Names from the 1900 Electoral Roll

Many of Sam’s articles were concerned with making mention of names in the 1900s Electoral Roll and the following ore comments he made on some of these families.

John BOCK: Farmer lived in the Farms Road Area

Joseph Henry CRAGG: Wool Scourer of Essex Farms which is now Farms Road …..would have worked at the Woolwash on South Creek near the Crouch Dairy.

Matthew Henry CRAGG (Labourer) of Riverstone is also mentioned

DAVIS BROS: ….The Davis Bros. came to Riverstone as young men and set up as General Storekeepers (the building presently occupied by A P. Motor Spares) in the 1890s, and became highly respected members of the community.

Eventually Charles DAVIS became sole proprietor of the business, and a leading personality in the town. Among his many duties, it was his honour and privilege to welcome home the soldiers returning from the First World War, and I well remember Charles Davis calling for 3 cheers for each returning hero as they alighted from the 7 p.m. train.

In later years the business was run by his daughter and son-in-law, Rene and Charlie Knight, and eventually was disposed of to the Woods family.

Henry Samuel EAST and William Joseph EAST, both Butchers. William East later became the owner of the Riverstone Hotel and a large Property holder.

There are two John Stephen EDWARDS: “Jackie” Edwards was the boss of the Beefhouse, and lived in a house near the location of the present Bowling Club.

The name of FLOWERS is mentioned, and I would think they would be related to Mrs Flowers who owned an orchard (later abandoned) bounded by what is now Regent, Piccadilly, Elizabeth and McCulloch Streets.

There are none of the FYALL family living locally. They were a Scottish family who resided in Kensington Street. Their only son Jack later became President of Blacktown Shire Council, and I had the privilege of sitting on Council with him.

George FREEMAN, one of the Beef Butchers, a big man with a large moustache who even in his later years carried his tall frame with great dignity.

Alexander and James GRIEG of Grange Farm and James GRIEG of Riverstone who I recall was a labourer in the hides section of the Meat Works. It was in his home, which still stands in Garfield Rd, that the first Presbyterian Church Service was held in Riverstone.

Robert GUNTON, Stockman. Bob was stockman to Ben Richards and descendants of his still live in the town.

Noble HANNAH of Essex Farm, Riverstone. The Hannan (sic) family are still with us and living in that early area of settlement on the banks of Eastern Creek. In the 1900s the waters of the creek were drinkable being crystal clear and inhabited by perch, sprats and mullet. Maidenhair ferns grew on the banks and red-head finches abounded in the trees.

There were a number of HANSELLS living and working in Riverstone in 1901.

William HARRISON was an engine driver. He lived in Mill St near the Bowling Club (the cottage still stands), and was responsible for running the Meatworks’ electric light plant. At that time all killing was done at night and the meat train left Riverstone in time for fresh meat to be delivered and sold in Sydney next morning.

George IZZARD: George made a hobby of hand made wooden toys, ornaments and so on.

Archie JARRETT was a tailor and had a shop in Garfield Road; there was also John JARRETT; altogether there were quite a number of Jarretts who were pioneers of the Racing Dogs and were famous in this sport in the early 1900s.

The roll discloses several JOHNSONS, Charles; John Robert; Peter; William (a Railway Porter) and William Thomas. Peter JOHNSON lived in a small slab cottage in George Street, Riverstone which is still standing.

Alexander JOHNSTON worked as a carter for Bambridge the Grocer.

Emanuel JOSEPH, Hotel Keeper. He was the Owner of the hotel right opposite Riverstone Railway Station, on about an acre of land on the area now occupied by Marketown.

I find the name KIRWAN, there are quite a few mentioned but the one Henry Argyle KIRWAN, Postmaster is the one I recall as being a most important man in Riverstone both before and after the First World War in the days of 1d postage. The Post Office was housed in the original Riverstone Railway Station which is now used as the Parcels Office. I feel sure Mr Kirwan would be most unhappy if he saw his old office as it stands today with the frontage defaced with business premises.

Among the L’s we see George LANE my father, who was one of the first men in the district to own a bicycle, it was called a “Red Bird” and was imported from Canada. The use of bicycles was resented by the owners of horse drawn carts who objected to them being used on the roads.

The Daisy, like the Red Bird, was a brand of bike available for sale in Riverstone. This advertisement appeared in the Windsor 8 Richmond Gazette of 15 May 1897

William LOBB was a Fruiterer and owned an Orchard Property bounded by Regent, Piccadilly and McCulloch Streets and Riverstone Road -a 40 acre farm that was wiped out in the drought of 1902/10 -a great water well on his property supplied Riverstone with pure water during this period.

Paul LORGER was a sail maker and would have worked on ocean sailboats.

Henry LUDEKE, Elect. Engineer lived in a cottage in Park Street where Mrs Chalker now lives. (38). Mr Ludeke as I knew him was engaged as an Elect. Engineer at the Meat Works and invented the first Electrical Circular Saw for cutting beef carcasses in half. Before this all carcasses were cut by the old fashioned crosscut saw, This invention was patented by him, and became a regular part of slaughtering procedures.

William McCARTHY, Blacksmith was one of the real pioneers of 1900 and it is a great shame that the venerable old lady, his wife, did not have her life story written into the history of Riverstone. Mrs McCarthy was a Miss Miller. Perhaps one of her daughters will write something about the McCarthys and the Millers -Mrs McCarthy’s grandchildren have adult children of their own now.

Ted McCUTCHEON will be remembered by a lot of the “oldies”. He lived in a cottage which still stands on the corner of George and Park Streets.

John McKENZIE was a grocer and worked in Darling’s Store with my brother Harry Lane.

Unfortunately Sammy’s Roll Call ended with these last entries from The Riverstone Press 22 January 1981.

Sam Lane

by Judith Lewis

Cecil Rhodes (Sam) Lane was born in Riverstone, in a house where the High School now stands, on 19th March 1902 to George and Marian Lane. He had a brother Harry, and three sisters Rita, Davina and Celia. Sam’s father then built a two roomed house in Garfield Road, later adding to the residence and building the bicycle shop. The first hand operated gasoline pump outside Parramatta was later installed. The house and shop still stand, almost opposite the junction with George Street and the shop is at present a barber’s shop.

Sam attended Riverstone Public School when it was in the building that is now the Blacktown City Bicentennial Museum. It was Sam’s description of the building that helped artist Pam Boyne sketch the building for the school’s centenary logo in 1983 as, at that stage, there was no known photo of the building. When a photo did surface it was a surprisingly accurate sketch, which is really not so surprising when one remembers how vivid Sam’s memory was.

As a youth Sam was a keen cyclist and also played Rugby League. In 1931 he was a member of the Riverstone team which won the Western District A Grade Competition. He once listed his other likes as Shakespeare, Lawson, Omar Khyam, the Labor Party, singing, tennis and bowls.

At 13 years of age he worked as a delivery boy at Bambridges’ Store. Two years later he took up an apprenticeship in the motor trade, later transferring to lining and enamelling in the same trade. About 1922 he moved to Lithgow to drive heavy duty overhead cranes. He married Elizabeth Veitch in 1924 and they had one child, Jean. Sam and Elizabeth later divorced and 1927 saw him back in the Riverstone district.

Sam was an apprentice with Bennett & Wood as an Enameller & Liner, and became interested in cycle assembling. He set up a workshop in his father’s shop on a part time basis. Frames were bought in parts and then front and back forks etc would be brazed together. This involved building a forge and when lit and very hot, a substance called flux was applied and this had the effect of welding the parts together. The complete frame would be sandpapered to smooth the joins and later painted, lined with scrolls and fancy lines and then completely assembled. The brand name sold by Sam was Rivone (obviously part Riverstone).

Sam married Mavis Butterworth on 10th August 1935. Sam had seven children, Jean from his first marriage, George (deceased), Ruth, Doreen, Miriam, Lyn and Laurie. The family settled in Station Street, (now renamed Bridge Street) Schofields. Ruth, Doreen and Laurie, still live in the district.

A strong interest in politics began in about 1938 and within two years he had joined the Australian Labor Party which, on 10th October 1983 honoured him with a life membership for his dedication to the A.L.P. and service to the community.

This service included seven and a half years as an Alderman on Blacktown Council. In 1953, with two other Aldermen, he was instrumental in the formation of Blacktown Workers’ Club. Schofields Bush Fire Brigade, the Riverstone Swimming Pool, the Committee for the Electrification and Duplication of the Richmond Line, Progress Association, Parents and Citizens Association, Park Committee, the Amateur Theatre Group, Historical Society and Senior Citizens all benefited from, and in some cases owe their existence to, Sam’s enthusiasm.

It was fitting that when the Community Centre in Riverstone opened in 1982 it was named The Sam Lane Community Complex. Sam Lane died in December 1986.

Sam Lane had three great loves, his wife and family, the Australian Labor Party and his home town, Riverstone. This love of Riverstone and its history was infectious. A Back to School Day for some senior residents at Riverstone Primary School in 1976, where Sam enthused young and old alike, saw the beginning of the school’s Riverstone History Collection.

Cecil (Sam) Lane

Riverstone Bicycle Club

This article was written by Rosemary Phillis and Mavis Lane,
with information supplied by Fred Wiggins.

Bicycles first became popular in Riverstone in the mid 1890s as a form of transport and as a sport. The Windsor and Richmond Gazette of 9 May 1896 reported that cycling carnivals had been popular for the last 12-18 months and that people were now speculating on rare bikes.

James Aird a local storekeeper ran ads in the Gazette in 1897 for The Daisy which was described as a Roadster-‘Strong, Light & Durable. Highly polished and finished.’

Long distances were travelled by bike riders. In 1899 Arch Jarrett was reported to have ridden his bike 390 miles from Warren to Riverstone over some very rough country.

Many of the workers at the local meatworks rode bikes to work and the Gazette of 5 May 1900 reported that George Lane the maintenance man. rides his bike to work and carries his picks and shovels, water bag etc. on his shoulder.

By 1901 sufficient interest in cycling led to the formation of the Riverstone Bicycle Club as reported in the Gazette of 4 May 1901:-

On Saturday evening last between 20 and 30 gentlemen met at the Men’s Club rooms to form a bicycle club. Mr J.H. Cragg was elected to the chair. It was decided to form a club, to be called the Riverstone Bicycle Club, entrance 2/6, subscriptions 1/- per month. Thirty names were enrolled, and the following officers elected: President: Mr. B. Hall; Vice Presidents: Messrs. JP. Quinn. WJ East, J.H Cragg; Captain: G. Lane: Sub Captain: R.S. Hodgson; Bugler; A. Parkhill; Committee: Messrs. H. Radford, B, Wheeler, H. Cragg, G. Bere, W. Moss, B. Woods. J Towers. The officers are to be elected every 6 months.

The club held its first run within a week of being formed:-

… The members had the opening run on Wednesday night when the following cyclists journeyed to Windsor: G. Lane, R. Cruickshank, T.A. Jarrett, Geo. Bere, Bert Wheeler, H. Cragg, B. Woods, JH. Cragg, and R.S. Hodgson. They will have another run this Saturday afternoon to Richmond, and next Saturday a club race from Riverstone round the Windsor Park, and back home, will take place. Two trophies are offered for this race.

Within two weeks membership of the club had increased to 40 cyclists and in July 1901 the club received permission from Mr R. Richards to lay a bicycle track with a half mile circumference in the Meatwork’s paddock, next to the Railway line.

By 1903 the bicycle club lay dormant after a squabble over affiliation with the N.S.W. League of Wheelmen, though Riverstone cyclists continued to take part in other bicycle club meetings.

Sam Lane was the son of George Lane the first Captain of the Riverstone Bicycle Club and he was also a keen cyclist. Sam was involved in the reformation of the Riverstone Bicycle Club in the early 1940s. The Club’s activities included Sunday afternoon races on a track situated in the Meatwork’s Paddocks (this ground was also used as a Show Ground, Football Ground etc and had a pavilion erected funded by local residents).

During the war, the Meat Company required this land and the pavilion was shifted over to its present position in the Riverstone Park, this operation taking place on a week-end using voluntary labour; the truck being supplied by the late Dick Stacey.

In addition to track races, there would be road races. Fred Wiggins recalls these running from Garfield Road to Windsor Road thence somehow across to Blacktown Road and again into Garfield Road. Day tours were also held, cycling for a tour to Cronulla and other spots.

Names of some of the riders: Fred Wiggins; Lindsey & Gordon Alderton; Eric Graham; Charlie Smith, Toby & Ernie Marlin; Norm Brown; Bill Dalton; Alderton twins (cousins of Lindsay & Gordon); Frank(?) Coles; Wallace Hayes. There were also some girls involved (possibly Betty Alderton would be one). Further names come to mind: Allan Sutton; Les Scanlon; Home Davis; Jack Evans; Stan Russell; Alan Wallace.

Chrome molybdenum was one of the new light weight metals and great was the rivalry between the boys as to the weight of their “Racers” (Racing Bikes). A light bike meant greater speed; 3 speed gears were also something to be envied.

The Club was disbanded in the mid 40s due to the call up of so many young men for war duty.

Memories of Riverstone (JD&NB)

by Jean Dunston & Norman Brown

Mrs Jean Dunston (Gosden) and Mr Norman Brown are cousins who lived in Edward Street, Riverstone when they were young, and have fond memories of Riverstone in those Old Days.

There were no tarred roads in 1926 only corrugated dirt roads. My father Sid Gosden was one of about six car owners in Riverstone at the time, others were Mr Stanford and Mr Dawes.

The Gosdens came to live in Riverstone in 1926, living in a slab house at the back of the sawmill in Edward Street. The Sawmill was owned and operated by Sydney Gosden and his son Max and son- in-law Noel Dunston, and was started during the war years. As petrol was very scarce, they used to start up the old International truck with petrol and then switch it over to a charcoal burner, which was on the running board on the side of the truck.

Laurie Mould’s mother had a fish and chip shop opposite the old picture theatre, and also trained trotting horses. Her son Laurie carried on the training in her footsteps and was very successful.

Mrs Blair had a Confectionery shop opposite the chemist shop in Garfield Road which was later sold to Trevor Edwards’ mother.

Charlie Knight owned the “Cash & Carry” store opposite the Railway line, where the Motor Spares shop is now.

Mr Wally Wood’s grandfather owned a large spelling yard for horses on the corner of Railway Terrace & Riverstone Road. Wally later became a successful driver and trainer of trotting horses.

Charlie Cafe’s mother used to board all the butchers who worked at the Meatworks when ‘solo’ butchering was carried out.

Old Mrs King of Bourke Street was well known for her lovely flowers, and whenever there were flowers needed, you could always purchase a bunch from her.

Our first memories of a Doctor were firstly Dr Rich, then Dr Lappin followed by Dr Boag who lived in the old Doctor’s residence in Garfield Road opposite the present Doctors’ rooms.

The first Estate Agent and Auctioneer was Ambrose Driscoll, an old identity who lived on the corner of Garfield Road & Pitt Street. The business is still carried on today as Driscoll & Reid, Estate Agents, in a new building on the opposite side of the road.

Garfield Road looking east from the Railway line – Photo taken C1907-9 Riverstone

Riverstone Football Team (Year unknown)
The football ground was originally in the Meatworks Paddocks, in front of the Railway Station.

Christ Church – Rouse Hill

by Winsome Phillis

Mr Robert Fitzgerald donated the land for the Rouse Hill Church and Cemetery. He was the son of the emancipist, Richard Fitzgerald, who built the Macquarie Arms at Windsor in 1815. Robert Fitzgerald was married to Elizabeth Rouse, youngest child of Richard and Elizabeth Rouse of Rouse Hill House.

The Sydney Mail of 20 December 1862 describes the opening of the church by the Dean of Sydney:

  the attendance was very good, but no doubt the church would have been quite full had it not been for the heavy rain during the greater part of the afternoon. The church which is a very substantial and well finished building … is capable of holding 300 people 1

The Church was of brick construction, consisting of a four-bay nave and a west porch. It was licensed on 16 July 1863. For some years it also served as a school, until c.1869 when a new schoolhouse was erected.

In 1878 the architect, Mr Blackett added a chancel and south vestry to the church. A triple lancet window was built into the chancel extension. The work was carried out by William Leman and was paid for by Hannah Rouse of Rouse Hill. The Minister at this time being the Rev. Mr. Schleicher. The Cumberland Mercury 20 July 1878 reported on the laying of the foundation stone by Miss Elizabeth Rouse:

  September 4th was a red letter day for the little village of Rouse Hill. The day being fine, a number of the inhabitants came to witness the laying of the foundation stone of the chancel and vestry of the church .…
Miss Rouse was presented with a silver trowel and myall mallet. The trowel, (bearing an appropriate inscription to Miss E. Rouse), the manufacture of Mr. Edwin Jones, Sydney, was a beautiful specimen of colonial workmanship. The mallet was of myall wood polished, on one side of which a silver shield, with the monagram (sic) E.R. engraved thereon, had been let in. The mallet and trowel were enclosed in a polished cedar wood box.

On 19 November 1878 the Church was consecrated

The Terry and the Rouse families were great supporters of the Church. As well as the above additions Mrs Rouse paid for communion rails, and also a pulpit, reading desk, a new organ, carpeting and other furniture. Mrs Nina (Rouse) Terry played the organ there every Sunday for many years until she was nearly 90.2

Richard and Eleanor Rumery, their daughter Mary Ann, son Alfred, their nephew Les and various other members of the family were also involved with Christ Church Rouse Hill. Every Sunday Mary Ann and Alfred attended, always sitting in the same pew. Mary Ann gave my gifts and donations. In October 1931 she donated a silver mounted glass flagon for the use of wine at Holy Communion. In her will she left £30 to the church for ‘general purposes’.

Mr Alfred Rumery provided funds for the new front fern and entry gates in 1929.
In November 1930 Alfred Rumery died and was buried in the Church Cemetery in Mile End Road, where my of his family are buried.

Harriet and George Stranger were another family connected with the church. Their daughter Vera was treasurer and secretary for the Guild Committee who arranged the farewell for the Rev. Setchell and his family in 1923. She also sewed for and organised the Fundraising bazaars. Elsie, another daughter, also sewed for bazaars, and played the church organ for services and weddings. When Elsie married and left the district, the congregation presented her with an engraved silver tea service. Mrs Nina Terry then took over as the Church organist.3

Some of the other pioneer families who are buried in the Cemetery in Mile End Road are Brown, Cornwell, Pearce, Sherwood, Skinner, Stranger, Vaughan.

The oldest headstone is that of Grace Schofield, dated 20 July 1874, although it is not
necessarily the first burial, as no register exists prior to April 1886.

The first christening registered was on 26 January 1863 -Emma Maria Staff, daughter of James Samuel and Mary Ann Staff. James Staff was a farmer on the Windsor Road who had helped to raise funds and was joint manager for the erection of the church.4

The Windsor & Richmond Gazette reported on many activities of the Church:

  July 28, 1888 -A concert was held at the school room. Rouse Hill, on the 20th. inst., the proceeds being given towards the purchase of an organ for the local Church of England. The building was filled and a very pleasant time was spent, the various performers giving every satisfaction. Those who assisted were -Mr & Mrs Rouse, Miss Robins, Miss McGilbury, Mr Tout (Windsor), and the Misses Pye, from Blacktown.

In 1908 a hall was erected behind the Church. The Foundation Stone of polished granite with carved gold letters, set at the base of the western end of the brick Hall reads:-

  This Stone was Laid by the
Ven. Archdeacon Gunther
July 18, 1908
Rev. E.G. Cranswick

The Windsor & Richmond Gazette reported on the following events:

1913 August 23 -Jubilee of Christ Church, Rouse Hill.
1921 December 16 -Bazaar at Christ Church for improvements.
1923 August 24 -Diamond Jubilee at Christ Church & farewell to Setchells.

In 1929 Christ Church Rouse Hill was part of the Provisional district of St Paul’s,
Riverstone. The Church News -St Paul’s, Riverstone -May, 1929:

  In the cemetery at Rouse Hill we have a neat and well-kept burial place, thanks to the efficient trusteeship of Mr H. Verdon. The Rouse Hill Cemetery IS a private one, belonging to the Church, the site being given many years ago by Mrs. Rouse. Much work has been done here, and various improvements are projected for the near future.

In 1929 Mr J.T. Geeson, was the Church Secretary. The Church generally was in excellent condition, as the windows had been repaired, vestry refitted and new matting put down in the porch.

In 1931 The Church News gave a report on Rouse Hill Church and the very active group of workers who looked after it. In December 1931 there was report on a Memorial Tablet to be placed in the Church to the memory of Mr. E.S. Rouse, a Warden for many years. This tablet was dedicated on 7 February 1932 by Ven. Archdeacon Charlton.

In late 1932 Mr P. Gledhill of Manly and Warringah Historical Society paid a visit to Rouse Hill and gave a talk on the history and consecration of the church covering the following events in its history:5

  • 1868 -Nov. 3: Lecture by the Rev. A.H. Stephens. Chairman: S. Terry, M.L.A. of Box Hill Amongst those present were G. Suttor of Baulkham Hills, Mrs. Richard Rouse, Mrs. S. H. Terry.
  • 1869-Churchwardens: People’s, J. E. Staff, R. Gilbert; Clergyman’s, Mr. S. Schofield.
  • 1872 -Rev. Britton, Incumbent of Castle Hill and Rouse Hill.
  • 1872 –Confirmation at Christ Church (8 males, 15 females).
  • 1873 -Synod representative: Edwin Rouse.
  • 1873 -Churchwardens: People’s, A. R. Tuckwell, R. Gallard; Clergyman’s: P. R. J. Brien.
  • 1876 -Easter Sunday. Presentation to Christ Church of a new and valuable service of Communion plate by Mrs. Edwin S. Rouse.
  • 1878 -Nov. 19. Consecration of Christ Church, Rouse Hill, by the Archbishop of Sydney. The chancel, east window, Communion rails, vestry, pulpit and reading desk, organ, carpeting, etc., given by Mrs Rouse at an estimated cost of 400 pounds.
  • 1886 -Churchwardens: Mr. E. Rouse, Mr. J. Withycombe and Mr. J. Wills.
  • 1886 -Sunday School: 33 scholars, 2 teachers.

In November 1934 the Church Treasurer was Miss M. Rumery.

On 21 November 1958, Mr and Mrs Greentree organised a concert at Rouse Hill which was ‘successful beyond all expectations’. Over 50 cars were counted in the church grounds, the hall was more than packed and people looked through the windows and doors.6

Also in November the installation of the electric lighting was completed. Rev. Robey noted in the Church paper now called The Witness that the next evening service would be held on 23 November, at 7.30 p.m. ‘People can enjoy attending the Evening Service without worries about eye strain’.

In 1970 Mr M. Cathers and Mr Peterson were Wardens at Rouse Hill. The Cathers family were the mainstay of Christ Church during the 1970s, organising the services, (even taking them if necessary) and running the Sunday school. Elizabeth played the organ there, later playing at St Paul’s at Riverstone. A Fellowship was operating for the young people and many functions and gatherings were held.

In about 1979 the church was transferred from the parish of Riverstone to Kellyville, under the Rev. Ian Fauchon who held a service there once a month.

However after the Cathers family left the district, attendance declined and the Church was closed. The date of the last service is not known, but most likely it was in the 1980s.

In December 1997, Christ Church Rouse Hill was in a very sorry state. The windows were boarded up and the whole building looked abandoned. There were then no plans to reopen the church. The use of the site will ultimately depend on the rate of development of the area and the overall plans the Diocese is developing for the North West sector.7

However, in May 1998 the position has changed. St. Stephen’s Church at Kellyville and the land it occupied was sold, with the funds earmarked for a new ministry centre. In the interim Christ Church Rouse Hill is being brought back into use for full time worship with necessary repairs being undertaken on the roof, windows, woodwork, electricals and guttering.8

It will be great to see this 135 year old building being used again as a church, continuing the tradition of worship which started so many years ago and for which so many people have worked throughout the years.


1 National Trust of Aust. Row Hill House Booklet. c1971
2 ROUSE HILL HOUSE AND THE ROUSES -Caroline Rouse Thornton
3 A History of the Rumery Family. Rosemary Phillis
4 Cemetery Transcriptions. CHRIST CHURCH, ROUSE HILL. Dural & Dist. Hist. Soc
5 The Church News -St Paul’s, Riverstone
6 The Witness St Paul’s, Riverstone
7 Letter from St Stephen’s Anglican Church, Kellyville. 28 Nov. 1997
8 Hills Shire Times 19 May 1998

Box Hill – Nelson Bush Fire Brigade

by Laurence Hession

Following the fire of Saturday 10th December 1938 which burnt from ‘The Big Sandy”, a waterhole in Cattai Creek, crossed Blind Road and on to Annangrove Road, Annangrove before being halted, and then only five weeks later on Saturday 14th January 1939, (Black Saturday) the fire that burnt from the Jack and Jill picnic grounds at Vinyard through to Castle Hill being the worst fire in the district’s history, with the loss of two lives on Box Hill and served homes in the area, the residents of Rouse Hill, Box Hill and Nelson felt that action should be taken to form a Volunteer Bush Fire Brigade.

A Public Meeting was called for the 17th January 1940 in the Rouse Hill Church Hall, twelve people attended, the Chairman was Mr J.A. Peterson with Mr L.W. Holme acting as Secretary in the unavoidable absence of Mrs H.A. Cox. This number of people being considered as not representative of the district, it was resolved to hold a further meeting on Saturday, 27th January 1940. Thirty six people attended this meeting with Messrs. Fisher, Spice and Tuck, visitors from Riverstone also attending. A motion was moved and seconded that a Brigade be formed and on being put to the meeting was carried unanimously.

Officers elected were:- President, Mr L.W. Holme; Vice President, Mr R. Munro; Treasurer, Mr Pearce; Secretary, Mrs H.A. Cox; Captain, Mr Ken Brocklebank, Vice Captain, Mr Hubert Mason. Lieutenants:- Messrs W. Cooper, Lelant, J.A. Peterson, C.D. Rasmussen, H. Cox and T. Lackey. It was also resolved to divide the area into two zones with Annangrove Road being the division. Membership was one shilling (ten cents) per family.

Original members included Messrs Cooper, Lelant, Pearce, Pie, J.A. Peterson, T.A. Peterson and C.D. Rasmussen from Rouse Hill. H. Cox, L.W. Holme, L.R. Holme, T. Lackey, R. Munro, G. Ritchie, A. Thorpe and Mr Shaler of Box Hill, with K. Brocklebank, R. Harris, F. Hession, L. Hession, M. Hession, T. Hession, V. Hession, R. Keen, H. Mason and J. Mason from Nelson.

During the late 1940s. the amalgamation of the original two zones drifted apart, resulting in Box Hill-Nelson Brigade looking after their area west of Nelson Road with Rouse Hill Brigade taking care of their area on the eastern side of Nelson Road. Today, the boundary of the Box Hill and Nelson Brigade commencing at the junction of Windsor Road and Nelson Road, follows Nelson Road, Edwards Road, left into Annangrove Road to Cattai Creek, thence northwards following Cattai Creek to Pitt Town Road, Maraylya following Pin Town Road to Boundary Road, turning left out to Windsor Road, then left again down Windsor Road to Nelson Road.

During the early years of the Brigade, equipment included chipping hoes, mattocks, long handle shovels, rakes, axes, brush hooks, leather beaters, watering cans and metal knapsack sprays, a far cry from the modem four wheel drive tankers and all the equipment that goes with them today. The first water tanker this Brigade owned had been a meat delivery van for the Riverstone Meat Works, a Morris Commercial and after king dismantled and rebuilt as a fire fighting vehicle, it went into service in October 1958. All the work on this vehicle was done voluntarily by the members with the motorised pump, reels and hoses supplied through Baulkham Hills Shire Council.

The tanker was garaged in an old hay shed on Miss Clare Hessian’s property in Nelson Road until Council built the Brigade’s first Fire Station in 1965 on land donated by Mr & MIS J.C. Thomas in Nelson Road. On 1st May 1970, the Brigade took delivery of a replacement tanker, a 1969 Austin, fully equipped with two-way radio. On 21st December 1981, a Toyota Landcruiser was delivered to the brigade. Fitted with a ninety gallon tank and one hose reel, it was a very handy quick response vehicle for small fires and mopping up. This gave the brigade two vehicles for the first time.

A new two-bay fire station was officially opened on 21st September 1985, situated in Old Pitt Town Road, Box Hill. The brigade now had two stations.

The year 1986 saw the brigade involved in the production of an episode for the television serial “Country Practice”. Together with Kenthurst Brigade, a full day was spent filming at Killarney House, Pitt Town and at Kenthurst.

Late 1986, the brigade took delivery of a new, four wheel drive, double cab, Isuzu tanker, with a carrying capacity of 3,500 litres, this vehicle replacing the Austin. On the 8th January 1990, a new,’ four wheel drive Mazda fully equipped with a carrying capacity of 1,400 litres was handed over to the brigade, this unit replaced the Toyota Landcruiser.

In 1993 the brigade took delivery of a Toyota Landcruiser as a personnel carrier and on the 8th January 1996, the 1986 Isuzu was replaced with another new, four wheel drive, double cab, Isuzu tanker.

Initially formed to help the district in times of bush fire, today brigades are on call 24 hours a day to assist in any emergency, be it fire, flood, road accidents or clearing the havoc wrought by storm.

A Long Day

A Farm Machinery Buying Trip to Yass
by Wally Smith

Foreword: Lorraine and Wal Smith are the only two persons from the group which originally set up the Blacktown Bicentennial Museum in 1988 who are still involved with the Museum. Whilst most of the exhibits have a tale to tell, Wal and Lorraine also have tales lo tell of how some of those exhibits were acquired. The following is one of those tales.

One very foggy Saturday morning Lorraine and I drove to Richmond to pick up our friend, Garrett, who was President of our Historical Society. We were to travel to Yass in Southern NSW to attend a Farm Auction (our intention was to buy farm equipment for our proposed Museum).

We arrived in Yass at about 10:30 a.m. and it was a cold, miserable day with a light misty rain. We poked around and looked at the articles on offer in the house, then checked out the front yard. The items were not numbered as normal and there didn’t appear to be a representative of the Auctioneer available to get a bidder’s number for when the Auction began.

Things moved along at a great clip and finally we were in the backyard where the goodies were that we were interested in. Garrett and I were bidding for all sorts of things, but we were only two amongst fifty or sixty others. We know we made a bid and were successful in securing a veritable treasure trove of a “rubbish tip”, all varied pieces of equipment and odds and ends for a very minimal price of $2.

We bought a pony cart, a scarifier, we “thought” we bought a large block and tackle that was in a tree! We proceeded to the machinery sheds and bought some stuff there. The rain was pelting down in earnest and by this time it was quite dark and trucks were getting bogged etc.

Lorraine and I were supposed to be back in Sydney for a trip on the Nepean Belle Paddle Boat and she had packed a suitcase with clean undies etc. along with her fur coat and silver high heels, my d1IIIIer suit and spare socks and shoes for me.

It was now 5:00 p.m. and too late to drive back to Sydney for the 7:00 p.m. cruise. We decided to stay in town at a motel for the night and load up the truck in the morning. As we had already used our truck to pull cars out of the bog in the paddocks we felt we would beat the mud by going back the next day to load up the gear we had bought.

Unfortunately for Garrett he only had the clothes he stood up in, so when we got to the
motel Lorraine showed him how to rig up a line near the air conditioner to dry his gear off and gave him a pair of my socks to wear.

We were back at the farm bright and early the next morning and Garrett pointed out the things we had bought and we proceeded to load the Dyna truck with them. Lorraine busied herself going over our “Treasure Tip”, putting piles aside to be loaded on to the truck. A man told her if she wished she could go over the stuff in the galvanised bathtub as he didn’t want anything else from it.

Lorraine thought it was Christmas all over again and got stuck in to pulling stuff out of the tub and putting it with the bits from the “Treasure Tip”. Garrett and I were busy pulling down the block and tackle, trying to work out how to get the block out of the ground, when we were accosted by an angry man demanding to know what we were doing. Garrett told him he was trying to pull down the block and tackle he had bought. “Like **** hell you are. I bought the **** thing my **** self” Garrett and I looked at each other and decided that as the guy was bigger than us we’d better give in gracefully.

At the same time Lorraine was confronted by an irate lady demanding to know what she was doing. Lorraine replied that the man had told her she could have an* she wanted.. The Lady? then yelled at her that she was a sculptress, she had spent a lot of money buying all that material and intended to use it for a work she was doing for an art gallery in Canberra. Lorraine graciously apologised, relinquished her “goodies” and walked away.

Garrett and I decided to load up the buggies and carts we had bought. By this time the sun was out, it was a lovely morning and we were chatting about how soon we were going to be able to hit the road. The truck was nearly fully loaded when we were approached by another woman who asked if we had seen her pony cart. ”No,” said Garrett and I together. We hadn’t seen a pony cart other than the one we had bought. She looked up, spotted a cart on our truck and started yelling, “That’s my cart. I paid so many dollars for that!” I looked at Garrett and we both climbed up on the truck to off-load the pony cart. We never did find ours!

We finally hit the road just before midday to head home. We had the truck loaded to the hilt with wagon wheels, spare parts etc. We had to constantly watch the tyres because of the weight we were carrying. We stopped at Goulburn, had a pizza for lunch, and continued on our way. Things seemed to be going well. We cruised through the Truck Weighing Station at Marulan and were climbing the hill to head towards Bargo when the truck started to pull to one side.

“Geez, I think we’ve got a flat!” Garrett jumped out and confirmed that a tyre on the
passenger’s side at the back was as flat as a tack. “This won’t take long,” I said as I went to the tool box. Oh yeah? No wheel brace in the tool box. Hell! Garrett tried to reassure me that we could get one “no troubles”. “Lorraine and I will go for a walk up the hill to a property and borrow one.” They set off leaving me to try to flag down a truck if I could -NO TRUCKS!!

On reaching the farm Garrett and Lorraine walked around the work sheds looking for signs of Life but not even a dog was to be found. They trudged back to the truck. Garrett decided to hitch a ride back to the RTA Weighing Station to call the NRMA. After what seemed like an age he arrived back in the NRMA Ute. Out of the ute ambled the mechanic who looked at the flat and said, “Got a flat tyre mate!” (No, it’s just flat on the bottom!)

“Yes,” I replied, “and we don’t appear to have our wheel brace, can you lend us one?”

‘Nah, mate, I don’t have one big enough.” (Looking all the time at the tyre, expecting it to inflate, I think!)

“Can you borrow one from town?” asked Garrett.

“Nah,” said the NRMA Guy, “the people in town don’t like me. They wouldn’t lend me

‘Well, can you tow us back to Marulan?”

“Can’t do that mate. I don’t have a truck big enough.” He proceeded to tell me that I should drive the loaded truck back to town.

I said, “What? You’ve got to be joking. I can’t drive this truck with this load with a flat

NRMA Guy, “Sure you can, she’ll be right!”

“You’re kidding!” I said.

“Nah,mate, it’ll be O.K.”

I said, “If I drive I’ll blow the other tyres.”

He replied, “She’ll be O.K.”

So I said, “It’s your responsibility if anything goes wrong.”

Into the truck we hop and start to turn around to head back to Marulan. The U-Turn  safely completed we went not 100 yards when the second tyre blew. NRMA Guy (Happy Joe Happy?) suggested we leave the truck on the side of the road for the night (it was quickly getting dark at this stage, about 4:30-5:00 p.m.). I was again incredulous. I said, “No, if I do that it probably wouldn’t be in one piece in the morning.” Garrett said, with all his schoolmasterly authority, “I suggest that you take us to the Weigh Station my man.” Into the NRMA Ute the three of us hopped and we were duly dropped at the Weighing Station.

The officers at the Weighing Station were sympathetic and tried to find us a wheel brace amongst their friends. One even rang a dealer in Goulburn to see if we could get one from there, no luck! The next problem was what to do about Garrett who had realised he had the keys to the school and would need to be in Sydney for school Monday morning. The Officer in Charge of the Weigh Station said it would be no problem. He called across to the OIC of the Sydney Side Weigh Station and asked him to stop the next bus going to Sydney. This was duly done and we walked under the highway through a tunnel corridor to the other side to see Garrett onto the bus.

Back to the other side to try to solve our dilemma. As luck would have it a policeman went up the Sydney Road, booked someone and came back. The OIC stopped the policeman and told him our problem. He shook his head and said, “If you leave that truck here it is, it’s a sure bet it won’t be there in the morning.” He told us the NRMA Guy was not liked in the town as he and his wife and kids were suspected suppliers of dope, were deemed to be dishonest and that the wife had assaulted the magistrate that last week and was on charge.

The policeman drove Lorraine and I back to Marulan and organised for the Heavy Haulage Truck Company in town to retrieve our truck and bring it back to safety. He also went to the local hotel, which had closed for the night (now 10:30 p.m.), and arranged for them to put us up for the night.

What a night! The bed rolled us into the centre and cocooned us tightly together, the lino was freezing in the morning and the bathroom a long way down the hall! In the morning we presented ourselves at the Heavy Haulage Company and waited for the tyres to be fixed. We arrived back home at 2:30 p.m. on Monday without any further incident.

Garrett’s ride to Sydney was just as exciting. He had to sit on the step as the bus was full of footy players who had gone to Canberra from Sydney for the day to play. The bus driver told Garrett that when he went through the Weigh Bridge and was told to pull over he was a bit worried. He thought the boys had drunk too much after the game but couldn’t see how that would make a difference. He was relieved when he was only asked to take on an extra passenger. Garrett was dropped off at Parramatta Station and had to catch a train to Riverstone and then another one to Richmond.

Editor’s Note: After reading this, I trust readers will appreciate the extraordinary efforts
these people put in to stock the Museum. Fortunately not all items on display created quite this much difficulty.


by Judith Lewis

1932 The Formation Of Riverstone Vigoro Club.

The following item appeared in the Windsor & Richmond Gazette on 19 August, 1932: 

  Riverstone Vigoro Club, which was formed only a fortnight ago, is already a flourishing institution. It has a membership of over 30, all of whom are particularly keen and enthusiastic. The office bearers are:

President, Mr Ben Hibbert
Hon. Secretary, Miss Joyce Woods
Hon. Treasurer, Mrs W. Wiggins.

A week later Riverstone had played a friendly game against Windsor at Riverstone Sports’ Ground. Windsor won. The return match, played on Saturday 27 August, on Windsor’s ground was won by Riverstone. The paper reported:

  “Riverstone came prepared to win” one of the Red and Whites said, and it surely looked like it when the Country Life Club marched out to ;he field complete in red and white costumes. Riverstone Club brought other members to back it up and also barrackers from the town. Windsor played a good game, but was beaten wholly and solely by the bowling of one of the Riverstone players. Although Windsor won the match played at Riverstone, the members of the Windsor Club have not in any way let their work go down, but have practised constantly and certainly showed a marked difference in their fielding on Saturday.

In 1932 the following teams were named in the Gazette but the competition appears to have been purely social: Riverstone Country Life, Schofields Boomerangs, Cattai Rovers, Vineyard Blue Birds, Windsor Checkers and Blacktown.

1933 A District Vigoro Association is Formed.

At a meeting at the Olympia Theatre, Riverstone, on 24 January 1933 a Vigoro Association was formed in the Hawkesbury, with competition to begin on 4 February. Five well-balanced clubs made up the competition. They were: Riverstone Country Life, Schofields Boomerangs, Vineyard Blue Birds, Cattai Rovers, Windsor Checkers.

The RIVERSTONE team was comprised of: M. Conway, N. Strachan, I., E. & S. Wiggins, L. Byrnes, F. Russell, G. Stanford, B. Day, J. Rabey, J. Woods and E. Drayton.

SCHOFIELDS were represented by: R. Rabey, A. Fletcher, E. Wilson, M. Anderson, E. Overton, G. Thompson, J. McWilliam, I. Bursle, H. Pomfret, M. Roach and D. Wells.

The VINEYARD team was: G. Burden, I. Blackhall, D. McLean, B. Jarrett, A. Fletcher, V. Quinlan, E. Schofield, M. Rowan, J. Greentree, A. Burchill, C. & S. Jenkins.

At the end of the first round, on 10 March, Riverstone and Vineyard were leading the competition on 24 points apiece. New names to appear in results published in the Gazette were: D. Keegan (Riverstone), P. Becker and 0.Alderton (Schofields) and D. Alcom and J. Schoffel (Vineyard).

Nancy Anderson (Strachan), a member of the Riverstone team, was interviewed by her great grand-daughter, Holly Stone, for this article. She remembers her uniform as being a maroon dress with white on it. As part of the uniform they also wore white sandshoes and white caps. They practised twice a week and their coach was Harry Davis.

Nancy also recalls that it cost a penny to play and a bingo team raised money. The Gazette recorded fund raising dances at both Riverstone and Vineyard. The Riverstone function was held in the Olympia Theatre and was in aid of the district association. The Vineyard dance “under the auspices of the Blue Birds Vigoro Club was held on Saturday evening, the funds benefiting to the extent of £4”.

Interdistrict Competition.

An Interdistrict Game was held over the Easter weekend between Hawkesbury and Cumberland. Two teams from the Hawkesbury played in the morning and in the afternoon Cumberland defeated Hawkesbury by an innings and 14 runs. The Hawkesbury team was: B. Rabey, A. Fletcher, F. Russell, E. Overton, G. Stanford, G. Thompson, 0. Gill, E. Brown, Lorna and Lola Mitchell, Z. Douglass and E. Wilson.

A second interdistrict game between Hawkesbury and Pals (Parramatta) was played at Riverstone in June. Parramatta winning by 12 runs, scoring 47 and 61, with B. Rabey taking 5 for 10 and E. Brown 8 for 23, and Hawkesbury scoring 44 and 52 with Lola Mitchell and E. Wiggins each getting 13 runs.

Social Activities in Schofields.

Social activities obviously played an important part in team morale as witnessed by this report in the Schofields News section of the Gazette on 19 May, 1933.

  An enjoyable evening at the residence of Mr Gordon Alderton on Friday, 5th a surprise party by players and followers of Schofields Vigoro Club. A party numbering about 50 assembled nearby and advanced on Mr Alderton’s home armed with musical instruments and an abundance of good things for the inner man. In a few minutes they took control, cleared a room for dancing and games, which were indulged in until 2 a.m. During the evening Mr Davis, on behalf of the vigoro girls, presented Mr Alderton with a handsome gift.

At about the same time, 2 June, headlines blared:



One of the most sensational dismissals of a vigoro team was witnessed at McQuade Park Windsor on Saturday afternoon, when Riverstone skittled the home side for 6 runs in their first innings 17 in their second… Riverstone scored 113 and 69… Stanford and Russell, who bowled throughout, were responsible for the collapse … Nancy Strachan scored 48 not out and 22.

Vineyard Presentation.

  In July, Miss E. Schoffel, President, presented cups won during the summer competition to Vineyards Blue Birds Vigoro Club. Mrs W. Blackhall took the batting trophy, Miss Gwen Burden won the bowling, with Miss Joyce Greentree receiving the consolation prize for bowling and Miss A. Fletcher took the most catches.

Schofields Victorious.

Apparently Schofields won the 1933 Competition and Knockout Competition, a matter which was not recorded in the Gazette and for which the paper was criticised by Mr Rabey. This promoted the Gazette to reply:

  We might add that the columns of the Gazette are at all times open for the publication of the results of sporting fixtures, and the sooner some organisations get reliable secretaries who will supply the necessary information regularly, the fewer the complaints will be.

Transport to the Games.

Transport to the games must have been a problem as Mr Ronald B. Walker M.L.A., on behalf of the Hawkesbury District Vigoro Association,

  made representations to the DMR relative to the conveying of competing members of the vigoro teams on goods motor vehicles to fulfil their various engagements. The Commissioner (Mr S.A. Maddocks) has promised Mr Walker that the matter will be fully investigated.

The reply was prompt, and Mr Walker was advised by the Commissioner that

  …..passengers are precluded from travelling on goods motor vehicles unless their conveyance is expressly authorised in the licence or a permit under the State Transport (Co-Ordination) Act 1931.
..the department is not favourably disposed towards the use of motor lorries for   passenger   transport….It    is   recognised    however,   that   difficulty    may    be experienced by lorry owners located in outlying centres some distance from District Registries in obtaining permits on each occasion it is required to convey players on their vehicles, and in order to meet their requirements, consideration will be given to the use of monthly permits on payment of 1/- each. … ….. A permit fee of 1/- should accompany each application, which should contain full information regarding the days the matches are to be played and the places between which the journeys are to be undertaken.

Jean Cubitt (nee Wood) recalls travelling to vigoro matches in the back of Jess Goodwin’s truck. She tells of driving home through Pin Town where the fruit from orchards was hanging over the fence. Some of the girls picked some fruit and they ate it. On arriving back at Riverstone and stopping at “Conway’s Corner” (the intersection of Garfield Road and Riverstone Parade) they found the local constable awaiting their return. He had a complaint from a farmer about the girls “stealing” his fruit. “Be on your way, and don’t let it happen again!” was the warning.

Dick Stacey provided the transport on the back of his truck also, especially when the girls were going to dances in other districts. Dick’s band was usually playing for the dance. Jean remembers going across to Penrith on the back of Dick’s truck for a Vigoro Ball and being billeted by the Penrith team for a night.

Marsden Park And Vineyard.

On 28 July it was reported that:

  the newly-formed Marsden Park Vigoro Club had advised Blacktown Council that they had not been able to secure an area on which to play and asked for the use of the reserve at the boundary creek opposite the Cemetery. The Club offered to pay a nominal rental if necessary. A decision on the matter was deferred for a fortnight

In Vinyard News on 25 August it was reported that:

  Vineyard Bluebird Vigoro Club is experiencing no difficulty in securing members. Applications for membership are still coming to hand and in a match on Sunday they had defeated Marsden Park Cooees by an innings and 10 runs. Bluebirds 90 (M Rowan 36) and Cooees 55 and 25.

Mr Rabey vs the Gazette cont’d:

The Gazette correspondent was not going to forgive Mr Rabey of Schofields for his earlier complaint. The following appeared on 18 August:

  Blacktown challenged Schofields and won by 6 wickets and 9 runs. Schofields is on the leg theory! “Where was Mr Rabey on Sunday?” inquires our correspondent. Although the Hawkesbury District Vigoro Association’s second competition commenced on Saturday, no-one seemed to be aware of the fact except those associated with the movement. …we have repeatedly assured the Association of the co-operation of the Gazette in popularising the game in the district. But apparently this is not appreciated.

A Spectator Sport?

This intriguing paragraph in Riverstone News leaves one wondering as to the identity of “Pop”:

  Vigoro has become a popular pastime in Riverstone. Even “Pop” has been attracted by youth and beauty, and is now a regular attendant at the games.

District Teams.

Teams in the new competition were: Country Life I and II, Blue Bird, Boomerang, Don’t Worry Club, Old Gold, Sunshine (Pitt Town), Cheerio, Rovers (Cattai) and White Flash. Miss Joyce Woods enthusiastic secretary of the Country Life Club drew praise from the Gazette for her contributions of the draw and point score. (So there Mr Rabey!)

  New players for Country Life I were Lola & L. Mitchell, M Stockwell, E. Brown, A. Knight and Z. Douglass. For Country Life II they were M. Woodlands, E. & H McCarthy, R. & L. Wiggins, E. Freeman, B. Dench, Jean Woods, J. Symonds, P. Martin, and K. & L. Rideout. Boomerangs new players were M Cartwright, E. Bassell, B. Jean & J. Rabey. Blue Birds new members were L. Strachan, P. Moore. I. Greentree, D. Thiele, J. Schoffeland B. Fennell.

Gazette vs Mr Rabey Again.

On 8 September poor Mr Rabey was attacked again. A correspondent writes:

  It’s no credit to Schofields Vigoro Club boasting about their great win against Blacktown on Saturday week, as the latter team was short seven players -thanks to Mr Rabey! (What did Mr Rabey do with those seven players?)

Also in September:

  Old Golds were offered a free outing by a well-known vigoro enthusiast if they defeated Country Life I, leaders in the district competition, on Saturday. They failed badly, however, as Country Life won by an innings. Said that some of the Old Golds, who were keenly looking forward to the trip that was to be provided, were sadly disappointed. But surely they did not expect to beat Country Life I that easy.

Country Life I was the leading team in the 1933 summer competition. They apparently held their own also against teams from outside the district. In a Sunday match at Riverstone they defeated Marrickville Strollers by 89 runs. The Strollers made 40 & 25. Country Life 1 replied with 14 & 140.

Windsor vs Riverstone.

  The Gazette announced that the Game of the Season will be played on Saturday week in Windsor between Country Life I and Don ‘t Worry. Country Life I are leading the competition, but Don’t Worry are improving with every match and are expected to give the leaders some anxious moments.

Country Life won by an innings and 27 runs! At the same time Country Life II were soundly beaten by the Boomerangs by 163 runs with B. Rabey taking 5 for 3 and E. Overton 2 for 7. New members for each of the teams were O. Willis and S. Martin for Country Life II and D. Field for Blue Birds.

Monster Sports’ Meeting.

A Monster Sports’ Meeting for the Hawkesbury District Vigoro Association was held at the Riverstone Sports’ Ground on Saturday 18 November. (One expects “Pop” was an enthusiastic spectator at the grand march past of vigoro teams at 3:00 p.m.) The weather was poor and the function was not the success anticipated and the full program was not carried out owing to wet weather. The following results makes one wonder what could possibly have been omitted!

  • The March Past was judged by Miss Dodge (Secretary of the N.S. W. Vigoro Association), Mrs Randell (Marrickville Strollers) and Mrs Wilson, and the winners were Boomerangs with Country Life II second.
  • Tug-of- War caused a great deal of excitement and war won by Boomerangs with Country Life II second.
  • Lovers race was won by Jean McWilliam and Partner.
  • The Three-legged race was won by Evy Overton and partner.
  • 75 yards Championship was won by Dot Wells, Boomerangs, with Jean McWilliams second.
  • Relay was won by Boomerangs team: D. Wells, J. McWilliams, Elva McWilliams and Eyv Overton.
  • Throwing the vigoro ball was annexed by Lorna Mitchell, Country Life I with Belle Rabey, Boomerangs, second
  • 100 yards men’s handicap was very exciting and resulted in a dead-heat between Charlie Woodlands and Norman Ward, with Jeff Andrews inches away third.
  • Young Ladies (13-1 6) handicap was won by Peggy Conway, Country Life I.
  • Married ladies handicap was exciting, a dead-heat between Mrs Aub Woods and Mrs Dot Wells.
  • A number of children’s races were also held, a dance was held at night in the Oddfellows’ Hall and was largely attended.

Vigoro news ceased to be reported in the Gazette of 1934, 35, 36 and 37 but Jean Cubitt recalls still playing in 1939.

Riverstone Country Life Vigoro Team: Muriel Woodlands, Helen McCarthy, Eileen McCarthy, Norma Clarke (team mascot), unknown, unknown, Jean Robbins, unknown, Enid Freeman, Laly Rideout, unknown, Gwen Stanford?, Jean Wood.


Sam Lane’s Letters To The Editor

In the 1980s Sam wrote letters to both the Riverstone Press and the Guardian. The following are extracts from some of Sam ‘s letters which were entitled ‘Looking Back”


Sport has always played a big part in the lives of the Riverstone people and in the early days Cricket, Football, Boxing, Horse, Dog and Foot Racing were some of the most popular pastimes.

Some of the “well knowns” whose prowess come to mind are Herb Freeman, cricketer; Claude Schofield and “Sandy” Wiggins, two of our great early footballers; and Billy Teale, Heavyweight Boxing Champion of the Army in the 1914/18 Campaign, who fought a bout with the World Heavyweight Champion.

The Jarretts would have been among the pioneers of dog racing and many a good dog was trained on sheep’ heads boiled up in the old kerosene tin over an open backyard fire. This same fire incidentally took care of the Monday morning wash -a far cry from our modern fully automatic washing machines 

… Riverstone Press 20 September 1980

Early Parish Maps Of Riverstone

On viewing Parish Maps of the early 1800s I am quite convinced that the original O’Connell Grant of 2,500 acres was enclosed as follows:- Eastern Creek to the West; Bandon Road to the North, Windsor Road to the East and Brighton Street to the South. Grantham Farm Estate came much later and was a subdivision of portion of the original O’Connell Grant.

This old Parish Map also shows Bandon Road linking up to the old Hawkesbury Road in the east, and the West end meeting Eastern Creek near the site of Steve Upton’s Bridge. Before the Railway came to Riverstone, the Rumery Brothers carried on business as Long Distance Road Hauliers, with horse drawn vehicles of course; and could easily have assembled their loads at their Homestead (still standing) in the Windsor Road, and transported goods via Bandon Road, Steve Upton’s Bridge thence to the Western Road and over the Mountains to Bathurst. Whilst this is only supposition, it could well have been possible.

An alternative route could have been through Agnes Banks, but this would necessitate a hazardous crossing of South Creek

… Riverstone Press Undated cl980/1

Some Names In The History Of Riverstone And District

(1) Just recently I had the pleasure of quite a long discussion with Arthur Rothwell, son of the original Frederick Rothwell, of Schofields. After talking for over an hour we had only scratched the surface details of the original history of Schofields and decided that we would have to have further meetings together.

However one thing we established beyond doubt was that the main pioneer families of Schofields were Mitchells, Aldertons and Rothwells possibly in that order of seniority.
Parish Maps will throw a lot of light as to the date of submission of the Schofields area in the 1860s at the time of the coming of the Railway to Richmond.

Arthur Rothwell said that Dan Alderton was the maintenance man or foreman who supervised the sub-division of the Farms Road area, when Frederick Rothwell a ship’s carpenter, acquired an area in 1894 on which he grew strawberries whilst still residing at Balmain; later on he worked locally as a carpenter and one of the homes he built was our own family residence (circa 1906) in Garfield Road, now owned by Mrs Coulter.

Information about Mr Mitchell is at present not so well known to me, all I have is that he was a woodcarter and cutter who sold posts and rails and cut Bakers wood -all this from Rouse’s Bush; he also did a lot of post and rail fencing for Mr Rouse.

It was during this period of history that the old slab Gospel Hall in St. Albans Road was built by voluntary labour, a pleasing feature being that it was open for use by all denominations, a condition being that no collection was to be taken up.

… Riverstone Press 29 January 1981

(2) This week my thoughts go back to the birthplace of the pioneers of some of our well know Riverstone families.

One that comes to mind is the Hynds family. These people, like many others in this area, were of a kindly, Christian disposition who lived a close to nature farm life. They were always on call to help a neighbour, and with the nearest doctor 9 or 10 kilometres away, assistance or neighbourly advice so unselfishly given was thankfully received.

The danger of bushfires was always a threat during the summer months and these residents always banded together in this time of need. Rouse Hill-Nelson-Annangrove was one of the first Bush Fire Brigades, but let it be known that water pumps and knapsacks were unknown to the “oldies” and a wet bag or a green bush was their only weapon.

To my knowledge Rod Terry was one of the first to use a tanker and I have met him in Riverstone m many occasions lending a hand in a crisis. I think I am correct when I say the late Tom Robbins, Ted Sutton and Jock Simpson were some of his gang. They were all that kind of people -friends in need at all times.

These folk from the Nelson, Kenthurst and Annangrove area are very close to the Riverstone people in all respects and it is to be hoped that with the influx of newer residents to our areas, the friendly, neighbourly spirit so prevalent in our early history will not be forgotten.

… Riverstone Press 26 February 1981

Some Early History Of Schofields’ Area.

As the weeks go by the mass of information about the way of life in the 1900s builds, especially when people like Arthur Rothwell relate some of those incidents of early days.

One story is of a woman who complained to the proprietor of a shanty butcher shop in Schofields that the leg of mutton she had purchased from him had hairs adhering to it, and it was found to be a leg of goat! No living person was implicated in this particular incident.

Arthur tells me he went with his father, shifting the household goods, books, etc. of a Mr Craddock, who was a librarian at the Sydney University, and who resided in Grange Avenue. The journey was undertaken in a spring cart drawn by a light draught horse, the route being along Old Windsor Road, Kellyville, Parramatta, thence to Sydney. They commenced the trip at 4 a.m. and returned the same day.

His father built the Church of England at Marsden Park (since demolished), circa 1910. He and a friend also bought and dismantled the old Police Station at Rouse Hill and later sold the sandstone blocks, slabs etc. Some of the bricks from this building are still in the area.

He also bas memories of a blacks’ camp in 1910 in the vicinity of the Rooty Hill turn-off on the eastern side of Blacktown Road. They were known as Burdekins blacks, were about twenty in number and received government rations.

His mother, Mrs Rothwell, did mission work among them; and also conducted a small school of a private nature in Schofields.

… Unknown paper 5 February 1981

Roads in the Area

Looking back to those distant days when there was no railway line and the Windsor Road was not in position; the road to Windsor was either via the Hawkesbury Road or via the Blacktown Road via Prospect, bearing in mind that the Lennox Bridge was not then built. The question is How did all these things affect Riverstone? So let us take a look at the influences that changed all this.

The Windsor Road was re-built to its new position, the Railway took the flats between the Windsor Road and Blacktown Road and there were other minor adjustments as a result of townships developing.

An old map of the 1800s in my possession, clearly shows the road system as Parramatta, Westmead, Toongabbie, Rouse Hill and then on to Windsor, there is also clear evidence that this road was linked with the Blacktown Road, the link being Vinyards via Steve Upton’s Bridge to Marsden Park and then by what is known as the Blacktown Road to Richmond.

Under this road system, Riverstone township was by-passed and it would be interesting to know if some of our modern day Engineers would express an opinion as to whether the route mentioned above was more feasible than the present road running through Riverstone.

… Guardian 9 April 1981

Vale Walter Williams -Passing Of Schofields Identity

Residents of Schofields and the surrounding district were saddened last Thursday week to learn of the death of well known local identity, Walter Williams. For over 40 years, Wal and his wife conducted a Produce and Hardware Store in Schofields, and during that time closely associated themselves with many local activities.

Perhaps Wal’s greatest interest was Cricket, a game which he played in his younger days with considerable success, having his name on Schofields Cricket Club Record Book, as one who had scored over 500 runs for the club. He was very conscious of the honour conferred on him when invited by them to become a patron, a position he had held for a number of years, and was never happier than when discussing cricket with anyone who displayed an interest in the subject, whether they be 8 or 80 years old.

Vale Wally, 85 -a good innings.

… Riverstone Press 21 September 1981

The Strachan Family

The excellent picture of the old slab cottage at the Riverstone High School, which appeared in a recent addition of the Guardian prompts this story.

In the latter part of the 1800s and in Ben Richards days, there was a large family of Strachans resident in the Riverstone area, these being Fred, Jim, George, Harry, Herb, Arthur & Clara. In the 1890s Arthur Strachan a sleeper cutter had a slab cottage erected by a Mr Andrew.

Mrs Fred Burden – the youngest and only surviving member of Arthur Strachan’s family -resided in this area together with her husband & children until it was handed over to the High School. Incidentally the slabs were purchased for the princely sum of 12 pounds.

Fred and his wife have been known for their great spotting ability and deserve a special story of their own; Fred excelled himself as a Cricketer & Tennis player & later as a bowler, hi wife was a top line District Tennis player.

… Guardian October 1981

Tiddeman Family

… They were the original owners of the beautiful homestead known as “The Flagstaff’ which used to stand in the Dingle Street -Hamilton Street area.

The Pearce family lived in this home during the 1920s; one of the daughters Edie married Frank Parkinson, but she has since passed away.

Alas, like so many of the local Orchard properties, it became the victim of the disastrous drought of 1900/10, but what a grand sight it must have been in the era 1850/90 to look upon these homes with shady verandahs, enclosed in their own house garden and surrounded by full flowering orchards.

Mrs Tiddeman had 3 children, a son Cecil, daughter Amy and another daughter who died at an early age. Cecil was a real celebrity and a great supporter of local sports; Amy married Bill Edwards who was a successful Riverstone Grocer; they had two sons Eric and Trevor, who are both well respected men in the town and together have over 85 continuous years of service with the Riverstone Meat Company.

… Unknown paper 15 October 1981

Steve Upton’s Bridge (a favourite topic with Sam.)

… One of my interests in this matter is Steve Upton’s Bridge and the many road systems associated with it and its construction.

To my way of thinking -this bridge was in use up to the coming of the railway to Riverstone and was the chief link in transport between Windsor, Mulgrave, Pittown (sic) and Marsden Park -then continuing via Blacktown and Toongabbie to Parramatta.

To add substance to my opinion, I would ask that we bear in mind that all transport would be horse drawn, and would thus attempt to avoid hilly country as much as possible.

Thomas Upton owned land in 1882 on the opposite side of the creek to the Jericho Homestead, and as this is in the area of Steve Upton’s Bridge it is not beyond the realms of imagination to think there is some connection. There is also an Upton family mentioned in the Electoral Roll of 1900/01.

Regarding the bridge, the piers are still standing and I have recollections of walking across it in early 1900s.

As this would have been a significant structure, it is possible that some mention of it would have been made in early Bridge Building records.

Furthermore, there was a Convict Staging Hostel in this area

… Unknown paper November 1981

Aunty Mary, Part Of Historical Family

The story of Riverstone from 1900 until the present time would not be complete without mention of our very own Aunty Mary. Born Mary Freeman on December 12th, 1899, she was one of the daughters of George Freeman who himself was a legend in his own right, being one of the first Beef Butchers employed by Ben Richards in 1870 or 1880. I have a photo of him taken many years ago with a son Bede as a small boy; many of his offspring now living in Riverstone bear that unmistakable Freeman image.

Mary has memories of many aspects of early Riverstone history such as:-
Her mother having the first piano in Riverstone, and the entertainment they had around that piano when they lived in the old Cobcroft home in Richards Avenue (then known as Butchers’ Row).

Mary also drove the local doctor around on his rounds, and acted as an untrained nurse for him, having particularly vivid memories of the dreaded Influenza Epidemic when it hit Riverstone.

She recalls that Typhoid Fever also raged at one time (it took the life of her mother at an early age), this being caused by the drinking water in the wells being contaminated because of the extreme drought conditions.

Mary places great emphasis on family life and simple entertainments and the principle of being a good neighbour; those of us who know her intimately will realise that she has always been an example of this particular virtue.

… 19 November 1981

How Did Riverstone Look Back Then?

How do you visualise Riverstone as it was in 1900s?

My recollections are of farms and orchards along Riverstone Road, Elizabeth and McCulloch Streets, those being between 10 and 20 acres. I recall Halls Farm where the High School now stands. Mr Hall had a gramophone (modem invention then) and the sounds of the music played could be heard all over the town. On the opposite corner was a vacant paddock, but it had had a dwelling on it at one time, and could well have been the site of the Sawmill conducted by either McCullochs or Benjamin woods.

The light in front of the Engine Room at the Meat Works was renowned for the settlement of many a dispute -good bare knuckle fighting -a gentleman’s code of no kicking or waddies.

Many orchardists had their own way of meting out justice to the intruders bent on fruit stealing -a double barrel shotgun fired at 80/100 yards. Imagine going to visit the local doctor the next morning to have the pellets removed. No questions asked, of course, but the whole town fully aware of the truth of the situation.

Perhaps similar treatment might be useful for some of our present day vandals.

… Riverstone Press 4 March 1982

Vale Eileen Parry

It grieved me considerably to hear of the death of local identity Mrs Eileen Parry. Although one of the more recent members of our newly found Senior Citizens Club, Mrs Parry was one of the oldest residents and a member of the well known Wiggins Family of Riverstone. Her father having been one of the first Beef Butchers in the town in the 1870s.

Mrs Parry with her sister Elsie, and brother Ossie were famous in their younger days for their entertainment achievements and used to perform with other young people in Concert Parties around Riverstone and surrounding areas. Brother Ossie is still hale and hearty with a clear mind of life in the early days. I am taking the earliest opportunity to visit him and look forward to a most fruitful interview.

Vale – Eileen Parry – we will continue to write the history of this town you loved so much.

… Riverstone Press 18 March 1982

Row Goes Down In History

Floods in any area produce many epic adventures, but to my way of thinking the rowing feat of John Schofield during the 1867 Hawkesbury flood must go down in history as one of the “greats”.

Claude Schofield assures me that his ancestor John rowed a boat at that time from McGrath’s Hill to Schofields, (and this statement has been confirmed to me many times).

The accompanying photo shows the 112 year old oak tree to which he tied his boat. The tree still stands, and the photo was taken on the weekend following the recent Schofields Family Reunion. The foundations of the originals Homestead of the Schofields family, are within a few metres of this tree.

… Riverstone Press 25 March 1982

An Example Of Early Life In Australia …(undated)

Whilst all phases of our local history are important, none could match the dedication and meticulous details which was evident at the recent Schofields Family Reunion, each living segment had the common purpose of presenting an accurate and “no frills” account of early life in Australia.

It is common knowledge that little is known of the part our Pioneer Women played in those turbulent days, but maybe the Schofields family book which is to be released will relate to us a little more about Bridget Harley and her parents..

I felt very proud to be present with these historic descendants at the reunion, enjoying not only the day itself, but the opportunity to renew friendships with some members of the Schofields family with whom I had lost contact for over 30 years.

… Unknown paper

The Heroic Few

Ever since Bill Marlin, the eldest of the Pilton Marlin family, enlisted in the Boer War as a Lancer, Riverstone has had its quota of men who heeded the call of arms.

As I look at a photo of the Riverstone & District Honor Board of the First World War, I find that it contains the names of 131 men -indeed something to be proud of when one considers what a small town Riverstone was then.

Although I was only 16 years of age when the Armistice was declared, I have a very clear recollection of the sorrow and sacrifices experienced by the families of these gallant volunteers.

I remember the Concerts and Socials which were organised as “send offs”; I recall the Railway Station where they were welcomed home, when Mr Chas Davis would be there with many of the townspeople, and his hearty “three cheers for our heroes”.

The return had its sad time as well; lads with shell shock and the other serious injuries.
Civilian life proved difficult for these lads, work was hard to come by and the later depression was poor reward for their heroic sacrifice.

Regarding this historic Roll of Honor; I am appealing on behalf of those gallant 131 men to anyone who has any idea of where it was taken after its removal for repair from the Riverstone Railway Station, to come forward.

I am of the opinion that public subscription raised the finance for its purchase and it must have been a great effort to obtain the necessary amount, when one considers that times were far from affluent.

The heading on the Board reads THE GREAT WORLD WAR, RIVERSTONE & DISTRICT HONOR ROLL, 1914 -19…….. . The latter date is not complete, proving that it was placed in position before the Peace Treaty was signed. Surely someone has knowledge of its whereabouts?

After all, it is part of Riverstone’s Heritage, and all of us have a duty to try to locate this sacred monument.

… Unknown paper 21 April 1982

Sam’s forward thinking is evidenced by the following Letter to the Editor:

Dear Sir,
Following a discussion at a recent meeting of the Riverstone Branch of the A.L.P. a request was made to the Blacktown City Committee that Council require their engineers to conduct a survey of the extension of Bandon Road, Vineyard across the Riverstone-Mulgrave Railway line to link up with the old Steve Upton’s Bridge at Eastern Creek.

This pre Railway track emerged at Redgate in Farms Road, Marsden Park and thence to Blacktown Road, and the route is fully understood and approved by local Aldermen Roberts and Newnham.

If this project is proceeded with it will take all traffic out of the Riverstone town area, and furthermore it will prove a better flood free transportation route.

… Riverstone Press 3 September 1982

Vinegar Hill

The history surrounding Vinegar Hill has always been out of my orbit, except that I have a recollection of in my childhood being told that the dead trees near Nelson Road had been used to hang convicts.

Recently two members of the Rumery family have informed me that their father, the late William Rumery had told them that he used to walk from his home on the Windsor Road (or Hawkesbury Road as it was quite possibly known as then) to the school at Vinegar Hill. Whoever placed the plaque on Rouse Hill School premises, claiming it as the site, certainly had a good idea of what they were doing.

Another slight reference, but nevertheless something that substantiates the previous statement was made by the late Mrs Terry, when she said that the action of Vinegar Hill took place on the north western side of Vinegar Hill along Nelson Road.

I feel very humble in writing on such an important subject of Australian History, but the sources of these statements are beyond question, and unless something more authentic can be produced this version by living people must be taken seriously.

… Riverstone Press 14 October 1982

1915 Football Team

Thanks to Eric Martin we now have a photo of the 1915 Football Team of Riverstone in their black and gold guernseys on record at the High School. However, I am of the opinion that there is an earlier photo of a Riverstone Team, having seen a copy of it. This particular one shows Billy Teale as a member of the team, and as he enlisted in 1915, it appears that the photo could have been taken in 1914.

I am appealing to anybody who has the original to lend it to me to have it copied for our records. I assure them it will be well looked after.

… Riverstone Press undated c1983

The Wiggins -Marlin Family

Ruby is the only surviving member of the original Marlin family -which incidentally numbered 10 -and although well into her 80’s she retains a clear and accurate memory of early Riverstone history. She remembers quite vividly the troop train travelling from Windsor to Sydney conveying the Australian Lancers to the Boer war, troops being housed in the front cars and the horses in the rear. Her brother Bill Marlin was a member of this famous contingent.

She also recalls the camps of Aborigines on Blacktown Road. This meant that when coming to Riverstone for their rations they would cross over Eastern Creek at the old Pump Hole Crossing. She tells that as children she and her brothers and sisters used to hide when they saw the Aborigines coming, and of their mother telling them not to be afraid as the Aborigines were good people.

An extract from one of the brief family stories Sam gleaned from interviews.

St. Vincent de Paul Society

by Laurence Hession

The Riverstone Conference of the St. Vincent de Paul Society was formed on 3rd April 1949 with about twenty members, the following being elected to the executive positions. President, Mr P.H. (Harry) Lemon, Senior Vice President, Mr Tom Robbins, Junior Vice President, Mr Tom McNamara, Secretary, Mr Joe Loos, Treasurer, Mr Laurence Hession.

At their meeting of 13th June 1954, the President reported that Blacktown Central Council had decided to undertake the building of a Church -School at Scheyville Migrant Centre as a Special Work. This project was financed mainly from bottle drives, the different Conferences within the Blacktown Circumscription collecting bottles by the lorry load and delivering them to a bottle yard at Auburn, Frank Hession supplying lorry and driver for Riverstone. These bottle drives were carried on for some years, culminating in the opening of a Church -School at Scheyville.

Membership in the past was restricted to men only, but for some years now women have been allowed to join this Society.

For many years regular clothing drives and bottle drives were held to gain clothing and funds to assist the poor and under privileged, but now with the advent of retailing centres and clothing bins at different locations, these drives are not conducted as they were.

Through the years the Presidents of Riverstone Conference have been:- Harry Lemon, Tony Agten, Vincent Mason, John O’Hanlon, Bob Puzny and Malcolm Reed. This Conference was disbanded early in 1996 due to the inability to get members to fill the executive positions.