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.............Vol. 1 No. 2........................................................................................................................September 1998

The Reverend Samuel Marsden arrived in Sydney in 1794 as Assistant Chaplain to the Reverend Richard Johnson who was the first Minister in the Colony and had come with Captain Arthur Phillip in the first fleet in 1788.

The Reverend Marsden proved himself a most energetic Colonist and served as Minister in New Zealand and Norfolk Island and became a successful farmer in the N.S.W. Colony.

Within 10 years of his arrival he had been granted about 2000 acres of land and had bought and sold other land between Capertee and Parramatta.

On 15 October 1804 Governor Philip Gidley King granted him 1030 acres at South Creek. This land fronted a bush track that ran from Liverpool through Luddenham to Windsor, which was later known as Windsor Road.

Reverend Marsden called the property Mamre after the Biblical site of Abraham's resting place. He successfully grazed cattle and some sheep here and also developed a large orchard and was the first man to import European honeybees to N.S.W.

The large number of land grants and purchases he made and the buying and selling of sheep and cattle led to the great confusion regarding the accuracy of records of all his property.

In the early 1820's he built a fine brick, two-storey house at Mamre but did not spend much time there. He had been appointed a Magistrate and with his Religious duties and scattered property interests he was a very busy man.

He died at the Rectory at Windsor on 12 May 1838 aged 72 and his funeral was conducted at Parramatta three days later.

By his will of 18 October 1836 he left Mamre to his son Charles Simeon. Charles was not an active farmer and he mortgaged the property by demise for 1000 years to Richard Rouse who gave it to his daughter Elizabeth when she married Robert Fitzgerald on 11 March 1841.

The property was allowed to deteriorate over the years and on 2 September 1936 it was registered under the Real Property act instead of the Old Systems title. Later the Sisters of Mercy leased it to be used as a training centre for unemployed people.

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Original land grants - South Creek

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After Sir Maurice and Lady Mary O'Connell subdivided their land at South Creek a steady flow of industry arrived in the area. The major industries during the second half of the 19th century were Tanning, Wheel & Waggon building, Sawmilling and Brickmaking. All of these industries were attracted to the south Creek area by the natural resources, which would assist their particular trade.

South creek provided the tanners with the copious amounts of water needed for their tanning pits and the wattle trees growing along the banks provided the bark for the tannin used in the process. There was also a spring on Church Hill that provided water for tanneries further down the hill. Many of the tanner's names are still well known in the district today: Paskin, Desborough, Thompson, Webb, Brell, Page, Farrell, Anshau and Jones.

The Bennetts - James William and his sons James and George became famous as Wheelwrights and later as Waggon builders. The local timbers were used in the construction of these waggons, with local ironbark being particularly suitable for the wheels. Their waggons were sold all over New South Wales and then moved into Victoria and Queensland. In the latter part of the last century and the early part of this century a Bennett Waggon was indeed a prized possession.

The large stands of timber in the area provided the ovens and fireplaces of Sydney with much needed firewood. The timber was brought to the sawmills along the cutting above the railway line, where it was sawn and sent down chutes into the railway trucks and railed to Sydney. Some well known names of sawmillers were Mechau, Garner, Turner and Andrews.

Local timber had been used for railway sleepers and bridge girders during the construction of the railway to St.Marys, which was completed in 1862.

Local Brickmakers William Fleming and James Payne used the clay from South Creek and surrounding areas to make their bricks. Although their methods were primitive by today's standards, some of their bricks can still be seen today. James Payne made the bricks for St.Mary Magdalene Church and William Fleming's bricks were used to build St.Marys Public School.

The next major industry arrived with the onset of the Second World War, when a munition factory was built at St.Marys and people came from all over N S W to work there. After the war, when the munition factory closed the buildings were sold to other industries and so became the Dunheved Industrial Estate. These new factories provided much needed jobs for the former munition workers and the returning servicemen. The Dunheved Industrial Estate has seen a wide variety of industries since that time including Anthony Squires, Briginshaw Bros., Wyn Toys, Martin Wells, 3M and many Engineering firms, among others.

In the early 1950's another munition factory was built adjacent to the former factory and provided hundreds of jobs until closing a few years ago.

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Save documents that may be useful to historians

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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