Visiting Schofields

by Marlene Barry (nee Home)

Marlene near Central Station on her way to Schofields.

My grandparents, Albert and Isabel Gosper, lived on Grange Avenue Schofields, opposite Dawson’s Dairy farm. My memories are from the early 1940s. As grandchildren our visits started at Central Railway station after a tram ride from Maroubra where we lived.

Occasionally there was a taxi at Schofields Railway Station or our grandparent’s horse and sulky to meet us. It was a long walk if we had to walk along a dusty road and very hot in summer.

My memories of visits to their house and small farm are:-

    • A dairy shed.
    • Outside lavatory.
    • A tank for our water (full of wrigglers) /A well, lovely cool water with frogs in it.
    • A dam, very muddy with eels in it.
    • Flies and mosquitoes /Fly swat for killing flies.
    • Cow dung burning for deterring mosquitoes.
    • Goannas and snakes.
    • Farm machinery, heavy, old and rusty.
    • Pepper trees.
    • Muscovy ducks, hens, roosters and pigs.
    • Vegetable garden, corn, grammas, water melons etc.
    • Chicken wire everywhere.
    • Aniseed, larkspurs, marigolds, zinnias, poppies.
    • Bread box at the gate. The bread was delivered by horse and cart.
    • Noons soft drinks and ice cream from Mr Visocchi.
    • Sunday School at Cow Flat.
    • Picking mushrooms after rain.
    • Owls at night/ Possums in the roof of the house.
    • Rabbits.
    • Wildflowers especially in the bush nearby.
    • Homemade bread, scones, butter, jams and pickles.
    • Milk and cream from the one cow which was milked in the shed.
    • Home made preserves, ginger beer, fruit pies and cakes.
    • Boiled lollies in a jar (sometimes stuck together).
    • Bread toasted with a large fork over an open fire.
    • A heavy iron to iron with, which was heated on the hot stove.
    • A safe for food and muslin cloth for food wrap.
    • Crocheted covers to cover milk jugs and sugar.
    • Pot holders and tea cosies, tea caddies, biscuit tins.
    • A gramophone playing “A Dog Sat on the Tucker Box”.
    • Battery operated radio, hill-billy songs 2KY.
    • A big iron tub to bathe in/ Cashmere bouquet soap and flannel.
    • Crockery basin and pitcher for water to wash with.
    • Kerosene and hurricane lamp for light.
    • Candle and candlestick holder.
    • High chest of drawers and wardrobe furniture.
    • High beds with bed knobs and roses (brass knobs).
    • Sofas with home made cushions.
    • Feather eiderdowns and mosquito nets on the beds.
    • Wallpaper with patterns of plums all over.
    • Photographs and pictures in frames.
    • Thin newspapers delivered in the box at the gate.
    • Sulkies, harnesses kept in a shed.
    • Lots of chopped wood all around.
    • Hession bags for the peas and beans that they grew.
    • Sunlight soap for washing and washing up.
    • Nan (my grandmother) wore aprons that she made. (She was a wonderful
    • dressmaker, she made clothes for all of the family. Before she married she was a ladies companion.)

Travelling home from our visits we would have eggs, cream, cooked pieces of corned beef, a dressed duck or chicken, jam, things from the garden and fruit from the tree. Everything was well packed and tied up with string to keep it safe for our long journey back to the city.

In the mid 1940s our family moved to South Street at Marsden Park where Dad operated a pig farm and my visits to my grandparents became more regular. I went to Marsden Park Primary School where Mr Aisbett was the teacher. While I was at High School we moved to George Street in Riverstone. I attended High School at Parramatta Home Science, catching the train every day.

After finishing school I worked as a dental nurse at Parramatta. Aged twenty one I married and left home. I kept the last weekly train ticket that I used to travel from Riverstone to Parramatta. Fittingly my final journey from Riverstone to Parramatta was on the morning of my wedding day to pick up my bridal bouquet. After the wedding, my bouquet was placed on my Nan Gosper’s grave at the Riverstone Cemetery, the grandmother that I visited at Schofields all those years ago.

The Bambridge Family

by Clarrie Neal

Family history believes the name was originally Bambach and it is of German /Jewish origins. It is believed the change of name occurred in 1855. Alfred Bambridge was born in 1859 in London and was one of 13 children. As a young man he came to Australia with his two brothers, Arthur and Harold who settled in Victoria and South Australia.

It appears Alfred arrived in Riverstone in the 1880s as the Gazette of 19/10/1889 noted that storekeepers Bambridge and Taylor had dissolved their partnership, with Taylor selling his share to L J Darling. The Bambridge/Darling partnership flourished and with a two storey building and twelve employees it became the largest store in Riverstone. The partnership continued until the 9th January 1897, when Alfred sold his share to L J Darling who continued the business alone.

It appears that Alfred’s brother Arthur may have also settled in Riverstone at this time as the Gazette 24/5/1890 noted that bakers Krause & Gobel had sold out to Arthur Bambridge. On the 9/5/1896 the Gazette noted that Arthur, after spending nine years in the colonies, was to visit England.

Alfred, Katherine, Horace Phillip and Arthur Bambridge. Photo: Bambridge family.

The Gazette makes several other references to the Bambridge family –

    • 24/4/1897 – A Bambridge building next to John Schofields.
    • 24/7/1897 – Mr Bambridge’s first brick cottage in Crown Rd completed.
    • 16/10/1897 – Mr Bambridge’s second cottage in Crown Rd finished.
    • 29/1/1898 – Alfred Bambridge moves into house opposite Dr. Studdy. (In later years this house itself became known as the doctor’s house)
    • 9/4/1898 – ‘The Camp’ – Mr A. Bambridge’s cottage on the Windsor Rd.
    • 18/2/1899 – Mr Bambridge opened his new store.
    • 7/4/1900 – Details of a tender for Rouse Hill police station won by A. Bambridge.
    • 27/4/1902 – Advert for clearing sale for Mr Bambridge. Land records indicate members of the Bambridge family owned the land in Garfield Rd, from Alfred’s store next to the picture show, up to the top of the hill, opposite Pitt St.

Alfred married Katherine McMunn in 1889 and there were four children – 1. Phillip G, 2. Arthur J. 3. Horace P. 4. Helen, who died in infancy. It is not known where the family first lived, but the Gazette 29/1/1898 noted they moved into their new house in Garfield Rd, opposite Dr Studdy.

1. Phillip served in WW 1 and served in Egypt and France where he was gassed. He died many years later in 1959. During the War the Gazette noted –

    • 9/7/1915 – Phil Bambridge in training at Liverpool.
    • 14/4/1916 – Gunner Phil Bambridge sends letter from Egypt.
    • 29/6/1917 – Phil Bambridge, machine gunner suffering illness.
    • 11/10/1918 – Phil Bambridge returns home.

2. Arthur J. trained as a school teacher and served at Thirroul and Tenterfield before being ordained as a priest in 1930.

3. Horace P. trained as a teacher after attending St. Aloysius College at Milsons Point. In term breaks he came to Riverstone to deliver grocery orders from his father’s shop to local residents and rations to the aborigine’s camp at Rooty Hill. En route he often visited the Cassidy family at Marsden Park.

Horace married Cecilia Cassidy on the 22/4/1925 in St. Marys Cathedral, Sydney, and they first lived at Clovelly before moving into their new home at 663 Garfield Road. Horace and Cecilia reared four daughters -1. Sheila b.1926; 2. Joan b. 1927; 3. Elizabeth b.1930; 4. Carmel b.1937.

Bambridge’s shop in later years after it was sold by the family.

Daughter Carmel recalled -I think Grandfather Alfred may have brought his family inheritance with him and used it to buy property in Australia. My mother pointed out a paddock near South Creek where he used to graze his horses used with the carts to deliver groceries, The Bambridge sons attended St. Josephs at Hunters Hill and St. Aloysius at Milsons Point, so I presume they lived in Sydney as my grandmother’s family owned properties there.

Some stories were told about the debating evenings that my grandparents hosted. There was always a sense that my grandmother was very much a ‘lady’ and that my grandfather played the part of a crusty English squire and retained his strong Anglican beliefs until his death in 1928. I was born in the doctor’s house, which used to be one of the homes of Alfred and Katherine Bambridge. In the 1930’s this building was referred to as the ‘old hospital’ and there is a photo of my father Horace and his brother Arthur standing at the front gate.

Early in their marriage, my parents Horace and Cecilia lived at Clovelly. When they moved to Riverstone they first lived in the house opposite Pitt Street. I believe that it was the effects of the Great Depression that forced the family to rent out their new home in Garfield Road, and the family then went to live in the house at the rear of their shop next to the Olympia theatre.

My memory of the shop goes back to the period of WW 2 when my father was in the army and my mother managed the shop, with the help of Alan Voysey, and later Roy Cook. As I understand it, my grandfather Alfred Bambridge had the shop from the beginning. I grew up living in the house behind the shop and after the War in the house opposite the Post Office. I was not old enough to work in the shop, but can remember climbing on the bags of sugar, needing to be lifted up to reach the counter and enjoying the mixtures of aromas that came from the different areas. The boiled lollies were in tightly lidded glass containers and the biscuit tins were placed well out of reach. Tins of jelly crystals come to mind, and the phone ringing in the dark recesses of the back section of the store. My sisters told of the Ford truck used by Dad for deliveries being left out the front one day and how they let the brake off and screamed as it ran down the hill into the railway gates.

Generally I remember the shop being out of bounds. Alan Voysey often welcomed me home from school from behind the counter if it happened that my mother was absent. Alan eventually joined the army. We used the small lane way near Murrell’s picture show as an entrance after I had been bowled over by someone who left their bike inside the other entrance on their way to the train. That lane way was often used on warm nights to sneak narrow views of the movies through the palings when the theatre doors were open. Dear Mr Murrell had a very deep cough warning us at times.

The Bambridge family home in Garfield Road, opposite the post office. Photo: Bambridge family.

Carmel attended St. Joseph’s College and St Matthew’s School at Windsor. Leaving school at fifteen, she trained and worked as a stenographer in the Commonwealth Public Service for eighteen months. Throughout her school years and until she entered the Convent, she learnt piano from Mrs Parker and Bill Roberts at Riverstone and from the Sisters at Windsor.

In 1955 Carmel entered the Convent of the Good Samaritan Congregation and after three years as a novitiate was professed as a religious in 1958. She continued with her studies to acquire a B.A. (Monash), M.Ed.Admin.(UNE), and Ph.D.(Macquarie). The latter involved work and cultural experience in Northern Ireland, Romania and Rome. After working in schools in many parts of Australia, in 2000 she was appointed as Head of College at St. Raphael’s Women’s College at James Cook University, Townsville, where she remained until 2003.

Carmel believes she has been blessed with the opportunities she has been given as a Sister in the Good Samaritan Congregation, and is grateful for her background of family life, social life, and the values that remain from her early life in Riverstone.

Compiled by Clarrie Neal from information and photos provided by Carmel Bambridge in September 2004 and October 2008.

Russell “Rusty” Magennis

by Clarrie Neal

Russell was born on the 2nd July 1951, the second of three children born to Ken and Zela Magennis, of George Street, Riverstone. When born, his legs were placed in calliper splints which he had to wear for the first 10 years of his life. It was seven years before he was able to walk.

His early schooling was done at the Spastic Centre at Mosman, and because it was too far to travel, he boarded at Allambie Heights. The only time he could return home to Riverstone to live with his parents was during the school holidays.

When a decision was made that the Spastic Centre could do no more to help him, he returned home to live permanently with his parents. Still wearing the callipers, he recalls learning to walk around their back yard by using two cricket stumps, one in each hand, for his walking sticks.

He continued to improve and in 1963, aged thirteen, he ceased wearing the callipers, and commenced his secondary education at Riverstone High School, enjoying his two years there. Leaving school he found himself a job with Alby Taber who had a contract cleaning poultry sheds; he worked 15 years with Alby, whom Russell regarded as one of his best mates.

He joined the Riverstone Bowling Club in 1969, playing both Social and Pennant bowls. With two of his Bowling Club mates, Gary Pettitt and Charlie Wheeler, he went on a three week tour of Asia, linking up with another mate, Lyle Cunich, who at the time was working in Singapore. They also visited Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong; it was a holiday he has great memories of.

In 1970 Russell, with encouragement from Eric Gunton, became the manager of the Riverstone Under 8 Rugby League team that Eric was coaching. He enjoyed this experience and managed the team again the following year. The next year, and again with further encouragement from Eric, Russell became the coach and Eric became the manager. Russell has been coaching and managing junior teams ever since. He recalls it took him 22 years to get a premiership win, though his teams had been runners up in five previous grand finals.

He has fond memories of his Under 7 team that were Premiers in 1971, and were Under 8 Premiers again in 1972, remaining undefeated for the year, scoring 800 points to 53.

Besides his deeds of coaching and managing the Junior Rugby League teams; Russell has been the Riverstone Club’s staunchest member. For 20 years he has been the club’s groundsman, marking the playing fields, clearing rubbish from the park, hosing the toilet blocks, being on hand to accept deliveries to the clubhouse, etc. For the past few years, he has been assisted with these tasks by John Cartwright, another Life Member of the Riverstone Club.

Every Saturday morning he could, along with other club members, be found on the Commonwealth Bank corner selling raffle tickets for the ‘Sunday Roast’ dinner. For many years the club also ran the Saturday afternoon ‘Meat Tray’ raffles at the Tourmaline Hotel on the Windsor Road, and Russell was always there to assist.

He has been a Committee member of the club for many years, having held the position of President for two years, and several years as Vice President. Ron Bates, a Life Member and Secretary from 1968 – 1982, when asked to write a brief history of that period, wrote –

“There is one friend I really want to thank – Russell Magennis, he was a real mate, he was always there to lend a hand, he managed and coached teams, marked the fields, and was the club’s best seller of raffle tickets, you name it, he’s done it.”

Over the years, Russell has been recognised for his service and dedication to the football club and to the community of Riverstone, and has received several awards – the Dug-Out on the half-way line where the game officials sit is named “The Russell ‘Rusty’ Magennis Dug Out.”

Russell’s achievements include –

    • 1984 – Became a Life Member of the Riverstone Junior Rugby League Club.
    • 2005 – The Riverstone & District Sports Council introduced a special annual sports award. It was named the Russell Magennis Award.
    • 2008 – Awarded the Riverstone High School Harmony Day Community Award.
    • 2008 – Won the Penrith District Junior Rugby League Volunteer of the Year Award.
    • 2008 – Awarded a NSW JRL Volunteer of the Year medal. This award was presented to Russell at a function organised by the NSW Rugby League held at the Balmain Leagues Club.
    • 2008 – Made a Life Member of the Penrith & Districts Junior Rugby League Association.
    • 2009 – Awarded the Riverstone Sports Council’s ‘Russell Magennis Award’ for a Lifetime of Service to Sport in Riverstone. The Award was presented with Russell receiving a standing ovation from those present.

Accepting the award from the Federal Member Louise Markus, he recalls being lost for words, but finally responded by thanking those concerned, and inviting all present to celebrate with a beer.

Russell and Louise Markus MP at the 2009 Memorial Club Sports awards.
Photo: Rosemary Phillis

This article appeared in the Rouse Hill Times 10th December, 2008, under the heading –


There are few people who embody the heart and soul of the community they serve. Russell Magennis is one of those men. Reporter David Catt spends time with one of Riverstone’s best.

Russ Magennis lives and breathes Riverstone. Unable to play Rugby League — the game he loves – due to lifelong battle with a spastic disorder, the 55 year old is determined to make sure the youth of Riverstone have a safe place to play the game.

From the moment he wakes to tend to Riverstone Park to the moment his head hits the pillow after training his beloved Riverstone Razorbacks, Russell serves the community with every breath. Since he was 16, Russell has been running around with the kids and he has been a Life Member of the club since 1984. In fact, it is often said around Riverstone that if you’ve played sport there, you’ve been coached by Russell.

“Years ago, one of my best mates asked me to come down here and give him a hand training the kids” he said. “I reckon I’ve trained 600 kids. If I had a reunion, I would have to have it at the park – you couldn’t fit them all in the club” he said. “A lot of kids are 40, going on 45, and they still remember me. We will go down to the club, I used to buy them milkshakes, now I buy them a beer.”

In that time he has taken the club to four grand finals, with back to back victories in the 1991 and 1992 seasons. When not coaching, he battles arthritis and uncooperative legs to mark out the fields, pick up the rubbish and maintain the clubhouse. But you will never hear Russell complain. “I’ve been a groundsman for the last 20 years, marking the fields, and I love it” he said.

“They nicknamed me “Young Basil” after Basil Andrews. They named the field after him, he was the guy who kicked the club off. They say while I’m alive Basil will never be dead.”

As he recalls a fallen mate and student, Boyd Hart who died earlier this year in a boating accident, you can see the love for his pupils past and present in his eyes as they mist over with sadness. To Russell, every one of the 600 kids he has coached is a Boyd Hart. “Rivo, all stick together, young Boydy had a boating accident and drowned and we all stuck together” he said. “He was one of my best mates, one of my first pupils, he was only 43.”

Russell’s love for the community is very clearly reciprocated. The sports council named the Dug- out in the park the Russell ‘Rusty’ Magennis Dug-out, and recently named one of their Annual Sports Awards after him. But for Russell its not about the plaudits. “ I just like being around the kids and I’m only doing it to keep the kids off the street. I love it, it keeps me going” he said.

Compiled by Clarrie Neal from information and photos supplied by Russell Magennis 2009.

The Bullock Roast

Kingsford Smith’s plane at Richmond.
From the Johnson family collection.

A half column advert appeared in the Windsor & Richmond Gazette of 6th July, 1928 for the above event that was to be held the next day. The venue was the Riverstone Sports Ground and there had been no previous adverts or references for the event. The day was being held in honour of Captain Kingsford Smith and the Southern Cross, the plane having just completed its history making flight from America was in a hangar at Richmond undergoing repairs.

The day was organised by the Skuthorpe family with 10% of the takings being donated to the Windsor Hospital. There were pony races, wood chopping events, buckjumping, and foot races for the children and adults. Admission was one shilling for adults and sixpence for children, prizes were donated by the local storekeepers.

The Gazette on the 13th July published this report on the day under the headings “Bullock Roast” and “A Gala Day at Riverstone”.

Riverstone was en fete on Saturday when a “Bullock Roast” — a quaint idea in the early days — was held on the local sports ground. A program of mixed sports, arranged by the Skuthorpe family, were carried out during the day and attracted a crowd of between 300 to 400 people. Much interest centred on the roast bullock, which sizzled over a blazing fire in the open air during the day, and which was devoured by the multitude late in the afternoon. Truly, it was a day reminiscent of the early Hawkesbury.

In the early days, bullock roasts were popular in the Hawkesbury and the Skuthorpe family was among those who arranged them. It was therefore fitting that Saturday’s program was arranged by a member of the Skuthorpe family — a descendant of one of the oldest and original settlers of the Kurrajong Hills. No history of Australian horsemanship pioneering out ‘Back O’Beyond’ would be complete without giving the Skuthorpe family pride of place.