St Marys & District Historical Society Inc - Quarterly Newsletter

PO Box 640, ST MARYS NSW 1790

The members of the St Marys & District Historical Society wish you all a Happy 2008

In October last year, our Society took over our new Headquarters - the "Chambers" building, where we previously held our monthly meetings (known then as the "Arts & Craft" centre at the St Marys Precinct on Mamre Road.) and finally moved into the building after waiting ten years for a place to call our own.

We must congratulate Penrith City Council for the restoration of the building and the wonderfully preserved floor boards that were polished back to their original 1930's feel. Everyone who came in to help commented on the spaciousness of the building and the wall colour and restored picture and chair rails gave the building that "olde world" feeling - truly fitting for our historical outlook and theme.

Penrith Council along with the Library were the first to donate our first prize possession, a copy of the original photo in the "Champness" Room at St Mary's library of St Mary's gallant and handsome World War Two pilot, Edward "Teddy" Champness who was killed over Germany in 1944, along with his air crew in their Lancaster Bomber. This picture has pride of place in our meeting room. Eddy was an employee of the St Mary's Municipal Council whose building we now call home.

Members Carol & Marion on moving day

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President Norma Thorburn with Penrith Council workers Members Annette, Carol, Lyn, Margaret & Rosemary

- attached to 630 Squadron RAF

Born at St Marys on 20th August, 1923
Died at Quakenbruch, Germany on 23rd May, 1944
Buried: British War Cemetery, Rheinberg, Plot 17, Row C, Grave 6.
"Teddy" attended St Marys Primary School from 1928 until 1934 and went to Penrith High School from 1934 until 1937. At the age of 16 he became a clerk in the St Marys Municipal Council to begin to study both local government and accountancy. As he was always interested in flying he joined the RAAF Reserve where he studied signals, morse code and plane identification. When he turned 18 he enlisted in the RAAF and trained to be a pilot. He gained his wings in 1943 at the Mallala air force base in SA where he was promoted to the rank of Sergeant.

VALE David Worrall

Another passing of a valued member of our Society, David died late last year. He featured in our Member's Profile - Summer 2004 addition of our Tribute and was always happy to dress up in costume and participate in our activities, his last outing with us was the 100th year anniversary of the Penrith Railway Bridge & the 25th celebrations on the "Nepean Belle" in October last year. David, you will be sadly missed.

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Our guest speaker for our last meeting in November last year was John Willcocks, who won a trip to walk the Kokoda Trail last June with his son, Mark. John talked about their experience and brought along some photos for the members to look at. He also brought along a welcomed donation from the St Mary's Community Fun Run organised by St Mary's South Public School P & C. Our members gave their appreciation and Norma thanked him on behalf of our Society. We would also like to thank the P & C at St Mary's South Public School for their wonderful donation.


The St Marys & District Historical Society meets every 4th Saturday at 1.15 pm
(except December & January) at "The Chambers" (Old Council Chambers) 2 - 6 Mamre Road, ST MARYS.
(entry from carpark side)


Website -

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

Please contact:-


Vice President

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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A St Marys Poet - Researched by the late Albert Evans (Editored by Lyn Forde)
House builder, bicycle assembler, shopkeeper and poet - that was William H Parkin who, with his brother George, were prominent builders in and about St Marys in the early part of the 20th century both being credited expert estimators of material required for a building when on completion there would be no more than a barrowful of waste. However, it is not for his buildings that he is best remembered but for his bicycle business and poetry. A man of generous proportion, of happy disposition "Billy" as he liked to be known as, though seventeen stone had remarkable small feet they easily fit into a size 4 shoe.

In 1912 his shop and residence was situate a few doors away (this shop appears to have been in one of the terrace houses) from the "Wagon Wheel Hotel" opposite the Victoria Park and was the local agent for Bennett & Woods "Speedwell" bicycles and motor cycles. He also built up his own "Flash" bicycle and stocked all kinds of musical instruments, toys etc. and in the day of the horse, horse and cattle rugs. About the year 1918 the owner of a vacant block of ground at the north-east corner of Princess Mary Street and the Gt Western Road wished to dispose of it and put it in the hands of someone to canvas it's sale and accept offers to finally accept the offer of 50 pounds from Billy Parkin. Billy soon got to work on the site and erected his well built brick store (demolished by fire in 1995) along with his weather board residence on the eastern side of it (it was demolished in December, 1981). Here he conducted the same, though greatly enlarged type of business as before and to start the "St Marys Bicycle Club" with its quarter mile circular training track on Hackett's racecourse and organised road races on Saturday afternoons in which he sometimes took part himself.

For over seventeen years he was a regular advertiser of his wares in the "Nepean Times" newspaper , and always in poetic form they were seen in the "St Marys News" column so that the reader came unsuspectingly on his usually four line stanza of which the following are a few random examples:-

There was an old woman who lived in a shoe
She bought the boys bikes, and the girls all a toy
From Parkin's new shop - now its
nothing but joy.

Rose Marie I love you
I'm always thinking of you
And its all because I know you own
A Billy Parkin's bike and gramophone.

I dreamt I lived in marble halls
And had all a fellow likes
A Billy Parkin gramophone
And one of his best bikes.

A Happy New Year to all
To whom good luck fall
They'll find, as they found before
Good values got from Parkin's store.

He can sing who likes
Till his throat swells like a canary's
But he can't sing too loud
To satisfy the crowd
Who live in good old St Marys.

Editor & Publisher: Lyn Forde

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