It is hard to imagine now but in days gone by the township of Camden was the centre of a large district. The Camden district became the centre of people’s daily lives for well over a century and the basis of their sense of place and community identity.
The district grew to about 1200 square kilometre with a population of more than 5000 by the 1930s with farming and mining. Farming started out with cereal cropping and sheep, which by the end of the 19th century had turned to dairying and mixed farming. Silver mining started in the late 1890s in the Burragorang Valley and coalmining from the 1930s.
The district was centred on Camden and there were a number of villages including Cobbitty, Narellan, The Oaks, Oakdale, Yerranderie, Mt Hunter, Orangeville and Bringelly. The region was made up of four local government areas – Camden Municipal Council, Wollondilly Shire Council, the southern end of Nepean Shire and the south-western edge of Campbelltown Municipality.
Cows and more
Before the Camden district was even an idea the area was the home for ancient Aboriginal culture based on dreamtime stories. The land of the Dharawal, Gundangara and the Dharug.
The Europeans turned up in their sailing ships. They brought new technologies, new ideas and new ways of doing things. The First Fleet cows did not think much of their new home in Sydney. They escaped and found heaven on the Indigenous managed pastures of the Nepean River floodplain.
The Nepean River was at the centre of the Cowpastures and the gatekeeper for the wild cattle. The Nepean River, which has Aboriginal name of Yandha, was named by Governor Arthur Phillip in 1789 in honour of Evan Nepean, a British politician.
The Nepean River rises in the ancient sandstone country west of the Illawarra Escarpment and Mittagong Range around Robertson. The shallow V-shaped valleys were ideal locations for the dams of the Upper Nepean Scheme that were built on the tributaries to the Nepean, the Cordeaux, Avon, and Cataract.
The rivers catchment drains in a northerly direction and cuts through deep gorges in the Douglas Park area. It then emerges out of sandstone country and onto the floodplain around the village of Menangle. The river continues in a northerly direction downstream to Camden then Cobbitty before re-entering sandstone gorge country around Bents Basin, west of Bringelly.
The river floodplain and the surrounding hills provided ideal conditions for the woodland of ironbarks, grey box, wattles and a groundcover of native grasses and herbs. The woodland ecology loved the clays of Wianamatta shales that are generally away from the floodplain.
The ever changing mood of the river has shaped the local landscape. People forget that the river could be an angry raging flooded torrent, set on a destructive course. Flooding shaped the settlement pattern in the eastern part of the district.
A village is born
The river ford at the Nepean River crossing provided the location of the new village of Camden established by the Macarthur brothers, James and William. They planned the settlement on their estate of Camden Park in the 1830s and sold the first township lots in 1840. The village became the transport node for the district and developed into the main commercial and financial centre in the area.
Rural activity was concentrated on the new village of Camden. There were weekly livestock auctions, the annual agricultural show and the provision of a wide range of services. The town was the centre of law enforcement, health, education, communications and other services.
The community voluntary sector started under the direction of mentor James Macarthur. His family also determined the moral tone of the village by sponsoring local churches and endowing the villagers with parkland.
Manufacturing had a presence with a milk factory, a timber mill and a tweed mill in Edward Street that burnt down. Bakers and general merchants had customers as far away as the Burragorang Valley, Picton and Leppington and the town was the publishing centre for weekly newspapers.
The Hume Highway, formerly the Great South Road, ran through the town from the 1920s and brought the outside forces of modernism, consumerism, motoring, movies and the new-fangled-flying machines at the airfield. This re-enforced the centrality of the market town as the commercial capital of the district.
In the western extremities of the district there were the rugged mountains that made up the picturesque Burragorang Valley. Its deep gorges carried the Coxes, Wollondilly and Warragamba Rivers.
Access was always difficult from the time that the Europeans discovered its majestic beauty. The Jump Up at Nattai was infamous from the time of Macquarie’s visit in 1815. The valley became an economic driver of the district supplying silver and coal that was hidden the dark recesses of the gorges. The Gothic landscape attracted tourists to sup the valley’s hypnotic beauty who stayed in one of the many guesthouses.
The outside world was linked to the valley through the Camden railhead and the daily Camden mail coach from the 1890s. Later replaced by a mail car and bus.
The valley was popular with writers. In the 1950s one old timer, an original Burragoranger, Claude N Lee wrote about the valley in ‘An Old-Timer at Burragorang Look-out’. He wrote:
Yes. this is a good lookout. mate,
What memories it recalls …
For all those miles of water.
Sure he doesn’t care a damn;
He sees the same old valley still,
Through eyes now moist and dim
The lovely fertile valley
That, for years, was home to him.
By the 1980s the Sydney urban octopus had started to strangle the country town and some yearned for the old days. They created a country town idyll. In 2007 local singer song-writer Jessie Fairweather penned ‘Still My Country Home’. She wrote:
When I wake up,
I find myself at ease,
As I walk outside I hear the birds,
They’re singing in the trees.
Any then maybe
Just another day
But to me I can’t have it any other way,
Cause no matter when I roam
I know that Camden’s still my country home.
The end of a district and the birth of a region
The seeds of the destruction of the Camden district were laid as early as the 1940s with the decision to flood the valley with the construction of the Warragamba Dam. The Camden railhead was closed in the early 1960s and the Hume Highway moved out of the town centre in the early 1970s.
Today Macarthur regionalism is entrenched with government and business branding in a area defined as by the Camden, Campbelltown and Wollondilly Local Government Areas. The Camden district has become a distant memory with remnants dotting the landscape and reminding us of the past.
Out at Menangle it has been brought to my attention that three First World War Honour Roll photographic montages have re-appeared after many years.
The honour rolls are framed photographs of local Menangle men who served during the First World War. Across the three framed montages there are photographs of 31 Menangle diggers.
Meaning of photographs
The Menangle photographs carry a special meaning and memory from the past. These individual portrait images are simple yet poignant reminder to today’s generations of the incredible loss of young men in the Great War.
The wartime photographs of Menangle men are a reminder of a less innocent period in Australia’s past. The men appear relaxed and without airs and graces. They look straight ahead without the weight of the world on their shoulders and carnage that lay before them.
A number of the Menangle men in the photographic montage were killed in action.
The website Camden Remembers has many photographs of local diggers from the First World War.
Menangle School of Arts
The Menangle framed photos were hanging in pride of place in the front rooms at the Menangle School of Arts for decades. The rooms were used as a library and meeting rooms.
The individual who originally organised the framed Menangle photographs certainly went to a large amount of effort and expense to put the photographic montages together.
The framed photographs were taken away for restoration when the hall was renovated and toilets added to the hall in the late 1970s.
The framed honour rolls montages recently re-appeared after many years.
The aim is to have the honour rolls restored and replaced in the School of Arts after the hall has had conservation work completed.
Menangle Honour Roll Photographic Montage No 1
Menangle Honour Roll Photographic Montage No 1
Hawkey MC, Major JM
Macarthur Onslow, Captain AW
Macarthur Onslow, Lieut JA
Menangle Honour Roll Photographic Montage No 2
Menangle Honour Roll Photographic Montage No 2
Onslow Thompson, Lieut Colonel AJ
Menangle Honour Roll Photographic Montage No 3
Menangle Honour Roll Photographic Montage No 3
Macarthur Onslow, Brigadier General GM
List of Menangle diggers from honour roll photographic montages (alphabetic order)
Hawkey, Major JM
Macarthur Onslow, Brigadier General GM
Macarthur Onslow, Captain AW
Macarthur Onslow, Lieut JA
Onslow Thompson, Lieut Colonel AJ
Menangle War Memorial Wall Plaque at St James Anglican Church Menangle
Inscription on memorial plaque:
CAPT A W MACARTHUR ONSLOW 16TH LANCERS YPRES
Lt COL A J ONSLOW THOMPSON 4TH BN AIF GALLIPOLI
CORPORAL R J HAWKEY 6TH AIF PALESTINE
SIGNALLER B GALF 3RD BATTALION AIF FRANCE
PRIVATE J E WILLIAMS 56TH BATTN AIF FRANCE
1914 – 1918
1939 – 45
Flt. Sgt J.D. PRATT R.A.A.F
Memorial Plaque, St James Anglican Church Menangle, Wall of Remembrance (B Peacock, 2018)
The Camden Australia Day celebrations opened with the awards at the Camden Civic Centre where the winners of the Camden Citizen of the Year were announced for 2018. At a national level there has been a debate about the date and the day. What does it mean? When should it be celebrated? Should it be celebrated at all?
The day, the 26th January, is the foundation of the military penal settlement at Sydney Cove in 1788 and the anniversary of the coup d’etat against the Bligh colonial administration popularly known as the Rum Rebellion. By 1804, according to the National Australia Day Council, the day was being referred to as Foundation Day or First Landing Day in the Sydney Gazette. On the 30th anniversary in 1818 Governor Macquarie declared a public holiday. In 1838 the 26th January was celebrated as the Jubilee of the British occupation of New South Wales and the 2nd year of the Sydney Regatta that was held on the day. The annual Sydney Anniversary Regattas started in 1837.
On the centenary of the First Fleet’s arrival at Sydney Cove in 1888 the day was known as Anniversary Day or Foundation Day and festivities were joined by Tasmania, Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia and New Zealand. In 1915 Australia Day was shifted to the 30th July to assist fundraising for the Red Cross and other patriotic funds after the commencement of the Gallipoli campaign.
It was not until the Australian Bicentennial that all states agreed to celebrate the 26th as Australia Day rather than as a long weekend. At the time Aboriginal Australians renamed Australia Day ‘Invasion Day’ and there has been debate about it ever since.
In 2018 the Camden town centre there was the annual street parade for the Australia Day celebrations with lots of keen participants. The town crier, Steve Wisby, led the enthusiastic crowd in a rendition of the national anthem and then a rejoinder of Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, OOyy, OOyy, OOyy. The parade included historical groups, school groups, community groups, a number of local bands, and emergency services.
A large crowd lined Argyle Street to watch the parade organised by the Camden Lions Club and the many community groups and businesses that took part in it.
Early in the day celebrations began with the Camden Australia Day Citizen of the Year. The 2018 Camden Australia Day Citizen of the Year was David Funnell. David has been a local businessman for many years and he is a descendant from one of the original European colonial settler families in the Cowpastures area. He was a councillor on Camden Council (1977-1980, 2004-2012) and a member of a number of community organisations.
The other Camden Australia Day Award winners were:
Community Group of the Year — Everyone Can Dance Charity and Camden Lioness
Community Event of the Year — The Macarthur Lions Australia Day Parade
Young Sportsperson of the Year — Amy and Natalie Sligar
Sportsperson of the Year — Maddison Lewis
Young Citizen of the Year — Lubna Sherieff.
These people are true local identities who all have stories to tell that become part of Camden’s sense of place and contribute to the the development of community identity.
The Camden Museum was open for Australia Day and by the end of the day hundreds of visitors had inspected the museum and its wonderful collection of local artefacts and memoriabilia.
The Camden Historical Society volunteer coordinator reports that there were 644 visitors to the museum on the day made up of adults and children. The visitors were looked after by 10 society volunteers who roamed around the museum making sure that the day went smoothly and did a sterling job answering their many questions.
Fresh air was the order of the day for patients at the newly opened Carrington Centennial Hospital for Convalescents and Incurables at Camden in 1890. The hospital followed the latest methods in medical practice and building architecture from Victorian England based on the writings and approach advocated by Florence Nightingale.
Victorian England hospitals
By the late 19th century Victorian England had over 300 Convalescent hospital. They were one of a variety of specialist hospitals that appeared in Victorian England. They included consumptive hospitals, fever hospitals, ophthalmic hospitals, lying-in hospitals, venereal disease hospitals, orthopaedic hospitals, lunatic asylums, fistula infirmary, invalid asylums, as well as those catering for different groups of people for instance seamen’s hospitals, German hospital, children’s hospitals and others.
British historian Eli Anders states that in England convalescent homes were built as the seaside or in the countryside away from the dirty polluted cities. They were to be places of rest, nourishment and recuperation where there was plenty of fresh and healthy air. Medical practices dictated that fresh air and exercise were the order of the day.
Camden’s fresh country air
The location of Carrington fitted this model. It was located in the picturesque countryside with views over the Nepean River floodplain on a hill to catch lots of fresh country air. Camden was considered a healthy site away from the pollution and evils of industrial Sydney and the increased public health risks of the urban environment and issues with sanitation.
Carrington Hospital was the first major convalescent facility in New South Wales and followed design principles espoused by Florence Nightingale. Historian Eli Anders states that Nightingale wrote in her Notes on Nursing and Notes on Hospitals that she was an advocate for ventilation and proper site selection. She promoted the ‘healthfulness’ of convalescent hospitals in the countryside and on the edge of towns where they took advantage of fresh country air. Similar advantages could be achieved by a seaside location.
At the heart of this idea was miasma theory which stated that some diseases such as cholera, chlamydia or Black Death were cause by ‘bad air’. The theory stated that epidemics were due to a miasma started from rotting organic matter. The theory originated from the ancients in places like China, India and Europe and was only displaced by germ theory in the 1880s, which stated that germs caused diseases. Despite this popular culture retained a belief in ‘bad air’ and stated the urban areas had to clean up waste and get rid of bad odours. These ideas had encouraged Florence Nightingale’s activities in the Crimean War where she worked to make hospitals sanitary and fresh smelling. These ideas also had a major influence on Sydney and the outbreak of Black Death (bubonic plague) in 1900 after urban renewal process that followed in suburbs like The Rocks and Millers Point.
Convalescent homes were often built by philanthropists and charitable organisations. Carrington Hospital was built by Sydney philanthropist and businessman WH Paling (1825-1895), who immigrated with his family to Sydney in 1853. Paling ran a music business importing pianofortes and sheet music, and was an entertainment promotor and composer during the heyday of the gold rushes. His business success allowed him to pursue his political and philanthropic interests. Paling was an alderman on Petersham Municipal Council and mayor, a member of the Royal Society and a director the Mercantile Mutual Insurance Company. The Australian Dictionary of Biography states
His far-sighted preoccupation with questions of sanitation, health and hospital accommodation culminated in his presentation to the colony on 23 April 1888 of his 450-acre (182 ha) model farm Grasmere at Camden, valued at £20,000, to be used as a hospital for convalescents and incurables; he also donated £10,000 for the erection of suitable buildings. A public committee led by Sir Henry Parkes raised a further £15,000 for equipment and development at the Carrington Convalescent Hospital on the site.
The hospital site was purchased in 1881 from Camden Park by a syndicate of WH Paling, AH McCullock, Benjamin James Jnr and W Stimson containing 5100 acres. It was part of the North Cawdor Farms sale which also included a number of Camden Town blocks. The sale had a number of conditions and was not finalised until 1888. In the meantime Paling developed his Grasmere Estate farms. He established a Deed of Gift in 1888 with Lord Carrington was president of the hospital and chair of the general committees and himself as vice president.
The hospital was named after Lord Carrington, Governor of New South Wales (1885-1890), who served from on the centenary of the foundation of the colony.
Late Victorian Queen Anne Revival
The 89 bed hospital (49 male, 40 female) was designed by Sydney architect HC Kent and constructed by building contractor P Graham. The NSW State Heritage Inventory states:
It is representative of a late Victorian institutional building and is also representative of hospital building techniques (including setting) of the time. Main building of late Victorian eclectic style is brick on concrete foundations with cement dressings in the super structure and tower.
The main building is considered to be an excellent example of a Late Victorian Queen Anne Revival style. There were also additional buildings which included gardeners cottage, Masonic cottage, morgue, and Grassmere Cottage. There were extensive landscape gardens in a general Victorian layout with a carriage loop and flower bed.
In England convalescent facilities were very good and were better than home life conditions for many poor people. The idea with convalescent hospital were that the patients spent weeks recovering away from their home. Rich people who hired their own doctors to treat them during illness or convalescence. They paid to recuperate in a seaside health resort or travel to a spa centre. Convalescent homes were seen as superior to hospitals because they were different from dreary wards. Supporters advocated their calming and home-like qualities with libraries, games rooms and sitting rooms.
Ventilation and fresh air
The Illustrated Sydney News stated that the Carrington Hospital is located on a hill overlooking Camden to take advantage of ‘fresh air’ with ‘ventilation in the sleeping and living rooms’. The ventilation in the buildings was planned by Sir Alfred Roberts and based on Prince Alfred Hospital. The convalescence patients will be able to ‘sit outside and enjoy the lovely view and balmy health giving air’. The garden had ‘comfortable shady seats, where patients can wander about and rest at will, is of great importance, as also the verandahs where they can obtain exercise in wet weather, and the large sitting or day rooms’. There is the pleasant ‘park-like appearance’ of the countryside around Camden which ‘is very English in its character’. Patients will be able to recuperate for ‘two or three weeks’ rest and proper food that would mean so very much to them just at this stage…They are free to revel in the country scenes and sounds and rest awhile from the bustle of life’.
The Sydney press stated that the aims of the hospital
are, that persons recovering from acute illness may benefit by a short residence in the healthful climate of Camden, and a plentiful use of the farm products from the estate ; and further, that persons suffering from incurable diseases may have their lives prolonged and their sufferings alleviated by the above-named advantages. (Illust Syd News)
Lord Carrington lays foundation stone
The Governor of New South Wales Lord Carrington laid a foundation stone in February 1889 in front of a crowd of over 2000 people. A special train came from Redfern and was met at Camden Railway Station by well over 1000 people. The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River Gazette reported that Camden Station was ‘gaily decorated’ with a string of flags. Lord Carrington arrived by train from Moss Vale and he was met at the home by Sydney dignatories who were members of the management committee and trustees. The report noted that hot and cold running water would be laid on throughout the building.
Carrington Convalescent Hospital opened on 20 August 1890 and the first matron was Miss McGahey who resigned in 1891 to take a position as matron at Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney. She was followed by Matron Kerr, then Matron Blanche Bricknell in 1897 who served until 1907.
The 1898 7th annual report in the Camden News stated that the hospital had treated 1153 in the previous 12 months with the annual cost of each bed being £35/8/9d. The meeting discussed the reluctance of patients to contribute the cost of their stay. During the year Sister Elenita Williams had been succeeded by Sister Edith Carpendale. Nurses Bertha Davidson and Eva Thomson had been succeeded by Nurses Lily BanfieId and Theresa Richardson. Mr JR Fairfax and Major JW Macarthur Onslow were elected the management committee by subscribers.
The 1900 annual report in the Camden News stated that the hospital had treated 1040 patients in the previous year with the average number of patients 75. The average patient stay was 28 days at a cost of £2/10/11d. The hospital shut its emergency section when the Camden Cottage Hospital opened during the year and Camden medical officers acted in an honorary capacity.
First major convalescent hospital
Carrington Hospital was the first major convalescent hospital in New South Wales and its surrounding buildings and gardens are list on the Camden Local Environment Plan Heritage Inventory (Item 118). Carrington Hospital is significance in that it is, along with Thomas Walker Convalescent Hospital, one of only two remaining functional purpose built late 19th century convalescent hospitals in New South Wales.
The CHN blogger was out and about at the 2017 Camden Council’s Volunteer Thank You Reception at the Camden Civic Centre.
This is an annual event put on the Camden Council and the mayor Lara Symkowiak. This years those attending volunteers were welcomed by the soulful tunes provided by saxophonist Will from Camden Council.
The event MC was Sarah from Camden Council, which also supplied eats and drinks a plenty for the assembled throngs of volunteers. A number of council staff and councilors attended the evening.
There were over 220 representatives from 53 voluntary groups present from Oran Park, Narellan, Camden, Gregory Hills, Cobbitty, Macarthur, Harrington Park and Catherine Fields.
Mayor Lara Symkowiak addressed the audience and said, ‘volunteers make a difference in the community and that the evening was a thank you by council’.
The mayor said, ‘It was an opportunity for volunteers to be served rather than serve’.
One volunteer thanked the mayor for the recognition and the evening. She replied, ‘It is better that the council put on a thank you evening rather than a ball which would only compete with balls by other organisations’.
Camden voluntary sector
The Camden community has a long history of volunteering. Voluntary organisations go back to the mid-19th century and one of the first was the Camden Farmers’ Club and General Improvement Society set up in 1857. It became the Camden School of Arts in 1858 which centred on the provision of a library and reading room.
Current community organisations in the Camden Local Government Area are listed in the Camden Community Directory which has a number of categories of organisations. They include: Accommodation and Housing; Animal Services; Community Facilities; Conservation and Environment; Education; Employment and Business; Equipment; Financial Support and Low Cost Goods and Services; Government; Health and Wellbeing; Information Services; Law and Justice; Sport and Leisure; Transport; and Volunteering.
Benefits of volunteering
Studies have shown that volunteering is good for a person’s well-being and health. It reduces risk of depression, provides a sense of purpose, provides mental and physical activity, reduces stress levels, provides the ‘happiness effect’, and provides opportunities for overseas travel.
Volunteering builds social capital by encouraging social interaction, social networks and networking opportunities between people and strengthen personal and emotional support, choice (sovereignty) and power. Volunteering builds community resilience and community cohesion and strengthens the local community.
In Australia according to the Queensland University of Technology there are around 600,000 voluntary organisations which made up over 3.5% of Australian GDP in 2012 with an annual growth rate of 6% per annum. The sector employed around 9% of the Australian workforce which total over 1 million people and it made up of the top 5 sectors which are social services, education and research, culture and recreation, health and environment. These organisations have nearly 3 million volunteers across the country.
The Voluntary Sector is usually comprised of organizations whose purpose is to benefit and enrich society, often without profit as a motive and with little or no government intervention.
Unlike the private sector where the generation and return of profit to its owners is emphasized, money raised or earned by an organization in the voluntary sector is usually invested back into the community or the organization itself.
One way to think of the voluntary sector is that its purpose is to create social wealth rather than material wealth.
Although the voluntary sector is separate from the public sector, many organizations are often tightly integrated with governments on all levels to support it in the delivery of programs and services.
Night finishes up
To say thank you to Camden volunteers the council gave those attending two small gifts, a succulent from Little Miss Succulent with funds going to Turning Point and a boiled Christmas cake from the Campbelltown Uniting Church.
Council provided entertainment for volunteers attending with music, a magician, an artist and a photo booth.
Music was supplied by Will on Saxophone on arrival, while Theo and Bel provided vocals and guitar on the main stage for enjoyment of all the attendees.
The evening ended with mayor drawing out the lucky door prize. The fellows from the Men’s Shed seemed to score most of the prizes but then again they had the largest group attending the evening.
A good evening was had by all.
So what is the take out of all this?
If you are thinking of volunteering for anything just do it.
Sometimes folk who want others to volunteer their valuable time really do not understand the needs of volunteers. They do not understand that volunteers time is valuable. Most people are happy to volunteer if they have a reason. Volunteers need to understand the reason they are volunteering. Ad-hoc volunteering is OK and often time is more valuable than money.
Volunteering is productive and good for you so get to it. What ever it is. What ever takes your fancy will all of the community.
The history of the area is told in pictures and text. The images are another way to look into the past. They are a snapshot of a moment in time. They are full of meaning on a number of levels and provide a different perspective than just text. Pictorial histories satisfy a curiosity about local history and the way places and things change over time.
The book has the honour of a number of firsts. The book is the first time a complete of the local history of the Camden area has been attempted by any author. The book is the first time a collection of images like this has been put together on the local area.
The images are primarily taken from the collection of the Camden Museum which is managed by the Camden Historical Society. Other images are drawn from the Camden Library, The Oaks Historical Society, State Library of NSW, Royal Australian Historical Society, National Library, Australian Railway Historical Society and elsewhere. A host of people assisted with the publication and they are listed in the acknowledgements.
The book has been received well locally and has met a need and a thirst by the community for a collection and story of the past of this type. The publisher has had trouble keeping up with sales during the run-up to Christmas and there is still strong demand. Congratulations of been coming in from a variety of quarters. The author have been told stories of a number of people walking away from sales outlets with up to five copies of the book.
The text of the Camden story starts with the First Australians then moves on the Cowpastures, the establishment of local villages and gentry properties, particularly the Macarthurs and Camden Park. The description follows the founding of Camden from estate village to market town, and the dairy revolution of the 1890s then into the 20th century when the story was rudely interrupted by the First World War. Modernism catches up with district in the Interwar period which is book ended with the Second World War. In the post war era coal is king, and the country town is eventually over-run by Sydney’s urban growth. All the while there has been the constancy of the river and its moods, particularly regularly its flooding.
The books is available from a number of local outlets including the Camden Museum.The good folk at the Camden Museum will supply a copy by post $24.95 plus $7 handling and postage. Contact the Camden Historical Society: firstname.lastname@example.org or contact the publisher.
The Camden Bibliography is an attempt to highlight some of the research that addresses the notion of Camden as a country town and the subsequent urbanisation of the Local Government Area. The sources listed in the bibliography cover the geographic area of the Camden district as defined by this author in his thesis, War and Community: The Red Cross in Camden, 1939-1945 (pp. 22-24) and the current Camden LGA. This area includes a number of villages to the west of Camden and the Burragorang Valley, which are all integral to the town’s history and any interpretations drawn from it.
For the purposes of this bibliography Camden is a country town undergoing change on Sydney’s rural-urban fringe. It was founded in 1840 and its wealth and material progress were built on farming (dairying, mixed farming and orchards) and mining (silver and coal). Camden’s characteristic landscape is defined by the Nepean floodplain and the hinterland has been a mixture of large estates, owned by the gentry, and smallholders. The townscape reflects the dairy town of the early 20th century, with a population that was dominated by social rank and rural conservatism. In recent years Sydney’s urban growth has engulfed the local area and challenged the very identity of the country town, the community’s sense of place and the notion of a rural landscape.
The bibliography is meant to be a starting point for any researcher looking at the local area. It is an overview of sources related to Camden and is not meant to be an exhaustive list of all references. There are the well known sources written by academics and published by large publishing houses, as well as non-academic works by keen amateurs, many of which are self-published reminiscences. While the amateur works lack the finesse of the professional author they do provide a wealth of personal anecdotes and recollections that fill in many of the finer details of country life.
Studies of communities on Sydney’s rural-urban fringe or peri-urban areas are not common and none have examined Camden or other small communities and their relationship the rural-urban interface. These communities face increasing levels of urbanisation and the threatened loss of their rurality, identity and sense of place. These sources may assist the researcher come to grips with a variety of cultural myths, icons and traditions within these communities and how urbanisations has led to a re-making of place on the urban fringe.
The bibliography makes no attempt to cover the vast array of manuscript sources that are located in a diversity of archives, both government and private. These include local archives (eg, ephemera, reminiscences), State Records of New South Wales (eg, National Emergency Services correspondence files of the war period), National Archives of Australia (eg, wartime records of Camden’s military installations), Mitchell Library (eg, Macarthur Papers) and a host of others. Most of these sources are uncatalogued. This bibliography does not include the lists of personal papers or many newspaper articles that have been written about Camden, nor does it include artefacts, objects, works of art, photographs and other elements which are held in various locations that make up Camden’s material culture and fabric (eg, Camden Museum). Researchers on Camden will come across obscure references to the local area in many places, and as interesting as they might be they are too extensive to list individually here.
This bibliography is only a beginning and the author would appreciate being made aware of any significant omissions so that they can be included in the bibliography.
Newspapers and Journals.
Theses and other studies
Newspapers and Journals
Camden Advertiser, Camden, 1936-1957
Camden Advertiser, Camden, 2005+
Camden Calling, Journal of the Camden Area Family History Society.
Camden Crier, Camden.
Camden History, Journal of the Camden Historical Society
Camden News, Camden, 1895-1982
Camden Wollondilly Advertiser, Camden.
Campbelltown News, Campbelltown.
District Reporter, Camden, 1998+
Grist Mills, Journal of the Campbelltown and Airds Historical Society Inc.
In Macarthur, Campbelltown.
Macarthur Advertiser, Campbelltown.
Macarthur Chronicle, Campbelltown.
Newsletter, Camden Historical Society
Alexander, Pacita and Elizabeth Perkins, A Love Affair with Australian Literature, The Story of Tom Inglis Moore, Ginninderra Press, Canberra, 2004.
Ardler, Gloria, The Wander of it All, Burraga Aboriginal History and Writing Group Inc, Darlinghurst, 1991.
Armstrong, Isabel and Geoff, John Armstrong Colonial Schoolmaster, Sydney and Cobbitty, From Original Diaries – 1839 to 1857, Sunbird Publications, Killabakh, NSW, 1997.
Ashley-Riddle, Josie, History of ‘Gledswood’, 2nd Edition, Josie Ashley-Riddle, Narellan, 1987.
Atkinson, Alan, Camden, Farm and Village Life in Early New South Wales, Oxford University Press, Melbourne, 1988.
Australian Council of National Trusts, Historic Homesteads, Australian Council of National Trusts, Canberra City, 1982.
Australian Dictionary of Biography, Melbourne University Press, South Melbourne. Online. http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/adbonline.htm .[Accessed July 2007]
Australian Garden History Society, From Wilderness to Garden, Early Colonial Gardens – Their Future? Proceedings of the 16th National Conference, Australian Garden History Society, Melbourne, 1995.
Bayley, William, History of Campbelltown, Campbelltown City Council, Campbelltown, 1974.
Bagley, Cathy and Edwina Stanham, Camden Public School Sesquicentenary 1849-1999, Camden Public School Sesquicentenary Committee, Camden, 1999.
Barca, Margaret, Advice to a Young Lady in the Colonies, Greenhouse, Collingwood, Vic, 1979.
Barrett, Jim, Cox’s River, Discovery, History and Development, Jim Barrett, Glenbrook, 1993.
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Robbins, SR., ‘On the Trail of the Wild Cattle. Camden Methodism’, Journal and Proceedings of the Australasian Methodist Historical Society, 1923, Vol. 1, Issue 2, pp. 24-32.
Robbins, SR., ‘On the Trail of the Wild Cattle’, Journal and Proceedings Australasian Methodist Historical Society, June 1933, Vol. 1, Part 2, pp. 25-34.
Robinson, Christine, ‘Cobbitty’, Dictionary of Sydney (2008). Online at http://www.dictionaryofsydney.org/entry/cobbitty.
Robinson, Steve, ‘Bickley Vale’, Dictionary of Sydney (2008). Online at http://www.dictionaryofsydney.org/entry/bickley_vale.
Robinson, Steve, ‘Camden West’, Dictionary of Sydney (2008). Online at http://www.dictionaryofsydney.org/entry/camden_west.
Robinson, Steve, ‘Ellis Lane’, Dictionary of Sydney (2008). Online at http://www.dictionaryofsydney.org/entry/ellis_lane
Robinson, Steve, ‘Grasmere’, Dictionary of Sydney (2008). Online at http://www.dictionaryofsydney.org/entry/grasmere.
‘St John’s Church, Camden’, Church of England Historical Society (Diocese of Sydney) Journal, June 1962, Vol. 7, Issue 2, pp. 263-264.
‘St Marks Church Elderslie’, Church of England Historical Society (Diocese of Sydney) Journal, March 1967, Vol. 12, Issue 1, p. 28.
‘St Pauls Cobbitty’, Church of England Historical Society (Diocese of Sydney) Journal, April 1956, Vol. 1, Issue 2, p. 27.
Thompson, Jack and John Perkins, ‘The Wild Cowpastures revisited’, Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society, Vol 77, pt 4 (April 1992).
Wallace, Ian, ‘Campbelltown to Camden’, in Byways of Steam 9,On the Railways of New South Wales, (eds) Ian Dunn and Ray Love, Eveleigh Press, Matraville, 1995.
Watson, JH, ‘Heber Chapel, Cobbity’, Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society, Vol. 14, pt.6, (1928).
Weatherburn, A K, ‘The exploration and surveys of James Meehan between the Cowpastures, Wingecarribee River, Goulburn Plains, Shoalhaven River and Jervis Bay 1805, 1818 and 1819’, Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society, Vol 64, pt 3 (December 1978).
Willis, IC, ‘Active Citizens and Loyal Patriots: The Role of the Two Local Newspapers on the Australian Homefront, 1939-1945’, Bibliographical Society of Australia and New Zealand Bulletin, 24, 1, 2000, pp. 81-92.
Willis, Ian, ‘Camden’s Salvage Campaign, 1939-1945’, Journal of the Australian War Memorial, No. 38, April 2003. Online. http://www.awm.gov.au/journal/j38/index.htm [Accessed 5 August 2004]
Willis, Ian, ‘Wartime Volunteering in Camden’, History Australia, Journal of the Australian Historical Association, Vol. 2, No. 1, December 2004. DOI: 10:2104/HA40009. Online. http://publications.epress.monash.edu/doi/abs/10.2104/ha040009 [Accessed July 2007]
Willis, Ian, ‘The Member for Camden: Dr Elizabeth Kernohan’, AQ Journal of Contemporary Analysis, Vol. 77, Issue 1, Jan-Feb 2005, pp.21-25.
Willis, Ian, ‘Camden At War’, AQ Australian Quarterly, Vol. 78, Issue 1, January- February 2006, pp. 23-28.
Willis, Ian, ‘The Gentry and the Village, Camden, NSW, 1800-1939’, AQ Australian Quarterly, Vol. 78, Issue 4, July-August 2006, pp.19-24.
Willis, Ian, ‘Democracy in Action in Local Government: Camden, NSW’, AQ Australian Quarterly, Vol. 79, Issue 2, March-April 2007, pp17-26.
Willis, Ian, ‘Camden, The Best Preserved Country Town on the Cumberland Plain’, HeritageTourism, 2007. Online at http://www.heritagetourism.com.au/camden-the-best-preserved-country-town-on-the-cumberland-plain-nsw/ .
Willis, Ian, ‘Fifty Years of Local History, The Camden Historical Society, 1957-2007’, An Address to the 50th Anniversary Meeting of the Camden Historical Society, 12 July 2007, AQ Australian Quarterly, November- December 2007, pp. 11-16.
Willis, Ian, ‘Camden’, Sydney Journal, 1(1) March 2008. Online. http://epress.lib.uts.edu.au/ojs/index.php/sydney_journal
Willis, Ian, ‘Camden’, AQ Australian Quarterly, May-June 2008, pp. 15-18.
Willis, Ian, ‘A Night Out – Memories of the Gayline Drive-In Movie Theatre’, Phanfare, No. 229: March-April 2008, pp. 18-19. Online http://www.phansw.org.au/restrict/PhanfareMarApril2008.pdf
Willis, Ian, ‘Lost Interwar Motoring Heritage’, AQ Australian Quarterly, July-August 2008, pp. 12-15.
Willis, Ian, ‘Democracy in Place: Parochial Politics and the 2008 Local Government Elections’, AQ, Australian Quarterly, Vol 80, Issue 6, November-December 2008, pp. 4-9.
Willis, Ian, ‘Stories and Things: The role of the local historical society, Campbelltown, Camden and The Oaks’, Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society, Vol. 95, Pt. 1, June 2009, pp.18-37.
Willis, Ian, ‘Camden: The Interwar Heritage of a Country Town’, Spirit of Progress¸Vol. 10, No. 3, 2009, pp. 13-15.
Willis, Ian, ‘Whither Heritage, The Experience of the Outdoor Movie Theatre’, AQ, Australian Quarterly, Vol. 81, Issue 6, Nov- Dec 2009, pp.35-39.
Willis, Ian ‘Camden’, Dictionary of Sydney (2008). Online at http://www.dictionaryofsydney.org/entry/camden.
Willis, Ian, ‘Elderslie’, Dictionary of Sydney (2008). Online at http://www.dictionaryofsydney.org/entry/elderslie
Willis, Ian, ‘Mount Annan’, Dictionary of Sydney (2008). Online at http://www.dictionaryofsydney.org/entry/mount_annan
Willis, Ian, ‘Narellan’, Dictionary of Sydney (2008). Online at http://www.dictionaryofsydney.org/entry/narellan
Willis, Ian, ‘Narellan Vale’, Dictionary of Sydney (2008). Online at http://www.dictionaryofsydney.org/entry/narellan_vale
Willis, Ian, ‘Heritage: a dismal state of affairs’, Sydney Morning Herald Online, 16 April 2010. Online at http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/heritage-a-dismal-state-of-affairs-20100416-sjiy.html .
Willis, Ian, ‘The Glory of steam, Pansy, the Camden tram’, Heritage Tourism, Online, 9 August 2010. Online at http://www.heritagetourism.com.au/the-glory-of-steam-pansy-the-camden-tram/
Winney, I and R Fookes, ‘Goodbye Camden Tram’, Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin, April 1963, Vol. 14, Issue 306, pp. 53-60.
Theses and other studies
Brown, JW and GJ Bush, ‘The History and Development of the Burragorang Valley, Referring Particularly to Coal Mining’, Address to Camden Historical Society, Camden, March 1973.
Department of Social Studies, University of Sydney, Camden, A Social Survey, Camden Rotary Club/Camden Community Centre Committee, Camden, 1948.
De Ferranti, LZ, The Legacy of Camden Park. B.Arch. Thesis, University of Sydney, 1979.
Dodds, Sandra, Survey of Camden Sculptures and Monuments, Camden Historical Society, Camden, 1999.
Dodds, Sandra, Representations of History in Museums, MA(Museum Studies) Thesis, University of Sydney, 2004.
Don Fox Planning, Camden Structure Plan Report (Draft), Camden Council, Camden, 1999.
Environment, Planning and Building Services Division, Draft Camden Rural Lands Study, Council of Camden, Camden, 1998.
Gwyther, Gabrielle, Paradise Planned, Community Formation and the Master Planned Estate, PhD, University of Western Sydney, 2004. Online. http://library.uws.edu.au/adt-NUWS/public/adt-NUWS20051214.111331/index.html.
Jack, LE, History of Education in Camden and District, A Study of the Origins and Development of Primary Education to 1880 and Selected Aspects of Later Growth of Primary, Secondary and Adult Education, M.Ed. Thesis, University of Sydney, 1966.
JRC Planning Services, Environmental Heritage, Macarthur Regional Environmental Study, Working Paper 3, Department of Environment and Planning, Sydney, 1986.
Landarc, Draft Significant Tree and Vegetated Landscape Study, Camden Municipal Council, Camden, 1993.
Mason, Milton Lewis, Carinya, The Social-Class System of an Australian Community. PhD Thesis, University of Missouri-Kansas City, 1960.
Mitchell McCotter Willing, Camden Area Flood Prone Land Study, 2nd Edition, Mine Subsidence Board, Sydney, 1993.
Proudfoot, Helen, Campbelltown, Camden, Appin, Survey and Report on Nineteenth Century Buildings and Sites, Volume IV, Section Four: Hume Highway to Camden, Bringelly, Cobbitty, Section Five: Narellan, Elderslie, Camden, State Planning Authority of New South Wales, Sydney, 1973.
Rosen, Sue, Hawkesbury-Nepean Historic Environmental Changes Study, Water Resources Program Hawkesbury-Nepean Strategy, Water Board, Sydney, 1992.
Sankey, Robyn, Camden and the Coal Industry: A Study of the Development of the Coal Industry in the Burragorang Valley and its Impact on Camden and the District in the Post-War Period, MA Thesis, University of Sydney, 1984.
State Planning Authority of New South Wales, The New Cities of Campbelltown, Camden, Appin, State Planning Authority of New South Wales, Sydney, 1973.
Stubbs, Judith, Camden New City, A Community Profile, Camden Municipal Council, 1985.
Tropman and Tropman, Draft Heritage Report, Camden Council, Camden, 2004.
Watson, Clare, Conservation of Public Access to and Interpretation of Belgenny Farm, Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute, Camden, New South Wales, Report, New South Wales Minister for Agriculture and Rural Affairs, 1991.
Wrigley, Camden Interim Heritage Study, Camden Historical Society, Camden, 1985.
Willis, Ian, War and Community: The Red Cross in Camden, 1939-1945, MA(Hons) Thesis, University of Wollongong, 1996.
Willis, Ian, The Women’s Voluntary Services, A Study of War and Volunteering in Camden, 1939-1945, PhD Thesis, University of Wollongong, 2004. Online. http://www.library.uow.edu.au/adt-NWU/public/adt-NWU20041025.152142/index.html [Accessed July 2007]
A Pictorial History of Camden and the Camden District, DVD, Camden Historical Society, Camden, 2006.
A Valley Lost – Leaving the Burragorang, Radio Programme, ABC Radio National, Broadcast 26 November 2006. Podcast online at http://www.abc.net.au/rn/hindsight/stories/2006/1790948.htm
A Valley Lost – Building Warragamba, Radio Programme, ABC Radio National, Broadcast 3 December 2006. Podcast online at http://www.abc.net.au/rn/hindsight/stories/2006/1792399.htm
Camden Headstone 1800-2006, CD, Camden Area Family History Society, 2007.
Camden Images, Online Photographic Database, Camden Historical Society & Camden Council Library Services, 2010. Online at http://www.library.camden.nsw.gov.au/camdenimages/scripts/home.asp
Camden Line, DVD, Rowlingstock Productions, Parramatta, 1989.
Camden Slide Show, DVD, Camden Photo Centre, Camden. 2007
Camden Slide Show 2nd Edition, DVD, Camden Photo Centre, 2009.
Dangerous Ground, TV programme, Four Corners, ABCTV, Broadcast 10 March 2008. Vodcast online at http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/content/2008/s2181743.htm. Programme transcript online at http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/content/2008/s2185494.htm
Harrington Park, Make It Yours, DVD, Harrington Park Realty, Harrington Park, 2006.
Macarthur, DVD, Editricks/Camden Council/Campbelltown City Council, Campbelltown, 2007.
Macarthur, DVD, Camden Council/Campbelltown City Council/Overland TV, Camden, 2010.
Make It in Macarthur, DVD, MACROC, Campbelltown, 2006.
Oran Park Raceway, 46 Fabulous Years, DVD, Chevron, Sydney, 2008.
‘Still My Country Home’, Song, Jessie Fairweather, Camden , 2007. Backing track for Camden Slide Show.
‘The Camden Train’, Song, Buddy Williams, Camden, 1963.
The Coal Carters, DVD, Garry and Anita Martin, Oakdale, 2005.
The Spirit of Macarthur, DVD, Editricks/Campbelltown City Council/Ron Moore, Campbelltown, 2006.
Valley of Wealth, A Burragorang Coal Pictorial, DVD, Anita Martin, Oakdale, 2005.
The author of this blog has written extensively about the Camden district and for a detailed list of publications click here