St Marys & District Historical Society Inc - Quarterly Newsletter
PO Box 640, ST MARYS NSW 1790


What a wonderful day we had on Sunday, 27th May, 2007, when our members rose to the occasion in our 1907 period costumes to participate in these historic celebrations at Penrith. The weather couldn’t have been better if we planned it ourselves. Our members, in costume, boarded the steam train from Penrith station on Sunday morning amid the thronging public who clamoured to take our photos and ask questions about steam train travel and what the people of the area were wearing 100 years ago. Our members were happy to walk up and down the corridors of the train discussing this and the many questions asked about the significance of celebrations. In the afternoon, we embarked on the “Nepean Belle” at Tench Reserve for a leisurely sail up the Nepean River where Captain Wakeling entertained us with renditions of much loved old songs accompanied by our members and Norma and Tom Thorburn dancing to the tunes. Afternoon tea was served with scones & cream and then we went under the rail bridge where we waited for the steam train to halter on the bridge. Many photos were taken and lots of waves were exchanged between the “Nepean Belle” and those passengers on the steam train before the train blew it’s whistle for the last time and carried on over to the Emu Plains side. Our members finished off with a delicious dinner at the Penrith Rowing Club.

Members on the "Nepean Belle" Steam train at the Nepean rail bridge crossing


Ernie cutting his cake with Norma Thorburn and member Betty Richardson looking on - Photo courtesy of Lyn Forde

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Our members attend the 50th Anniversary of the Chrysanthemum Show

On Saturday, 28th April, 2007 our members attended the 50th Golden Anniversary Chrysanthemum Championship Exhibition held at the Memorial Hall at St Marys. Tony Biddulph continued to win many of the prizes for his wonderful display of Chrysanthemums. Our Society mounted a historical display from our 1957 St Mary’s photos and was also introduced by Councillor Jackie Greenow (who is a member of our Society) to the Japanese Consul, who was in attendance to present the “Hakusan City, Mayor’s Award”.

Photo shows Tony Biddulph, Mayor Pat Sheehy, Norma & Tom Thorburn. (Photos courtesy of Lyn Forde) Photo shows member Margaret Dwyer, the Japanese Consul & Councillor Jackie Greenow

60th Birthday Celebrations

On Wednesday, 28th March, 2007 the St.Marys RSL Women’s Auxiliary celebrated their 60th Birthday in grand style at the St.Marys RSL Club. Joining the Auxiliary members were State Member and Patron, the Hon. Diane Beamer, Sub-Branch representatives, visitors from State Branch, several other Auxiliaries and members of Women’s Clubs from St.Marys. Following the wonderful luncheon, the crowd was entertained by “Crushed Ice” a very popular duo at the RSL.

Everyone agreed it was a marvellous day and thanks go to President Hilda Smart, Secretary Jan Bergan, who was the MC, and all members involved with the organisation of the celebrations.

Seen cutting the Birthday Cake are left to right: Dorothy Radford, Jean Glover, Molly Backhouse, Hilda Smart, Paul Martyn-Jones (Sub-Branch President) and Jan Bergan
Photo & article by member Norma Thorburn

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The original Dollin family settled in the St Marys area and their descendents were very well represented at this reunion held at the St Marys Senior High School hall on the 27th May, 2007. Les Dollin was the organiser of this function and launched his website on the day. More information about the Dollin Family can be seen in our Spring 2003 Tribute online.

Photos courtesy of Lyn Forde) Part of the Display on Nprman Dollin Dollin Family Crest


The following members are new to our Society and were welcomed at recent meetings:-

Iris Kenny, Les Dollin, Jim Allison, Pat Dwyer & Joan Reese

Update on St Marys Precinct – Penrith Council will be updating the building where our Society meets. We have been assured that there will be minimal disruption to the building which will house our Society and a few other organisations. All new members are encouraged to contact the President or Vice President (phone numbers below) to enquire about future meetings. This will only be until our building is complete and we move in permanently.


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.


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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From the pages of the “Nepean Times”

Occupation Survey (31/5/1945) – All civilians in Australia over the age of fourteen on June 1 of this year must fill in an occupation card and deliver it to the officer issuing new ration books next Saturday and Sunday, June 2 and 3. If everyone fills in a card and keeps it with the identity card ready to hand to the ration book officer, it will save time and inconvenience at issuing centres. New ration books will not be issued unless the cards have been completed. Occupation survey cards are obtainable at all post offices.


Inhuman Cruelty to Cattle (16/8/1945) – “If defendant were not an old woman she would have gone to gaol.” stated Mr Collins S.M. at Parramatta Police Court in dealing with a case in which Mary Masters was up on seven charges of failing to provide sufficient shelter for cattle at Mt Druitt. “I would have had no hesitation in inflicting a very heavy penalty if she were not a pensioner” said his Worship. Herbert Scott, DSPCA, Inspector, said that 33 cattle had been confined in an area of less than an acre. The yard was entirely bare and there was no vestige of food to be seen. Four of the cattle were in such a poor condition that they staggered at a light push. A fully-grown bull was confined in a small pen and defendant told him that the animal had been there for two months. The animals were descended from those owned by her mother who died 13 years ago. She had no idea why she kept the cattle as she obtained no returns from them. The magistrate told defendant, who pleaded guilty, that she must get rid of the cattle immediately. Mr Robilliard (for defendant) said that the cattle belonged to her brother, a war-worker, some had already been sold and defendant would get rid of the others.

(Just goes to show that an inheritance can also be a hindrance - Ed)


Carnival Week at St Marys (30/8/1945)
“Diggers Big Effort”
– All roads lead to St Marys this week for high carnival is being held by the local Diggers and friends in aid of the Sub-Branch’s Memorial Hall and Club Rooms Building Fund. It promises to be an occasion that will be the talk of the district for years. Brilliancy is provided by lighting and festoonery which were used in Penrith for the peace celebrations and has been lent by Penrith Council for the carnival. St Marys Council having added it’s quota of lights and provided labour for installation. A Victory Ball was held last evening in the Protestant Hall.

“Sports in the Park” – This evening (Thursday) there will be a children’s fancy dress ball and tomorrow evening and Saturday afternoon and evening there will be a carnival in the (Victoria) Park. In addition to wheels, dips, etc, there will be a portable dancing floor. Wattle Grove ladies’ tug-o-war team has challenged all-comers. There will be sports on Saturday afternoon. Refreshments will be obtainable on the ground. The Mayor (Ald. Adams) will perform the official opening in the Park at 7 pm to-morrow (Friday) evening.

American Airmen Find a Camp – 4/10/1945
Lieut. Jack Mudie, who before his enlistment with the A.I.F. was on the teaching staff of St Marys Public School, was a very welcome visitor to the “Nepean Times” office on Tuesday. He was with the 2/20th Battalion when Singapore fell and for the past three years has been a prisoner in Japan. He looks well, though hardly at the poundage of pre-war days. He speaks appreciatively of Red Cross comforts when they arrived, which was not too often. The Japs claimed that in the air raid period the bombing was responsible for parcels not getting through. The location of the camp in which Lieut. Mudie was a prisoner was for a time unknown to the Allied forces but eventually they were spotted by American B29’s who thereafter dropped large quantities of supplies to them till they were released. Lieut. Mudie returned to Sydney on one of H.M.S. aircraft carriers with 42 other Australian officers. Also on the carrier were a number of British refugees from Hong Kong. Lieut. Mudie, who is at present staying with his sister, Mrs Lupton of Warrimoo, wishes to thank many friends who have been kindly inquiring about him.



Editor & Publisher: Lyn Forde

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