Spring 2004

St Marys & District Historical Society Inc - Quarterly Newsletter

Up until 1889 occasional services had been held at the home of local parishioners Mr & Mrs Ransley and after one such service, a business meeting was held where a resolution was passed to erect a suitable church building where congregational services could be held. A committee was formed to organise this and James Ransley Jnr was elected the Secretary. So that the building could commence, the land was donated by Mr Docker, and subscriptions of 19 pounds 16 shillings & 10 pence, and loan from Mr East of 6 pounds saw that plans were submitted to the Archbishop who approved them. The building materials were ordered and arrived by goods train at St Marys station and were carted to Llandilo by Messrs Fyvie, Lawson, Ransley Jnr and Luxford free of charge. Mr Moore, a builder of St Marys prepared the frame for a modest sum and the men of the village erected it. Rev. Dixon Hudson, who was the Treasurer and current rector of St Mary Magdalene Church at St Marys congratulated the men on their efforts. He thanked the ladies of the district, giving special thanks to Mrs Ransley and Mrs Bird who had prepared afternoon tea on the 22nd July, 1899 when the little church of St David’s at Llandilo was officially opened by the Ven. Archdeacon Langley, who said it was a pleasure to him to be able to declare the Church of Llandilo open on behalf of the Bishop. Several visiting Clergymen expressed their congratulations to Rev. Dixon Hudson for providing a suitable place in which services could be held. John King Lethbridge said it gave him pleasure to be present as he never thought he would see a church in that isolated part of the St Mary’s parish. He then offered to insure the building at his own expense and pay the premiums for the first two years, and was thanked for his kind offer by the Archdeacon. A concert then followed with entertainment of recitations, singing and musical performances. A most successful day!

2004 - St David’s served the community of Llandilo for the next 99 years and closed just prior to it’s centenary in 1999. It was saved from demolition by the “Hall Committee” led by Cr. Kevin Crameri who rallied the residents and raised money to buy back the building from the Anglican Church. A celebration was held in the church on Sunday 25th July, 2004 with the service conducted by Rev. John Hebblewhite AM, honorary assistant priest at St Marks Church at Granville. The small school choir of Llandilo Public School under the direction of Ms Jennifer Bell sang beautifully and a message of goodwill was delivered by our member Robyn Hanstock, who is also the parish historian of St Mary Magdalene Church of England at St Marys. Several members of both St Marys and Nepean Historical Societies attended in the dress of the day (1899) and like to ladies of 1899, the ladies of Llandilo today, set out tables fairly loaded with all kinds “dainties” for the large crowd that attended and after everyone had their fill “old time” dancing was enjoyed in the hall at the side of the church. Everyone agreed that it had been a very good day, reminding us of how it was when communities all came together for a cause.
Submitted by Norma Thorburn

Photo courtesy of Lyn Forde

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Once again our Society had a float in the parade. The theme this year was the Marsden land grant of “Mamre” in 1804. Members were dressed in costume with Rev. & Mrs Marsden being represented by Kevin and Margaret Dwyer with their grandchildren. Other members included Eric Walker, Robyn Hanstock, Carole Volkiene, Lyn Forde, Tracey Watkins, Joan O’Brien, Norma & Tom Thorburn and their grandchildren who held the Historical Society Banner dressed as 2 early schoolgirls. We won the award for the best walking group.

Photos courtesy of Lyn Forde

The St Marys & District Historical Society meets every 4th Saturday at 1 pm - at the St Marys Arts & Craft Centre 2 - 6 Mamre Road, St Marys.


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This Newsletter is a free publication. Articles in this Newsletter may be republished if permission is given by the Society.

Please contact:-



Norma Thorburn 9623-2307

Lyn Forde 9673-3506

(While care is taken to ensure that all articles are accurate, the opinions expressed in this newsletter are not necessarily those of the Society) Any comments on this Newsletter are encouraged

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On October 17th, 2004 our Society will be helping to celebrate the bicentenary of the original land grant in 1804 to Rev. Samuel Marsden, along with the Sisters of Mercy and the St Marys Development Committee. Reverend Samuel Marsden was born at Farsley, Yorkshire, England on the 28th July, 1764. His parents were attached to the Wesleyan Methodist denomination. After a grammar school education he joined his uncle who was a tradesman at Horsforth but not interested in a business career he had a yearning to devote his life to the Christian ministry. He became a student of St John’s College, Cambridge where he met the evangelistic Charles Simeon. Marsden was ordained early in the year 1793 and proceeded to Hull where he was given passage in a convict transport and on the 21st April, 1793 he married Elizabeth Tristan. While waiting for passage to NSW Marsden preached a sermon in the parish church at Brading on the Isle of Wight. In Australia in March 1794 the Marsdens settled down at Parramatta where the population at that time, consisted almost entirely of criminals banished from England. He usually arose around 5 oclock and spent the early morning hours in prayer and study. On Sundays he preached first at Sydney and then walked the 15 miles to Parramatta to preach again. His capacity to sympathise with others in their suffering was doubtless enhanced by certain desolating sorrows which visited his own household. Mrs Marsden took their first born son, a promising child of two years of age with her one day in the gig on a round of calls among the sick and suffering. As a result of a sudden jump by the horse, the child was thrown out of her arms and instantly killed. Determined not to risk the safety of another child, Mrs Marsden left her small child at home in the charge of a domestic while she went out to make some necessary calls. The little one strayed into the kitchen unnoticed and fell backwards into a pan of boiling water and soon died. Marsden received the land grant of 100 acres in 1804 at South Creek and called it “Mamre” - a biblical name for a place where God promised Abraham a land that he and his descendants would enjoy forever. Unfortunately, Samuel never lived at the Mamre homestead which he built for his son, Charles Simeon Marsden in the 1820’s. His beloved Elizabeth became ill after the birth of a daughter and died in 1835. Marsden died three years after Elizabeth in 1838 and both are buried at St John’s graveyard at Parramatta. (Information from “Giants of the Missionary Trail” by Eugene Harrison)

THE GHOST OF SAMUEL MARSDEN - “A Windsor businessman, Alex Hendrikson, had the shock of his life when he claimed he saw the ghost between 9 and 9.30 pm near the rectory of St Matthews Church in Moses Street, Windsor. He said “I was confronted by what I believed to be an apparition of Samuel Marsden. It looked like a figure dressed in dark robes. He had a very round face with what appeared to be a cruel look in his eyes. I know a fair bit about St Matthews Church and the rectory and different things that Samuel Marsden did. They called him the flogging parson in the early days and I understand from the pictures I have seen of him he had a cruel look about him.”. Hendrikson was making his way home after attending a Hawkesbury Shire Tourism Committee meeting at the Council Chambers and went on, “Just after the rectory I was confronted by the ghost. It loomed out of the dark and scared the daylights out of me and I took off down Moses Street and bolted back to the Council Chambers - I would have left Herb Elliott for dead”! Hendrickson said he had not been drinking to any great extent and swears he had a clear mind that night.” (

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Lyn Forde - Editor & Publisher and Secretary of the Society

I’m a 7th generation Australian from this area. My ancestors, Anthony Rope & Elizabeth Pulley came to Australia from England with the First Fleet as convicts. Given a land grant at Castlereagh they settled down and had several children and I’m descended from their daughter Susannah Rope who married James Bradley a soldier who was court martialled and transported to Australia as a convict. Susannah’s daughter, Mary Ann Bradley married James Hackett who was convicted of horse stealing and transported to Australia from Froome in England. James worked for Sir John Jamieson of Regentvilla and when free settled in the St Marys area and built the “Woolpac Inn” on South Creek where he lived with Mary Ann and his large family. A son, Charles Hackett, married my great-grandmother, Harriett Lalor and had several children - one being my grandfather James Samuel Hackett, who married my grandmother Constance Thompson. They also lived at St Marys, my grandfather dying 10 years after he fought in WW1 in France when my mother Elaine Hackett was only young. I attended St Marys Public School from 1952 to 1960 in Princess Mary Street, as we lived in Putland Street across the road from Victoria Park, which, at that time, was the main park that held all the cricket and football matches in the district. I enjoyed growing up in St Marys and haven’t moved far as I now live in Werrington. I attended St Marys High School from 1961 to 1963 and left after gaining my Intermediate Certificate and went to Penrith Technical College to learn one year of Secretarial/Business skills. After I graduated from Penrith Tech I was given a junior job in the front office at Cuckson’s Zipper Factory in Forrester Road, St Marys. After a year I was asked to be Secretary to Richard Hunter (Manager) who was setting up a new company called Rondo Building Services and Mr Cuckson gave us a shed near the swimming pool to house the roll form equipment along with other employees of the company - Ernie Willis, Doug Willoughby and Bill Burton. We froze in winter and sweltered in summer until we moved into bigger premises in Glossop Street. I worked there until my daughter Michelle was born in 1967 and went back to work there again in the 1970’s until my second daughter Louise was born in 1977. I have also worked various jobs in the area - snack bar cook & waitress at the Springwood and Leura Bowling & Golf Clubs, as well as a Nurse’s Aid and “Pink Lady” volunteer at Nepean District Hospital. I am currently working for financial advisers, RetireInvest at Parramatta - having worked there for 17 years as Personal Assistant (new name for Secretary) but before that I was a supporting parent to my daughter Louise being six years on the pension in the 1980’s, in that time I made extra money making headbands for the various gyms around the area. I became interested in local history after my grandmother died in the late 1960’s. I was curious to know what my grandmother’s parents names were and asked my mother who didn’t know much about them so I started on my family tree and I’m still researching. In that time I have also been researching the local families in the area and have an extensive collection of other peoples family history.
Last year (2003) I was lucky enough to be nominated by the members of the Society for a “Wall of Achievement” award for Community Service in Historical Research and I have built up a large collection of local historical photos and information which I have put into print via two books I have since published - one book on the volunteer soldiers from the St Marys area in WW1 called “Timeless Heroes” and the other being burials in the St Mary Magdalene Churchyard at St Marys which I called “In the Little Churchyard on the Hill”. I am currently working on an update of the soldiers book and hope to publish it next year. I never get tired of talking about St Mary’s history or the St Marys I knew when I was growing up and you will always find me in some local parade, dressed up in some costume along with my fellow members of the Society.



Editor & Publisher: Lyn Forde

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