The Hawkesbury Chronicle, February l4, 1885


There ore still active signs of prosperity all around: new buildings are being erected. Land is being sold, and there is even talk of a “Grand Hotel” being built on a splendid site on the corner formed by the main road and the railway, and adjoining Mr J.J. Lepherd’s store. No doubt if would pay well and there should be no objection on the part of the Local Option people as it is evident the existing hotel cannot supply the accommodation required for this bustling place.

Mr. Lepherd is at last getting his long talked of house and store built and in a week or two passengers by train will see his sign suspended on high instead of the old rookery in which no doubt, he has made his bawbees.

Tho Anglican Church is completed externally and the plastering only required inside to be finished – excepting the seats – which is another matter. This structure is quite a commodious little building and many who saw the foundation laid a few months ago would be much surprised to see it now so well as (sic) the builder succeeded in his work.

Up the road a bit from the station, Mr. Laws the enterprising store-keeper has built himself a very nice house, the material being of brick – cemented while Mr. West has not only built himself a good brick residence but has run up a row of small shops at the back of the Cosmopolitan Hall in one of which a Windsor man Mr. J. Jeffcott is carrying on the boot and shoe making business under the sign of the Red Flag – which glowing colour flutters in the breeze from an elevated flag staff. Mr Jeffcott is not a mere seller of boots but he is the house denote that Mr. Wood himself is a sort of universal agent from a sewing machine to an estate.

The Presbyterian Church wonts a coat paint badly – as in fact do some of the other soft wood erections: “a stitch in time saves nine.” and a few pounds of paint would save pounds in money.

Mr. Longton the Public School teacher is getting quite a big school now and the neat little buildings erected for weather sheds come in very well as classrooms.

Mr Richards has a number of Chinamen working in his big paddock on the Western side of the line clearing and stumping. and people are anxiously waiting to see to what use it will be put some say a tannery is to be the order of the day, while others hold that a big Chinese garden will eventuate.

A Quadrille Assembly opened its session on Saturday night and was fairly attended.

The Ballad Of Butch Drayton

Foreword by Judith Lewis, poem by Paul Lewis

Noel Richard (Butch) Drayton was born in Riverstone on 13th February 1922, the third child and second son of George and Ellen Drayton. He had three brothers and two sisters and the Drayton family home was in Piccadilly Street and comprised most of the land between where Dingle Street and Ailsa Place now stand.

Butch’s early lie would have mirrored that of most young men in Riverstone at that time. He completed his schooling at Riverstone Public School and his first job was as Butcher’s Boy for the local butcher’s shop, hence his nickname.

At school he had another nickname, “Tin Hare”, because it was said he could run as fast as one. A natural sportsman, he excelled at rugby league, cricket and tennis. He was also a fine Coach and in later years many Riverstone children were coached by Butch in each of these sports. His daughter, Wendy, played tennis at State level, won the Coca Cola Little Masters’ whilst at primary school and represented N.S.W, high schools against Queensland.

Butch joined the C.M.F. and fought with the Australian Imperial Forces in Papua / New Guinea where he was a signalman. He was discharged from the army in December 1945, suffering from a severe case of malaria. He went to work at Riverstone Meat Works. In 1953 he married Gwen Lewis and they had two children, Wendy and Dale.

In the early 1970s-with the Meat Company going through lean times, Butch left there to work as the made cleaner at Riverstone Public School, a position he held until 1985 when ill health forced him to resign. He died on 2nd April 1988.

At the school Butch was in his element. He loved kids and they loved him. He had the uncanny ability to get down to their level. He was great at birthday parties. He just took over and organised the kids into games. The school’s principal at the time, Ron Hill, recognised Butch’s potential and soon had him as his “assistant” coach of the open rugby league football team. In 1976 they did the impossible and wrested the Panthers’ Trophy from Patrician Brothers’ Blacktown who always won it.

In 1978 a Year 8 English Class was studying ballads. The teacher told the class to think of a character they knew and try to write a ballad about that person. Paul Lewis wrote :

The Ballad Of Butch Drayton

A friend to all the kids in school,
While cleaning up the place,
Is Butchy Drayton like a clown,
Around the fireplace.

He makes a joke, Then skips around,
He’s really very snappy.
He’s always acting like a clown,
And always very happy.

For life’s a joke to Butchy boy,
And people are more than money.
He’s always very full of joy,
And continuously funny.

And as we walk home through the school,
We always bomb his bins.
And while he’s acting like a fool,
Down fall his garbage tins.

He rides his bike home every day,
And shoots us with his broom.
He never watches on his way,
And crashes to his doom!

He coaches us in many sports,
And teaches us quite well,
And if we don’t do as he says
He’ll hardly even yell.

He’ll go on joking through his life,
And never ever stop.
And when he gets to Heaven,
He’ll be laughing at the top.

Paul Lewis 1978

St John’s Catholic Church –Riverstone

by Laurie Hession

The first Catholic Church at Riverstone was blessed and opened by His Grace, Archbishop Vaughan on 2nd July 1882. Named St John’s, the Church was of weatherboard construction with corrugated iron roof and apparently stood where the present Church now stands, being demolished about mid April, 1904, following the ceremony of the blessing and laying of the foundation stone of the present Church on Sunday 10th April 1904, by His Eminence Cardinal Moran. An apology was offered for Dr Sheehy, the old Pastor who had given the five acres of ground upon which the Church stood. Timber from the original Church was bought by Samuel and Sarah Mason and used in the construction of their home at Marsden Park. While the present Church was being built, Services were held in the Oddfellows Hall, Riverstone.

The new Church of St John’s cost £950 ($1,900). It is sixty feet long by twenty eight feet wide and seventeen feet high to the eaves, the Sanctuary is eighteen by twenty feet. The interior of the slate roof is diagonally boarded and varnished making a very ornamental finish, the windows being of coloured glass to add further beauty, with some stained glass work on the windows behind the altar. A wooden altar rail, with a centre gate, separated the Sanctuary from the body of the Church. This communion rail was removed as a result of changes following Vatican II.

The original Stations of The Cross were much larger than the present set, being approximately three feet by two feet, there were coloured pictures in a wooden frame depicting our Lord’s journey to His Crucifixion. The present set have the figures attached to a flat board, and painted in contrasting colours giving a three dimensional effect making the figures more pronounced.

A choir stand, three steps high, was built into the left rear comer, with the Confessional in the opposite rear comer. Both these have been removed to gain more space for extra seating, the choir stand mid 1950s and the Confessional about mid 1970s. The original seating in the Church consisted of three rows, two rows hard up against the side walls, with a third row up the middle, this provided two aisles. Father Shiel obtained longer seats making two rows, allowing a narrow aisle up each side and for the first time, a centre aisle. This seating came from St Ives Parish, where Father Shiel’s brother, Father Peter Shiel was Parish Priest. Riverstone’s old seating was sold to Davidson Parish. Music was supplied by a foot operated organ, this has been replaced with a more modem electronic organ and placed up front near the Altar.

A Plaque on the left gate post at the Garfield Road entrance to the Church grounds reads as follows:-

“Erected by the Parishioners of St John’s Riverstone in grateful remembrance of the late Venerable Archpriest. Bryan McDonnell, Parish Priest from 1898 to 1924. R.I.P.”

During the early years of St Johns, funds were augmented by the Annual Tea and Social, Bazaars (Fetes) and House Parties which consisted of dancing, card games etc.

Riverstone was administered by the Parish Priest of Windsor until it was made a separate Parish in 1951. Father Thomas Keogh was the first Parish Priest from 195 1 to February 1961. The Foundation Stone for the Presbytery was laid on the 9th November 1952, by the then Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal Gilroy, with the completed Presbytery, built by W. McNamara, being opened in 1953.

Previous to the opening of St John’s School, two Nuns from the Good Samaritan Sisters of Windsor, travelled with the Priest to teach Catechism to the children, following the Sunday Mass. One may presume that as a consequence of this involvement with the Parish, the Good Samaritan Sisters would have established a Convent at Riverstone, but because of some disagreement with Father Michael Coffey, Parish Priest of Windsor, he
introduced the Order Of The Poor Clare Sisters to Riverstone.

These Sisters were already established at Richmond having taken over in 1943 & from the Good Samaritans who had occupied this Convent since it was built in 1878. The Sisters travelled daily by train to teach at St John’s School that opened on 3lst January 1950, until their Convent at Riverstone was opened in 1957.

The grounds around the Church were tar sealed about 1962, this was a vast improvement as the soil was mostly clay and a terrible mess during wet weather.

A Church Bell was erected during the 1950s, between the school shelter shed (now Hall) and the Church. This was rung to signify that Mass was about to begin, but was not used for very long. It was dismantled and re erected at the Tyburn Sisters Convent, Garfield Road East in 1988.

A letter dated 27th March 1987 was received from the Heritage Council of New South Wales advising that a Section 130 Order had been placed on the Church to provide for a short term protection. Blacktown City Council announced in June 1987, that a preservation order had been placed on St John’s Church, together with many other buildings in the area, by the Heritage Council. The then Parish Priest, Father Anderson, objected to this order, explaining the difficulties the Parish would face in the event of a new Church being required, pointing out among other things, that the foundations of the
Church were unsound and the slate roof near the end of its life. The Blacktown City Council supported this objection and subsequently the order was revoked.

Vocations to the Priesthood from Riverstone Parish have been Arthur Bambridge and James Gallen Young women who heeded the call to join the Religious Life include: three sisters, Mary, Elizabeth and Cecilia Daley, their cousin Ariel Frances Daley, sisters Annie and Angela Hession, Mary Mason, Carmel Bambridge, Monica McNamara, Marie Manchie, Patricia Gallen.

Priests who have served Riverstone include Fathers Thomas Keogh, Mundey, Bert Callose, Joseph Croal, Brendan Shiel, Robert Anderson Eugene Stockton, Kevin Walsh.

Riverstone Country Women’s Association

Judith Lewis

Riverstone C.W.A. came into being on 24th August 1933 when fifty ladies attended a meeting in the Masonic Hall. Mrs. Ida Steer was elected as President, Mrs. Ada Smith as Secretary and Mrs. Josie East as Treasurer.
One of the branch’s first activities was to press for the establishment of a Baby Health Centre and the first Clinic opened on 1st August 1934 in a small room adjacent to the Riverstone Railway Station. The first annual meeting held on 29th November 1934 showed that 157 babies had received treatment at the Health Centre and 23 babies were visited at home from August 1st to November 28th.

In 1934 action by the C.W.A. ladies resulted in Riverstone residents receiving their first daily postal deliveries. In 1935 a public meeting was called to form a younger set and later that year the first donation of five pounds was made to Windsor Hospital to maintain a bed. This contribution has continued on a yearly basis.

Each meeting brought forward new ideas and ways of making money for the association. Flower Shows and Exhibitions of Old Treasures were popular as were Cooking Competitions Youngsters looked forward to the Fancy Dress Ball which was held annually at the Masonic Hall during the forties and fifties. Monthly Card Afternoons and Street Stalls have continued over the years.

In more recent years the C.W.A has made an annual donation to the local school’s library and school children have enjoyed competing in the Poster / Project Competitions run statewide by the C.W.A. in conjunction with their International Day. Children have benefited from this by studying a country they may not otherwise have been introduced to at school and Riverstone children have particularly enjoyed being invited to the International Day Party to receive their prizes.

In 1943 the block of land on the comer of Market and Pitt Streets was purchased for eighty pounds and the present Baby Health Centre and C.W.A. Meeting Rooms was duly erected, with the Foundation Stone being laid on 28th June 1952. It is interesting to record that in 1949 council rates were three pounds, five shillings and sixpence and in 1983 they were $235.

During the war years Riverstone, like other branches of the C.W.A., raised funds to buy wool and knit socks for the local men serving in World War II. Food parcels were organised and sent to the troops and, in the early years after the war, these parcels were redirected to families in Britain.

On 9th January 1945 a special meeting of the executive was called in response to an appeal from the Riverstone District Bushfire Brigade for support of victims of recent fires in the district. A street stall was held and a profit of twelve pounds was donated to the funds. In 1954 the branch celebrated its 21st birthday and among other donations to the Baby Health Centre was a doormat from Mr. Bob Steer, son of the founding president, Mrs. Ida Steer.

At the 50th birthday celebrations held at the Riverstone RSL Club in 1983, Mr. Bob Steer presented his mother’s life membership badge to the branch, together with the gong and gavel and a cheque for a $100 to start a fund to cover the cost of minor repairs needed at the Baby Health Centre. One hundred and fifty-seven ladies and gents were welcomed to this Golden Anniversary Celebration by President Mrs. Phyllis Dege. Special guests included Blacktown’s Deputy Mayor, Mr. Charlie Bali and Mrs. M. Commons, State President of the C.W.A. who, as guest speaker, enlightened everyone to the work being done by C.W.A. throughout the state. Other official guests included h. Judy Cadman, wife of the Federal Member for Mitchell, Alan Cadman; Group President Mrs. Gwen Steward and two foundation members, Mrs. Alice Marnock and Mrs. Cecilia Bambridge. These two ladies cut the cake which was made by former member, Mrs. Margaret Crouch. Another 1933 member, Mrs. Dot Vaughan, thanked Mrs. Commons and made a presentation on behalf of Riverstone members. A further presentation was made to Sister Betty Simmons who was retiring after ten years as Baby Health Sister arid a long service badge was received by Mrs. Daphne Hession for twenty years of continuous service. Mrs. Hession also accepted a badge on behalf of her sister-in-law, Miss Frances Hession.

During the seventies and eighties the C.W. A, had a very active Coach Organiser Mrs. Maisie Darling and members from Riverstone and surrounding branches enjoyed some memorable trips. Day Trips went to venues such as the Roger Bush Christmas Carols at the Opera House, Tulip Time in Bowral, cruising the Nepean River on the paddle cruiser, the Nepean Belle. Overlander Trips included visiting Melbourne for the Cup, exploring Broken Hill, Tasmania, relaxing at Bundanoon, celebrating Bounty Day, and the Bicentenary on Norfolk Island, marveling at the delights of Queensland’s Expo.

In 1997 Riverstone C.W.A. is affected much the same as other similar organisations. The changing lifestyle has meant most women who would have made up the membership in the past are now holding down full-time jobs. Still, a small core of hardworking members, with their Street Stalls, Card Afternoons, Cooking Competitions and study of other countries is maintaining the Baby Health Centre and keeping alive the C.W.A. Motto:

“Honour to God
Loyalty to the Throne,
Service lo the country,
Through country women,
For country women,
By country women. “

Memories of Riverstone in the 1930s

by Betty Hope

Growing up in Riverstone in the 30s, the eldest of 10 children born to Thelma and Claude Schofield, there were times when I regarded the ‘No. 1 Spot’ as not so lucky. My maternal instincts being tested at a very early age, whether it would be rocking the Pram, dipping the Dummy in glycerine or honey or carrying the Baby to the Butcher’s Shop for a walk and arriving home with the meat atop the Bunny Rug.

Our Brick House was centred in a large ‘Paddock’, bounded by Pitt, Market & Mill Streets & Railway Pde. There was one other house in the paddock, owned by Mrs Edwards. My Father worked for Taylors’ Produce Co. (later known as Stockman’s), which was virtually over the road from our home.

The “Paddock” served as a huge playground- complete with goal posts for Football, a Cricket Pitch and a creek which flooded after heavy rain when it became more like a lake. Cray fishing was a popular pastime -a small piece of meat tied to a string line was the bait. After carefully releasing the sharp claws we would then throw the crayfish back into the creek, only to catch them all over again. A Jersey cow and a horse called Stripey also shared our paddock. One form of punishment for a wrong doing was “Go and gather a bag of manure”- not only did the garden benefit -it saved a lot of slipping and sliding when one was in fear of being “run out” in cricket or scoring a goal in football.

In a strange coincidence the former Paddock and Creek where so much activity and sport took place is now unrecognisable -buried beneath the Riverstone Bowling Club -a fitting tribute to the many youngsters who derived so much pleasure from the Paddock.

Stripey was a small flighty white horse who would side step or baulk at the smallest puddle or unusual object in his sight. Sunday afternoon was drive time. Stripey would be harnessed to the Bottle Green Sulky and after a couple of laps of the block to settle him down then and only then would it be safe for the passengers to board. Those who couldn’t fit on the seat sat on the floor.

For many years my prized possession was a Red Ribbon won with Stripey at the Riverstone Show. The Showground was adjacent to the one and only Butcher’s Shop in the town. The mere fact that only two contestants participated in the event did not embarrass me at all, I was proud that Stripey and I had come 2nd and that was that.

Beagle Dogs were kept for rabbiting excursions. At one stage two were named Jack and Jill A box of smelly Ferrets, a couple of Shot Guns, Beagle3 running behind, Stripey pulling the sulky, my father holding the reins, destination Berkshire Park, was not an uncommon sight. Baked and seasoned with herbs and bacon the rabbits proved good eating.

Vegetables were always plentiful at home. It would be the ‘in thing’ among relatives and neighbours to see who could produce the first ripe tomatoes of the Season. We had a big vegetable garden, fowls, pig and a cow for milk, cream and butter. Large blocks of ice were our means of keeping milk, cream, butter etc fresh. I can tell you it was a battle during hot Riverstone summers. In Autumn, when Mushrooms were plentiful after rain, we’d walk miles before school collecting them and Mum would cook them for breakfast.

Bread was delivered by way of a horse and cart. [t wasn’t unusual for the Bread to have quite a hole down the centre of the loaf, made by a ‘Phantom Youngster’ on the short journey from the back gate to the house. Approaching the Christmas season I’d be sent to Charlie Fishers’ Bakery for “3 penneth of Yeast and don’t mention what it’s for.” Making ‘Home Brew’ was illegal in those days.

Milk was sold by the Billy Can, (we never needed a Milkman). A Butcher would call at my Grandmother’s house (still there) in Garfield Road just past the Catholic Church. On Sunday an ‘Ice Cream Man’, Mr Visocchi from Marsden Park, would drive around in a horse and cart selling his home-made Ice Cream.

Family Picnics were always spent near the water, whether it be Mitchell Park on the Hawkesbury River, North Richmond, Yarrarnundi or the Nepean at Penrith, they were all enjoyable. Woy Woy where my Grandmother owned a Holiday Cottage was our destination for annual holidays. Friends, relatives, boxes of food and drink made up the load atop Taylors 3 tonne Table Top Truck.

The Riverstone Meatworks was situated well within ‘smelling range’ of our home! Each weekday a long contingent of men -four abreast, would alight from the 6.45a.m. train from Sydney, making their way to the Meatworks. At 4.15p.m. the Trek’ would be reversed by catching the train back home to the City and Suburbs. Many locals including brothers, uncles and cousins were employed by Riverstone’s largest industry. There was a sense of pride to see the huge delivery trucks with Riverstone-Imperial painted on the side. The sight of men in Sou’wester caps and capes over their shoulders delivering carcasses covered in unbleached Mutton Bags was not uncommon.

In 1946, after I was discharged from the Australian Womens Army Service (A.W.A.S.), I was employed as a Cashier at the Butcher’s shop, in Garfield Rd, just over the Railway Line, working with Sid Jarrett, Jim Mawson and Arthur?

Conway’s Newsagency was there as long as I can remember. It was run by Eric and his mother upon the death of his father. As well as always being well groomed Eric possessed a very pleasant manner. He also played the piano beautifully.

Ossie Robbins conducted the Barber Shop at the rear of the Newsagency. Conversation and constant snipping of scissors had a relaxed atmosphere. My hairstyle never altered, ‘Short Bob’, centre parting with a fringe. My brothers weren’t so lucky, Father cut their hair, a good close cut lasted longer, often regarded as a blessing, especially when the clippers were blunt or needed oiling.

Beside the shop and opposite the Railway Station was a grassed area we called Conway’s Green. It was here that the Circus used to perform when it came to Riverstone. Trucks, trailers, caravans, animals would arrive. Then came the setting up, raising the big tent, the Merry Go Round, Chair-o-plane etc plus 2 very high poles with many wires to keep the Tight Rope taut for Blonden to perform the find and very nail biting act of the evening. She would walk the very high wire, carrying a long pole for balance. I can’t remember the safety net ever being used.

On the comer of Railway Pde & Market St stood a Grocery store worked by Lionel McCutcheon & Ted Vaughan. (See photo below.) Those were the days when a bag of boiled lollies would be included in the weekly grocery order, as much as to say “thank you for your custom”. Ted Vaughan was also a Sunday School teacher at St. Paul’s Church. He was a kindly man, who at one time worked with me at Rosenthals, after I took over from cousin Mary. My sister Shirley later filled my shoes.

The Oddfellows Hall was situated in Railway Pde, practically opposite Taylors Produce Co. It was the meeting place for the unemployed during the Depression. Concerts, dance classes and at one time Mr aid Mrs Osborne conducted a Sunshine Circle, a wonderful reprieve for Mothers with large families like ours. At the back of the Oddfellows Hall there were more timber terraces we called Cockroach Alley -they were in a derelict condition for many years.

Shops and businesses were the only people to have the Telephone. Telegrams were our fast means of communication -delivered from the Post Office by a Telegram Boy, who rode a Push Bike. A Battery Wireless was a Luxury, all work and noise would cease when Dad & Dave –from Snake Gully would come on. The Aeroplane Jelly Song was also a favourite.

The Picture Show in Garfield Road was owned by Mr Murrell. A Saturday afternoon Matinee costing sixpence for admission was the highlight of the week, even though at first the pictures were Silent and Black and White. The extent of our viewing was the occasional Charlie Chaplin movie, Westerns, Humorous films and Romances with a Tom Mix serial to bring you back next week. Frankenstein would be shown in the evening only when the adults attended. On the stage of the theatre stood a piano which was played by Miss Murrell at Interval. Words appeared on the screen, with a ‘bouncing ball’ connecting the words to the tune.

The theatre was not only used for movies. Being the largest hall in the town it was the scene for many ‘Balls’. There was a supper room behind the Theatre. One big occasion was to celebrate the ‘switching on of electricity in Riverstone’. When the electricity came there were great Celebrations, as when water was ‘laid on’, -41the streets were messy from digging, there were not too many tarred roads in Riverstone those days.

Another big event held at the theatre was the crowning of the Queen of Riverstone Competition which was won by Nancy Strachan.

Our Primary School held the annual prize giving and concert at the Theatre. Mice Blue Gown was one popular item I remember singing. We were dressed in Blue Gowns and bonnets and probably thought we were all ‘Alice Fayes’. The maypole was usually the closing event of the evening. Young girls dressed in pretty pastels holding a ribbon to match, danced around the maypole, plaiting and weaving as they danced, finally reversing back to the beginning.

The Masonic Hall holds very happy memories of my teen years, where many learnt to dance, babies slept on the stage near the Band, while a Euchre tournament progressed in the Back Room. Helping with the sandwiches for Supper, setting out cups and saucers and preparing the dance floor with the aid of kerosene/sawdust worked in with a corn bag nailed to a stick which made it as Fast as an Ice Skating Rink was a ‘must’ prior to our monthly dance.

Dick Stacey (Snr) on Piano, Chummy Greenhalgh on Drums and someone playing the Saxophone usually made up the band. The McCarthys’, Eileen, Kate and Patsy were excellent doing the Jive. After much pleading, Henry Cook would sing the Maori Farewell, while we danced TheMedley closing dance of the evening.

Chips Rafferty the Film Star from movies 40,000 Horsemen and others, was based at R.A.A.F. Richmond during the War years and often came to our dances. It was an honour to have a film star in our midst.

Now in the Twilight Years of Life, one has moments to reflect back to days when once the security of the Home and Family were the most important things in life -I never dreamt that one day I would be recording such events, as at the time they appeared to be normal routine. I still keep in touch with friends from Primary School and Wartime days, in fact life is like a rolling stone, it gathers friends on its way! There will always be a ‘soft spot’ in my heart for Riverstone, my birthplace.

Memories of Riverstone (CBJ)

by C.B. Johnston

I have been reading the memoirs of my mother, Constance Eileen Forsyth (nee Connie Goldsmith) and her first reference to living at Riverstone reads “We went to Riverstone, between Parramatta and Windsor, and lived in a house near the Catholic Church, next to the Vaughan family. They had two sons, Jack and Ray. My Dad became a book-keeper at Darling’s Store. That was in 1910 because I remember that was the year King Edward the seventh died, and Halley’s comet appeared”.

The Goldsmith family lived in Riverstone for a short time, and returned in 1913 when Edith Goldsmith (my grandmother) purchased a modest dwelling and some land in Creek Street. My grandmother was employed as a seamstress in Sydney.

Between 1914 and 1918 my mother worked for old friends, Mr and Mrs Henry Blake in their shop at Milsons Point. Hilda Blake, their daughter and Mum remained very close friends until the time of Hilda’s death.

After almost four years at Milsons Point, my mother returned to live at Riverstone, and also became a seamstress working in Sydney. The train departed from Riverstone 6.30a.m. and returned 6.30p.m. A long day, but Mum said the young people on the train had lots of fun, and formed friendships which lasted through lifetimes. One friend who travelled from Blacktown was Frank Tscherne, a member of a well known family.

My mother, Connie Goldsmith, married my dad, Alexander Forsyth of Parramatta in 1919.

My recollections of Riverstone from about the age of five years are spending Sundays with our grandparents. Mum, Dad, sister Selma and I would travel by steam train from Parramatta (we lived at Harris Park) and it was an exciting journey back in 1927.

My grandfather had tilled the soil and commenced a strawberry farm Mum and Dad. Selma and I would help with the picking of strawberries for market the next day. We had a lot of fun picking the berries, being warned to whistle all the while to make sure we were not eating the strawberries. Mum’s younger brother, Len, would help us pick while grandfather would sit and brush the berries with a soft brush and pack them in punnets. The filled punnets would be packed into a large suitcase, and Len would take them to the Sydney markets on his way to work the next day. If there was a surplus, my dad and Len would take them (in Dad’s old Essex ute) to the main road and sell them on the roadside. In later years we were joined by Mum’s older brother, Walter and his wife Margery and in time their small daughter, Margaret.

These were very happy days, and while we were all working Nana Goldsmith would be preparing a delicious roast beef and Yorkshire pudding dinner for us in her wood burning stove. At night, by the light of a kerosene lamp, we would have a lovely cold meat and salad tea, followed by a huge bowl of strawberries and clotted cream. My sister and I would walk across the creek to Sam and Doll Ratcliffe’s home, to collect the cream. We had to cross the creek on a rickety old bridge, also we passed by a lovely little natural spring. We have photographs of these places as my Uncle Wal was a great photographer.

At the end of the day (before the Essex) we would wend our way back to the railway station, and so on to home, tired but happy. In later years both my Dad and Uncle Wal had cars, and so the train journeys came to an end.

When travelling to Riverstone by train, I was conscious of the Meatworks further on from the station, but being a child I did not pay much attention. We would pass Conway’s Newsagency opposite the station, go through the railway gates, and pass the Hotel on the left hand comer. We walked along the dirt road, and then took a track through the paddocks until we came to the Goldsmiths in Creek Street. At other times we would walk on a little further on the dirt road, until we came to Creek Street, then tum left. The people I remember living in Creek Street were the Wiggins and Empsom families. I remember the Wiggins family most, as they had a beautiful ornament which was a little house inside a glass dome and when you shook it, “snow” drifted down and covered the house. This is a common ornament today, but way back then it was the only one I had ever seen.

Josie East was the owner of the Hotel during this time, and I was invited to lunch with her daughter one day. I was having a holiday with my grandparents at the time. I remember the lunch well. We had soup, and a hot dinner, followed by pudding of what looked like prunes and ice-cream. The ice-cream (as it appeared to be) was in fact boiled rice. I was so disappointed as ice-cream was a rare treat in those days, but the prunes and rice was most acceptable and enjoyable.

As the milkman did not call at the house, Nana Goldsmith used powdered milk, and it was quite an occasion for us kids to shake the bottle of water and milk powder until nicely smooth. Also we had a lot of fun feeding the chooks with a mixture of bran and pollard which grandfather made into balls, and we would bowl these along the ground to the waiting chooks.

At the front gate was a lovely arch, and a beautiful peach tree grew dose by which in season would be laden with hit, as were the other trees on the property. Lots of flowers bloomed in the garden, best remembered are lovely verbenas. A large water h ole was on the left hand side of the house.

Other people I remember well were the Shaw family. Mr and Mrs Shaw, son Fred, and  daughter Evelyn. We saw a lot of them over the years, and Evelyn’s wedding reception was held in my parent’s home at Harris Park. All the Shaws have passed on. Other names I remember are Sadie Roser and John Russell, who married. John has passed on, but Sadie lives on the Central Coast.

Walter Goldsmith was born in 1902 He worked for Gestetners in Sydney. In 1927 Wal married Margery Elspeth McGregor (a resident of Schofields). He joined the RAAF. during the war years, and. moved to Brisbane towards the end of the War. He became Gestetner’s Queensland Manager after the War and until his death in 1953. Margery passed away in 1975. Their only daughter, Margaret, was born in Sydney, and now resides with her husband Richard Cameron and family in Brisbane.

Nana Goldsmith was a wonderful sewer, and made some beautiful gowns. She and my mother (Connie) made the wedding gown for Margery McGregor and Nana beaded all the 6ills of the gown, and the bodice and sleeves, it was very beautiful. I was also lucky, as Nana beaded a white georgette evening dress for me when I was about 20, I was the envy of my friends.

Leonard Goldsmith was born in 1912 at Merriwa. Len was a brilliant student and accountant and worked at the Riverstone Meat Company, before moving to northern areas where he became manager of several meat works. Len married Marie Nolan in 1942, three children of the marriage live on the Central Coast and in Sydney. Len and Marie retired in due course to Long Jetty, where Marie now resides. Len passed away in 1986 aged almost 75 years.

My mother, Connie Goldsmith was born in England in 1900, and married my dad Alexander Forsyth of Parramatta in 1919. My sister Selma and I being the only children, Mum was always very active in charity work, especially during the war years, and after. We always lived in and around the Parramatta area, until 1969 when Mum and Dad moved to Valentine, near Belmont. My husband, Harold Johnston, and I had moved to Valentine in 1964, and we persuaded my parents to come and live near us. Dad passed away in 1973, and Mum in 1989, in her 89th year.

My sister, Selma, now lives in California with her husband. Her son, Alex, and his wife and their children live close by. Selma and her family have made frequent trips to Australia.

Grandfather Goldsmith died in 1935, and after some years my Grandmother was persuaded to leave Riverstone and spend her time with her three children and their families. She passed away in 1947 aged 72, which in those days we considered a good age, but not so today.

Death Of Cock Robin

(Introducing the Beef House Bullies)
Foreword by Judith Lewis

I first learned of this poem when it was published in the Riverstone Press, leading up to the “Back to Riverstone School” Day held on 14th August, 1971. It was given to the organisers by Mrs Joyce Wood (O’Kane) and was written by my mother, Mrs Garnet Shepherd in 1935.

My mother died in 1950 and my father in 1964 so the only one who could shed some light on its significance was my aunt, Mrs Vera Stockwell. She thought the poem was probably written as a “get back” to Garnet’s Beef House workmates for the ribbing they gave him when, as a newly-wed, my mother used to take my father a hot lunch to the rail line fence outside the Beef House.

My parents were both well in their thirties when they married. My mother was a widow from Arncliffe. She came to Riverstone with the family of her first husband to visit their friends, the Garnet Schofields’ family. The Schofields and Shepherd families played tennis on the Shepherd family court behind their home in Crown Road. My parents met there.

The Beefhouse Butchers were all great mates and stayed so throughout their lives. I imagine the marriage of one of their number at such a late age in life (at least it was in those days!) would have resulted in quite an amount of teasing.

I am not surprised that my mother chose poetry as a vehicle for her “reply” as some of my most cherished memories are of my brothers and I curling up in her bed whilst she recited poetry to us. The poems of A.A. Milne were our favourites and I am still able to red all the words of “Christopher Robin is Saying his Prayers” and most of “Little Boy Blue”.

“Who Killed Cock Robin” was a popular nursery rhyme of the day. Probably, like most nursery rhymes, it had its basis in an historical happening or was aimed at an historical figure of the time in which it was written. The original nursery rhyme began:

“Who killed Cock Robin?”
“I,” said the Sparrow,
“With my bow and arrow,
I killed Cock Robin.”
“Who saw him die?”
“I,” said the Fly,
“With my little eye
I saw him die.” etc.

Judith Lewis

Death Of Cock Robin
(Introducing the Beef House Bullies)

Who killed Cock Robin?”
“I”, said Billie Doolan,
“He wouldn’t quit foolin’,
I killed Cock Robin.”

Bill Doolan

“Who saw him die?”
“I”, said Friend Pop,
“I called in the cop,
I saw him die.”

Pop Johnson

“Who caught his blood?”
“I”, said Dick Stockwell,
“I caught it as it fell,
I caught his blood.”

Dick Stockwell

“Who’ll lay him out?”
“I”, said Tiger Clifford,
“I’ll tie him up with cord,
I’ll lay him out.”

Bob Clifford

“Who’ll be pall-bearer?”
“I”, said Friend Yellow,
“He won’t be heavy, poor fellow,
I’ll be pall-bearer.”

Herb Freeman

“Who’ll dig his grave?”
“I’, said Hughie O’Kane,
“I’ll dig it down the lane,
I’ll dig his grave.”

Hugh O’Kane

“Who’ll be the parson?”
“I”, said Pal Chalker,
“Because I’m the best talker,
I’ll be the parson.”

Jack Chalker

“Who’ll sing a psalm?”
“I”, said Les Clark,
“I can sing like a lark,
I’II sing a psalm.”

Les Clark

“Who’ll be chief mourner?”
“I”, said Friend Bones
“I’ll give loud cries and groans,
I’ll be chief mourner.”

Arthur Bones

Then all the bullies of the Beef House
Fell a’sighin’and a’sobbin’
When they heard of the death
Of poor Cock Robin.

Aunt Marie

Churches -Riverstone & District

by Winsome Phillis

In the latter half of the last century, as development spread out from the Sydney area, many small townships grew up about 30 miles from Sydney. (I have heard this referred to as the ‘Bible Belt’.)

Although the churches in Windsor had been built in the early 1800s, this was too far for people in the Riverstone district to travel, many on foot, to worship. So even before a township became established, one of the first concerns of the settlers was to build a church for their own small community.

The Windsor & Richmond Gazette reported on the progress and activities of most of these churches and has been an invaluable source for research.

1846 St Phillip’s Church of England at Clydesdale in the Parish of Windsor, was built
by the local people and consecrated in 1846. Unfortunately it was built on flood prone land, and was severely affected by the floods, so much so that after 1889/1890 it was allowed to fall into ruins.

Documented in Clydesdale -a small history by Jeanette M. French.

1863 Christ Church Rouse Hill. This was the earliest church built in the Riverstone
district, being opened in July 1863. It was built on land donated by Mr Robert Fitzgerald, who was married to Elizabeth Rouse, youngest daughter of Richard Rouse. The Cemetery belonging to the Church contains the graves of many of the pioneers of the area. This Cemetery is located in Mile End Road, Rouse Hill.

1875 St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Riverstone. The first church service was held in 1875, in the home of Mr John Greig in Garfield Road. A Church was built in Regent Street in 1884, being shifted to the Garfield Road site in 1912.

Documented in The Cemetery Book 1882-1982 by Mary Gillespie.

1882 St John’s Catholic Church was opened on 2nd July 1882 in Garfield Road Riverstone, (then called Windsor Road) on what is still called the Catholic Church Hill. Merv Davis records: The original church was of split slab construction situated to the left of the present church. Built in 1882 by Father M. Coffey, the priest of the Hawkesbury District from 1874 -1886.

See booklet A History of Quakers Hill –Schofields & Parish 1919-1993 by Gary Payne which contains a chapter on the First Catholic Church at Riverstone in 1882.

Laurie Hession has written a full account of St John’s Church which is reproduced in this Journal.

1884 St Andrew’s Church of England, The Vineyard. The Vineyard School Church was originally in the Parish of St Matthew’s, Windsor. It was established by the Rev. F.W. Stretton. Erected by voluntary labour, under the superintendence of Mr John Gow, it was opened in 1884. Sometimes called The Vineyard Mission School.

1885 St Paul’s Church of England, Riverstone. The first Anglican Church Service in Riverstone was held in the open air around a tree stump in Meld Road. St Paul’s Church was opened in 1885 in Elizabeth Street. Originally in the Parish of Windsor, St Paul’s was transferred to the Parish of Castle Hill in 1886. The Provisional Parish of Riverstone was created in 1928, becoming a full Parish in 1930. This then incorporated Riverstone, Rouse Hill, Quakers Hill, Marsden Park, Schofield and The Vineyard. See also St Paul’s Riverstone Centenary Book – 1985

1892 Gospel Hall, Marsden Park. The Windsor& Richmond Gazette mentions meetings held in the Marsden Park Gospel Mission Hall in 1892.It evidently operated at least until 1899. The next reference we have is in 1925, when the Hall was dismantled. to become the Methodist Hall in Riverstone.

1898 St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Marsden Park. In June 1898, meetings were being held to establish a Presbyterian church at Marsden Park. In August, work was started and by September the frame of the Church was up; painting was being done in October, and on the 29th October 7he W & R Gazette reported on the opening of the Church.

1903 Mission Hall, Schofields. Referred to as the Slab Church, because it was constructed of iron bark timber slabs, this building was erected in 1903 to be used for Protestant worship. In later years, part of this congregation became the Baptist Church.

See Riverstone -Schofields Baptist Church Booklet. 1964-1985.

1909 St John’s Church of England, Marsden Park. Land was donated by Mr Claus Witt in 1900. The Church was built by Mr Fred Rothwell and opened on the 30th December, 1909…  See The Church of St John’s, 1909 -1959 Booklet.

1918 St Peter’s Church of England, Schofields. Services were held first of all around the 1918/1920 period, in a Hall belonging to Mr Wiggins, which was situated on the same block of land as the present Church in St Albans Road, Schofields. In 1929 the Hall and contents were bought by the Church. It was 1958 before the Church Building was built.

1922 St Stephen’s Church of England, Quakers Hill. The W&R Gazette reported on the 10th Much 1922: Our Anglican friends at Quakers Hill are building a fine church at that centre.

The first Marriage in the Church was that of Robert Welch and Florence Greenhalge on the 4th March 1922. The Minister, Arthur W. Setchell noted in the St Paul’s Marriage Register that the church was ‘in an unfinished state’.

Documented in A History of the Quakers Hill Township Susan Cole 1988.

1925 Methodist Church, Riverstone. Gazette entries show this as opening in 1925 in the old Marsden Park Gospel Hall which was rebuilt in Riverstone by Mr Mangold. A new brick church was built in 1941.

1962 St Joseph’s Catholic Church, Schofields.
First Mass was said on Easter Sunday of 1962.

See booklet A History of Quakers Hill -Schofields Parish 1919 -1993. by Gary Payne.

1964 Riverstone-Schofields Baptist Church. In 1964 some members of the Schofield’s Mission Hall church affiliated with the Baptist denomination and worked to establish their own Church. Land on the corner of Regent and Oxford Streets, Riverstone was bought from Mr Fred Bliss for £903 and on the 26th February 1966 the new Baptist Church was opened.

See Riverstone -Schofields Baptist Church Booklet. I964 -1985.