Sunday, January 6, 2019

Sydney Suburbs: Camellia. Cammeray, Campbelltown

Continuing an alphabetical look at Sydney’s suburbs . . .


Camellia is located 23 kilometres (14 mi) west of the Sydney central business district in the local government area of the City of Parramatta.

Name Origin:
The railway station that opened here in 1885 was originally called Subiaco, but it caused confusion because this was the name of the Benedictine school on the opposite side of Parramatta River. In 1901, the station name was changed to Camellia, after the Camellia Grove Nursery nearby that specialised in growing camellias.

  • Camellia is a post industrial suburb of Sydney which began brownfields remediation in late 2015, and is ear-marked as a major centre for high density living. (Brownfields is a term used in urban planning to describe. vacant or derelict land or property, usually industrial in nature, both contaminated and uncontaminated.
  • From the NSW Government’s website:
Camellia is poised for an exciting journey of renewal that will provide for a new riverside town centre positioned on the Parramatta Light Rail, as well as a proposed new primary school, 13 hectares of new open space and affordable housing. 
The Department of Planning and Environment in consultation with the City of Parramatta Council have prepared a draft Camellia Town Centre Master Plan which will guide the future development of the industrial area over the next 20 to 30 years. 
The draft Plan focuses on the Camellia Town Centre. The intent is to establish the town centre’s character as a new riverside community and, importantly, to ensure the renewal occurs in tandem with access and transport improvements such a bridge across Parramatta River, road improvements, and the creation of walking and cycling paths which will support a thriving, connected community on the doorstep of Sydney’s second CBD. 
The draft Plan will inform the rezoning package for Camellia Town Centre, which when finalised, will provide an attractive place to live, work and play. 
  • Camellia is predominantly an industrial and commercial area. An office block close to the railway station contains an Aldi supermarket. This is the former site of the James Hardie asbestos plant.
  • Grand Avenue is the main street.

Projections by the Government and developers of future Camellia developments . . . 

Grand Avenue, decorative rocks

Camellia Railway Station


Cammeray is located 5 kilometres (3 mi) north of the Sydney central business district, in the local government area of North Sydney Council.

Name Origin:
Cammeray takes its name from the Cammeraygal people, an Aboriginal clan who once occupied the lower North Shore. Radiometric dating (carbon dating) indicates that indigenous peoples lived in the Cammeray area at least 5,800 years ago and Aboriginal shell middens have been discovered at Folly Point and cave paintings in Primrose Park.

  • Cammeray is mostly a residential area. Some houses have waterfront access such as those in Cowdroy Avenue and the end of Cammeray Road, leading down to Folly Point.
  • Cammeray was the site of Sydney's first quarry, with sandstone blocks from the quarry making many of the first buildings in Sydney town.
  • While there are also some older high rise apartment blocks in certain areas of Cammeray that were built several decades ago, the majority of residences are in the form of stand-alone or semi-detached, single or double-storey houses. Many of the quieter streets are lined with trees and have nature stips. This gives Cammeray a pleasant green look. Recently there have been many housing redevelopments in the heart of Cammeray Shopping Village. They take the form of low rise apartment blocks.
  • The Long Gully Bridge is on the border between Northbridge and Cammeray. The bridge, opened in 1892, was built as a private initiative by the North Sydney Investment and Tramway Company, to attract buyers for new residential allotments on the north side of Long Bay. The intention was to run a tramline across the bridge, conveniently linking the new suburb and beautiful Middle Harbour peninsulas to the more developed parts of North Sydney. Unfortunately, the great financial depression of the 1890s soon followed and despite the introduction of a bridge toll the company went bankrupt. It was not until 1914 that the first tram crossed the bridge.
  • The bridge was originally built as a suspension bridge – like the famous Golden Gate – and at the time was the largest of its type in Australia and fourth largest in the world. In the mid-1930s faults were discovered in the steel cables and anchorages in the rock below. For safety reasons public transport was interrupted with passengers having to walk across the bridge to trams waiting on either side. It was decided that the bridge would be repaired by replacing the suspended steel girders with a concrete arch structure that was built between 1937 and 1939. It was claimed to be the largest concrete arch in the Southern Hemisphere.
  • The bridge has been known as the North Sydney, Long Bay, Northbridge, Cammeray, Long Gully Bridge and simply the Suspension Bridge. The residential areas surrounding the bridge were also known as Suspension Bridge until they were officially named Cammeray, after the powerful Aboriginal clan, and Northbridge, after the bridge itself.
  • During the 1930s Depression work began on an unemployment relief scheme to fill in the area under the bridge for sports fields. Up to 500 men were involved. Flat Rock Creek was allowed to flow underneath the new fields to Long Bay in Middle Harbour.


Willoughby Bay, Cammeray

Tunks Park

Long Gully Bridge 

Long Gully Bridge, 1892




The original bridge built in 1892 was rebuilt in 1935 to have it reinforced. Above is the bridge as it is constructed today



Campbelltown is located in Greater Western Sydney 42 kilometres (26 mi) south-west of the Sydney central business district. Campbelltown is the administrative seat of the local government area of the City of Campbelltown.

Name Origin:
Campbelltown was founded in 1820 by Governor Lachlan Macquarie and named after his wife Elizabeth, whose maiden name was Campbell. The name was originally Campbell-Town.

  • Before European settlement, the Campbelltown region was occupied by the Dharawal tribe. They ranged widely from La Perouse in the north to near Ulladulla in the south but especially Picton and along the Georges River, which provided a great source of food, water and shelter.    
  • In 1788, two bulls and four cows wandered from the new colony in Sydney Cove and made their way across the Cook and Nepean Rivers. Some aboriginal cave paintings depict these animals. In 1795 the small herd of cattle now numbering in the hundreds (estimates vary) were officially found by Governor Hunter in the area and he named the area Cowpastures. In 1803 John Warby was appointed Government Herdsman. He lived in "Cowpasture hut" which stood near Elderslie, on the bank of the Nepean River. In 1805, on instructions from Lord Camden, John Macarthur was granted 5000 acres of land in order to breed fine-wool sheep to export back to British factories. He chose the Cowpastures site.
  • The Dharawal initially worked with the local farmers but a drought in 1814 led to large numbers of neighbouring Gandangara people moving into the area in search of food. Tensions developed between the British and the Gandangara leading to skirmishes and a number of deaths on each side. Farmers began to arm themselves and a request was made to Governor Macquarie to settle the issue. 
  • Acting on orders of Governor Lachlan Macquarie, according to Macquarie’s diary at the time to ‘rid the land of troublesome blacks’, on April 16, 1816, Captain Wallis, a British Naval Officer, and his troops fired upon aboriginal people before driving them towards the cliff edge at Broughton Pass near Appin, NSW. The official death toll of the massacre was fourteen however, many others are believed to have perished. Both Dharawal and Gandangara people are believed to have been killed in the massacre. A report for the NSW Heritage Council declares that ‘among the 14 known dead were old men, women and children’. At least five prisoners were also taken including Doual who had been a guide to explorer Hamilton Hume. The massacre points to changing relations between Governor Macquarie who was initially keen to avoid aggression between the European settlers and Indigenous Australians. It was also the first formally government sanctioned military engagement of Aboriginal people in Australia. The Appin massacre is today commemorated annually in the Appin area.
  • Following the massacre, Governor Macquarie felt a permanent settlement would lead to order in the area and so Campbell-Town was born in 1820.
  • Development of the town was slow particularly after the departure of Macquarie, and it wasn't until 1831 that residents took possession of town land. However, it was during this period that Campbelltown's most famous incident occurred. In 1826, local farmer Frederick Fisher disappeared. According to folklore, his ghost appeared sitting on a fence rail over a creek just south of the town and pointed to a site where his body was later found to be buried. In memory of the incident, the Fisher's Ghost festival is held each November in Campbelltown. In 1827 George Worrall hanged for Frederick Fisher's Murder.
  • Campbelltown's population increased steadily in the decades following. The southern rail line was extended to Campbelltown in 1858, leading to further development, and in 1882, Campbelltown Council was established allowing municipal works to occur in earnest. Campbelltown became the first country town in New South Wales to have piped water in 1888 and in the period between the World Wars, a local power station was built to supply electricity to residents. 
  • Campbelltown was designated in the early 1960s as a satellite city by the New South Wales Planning Authority, and a regional capital for the south west of Sydney. There was extensive building and population growth in the intervening time and the government set aside land surrounding the township for public and private housing and industry.

A commemorative plaque at the approximate site of the Appin Massacre

Reeves Emporium, Queen Street, Campbelltown 1900

Queen Street, c 1900

Campbelltown Railway Station c1916

Procession in Queen Street, Campbelltown, 1910.

Queen Street, Campbelltown, 1940’s

Queen Street, Campbelltpwn, early 1900s.

Colonial houses in Queen St opposite today's Campbelltown Mall , 1884

Soldiers getting ready to board train at Campbelltown sometime during 1914-1918.

In 1915 men marched from Wagga Wagga to Campbelltown to enlist to serve in the Great War, gathering further recruits along the way. They were looked after by the residents of the towns in which they stayed and through which they passed. The Wagga-Campbelltown march was the longest of these type of marches at 560 kilometres (350 miles) and became known as the Kangaroo March. The military authorities in 1915 attempted to stop the Kangaroo march at Goulburn, intending that they should enter camp for training, but it continued to Campbelltown. Many of the Kangaroos were allotted to the 55th Battalion, which arrived in France in 1916. One of the Kangaroos, John Ryan of Tumut, was to receive a Victoria Cross. It was re-enacted in 2015 with descendants of some of the original Kangaroos joining at various stages along the route.

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