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Vol. 1 No.1........................................................................June 1998

ST. MARYS HISTORICAL SOCIETY

On 15th March 1978 a Public Meeting was held at the Old Post Office, Great Western Highway, St. Marys to form an Historical Society. The Mayor, Alderman Brian King, chaired the meeting. Mr. Len Stapleton was elected President of the Society and held that position until the Society closed on 19th December 1987. During this time many books were written by Mrs. Eugenie Stapleton and published by the Society. These books are still keenly sought.

The members took part in several Spring Festival Parades, mounted displays and held slide nights, which were very popular. The Society was also responsible for Penrith City Council naming the area formally owned by James Bennett, "Bennett Park".

ST. MARYS & DISTRICT HISTORICAL SOCIETY

On 28th September 1996 a Public Meeting was held at the Community Arts Centre, St. Marys to reform the Society. Councillor Robin Wiles chaired the meeting with Councillors Kevin Dwyer and Jackie Greenow also in attendance. It was decided by the meeting to "expand the boundaries" and name the new Society - St. Marys & District Historical Society. This new group has so far conducted a Heritage Walk, Slide Night and several talks and guided tours. The current committee is: President, Mrs. Norma Thorburn, Vice-Presidents, Ms Sue Adams and Mrs. Jackie Greenow, Secretary, Mrs. Marion McLeod and Treasurer, Mrs. Joan O'Brien.

The St. Marys & District Historical Society meets on the 4th Saturday of each month at the St. Marys Community Arts Centre from 2.00pm - 4.00pm.

Enquiries are welcome on 9623-2307.

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SOME DATES IN ST. MARYS' HISTORY

1804 Land grants made in South Creek area by Governor Philip Gidley King - the 3rd Governor of N S W.
1806 King Family land grants ratified by Governor Bligh. Governor King grants land to Mary Putland (daughter of Governor Bligh).
1807 Rev. Samuel Marsden of "Mamre" takes first Australian wool to England. He meets King George 111, who gives him rams to improve his flock.
1810 The widowed Mary Putland marries Lt. Maurice O'Connell. She is given a further grant (Coalee) as a wedding present.
1813 Blaxland, Wentworth and Lawson leave Gregory Blaxland's South Creek farm "Leehome" on Blue Mountains Crossing expedition.
1817 Phillip Parker King (son of Gov. King) marries Harriet Lethbridge in the St. Mary Magdalene Church in Launceston, Cornwall, near Dunheved Castle. Soon after he is sent to Australia to complete survey of coastline commenced by Matthew Flinders.
Phillip and Harriet return to England in 1823.
1820'sMamre Homestead is built.
1821 John Oxley receives grant in the area.
1827 Harriet King returns to Sydney with her brother Robert Copland Lethbridge and his wife Mary (King). Harriet settled at Dunheved and Robert and Mary built Werrington House.
Phillip Parker King was charting the coastline of South America at this time.
1828 John Oxley dies at "Kirkham" Camden.
1832 Phillip Parker King returns to Sydney with his mother Anna Josepha King. Phillip bought John Oxley's land.
Anna chooses site for the church on the hill.
1834 Sir Maurice and Lady O'Connell return to South Creek after service in India.
First Public House, "Traveller's Rest" inn opens.
1836 First brick dwellings, the O'Connell Terraces, built.
1837 Foundation stone of St. Mary Magdalene Church laid.
1839 Second Public House, "South Creek Inn" opens.
1840 First Post Office opens in O'Connell Terrace.
O'Connells subdivide their properties and advertise them in the Sydney Gazette as being at St. Marys, South Creek. They set aside portion of their land for a park. (Later Victoria Park).
St. Mary Magdalene church is consecrated.
1844 Anna Josepha King dies at Parramatta and is interred in St.Mary Magdalene graveyard.
William Dowling opens first shop.
1845 Day school opens beside the creek.
1850 John Page establishes a large tannery.
1855 C of E Day school opens in Princess Mary Street.
1861 A National school opens on Hopes Farm Werrington.
1862 Railway comes - Station initially named "South Creek".
1875 Roman Catholic Church is built.
Presbyterian Church is built on Western Road.
1877 Public School opens in Princess Mary Street.
1880 Martin Brell establishes his tannery on western Road.
1881 Andrew Thompson opens "St. Marys Tannery" on South Creek.
1883 Protestant Hall built on Western road.
1884 First officially built Post Office opens.
1885 The name St. Marys becomes official for township.
1889 First Mechanics Institute is built.
James Bennett's home "Bronte" is built on the corner Gidley and King Streets By Joseph Sainsbury.
1890 St. Marys Municipal Council formed.
Newmarket Cattle Saleyards built.
1894 Methodist Church built in Queen Street.
Andrew Thompson's home "Mimosa" is built.
1900 Penny Postage came in for St. Marys.
1901 Second Mechanics Institute built.
The "Railway Cattleyards" built.
1905 Telephone service comes to St. Marys.
1907 First Resident Medical Doctor commences practice.
1912 Dr. Edward Day commences practice in St. Marys.
1914 First World War- 112 enlist from St. Marys. 22 do not return.
1922 Band Rotunda is built in Victoria Park as a memorial to the fallen.
1931 Electricity is turned on in St. Marys.
1934 Town Water service becomes available.
1939 Second World War - Munitions factory built. "Duration" cottages built to house workers.
1948 St. Marys Municipal Council amalgamates with Penrith Council.
1951 Queen Street becomes the shopping and commercial centre.
1965 Post Office opens in Queen Street.
Fire Station is built in Sainsbury Street.

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The First Block of Land

The first clearly measured and defined block of land in St. Marys was the St. Mary Magdalene Church land on Church Hill, on the corner of the Great Western Highway and Magdalene Street.

The records regarding the measurement of this land are precisely stated in the Land titles Office documents, which led to the purchase of this particular piece of land.

In 1806 Mary Putland, the eldest daughter of Captain William Bligh was granted a 600ac block, which she called "Frogmore". It was along the north side of the Western Road and was marked from a track leading to Windsor, which is now Queen Street.

In 1821 another 600ac block was granted to John Oxley, the Surveyor General. This land was also along the northern side of the Western Road and was adjacent to the eastern side of Mary Putland's land.

John Oxley later sold this land to Phillip Parker King, the son of Philip Gidley King, the third Governor of the colony. Phillip Parker King then sold a two-acre portion of this land to Henry Tingcombe for the sum of 10 Pounds. He immediately sold it to the three Trustees of the Church (one of them being Phillip Parker King).

The land was measured as being 13 Chains from a peg in the ground, which marked the division between Mary Putland's grant, and that of John Oxley. From this point 5 Chains easterly, then northerly 4 Chains, then westerly 5 Chains and thence southerly 4 Chains to the point of commencement.

The peg in the ground referred to was on the north easterly corner of the Great Western Highway and Queen Street, and the 13 Chains referred to was the south western corner of the Church land and Magdalene Street. The northern boundary referred to as 5 Chains westerly is now the southern boundary of King Street.

Contributed by Charles Connelly.

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