Exploring the history behind Macarthur's suburb names

Smeaton Grange - picture from the Sedgwick and Nash family albums.
Smeaton Grange - picture from the Sedgwick and Nash family albums.

Our Heritage

How the suburbs and villages of Macarthur got their names.

Welcome to Smeaton Grange in the 1890s this spot today is Magdalene Catholic High School and the adjoining area, off busy Narellan Road.

This land was originally part of William Hobell's "Narralling Grange" land grant of 1816, which sat next to an adjoining grant, "Smeeton", owned by Charles Throsby ogf Glenfield fame. Both these holdings were later purchased by James Fitxpatrick, a rags-to-riches ex-convict who had accompanied Hume and Hovell on their famous expedition of 1824.

Fitzpatrick blended the names of both properties, becoming Smeaton Grange.

The ex-convict's sprawling rural empire eventually reached from Narellan to Menangle Park and historic Smeaton Grange House was built in 1894 for Fitzpatrick's daughter, Elizabeth, who married Edward Sedgwick.

Their son, FJ. "Mate" Sedwick (who some will remember as the mayor of Campbelltown in the late 1950s) lived on a dairy farm carved off the Fitzpatrick estate now the site of the Australian Botanic Garden, Mount Annan.

The Catholic Church acquired Smeaton Grange House in the 1960s, using it as a retreat centre and novitiate, until it became a high school in 2000.

In the 1990s, the area of land north of the house was zoned industrial by Camden Council in an effort to attract business into the area.

John Macarthur, the namesake of our entire region.

John Macarthur, the namesake of our entire region.

More local suburbs below

AIRDS

This early name used to describe the entire Campbelltown area. Governor Macquarie, on his first visit in 1810, wrote: I intend forming this tract of country into a new and separate district for the accommodation of small settlers, and to name it Airds in honour of my dear good Elizabeths family estate [in Scotland]. Airds was widely used at first but as individual local villages came into being, the broad name fell out of use and it wasnt reborn until 1975 when the NSW Housing Commission converted bush farms at South Kentlyn into a new housing estate Airds.

AMBARVALE

Named after an early farm on the opposite side of Appin Road. Campbelltown Council nonetheless approved the name in 1976. It was a 1816 land grant held by Samuel Larken, later incorporated into the St Helens Park property.

APPIN

With the success of his Airds farms [on the site of Campbelltown], Governor Macquarie decided to create a second farming district in 1811. He named it Appin, after a coastal village in Scotland where his wife was born. A survey for the village was complete by 1834.

BARDIA

New estate to be developed on the old Ingleburn Army Camp. Named after Bardia Barracks, which in turn had been named after Australias first military victory in WW2.

Future site of Bardia: Prime Minister Robert Menzies visiting Ingleburn Army Camp in April, 1940, and watching an anti-tank gun demonstration. The battle of Bardia would be fought in North Africa just nine months later.

Future site of Bardia: Prime Minister Robert Menzies visiting Ingleburn Army Camp in April, 1940, and watching an anti-tank gun demonstration. The battle of Bardia would be fought in North Africa just nine months later.

BARGO

A dense wilderness first explored by Europeans in 1798, amazed to see their first koalas, lyrebirds and wombats. Botanist George Caley in 1807 said his Aboriginal guide, Mowattin, called it Barago. The word may mean place of cliffs or thick scrub. Within decades the entire area between Appin and Buxton was described as the Bargo Brush a haunt of bushrangers. Land on the site of the modern village was released in the 1880s, but it wasnt until the main deviation of the railway from Tahmoor to Mittagong, in 1919, that Bargo began to develop.

BELIMBLA PARK

The name goes back to the 1940s. At that time, a spot between The Oaks and Oakdale was selected for a plantation of a particular type of eucalyptus native to the Belimbla Creek near Tumut.

BICKLEY VALE

This tiny rural pocket adjoining Cawdor was named after the old family property of the Sidman family, who prior to 1952 owned the newspapers that have today evolved into the Advertiser.

BLAIR ATHOL

Named in honour of the homestead built about 1879 by John Kidd, who named it after a village in his native Scotland. In 1945, Blair Athol was bought by Crompton Parkinson electrical engineers which built Campbelltowns first major factory in 1957. Council created an industrial estate around the factory, but the old home remained untouched. By the 1970s, industrial growth had been redirected to Minto so, in the 1990s, the land was rezoned as residential.

BLAIRMOUNT

Stands on the old Belmont property, once owned by the Ducat family. Leslie Rouse acquired the property in 1923 and developed it as a horse stud. After his death in 1928, Frank Young bought the estate, then known as Blairmount. Blair is Scottish word meaning cleared space. Young specialised in breeding prize Clydesdale horses.

BOW BOWING

Originally a farming community called Saggart Field, named after an early family. After the coming of the railway in the 1850s, settlement drifted across to Minto. In the 1970s a suburb was planned but its proposed name of Saggart Field drew looks of horror. Campbelltown Council instead named it after Bow Bowing Creek. The waterway was originally Boro Borang, possibly an Aboriginal word for giant kangaroo. The suburb was launched in 1990.

BRADBURY

William Bradbury was a colourful innkeeper at the southern edge of Campbelltown. When Macquarie visited, in 1822, Bradbury invited him to name his new home; the Governor portrayed a delightful lack of imagination by calling it Bradbury Park. In 1965, Lend Lease launched Sherwood Hills estate, but in 1969, the suburb was officially renamed Bradbury after the pioneer.

BRINGELLY

Some historians say the name came from early landholder, Ellis Bent, supposedly after a family estate in Wales. Others have claimed it is a corruption of an Aboriginal word, possibly meaning unobtainable.

BROWNLOW HILL

Named in 1820 by Governor Macquarie after his friend, Lord Brownlow. Granted in 1825 to the Colonial secretary, Alexander Macleay. The locality is well-known as home of Sydney University Farms.

The old bridge at Brownlow Hlil.

The old bridge at Brownlow Hlil.

BUXTON

Originally part of the Bargo Brush, it was wilderness until 1867 when the railway arrived. Thought to have been named by a railway official after a hamlet in Derbyshire. The village dates from 1883.

CAMDEN

John Macarthur, who in 1806 took ownership of a massive land grant on the western side of the Nepean River, named it Camden after his benefactor, Lord Camden, the British Secretary of the Colonies. Years later, proposals to build a village were opposed by Macarthur, so it was not until after his death in 1834 that his sons supported a private subdivision which began in 1841. The real surname of Lord Camden was Pratt, so the town might today be called Prattville.

CAMDEN PARK

After the creation of Camden village in 1841, the Macarthurs property became known as Camden Park. The name is now officially given to the housing on the Wollondilly Shire side of the border, such as Bridgewater estate.

CAMDEN SOUTH

Originally two housing estates of the 1960s and 1970s Elizabeth Macarthur and Ponderosa. For some years this area was known as Benkennie, a corruption of Belgenny, Aboriginal for dry land or high land. But it was later renamed Camden South to capitalise on the recognition of the Camden name.

Camden Park House, seat of the Macarthur family.

Camden Park House, seat of the Macarthur family.

CAMPBELLTOWN

Governor Macquarie decided to create a settlement to serve his Airds farmers, so he founded Campbell Town in 1820. It was named in honour of Elizabeth Macquaries maiden name. It wasnt until 1827 that the first measured plan was drawn up by Robert Hoddle (the namesake of Hoddle Avenue).

CATHERINE FIELD

Named after an early farming property, shown on parish maps as Catherine Field with George Molle the owner.

CAWDOR

The first settlement in the Cowpastures, predating Camden. Macquarie named it in honour of my dearest Elizabeths family. She was a Campbell [see Campbelltown] but that great Scottish clan had several branches and she hailed from the Campbells of Cawdor. As a village it died from lack of water.

CLAYMORE

Originally meant to be called Badgally, after the nearby hilltop but because it was developed in the 1970s by the NSW Housing Commission, Campbelltown Council feared it would be nicknamed Bad Gully. Before it could chose another name, the Housing Commission prematurely started to use the name Claymore (a Scottish battle sword), because that was the name of a nearby farm gate. It wasnt a historic name, only invented a few years earlier by the owner of an older farm Rosslyn.

COBBITTY

In 1809, surveyor James Meehan mentioned Coppety near the Nepean, supposedly an Aboriginal word. It was spelt so many different ways, from Cobbotty to Cubbady and Cobbidee, it is hard to prove a root meaning. By the 1820s a tiny village started to emerge.

COURIDJAH

Originally part of the Bargo Brush, a settlement evolved after the railway passed through in the 1860s. Understood to mean home of the white ants.

Sporting star: Rose (Babe) Payten took the Australian tennis world by storm in the Federation period, and from 1901 to 1904 was simultaneously the NSW single, women's doubles and mixed doubles champion. A major road in Leumeah is today named in her honour.

Sporting star: Rose (Babe) Payten took the Australian tennis world by storm in the Federation period, and from 1901 to 1904 was simultaneously the NSW single, women's doubles and mixed doubles champion. A major road in Leumeah is today named in her honour.

CURRANS HILL

Named after an early farming family who held land around Turners Road. Another early name for the area was Thorn Hill. Urban development began in the 1990s.

DENHAM COURT

Richard Atkins, the early judge advocate of the colony, was the original grantee and named his farm after his ancestral home in Buckinghamshire. He later sold to Captain Richard Brooks and the grand mansion became one of Sydneys vibrant social centres of the 1820s.

DOUGLAS PARK

In 1822, a land grant given to Dr Henry Grattam Douglass was named Hoare Town. The village that evolved on his property was also called Hoare Town, but unhappy female residents lobbied to have a name change to Douglass Park, later streamlined to Douglas Park.

EAGLE VALE

The first settler in 1816 was ex-convict Thomas Clarkson, who acquired several adjoining grants and named his enlarged property Woodland Grove. In 1828, a wealthy widow, Jemima Jenkins, bought the property but changed the name to Eagle Vale. In 1858, the new owner was William Fowler, a Campbelltown storekeeper and postmaster, and the property was renamed again this time to Eschol Park. As the decades rolled on, the Eagle Vale name was almost forgotten. It was only in the mid 1970s when a host of new suburbs were being planned that the old name was resurrected.

ESCHOL PARK

The suburb is spelt wrongly. It should be Eshcol Park, because that was the name given to its namesake property in 1858 by William Fowler. He was a devout Christian and because it was a vineyard, he named it after the promised land of Eshcol in the Bible. But right from the outset there were problems with the awkward spelling. In 1975, the nearly-always incorrect spelling was approved.

Landmark: Youngsters enjoying a high tea picnic at Eschol Park House as part of the Taste of Macarthur Food Festival last year.

Landmark: Youngsters enjoying a high tea picnic at Eschol Park House as part of the Taste of Macarthur Food Festival last year.

ELDERSLIE

When a land grant next to the Nepean River was given to explorer John Oxley in 1816, the name appeared on the grant records as Ellerslie. This might have been an error as the grant was widely known at the time as Elderslie. In 1841 it was subdivided for a private village, Elderslie Farms.

ELLIS LANE

Originally known as Cobbitty Paddock, the scene of heavy farming activity in 19th century. The name is understood to recognise a local teamster, Solomon Ellis, whose son was a local farmer.

ENGLORIE PARK

Comes from the historic homestead on the site. Early owner Charles Burcher originally called it Euglorie Park, although the incorrect spelling, Englorie, became more widely used.

GILEAD

The name given to the rural area between Rosemeadow and Appin, from early settler Reuban Uther who named his land grant Gilead Farm in 1812. The Bible described Gilead as Israels finest farming region, with golden fields of wheat.

GLEDWOOD HILLS

A new growth area, including The Hermitage estate, named after the historic Gledswood property of James Chisholm.

GLEN ALPINE

Reverend Thomas Reddall, the first Anglican clergyman at Campbelltown, called his farm Glen Alpine in the 1820s. A golf course was opened on the surrounding hills in 1978, and in 1986, Lend Lease opened a prestige housing estate.

GLENFIELD

Dr Charles Throsby had a large grant at modern Casula, which he named Glenfield after his birthplace in England. In 1869, a railway platform was built near his old property, and named Glenfield but in 1891 the platform was closed and relocated further south to its present site and the village grew up around it.

Hurlstone Agricultural High School in Glenfield.

Hurlstone Agricultural High School in Glenfield.

GLENMORE

This pocket of rural hills between Mt Hunter and The Oaks was settled from the 1840s, the most prominent family being the Moores. One of the Moore sons, Robert, married a daughter of Granny McKillegit, an adored local midwife from Glenmore in Ireland which is how the settlement supposedly received its name.

GRASMERE

In England, Grasmere is one of the most stunning parts of the Lakes District, and was also the name given to a property donated in 1888 by William Henry Paling to create the Carrington convalescent hospital. In the early 1990s, Camden Council applied the name to a residential subdivision next to nearby Sickles Creek.

GREGORY HILLS

New estate named after St Gregorys College, because it is being developed on the old Marist Brothers property.

HARRINGTON PARK

Named after the homestead of Captain William Campbell, who arrived in 1803 as commander of the supply brig Harrington. The existing house was built in 1827. By 1944, the rural estate was in hands of media moguls, the Fairfax family. The existing suburban estate began in the early 1990s.

INGLEBURN

Originally known as Soldier Flat because several men from the NSW Corps took up land grants there in 1809. By 1881, one of these farms was known as Ingleburn House. Some say the phrase was coined by Governor Macquarie, from the Gaelic, inge (bend) and burn (stream). A railway platform took the name and Ingleburn Public School opened in 1887, followed by a post office in 1889.

KEARNS

Originally a farm owned by William Kearns known as Epping Forest. (In England, Epping supposedly means people of the look-out place.) The farm continued under his descendants, the Clark family, until 1978. Housing development in the area didnt start until the mid 1980s.

KENTLYN

The area was scrub until the 1890s when it was opened for small farmers, and the large Longhurst clan of brothers from Kent in England were amongst the first to arrive. The area by WWI was known as The Kent Farms. In 1933, it was officially named Kent Lyn, or Kentlyn.

KIRKHAM

In 1815, John Oxley, the surveyor of colony, was given a grant on the eastern bank of Nepean River, which he called Kirkham after his old home in Yorkshire. In the 1880s, James White built a grand home there and, when purchased by the Faithfull-Andersons, it was famously renamed Camelot.

LAKESLAND

Although Thirlmere Lakes were discovered by Europeans as early as 1802, the nearby area remained scrubland. A grant to Joseph Creighton was later subdivided into the first Lakesland division in 1884 as orchard blocks. It is understood Creighton came from the Lakes District of England.

LEPPINGTON

Two great properties dominated this area, the larger of them being Raby, the wool estate of Alexander Riley. This was west of Camden Valley Way.

East of Camden Valley Way was Leppinton Park, granted to William Cordeaux in 1821. In 1914, part of Raby was cut up into small farms and the new residents gave their address as Raby, with a Raby School. But, confusingly, when the post office opened in 1930, on the other side of Camden Valley Way, it was called Leppington. A war of words over the most appropriate name flared and in 1955 the Education Department renamed the school Leppington. The name Raby died until the 1970s, when Campbelltown Council decided to use the name for one of its new housing estates.

Leppington ahead of the South West Rail Link.

Leppington ahead of the South West Rail Link.

LEUMEAH

John Warby, an ex-convict who forged a close friendship with the Dharawal people, was granted land in 1816 (around what is now Tims Garden Centre), naming it Leumeah, an Aboriginal phrase for here I rest. When a railway platform was built further to the north in 1887 a name had to be found, and politician John Davies wanted it called Holly Lea after his home nearby. But other farmers, including the Rudd family, argued it should instead honour the historic Leumeah farm. And they won. The area remained paddocks until the arrival of suburbia in the 1960s and 1970s.

LONG POINT

Long Point is the only suburb of Campbelltown named after its geographic location. Look at any map and youll see why. The area juts out in a long point from the bottom of Macquarie Fields into the army reserve land. An old plan from 1844 describes the site as the long point forest land.

MACQUARIE FIELDS

James Meehan was sent to NSW as a convict after the Irish rebellion of 1798 but his skills saw him rise to acting surveyor-general in 1810. Meehan acquired several grants, but the jewel in the crown was his land near Bunbury Curran Creek. Meehan, a strong supporter of Macquarie, named it after his friend. Macquarie Field House was later built for the Therry family and part of the property east of the railway was subdivided into town lots in 1881 and called Macquarie Fields.

MACQUARIE LINKS

Developed as a gated estate in the 1990s, it was originally proposed to be named after James Meehan, but developers convinced Campbelltown Council to give it a more marketable name.

MALDON

Prior to the construction of the cement works, lime was burned in this area to make mortar. It is believed to have been named after Maldon in England in Essex.

MENANGLE

Derives from an early Dharawal word, spelt either as Manhangle or Manangle, used to describe a small lagoon on John Macarthurs vast estate. In the late 19th century, a small private village was established for workers at Camden Park.

MENANGLE PARK

Originally the giant Glenlee property, granted to William Howe. At the end of the 1850s, it was acquired by James Fitzpatrick, the rags-to-riches former Irish convict who accompanied the explorers Hume and Hovell in 1824. In 1914, Fitzpatricks son established a racecourse, Menangle Park, used as a training centre for the Light Horse in WW1. In 1921, the nearby paddocks were subdivided and sold as a village. The railway station was opened in 1937.

Menangle Park racecourse: Horses in action in the 1920s.

Menangle Park racecourse: Horses in action in the 1920s.

MINTO

In 1808, Governor William Bligh was deposed in a miltary coup by the NSW Corps. Fearing retribution from London, the officers were keen to curry favour and the nearest high-ranking British official was the Viceroy of India, Gilbert Kyngmount Earl Minto. So a new farming district opened up under the rebels was named Minto in his honour. At the end of 1809 newly-arrived Governor Macquarie named the area Airds instead. Minto became almost forgotten until a railway platform was erected in 1874 and named Campbellfield, after the home of Dr William Redfern (part of which still stands behind Minto Marketplace). By the 1880s, people were getting mixed up between Campbellfield station and Campbelltown station, further down the line, so in 1882 the platform was named Minto.

MINTO HEIGHTS

The first small farmers carved out orchards in the 1890s and it was known generally as East Minto. The Geographical Names Board wanted to assign a formal name in the 1970s and proposed Warby and Kyngmount, but residents opposed them both. In 1976, Minto Heights was adopted instead.

MOWBRAY PARK

This rural slice of Wollondilly is named after the property known as Mowbray Park near Picton. The home was built in the 1880s by William Barker and later donated to the Government for the use of wounded WW1 patients, then later became a childrens home.

MOUNT ANNAN

Originally part of the huge 1818 land grant of Glenlee given to William Howe, who is thought to have named Mount Annan. It is supposedly named after the place he came from in Scotland Annandale. The land was farmed by the Fitzpatrick and Sedgwick families, until acquired and converted into a state botanic garden in the 1980s. The adjoining suburbia arrived in the 1990s.

MOUNT HUNTER

Governor John Hunter travelled through the area in 1796 to locate herds of wild cattle reported to be grazing there. It is said he sighted them in this place now bearing his name. The village was, before WW2, known as Westbrook, as it was on a creek that formed western boundary of Macarthur family empire.

NATTAI

The first mention was by explorer Francis Barrallier who made his camp at Natai River in 1802 while trying to find a way across the Blue Mountains. The original village evolved in the Burragorang Valley, but was flooded to create Warragamba Dam in 1960. The village was relocated to the top of Mount Burragorang.

NARELLAN

With the opening of the Cowpastures bridge across the Nepean in 1826, the main road south was carrying more traffic and a township of Narellan was marked out the following year. The name was derived from William Hovells land grant of Narralling, later renamed Narellan Grange. The village did not thrive, often nicknamed Struggletown. That was, until the growth boom of the 1990s made it the new population centre of Camden.

NARELLAN VALE

One of the new estates of the 1990s.

OAKDALE

Owes it name to the area originally covered in a dense forest of Casuarina (she-oaks) [See The Oaks]. The village was surveyed for settlement in 1863.

ORANGEVILLE

Originally part of the giant Mulgoa Forest area. The name Orangeville evolved from the huge amount of orange orchards planted there in the 1880s. In 1916, it became official when the school adopted the name.

ORAN PARK

Originally part of the large Harrington Park property, it was later broken off and the homestead supposedly constructed in 1857. It was later famous as a motor racetrack, built in 1962. It is now at the heart of a new suburban hub.

Before suburbia: A motorbike clash at Oran Park in 1972.

Before suburbia: A motorbike clash at Oran Park in 1972.

PHEASANTS NEST

Originally part of the Bargo Brush, it was here that white settlers saw their first lyrebird. Ex-convict John Wilson in 1798 described these birds as a pheasant.

PICTON

When the southern Cowpastures was opened for settlement, one of the early grants in 1822 was made to Major Henry Antill, between Razorback Range and Stonequarry Creek now Antill Park Golf Club. A tiny village evolved, originally known as Stonequarry, but the wider parish became known as Picton, after Thomas Picton, an officer killed at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 and a friend of Governor Brisbane. Antill created a private village of Picton in 1841.

RABY

Originally part of the historic St Andrews and Varroville properties, but those names had already been taken by other suburbs. So, in 1975, it was proposed to call it Curran, after the Bunbury Curran Creek. (Jack Curran was axeman to early surveyor, James Meehan). But the idea found little support, and in 1976 the Geographical Names Board approved Raby in honour of an early land grant that existed at Leppington.

Why? Well, it used the justification that the new suburb was to be located off Raby Road, which for more than 150 years, had trailed across the hillsides linking the old Raby property to Campbelltown.

RAZORBACK 

A name used to described this range since the earliest days of the colony. It is hard to find a firm explanation for the name. Look at the range from the Menangle Park side and it looks sharp-edged and flat-topped, like the edge of a razor. Well, thats one theory anyway.

110-year old Port Jackson fig tree became the landmark of Razorback Mountain, before blowing down in 1974.

110-year old Port Jackson fig tree became the landmark of Razorback Mountain, before blowing down in 1974.

ROSEMEADOW

Honours an early settler, Thomas Rose who bought Mount Gilead farm in 1818. Rose won considerable fame for his water conservation and dam building. The suburb developed in the 1980s.

ROSSMORE

Originally known as Cabramatta, an Aboriginal word meaning a creek where cobra grubs (a mullusc) were found. But when a railway platform with that name opened miles away, north of Liverpool, in the 1850s it became known as Rossmore Farms. Some claim it was named after Rossmore Lodge in Ireland.

RUSE

Originally part of rural Kentlyn, at the end of the 1960s this area was set aside for housing estates. A name had to be found, and the Geographical Names Board suggested Fisher (after the ghost), Marlow (after Percy Marlow, a long-serving mayor), or Ruse (after Australias first farmer). The latter proved the outright favourite and was adopted in 1969. Ruse is buried at St Johns Catholic Cemetery at Campbelltown.

SILVERDALE

The village was at first known as Mulgoa Forest Mountain but in the 1890s a resident, Lloyd Williams, successfully lobbied to change the name, possibly after a town in England.

ST ANDREWS

Originally considered part of Minto until the early 1970s when developers began planning a housing estate and proposed St Andrews, after an early land grant. This belonged to Andrew Thompson, a former Scottish convict who was a close ally of Governor Macquarie.

ST HELENS PARK

This property was owned by George Westgarth, a solicitor, who erected his elaborately-gabled mansion in 1887 named St Helens Park. The area was often known as Campbelltown South until the urban growth of the 1980s.

SPRING FARM

Originally a patchwork of small farms, and one of the oldest tracks was known as Springs Road, named from the days when the area was sprinkled with swamps and ponds. Now being developed as a large housing estate.

TAHMOOR

At first known as Myrtle Creek, or Bargo West, but one of the more important landholdings was Tahmoor Park House, built about 1824 and supposedly based on an Aboriginal name for a bronzewing pigeon. Growth began after WW1 with a subdivision by Samuel Emmett who proposed the name Bronzewing Park, but the Railways Department decided to call the new platform Tahmoor.

THE OAKS

Explorer George Caley was impressed by the dense forests of native oaks (Casuarinas) he found and called the area The Oaks. Pioneer John Wild, who had been in charge of the cattle station at Cawdor, established a farm on Werriberri Creek called Vanderville and after his death, the Private Village of Vanderville was released in 1858. It took off, but under a different name Caleys original description. The post office also adopted the name.

THERESA PARK

Camden Historical Society says the spelling was originally Teresa Park before the 1860s. Originally a large grant to John Terry Hughes.

THIRLMERE

Originally part of the Bargo Bush. Early explorers took interest in the large freshwater lakes they found there but the area remained a bushy backwater until the railway come through and the local platform was named Thirlmere in 1886. This was in honour of the nearby bush lakes, which most have reminded someone of Thirlmere lake in Cumbria, England.

VARROVILLE

Named after the farming estate of Robert Townson, a fine scholar and scientist. His home was originally known as Varro Ville, reputedly after the ancient Roman agriculturalist and author, Marcus Terentius Varro. Townson became a local magistrate, helped provide free medical attention to the poor and his library was the most extensive in the colony. Varro Ville was later the home of explorer Charles Sturt. In 1976 the name Varroville was officially approved as the suburb name.

WALLACIA

The area was originally called Riverview, but became known as Wallace, after the home of local cattleman Robert Wallace became the unofficial Post Office from 1885. But when the post office became official in 1905, the GPO named it Boondah, because the name Wallace was already in use elsewhere in NSW. Local people objected. The compromise was the invented name Wallacia, officially approved in 1906.

WARRAGAMBA

When explorer George Evans discovered this hidden river, his account of the stunning gorge convinced Governor Macquarie to examine it himself. In 1810, he wrote ...one of the natives born near this part of the country :... tells us the real and proper native name of this newly discovered river that we are now exploring is the Warragombie, by which name I have directed it to be called in the future. It came from a Gandangarra phrase meaning tumbling water over many boulders. The area remained mostly wilderness, known by a variety of spellings, until construction of the dam began in 1948 and the many workers needed somewhere to stay. Soon the Warragamba township developed. When the dam was completed by 1960, a lot of these families remained and bought their homes from the Water Board.

Warragamba Dam.

Warragamba Dam.

WEDDERBURN

Exactly how Wedderburn got its name is a mystery. In 1835, the Government Gazette described Widderborne as one of the 10 parishes included in the Campbelltown Police District. A decade later, W.H. Wells Geographical of Australian Colonies called the rugged and unsettled area the Parish of Wedderburn. It wasnt until the late 1880s that the first pioneers made their way into the bushland and hacked farms and orchards.

WEROMBI

Originally part of the Mulgoa Forest, and that is the name the first settlers used. Yet by 1884, local church records had started to use Werombi. possibly to distinguish it from other parts of the old Mulgoa Forest, which stretched as far north as Silverdale. Werombi is apparently of Aboriginal origin, maybe from the Gundangarra word for flying fox, Werrimbi.

WILTON

Originally part of the Bargo Bush, sometimes known as East Bargo and was only sparsely settled. The town site that exists today was established in an attempt to control local bushrangers and, in about 1840, prominent local magistrate, William Antill, named it Wilton after the original name of his Jarvisfield property near Picton. A public school was built in 1871, a post office in 1872, and it had sufficient population in 1885 to be declared a town, due to the influx of workers on the Upper Nepean water supply scheme.

WOODBINE

In the early 1970s, plans were prepared to develop the hills at the northern entrance of Campbelltown into a new suburb. But what to call it? The original proposal was Kiddlea, designed to honour a local pioneer called John Kidd [see Blair Athol]. But the name was not well-received. Former mayor, Guy Thomas, remembered the debate that sparked in 1975 by the stupid-sounding name. I was a heavy smoker at the time, and in the council I sat next to Arthur Jones, who hated smoking, Guy recalled. When I was on my feet arguing against the name Kiddlea, Arthur suggested I name the suburb after a packet of cigarettes. This tongue-in-cheek comment reminded Guy, an ex-Royal Navy man, of the English cigarette brand Woodbine. That, in turn, reminded him of an old homestead, demolished in the 1960s, called Woodbine, which had stood off Campbelltown Road, near Leumeah.

This was owned by the Payten family, who in 1873 bought the remains of John Scarrs early farmhouse and rebuilt it as Woodbine. The clan became a leading dynasty of Campbelltowns community, business and sporting life. Alfred Payten, an architect, designed many local buildings including the old fire station (now part of the Town Hall Theatre) and the Menangle Park Racecourse. His niece, Rose Payten, a champion tennis player who was Campbelltowns first major sports star. At her peak, she held the Tennis Associations Triple Crown from 1901-04. The council decided this was a family worth remembering and work on the first homes in Woodbine started in 1976.

YANDERRA

This small orcharding village takes it name from the Aboriginal word for turpentine trees.