Camden


Location: South west (Macarthur District)
An historic town of the Macarthur Region, Camden is 65 kilometres south-west of the city's central business district on the fringe of the Sydney metropolitan area and is close to the suburb of Campbelltown.

Camden is the location of research facilities for the veterinary and agricultural schools of the University of Sydney. Camden Historical Museum, at the rear of the Public Library, John Street, Camden, documents the history of Camden and the Macarthur district. Open Sat, Sun & Public holidays 1.30pm  4.30pm. Entry fee applies.

The Camden Show is an annual event which combines amusement park attractions with the elements of a state fair.

St John's Church, Camden


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Camden Airport


Camden Airport was first developed by the Macarthur-Onslow family in the late 1930's on Macquarie Grove, which they had acquired and which covers an area of approximately 195 hectares. The hangar they erected still stands today. During World War II the government purchased the site and it became the home of the Central Flying School. After the war the Department of Civil Aviation assumed ownership and the airport was converted to civil operations.

In 1998 Camden Airport Limited assumed the management and operations from the Federal Airports Corporation. Today the airport is used for light aircraft flying training, private flying, sports aviation, gliding and ballooning.

Air Combat Australia

Air Combat Australia offers a variety of flight experiences from jet fighter air combat missions to aerobatic flights. Four different fighter aircraft are available. Regardless of which flight you decide upon, whether it be the combat flight or the air to ground bombing mission, you will get to fully appreciate the heart pounding exhilaration that only the worlds best fighter pilots experience during combat operations.
Hangar 57 Camden Airport, Macquarie Grove Drive, Camden. Ph 1300 520 385 or 1300 520 463.

Camden Museum of Aviation

The Camden Museum of Aviation is one of the largest privately owned collections of military aircraft in the southern hemisphere with 22 aircraft, 200 engines and other military items on display. The RAAF, Army Aviation and Fleet Air Arm collection has been restored wherever possible to taxiable, non flyable, standard.
Location: Camden Airfield, 11 Stewart Street, Narellan NSW. Phone (02) 9529 4169. Open Sundays.

Australian Botanic Garden, Mount Annan


The Australian Botanic Garden, Mount Annan is Australia's largest botanic garden with more than 4000 species of native plants. The Garden covers 416 hectares and features five picnic areas with BBQs and shelters. Covering more than 400 hectares, the Garden is the native plant garden of the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust, which is also responsible for the Sydney Royal Botanic Gardens and the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden, Mount Tomah.

The Australian Botanic Garden features themed gardens with BBQ and picnic facilities, a caf», a bird watching shelter, kilometres of walking tracks, a plant nursery and gift shop, as well as interactive sculptures such as the Sundial of Human Involvement, the Federation Flower Maze and Jamie Durie's Room with a View. An exclusive addition to the garden is the Wollemi Walk of Discovery. This world-first is home to exact genetic replicas of the ancient trees found in the secret gorge in Wollemi National Park. It is an important part of the Conservation Management Plan to conserve these amazingly rare and endangered trees. Australian Botanical Garden Mount Annan, Narellan Road, Mount Annan.
Ph (02) 4634 7935.

Lake Gilinganadums and Nadungamba Aboriginal Sites

The site on which Lakes Gilinganadum and Nadungamba are situated is significant because of its association with the law-making and dispute resolution practices of the Aboriginal peoples of south-eastern Australia. It was the only major inter-tribal law-making site in south- eastern Australia and was a meeting place for Aboriginal groups from all over that region. It is associated with the legend of Yandel'ora, which explains the origin of the place as a site for dispute resolution, known as 'the Land of Peace between Peoples.' The lakes significant in that they also provide evidence of European land use, being created from remnants of dams used by farmers in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

The lakes are artificial, created from dams remnant from the pastoral era and created in a creek and wetland system.

Camden Park


One of Australia's most significant historic residences, Camden Park is a double storey brick home designed by John Verge for John Macarthur. It was the homestead of the oldest sheep stud in Australia, established by Elizabeth Macarthur. From 1809 to 1817, John Macarthur left Australia as a result of his pivotal involvement in the revolt that overthrew Governor William Bligh, the so-called Rum Rebellion. His wife Elizabeth managed and developed what became their extensive pastoral interests in his absence. While in Europe, Macarthur studied agriculture and viticulture, and toured on foot throughout France with his sons James and William.

John Macarthur was allowed to return to the colony in 1817 on condition that he no longer participate in public affairs. He turned his attentions to developing his considerable estates, and the merino flocks which he had moved to Camden Park. On a hill directly facing the front of the house is the family mausoleum where John and Elizabeth Macarthur and most of their children are buried; a painting by Conrad Martens in the house collection depicts the structure. Members of the family in the direct line are still buried here.

The graveyard is an excellent example of colonial arcadian landscaping, with exotic Chinese elms dominating the planting. The vineyard has been replanted in recent times not far from its original site. It is owned and operated by NSW Dept. of Agriculture. The gardens surrounding Camden Park are the largest and most intact Australian early colonial garden in existence. They are largely the creation of Sir William Macarthur, who was a keen botanist and horticulturalist and operated a sizeable commercial nursery from the estate. Old catalogues of plants for sale from the Camden Nursery provide an idea as to the contents of colonial gardens.

Many trees date from the 19th century, including a bauhinia planted by Ludwig Leichhardt, the oldest camellia in the country  the anemoniflora  or waratah  camellia (Camellia japonica var. anemoniflora), a Queensland bottle tree  and unusual jubaea palms (Jubaea chilensis). Camden Park has always been associated with camellias, William having produced the first Australian camellia cultivar here, the Aspasia macarthur . The house is open for inspection annually during the second last weekend of September, or by arrangement at other times with the Secretary.
Camden Park Estate, Menangle (1832-35)
Belgenny Farm


A single storey timber home built for John Macarthur, designed by Henry Kitchen, a rival of Francis Greenway. The original cottage was later demolished and replaced by a poorly configured structure that led several architectural historians to mistakenly decry Kitchen's capacity as an architect. This later structure and the original related outbuildings, known as the Camden Park Home Farm , form one of the oldest surviving groups of farm structures in Australia. This historic farm is where the Macarthurs bred their famous merino sheep. In 1817, Macarthur returned from exile in England with a collection of vine cuttings obtained from the top vineyards of France, which he planted at Belgenny and Penrith. The Belgenny vineyard was tended by German vine dressers which Macarthur brought out from the Rhine Valley. The winery remained operational for many years, however the extensive vineyards were later destroyed during the international phylloxera outbreak of the 1870s.

Today, the property is a major educational centre with direct links to Australia's agricultural history  managed by Trade and Investment NSW and the Belgenny Farm Trust. Belgenny Farm also offers a unique setting for weddings and other special occasions, and hosts a number of annual themed events. These open days showcase a variety of farming activities including working dog trials, stockhorse demonstrations, sheep shearing and a host of other displays.
Elizabeth Macarthur Avenue, Camden (1819).
Gledswood


An historic homestead and winery, part of which were built with convict labour for a French Nobleman, Gabriel Louis Marie Huon De Kerillion, who was tutor to John Macarthur's sons. The property, then known as Buckingham, was re-named Gledswood in 1816 by its new owner, James Chisholm, who was once baled up by the wild colonial boy , John Donohue. It was Chisholm who established the vineyard and built a winery and its 20,000-bottle capacity cellar. Today, the vineyard has 28 ha of Traminer grapes under cultivation.

Activities include boomerang throwing, sheep shearing, sheepdog mustering, scenic trail rides, craft shop, barbecue and picnic facilities.
1830  Gledswood, Camden Valley Way, Catherine Field.
Other Historic Buildings

Camden Valley Inn

Argyle Inn

Formerly the Plough and Harrow , it was built as a single-storey Inn by Samuel Arnold c. 1850-51. Samuel Arnold was brought to work at Camden Park by the Macarthurs in 1837. He arrived from Dorset with his wife and daughter. In 1841 he established a wheelwright business on the corner of Hill and Argyle Street, later building the Plough and Harrow  opposite in Argyle Street. Tenure was given to John Galvin who later bought the Camden Inn  from the Lakemans in 1855. The building's appearance has altered over the years but the old columns remaining along the footpath clearly indicate its early beginnings. It is still used for the purpose for which it was built.

Camden Cottage

One of the oldest houses in Camden, possibly dating from the late 1830 2s, it was at one time the home of Captain Bill  Larkin a prominent auctioneer and long-time employee of Wm. Inglis and Sons. This colourful man was a member of the Camden Mounted Rifles, an Alderman and Mayor of Camden. He was the first Town Clerk of Picton. He was an excellent horseman.
Camden Cottage, 39 John Street, Camden.

Camden Court House

Camden Court House is built on land set aside for this purpose by James and William Macarthur at the time the town allotment plans were laid down. The brothers also offered 100 pounds towards the cost of building. The first Clerk of the Bench in the area was James Pearson who was Clerk at Cawdor until his death on 13 July 1841. A Court of Petty Sessions at Camden was established by Proclamation on 20 July 1841 after lengthy opposition from both Campbelltown and Picton who were requesting that the Cawdor Court be removed either to Campbelltown or Picton.

Until that date the Court was still at Cawdor. The first buildings on this site were a timber lock-up and Chief Constable's residence. The present building was commenced in 1855 and completed in 1857 with cells underneath and at the rear. The building was designed during William Weaver's term as Government Architect. A new lock-up was built to replace the old one between 1859-61.


Studley Park House

Studley Park House

Present day Studley Park was originally two properties. The first grant was to William Parrott on 1st Jan. 1810. William arrived in the Colony as a convict in 1791 and by 1807 was working as a shoemaker at Camden Park. The second grant was to John Condron on 25th Aug. 1812. John was transported from Ireland arriving in the Colony in 1800 and by 1806 was employed at Camden Park as a herdsman. Both properties changed hands several times over the years and in 1888 the combined properties were sold to William Charles Payne who commissioned the building of Studley Park House. Built in the High Victorian style it was also known as Payne's Folly . Payne sold the house to its architect, Francis Buckle, in 1891 and Buckle sold it in 1902 to Dr. Henry Oliver.

Studley Park House became Camden Grammar School until 1933 when the property was sold to Arthur Gregory, a Hollywood movie mogul. Gregory, a keen golfer, commissioned the construction of a nine-hole golf course, later adding another nine holes. At the start of WW2 the Dept. of Defense took over the property. In 1951 the first intake of the newly formed Women's Royal Australian Army Corps began training at Studley Park House. Today Camden Golf Club owns and is restoring this lovely house. It is open to the public during the year on specially planned Open Days and for functions to raise money for restoration.

Galvin's Cottage

A brick single storey home, one of Camden's first, built for John Galvin.
1815  Galvin's Cottage, Macarthur Road, Elderslie.


Camelot House

Kirkham Stables

A simple colonial farmhouse and outbuildings built by Surveyor Lieutenant John Oxley on his 600 acre grant. Kirkham Stables were built on Naval Officer, Surveyor-General and Explorer John Oxley's grant of 1815, which he called Kirkham  after his birthplace in Yorkshire, the stables are all that remain of Oxley's original country estate. The date 1816 is inscribed on the wall of the stables and this is commonly thought to be the year of completion. The original residence was across the road and Camelot  now stands where Oxley built his mill.
1816  Kirkham Stables, Kirkham Lane, Narellan.

Harrington Park

Home of Capt. William Campbell.
1818  Harrington Park, 499 Camden Valley Way, Narellan.

Brownlow Hill Estate

Fine collection of brick and corrugated iron cottage and farm outbuildings, much of them built by George Maclaey, the son of Colonial Secretary Alexander Maclaey.
1827  Brownlow Hill Estate, Brownlow Hill Loop Road, Camden.

Hassall Cottage

Single storey building for missionary and sheep breeder Rowland Hassall.
1820s  Hassall Cottage, Macquarie Grove Road, Camden.


Wivenhoe

Wivenhoe

Charles Cowper built Wivenhoe  on the 600 acres granted to his father Rev. William Cowper in 1812. It was named after his wife's (Eliza Sutton) home in England. Cowper was one of the three original Camden Magistrates and in 1840 was one of the chief promoters for the building of St. Paul's Church, Cobbitty. Sir Charles later became the Member for Cumberland in the Legislative Council and Premier of N.S.W. The house was completed in 1838 and its design has been attributed to Colonial Architect John Verge. The lofty stone-flagged entrance hall behind a classical portico, stuccoed stone walls and windows of generous proportions characterizes the house. It has been added to and extended over the years and has stables, an enclosed courtyard, coach house and servants quarters. By 1873 Wivenhoe  had been increased in area to approx. 950 acres and had an extensive vineyard and beautifully landscaped grounds. The property was purchased at this time by H.A. Thomas and remained in the family until the death of his widow in 1903 when it passed to Captain Oswald Watt. In 1910 it was sold by Captain Oswald Watt to the Catholic Church for 7000 pounds and became Mater Dei Orphanage. Today the stables are used as an art and craft gallery and the house is used for receptions, balls and a Bed anmd Breakfast.



St. John's Church

Camden's most visible landmark set on the hill in Menangle Road overlooking the town of Camden with its spire visible for many miles around is built on land donated by the Macarthurs. Bishop Broughton laid the foundation stone in 1840. The design is attributed to Colonial Architect Mortimer Lewis, the building contractor being Richard Basden. The 386,000 bricks used were made by James Lacey from clay from a nearby property. The Rectory, which adjoins church grounds in Menangle Road, was built in 1859 on land given for the purpose by the Macarthurs. The builder was Richard Basden. This two-storeyed building has small-paned windows and timber shutters. The front verandah facing East across the Nepean River to Elderslie was removed about twenty years ago and replaced with a portico.

St. Paul's Catholic Church

James and William Macarthur gave the site for this church and from c.1845 a small brick Church stood here, built by Father Gould, and was part of Campbelltown Parish. The first Mass in the area was celebrated by Father Therry in Thomas Galvin's Cottage, Elderslie, in the early 1820 2s. In February 1859 with 800 people in attendance, Bishop Polding laid the foundation stone for a more substantial building beside the smaller one. It was consecrated the following November.
1860  St. Paul's Catholic Church, Camden. Markets


Camden Produce Market
John Street, Camden NSW 2570, Australia Trading: 2nd and 4th Saturday  7am  12noon Type: Farmers, Produce Phone: 0477 224 881

Macarthur Community Indoor Markets
Camden Show Hall, Argyle Street, Camden NSW 2570, Australia Trading: 2nd Saturday of the month  10am  3pm Type: Art & Craft, Baby & Kids/Children, General, Fashion, Handmade, *Wheel Chair Friendly, Food, Community Phone: 0414 331 161

Pitter Patter Markets  Pre-loved To Teens
Camden Civic Centre,Oxley Street, Camden NSW 2570, Australia Trading: Sundays 2013: 26th May, 25th August, 3rd November  9am  1pm Type: Art & Craft, Baby & Kids/Children, Handmade, *Wheel Chair Friendly, Preloved, Recycle Phone: 0412 370 102

Cobbity Village Market
Cobbitty School Grounds, Cobbitty Rd, Cobbitty Trading: Every 1st Saturday of the Month (except Jan and Feb)  8am  1pm Type: Art & Craft, Baby & Kids/Children, General, Produce, Handmade, Food Phone: 0438 512 728

Razorback Lookout


This lookout is on top of the Razorback Range, whose winding road follows an old convict-built road over the mountains between Camden and Picton. Just off the old highway and one of the highest points in the Wollondilly area, it offers panoramic views of the district and on a clear day the distant outline of the tall buildings of Sydney. The locality is commonly referred to as Razorback Range as it is part range of high steep hills that make up the Macarthur Region. Furthermore, like most of the Wollondilly it is part of the hills that are in between the Blue Mountain and Southern Highland regions.

It was here in the 1970s that hundreds of long distance truck drivers nearly brought the city of Sydney to a standstill by blockading the mountain, which was the main southern gateway to the city used by interstate truckies. UBD beyond Map 363
Facilities: picnic shelter, barbecue facilities.
Remembrance Drive, Mt. Razorback.

Dharawal National Park


Bounded by Lake Cataract, Lake Woronora, Appin and Holsworthy, this reserve shelters threatened plants and animals in the Sydney sandstone region and has important Aboriginal sites. 45 km south-west of Sydney CBD, access is from Darkes Forest Road off the Princes Highway or the Bulli-Appin Road. Educational walks are available through the park. No direct access by public transport.

Nattai National Park


This National Park protects Sydney's water supply with pristine bushland and wilderness areas. Limited bushwalking and bush camping are permitted except in the 3 km zone around Lake Burragorang. Walks through wilderness require topographic map and compass, and all walkers should be experienced and well equipped. Located west of Lake Burragorang between Warragamba Dam and Wombeyan Caves Road, 110 km south of Sydney. No direct access by public transport.

Burragorang State Recreation Area


Burragorang Lookout, located some 20km west of Camden, provides breathtaking views of Lake Burragorang, (formed by the flooding of the Burragorang Valley in 1958 when Warragamba Dam was built), the Nattai Wilderness and the distant Blue Mountains. Great scenery, but otherwise there is not a lot to do here, so the vehicle entry fee charged is a bit hard to justify. Reached via a picturesque drive which takes in the villages of The Oakes and Oakdale. Facilities: shaded picnic tables, barbecues, toilets, childrens playground. No access via public transport.
Burragorang Road, Oakdale.

Cobbitty


A small rural village in an area thaat is mostly farmland, and location of an agricultural branch of Sydney University. With beautiful historic buildings, tranquil atmosphere and lush country views, Cobbitty is nestled on the Nepean River and is a low density residential, picturesque village. Surrounded by farmland, it is the location of an agricultural branch of Sydney University. Cobbitty is well worth a visit if you are in the Macarthur district.

The village has a general store and tearooms, cafe and art and craft gallery, a rural fire station and scout hall. There are more houses along Cobbitty Road and a number of smaller acreages throughout the area. Cobbitty is home to turf farms and orchards, and there is an equestrian club, pony club and horse breeding and breaking centres. So far the area has resisted attempts at further urban development and is not part of the designated south west growth area.

Brief history


The area now known as Camden was originally at the northern edge of land occupied by the Gandangara people of the Southern Highlands who called it Benkennie meaning dry land . North of the Nepean River were the Muringong, southernmost of the Darug people while to the east were the Tharawal people. They lived in extended family groups of 20 40 members, hunting kangaroos, possums and eels and gathering yams and other seasonal fruit and vegetables from the local area. They were described by the early British settlers asshort, stocky, strong and superbly built and generally considered peaceful. However, as the settlers encroached on their land and reduced their food sources, they turned to armed resistance which ended in 1816 after many of their number were massacred . Explorers first visited the area in 1795 and named it Cowpastures after a herd of cattle that had disappeared was discovered there.

In February 1805, Governor King instructed (apparently reluctantly) a surveyor to measure 5,000 acres (20 km2) for John Macarthur at Cowpastures, where Macarthur had been promised land by the Secretary of State for War and the Colonies, Lord Camden. Macarthur named his property Camden Park in honour of his sponsor. As Macarthur's wool industry thrived, local citizens began pushing for the establishment of a town in the area to support the industry. Surveyor-General Major Thomas Mitchell suggested Macarthur surrender 320 acres of his land for the purpose to which he refused. Following his death in 1834, his children decided to subdivide the land and the first lots in the new town of Camden went on sale in 1840. Camden Post Office opened on 1 May 1841, the day after the nearby Elderslie office (open from 1839) closed. Between 1882 and 1962 Camden was connected to Campbelltown and Sydney by the Camden railway line. Camden is served by Camden Airport, which is mostly used by trainee pilots for flying schools, the Australian Air League, and other forms of general aviation.










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  • How to get there:
    Public transport: by train to Campbelltown, then bus to Camden.

    The Name
    Recalls the property name of pioneer farmer, John Macarthur.



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