Changes in Fairfield – Now and Then…


[Source: Weekly column of Now and Then published in the Fairfield Advance Newspaper in 2008-9]







































Published in: on February 3, 2017 at 1:52 pm  Leave a Comment  

Changes in Cabramatta – Now and Then…

cabra-1 cabra-2 cabra-3

[Source: Weekly column of Now and Then  published in the Fairfield Advance Newspaper in 2009]

Published in: on January 17, 2017 at 5:00 pm  Leave a Comment  

Christmas card from Down Under


This Christmas card from the Walter Stimson family includes stencilled shapes of a map of Australia and various plants. Caption (on the back of the postcard): To Private N. McNaughton. With best wishes from Pr. Stimson & family. Fairfield West, Sydney, Australia.

The Heritage Team would like to wish you and your loved ones a very Merry Christmas and a Joyous New Year!


Published in: on December 22, 2016 at 2:40 pm  Leave a Comment  

Christmas time at the Russian Orthodox Churches


Golden cupola on the Russian Orthodox Church, Cabramatta & icons inside the St Nicolas’ Russian Orthodox Church, Fairfield.

St Nicholas’s Russian Orthodox Church, Fairfield

With the influx of Russian immigrants after World War II, the Russian people needed a place to worship according to their traditions. In 1952, with the support of the Russian community, a block of land located in Barbara Street, Fairfield was purchased and construction for a new church began. Due to financial constrains, a temporary timber building was erected and the church was finally completed and opened in 1956. The present Archpriest, Fr Nikita Chemodakov has been with St Nicolas since 1978 and still leads the popular Mass services each weekend.

For additional information on St Nicolas’s activities or history, please visit their webpage here

Russian Orthodox Church, Cabramatta 


Midnight Mass at the Russian Orthodox Church, 2007. Photographer Danny Huynh

The Russian Orthodox Parish at Cabramatta was formed in 1949 by a small group of Russian immigrants. In 1953, they enlisted the help of a Russian architect, Mr Michael Miklashevky, who drew up the plans for the construction of the new church on John Street, Cabramatta.

According to an account from the Advance (06/02/1969) – “the ancient Russian style architecture of the church with its unusual design, size and form and the gold coloured cupola and cross has been long a landmark in Cabramatta. The total height from ground level to the top of the cross is 110 ft (33.53 m). There are two galleries, one one either side of the central part. A special large gallery for the accommodation of the choir is situated above the main entrance. The church can accommodate 600 people.” 

The church was officially open on the 1st of February 1969 by Bishop Konstantin. In 1981, the Advance reported that Father Alexis, one of the two priest then at Cabramatta, and commercial artist Tonia Ganin had undertaken the task of “covering every inch of the interior walls” of the church with iconic paintings.

[Source: “Foundation of Faith: Christian churches in the Fairfield area” by Beverley Donald, pp.127-131. & “Rituals & Traditions” by Fairfield City Museum & Gallery, pp 36-42]







Published in: on December 20, 2016 at 4:59 pm  Leave a Comment  

Male Orphan School Part 2

The Male Orphan School Land:


Orphan School land, top of the map.

By 1803 Governor King had awarded a land grant of 12,300 acres to the north of Liverpool to the Female Orphan School, with the object of leasing the land for farming, to support the orphanage.

In 1813, the foundation stone of a new Female Orphan School was laid at Parramatta, but it was not complete until 1818.The female orphans moved there, vacating the building in Sydney, which was then occupied by a new Male Orphan School, opened on 1 January 1819.

After only a few years in the George Street building, it was considered unfit for the School, due to its dilapidated state and proximity to the tank stream.

2A new school was proposed to be built on the Orphan School land at Liverpool which would also operate as a farm in order to educate the boys in farming skills to increase the level of farming knowledge in the colony. The boys were moved to the site on 17 March 1824, travelling up the Parramatta River by boat. On 16 March 1824, the first Master of the School, Thomas Bowden reported they were not able to accomplish the journey as intended, as they did not obtain the boat at daylight:

“…there being little or no wind or rather a head wind, the Boat laid to at the Salt Pans near the Brothers. I was then compelled to procure a Boat and take the Boys on to Kissing Point, in a very wet condition at about One O’Clock where I procured them some refreshment and dried their clothes- It was after four O’Clock when the Government Boat reached the Point, and knowing we could not reach the farm that night I concluded they had better remain and get themselves thoroughly Dry and take the morning to prosecute their journey… I expect to arrive at Bull’s Hill by Dinner time tomorrow.”

Developments on the Male Orphan School Site:


Sketch of Orphan School , 1840 .

The boys were soon put to work to make the farm more productive. Prior to that time the site had only included a small farm and a timber farmhouse constructed in 1806, stockyards and a grindstone erected in 1807 under the charge of the stock keeper Thomas Rose. This was known as the Old Farm and was at the intersection of what is now Cowpasture and Edensor Roads.

Construction of the New Farm begun in 1824 which was built near Edensor, Smithfield and Boomerang Roads, Bonnyrigg. Timber dormitories were constructed at this time, although the buildings were soon considered unfit and no water was available at the site.

In August 1826 the ‘New Farm’ as the Male Orphan School became known, ceased operation briefly, while the administration of orphans changed from the Orphan Committee to the Church and School Lands Corporation. At this time Government Engineer Alexander Kinghorne selected a new site nearby and the orphanage was relocated. This new site was known as Bull’s Hill. Work began again on the New Farm site by June 1826, and it continued as the agricultural wing of the School, where some of the older boys lived and worked.

By July 1826 tenders were being called to begin work on the Master’s residence and other buildings at Bull’s Hill. By October 1826, thousands of sandstock bricks had been made and fired on the site and the Master’s residence was completed by December 1827. The Master’s residence is attributed to Colonial Architect Francis Greenway and Government Engineer Alexander Kinghorne and built by Thomas Moore. It is the only surviving standing structure on the site today and is known as Bonnyrigg House or The Homestead, on Brown Road, Bonnyrigg. The complex eventually included the Master’s Residence, dormitories, a dining room, school rooms, a probationary school, an infant schoolroom and nursery, staff bedroom and kitchen, watch house, hospital, stable and yard, coach house, offices, tailor’s shop, bakehouse, storekeeper’s house, clothing store and privies.

The water supply at the site was always uncertain. In 1825 John Busby was employed to sink boreholes. At Bull’s Hill, he sank one just ‘a few yards to the southwards of the buildings’ to the depth of 61 ½ feet, but this proved unsuccessful in reaching substantial water. He also sunk bores at the site at which it was proposed to move the School, where he found good sources of water, which must have influenced the move of the school to that site. He recommended that cisterns be dug on the western side of the Bull’s Hill for collecting rainwater. These would be four feet by 12 feet and six feet deep and covered with roofs.

James Busby was appointed farm manager in 1825 and he taught the boys viticulture, and planted a vineyard on the site. The school farm grew grape vines, wheat, barley, hops, maize, vegetables and cotton and the stock included sheep, pigs, beef and dairy cattle. Vegetables continued to be grown in abundance at the farm in later years, with Richard Sadleir ordering ‘600 weight of Potatoes for seed, 4 oz of onion seed, ½ lb of Carrot seed, 2 oz of Cauliflower seed’ and two boys spades, in July 1829. Sadleir also requisitioned white turnip seeds and cabbage seeds in August that year.

Busby recognised the agricultural potential of the land and was one of the first in the colony to attempt commercial grape growing for wine production. He introduced the boys to vine growing and wine making, which was continued at the School farm well after he left the school. The boys were employed in the vineyards, paddocks and cotton crops surrounding the buildings and at the New Farm which was linked to the school by a track.

Land Subdivision and Sale:


Simpson’s land near the Orphan School Creek.

In the 1840s admissions to the School steadily declined and on 30 April 1850 the Male Orphan School was closed and the boys were relocated to the Female Orphan School at Parramatta. The buildings remained vacant and fell into disrepair and the surrounding land was leased to local families. In the late 1870s and early 1880s the Church subdivided the estate for sale. William Stimson purchased a large tract of land along Orphan School Creek for two pounds an acre, and his family occupied Bonnyrigg House for many years. William and his sons cultivated grapes and market gardens along the edges of the creek. Stimson’s land was again subdivided in 1912 and much of the land was taken up by poultry farmers.


Property ad. from Fairfield Champion.


Google Map [-33.891506, 150.877836]

In more recent years, the area has been subdivided further for farm allotments and then housing estates. The photograph from the Fairfield Champion shows the remainder of the Male Orphan School Estate in 2016. Bonnyrigg House can be seen in the centre background (white house) and the Homestead Rd (cul-de-sac), on the left hand side of the photograph.

Bonnyrigg House or Master’s Residence:


Bonnyrigg House stood on the top of a rise with views across the district. The upper floor of the residence was used as a Court House for the meeting of Magistrates. The original building was incorporated within present structure, is the two storey brick section and the original main entrance was probably on the western side. In 1827-1880 a single storey wing was attached and this was replaced at the end of the 19th century by the existing two storied weatherboard section.  A single storey front addition was added c.1914 and a timber verandah and two-storey extension were added to the rear of the building in 1914.

Photographs from c.1950 show a large bunya pine (Araucaria bidwillii) – far taller than the house, and probably dating from at least the 1870s. Also shown in these photographs was a picket fence northwest of the house, and a star picket fence separating the vacant Orphan School site. Oleanders (Nerium oleander) had been planted by the 1950s, and remain on site today. In the 1950s the house was surrounded by vacant paddocks, market gardens and distant produce sheds (Stedinger, 2003).


[Exerpt taken from ‘…vicious and rebellious’?: Life at the Male Orphan School, 1819-1850 by Fiona Starr & Rebecca Wheller]

Published in: on December 5, 2016 at 3:31 pm  Leave a Comment  

Westacott Cottage


Westacott Victorian Cottage

Westacott Cottage is a fine example of a late Victorian period, rendered masonry cottage that is rare in the Fairfield area. It has an unusual combination of parapet and verandah form in the one building. It is still in good condition and with much interesting original timber and rendered detail. It has a historical and local significance for its association with William Westacott and the close by railway station at Canley Vale.

Physical descriptions of Westacott Coattage:

westacott-plan-1A Victorian period cottage with rendered brick walls. It has a corrugated iron roof and gable at the north end and a hip at the south end with close eaves. It also has a wing walled verandah to street façade, rendered brick chimneys with cornices and an original tile decoration to the faces of the wing wall at the ends. The verandah has two chamfered verandah posts and three pairs of French doors, with highlights.

The parapet wall to the southern half of the street façade with a shop-front has a panelled entry door with highlight, there is also projecting architrave and segmental arched on the top frame to the shop-front. There are two matching four-pane sash windows with raised rendered architraves (triangular at top) to the north façade and four pane double-hung window with segmental arch to the south façade. A picketed balustrade and side fence skirts the property.

westacott-stable-planModifications and dates:

The southern or parapeted part of the building is possibly a later addition to the northern half of the building, with the verandah. In any case, both parts of the building were constructed in the late nineteenth century. A recent major modification is the skillion roofed addition at the rear. The picket fence is also new.


The Cottage was built by William Westacott in 1886, eight years after the creation of the nearby railway station. It was the home of Williams Westacott, his wife Ellen Mary and their children. Bill Westacott conducted a wood , coal and coke business for many years (on the site of the present car park). The two daughters also turned the front of the house into a thriving little sweet shop. Bill Denton then used the premise as a hairdressing salon and then it became a general store. In 1979, the cottage was purchased by Fairfield City Council. It was later renovated and transformed,with the assistance of a grant from the Cultural Division of the Premier’s Department, into the permanent home for the Fairfield City Arts and Crafts Group, at a cost of $30,000.

The Westacott Cottage provided a venue for the Cabramatta and Districts Art Society, the Cottage China Painting Group, the Westacott Potters Group and the Hand Spinners Weavers and Dyers Guild to meet and create art works and handicrafts. It also enable the public to purchase some of these finished handcrafted goods from the cottage.

Visit the Westacott Cottage Arts & Crafts Centre and discover programs and classes that are on offer!

[Source: Office of Environment and Heritage – Westacott Cottage ]

Published in: on October 14, 2016 at 1:50 pm  Leave a Comment  

Westacott Family


William Westacott

William Westacott, the son of James and Elizabeth Westacott, was born in about 1855. He married Ellen Mercy Smith at Glebe in 1881. There were six children registered to William and Ellen M. , three registered at Waterloo, between 1881 and 1885, of which only Victoria was mentioned as being alive in 1920, and three registered at Liverpool between 1887 and 1893, with William J and Bessie mentioned in 1920.

In 1886, William Westacott built a house in Railway Parade directly opposite Canley Vale railway station. Several generations of the Westcotts resided in this property and the house became a distinctive landmark. William Westacott was a timber merchant who owned and operated a sawmill in Canley Vale, opposite the railway station.

William Westacott was elected to council in February 1893 and took his place in council in March. He was absent in October and November 1893. He served on the finance and works commitees from 1894 to 1897, being chairman in 1984. When works was separated from finance in 1898 he continued on the works committee from 1891 to 1900 and served on the parks committee in 1899.

westacottHe contacted influenza during the epidemic of 1919 and never recovered completely. He was confined to bed for the last seven months of his life and died on 19th November 1920 at the age of 65. The funeral moved from his home in Railway Parade, Canley Vale for the new Methodist cemetery at Liverpool, where the rev. CE Godbehear conducted the service. Ellen Mercy Westacott stayed at the family home and died there on 8 March 1923 at the age  of 62.

Three generations of the Westacott Family



[Source: Shaping Fairfield: the aldermen of Fairfield and Cabra-Vale Council 1889-1948 / Beverley Donald]



Published in: on October 4, 2016 at 2:53 pm  Leave a Comment  

Club Marconi



Club Marconi was established in 1956 by the Italians community as a meeting place to play bocce and to socialise. Prior to the establishment of Club Marconi, the Italian community will often gather at private homes.

In April 1956 , Ruben Sartor, Provino Sartor and Lorenzo Zamprogno took decisive steps in establishing a licensed club. They visited an Italian club in Griffith to obtain advice on operating a social club.

An initial meeting was held at Provino Sartor’s house and was attended by Rino Bagatella, Sebastiano Crestani, Oscar Michelini, Antonio Pessoto, Vito Angelo Pessoto, Provino Sartor, Ruban Sartor, Davino Zadro, Lorenzo Zamprogno and Andrea Zulian.

The Sartor brothers offered a piece of land for the club at $6,900 (with no interest). This plot was located at the corner of Prairie Vale Road and what was then Middle Road. To raise fund for the venture, the group advertised in the local newspapers (the Advance, The Biz) and in the Italian newspapers (La Fiamma, Il Corriere and Risveglio) and asked foundation members to lend $100 each to the club. A public meeting was held on 21st September 1956 and 300 people generously offered $100 or more to the building project. 

The members commissioned builders Lorenzo Zamprogno and Gisberto Benedetti for the building of the first building at a total cost of $120,000. To accommodate to the growing numbers of members and guests, a second stage extensions was planned and completed in 1962.


Land around the club was acquired successively in the early 1960s, with the block opposite the club bought for $16,000 in 1960, and the picnic ground purchased for $12,000 in 1962. By 1966 the club’s growth and dominance led to Fairfield Council changing the name of Middle Road to Marconi Road.

Further extensions were added between 1970 and 1990. This included tennis and squash courts, covered bocce courts, a children’s playroom and a football stadium. In 1990 the first car park was completed, followed by a second addition in 1998. The sport centre was completed in 1999 along with the construction of a gym in 2003, this was followed by a child care centre in 2005 and an outdoor gaming area in 2008. Today, Club Marconi is situated on thirty one acres of parkland and playing fields in Bossley Park.

The Ladies’ Auxiliary was formed on 9 December 1962 and is still responsible for organising activities tailored for women and families such as ladies’ nights, mothers’ and fathers’ day celebrations, Gala days, Valentine’s Day celebrations and other festivities. It is worth noting that the Marconi Club was one of the first few clubs of its time to allow full membership rights to women.

Name and Logo

opening of club

1st anniversaryClub Marconi is named after Guglielmo Marconi. Marconi was highly regarded for his pioneering work in sending the first direct wireless message from Great Britain to Australia on September 22, 1918. In addition to this monumental achievement, Marconi switched on 2,800 coloured lights at Sydney Town Hall with a radio signal to open the Electrical and Radio Exhibition in Sydney, sent from his yacht Elettra in Genova.

Club Marconi’s logo consists of a globe of the world, a radio antenna and a boomerang. The boomerang, which consists of the Italian colours, symbolises the connection between Australia, Italy and the rest of the world. The emblem was designed by Guido Zuliani (a well known artist and photographer from Leichhardt).

The following are transcripts taken from Felice Zadro (a foundation member and past president of Marconi Club) ‘s oral history interview with Shirley McLeod in which he recounts the history of the Marconi Club.

Felice Zadro part 3 , Felice Zadro part 4

[Source: Club Marconi , Dictionary of Sydney and Club Marconi : 50th Anniversary, 2008]

Published in: on June 1, 2016 at 5:24 pm  Leave a Comment  

Pioneer Family – The Hanbury

Hanbury family

Edward Hanbury

Edward Hanbury was born on the 1st of February 1863 in Coventry Warwickshire, England. The son of John Hanbury & Eliza Victoria Mann, he was one of their 9 children. (1) John Valentine (born in 03/1862 & buried 20/8/1862) Coventry England, (2) Edward,(3) Mary Elizabeth,(4) Louisa,(5) Edith,(6) Valentine,(7) Celia,(8) Kate,(9) Sarah. Edward was educated at Bablake School & Hospital from 1/5/1874 -1/5/1876.

He sailed for Australia on the John Elder from the Port of London aged 19 on 17/11/1882 & landed in Australian on 08/01/1883. The shipping log records showed all passengers as being “trades people”. Edward was listed as a “mason”. Edward first lived in Newtown and then moved to Canley Vale, where he meet Mary Louisa Westacott Gobey, born 27/9/1868 in Abersychan Monmouthshire, Wales, who had come to Australia 3 yrs earlier, aged 12yrs with her Aunt Mary Ann Westacott (Elliot) aged 40 & her Grandmother Mary Elizabeth Westacott, aged 63, as assisted Immigrants on the Peterborough that left from the Port of Plymouth, England on the 26/8/1880. Grandmother Mary Elizabeth Westacott had some relatives that lived in Canley Vale (William Westacott, her brother).

1st Marriage of Edward Hanbury

Edward Hanbury & Mary Louisa Westacott Gobey were married at a Liverpool registrar office on the 18/6/1888. Her aunt Mary Ann Westacott gave consent to the marriage as Mary was under age (20 yrs) & Edward 25 yrs old. The couple had 7 children Victor Stanley, Mabel Gwendoline, Norman Edward Leslie, Heather Inez, Daisy Louisa Ellen, Bertha Gladys, Inez Myrtle (born 19/3/1902 Died 9/6/1907). The Children attended Canley Vale School until they moved to Cabramatta.


Edward built a shop in Canley Vale at the corner of Railway Pde & Canley Vale Rd, this was the 2nd shop in the district. The first shop being a Butcher shop near Landsdown, owned by Mr Wood. Edward & Mary worked & lived at the shop. Minutes of a Council Meeting report shows that on19/1/1893, the municipal lists for the elections could be seen at Mr Hanbury’s store at Canley Vale. Edward was very interested in the community as can be seen by a petition on the 27/11/1888 where his name appeared to support for a municipal council to be formed for the District of Cabramatta & Canley Vale. In the early days of the country you had to be a land owner before you could vote or stand for council. At this time Cabramatta & Canley Vale was part of Liverpool Municipality. The new Municipality of Cabramatta & Canley Vale started in 1892. Edward was very active in the council in later years.

In 1902 Edward built a house in Cabramatta. The children attended both Canley Vale & Cabramatta Public School. An article in the Parramatta Argus reported on 2/1/1904, page 3 that Mabel Hanbury received 2 Prize in 3rd class & Heather Hanbury also received 1st prize in 1st class at Cabramatta School. Norman’s name is also featured on the Canley Vale Honour Roll as an old pupil who had enlisted in world war 1915-1918 (see Parramatta Argus, 22/12/1917). Edwards 2 sons, Victor Stan (known as Sam) & Norman who were both builders and were trained by their father. His 2 daughters, Mabel and Heather, excelled in sports at school. On the 30/4/1904.

Mary Hanbury died at the age of 35 yrs at Cabramatta & was buried at Liverpool Pioneer Cemetery. Their daughter Inez Myrtle Hanbury who died 1907 aged 5 yrs was also buried in the Liverpool Pioneer Cemetery near Mary.

2nd Marriage of Edward Hanbury
On the 13/6/1910 Edward married for the second time to Emily Phillips at the residence of F. Harrison Esq., Cabramatta. Emily was born in England in 1869 & died at Hughes St Cabramatta on the 19/8/1949. She was buried at Liverpool Uniting Cemetery . Emily was married to Edward during his time as an Alderman & was Mayoress from June 1917 to June 1918 when Edward was in England for 6 months.
The couple had 2 children, Dorothy Victoria (born 1912 & died 1912) & John Valentine (born 1916 & died 1919).Both were buried at Liverpool Pioneer Cemetery.

Edward Hanbury’s contributions to Fairfield and Cabramatta
town hallEdward built the old Town Hall in Cabramatta in 1902 (see Obituary Biz 11/8/1941) & many houses in the district during 1904-05 as he was a carpenter by trade. He was heavy involved with the construction of the Methodist Church as he was on the church’s committee. He was offered a contact of 100 pounds to completely finish & furnish the church (see more details on page 50-53 in “Foundations of Faith : Christian churches in the Fairfield area” By Beverley Donald ). Edward was a foundation member of the Masonic Lodge Celebration Canley Vale; he also built the Masonic Hall value for 400 pounds in Phelp St, Canley Vale.

Edward went back to England for a holiday in 1913 to see his mother & sisters who still lived in England.
In the 1913 Council elections, Edward was elected as an Alderman & was to remain in this position until 1925 .He became the Mayor in June 1917-June 1918 (he kept the position while he was in England). Mr McEacharn was elected Deputy Mayor while Edward was in England and in the following election, Mr McEacharn was elected as Mayor in June 1918.

In January 1918, while Edward was Mayor, he & Norman returned to England to work in the munitions factories, until the end of the war (they remained in England for 12 months). Prior to his departure, the Cabra-Vale Council gave Mayor Hanbury a dinner to farewell him on his trip to England & presented him with a large cabin trunk , suitably inscribed (see Argus 22/12/1917 page 5). Edward had 5 trips back to England,  in 1913, 1918 with Norman and Emily in the latter years.

Edward died at his resident in Cabramatta August 1941 & was buried at the Methodist Cemetery (now known as the Uniting Cemetery at Liverpool), not far away from his daughter Mable & aunt Westacott (Elliott).

Edward Handbury’s children – Norman & Victor

soldierIn 1915 when the World War I started, Norman enlisted in the Army & was sent to Egypt, Gallipoli & France where he was subsequently wounded in the leg .Norman was sent to England to recover & returned to Australia in April 1917 on crutches. He was welcomed back at an Oddfellows meeting. (see Argus 11/4/1917 page 5). The lodge also held a party in the Town Hall to welcome Norman back home (see Argus21/4/1917 page). On returning to Australia, Norman meet Miss Linda Myrtle Wood who was living with her Aunt Mrs D. Fowler (her mother’s sister was Maria Louise Fowler, nee Stephens) & uncle D. W. Fowler (Uncle Dan) in Cabramatta who lived behind the Edward Hanbury’s shop. The rented property was located on Cabramatta Rd and had a back entrance to the house in John St.

Norman & Linda where married at the Soldiers Memorial church Cabramatta on the 13/3/1920. The old church was opened in 3/11/1917 and was built by voluntary labour. A new brick church was built and dedicated in 24/3/1923. Mr Fowler gave the bride away and Laura Wood (sister) was the bridesmaid and Mr William Wood was best man. Norman & Linda held their wedding breakfast at W. D. Fowlers’ resident and Mrs Colless (the bride’s Aunt) presented the couple with the wedding cake. The couple spent their honeymoon in Katoomba (see argus 27/3/1920 page 10). Prior to the wedding, the Pastime Club also held a kitchen tea party in the old Town Hall (see Parramatta Argus 13/3/1920 page 9).

Norman and Linda had 6 children, Wilga Louisa (13/12/1920) born at Cabramatta Rd, Norma (27/8/1922) born at Cabramatta Rd, Joan Beatrice (5/8/1925) born in Coventry Rd , John Valentine (8/5/1928) born at Board St & Coventry St, twins Ronald & Margaret (4/9/1933) born 377 Cabramatta Rd Cabramatta at the Poultry Farm .

In January 1927 Norman stood for the council & was elected an Alderman then in December 1930 he was elected Mayor until January 1932 . It was a hard time as it was at the height of the depression He was defeated in the February 1932 elections.

Norman subsequently left the building industry & ran a poultry farm on 377 Cabramatta Rd, Cabramatta. The farm and the adjoining poultry farm (owned by Mr Samuals) was acquired by the Dept. of Education and this became the site for Cabramatta West Public School .

ON the 16th of April 1925, Norman convened a meeting in the Cabramatta Town Hall with 20 other ex-servicemen, and formed what is now known as Cabra-Vale Ex-Active Servicemen Club. Norman became the Foundation Treasurer and later the President whilst Linda was the first Secretary of the Ladies Auxiliary. They continued in these roles and participated in many activities such as raising funds to build a Club House. Prior to the construction of the Club House, ex-servicemen would meet in different places, and later they rented a room on the east side of Cabramatta, next to the Protea picture theatre.

During World War II, Norman tried many time to re-elist for duty but was refused. He was finally accepted after changes were made to his name (N. E. Hanbury) &  his date of birth (1st February). Linda was left to dispose the Poultry Farm. She started a new life and had a regular income.

Norman’s brother, Victor Stanley Hanbury had 3 sons & 2 daughters (Victor, Edward, Paul, Violet, Joyce).

Norman Hanbury’s Children

normaNorma became a milliner & worked in the factories during the war years. Donald Leech Bevington & Norma had 6 children,  4 were born in Lochiel Private Hospital in Canley Vale. The entire family then moved to Queensland & had 2 more children, David & Kay were born in Eumundi. Later she married Philip Casper Payne and had 1 child, Annette. Norma passed away on the 17th July 2016.

joanJoan also worked in the factories during the war years. Joan moved to Western Australia & had 2 children, Roslyn & Ann. Joan Beatrice Hanbury married Rexinald Hutchinson From Western Australia.


wilgaWilga become a dressmaker with David Jones & worked in the factories during the War years. Wilga Louisa Hanbury married Reginald Lyndyn Dietrich From Canowindra at the Cabramatta Methodist Church 18/3 /1941. The couple had six children, James, Elaine, Leonie, Roslyn and finally twins Ian & David . Reg died March 1964. Year later, Wilga was remarried to George Castles. Wilga passed away on September 2015.

Margaret Hanbury married Leslie Gordon Goodridge at the Soldiers Memorial Church, Cabramatta. Margaret & Les had 3 children (Alan, Ross and Trudy). The couple lived on Cabramatta Rd, Cabramatta and later moved to Hercules St, Fairfield in January 1955. Les passed away on the 28th March 1981 at Westmead Hospital & is buried at Pine Grove Cemetery.


[Excerpt from Margaret Goodridge (nee Hanbury)’s speech at the Cabra-Vale Park 100th Anniversary Celebration]

Published in: on May 30, 2016 at 4:27 pm  Leave a Comment  

Fairfield Heritage Listed Site

Fairfield School of Arts’ Beginnings…


Fairfield City Council commissioned a historical study of the School of Arts in Harris Street, Fairfield. The study was carried out by Megan Martin, a historian who works with the Historic Houses Trust, and it uncovered a fascinating story of the early days of the School!

Schools of Arts, mechanic and literary institutes were once highly valued public buildings, the forerunners of today’s libraries and community halls. The Sydney Mechanics School of Arts began in 1833. The movement grew steadily from the 1850’s and by 1912 there were 433 throughout New South Wales.

In April 1903 the idea of a School in Fairfield was raised at a meeting of the Fairfield Progress Association. The “ladies” of the district gave impetus to the idea by a major fundraising bazaar in September of that year. It was a huge success and raised 90 pounds, the nucleus of a building fund.

The Progress Committee considered three sites and selected Mrs. Eliza Stimson’s site between the police station and the Methodist Church. A committee was elected headed by John Robinson Wright, an architect who was head of the art department at Sydney Technical College. The committee designed the building. Tenders were called in February 1904, and the builders Thompson and Slater of Granville won the contract and the building was completed by November. It cost 340 pounds. The original plan (the brick part of the current building) shows a triangular plan with a lecture hall, class room library and reading room.

The School got off to a slid start. Regular meetings were held every four weeks (to take advantage of the full moon). There were lectures and entertainments at least once a month. In March 1905 Mr. Tremayne spoke about “science in everyday life and in May Profeesor Harper lectured on “our human brotherhood in relation to speech”. In march 1906 the School held its first fruit, flower and vegetable show. In the same month, it also had an athletics club.

Untitled design

Here is a recollection from Florence Callicott, a resident of Fairfield and a member of the Stimson Family on the Fairfield School of Arts…Click on the image to read Florence’s reminiscences on the early years of the School of Arts!


Building Construction & Design


The building of the School of Arts has social and historical significance as a major centre of social activity from the late nineteenth century. It is a good examples of Late Victorian and Federation period “high styles” buildings which is fairly  rare for Fairfield city.

It is a single storey brick building with corrugated iron roof, built in two sections, approximately twenty years apart.

On the Eastern section, the older section constructed around 1895, the building has close eaves, a parapet to the street, a triangular pediment over the main entrance with circular louvred opening, brick pilasters, two deep parapet cornices, double-hung windows with round arched openings, moulded heads and projecting moulded stone sills.

On the Western section, built in 1915, in the Classical Revival style with roman Ionic giant order columns. The building has a traditional architrave lettered “SCHOOL OF ARTS”, a balustered parapet, two large panelled pairs of entrance doors, double-hung windows with triangular pediments and wreaths.

A few modifications were carry out over the years. For example, the face brick walls was painted. The exterior of the western section is essentially unaltered. However, the street façade to the eastern section has been altered in several respects: the existing entrance was originally a pair of double-hung windows; the central opening now closed up was originally a doorway, and the round arched window is new, it replaces an earlier large rectangular window opening. The interior of the building was extensively altered in 1989 but Council also undertook restoration of heritage facade in 2008. To learn furthermore about the transformation and the restoration of the facade of the School of Arts, please click here.

The works undertaken in this heritage building involved the dismantling of an existing low level roof structure and replacement with a new high level roof structure and roof access system. The replacement of an existing wet areas and the provision of new mezzanine floor, office space, air conditioning system, disabled lift, gallery/foyer space and storage area fit out.

Today, the Fairfield School of Arts is the headquarter of the Powerhouse Youth Theatre, a  leading professional youth theatre company in Western Sydney. The company creates new, innovative and inclusive performing arts programs as well as trains the next generation of outstanding artists from Western Sydney.

[Source: Office of Environment and Heritage &  “The Fairfield School of Arts, Harry Street Fairfield: draft history” by Megan Martin]

Published in: on May 9, 2016 at 10:45 am  Leave a Comment