire, Councillor Matheson, MBE, Councillors A.V. Watkins, M.A. Duffy, N.A. Powell, L.N. Smith, C.S. Ward, Shire Clerk Howard James, Deputy Shire Clerk R.A. Dasey, Shire Engineer S.F.S. Pollard and Health and Building Inspector W.R. Roach, held an official luncheon in the School of Arts at Wilberforce to celebrate the achievements of Colo Shire over a fifty year period.

Colo Shire was one of many rural areas formed under regulations contained in the Local Government Act passed in NSW in 1905. In mid-1906, Henry Wilson, Edward Bowd, Cyril Tuckerman, John Dunstan and Jonathan Gosper (who died just before Council elections) were appointed to administer a Temporary Council until elections for Councillors could be held on 24 November 1906. It was decided that Council meetings and the headquarters of the Shire would be in Wilberforce.

James Bligh Johnston was appointed returning officer for the election and parish maps were supplied to the police in Wilberforce, North Richmond and St Albans so that a list of electors could be prepared before the election. A room and printing press were rented from Mrs Lockhart, who operated a boarding house in an old inn situated almost opposite where the Council Chambers would later be built in 1910. Councillors elected for each of the three ridings were Arthur Charles Anderson and William Henry Gosper (A Riding, 214 voters), Henry Albert Wilson and Edward Thomas Bowd (B Riding, 586 voters), John Lamrock and James Edward McMahon (C Riding, 228 voters), with John Lamrock as President. Bank accounts were opened with the Commercial Banking Company of Sydney, Windsor Branch, and the first loan was for 350 pounds with an interest rate of six per cent. At the time, each Councillor had to sign a personal guarantee with the bank to repay the loan if Council defaulted.

members Colo Shire 1906 b.jpg

(Photograph of first Colo Shire Council members courtesy of Hawkesbury Local Studies Collection, Hawkesbury Central Library, Windsor, NSW.)

Cecil Icely was appointed Shire Clerk and Mr A. Adams was appointed Shire Engineer. The engineer’s duties were shared fortnightly with Erina Shire and he was required to cover his own travelling costs, office rent and equipment. The area covered was huge: just over 3,100 square kilometres with eighty per cent of the area considered unrateable land, stretching from north of Putty to Castlereagh and from Mount Bell to Mount Manning, from the junction of Wollemi Creek and the Colo River to the parishes of Wollangambe, Irvine, St Albans, Wallambine and Lockyer, Mt Wilson, the Grose River, down to Yarramundi and the right banks of the Nepean and Hawkesbury Rivers all the way to Wisemans Ferry Crossing. Although land was transferred to Blue Mountains City Council on more than one occasion and boundaries changed over the years, the area controlled by Colo Shire was still 2,646 square kilometres in 1960.

Colo Shire Council operated for seventy-five years until amalgamation with Windsor Municipal Council in 1981, forming Hawkesbury Shire Council. City status was then granted to Hawkesbury City Council in 1989.

Colo Shire article.jpg

(This article first appeared in Hawkesbury Gazette, Wednesday, 23 November 2016, written by Carol Roberts for Colo Shire Family History Group Inc.)

copyrightCarol Roberts, author 2016.

[Another interesting article about the beginnings of Colo Shire Council, titled ‘Colo Shire established 110 years ago’ was recently published by Michelle Nichols, Local Studies Librarian at Hawkesbury Library, in The Hawkesbury Crier (December 2016), the newsletter of Hawkesbury Family History Group. Contact details email history@hawkesbury.nsw.gov.au.
If you interested in finding out (or joining) Colo Shire Family History Group Inc contact email colofamilyhistorygroup@gmail.com.]

References:

‘Obituary – Jonathan Gosper’, Windsor and Richmond Gazette, Saturday, 3 November 1906, National Library of Australia Trove, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article85665323, accessed 13 November 2016.

‘Colo Shire Election’, Windsor and Richmond Gazette, Saturday, 1 December 1906, National Library of Australia Trove, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article85665610, accessed 13 November 2016.

Information about Colo Shire Council from Local Studies Collection – Hawkesbury Library, Windsor, NSW.

Jan Barkley and Michelle Nichols, Hawkesbury 1794-1994: The First 200 Years of the Second Colonisation, Hawkesbury City Council, 1994.

Government Gazette No 148 of 23 December 1960, Colo Shire (as altered).

Programme from Official Luncheon, Colo Shire Council Jubilee Year, 1957, Hawkesbury Library Local Studies Collection.

 

Mary Ann Clarke: a convict’s daughter who married a convict’s son

Mary Ann Clarke was one of fourteen children of convict Robert Smith (John) and his wife, Margaret (Hartley). Convicted of horse stealing at Bristol Assizes, Smith arrived in the colony in 1827, aged 21. In the 1828 Census he is listed as labouring for the shipbuilder, John Grono, and in 1835 married Margaret, the daughter of David and Elizabeth Hartley and grand-daughter of Grono.

Mary Anne Clarke 01a.jpg

(This photograph of my great-grandmother, Mary Ann Clarke, is in my private collection. The items surrounding the photograph all belonged to Mary Ann Clarke and are also in my personal possession.)

In 1869, one of their daughters, Mary Ann Smith, born in 1851 in Pitt Town, married Charles Hitchen Clarke. Her brothers, Lawson and Samuel Smith, married Sarah Ellen Clarke and Isabella Martha Clarke (both sisters of Charles Clarke). To confuse family historians further, Mary Ann’s sisters Jane, Emma and Charlotte all married into the Gibbs family from the Wellington district.

Mary Ann and Charles Hitchen Clarke farmed at Freemans Reach for most of their lives, apart from several years at Cooyal, near Mudgee, from about 1871 to 1879. Their first child, Robert Hilton, was born at Freemans Reach, then four children were born at Cooyal: Samuel Alfred, Elizabeth Margaret, Charlotte Isabella and Alice May. They had gone to the Mudgee district to make a new life for themselves and to be near Mary Ann’s elder sister, Elizabeth, who had moved to the area after her marriage to Joseph Pitt in 1854.

An unfortunate accident occurred in 1879 when Mary Ann and Charles’ daughter, Charlotte (aged two years), was severely burnt when her clothes caught fire. The skin damage from the burns required extensive treatment and, as her parents had heard of the excellent skin graft treatments being carried out by Dr Thomas Fiaschi in Windsor, they packed up and moved back to the Hawkesbury where Charlotte could receive ongoing treatment. Five more children were born at Freemans Reach: Annie Florence, Ethel Jane, Hilda(h) Amelia (died aged one year), Charles Henry and Colin Edward. They married into the Collison, Cupitt, Hornery, Gardiner, Butler, Davis, Gibbs and Lamond families, thereby establishing a long line of descendants who shook off the convict stain and contributed greatly to agricultural, community, sporting and business life in the Hawkesbury, Mudgee and Wellington districts.

Mary Ann Clarke died at the home of her daughter, Charlotte, at 92-98 George Street, Windsor, in 1919 and Charles Hitchen Clarke died in Richmond in 1930. Although their parents are buried at St John’s Anglican Cemetery in Wilberforce, Mary Ann and Charles made a decision early on that St Matthew’s Anglican Church in Windsor would be their family church and they are both buried in St Matthew’s cemetery. Rev. Norman Jenkyn conducted each service and spoke of the ‘esteem in which the late Mrs Clarke was held throughout the town and district…she was a good Christian woman’ who ‘loved her children, lived and worked for them, and was a true helpmeet to her husband’. It was said of Charles Clarke that ‘the Hawkesbury district has lost one of its oldest and most respected residents’.

copyrightCarol Roberts, author 2016

Mary Ann Clarke Gazette.jpg

(This article by Carol Roberts first appeared in the Hawkesbury Gazette, on Wednesday, 9 November 2016.)

References:

Family genealogical information from Carol Roberts, great-granddaughter of Mary Ann and Charles Hitchen Clarke.

NSW Death Certificates:Mary Ann Clarke registration number 1919/008222

Charles Hitchen Clarke registration number 1930/006241

 

Card clubs entertained during the Great Depression

Wests Card Club 01.jpg

This photograph was taken by my uncle, Bert Hornery, of Windsor, on the occasion of the Wests Card Club’s first birthday in September 1932. My grandmother, Charlotte Hornery (nee Clarke), my mother Iris Hornery and her sister, Lily, are in centre-front row behind the children. (I have a framed, enlarged original of this photograph, left to me by my mother.)

Despite the difficulties of life during the Great Depression in the 1930s, the people of the Hawkesbury rallied together and continued their participation in social and sporting clubs. Card clubs were extremely popular and together with other social clubs, they offered friendship, entertainment and in many cases, a helping hand to those in less fortunate circumstances.

Wests Card Club in Wilberforce, formed in 1931, was renowned in the district for holding crib, euchre and dance parties. Wests also held the cup for being the best players although they were challenged by the Easts, Souths, the Cockey Boys from Ebenezer, the Don’t Worry Club in Windsor and the club in Vineyard at regular tournaments. Crowds of up to three hundred people attended Wests functions in the Wilberforce School of Arts, with ‘crowded card tables and a full orchestra’. Admission for men was two shillings and one shilling and sixpence for ladies. Festivities were led by Herb Shepherd, captain of the club, with assistance from Wes Thompson and Garney Salter, with Les Owens and Reg Turnbull acting as Masters of Ceremony.

The club’s first birthday function in September 1932 saw a record number of people participate in activities and enjoy the club’s birthday cake, which was organised by Mrs Neate of the Royal Hotel, Windsor. Flowers were presented to Mrs Neate by ‘little Shirley Owen[s]’. Due to the large number of patrons at a euchre party and dance held later in the year, players were split up and the euchre players were taken by bus to Inglebrae guest house.

Gladys Owens usually played piano for the dances, while Horrie Stevens and Ernie Keller played the cornet and violin. Bert Hornery from Windsor was the photographer at nearly all of these functions and his sister, Iris, often helped out on piano. Prizes were generous and boxes of handkerchiefs, goblets, wallets, cigarettes, socks, chocolates, handbags, cuff links and tobacco pouches were handed out to winners of card games and Monte Carlo dance competitions. Some of the Wests most successful social functions were held in 1933, with presentations to Wes Thompson on his marriage and William Thompson when he married Madge Beecroft, then 87th birthday celebrations for James (Da) Sullivan.

As the effects of the Depression took a firmer hold, members of Wests Card Club often joined with organisations such as the Upper Hawkesbury Motor Boat Club, Returned Soldiers’ League and the Merriment Sunshine Club to run functions for charity, assisting patients at the Home for Infirm and the hospital in Windsor. It was observed that ‘Wilberforce has two organisations, the Wests Card Club and the Merriment Sunshine Club, which are not merely charitable organisations, though the greater part of their proceeds are devoted to the sacred cause of charity…If anyone is sick or in distress of any kind and the fact comes under the notice of either of these bodies steps are at once taken by either or both to afford relief’.

copyright Carol Roberts

Wests Card Club Gazette.jpg

(My article on Wests Card Club first appeared in the Hawkesbury Gazette on Wednesday, 26 October 2016.)

References:

‘Challenge match in card tournament, Easts v. Wests’, Windsor and Richmond Gazette, Friday, 30 October 1931, National Library of Australia Trove News Article 85890291, http://trove.nla.gov.au, accessed 29 August 2016.

‘Card Tournaments: Challenge for the Cup’, Windsor and Richmond Gazette, Friday, 20 November 1931, National Library of Australia Trove News Article 85888118, http://trove.nla.gov.au, accessed 7 October 2016.

‘Wilberforce: To a packed house, crowded card tables and a full orchestra’, Windsor and Richmond Gazette, Friday, 30 September 1932, National Library of Australia Trove News Article 86056534, http://trove.nla.gov.au, accessed 29 August 2016.

‘Wests Card Club’, Windsor and Richmond Gazette, Friday, 4 November 1932, National Library of Australia Trove News Article 86055453, http://trove.nla.gov.au, accessed 29 August 2016.

‘In Charity’s Cause: Two Wilberforce organisations, Windsor and Richmond Gazette, Friday, 27 January 1933, National Library of Australia Trove News Article 86051638, http://trove.nla.gov.au, accessed 29 August 2016.

‘Wests Card Club: Happy social function, presentation to Will. Thompson’, Windsor and Richmond Gazette, Friday, 10 March 1933, National Library of Australia Trove News Article 86050413, http://trove.nla.gov.au, accessed 13 October 2016.

‘Wilberforce: Another enjoyable euchre party and dance’, Windsor and Richmond Gazette, Friday, 7 April 1933, National Library of Australia Trove News Article 86055879, http://trove.nla.gov.au, accessed 29 August 2016.

‘Wests Card Club: Presentation to Wes. Thompson, another successful function’, Windsor and Richmond Gazette, Friday, 9 June 1933, National Library of Australia Trove News Article 86052912, http://trove.nla.gov.au, accessed 7 October 2016.

‘ “Da” Sullivan: Popular Wilberforce identity celebrates 87th birthday’, Windsor and Richmond Gazette, Friday, 11 August 1933, National Library of Australia Trove News Article 86051409, http://trove.nla.gov.au, accessed 13 October 2016.

Roberts, C. ‘Top spots in darker times’, Hawkesbury Gazette, Wednesday, 26 October 2016.

Sanders, J. ‘Merriment Sunshine Club’, The Hawkesbury Crier, Newsletter of the Hawkesbury Family History Group, March 2016.

A Sense of Place: the artist Greg Hansell’s record of history now

 

a-sense-of-place

Invitation to A Sense of Place: the artist Greg Hansell’s record of history now, opening by Carol Roberts on Saturday, 15 October 2016, Margaret Whitlam Galleries, Female Orphan School, Western Sydney University (Parramatta Campus).

Usually, people who live in or near historic towns are well aware of the significance of place in relation to their connectivity and self-identity. They might not phrase their sense of place in formal terms, but nevertheless they know they belong and this is one aspect that jumps out at you repeatedly during conversations with artist Greg Hansell – his sense of place is ‘hard-wired’.[i]

He engages this sense of place and records history as he sees it, often depicting heritage buildings that ‘are second to midnight’ (that is, at risk of disappearing forever, either through development or lack of maintenance).[ii]

Brought up on his parents’ wheat and sheep properties near Goulburn and then Wagga Wagga, Greg Hansell considers he had a fairly unpretentious, very conservative, rural childhood. An award-winning artist, he is currently Fellow, Council member, teacher and Art School Director at the Royal Art Society of New South Wales. He crushes rocks and clays to make his own pigments and, with no added binders, creates earth pastels with colour permanence of the highest rating. But his rural background is ‘hard-wired’[iii] and his methods of recording history relate to his country upbringing, his move to the Hawkesbury area and his subsequent career as an artist. His sense of place attachment and understanding of the environment surrounding place are evident in his paintings. His representations of history – his writing down of historic detail – reflect the intangible alongside the tangible heritage. His conceptual experience in relation to sense of place flows through his paintings and through his life and influences the way he delivers public history through his artwork.

I have run several historical tours based on Greg’s artistic representation of heritage sites in the Hawkesbury and we are collaborating on a book that will showcase the artist’s depictions of the Hawkesbury area. I have discovered that to hang around with Greg Hansell and visit the heritage sites depicted in his paintings encourages people to look for new perspectives and ways of interpreting place. That is what the artist aims to do.[iv] He reveals the ‘layers of life’ that revolve around a building where he ‘can exaggerate or highlight things in the architecture, such as the brick coursework and crookedness of the building…where the building has slumped over the years and become tired’.[v]

homage-to-bricklayers-various_a

There is a term, ‘liminality’, that means drawing or inviting the viewer in to a snapshot of the past and Hansell explains that in relation to the term liminality, he ‘almost takes the viewer by the hand’ and guides them through the paintings to discover objects from the past like upturned milk crates, old bits of cars, pieces of rusting iron or farm tools.[vi]

It has been said of Greg Hansell that, ‘as he lives and works in a place he loves and doing what he chooses, Hansell is really one of the lucky ones’.[vii] His footprints are well and truly in the Hawkesbury, but he also immerses himself in the work of other artists who have inspired him on his journey. His new exhibition is a three-part exhibition, showing works from his past, works from the present and works hanging in his house: in other words, works by people who have inspired him.

I will be opening the next exhibition, A Sense of Place: the artist Greg Hansell’s record of history now, on Saturday, 15 October in the Margaret Whitlam Galleries at the Female Orphan School, Building EZ, Western Sydney University (Parramatta Campus), off Victoria Road, Rydalmere, at 2.00pm. Parking is available at $8 per day. The exhibition will continue until 20 January 2017.

copyright Carol Roberts 2016

[Image, part of Hansell’s Homage to bricklayers various, earth pastel]

[i] Gary E. Holmes, James R. Patterson and Janice E. Stalling, ‘Sense of place: issues in counselling and development’, Journal of Humanistic Counselling, Education and Development, Fall, 2003, Vol. 42, Issue 2, p. 239, http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.une.edu.au/docview/212448339?accountid=17227, accessed 29 September 2012; Greg Hansell, oral history interviews with Carol Roberts, 5 November 2008 and 18 February 2011.

[ii] Greg Hansell, pers com, 5 September 2012; Carol Roberts, ‘From the ground up: exploring the use of oral history in tourism’, She said: He said: Reading, Writing and Recording History, Journal No. 36, 2014, Oral History Association of Australia, pp. 23-30.

[iii] Hansell, 5 November 2008.

[iv] Jan Dungey, ‘Where arts, imagination and environment meet’, in Heritage Interpretation, Volume 1: The Natural and Built Environment, David L. Uzzell, ed, London, 1989, p. 241.

[v] Greg Hansell, pers com, 5 September 2012.

[vi] Greg Hansell, ‘Australian landscapes: techniques in pastel’, Australian Artist, Chatswood, New South Wales, undated, pp. 20-23.

[vii] Greg Hansell: Survey catalogue, 30 October – 6 December 2009, Hawkesbury Regional Gallery, Windsor, pp. 4-5.

William Pitt Wilshire – eccentric member of the Pitt Wilshire clan

Photos courtesy State Library of New South Wales (paid for copies and publication rights)

Born and raised in Sydney, William Pitt Wilshire was the eldest son of pioneers James Wilshire and Esther Pitt and a grandson of Robert and Mary Pitt (Matcham). His father, who was Acting Deputy-Commissary for several years, received a number of land grants in the Sydney area and established a large tannery at Brickfield Hill which operated for nearly 60 years.  James also owned land at Kurrajong on Wheeny Creek, adjoining John Howe, Thomas Matcham Pitt, Samuel Leverton and Matthew Everingham.

Although William Pitt Wilshire entered into a number of business ventures, his main interest was art and he ‘achieved some success as an artist’. In 1829, he married Catherine Maria Robertson, daughter of Sir John Robertson, and they had three children (William, Frederick and Maria).  Catherine Wilshire died in 1848 aged 36 and was buried in the St Laurence Chapel in Sydney.  Parish maps indicate that ‘Miss C M Robertson (Mrs Wiltshire)’ owned 640 acres in Kurrajong, adjoining M McMahon, James Davidson (senior and junior), John Davidson, Peter Hornery, Peter Gilligan and William John.

As an artist, William Pitt Wilshire would have appreciated the beauty of the Kurrajong area and several newspaper articles indicate that he spent a great deal of time in Kurrajong after his wife died.

Now this is where it gets interesting. Every family has its stories and our family is no exception. My mother and grandfather were adamant that William Pitt Wilshire was the father of my grandfather, William Matcham Hornery. Although Wilshire never remarried after his wife died, it seems that sometime after 1860 he formed a relationship with Margaret Hornery of Kurrajong and they definitely had one (if not more) children. He was considerably older than Margaret who was 26 when her eldest son (my grandfather) was born in 1870. William Matcham Hornery recorded ‘William Pitt Wilshire, grazier’ as his father when he married my grandmother Charlotte Clarke in 1898 at St Matthew’s Anglican Church in Windsor. Thanks to the results of my recent DNA testing, the indications are that William Pitt Wilshire is my great-grandfather and I am in contact with several members of the Wilshire clan whose DNA results were a high match with mine through William Pitt Wilshire’s brother.

It is not surprising given the connection, that Wilshire called Elvina, Margaret’s eldest daughter (born in 1863), as his witness in a court case in 1877 when he was accused of serious assault against Albert Packer at Kurrajong. Margaret Hornery had married Albert Packer a short time before the assault occurred, so presumably the fight was either about the marriage or the children. I have yet to find out if Wilshire served out his sentence for this assault, but from all accounts he had a fiery temper and it was probably not the first time he had ‘lost it’.

It appears Wilshire took an active interest in the Kurrajong community. From the 1860s he was involved in the push for the establishment of a railway to Kurrajong and on 27 August 1869, he attended a meeting at Benson’s Hotel in Kurrajong and proposed that a committee be formed for the purpose of establishing a public school in Kurrajong, ‘with as little delay as possible and in a central position’.  John Lamrock donated an acre of land and the school was eventually built ‘at the junction of the north and south Kurrajong Roads’.

An avid reader, as well as a regular contributor to the Sydney Morning Herald, Wilshire was a colourful character who was considered slightly eccentric ‘because he sat around the Kurrajong hills sketching’. According to Sam Boughton in the 1860s, W P Wilshire was ‘of superior talent, being a no mean artist’.  His life-long hobby was art and he preferred portrait painting, showing several paintings in the 1857 Fine Art Exhibition and the 1872 New South Wales Academy of Art Exhibition.

Wilshire’s artistic talents were passed on to his granddaughters Ada, Rosie and Hero and descendants who have chosen to follow artistic and musical careers, including his grandson, Harley Wilshire, who in 1892 composed The Hawkesbury Waltz. The artistic gene also passed to his grand-daughters in Kurrajong down to a gggranddaughter, a classical singer.  William Pitt Wilshire died aged 82 on 12 March 1889 in Surry Hills and was buried in Rookwood Cemetery.

copyrightCopyright Carol Roberts 2016

This is an updated edition of my article about William Pitt Wilshire that appeared in Hawkesbury Gazette, Wednesday, 8 June 2011.

References:

Parish Map Preservation Project, Kurrajong Parish Map, 140965, dated 1893, http://parishmaps.lands.nsw.gov.au, accessed 2 May 2011.

Parish Map Preservation Project, Merroo Parish Map, 140270, undated, http://parishmaps.lands.nsw.gov.au, accessed 2 May 2011.

Lake Macquarie Family History Group, St Matthew’s Church of England Windsor NSW Parish Registers 1857 to 1900: a complete transcription, 2004.

The Sydney Morning Herald, Wednesday, 1 September 1869, p. 5.

The Sydney Morning Herald, Wednesday, 13 March 1889, p. 14.

Kerr, J. ‘Dictionary of Australian Artists Online: Rosalie Wilshire’, http://www.daao.org.au, accessed 2 May 2011.

McHardy, C. (Ed.), Reminiscences of Richmond: From the Forties Down by ‘Cooramill’, Kurrajong, NSW, 2010.

Moore, W. The Story of Australian Art, Sydney, 1934.

Rees E. (Ted) Baker, Dictionary of Australian Art, 1992.

Roberts, C. ‘William Pitt Wilshire 1807-1889’, Spanning the Centuries of Hawkesbury History – Hawkesbury Personalities, Journal of the Hawkesbury Historical Society, No 3, 2014.

The Clements family in Windsor NSW

Herbert Australia Clements was born in Windsor in 1865. At the age of twenty he married Mary Ann Butler, daughter of Edward and Mary Ann Butler of Windsor. The couple had six children: Herbert (born and died 1885), Miriam Clarice (born 1887), Pearly(ie) Grace (born 1889), Percy Edward (born 1891), Dorris Freda (born 1893) and Carlton Herbert (born 1896). Having lost their first-born baby in 1885, tragedy struck again in 1902 when Pearlie died aged thirteen years, after suffering with Bright’s Disease for four months.

Herbert Australia Clements 2

Herbert Australia Clements in Masonic Lodge regalia c1920s/1930s. Photo courtesy of his granddaughter June Irving and great-granddaughter, Julie Sinfield.

In 1892, H.A. Clements opened a grocery store on the south-western corner of Catherine and George Streets in Windsor. The store was popular and a great financial success for the Clements family, selling everything from ‘prime pickled pork, hams, bacon, fresh lard’ to ‘groceries of top quality at bottom prices, crockery always on hand and farm produce at lowest market prices’.

Percy Clements married Violet Amelia Hammond in 1923, Dorris married Bertie Milsim Hornery in 1928 and Carl (known as Mick) married Mona Mary Williams in 1950. The Clements family members were all musical. H.A. ‘Pop’ Clements, sons Perc and Carl and Bert Hornery played in the Windsor Band, while Dorris played piano and organ at the Presbyterian Church in Windsor for many years. Cousins, Harry and Colin (Bubs) Gardiner also played in the band. Miriam (known as Clarice) did not marry. She suffered ill health for many years and died in 1954.

H.A. and Mary Ann Clements were in the grocery business for thirty-seven years before they retired to the new home they built at 7 Macquarie Street, Windsor. They called the house ‘Hermar’ derived from their first names of Herbert and Mary. This area of Windsor, close to The Peninsula and Thompson Square, became a hive of activity for the Clements family. Perc and Vi Clements lived nearby at 21 Bridge Street, Bert and Dorris Hornery lived across the way at 46 Court Street in the brick home they built in 1928.

Clements house 7 Macquarie St Windsor Feb 2010

Clements family home Hermar, 7 Macquarie Street, Windsor. Photo Carol Roberts 2015.

Also in 1928, Carl Clements opened the Hawkesbury Motor Garage on George Street facing Thompson Square. The garage became a family business and an icon in the town: Perc Clements went to work for his brother Carl, who was the proprietor, and they were joined by their brother-in-law and my uncle, Bert Hornery, a motor mechanic who later ran his own refrigeration business just down the road.

Mary Ann Clements died in 1934 and Herbert Australia Clements died in 1957. They are buried in the Presbyterian Cemetery in Windsor with their daughter Miriam. The dark brick, solid, substantial brick homes the Clements family built in Macquarie and Bridge Streets and the Californian Bungalow built by Bert and Dorris Hornery on the corner of Bridge and Court Streets still stand, as solid as when they were built nearly one hundred years ago. They are prime examples of the late 1920s/early 1930s architectural style which forms part of the heritage landscape of Windsor and other areas of the Hawkesbury.

Clements shaped Windsor 18 May 2016

‘Clements shaped Windsor’, article by Carol Roberts for the National Trust Hawkesbury Branch, Hawkesbury Gazette, Wednesday, 18 May 2016.

copyright Carol Roberts

References:

‘Town Gossip’, Windsor and Richmond Gazette, Saturday, 1 May 1897, Trove, National Library of Australia, http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/?q=, accessed 1 May 2016.

‘Obituary’, Windsor and Richmond Gazette, Saturday, 12 April 1902, Trove, National Library of Australia, http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/?q=, accessed 1 May 2016.

‘Week to Week’, Windsor and Richmond Gazette, Friday, 2 October 1914, Trove, National Library of Australia, http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/?q=, accessed 2 May 2016.

‘Personal, About Men and Women’, Windsor and Richmond Gazette, Friday, 23 March 1928, Trove, National Library of Australia, http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/?q=, accessed 2 May 2016.

NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages, http://www.bdm.nsw.gov.au/Pages/family-history/family-history.aspx, accessed 2 May 2016.

Hawkesbury on the Net, Cemetery Register, Windsor Presbyterian Cemetery, http://www.hawkesbury.net.au/cemetery/ accessed 2 May 2016.

Family genealogical information from Carol Roberts, Windsor.

Photograph of H.A. Clements from his granddaughter June Irving and great-granddaughter, Julie Sinfield.

The ubiquitous fibro house

A shortage of building materials after the end of World War II, combined with an acute post-war rental housing shortage, saw the increased use of one of the wonder products of the twentieth century: fibro.

44 court st circa 1960

My childhood home at 44 Court Street, Windsor, c1960. My mother Iris Cammack is in the driveway. The house now has a brick facade. Photo Bert Hornery (my uncle).

While building figures in Windsor revealed that from 1930 to 1936 seventy timber and fibro cottages were built for a cost of £23,419 (approximately £335 per house), by 1948 the cost of building a basic two-bedroom fibro house had increased to approximately £1,100. The same house with land could not be purchased for less than £1,600. By the end of 1958, Wunderlich had produced ‘a vertical grooved sheet…in tune with modern design…which brings real glamour to the most economical of building materials’. At the peak of the 1950s housing boom, one-third of new homes were owner-built and most were constructed of fibro with timber frames. Many had corrugated fibro or iron roofs, but terracotta roof tiles were gradually becoming more popular.

Building contractors and owner-builders found that it was easy to extend or renovate a fibro house and although considered a little bit ‘low class’, one big advantage of fibro was that it was fire-resistant. With fibro or timber strap work covering the joins, fibro was popular for houses, garages, sheds and shops and was painted with Kalsomine in pastel colours of cream, baby blue, green, pink or white. For many, the concept of freshly-painted white walls with red roof tiles represented an ‘overall effect of cleanliness’.

One drawback to living in a fibro house is that fibro does not insulate as well as brick and the rooms are freezing in winter. However, the fibro era was about cheap, modest, affordable housing and home ownership and to some, the fibro house ‘was stunning in its excellence…a complete house…in its own garden’.

Fibro house 2 Dec 2015 edit

My article published in Hawkesbury Gazette, Wednesday, 2 December 2015.

Fibro became an expression of the Australian identity. Artist Reg Mombassa comments that fibro was ‘the wonder building material of the 1950s and 1960s…inexpensive, durable and ubiquitous’, while the author, Patrick White, writes that ‘at night the fibro homes reverberated’ with the noise and excitement of families.

The house at 44 Court Street, Windsor, built by local builder Arthur Mullinger in 1952 for Iris and Alf Cammack, epitomised for the owners the dream of a detached dwelling on one level on a large, quarter-acre block in the town. No 44 had red terracotta roof tiles, nine foot ceilings, a large lounge room with a brick fireplace, separate dining room and kitchen, two bedrooms, bathroom, laundry (with second toilet) and a rear verandah which was later converted into a third bedroom. The block of land allowed room for the building of a large garage by the owner, as well as poultry, fruit trees and extensive gardens. Fibro, for many post-war ‘baby-boomers’, is a reminder of the Australian suburban backyard associated with memories of growing up with space to dream, run and play.

copyright Carol Roberts

References:

Carol Roberts, ‘When fibro was norm’, Hawkesbury Gazette, Wednesday, 2 December 2015.

Pickett, Charles. The Fibro Frontier: a different history of Australian architecture, Powerhouse Publishing and Doubleday, Haymarket, Sydney, 1997.

‘New record, Windsor building figures, big 1936 increase’, Windsor and Richmond Gazette, Friday, 22 January 1937, National Library of Australia Trove Article 86044095, http://trove.nla.gov.au, accessed 26 September 2015.

‘Fibro house’, Sydney Morning Herald, Tuesday, 31 August 1948, National Library of Australia Trove Article18083078, http://trove.nla.gov.au, accessed 26 September 2015.

‘Fibro retains its lead’, Western Herald, Friday, 12 December 1958, National Library of Australia Trove Article 103993038, http://trove.nla.gov.au, accessed 26 September 2015.

Family information from Carol Roberts (daughter of Iris and Alf Cammack), at cjr5711@bigpond.com.

Photograph of Iris Cammack in front of 44 Court Street, Windsor, c1960, courtesy of Carol Roberts (photograph by Bert Hornery).

Caring for our aged – the District Home for the Infirm in Windsor, NSW

Home for Infirm

Photograph of The Home for the Infirm (now demolished) which stood in Brabyn Street, Windsor. Courtesy of Carol Roberts from the collection of her mother, Iris Cammack.

From 1811, The Windsor Charitable Institution provided monetary support and/or stores relief to flood victims, as well as caring for the poor and infirm. This institution was gradually absorbed into the Hawkesbury Benevolent Society from the end of 1818, to assist the aged and infirm of ‘Windsor, Richmond, Wilberforce, Pitt Town and Portland Head’. Pioneers present at the inaugural meeting were William Cox, the Reverend Cartwright, Dr Mileham, Lieutenant Bell, Captain Brabyn, Thomas Pitt, John Jones, Henry Baldwin and George Hall.

During the early years of the Society, income was gained from sources such as donations, subscriptions and the sale of property and cattle from the Society’s herd on the Liverpool Plains. Additional funds of several thousand pounds were accumulated over a period of almost one hundred years from an annuity dating from the death of Richard Fitzgerald in 1840.

The Society acquired a one-acre Government grant between George and Macquarie Streets and in 1836 built a brick, two-storey home on the south-western side of Brabyn Street, Windsor, ‘for the reception of the aged and destitute of the district’. Before this building was completed, the aged and infirm poor were housed in a small timber cottage on the Society’s thirteen-acre property near the junction of George and Macquarie Streets in South Windsor. This property was the site of the Windsor Grammar School from 1885 until 1915 when in 1920 it was sold to J. McCann and in later years became known as McCann’s Flats.

After the Society obtained the use of the Government Hospital in Macquarie Street from 1846, the ‘aged inmates’ were transferred to the Asylum wards on the ground floor of the hospital building and the two-storey brick building in Brabyn Street was later let as a hotel. Extensive building works were carried out at the hospital from 1909/1910, so the elderly patients were moved back to the home in Brabyn Street. The increasing cost of repairs to this building caused financial concern and a decision was taken by the Hawkesbury Benevolent Society and Hospital to build a new home on the site.

The Home for the Infirm was erected in 1914 on the site in Brabyn Street now occupied by the Macquarie Tower group of shops. It cost eight hundred and fifty pounds and was opened by Fred Flowers, the first Minister of Public Health. Honorary medical officers were Drs Callaghan, Davies, Helsham, Donovan and Johnstone. Matron Taylor was in charge of the home from 1910 to 1941 and Matron Friend from 1941-1945. In 1946, Matron Prendergast took over and remained until 1954 (she then served in a part-time capacity).

In 1959, the name ‘Home for the Infirm’ was changed to Fitzgerald Memorial Hostel in honour of the pioneer and benefactor Richard Fitzgerald. The hostel was sold after 1989 and the four hundred thousand dollars raised from the sale went towards the building of the present Fitzgerald Memorial Hostel on Hawkesbury Valley Way.

References:

Carol Roberts, ‘Our Home for the Infirm’, Hawkesbury Gazette, Wednesday, 25 May 2016.

Bowd, D.G. History of the Hawkesbury Benevolent Society and Hospital 1818-1947, Official Opening of the Nurses’ Quarters, 22 November 1947.

‘Hawkesbury District Hospital and Home for Infirm’, Windsor and Richmond Gazette, Friday, 18 February 1916, National Library of Australia Trove Newspapers Article 85881038, http://nla.gov.au, accessed 19 May 2016.

Nairn, B. ‘Flowers, Fred (1864-1928)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/flowers-fred-6198/text10651. published first in hardcopy 1981, accessed online 23 May 2016.

Nichols, M. ‘Windsor Hospital’, http://archiver.rootsweb.ancestry.com/th/read/AUS-NSW-HILLS-HAWKESBURY-HUNTER-VALLEY/2006-10/1160731368, accessed 23 May 2016.

Steele, J. ‘Hospitals and Benevolent Society – Old Asylum, Brabyn Street’, Early Days of Windsor, http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks13/1302241h.html#ch-19, accessed 23 May 2016.

Steele, J. ‘Hospitals and Benevolent Society’, Early Days of Windsor, Windsor and Richmond Gazette, Friday, 4 September 1914, National Library of Australia Trove Newspapers Article 85861152, http://trove.nla.gov.au, accessed 23 May 2016.

Sydney Aged Care Facility, Fitzgerald Memorial Aged Care, http://www.fitzgeraldacf.com.au/location,_corp._profile_history.html, accessed 19 May 2016.

‘Windsor – Past and Present’, William Freame, Windsor and Richmond Gazette, Saturday, 30 October 1909, National Library of Australia Trove Newspapers Article 85863472, http://nla.gov.au, accessed 19 May 2016.