St Marys


Its is often thought that the areas to the west of Parramatta, being further out, were settled more recently that some of the inner suburbs, but this is not the case. Within 20 years of the founding of the settlement on Sydney Cove in 1788, land around what is now known as South Creek was being settled, as it had a permanent water supply and rich alluvial soil along the banks of the Creek. The expanding agricultural community here, originally known as South Creek, soon became a became a convenient staging post on what was then called the Great Western Road, later renamed to the Great Western Highway. Many of the key pioneer families of colonial Sydney were associated with the area.

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Orchard Hills

The Explorers' Memorial Cairn

The neighbouring locality of Orchard Hills takes its name from the orchards located on the area's undulating hills at the turn of the 20th century. In 1806, Governor Philip King granted 600 acres (2.4 km2) in what is now Orchard Hills to Mary Putland, the daughter of the incoming governor, William Bligh. She named the property Frogmore. Adjoining the Frogmore Estate was the York Estate, originally owned by the York family. When it was subdivided in the late 1880s, the land was mainly sold for orchards and vineyards. By the early 1900s a rural community had established in the area and a village developed.

Rev. Samuel Marsden built Mamre, a two-storey Georgian house, c.1830, on the west side of what is now Mamre Road. It was constructed of sandstone and is heritage-listed. It is now used as a function centre and is open for guided tours. The Mount Hope Methodist Church was built in 1904 and the York Estate Public School was built in 1910. Until this time the area had no consistent name being known by different people as Frogmore, York and Mount Hope.

The Explorers' Memorial Cairn was unveiled in 1938. The memorial commemorates the starting point for the expedition undertaken by Blaxland, Lawson and Wentworth to cross the Blue Mountains. The cairn is located adjacent to the former site of Gregory Blaxland's farm, 'Leeholme'. The white marble tablet erected by the citizens of St Marys in 1938 to commemorate the site of his farm on the South Creek. Blaxland set out from his farm on the 11th May 1813 with William Lawson and W.C Wentworth attended by four servants with four pack horses and five dogs on the first offical expedition that crossed the Blue Mountains. Location: 31 Luddenham Road, Orchard Hills.
Mamre Homestead


A rare regional example of a fairly intact pre-1860 colonial landscape and homestead on the Cumberland Plain, Mamre Homestead is a two-storey Georgian home that is heritage-listed. Built between 1822 and 1832 for Reverand Samuel Marsden, Mamre served as a model farm for the surrounding communities. Known for its fine fruit and vegetables, and became the centre of his famous Merino breeding programme which played a key role in the early development of the wool industry in New South Wales. Samuel Marsden (1764-1838), the first Anglican chaplain of Parramatta, is remembered as an important figure in the early missionary history of New Zealand, with strong ties to settlement and missionary activities in Kerikeri and the Northland district in particular.

Marsden purchased 38 acres from a lapsed grantee at South Creek in 1799 where he commenced experimental wool production activities. He then purchased a further 200 acres, also at South Creek. By 1802 Marsden's total land holdings at South Creek amounted to 333 acres, primarily devoted to wool production. The name comes from Genesis 13:18 "Mamre which is in Hebron" (meaning land which is promised). By 1802 Marsden's total land holdings at South Creek amounted to 333 acres, primarily devoted to wool production. In 1804 Marsden received a 1030 acre grant, again at South Creek and he proceeded to plant experimental crops of hemp and flax. Flooding in 1805 destroyed the experimental crops but experimental wool production continued and in 1807 Marsden left for England taking with him the first "weavable" wool from the Colony, produced at Mamre.

Between 1822 and 1832 the homestead at Mamre was built and the farm itself became firmly established. The house was not intended as a permanent residence, but rather as a country cottage to provide basic accommodation for the overseers of the farm. In the 1820s it was noted for its cultivated rose and cottage gardens. In 1838 Samuel Marsden died and ownership of the property passed to his only surviving son, Charles, who used the house as a permanent residence. There are believed to have been between 20 and 30 servants employed to work the farm and orchards at this time. In 1840 the Mamre farm was sold to Richard Rouse, a prominent public servant and grazier and in 1841 Rouse gave the farm to one of his daughters, Elizabeth Henrietta Rouse, as a wedding present upon her marriage to the Hon. Robert Fitzgerland, MLC.

The house was restored for the bicentennary in 1988. Mamre is today a project of the Sisters of Mercy Parramatta, having been developed as a training centre for the unemployed of the area. Programs are taught in a supportive atmosphere where personal development is encouraged and nurtured. Mamre House Cafe is open to the public Tuesday to Friday 10.00 am to 2.30 pm and Saturday and Sunday from 9am to 4pm (Breakfast 9.00 am to 11.00am) and at other times for group bookings. The rustic setting, with magnificent oak trees and a fragrant rose garden provides an ideal location for a wedding or special occasion. The quiet atmosphere and well appointed rooms provide effective meeting and conference venues. Guided tours of the homestead and property bring Mamre's history to life. The gift shop has a unique variety of Australian made pottery, glassware, jewellery, woodwork of a special employment program, will delight the home gardener.

Mamre Homestead, situated on Mamre Road, St Marys.

Werrington House


Werrington is a two storey sandstone house, built between 1829-1832 by Robert Copland Lethbridge and his wife Mary, who was the youngest child of Governor Philip Gidley King. Werrington House was based on the Lethbridge family home in Cornwall, England, and is one of the most significant colonial homes in New South Wales and is heritage-listed. The house features an unusually formal facade with fine cut ashlar stone, decorate pilasters and architrave to the front door, and a false window to maintain symetry.

The property was part of four grants made to Governor King's children in the last week of his term of office in 1806. The Lethbridge family farmed the surrounding estate until 1865, when Robert Lethbridge died. Werrington House itself was leased to New South Wales premier Henry Parkes between 1860 and 1872. Parkes arranged for the construction of a private railway platform nearby. In 1878, it was opened to the public as Parkes Platform but was renamed Werrington in 1893. It is currently the home of former NSW Opposition Leader Peter Collins and his wife Jennine. The home is opened annually to raise money for the St Marys Historical Society.
Location: 108 Rugby Street, Werrington, NSW.

South Creek Station


It looks like a railway station, it even has a train in the station waiting for the signal to change so it can leave, but if you board the train you ll be waiting forever to begin your journey, or if you try to buy a train ticket to South Creek you ll get a blank look, because there s no such station on the Sydney System. This phantom railway station, located on Mamre Road, St Marys, is in fact a novel home for the Vietnam Veterans Association of Australia St Mary s Sub-Branch. Its buildings and associated railway memorabilia are all genuine, rescued from various locations around the state, including the restored ticket office, steam locomotive and carriages standing in the station that are now used by the members of the Association.

The locomotive at the platform is Former BHP Newcastle 0-4-0T steam locomotive Number 16. Behind it is a Tulloch double-deck EMU trailer car T4823; ODS2257 (ex-OFS2257), an RUB Daylight Express carriage; and EPT1481, a 1913-vintage wooden-bodied guards van (formerly EHO669, converted for use DEB Set railcars for a time and renumbered 1481 during 1966 before being condemned in 1982. This collection, in its current display form was assembled from a variety of sources (some local), while the station itself also features a number of classic luggage trolleys, platform lamp posts and indicator boards.

The Porter-built 0-4-0T (builders number 6596 of 1920), although originally built for BHP Newcastle, was sold during 1962 (along with sister engine 12) to the Emu Plains Sand & Gravel Company for service at that operator s quarry on the Western bank of the Nepean River, just North of Emu Plains Railway Station. The pair worked the quarry until closure in 1967 (although it reopened for a period sometime later) and 16 eventually found its way into the collection of the NSW Rail Transport Museum at Thirlmere, where it was used as a depot shunter for a time. UBD Map 185 Ref G 5

St Mary Magdalene Anglican Church and Cemetery


The suburb of St Marys is named after the parish church of St Mary Magdalene, built between 1837 and 1840 and situated between the Great Western Highway and King Street. The church's foundation stone was laid on November 22 1837 by William Grant Broughton, Australia's first Anglican Bishop. It is one of the oldest churches in New South Wales that still has regular services. The church is heritage-listed. Internees in the church cemetery include the wife of Philip Gidley King, Governor of New South Wales, plus numerous members of the King and Lethbridge families.

Another notable pioneer buried here was Thomas Smith lived from 1819 to 1896. He was the original owner and builder of the famed Red Cow Inn and Thornton Hall. Smith hosted a cricket match between six players of the local Nepean Cricket Club and Lord Sheffield's English team on 16th and 17th February 1892. The match, played on Thornton Hall's land, was drawn. The cricket pitch used for the match still exists at Thornton Oval, Penrith. Thomas Smith was a councillor on Penrith's first council.

The land for the church was donated by King's son and the bricks were made on his estate. The site is believed to have been chosen by the mother of Phillip Parker King. the oldest grave in the cemetery - of Thomas Harper - is dated 1818.

Bronte House


Bronte House (1889) was constructed for the renowned wagon builder James W Bennett in close proximity to the Bennett Coach and Wagon Works formerly located in Queen Street. This grand house was designed to overlook both Penrith and the mountains and originally stood on grounds of three acres. Apart from being a residential property Bronte House has also operated as a guesthouse and a cafe. Location: 50 Gidley Street, Cnr Corner King Street, St Marys.

Victoria Park and War Memorial


Victoria Park began when Sir Maurice O'Connell made provision for a park in the subdivision of his wife's estate (Mary O'Connell, the daughter of Gov. William Bligh) in 1842 to establish the village of St Marys. In 1892, local tanner, Alfred Alcock, bequeathed adjoining land making it a five acre reserve. The War Memorial was erected in 1922 to honour the residents of St Marys who fought and died in World War I. Location: Victoria Park and War Memorial, Great Western Highway and Pages Road, St Marys.

Bennett Wagons Pavillion, South Creek Park


The Bennett wagon 'Maxina' (1920) is one of three wagons on display in an exhibition pavillion as a monument to St Marys' industrial past. The Bennett Wagons enterprise was one of St Marys' manufacturing stalwarts in the 19th Century. The wagons were made originally by James Bennett (Snr) in a shed behind the hotel now know as the Park View opposite Victoria Park. His wagon building business started in the 1850s. Subsequently his sons took over an area of Queen Street. Eventually there were two Bennett factories; their wagons were famous throughout Australia for their strength and quality. Location: South Creek Park, Great Western Highway and Charles Hackett Drive, St Marys.

St Marys Munitions Factory


The remains of an ammunition building and bunkers which were once part of a munitions factory and storage facility are located within the St Marys Industrial Estate, which was built on the site of the wartime complex. Designed for explosives, the buildings were erected during World War II, each being surrounded by mounded earth. A number of tunnels and trenches remain. After the War ended, the factories were leased or sold to private enterprise and the Dunheved Industrial Estate came into being. Many of the munitions workers had established lives in the town and stayed on to work in the new industries, as did the returning servicemen and women. Part of the Munitions Factory was turned into a Migrant Hostel, again swelling the population of St. Marys. Migrants and their dependants were permitted to remain in the hostels from 3 to 12 months, and were given training to assist with re-settlement. The factory site is now an industrial estate.
History of St Marys
The location was first granted to Major George Druitt (1775-1842), after whom the nearby suburb of Mt Druitt, and Druitt street in Central Sydney, are named. Druitt was appointed acxting chief engineer and inspector of public works by Gov. Lachlan Macquarie in 1817. Family members of Philip Gidley King, Governor of New South Wales, were among the early grantees of land in the area. The land for the church which gave the settlememnt its present name was donated by King's son and the bricks were made on his estate. King, Gidley and Lethbridge Streets were named after various members of the King family. Internees in the church cemetery include the wife of Philip Gidley King, plus numerous members of the King family. The family property had been acquired from John Oxley in 1828 by King, the original grant having been made in 1823. Other land grants in the area by Gov. King included those to Anna Josepha King in 1807 (Dunheved), the famous (some would say infamous) Angican cleric Samuel Marsden (Mamre), and Mary Putland (Frogmore), the daughter of the incoming governor, William Bligh.

The name St Marys was first used when the St Mary's Post Office was opened on 1 October 1840. The township formed part of the grant to Mary Putland (1783 - 1864), who later married Sir Maurice O'Connell. Mary was the Lady of Government House during the period her father William Bligh was the Governor of New South Wales, as Bligh's wife had stayed in England, fearing the long ocean voyage. O'Connell, who arrived in Sydney with Mary's father's replacement - Major Lachlan Macquarie - became the Major-General of all the troops in New South Wales in and a Member of the New South Wales Legislative Council in 1838. Closer settlement of the South Creek area was made possible when part of the O'Connell Estate was sold off and subdivided. In the early part of the 20th century, St Marys became an industrial town, with wagon builders and tanneries. During World war II, a large munitions factory was located here, which at the time was not yet part of the outer suburban area of Sydney.

The St Marys & District Historical Society is open to the public on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays in the Community Centre complex located on Mamre Road on the Southern side of the Great Western Highway.





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