Newspaper accounts of events in the area

1st January, 1848


A PIGEON MATCH will take place at Mr. Gannon’s Union Inn, on the corner of what is now Gannon Street and the Princes Highway. Cook’s River, THIS DAY and MONDAY, 1st and 3rd January, when several Prizes will be shot for. Amongst which will be, on Saturday, a Ladies gold Watch, and a very handsome Pony, and also a Purse of Five Sovereigns.

Two hundred pairs of pigeons will be on the ground.

Any gentleman wishing to have a private Match on either day, can have birds at 18d per pair.

2nd January, 1838


To newly arrived Emigrants, Gentlemen in Public Offices, retired Tradesmen, Nurserymen or market Gardeners, and Others.

WAINE’S GRANT, NEWTOWN, in the area north of the present St. Peter’s Station.

The above-named well known and valuable Estate, has been judiciously laid out into Thirteen Villa or Market-Garden Allotments, varying from two to four acres in extent.

On one side, this Estate is bounded by the Petersham property, and on the others by Government roads, being likewise contiguous to those first-rate and extensive properties of Robert Campbell, Esq., M.C. and Messrs. Simeon Lord, Brenan, and Coghill, and immediately adjoining those elegant and gentlemanly residences of John Lord, Esq., and Captain Brown, and within a short distance of the proposed site of Newtown Church, St. Peters Anglican Church, Cook’s River. 

3rd January, 1838

HIGHWAY ROBBERY – On Monday evening last, an assigned servant of Messrs. Appleton and Jones, named Patrick Ward, was sent with a cart to Cook’s River, to bring in a load of wood. On returning about nine o’clock, and when nearly opposite the Pigeon House, Public house at NEW TOWN, six men sprang out of the bush upon him, and desired him to stand. One of them presented a pistol, and another a musket; these two threatened to blow his brains out, if he attempted to move. They then robbed him of five shillings, and proceeded to strip him, and took from him every article of his apparel, even to shirt and shoes…… Yesterday Inspector Hoyle was dispatched to Cook’s River, accompanied by Ward, who said he could identify one of the men, said to be a shipmate and named Conner. On arriving at Mr. Spark’s ‘Tempe House’, now in the suburb of Wolli Creek, he pointed out one of that gentleman’s assigned servants, James O’Brien, as the man who presented a pistol at him. On the way  to Sydney, the Inspector gleaned some information, which induced him to proceed to Mr. Adam Wilson’s farm, for a man named Kilcoolie. On arriving there, the assigned servants were mustered, but Kilcoolie was ascertained to be absent. On looking under the man’s bed, some articles were found which were identified by Ward as part of the property stolen from him the night before. This morning Kilcoolie was brought into Sydney, by his master, who delivered him up to the Police – he is said to be the man who presented the musket at Ward, and took his hat from him and put it on his own head.

Alexander Brodie Spark recorded in his diary that – ‘A posse of constables came out and took John O’Brien, the Irish boy, into custody on a charge of highway robbery’. Subsequently on the 9th of the same month he wrote, ‘O’Brien acquitted of the charge of highway robbery, and his accuser taken into custody for perjury’.

4th January, 1838

From Newcastle for London,

THE fine new British built Barque


414 Tons Register, George Morison, commander, will sail for Newcastle in a fortnight, and commence loading on her arrival. In order to accommodate intending Shippers, arrangements will be made for the immediate reception of Wool on its arrival at Newcastle.





THE GENERAL HALF-YEARLY MEETING of the PROPRIETORS of the Union Insurance Company, will be held at their offices, George-street, on MONDAY, the 8th day of January next, at noon precisely, to receive the Report for the Half-year ending 31st Instant, and for general purposes.



The same gentlemen, who are mentioned in the report on the previous day.

5th January, 1848


SIR- A most extraordinary meteor appeared last evening passing from west to east over the district of Cook’s River, Botany Swamps, and Surry Hills, at soon after nine o’clock. Its nucleus and tail were apparently distant about a mile, and its altitude about 10 degrees, and its motion recti-linear-horizontal; the nucleus giving out sparkling radii of the most effulgent light (of incandescence)….

The appearance of this remarkable atmospheric phenomena startled large numbers of people from their propriety, and agitated even many sedate minds…whereas, were the simple truths connected with its existence made apparent, they would, in all probability, be referable to the gaseous produce of the extensive swamps of Botany, which , like the Pauline Marshes of ancient and modern Rome, exhibit frequent instances of similar gorgeous display, of which certainly, if my theory be correct, this meteor was an extra-ordinary development.- Yours, &c., W.S.

6th January, 1843

THE friends of the late Mr. Peter Moore, son of Mr. Patrick Moore, Moorefield, Cook’s River, are respectfully requested to attend his funeral, which will take place on Saturday morning next, the 7th instant. The procession will move from his father’s residence, as above, precisely at 11 o’clock, and move on to the Dam at Cook’s River, where they intend to join with other friends, and proceed to the place of internment in Sydney.


The Cook’s River Dam crossed the river at Tempe where the bridge is today. It was longer than the present bridge ending on the north bank at what is now Holbeach Avenue. Michael Gannon, convict carpenter, also proprietor of the Union Inn was noted for organising pigeon shooting and other sporting events. The burial was most likely at Devonshire Street, though the nearest graveyard  would have been at St. Peter’s Church, Cook’s River.


By special licence, at St. Peter’s Church, Newtown, by the Reverend Dr. Steele, on Thursday, the 5th instant, William Hulme Wills, of Sydney, to Louisa Maranda Moore, third daughter of John Moore, R.N., of Camperdown.

John Moore R.N. came to Australia in 1849 aged 82. He had fought under Nelson at the battles of Copenhagen and Trafalgar. One of his sons founded an emporium in Sydney. The family vault still stands in the graveyard at St. Peter’s Church, Cooks River graveyard. Louisa Maranda’s husband, was by June of 1843, declared insolvent.

7th January, 1853

ECCLESIASTICAL.- The Rev. Dr. Steele, of St. Peter’s, Cook’s River, has been appointed a Surrogate for granting episcopal marriage licences, under the provisions of the Act of Council 7 Wm. 1V., No. 6.

This act checks with embassies as to whether foreign nationals are eligible to marry. Reading of banns prior to marriage would be an inadequate safeguard in such cases. 

8th January, 1848



The approaching time of your departure for England, affords us a welcome opportunity of expressing the feelings of respect and esteem we entertain for you, both as the minister of our parish and as a friend.

You have lived amongst us ever since St. Peter’s Church has been erected, and your congregation has been maintained in undivided opinion of your worth as a clergyman, faithful in the discharge of your duties, and kind and charitable to all within your parish…..The kindly feelings we would express for yourself, are entertained with equal sincerity and truth for Mrs. Steele. We wish you both a prosperous and agreeable voyage, and remain

Reverend and dear Sir

Your faithful servants.


January 7.- Agincourt, ship, 669 tons, Captain Neatby, for London. Passengers-His Honor Mr. Justice Therry, Mrs Therry, daughter, and servant, Rev. Dr. Steele, Mrs. Steele..

The Rev. Thomas Steele, an Irishman, and his wife returned to serve at St. Peters, Cooks River, in February, 1850.

9th January, 1838

£25 Reward.

LOST OR STOLEN from a Paddock at Cook’s River, a Strawberry Roan Mare, about fourteen hands high, heavy in foal, aged, undocked, and branded J P on the off side under the saddle flap… If astray, whoever finds and delivers her to the undersigned, shall receive £2 – and if Stolen, whoever will give such information as will enable a prosecution to be carried to conviction, shall receive the above reward of £25.


Frederick Wright Unwin, solicitor, lived at Wanstead on the south bank of Cook’s River, near Wolli Creek. After he built a bridge across the river and the road leading to it became known as Unwin’s Bridge Road..

10th January, 1846

The Planet, Omnibus, has commenced running to Newtown and Cook’s River, starts from Gannon’s Inn, on the corner of what is now Gannon Street and the Princes Highway, Cook’s River, at 8 o’clock in the morning, arrives at the Farriers’ Arms, Sydney, at nine o’clock; starts from Sydney at half-past ten o’clock, arrives at Cook’s River at twelve o’clock; starts from Cook’s River at three o’clock, and from Sydney at 5 o’clock.

Punctuality and civility will be the order of the day.


11th January, 1862

The contest for the trusteeship of the Newtown and Cook’s River Road, which has been a sharp one, has resulted in the election of Messrs. Holroyd, Chalder, Knight, Goodsell, and Jolly.

Cook’s River Road, now the Princes Highway, was a toll road. Charges were for the day. This was to the advantage of the many brick carters in the area who made multiple trips each day. Henry Knight was the builder of St. Peters Church, Cook’s River. Chalder, a merchant, lived on Cook’s River Road, and also owned land in what is now Marrickville. He was born in the Yorkshire village of Marrick. Goodsell was a brickmaster.  

12th January, 1839

NEW TOWN – The Church at this place is nearly completed. It is surmounted with a spiral steeple, and has a pretty effect. Its utility will be found very great to the inhabitants of that neighbourhood and Cook’s River.

The church is St. Peters Cooks River, which still stands on the Princes Highway at St. Peters, will celebrate its 175th anniversary this year. Worship began in a temporary church in 1838.

13th January, 1838

NEW TOWN -This place, situated at so short a distance from Sydney, and abounding with assigned servants, is entirely without the protection of the Police.

Complaints of drunkenness there are almost daily before the Bench; and yet nothing has been done to remedy the evil. New Town is within the district of Sydney, but the Sydney constabulary do not go beyond the boundary of the town: the nearest constable to New Town is stationed at the entrance of Cook’s River into Botany Bay.

14th January, 1846

George Keating, Michael Callaghan, Charles Doran, William Brown, and Henry John Honey, were indicted, the first for having committed a rape on Margaret Ryan, at Cook’s River, in October last, and the other four with aiding and assisting; after a consultation of an hour the jury returned a verdict of not guilty.

An example of 19th century N.S.W. justice.

15th January, 1845

BUSHRANGING – Yesterday morning, a man supposed to be a bushranger, armed with an open clasp knife, contrived to gain admission into the residence of the Rev. Dr. Steele, at Cook’s River, and demanded the money in the house to be given to him. Two of the servants in the house, hearing what was going on, made their way through one of the windows to let loose the dogs, which being observed by the intruder, he made a precipitate retreat. He wore a regatta striped shirt and white trowsers.

The home of the Rev. Dr. Steele was the original rectory on the site, it was replaced by a federation style house in 1906.

16th January, 1849


(From the Government gazette.)

With reference to the Regulations, bearing date July 24, 1848, the Denomination School Board notify, for general information, the appointment of the following Local School Boards:-


…………….. Cook’s River, Rev. J.S. Hassall, A.B. Spark., J.C. Breillatt, Esq.

In the absence of Rev. Steele, James Hassall, was locum tenens at St. Peters Cooks River. A. B. Spark of Tempe House was one of the first trustees of St. Peters church. Thomas Chaplin Breillat, a miller and banker, has a window dedicated to him in the church. 

17th January, 1852

SUDDEN DEATH -An inquest was held yesterday, at the police-office, on view of the body of Mary Dundas, then lying dead at her late residence in George-street. David Dundas, the husband of deceased, deposed that she had uniformly enjoyed excellent health.. On Sunday they went on an excursion of pleasure to Cook’s River, and returned in the evening; deceased was then well. They retired to rest at ten o’clock the same night, and about eleven deceased suddenly awoke, and screamed. She was holding her hand to her left side, as if enduring severe pain, and immediately expired……Dr. Bennett stated that he arrived at the residence of deceased about midnight on Sunday. She was dead. He was of opinion that death was the result of natural causes, most probably some disease of the heart, or rupture of a blood vessel in the chest.

18th January, 1842


The following Ladies and Gentlemen obtained the prize-pictures in Mr. Felton’s, Art-Union, recently concluded.

No. 1. Portrait of Her Majesty Queen Victoria I., arrayed in the robes and jewels of state – being the dress in which she opens the Session of Parliament; Mr. W. Walker.

5. View of St. Peter’s Church, Newtown, Sydney, from South Head Road; Mr. Sharp.

7. Cottages, Cook’s River Road; Mr. Macdermott.

9. St. Peter’s Church, Newtown- distant view, Mr. W. Walker.

18. St. Peter’s Church, Newtown; Miss Turton.

23. Cook’s River, from Tempe; Lieutenant Lynd.

The artist Maurice Felton, who held an Art-Union, or lottery for his paintings, with tickets at £1 each was well aquainted with A.B. Spark. This probably explains why so many of his paintings were of the area. His large oil painting of Mrs. Spark hangs in the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Felton died on 30th March shortly after his enterprising lottery event.

19th January, 1870

William Meek was charged by Robert Stewart with having prevented the passage of a mourning coach along the Cook’s River Road. It appears that on the 11th January, the complainant, an undertaker, was attending a funeral at Newtown and was returning in procession when the defendant, who was toll-keeper on the Cook’s River Road, stopped one of the mourning coaches after it had passed through the tollgate. He caught hold of the horses’ heads and demanded toll. The horsed plunged and broke portion of the harness. Mr. Stewart’s son, who was on the coach, claimed exemption, but defendant refused to allow the coach to proceed until the toll was paid. Defendant was fined 5s., together with 10s. 6 costs, and 5s. 6d costs of court, or in default two days imprisonment.

20th January, 1866

The ceremony of laying the foundation stone of a new hall for the “Sons of Temperance”, in the village of Tempe, was performed on the 1st instant, by Mr. Thomas Holt, of the Warren. The interior of the hall is to be 35 feet by 25. The building will be of stone, without ornamentation, and will cost about £200. The site is on the eastern side of the road, about 200 yards from the Cook’s River Dam.

Thomas Holt, wool buyer, real estate speculator, financier, M.L.A. and M.L.C. lived at ‘The Warren’ Marrickville, a castellated Victorian mansion of thirty rooms.

21st January, 1863


TERRY-January 4th, at St. Peter’s Cook’s River, Clementina Parker Terry, the beloved wife of Samuel Henry Terry, Esq., M.L.A., aged 39 years.

Samuel Terry, landowner, politician and grandson of Samuel Terry, the Botany Bay Rothchild, lived on the ‘Marionette Estate’, Tempe. Samuel, Henry and Terry Streets in Tempe take their names from him. 

22nd January, 185

ST. PETER’S CHURCH, COOK’S RIVER – the Churchwardens of this Church have presented to the Rev. Dr. Steele, the sum of £107 19s., subscribed by the parishioners of St. Peter’s, Botany and Canterbury, as a donation, in consideration of the inadequacy of his stipend to meet the increased expenses of living under the altered state of the colony. This is an example worthy of imitation.

The altered state of the colony may have been caused by the gold rush. 

23rd January, 1880


At the CENTRAL POLICE COURT, yesterday…

Rush (sub-inspector of police) v. Samuel Keep …., the information ….set forth that on the 18th December last, and on divers other days and times between that day and the date of the information, the 5th January instant, the defendant did deposit a quantity of night soil, at and near Ricketty-street, a public highway in the district of Sydney, from which soil unwholesome and offensive smells and stenches have issued, and still do issue to the common nuisance of the liege subjects of our sovereign Lady the Queen there being, inhabiting, residing and passing, and against the peace of our said Lady the Queen, and contrary to the Act in such case made and provided. Mr. Roberts conducted the prosecution, Mr. T. M. Williamson appeared for the defence. Sub- inspector Rush deposed that on New-Years-day he visited defendant’s place and saw large quantities-of night soil on the ground, and liquid matter flowing into the culverts; a great stench arose therefrom rendering the air impure. By Mr. Williamson: – Found a bad smell on Cook’s River Road, and from thence nearly a mile along Ricketty-street until he came to defendant’s premises; as the crow flies the chinaman’s garden is nearer than defendant’s to Cook’s River Road: the Chinaman uses night-soil; could not distinguish defendant’s stench from any other person’s; …go where you will about Botany, you will smell nightsoil; there are persons in the locality who use boiling down matter, the smell of which is worse than that from nightsoil. Michael Metcalfe deposed that he lives at St. Peters, and knows defendant’s premises, from which very frequently are emitted unpleasant smells, by reason whereof he has been often compelled to close all the doors and windows of his dwelling; they are unwholesome smells, very offensive, and render the enjoyment of life and property uncomfortable to him, and greatly deteriorate the value of property in the neighbourhood. By Mr. Williamson -twenty-three years ago the water in the creek was good, but now it is most offensive;…. Further evidence in support of the information… was given by George Talbot, Samuel H.Terry (M.L.A.), William K. Smith, William G. Judd, Henry Tasker, George Collins, William G. Collings, John Fraim, William Collins, George Barford, George Stiff, David Chappell, and George Byerly.

For the defence Mr. Williamson  called Thomas Harris, a gardener….and William Goddard, George Goddard, Robert Hannan, Charles Moore, Hezekiah Moore, Charles Jones William Harris, John Boots, John Hannibal, John Vaughan and Edward Moore.

Mr. Stanley committed the defendant to take his trial at the Quarter-Sessions, admitting him to bail for his appearance.

The merchant class are well represented in those giving evidence for the prosecution, as to the outcome of this case, do continue to read this column.

24th January, 1845

THE NEWTOWN BUSHRANGER – On Sunday forenoon, a suspicious looking man called at the house of Charles Olive, at Newtown, late a constable in the Sydney Police, and obtained a drink of water. A daughter of Olive’s, who was in the house of the Rev. Mr. Steele at the time when a bushranger entered it, immediately recognised the man who got the water at her father’s door as the same who had forced an entrance into her master’s house, and told her father, who lost no time in arming himself, and, following the man, who walked into an empty hut at some distance from his (Olive’s) house, the latter entered close at the prisoner’s heels and ordered him to surrender. Several persons having got a hint of what was going on, proceeded to the hut, and found the stranger (Smith) preparing to use his clasp knife, when they rushed in and secured him. On being taken to Hyde Park barracks on Monday, he was identified as the man who had forced an entrance into the house of the Rev. Dr. Steele, at Cook’s River, on the 14th inst. Since then he has also been identified as a runawayfrom the gang employed at the Circular Quay.

25th January, 1856

ACCIDENTAL DEATH THROUGH INTEMPERANCE.- A magisterial enquiry was instituted by Major Wingate, J.P., yesterday, at the Man of Kent public-house, Cook’s River, touching the death of John Martin, who died on the previous Monday night from an injury he received while in a state of intoxication. It appeared that the unfortunate man was returning home on the evening preceding his death, and while going through the bush the dray passed so close that the deceased’s leg became jammed between the cross-piece of the dray and the tree, whereby a wound six inches long was inflicted; some blood-vessels were wounded, and the consequent haemorrhage caused his death.

The following finding was returned – “Died from haemorrhage produced by injuries accidentally received while in a state of intoxication.”

John Martin is buried in St. Peter’s Church, Cooks River, graveyard.

26th January, 1844

NIGHT-BLOWING CEREUS – A very interesting sight was witnessed in the gardens at Rickerby House, on Friday evening last, at which a very numerous party was invited to attend by G.H. Head, Esq. This was the expansion of the flower of the Cactus Grandiflora, or night-blowing cereus – a “passage” in the life of this beautiful plant but rarely witnessed. – Carlisle Journal.- The above flower thrives uncommonly well in this colony, and its flowering is by no means such a rarity at home. There is one plant in Mr. Duguid’s garden, at Cook’s River, which has had nine flowers this season, it is described as a most magnificent flower, and its perfume, which resembles that of sandalwood, exceedingly fragrant and powerful. It flowers open about 7 o’clock p.m., and close about the same hour next morning.

Mr. Lesslie Duguid’s  home was the ‘Poffle’, now the site of ‘Pretty girl Fashions’, on the corner of Smith Street and the Princes Highway. The Duguid family are buried in St. Peter’s Church, Cooks River, graveyard.

27th January, 1869


Sir -The health and wealth of the city greatly depend upon an abundance of good water and that Sydney is not satisfactorily supplied is now an admitted fact, and a more copious supply is demanded……I propose that a water company should be established for Sydney, and more particular for the suburbs and manufactories…. All the Government will be asked for is to allow two so-called rivers that are unused, but in reality two reservoirs made by nature, to be dammed, and allow the population the benefit of the water saved, that now runs into the sea…. the rivers required are the George and Cooks River, that have a watershed of some hundreds of square miles of barren sandstone country to collect from, instead of only five thousand acres, the present area reserved for the Botany supply of water…

I remain, your obliged servant,


28th January, 1871

On the summons paper were twenty-six cases, of which three were dismissed, five were postponed, and one was struck out for want of prosecution… Israel Morris was fined 20s. for driving cattle, being neither milch kine nor working bullocks, on the Cook’s River Road, the present Princes Highway, within the prohibited hours of 8 a.m. and 6 p.m.

29th January, 1859


A match came off  on Wednesday last, the 26th instant, between eleven members of the Cook’s River Club and a like number of the Newtown Club, when the former were victorious. The following is the score:-

Cook’s River Club.

First Innings Second Innings.

R.C. Murray, b Kenny                0 c Kenny                   22

R. Benfield, c Dawes                17 c Crawford               0

P. Brennan, b Crawford            15 not out                    8

Josh Gannon, b Kenny               7 b J. Stephen             5

T. Smidmore, c Fallick           22 hit wicket                0

J. Pointer, c Crawford              0 c Kenny                  0

F. Lawrence, c Fallick             4 b Kenny                  0

W. Gannon, b Crawford         13 run out                  27

T. Brennan, b Crawford          6 c Fallick                  4

R. Curtis, not out                    6   run out                    0

A. Gannon, b Crawford           2 run out                    0

Byes                        7            Byes                  1

Total                      99       Total                69

Grand Total  168

Newtown Club.

First Innings Second Innings.

H. Goodsell, c Smidmore         0 b Smidmore              0

J. Goodsell, b W. Gannon         0 b P. Brennan     5

W. Crawford, b P. Brennan      3 b P. Brennan             0

H. Kenny, b Smidmore           36 run out                     6

J. Stephen, b Smidmore          10 b P. Brennan             0

S. Fallick, b Smidmore            5 b P. Brennan             0

A. Dawes, b Smidmore            9 b Smidmore            17

W. Stephen, b Smidmore         0 not out                     0

J. Broad, b Smidmore            17 c W. Gannon            0

C. Dawes, not out                   6 b P. Brennan            6

-Dawes, b Smidmore               0 b P. Brennan            1

Byes                    13   Byes                     2

Total                                  101     Total                  37

Grand total    138

30th January, 1834

On Sunday morning last, it was discovered that the dairy of A.B. Spark, Esq. on his estate at Cook’s River had been entered during the preceding night; and a quantity of dairy produce to a considerable amount taken therefrom. On investigation it appeared that the person in charge of the dairy, had neglected to secure it on retiring to bed, for which act of negligence, he has been sentenced by the Magistrate to twenty-eight days’ labour on the treadmill.

A.B. Spark’s home ‘Tempe House’, still stands in the suburb of Wolli Creek on the banks of the Cook’s River.

31st January, 1880



Yesterday morning the hon. the minister for Works was waited upon by a deputation, consisting of Mr. J. Lucas, M.L.A., Mr. S.H.Terry, M.L.A., Mr. J. Sutherland M.L.A., Mr. W. G. Judd (Mayor of St. Peters); Mr. J. Bowmer (Mayor of West Botany),……. Mr. LUCAS, in introducing the deputation, said they represented ten of the municipalities around the city of Sydney….They came there for the purpose of protesting against the system of sewage, which had been proposed by the commissioners of the Sewage and Health Board….. If the sewer was taken, as proposed, to Shea’s Creek, and to Webb’s grant, it was a perfect flat, and the sewage could not get away, for he had seen the whole of the flat covered at high tide. The sewer would have to be raised, and carried above the ground. But it was proposed to take it to Webb’s grant, and it would have to cross Cook’s River. Webb’s grant was on the west side of Botany Bay, and if the sewage matter was deposited there it would be an intolerable nuisance……

Mr. TERRY said he had known Shea’s Creek for twenty years, and remembered when it was a deep stream. Now it was a perfect shallow. If all this amount of sewage was to go into it, it would soon fill up. He had seen the tide cross over Ricketty-street, and deposit the sewage matter on the flats all around. It would create an immense nuisance on St. Peters, Cook’s River, and it would be a nuisance even to the city of Sydney. He believed it would be most destructive to the health of the people of this colony, and would bring diseases of all kinds into our midst, such as typhoid fever, yellow fever, and cholera, and make this one of the most unhealthy places in the South Seas.

What was proposed by the deputation eventually did happen. The pipes, at a raised level crossed Cook’s River from Marrickville, near Wolli Creek, and went to a sewage farm, the site is now the St. George Soccer team’s ground.

1 February, 1858

Catherine Connor was charged by Mary Ann Finn, aged eleven years, with having stolen from her one £1 note, the property of her father Jeremiah Finn, of Cook’s River, limeburner. The girl deposed that being in town yesterday she received some money on account of her father, which she carried in her frock pocket; she saw prisoner selling pastry from a basket, purchases three penny worth of her, giving her a shilling and taking nine-pence change; prisoner turned over and over the money she held in her hand in a manner that attracted her notice, and she asked if she had lost any, to which prisoner replied that she had lost three sixpences, and that she (witness) must have taken them; witness said that beside the change just received she had nothing smaller than a shilling; to satisfy prisoner of this fact, and on her request, witness took out the money she had – two £1 notes folded together, and 15s. in half-crowns and shillings; prisoner overhauled it, and took the two £1 notes, separating them, but  returned only one, whereupon witness asked what she wanted with her note; prisoner denied that she had one belonging to her; witness sought a policeman, who took prisoner into custody, but at this time she had got rid of all the money she had. To be imprisoned, with hard labour, two months.

Jeremiah Finn was a master limeburner, in 1860 he became insolvent.

2 February, 1894

A meeting of the Marrickville Council was held in the Town Hall on Monday evening, when there were present – The Mayor (Alderman Scouller), and Aldermen Lee, Moyes, Ritchie, Farr, Morehouse, Gould, Brewer, Gross, Cabban, and Ottewill …. A letter was received from the Department of Lands, in reply to council’s request to have the whole of the reclaimed land fronting Cook’s River and adjoining  the Warren Estate vested in the council, and intimating that the letter had been referred to the metropolitan district surveyor for report. Mackey, Warren and Steel parks are probably the extent of the reclaimed land. 

3 February, 1834

John Shipton, assigned servant to A. B. Spark, Esquire, was brought to the Office under suspicion of being concerned in the robbery at that gentleman’s premises, on the night of Sunday the 19th instant, when two bags containing ten pieces printed muslin, four double blankets, four monkey jackets, and other slops, two bottles currie powder, and some tea, and sugar, were found planted ready for removal at the door, by James Orr, private watchman. Nothing criminal in this affair appearing to attach to the prisoner, the charge against him was dismissed; and he was afterward sworn as a witness against George M’Farlane, another assigned servant of the prosecutor’s, who was brought up for examination.

Witness stated that on the night of the robbery as he was going with Orr, and a man taken on suspicion to the watch-house, he saw M’Farlane, the prisoner, in George-street, in company with two other men, when he should have been at Cook’s River, where the prosecutor employed him; but there was no evidence to connect him with the robbery.

His Worship dismissed the charge of robbery; although he said that the prisoner being in Sydney at that hour of the night without his master’s knowledge, was very suspicious; and he would order him fifty lashes for being absent without leave, and be returned to service.

All the articles delivered in Court being identified, were delivered over by order of the Bench to the prosecutor.

George M’Farlane worked on A.B. Spark’s estate ‘Tempe’, before the building of Tempe House,which still stands on the  banks of Cook’s River in the suburb of Wolli Creek. His import business was on George St. Sydney. In our Cook’s River Data Base the name M’Farlane is noted for its involvement in petty crime, which involved childern. 

4 February, 1856

COOK’S RIVER DISTRICT – The Wesleyan Methodist denomination have given another evidence of that valuable quality for which they are so distinguished, perseverance –  by the erection of a place of worship, and the formation of a Sunday School, in the picturesque village of Tempe, better known as Cook’s River. The size of the building is 24 feet by 16 feet, and about £270 has been expended in its erection. It was opened by the Rev. Walter Laurie, of Parramatta, on Thursday, the 17th of January last (the anniversary of the arrival of Sir William Denison as Governor of the colony); the services were continued on the following Sunday, and a tea meeting was held on the Tuesday following. The collections amounted in the aggregate to between £20 and £30. The school was opened by Mr. William Bailey, a gentleman residing in the district, on Sunday, the 27th January last – the day following the sixty-eighth anniversary of the foundation of the colony. The number of children in attendance was 17. This is by no means a bad commencement, but seeing that the institution is much required, the number of pupils will probably be supplemented weekly; and as the village increases in population, the “day of small things” will only exist in the records of the labours of Wesley’s followers in Australia.

The Wesleyan Methodist place of worship still stands in Hart St. Tempe. It is now a private residence. 

Original Methodist Church today
Original Methodist Church today

5 February, 1844


TO LET, the undermentioned Properties:-

BALLATER – A first-rate country establishment, one mile beyond the Dam, being opposite to Mr. Hannam’s, on Wolli Creek. The cottage consists of six rooms; the garden of six acres, nearly the whole of which is irrigated, and may be seen in the utmost luxuriance.

Several building allotments at HANOVER CIRCUS, and along the Cook’s River Road. Terms, ninety-nine years’ lease, at a ground rent of £5 per annum.

Seven acres of land at the junction of the Botany and Cook’s River Roads, four miles from Sydney. Five acres of this is swamp, and capable of being made fertile, being surrounded with fresh water. The moderate terms of which these properties will be let, together with the sixpenny fare to and from Cook’s River, make them an object to any industrious man studying economy.

Particulars may be learnt on application to John M’Kenzie, gardener to L. Duguid, Esq., Cook’s River.

Lesslie Duguid, a Scot, and friend of A.B. Spark, was the managing director and cashier of the Commercial Banking Company of Sydney. He drained the land around his first home, ‘Ballater’ and lived from 1837 at the ‘Poffle’, a mansion on what is now the corner of Smith St. and the Princes Highway Tempe. His hope to develop the land opposite into Hanover Circus, never happened.

6 February, 1839

WATER – The Government is said to have it in contemplation to furnish Sydney with an ample supply of water, by means of a canal communicating with Cook’s River, a little above  ‘Tempe’, the residence of A. B. Spark, Esq., where a dam is to be erected to exclude the tides. it is proposed to cut the canal in the immediate vicinity of Sydney, so that a plentiful supply may be obtained in all seasons, by means of pipes laid through all the principal streets. A gang of one hundred convicts, it is said, will be placed upon the work forthwith.

Whilst the dam happened, it was in almost every respect a disaster, its only saving grace being access to the south. The canal is perhaps still being contemplated.

Cooks River Dam and Tempe House
Cooks River Dam and Tempe House

7 February, 1846

COMMITTAL FOR HORSE STEALING – Daniel Ball, …. having undergone several examinations before the bench, on a charge of stealing a horse from Michael Casey, of Dagworth, was again examined on Saturday and Wednesday last, when also the horse was brought to the door of the court-house for identification. It was clearly traced to the possesion of the prisoner by the evidence of Andrew Mitchell, of Wollombi, John Harris, a constable of Sydney, George Rose, of Cook’s River, near Sydney, and George Calloway of Sydney. Harris apprehended the prisoner in Sydney on the 17th January, on a warrant from the Maitland bench. He traced the horse to William Jackson, of the Liverpool road, who had brought it from Samuel Jackson, a horse-dealer; Jackson had bought it from Rose, and Rose had bought it from the prisoner, giving him in exchange, £4 and another horse. Calloway was a witness to the bargain between Rose and the prisoner. Michael Casey identified the animal as his property. The prisoner was committed for trial.

George Rose became the landlord of the Pultney Hotel, and is buried in St. Peters graveyard. Constable John Harris, described as a Jew, when given a life sentence in 1830 for stealing a watch, later  became  remarkably successful at apprehending those of the same class in the Cook’s River area. He married fellow convict, Mary Allum at St. Peters Cook’s River in 1838, and  his child, Catherine, in 1839 was the first baptised in the present church.  

Pulteney Hotel
Pulteney Hotel

8 February, 1858



The annual meeting of this auxilary took place on Thursday, the 4th February, in the school-room, at St. Peter’s, the Rev. E.J. NIXON in the chair.

The meeting was opened with prayer, after which the chairman made a few introductory remarks, and called upon  the secretary, Mr. T.C. Breillat to read the report……… The small number of collectors was next alluded to, and it was stated that the parish had been very imperfectly canvassed. there were no collections in the distant parts, and in fact the whole sum raised had been contributed almost exclusively by the district around St. Peter’s. An urgent invitation was made to persons to offer themselves as collectors, especially in Botany, St. George’s parish, and Canterbury……Reference was made to the Parent Society’s report for 1856….. At page 13 of that report the mere names of Botany and Gannon’s Bush,  now Hurstville, appeared among…other recipients of grants from the Society. In each of these places a catechist was employed at £25 a-year; £85 had been contributed towards erecting a school at Gannon’s Bush; and £4 15s. had been recently given for the use of a room for Divine service at Canterbury…….

Two resolutions were then submitted to the meeting and carried unanimously.

First, “That the report now read be adopted.”

Secondly-”That the following persons be members of the committee for the present year – Messrs. Fanning, Chalder, King, Reilly, and Gill, with the following ladies Mrs. Gibbes, Mrs. Way, Miss Stevenson, the Misses Duguid, Miss King, Miss Talbot, and Misses Barker, with power to add to their number. Also that the best thanks of the meeting be tendered to the collectors, and T.C. Breillat, Esq., for the efficient help he has given to the Association, as secretary and treasurer from its first existence, with the request that he will continue to hold these offices.”

There are memorial windows to, Chalder, Reilly, Way, Talbot, and Breillat family members in St. Peters Church Cook’s River. They date from the1880’s.    

Thomas Chaplin Breillat
Thomas Chaplin Breillat

9 February, 1894



A meeting of the above council was held in the Town Hall on Monday evening. There were present – The Mayor (Alderman A.H. Scouller), and Aldermen Lee, Moyes, Ritchie, Morehouse, Gould, Brewer, Gross, Farr, and Ottewill. …. St. Peters Council wrote that a movement was on foot to have the name of Marrickville railway station altered to Tramvale, and as the name ‘Tramvale’ was not favourable to many residents, the Commissioners were anxious to provide a name that would meet with the approval of the councils of St. Peters and Marrickville. Council decided to appoint a committee, consisting of the Mayor and Aldermen Morehouse and Farr, to confer with St. Peters Council with a view to selecting a name to be submitted to the Railway Commissioners.

Since June of 1886, the Tramvale Estate, was noted for its poor drainage, and it was claimed should never have been sub-divided for housing. It saw frequent flooding in the latter part of the 19th century. A pumping station near Carrington Road, Marrickville and and a water reservoir, near Sydenham Station, may have improved matters but it is now essentially an industrial estate …… The Marrickville Station is not the present Marrickville Station, but what is now Sydenham.  

10 February, 1866

EXTRAORDINARY DEATH – An inquest was held yesterday, before the City Coroner, at the View House, Lunatic Asylum, Cook’s River Road, touching the death of Douglass Moncrieff, a young man, aged 27, lately a captain in the Royal Engineers. Mr. George A. Tucker, proprietor and superintendent of the View House Asylum, deposed that deceased was admitted into his establishment on the 21st of November last, at his own request;… Mr. Tucker produced a letter which he had received from deceased previous to his admission, which read as follows:- “Sir,- I beg to place myself in your establishment for a few days, as I am suffering from the effects of intemperance, and wish to be thoroughly well, that I may then leave off drink again altogether….Mr. Tucker then stated that he carried out Dr. Bedford’s instructions with regard to deceased; he believed deceased when admitted, to be suffering from the effects of intemperance; that he was labouring under some delusion, and was suicidally disposed; he was not placed under restraint, and for the first three days after his admission he (Dr. Tucker) never left him; he was at times violent and destructive; deceased stated that he had been for eight months in an asylum at Edinburgh;……he was very troublesome on the night of the 7th instant, …an attendant remained with him all night; he had a prolonged hot bath for three hours in the morning, with cold applications to the head; it took three persons to hold him; after the bath he was seized with a fit, and Dr. Barker, of Newtown, and Dr. Bedford were immediately sent for;….deceased was then in convulsions; leeches were applied to the temples, and small quantities of brandy and beef-tea administered; he appeared better in the morning, but about 2 o’clock he was again seized with convulsions, and died soon afterwards. Dr. Bedford was of opinion that it was not drink alone deceased had been suffering from, but that he possessed an unsound mind, labouring under a delusion that he had committed some great crime, and had taken refuge in the asylum for the purpose of concealment. At the post-mortem examination, Dr. Bedford found the brain very much congested, and an unnatural deposit of bone about one inch in length, and about half an inch broad, between the first and second lobes, which he believed to have existed some time, and was the immediate cause of the epileptic fit which resulted in his death. Deceased was described as being a stout, fine young man. Jury’s verdict, “Douglas Moncrieff, aged 27, died from natural causes – namely, a fit of epilepsy; and that he received every attention during his stay in the asylum, both from the medical attendant and proprietor.”

The View Lunatic Asylum was Bay View House, Lunatic Asylum, Cook’s River Road, so called because one could perhaps see Botany Bay. It was previously the “Poffle” home of Lesslie Duguid, and its surrounding estate, and situated on the corner of the Princes Highway and Smith St. Tempe.

Bayview Mental Asylum formerly 'The Poffle'
Bayview Mental Asylum formerly ‘The Poffle’

11 February, 1850


The undersigned having been appointed at a public meeting of several gentlemen interested in the cultivation of the sugar-cane in this colony, as a committee to carry out all the preliminary arrangements for the formation of a company, having for its object the establishment of a Sugar Plantation in the Moreton Bay district, beg to report that they have taken the necessary steps for that purpose….

Aware as the public must be that this is not an undertaking from which an immediate money return may be expected, but one having chiefly for its object the production of a new article of colonial industry of such vast importance to the colonists as to entitle this Experimental Sugar Plantation to the public support, the committee before taking any further steps in the matter deem it their duty to ascertain to what extent they are likely to be aided therein by the colonists, as the parties at present interested in the undertaking do not consider themselves justified in following it up without additional support….








Joshua Frey Josephson lived at Enmore House, became a judge, and was for some time organist at St. Peter’s Church Cook’s River. His residence was ‘Enmore House’.

Michael Metcalfe, a merchant, of Metcalfe Stores in the Rocks Sydney, lived at ‘Petersleigh’, opposite St. Peter’s Church. There is a memorial window and lectern in memory of his children as well as the family grave at St. Peters.

12 February, 1863


A PIGMY flying squirrel (Acobata pygmaea): Presented by L.H. Sibthorpe, Esq., Stoney Creek, Wellington.

Two crustaceans, of the genus Penaeus: By Mr. Joseph Hilton, Cook’s River….

Something less than a gentleman, Joseph Hilton for many years advertised that he, his wife, dog, and cat, would for a wager, “wop” any similarly constituted happy quartette in the colony. Joe the basket maker, as he was known, is buried with his  wife, but not we assume his dog or cat at St. Peter’s Cook’s River graveyard.  

13 February, 1868

Our cave at the Woronora – “Sally’s Bonnet”- opens from the side of a rocky and somewhat steep little hill. It is no mere shelter under an overhanging ledge, as many places dignified by the name of caves turn out to be, but a large and lofty “indent” into the body of the solid rock….speaking from memory, and without having measured it – that it is about thirty feet in length with a breadth varying from ten to fifteen feet…. We had brought with us from Rose’s (the Pulteney Hotel), at Cook’s River, a sufficient supply of both beer and spirits, which all proved to be of excellent quality, but these things were used moderately, not abused.

This is the same George Rose, who on a previous date purchased a horse that had preciously been stolen. His hotel was on the site of what is now the Tempe Hotel, which has its origins in 1890. 

14 February, 1872


ST. PETERS – The usual meeting of this Council was held on the 31st January. Present – The Mayor (Mr. G. A. Tucker), and Aldermen Gorus, Harber, Turner, and Percival…… Alderman Gorus moved, Alderman Harber seconded, and it was carried unanimously,-”That the village of Tempe be kerbed.” Referred to Works committee for report.

The mayor was the previously mentioned owner of the Bay View Lunatic Asylum, Gorus, a photographer, who lived in Tempe, and Harber, one of a brickmaking family, with a memorial window in St. Peter’s Church.  

15 February, 1896


At the Newtown Police Court yesterday, before Mr. Smithers, S.M., James Emblem, aged 28, and Mary Ann Douglas, aged 29, were charged with having in comany, broken into and entered a store belonging to William Emblem, of St. Peters, and stolen therein 22 sheets, 18 antimacassars, six blankets, a quantity of clothing, a silver watch, and some jewellery, also a number of other articles, valued in all at £20.

Constable Walker stated that when he arrested both the accused, at a house in Silver-street, Marrickville, the male prisoner replied to the charge that he would take it upon himself, as the woman knew nothing about it. He also stated that he was sorry that he did not finish the job by murdering the old man (his father). He nearly did it once, and said he would go to the gallows yet. Both the accused were committed to take their trial at the next court of gaol delivery, bail being allowed in each case….

16 February, 1841

FUNERAL SERMON – On Sunday last the Reverend Mr. Steel, at St. Peter’s Church, Cook’s River, delivered an excellent and pathetic address to his Congregation, from 3rd Gen. 19 to 6v., “Dust are thou, and unto Dust shall thou return,” on Mrs. Prout, a lady highly esteemed, and suddenly taken from a lovely young family and affectionate husband. It was made known from this address that Mrs. Prout’s funeral was the first in the newly consecrated ground of St. Peter’s church. It is a matter of regret, that so many of our Sydney friends who seek a Sunday drive, do not visit this beautiful Church, where, from the talents of Mr. Steel, they would derive much pleasure in listening to his truly admirable discourses, and performing a duty incumbent on all. The musical part of the service on this occasion was admirably conducted by Mr. Deane, “Vital Spark” was well performed and sung, the principal Vocalist was Master C. Weavers.-Correspondent.

There were previous burials at St. Peter’s, but this is the first in consecrated ground. Under-sheriff Cornelius Prout, husband of the above Catherine, lived on the south bank of Cook’s River at Canterbury. Mr. Deane, is perhaps part of the celebrated musician John Philip Deane’s family.

17 February, 1870


NEWTOWN- A meeting of the Council was held on the 15th instant. Present: the Mayor (Mr. J. Kingsbury) and Aldermen Conley, Cozens, Bailey, Curtis, Galvin, Bedford, and Hobbs….Correspondence: Letter from Mr. J.F. Josephson proposing to clear off and remove, at his own expense, and for his own benefit, from the waterways on both sides of the Enmore Road, from Stanmore road to the Cook’s River Road, all the debris and refuse matter which is constantly accumulating there in. Alderman Cozens said that the arrangement had been made to clear the gutters free of cost to the Council, of that portion of the road between Station-street and the Cook’s River Road. Moved by Alderman Bailey, seconded by Alderman Conley – “That permission be given to Mr. Josephson to clean out the waterways of that portion of the Enmore Road situate between Station and Francis streets.” Carried unanimously.

The length of road Mr. Josephson cared for appears to have been approximately 500 metres.

18 February, 1898



The monthly medal competition of the above club took place on the 5th instant, and in spite of the fact that the recent rains have caused to rapid growth of grass, the scores show an improvement. The match took place on the 12 hole course at Tempe. Following are the best cards handed in:-

E.W. Boake, actual score 63, handicap 10, net score 73; A.T. Jones, 82, 8,74; A.M.Gannon, 95, 20, 75; T.F. Furber, 91,15, 76; Dr. C.A. Patrick, 96, 20, 76; E. Ashdown, 103, 25, 78; P.E. Gannon, 91, 12, 79; H. A. LANGLEY, 109, 18, 91.

The course was on the eastern side of Unwins Bridge Road, on the land which slopes down from Union St. to Gannon’s St. ‘Hurlingham’ the home of the Gannon’s who created the golf course, still stands on Union St.  

19 February, 1840

COOK’S RIVER BRIDGE – We perceive that a public meeting is called for the purpose of adopting plans for the building of a bridge across Cook’s River. There can be no doubt that bridges are always improvements, and it appears that in this instance such an undertaking would produce the most beneficial results. The meeting is for next Tuesday, and we hope to see a full attendance. Colonists must act for themselves now, they have “no more” convict labour, no land fund, no any thing save their private resources; if the proprietors wish to improve the neighbourhood of Cook’s River it must be done by a liberal outlay of wealth which many in the neighbourhood have accumulated.

A timely reminder, given that, the recently constructed dam, may have been the last great construction using convict labour, who were for the most part Irish.

20 February, 1894

DEATH OF AN ALDERMAN – On Sunday afternoon Alderman John S. Baker, who for 13 years represented  the Brompton Ward in St. Peters Council, died at his residence, Lackey-street, St. Peters, deceased had not enjoyed good health for about three years, and his death, which was rather sudden, was due to heart disease. He had resided in the district for over 30 years. … At the funeral yesterday afternoon, several of the mayors and many aldermen of the adjoining boroughs were present. The coffin, which was carried alternately by the Mayor and some of the aldermen of St. Peters, and the officers od the St. Peters branch of the L.O.L. (of which deceased was a member), was covered with beautiful wreaths and other floral tributes of respect. Large musters of the members of St. Peters branch of the L.O.L. and Lodge Schemberg, No. 5, marched in procession. The burial service was read by the Rev. E.D. Madgwick, who also delivered an address in the church. A short service was also conducted by the W. M. of the Schemberg Lodge. The funeral arrangements were carried out by Messrs. Boots and Gommeson. The procession was the largest ever marshalled in St. Peters.

21 February, 1868

The third day turned out fine. After an early and substantial breakfast we embarked with all our “traps.” and turned the bow of the sloop homewards…… We so timed our progress as to enter Cook’s River with the young flood, leaving below us a vessel which drew too much water to make the attempt until a later hour…. When we arrived in front of what is called Gannon’s Dock – near the Dam – we fired off our guns, in compliance with what we are told is the usual custom of parties returning from an excursion such as ours…. The four shots, fired as they were in regular succession, brought a good many of the “natives” out to see what was the matter; and one young lady, who was going across the dam with a child in her arms, took to her heels….In a few minutes more the sloopwas alongside the little wharf near the Limekilns, from where she had started three days before. There had, indeed, been a considerable diminution in the weight of provisions, but there was a considerable addition in the shape of sundry bags of oysters and some splendid stag-horn ferns and rock lilies from the Woronora. With some difficulty – by manual labour, by the aid of a barrow, and by loading a dogcart which came down for one of our party – everything was got safely up to the Pulteney Hotel before dark….. Other vessels besides the Rover’s Bride, and other navigators besides Maguire, could doubtless be procured; but I would strongly recommend both the sloop and the man to any who may wish for a cruise in these latitudes. Information as to Maguire’s whereabouts, or indeed, as to nearly anything which excursionists would need to know, can be procured of Mr. Rose, at the Pulteney Hotel.

22 February, 1848


We have to announce the defection from the Church of England of another Clergyman. The Rev. Thomas Makinson, M.A., yesterday resigned his license with the intention of joining the Romish communion. Mr. Makinson has been for several years stationed at Mulgoa, and since January has officiated at St. Peter’s Church, Cook’s River, having agreed to occupy that church during Dr. Steele’s absence in England….We believe that the Bishop of Sydney had had no previous intimation from Mr. Makinson, who officiated, as usual, on Sunday.

23 February, 1854

Mr. Robert Gannon, prprietor and driver of the Cook’s River omnibus appeared to answer a charge of assault preferred by Mr. Wilcox, of Hunter-street. It appeared that a few days ago there was a pigeon shooting match at Cook’s River, and in the evening the parties present who were residents in Sydney detained the defendant’s omnibus beyond the usual hour, and agreed to pay, in consideration of the accommodation afforded, 7s. 6d. each for their fare; on arrival at Sydney the complainant disputed the fare; first a contention and then a scuffle took place. The defendent was shown to be the agressor, and he was found guilty of the assault. To pay £3 penalty and 4s. 6d. costs.

Michael Gannon, transported for life from Ireland, was the sire of the sporting Gannon family of Tempe. He had an inn on the Cook’s River Road, where he was known as the “Ould Sportsman.” Pigeon shooting was but one of the activities.

24 February, 1872


SUPPOSED INFANTACIDE- Yesterday forenoon, the City Coroner commenced an inquiry at the Benevolent Asylum, Pitt street South, respecting the death of a newly born female child. Thomas Hart deposed that he was a labourer, residing at St. Peters, Cook’s river, about 8 o’clock on Thursday morning, while he was proceeding from St. Peters in the direction of Sydney, and when in a paddock belonging to District Court Judge Josephson, he saw a bundle lying close to a corner post; he went up to the bundle and looked at it; on opening a corner saw that it contained the body of a newly-born child; the body was wrapped in a piece of blanket and old cloth; his wife was with him at this time; the body was within a yard of the footpath  which crossed the paddock; he communicated the discovery to constable Lee,….Arthur Renwick, M.D. who held a post-mortem examination of the body, said that he had arrived at the following conclusions:- 1st. That the deceased full-grown and well developed child had been born within four and twenty hours before it was found by the police. 2nd. That the birth had been secret, and that the child had not been washed or otherwise properly attended to. 3rd. That the blood had circulated freely, and that the functions of respiration and other acts significant of life had been performed. 4th That the cause of death had been asphyxia or suffocation. 5th Whether the vital acts above referred to were performed before the child was fully born or not could not be determined by the scientific evidence only. The inquest was adjourned till the morning of Thursday next, to allow the police to prosecute inquiries.

25 February, 1865


To the Editor of the Herald.

SIR – In your issue of the 17th instant there was a very good and truthful letter under the above heading, pointing out the wholesale destruction of  the young fish of the different varieties inhabiting- or which formerly inhabited – our harbour and bays in and near Sydney, in such abundance, but which  now are nearly, or will soon be, extinct, if there is not something done to put a stop to it, and that can only be accomplished by an Act of Parliament… There is another species of fishery… viz., the oyster fisheries, which also requires the attention of the Legislature, and that immediately.The destruction of oysters is enormous, and as there is no close season for allowing them time to spawn, there will not be any to be had within some hundreds of miles, both north and south of Sydney, in a few years. There are hundreds of bags, containing three bushels each, arriving here by the coasters every week, besides hundreds of thousands of bushels of live oysters burned for lime all year round. John Robertson, in his many voyages up the Hunter, must have seen the immense heaps of oysters all along the banks of the river, which are live ones, as the burners prefer them to dead shells, as they produce more and finer quality of lime. I believe the same practice is carried on at Port Stephens, at the dam at Cook’s River and many other places….

26 February, 1835

Mr. Adam Wilson of Cook’s River, has on hand a great quantity of starch of his own manufacture, which is now selling at the low price of 5d. per lb. It is said to be in every respect equal to English. Attempts such as this to introduce the manufacture of useful articles of domestic consumption , deserve the greatest encouragement.

27 February, 1899

TRAMWAY EXTENSION TO COOK’S RIVER – The Minister for Works has authorised the extension of the St. Peters tramway to Cook’s River. At present the terminus is at St. Peters railway station. It is hoped that eventually the line will be taken to Lady Robinson’s Beach. The work of extension is to be put in hand without delay.

28 February, 1844

STRAYED, from the farm Molle’s Mains, Cowpasture-road, two yearling COLTS, now rising two years old; the larger of the two a dark bay, with black points, and an irregular star on the forehead; the other a bay, with black points, and a white mark down the face. Whoever will give such information to  the Rev. Dr. Steele as will lead to their recovery will receive a reward of £3.

At the end of the nineteenth century there were still those who could recollect the Rev. Doctor riding about his parish, which at that time was a good deal larger than its present size. A native of Ireland, he is said to have worn high riding boots. 

1 March, 1873

In the suburbs, all the low lying portions of ground may be said to have been converted into small lakes for the time being. This is the case about Newtown, Marrickville, Petersham, and Homebush. The flat between the upper part of

Marrickville and Cook’s River was converted into an enormous lake. The water rose above the fences and one or two houses showed scarcely anything more than their roofs. In the early part of the day a boat was seen on this newly created lake, the object of the boatmen appeared to be to ascertain whether any human being remained in the houses in the lowest part of the flooded district. The flood has done great damage to the gardens and to the brick yards, of which there are several in the locality….

In all probability, Marrickville’s Tramvale Estate. See reference 9 February. 

2 March, 1859

By order of ANDREW BONAR, Esq. Chairman of the AUSTRALIAN TRUST COMPANY.


FRIDAY, 8th  April.

The beautifully situated well-known estate of


Cook’s River, late the property of A.B. Sparke, Esq.,

deceased, including,


and Grounds, containing 11 ACRES (which can be extended to 20 ACRES if required) of tastefully laid-out Garden, Shrubbery, and Orchard. Also,

110 SMALL FARMS and VILLA SITES, the RICHEST SOIL in the COLONY; most of which have extensive fresh water frontages to Cook’s River above the dam, or to Wolli Creek, and are only distant about FIVE MILES FROM SYDNEY, by a capital metalled road the whole distance.

TEMPE HOUSE is a beautiful stone-built villa, having 6 spacious rooms, hall, wide verandahs, pantry, closets, and cellars. The OUT-OFFICES, which are detached and very extensive, consist of large kitchen, laundry, store, bakery, stables, and other buildings.

The GROUNDS comprise, as per plan, 11 acres, but can be extended to 20 acres. They were originally made at an enormous cost, are beautifully laid out, and contain the choicest selection of rare plants, trees, and shrubs (both indigenous and imported) ever collected in a private garden in the colony. They extend to the meandering waters of Cook’s River, command an extensive and charming view of the surrounding country, and are naturally and artificially arranged in alternate terraces and parterres, having altogether a most romantic and pleasing aspect.

THE RESIDUE about 130 acres, is so subdivided that from 1 to 20 acres can be secured in one block, and  from the fine position and fertile nature of the soil, these lots are admirably adapted for villa sites or market gardens.

A number of the lots consist of RICH FRESH WATER SWAMP LAND, well drained, much superior to the Botany, Double Bay, or any other land in the vicinity of Sydney for gardening purposes. This is the only soil of the above arable nature unoccupied near the metropolis, and the PRUDENT INDUSTRIOUS CLASSES are especially invited to inspect it, and secure a portion (which can be done on very liberal terms) on the day of sale. A few acres of this land judiciously worked, is a COMPETENCY FOR ANY MAN…..

Alexander Brodie Spark died on 22 October 1856. There are other references to him and ‘Tempe House’, on: 3rd January,16th January, 30th January, 3 February.

'Tempe House' today
‘Tempe House’ today

3 March, 1898



The Newtown Police Court was crowded yesterday during the hearing of the case against Charles Jamieson, aged 21, Harry Jamieson, aged 19, James Bell aged 24, Walter J. Gentle, aged 23, Frederick Steel, aged 21 and Thomas Pritchard, aged 18. They were charged with having in company inflicted grievous bodily harm upon Charles Clothier, at Newtown, on the night of the 4th February. ….

Charles Clothier stated that he was boarding with a Mrs. Neal at Commodore-street, St. Peters. …. On Friday, the 4th February, witness and a friend named Hill left their lodgings about 8 p.m. They went to Barlow’s barber’s shop on the St. Peters-road. They then went to the Newtown railway station. They saw Harry Jamieson on the road near the barber’s shop. They returned home about 10 o’clock, and had reached a vacant piece of land near Commodore-street, and within a few yards of their lodgings, when they heard a whistle, and saw Gentle, Pritchard, and Steel approaching them. Witness ran towards his residence…..Charles Jamieson was the first to strike witness from behind with a weapon of some sort. It was like leather. Several of the others were at his side. The blow knocked witness down, and he remembered nothing more until next day, when he came to his senses and found himself in Prince Alfred Hospital…

About five weeks previous to the assault witness had been to a party in company with a lady friend. Steel who was with some of the others on the other side of Cook’s River-road, seeing witness on that occasion, came over to him and asked him if he was going to fasten to it. Witness said yes, if he (Steel) would do so. Witness a few days later, again met Steel, who struck him a blow, giving him a black eye. Four days later witness was again assaulted by Steel, Charles Jamieson, and Pritchard. On this occasion Charles Jamieson pulled out from under his coat a weapon similar to what he had used on February 4 and struck him with it. Witness ran and got away…. The leaded whip produced belonged to witness ……Witness had no affection for Steel. He had a dispute with him over a female…..Steel had assaulted witness a few nights before. On that occasion witness knocked Steel down. On each of these occasions witness had a girl named Florrie Green with him. That was the girl over whom witness and Steel were disputing…Dr. Wade, resident medical officer at Prince Alfred Hospital, stated that the man Clothier was brought to the hospital about 10.40 p.m. on February 4… He was in a semi-conscious condition when admitted. An operation was performed that night, and a large portion of broken bone that was pressing on the brain was removed….

Mr. Smithers said he would commit each of the accused to take his trial at the next Court of Quarter Sessions at Darlinghurst.

Charles Clothier and Florrie Green never married each other. Giver that both Clothier and Jamieson had leather weapons, this may be the St. Peter’s equivalent of the much more celebrated Rock’s Push, gangs of larikins who terrorised the poorer areas of Sydney in the late 19th century. Commodore-street is now considered to be in Newtown. 

4 March, 1837

Mr. Polack has, we are informed, just disposed of the whole of his property at Cook’s River for £10,000.

Abraham Polack, auctioneer, left the colony of N.S. W. on 3rd December 1839. 

5 March, 1895


At the Newtown Police Court yesterday, before Captain Fisher, S.M…..Frederick Burnham, aged 28, was charged with having stolen a bottle of beer, of the value of 1s. 3d. the property of Frederick Gannon, solicitor, of Tempe, on Sunday morning. He was ordered to be imprisoned for seven days, with hard labour.

Frederick Gannon’s home, ‘Hurlingham’, still stands in Union St. Tempe. Other references to the Gannon family, and what they owned and named, are found at: 1 January, 6 January , 10 January, 29 January, 8 February, 18 February, 21 February, 23 February.  

6 March, 1837


Has the honor to announce to the inhabitants of New South Wales, that he has received instructions from the Proprietor, Robert Campbell, Esq., M.C., to submit to public competition, at twelve o’clock precisely, on FRIDAY, 10th March, at his rooms, Lower George-street,

THIRTY ALLOTMENTS of LAND in the parish of Petersham, varying in contents from four to twenty-one acres each, being a portion of Smith’s four hundred and seventy acres grant, as marked in the Government Gazette.

A Polack feels great pleasure in thus being enabled to meet the wishes of the many anxious persons who are desirous of obtaining an allotment of land in this truly respectable neighbourhood, being surrounded by the Estates of A.B.Spark, John Lord, James Norton, Adam Wilson, and Richard Roberts, Esquires, likewise Captain Roxburgh, and the late Dr. Wardell, consequently, for Villas the sites cannot be excelled, as they are of sufficient magnitude for all purposes required on such establishments, with the advantage of a good road thereto.

Merchants, Professional Gentlemen, and Civil Officers, would find these plots highly desirable, as the distance from the heart of the capital can be considered a mere walk…..

The Smith’s grant referred to is to Thomas Smyth, one time acting store keeper, and from 1896, Provost Marshall, who received the grant in January of 1794, and died in December of 1804. His land covered the whole of the district of what is now, St. Peters, Sydenham and Tempe.

7 March, 1896

A BOY DROWNED IN A WATERHOLE. Yesterday afternoon a number of boys were bathing in a waterhole at the back of the brickworks at St. Peters, when one of their number, a boy named John McMahon, aged 16 years, who resided with his widowed mother in St. Peters-street, St. Peters, swam across the pond, a distance of 75 ft. He called to his companions telling them that he was going to return, but after swimming a little distance he became exhausted. Two of the other boys went to his aid, but he struggled much, and they being younger than he were unable to render any assistance. The deceased sank when 20 yards from the edge of the water, and was not seen again.

John McMahon is buried in St. Peter’s Cook’s River Graveyard, curiously more than one reference in the registers of the church have the McMahons as McMah.

8 March, 1849


A young man of the name of Gannon, residing on the Cook’s River road, appeared on Tuesday before the Police Court, to answer a charge preferred against him by a person of the name of Finn, residing at Cook’s River, for stealing a load of wood of the value of two shillings. Mr. Brenan appeared for the prosecution, and Mr. Nichols for the defence. The defendant it appeared when spoken to by the prosecutor (who claimed renting the land from the Bank of Australia) respecting the removal of the wood, had admitted taking it, and stated he was acting by his father’s orders, and under the authority of whom the wood had been cut. Finn, on being cross-examined by Mr. Nichols, denied having received notice from the Bank to quit the property, or that he had not been charged rent for it since 1st of January; and produced, in support of his having done so, a receipt dated 29th of that month, but on the document being examined, it appeared it was on account of rent due in 1848…..Mr. Wells was put in the box by the defendant. Mr. W. stated the land was one of the Tempe allotments in the late lottery, and had been won by a party for whom Gannon’s father was agent. The land was No. 14 in the circus, but this was not yet laid out, nor would it be until the timber was cleared; and that in order that it might be so, permission was given by him as the surveyor to the Bank, under the directors’ authority, to any persons to cut wood. The case was dismissed.

The land is probably a block on Hanover Circus, which was owned originally by Lesslie Duguid, who lived at ‘The Poffle’ situated on the corner of Smith and what is now the Princes Highway. Duguid’s financial difficulties may have placed it in the hands of the Bank of Australia. In August of 1847 he was insolvent. The entry for 10th of March appears, though separated by fifty -five years, connected.

Jeremiah Finn was a master limeburner, in 1860 he became insolvent. He required the wood to fire his kiln(s), which substantially used oyster shells to manufacture lime. 

9 March, 1893

CRICKET. The following matches were played on Saturday:-  Clifford, Love and Co. played St. Peters B at St. Peters, the match resulting in a win for Clifford, Love and Co.

Scores: Clifford, Love and Co., seven wickets for 113, innings closed (M. Wallis 73, W. Kerrigan 18);  St. Peters 38 (Burling 10), Nelson six for 16, and Wallis, two for 4, bowled excellently for the winners.

Clifford, Love and Co, were millers at Willoughby on the Lane Cove River, who in 1893 produced “Uncle Toby’s Oats.” 

10 March, 1894

A Forger Heavily Sentenced.

At the Central Criminal Court last Saturday the trial of Charles Jackson Campbell, a man who up till now was well known and respected in the metropolis, came to an end, after a hearing extending over five days. The indictment specified five distinct charges of forging conveyances of property at Tempe, Cook’s River. The deeds purported to be conveyances of property from John Stirling, chairman of the Bank of Australia, to various other persons. It appears that very many years ago there was a lottery held by the Bank of Australia of a large number of lands situate in various parts of the colony. A number of the lots that were disposed of in this way remain unconveyed to this day, and it was proved that Campbell knew all about this lottery and the unconveyed lots, which was shown by books and papers in his possession and searches made in the lottery books themselves. Having this knowledge, it appeared that it suggested itself to him that it should be turned to account, and he proposed to a Mr. Sharp,…. that Sharp should give him the money to buy the legal estate. The land could then be brought under the Real Property Act and sold…..Sharp agreed to this,… and Campbell had the six allotments conveyed to Sharp in this way. The evidence was very voluminous, a great deal of it being given by experts. On Saturday afternoon the jury returned a verdict of guilty on all counts. The foreman added that prisoner and his family were well known to several of the jury, and it gave them considerable pain to have to bring in a verdict of guilty….

The sentence of the Court was that prisoner be kept in penal servitude for a period of 14 years.

Prisoner on leaving the dock said the whole thing was a conspiracy to ruin him.

This would appear to be “Hanover Circus,” mentioned on 8 March. 

11 March, 1881


BIRNIE.-March 10, at ‘Walsoken’, Marrickville, Alexander Birnie, aged 41 years, late master of the ship Cairnbulg, and only surviving son of the late Captain James Birnie of Aberdeen, Scotland.

THE FRIENDS of the deceased Captain ALEXANDER BIRNIE are respectfully invited to his Funeral; to move from his late residence, ‘Walsoken’, Unwins Bridge Road, Marrickville, TOMORROW (Saturday), at 3 o’clock, to the Cemetery, St. Peter’s, Cook’s River.  JAMES CURTIS.


ALL who have known Captain Alexander Birnie afloat or ashore, will regret to hear that he died suddenly at Cook’s River yesterday.  As commander of the popular passenger ship Jason, Ann Duthie, and Cairnbulg, he had been intimately connected with the trade of this port for many years.  During his last voyage from London his health, which up to that time had been invariably good, gave way, and, acting under medical advice, he decided to send his ship home in charge of the chief officer, intending to take a rest until she returned. The change seemed likely to accomplish the desired effect, and yesterday he seemed better than ordinarily, and was joking and chatting as usual with his wife a few moments before he went off in a faint, from which he never recovered. In every respect Captain Birnie was a model shipmaster, kind to his men, affable to his passengers, and respected by the mercantile community. His exertions in bringing the Cairnbulg to his port after being dismasted off St. Paul’s will be fresh in the memory of most of our readers and were handsomely recognised, by the insurance offices and underwriters. His death at the comparatively early age of 41 will be deeply felt by the social circles to which he had endeared himself here and in the old country.

‘Walsoken’, though described as being in Marrickville, was on the western side of Unwins Bridge Road of what is now  Tempe. The Municipalities of St. Peters and Marrickville were divided along the centre line of the road. Captain Birnie’s home would have been situated in the grounds of what is now Tempe High School.  

12 March, 1860

The parish of St. Peters, Cook’s River, has within the last few days sustained a severe loss by the death of its pastor, the Rev. Edward John Nixon. The son of a distinguished officer in the Queeen’s service, this gentleman himself commenced his career in the army, in which position he gained the esteem and respect of his brother officers, both as a soldier and a friend. Desiring however to devote himself more exclusively to the service of God, he gave up his commission, and after studying some time at Cambridge, entered the Church. He was appointed to a curacy at Liverpool, England, under Dr. Barker, now Bishop of Sydney. He afterwards became chaplain to the London Hospital in the Mile End Road; and in his laborious duties in connection with that excellent institution, the deceased gentleman was remarkable for his deeds of charity and benevolence. In 1856 he formed the determination  of coming to Australia to join his early friend and patron, and on his departure was presented by the officers of the Hospital, with an affectionate farewell address and a silver communion service. Reaching Sydney he was appointed by the Bishop to the parish of St. Peter’s Cook’s River, where he laboured till his death, which appears to have been considerably hastened by the recent decease of his only child. The reverend gentleman was the author of several excellent works, among which may be mentioned his “Manual of District Visiting” and Gehazi, or the “Development of Sin.” Funeral sermons were preached in the parish church yesterday, in the morning by the Bishop of Sydney, and in the evening by the Rev. Mr. Moreton. The Bishop’s text was from the 13th chapter of the Hebrews, the 7th verse- “Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God, whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.” The sermon contained an earnest exhortation to the practice of faith, and concluded with a short reference to the character and career of the clergyman who had for three years addressed the congregation from the same pulpit. The right reverend gentleman alluded to the death of Mr. Nixon as no common calamity to his audience, and to the Church of Christ in general. He thought it unwise to pass over such solemn occasions without notice, as the summons which had called away their pastor would have sooner or later to be obeyed by all. He exhorted his hearers not only to admire but to strive to imitate, so that their death might be, like his, the death of the righteous. The preacher accounted for somewhat of hesitation and apparent indecision in the character of the deceased by the fact of his being eminently a man of prayer – one who always endeavoured to ascertain his Master’s will before taking any important step. He was also a diligent student of the Word of God, and beyond most men, watchful over himself, entertaining a constant and upright abhorrence of every perverse way. The Bishop stated that he had been in close connection with him for some years, and had always remarked his careful and studious discharge of duty, and his consistent conduct in every respect. As a young officer, he had always been guided by the word of God, never doubting whose he was, or whom he ought to serve, but acting always as a good servant of Jesus Christ. His congregation would bear witness how kindly and faithfully he had discharged the duties of the ministry – how affectionately he had exhorted the young – how he had sympathised with those who were suffering – how faithfully and gently he had admonished and comforted the dying. In his own trials and death he had not been forsaken by his heavenly Master, who had made his bed in his sickness. His patience had never failed throughout his long illness, and his kindly interest and love for his parishioners had seemed to increase in intensity as he felt the time of their separation drawing near. in his last moments he had remembered many, and remarking how dying words sometimes sink in the memories of those who hear them, he had called his house -hold around his bed, and spoken to them with affectionate earnestness, expressing the peaceful and happy condition of his own mind, and his longing to get home. The preacher thanked the congregation for the kindness they had shown to his friend, and concluded by entrusting them to remember the words he had so often spoken to them, and which, if he were to return, he would do no more than repeat. Prayers were read by the Rev. Mr. Richardson, incumbent of St. Mark’s, and brother-in-law of the deceased, who was married to a daughter of Colonel Deverell, lately stationed in these colonies.

The Rev. Nixon was a Scot, whose wife had, what would have been described as a posthumous child, Dorothea Agnes Henrietta on the 3 April  1860, and baptised at St. Peters Cooks River on the 22nd of that month.  

Rev. Nixon's grave at St Peters Church
Rev. Nixon’s grave at St Peters Church

13 March, 1847


The long talked of match between Nap Dillon, of the Cooks River and Smith-the “Flying Tailor”, alias the Duke of Limbs, came off on Tuesday last on the Cooks River Road. Our readers will probably recollect that these men met on a previous occasion on the Petersham Race Course, when Dillon was declared the victor; but the friends of the Duke fancied that His Grace was in too low condition, and ascribed his defeat to that circumstance, and being fully persuaded that had he been brought out better he would have been successful, a second match was made (the present one), 100 yards, for £10 a side. The men met on Tuesday last at Gannon’s, and attended by their respective admirers proceeded to the ground, over which they were by mutual agreement to try their  prowess. On preparing for the start, the appearance of the competitors was widely different, Dillon strong enough for a mile race but fine as a stay, while the “Tailor” looked like “lengthened sweetness long drawn out.” It must have been evident to any uninterested spectator that his animal proportions were such as to leave him little chance with such a compact antagonist as he was then about to encounter: but such was the infatuation of the NINTH, who declared that he was, “as smooth as his goose, and as sharp as his shears,” that they actually offered odds on His Grace. However the result shewed they should have been on the other side, as it found the Cooks River pet fourteen yards in advance at the terminus. The NINTH left the ground anything but pleased, and declared that they had a young gentleman training, “who had a taste for cabbage from early years,” whom they intended soon to bring out against the pet, whose friends expressed their readiness to accept any challenge such vulgar fractions might make.

The encounter probably took place, close to the junction of Gannon’s St. and the Princes Highway Tempe, for that was the location of Gannon’s Inn (or “The Union.”)

Nap is an abbreviation of Napoleon.

14 March, 1894

TYPHOID AT ST. PETERS. At a meeting of the St. Peters Council on Monday evening, the inspector of nuisances reported that there were a number of cases of typhoid in the borough.

One of the unsung heroes of the nineteenth century, is the “Inspector of Nuisances,” who not only prosecuted shopkeepers for short weights and measures, slaughter houses, wool washers and boiling down works for pollution of waterways, but also brought the attention of the public to cases of the above.

15 March, 1844


THE prices for boiling sheep and cattle are as under: Sheep. 9d. per head; cattle, 10s., casks cost price, including all charges, carting to Sydney, &c. Apply to Mr. King, on the premises.

Francis John King lived on the Cook’s River Road and in September 1860 was buried in St. Peter’s Cook’s River graveyard.

Sydney, February 13. 

16 March, 1855

ST. PATRICK’S DAY. To-morrow being St. Patrick’s Day, the following sports have been announced to come off at Barwon Park, Newtown: The first is a hack hurdle race for £10 10s., two miles of fair hunting country, over eight stiff leaps, 3 feet 3 inches high, (hurdles are now 3 feet  6 inches) for all hacks to be approved of by the clerk of the course, carrying Homebush welter weights; entrance, £1 1s; the second horse to save his entrance; to start at 2 p.m. The second is a flat hack race for £5 5s., for all hacks; one event, two miles; entrance 10s. 6d., post entrance; second horse to save his entrance; to start at 3 p.m. A variety of other diversions will be given, so as to enable the carrying out of a full afternoon’s sport. Omnibuses will start from the Bull’s Head, George-street, to convey visitors. 

Thomas John Bown, had a plumbing, gas fitting and brass fitting business, and lived at Barwon Park. He was also Superintendent of the Sydney Fire Brigade. Bown favoured any social or sporting activity on his property and is well represented in our articles on “A Sporting Life at Cook’s River.” 

17 March, 1838


TENDERS are immediately required for the erection of a CHURCH on the Cook’s River Road according to the Plans and Specifications now lying at the Office of


The church will celebrate the 175th anniversary of the laying of its foundation stone on Saturday, 6 July 2013.

18 March, 1856

ACCIDENT. A man named Gurr, in the employ of Mr. Chalder, of Cook’s River, had a narrow escape with his life on Saturday last. He was on the Newtown-road, proceeding homeward with a horse and cart, and being drunk, fell with violence from the cart, and received a severe injury on his head. The accident occurred within sight of the Trafalgar Inn, whither he was speedily conveyed, and remained for some hours in a state of insensibility. In the evening he was removed to his master’s house. Dr. Barker, of Newtown, who is in attendance upon the man, does not consider him to be in danger.

Mr. Chalder, a merchant, lived on the corner of Cook’s River Road, (now the Princes Highway) and Canal Road, now the site of the Southern Cross Hotel. 

He was born at Marrick Yorkshire, England, and owned land to the west of this property, which when sold became Marrickville.  

19 March, 1896


With reference to the condition of Cook’s River, Alderman J.J. Farr, of Marrickville, has received the following letter from Mr. John Bridge, wool agent of the city: “I beg leave to hand you here-with a letter received from Dr. W. Clay, who attends the St. Magdalene’s Refuge at Tempe, which speaks for itself. It is a standing shame and disgrace to our Government, which spends tens of thousand of pounds to carry out socialistic schemes for the benefit of all the paupers and loafers of the colony, whilst a place like this is allowed to carry disease and death in all directions amongst persons who need no Government assistance, and the Tempe Refuge is surrounded by the very worst part of the nuisance.” Dr. Clay, of Arncliffe, wrote: “I hope to be able to point out the very insanitary condition of Cook’s River, not only because it affects the St. Magdalene’s Refuge, but also the neighbourhood on both sides of the river.”

20 March, 1841

LITHOGRAPHY. We have had frequent occasion to comment on the beautiful manner in which Mr. Baker, of King-street, executes lithographic sketches; the last we have seen is a splendid lithograph of the Rev. Mr. Steele’s Church at Cook’s River, which certainly reflects no little share of credit on the artist, as well as the drawer; the resemblance to the reality is striking at the first glance.

The lithographer was an Irishman, William Kellett Baker. 

Baker's lithograph
Baker’s lithograph

21 March, 1857


A MAIN of  five cocks, of 5lbs weight, give or take 4 ozs, will come off on Monday, the 6th April next, at the Hero of Waterloo, Cook’s River Road, for a draught horse. Persons having cocks will take notice thereof, as several private matches will be made after the main is fought off.

The Hero of Waterloo was on the southern corner of Cook’s River Road (now the Princes Highway) and Victoria Street. The White Horse Hotel now stands on the site. St. Peters Church of England School stood on the northern corner. 

22 March, 1838


JAMES ROBERTS in returning his grateful acknowledgements to the Public in general, for the liberal and unprecedented patronage he has received since opening (in the first London style) his house in Market-street, by the name of the “Albion Coffee House,” where the surrounding scenery has so much novelty and attraction, has now the honor to announce to the Public, and Patrons of the Drama, that he will open, on the first night of the Theatre, his new House, under the auspicious title of “The Victoria Coffee House and Ham and Beef Depot,” in Pitt-street, exactly opposite to the Theatre Royal Victoria, where he hopes to meet his friends, and receive an extension of their patronage. He will have ready between the Acts the following collection of Viands:

Oysters (fresh from Cook’s River), stewed and cold.

Fine Hams, York, Westphalia, and Cumberland

Roast Sucking Pig……..

Just how long the ‘Victoria Coffee House and Ham and Beef Depot’ was able to be supplied with fresh oysters from Cook’s River, we may never know for Jeremiah Finn and other limeburners along the river were known to favour fresh oysters for they produced a better quality lime.  

23 March, 1894


A meeting of this league was held at the St. Peters Town Hall on Wednesday night, when Messrs. J.T. Eagle (railway employee), T. Beasley (watchmaker), and John Landridge addressed the league. 

Perhaps the first mention of “socialist” political activity, which occurred during a period of depression, when the brickmakers were severely affected.

24 March, 1894



Sir, I notice in your report in to-days issue you say: “But investigation shows that the disease is prevalent in many localities, and is more especially severe in St. Peters and the localities outside the sphere of the sewerage system;” and as a resident of St. Peters I protest against this statement, that it is because “we are outside the sphere of the sewerage we are afflicted with typhoid.” And I can only ask why it is that the real cause of typhoid in our borough is always smothered and kept out of sight. Surely the reply of the Hon. the Minister for Public Works to Mr. Carruthers respecting the condition of Shea’s Creek – “That the condition of it was a standing disgrace, and that he intended bringing the matter under the immediate notice of the Premier;” and the Hon. the Treasurer’s ejaculation, “That it is the worst stink he had ever smelled!” should be sufficient to show that the source of “typhoid” in St. Peters is the state of the water of Shea’s Creek; and it is, I maintain, not only a standing disgrace that the case exists, but a still greater disgrace that some effort has not been made by the Government to prevent the Shea’s Creek Canal, a work that has so far cost the country £125,000, being turned into an open sewer for the use of the different boiling-down establishments of Alexandria. And I ask your powerful assistance to … do something towards stopping the pollution now carried on,  a pollution, which if persisted in, must not only sow “typhoid” over the whole of St. Peters, but which will distribute the germs broadcast over Sydney and its surrounding suburbs. am &c.,


Thomas Boyd lived at Petersleigh, (now the site of MaDonald’s and Kentucky Fried Chicken on the Princes Highway) formerly the home of Michael Metcalfe. His concern would have been his proximity to the “The Shea’s Creek Canal,” now the Alexandra Canal.  

25 March, 1840

SIR, Passing down the road from Newtown to Sydney yesterday morning, I overtook a cart drawn by some prisoners, in charge of Mr. Jones, superintendent of the Cook’s River gang. On casting my eyes into the cart, I perceived it contained a corpse, with a blanket wrapt around it in such a manner as to show the perfect outline of the object. On enquiry of Jones, I found that the man had died of consumption, and had been for some time under medical treatment. This statement, I must confess, completely astounded me, for before enquiry I naturally concluded the man had died suddenly; but the idea of a man being under medical treatment, and suffered to linger out his existence at Cook’s River is brutal in the extreme. Why was he not brought to the Hospital? Again, why was not a shell provided for the transit of the body? such things should be kept in readiness in case of sudden death……Very great blame is attributable to some party or other connected with the convict establishment in this instance, and it is in the hope that this may meet the eyes of the proper party, and prevent the recurrence of so disgraceful an outrage upon the feelings of humanity that induces me to write to you.

Your obedient servant,


An inquest was held on Monday last at Mr. Cunningham’s, ‘Bunch of Grapes’, King-street, on the body of Thomas Barlow, who died at Cook’s River, being a prisoner of the Crown, attached to the Cook’s River south stockade. Mr. John Jones, overseer of the said stockade, deposed, that the deceased was ill for some time, and exempted from work; he died on Sunday last at about 3 o’clock, p.m…. Dr. Harnett deposed, that he held a post mortem examination of the body, and is of opinion he died from natural causes. Verdict accordingly. 

Thomas Barlow would have been working on the construction of the Cook’s River Dam.

26 March, 1856

HOUSE ROBBERIES A detached kitchen, on the premises of Mr. McKenzie, of Cook’s River Road, was entered by means of a false key. Fortunately the only articles there considered worth the trouble of carrying away was a coat, valued at 20s. Some provisions, however, were consumed on the premises by the visitors, who left behind them the key which opened the door. 

Sands Directories, of a later date, suggest that this may be the home of John McKenzie, a grocer, which latterly became the Post Office.  

27 March, 1839

In erecting a Government-house or circular wharf, immense sums have to be laid out in materials. If a circular wharf be deferred twenty years, it will not greatly affect our prosperity; but to delay making a dam across Cook’s River, would greatly affect the prosperity and health of Sydney, because of the present high price of water. Many families to our personal knowledge, are now paying 4s. a cask for every hundred gallons of water they use, and they are obliged to use 800 gallons a-week. This is in addition to their rent of £30 a-year.

The figure of 800 gallons a week is surprising. The editor of this article,who with his wife, showers once a day and waters the garden from a rain water tank, only uses 467 gallons per week.   

28 March, 1865


The remains of the late Mr. William Elyard, Principal Under-Secretary, were on Wednesday morning interred in the family vault in St. Peter’s churchyard, Cook’s River. The funeral was one of the largest that has ever been seen in Sydney; the cortege of coaches extended the entire length of William-street; the members of the Civil Service, of all ranks, and many other influential colonists being desirous of showing the respect  they entertained for the deceased gentleman, the oldest Government officer in the colony. During the long period of forty-three years that he was engaged in government service, he was not absent from his post for a single day. 

Elyard grave at St  Peters before it collapsed
Elyard grave at St Peters before it collapsed

29 March, 1856



Before the Water Police Magistrate.

Charles Wilson, of Cook’s River, was taken into custody for protection. He had no money about him or means of procuring a lodging. The prisoner stated in his defence, that he was about to be taken as sailor on board the ship Oliver Cromwell, but when he arrived on board last evening, it was too late to see the captain. He had for some time been earning his living by gathering shells at Cook’s River. The prisoner was discharged.

The shells would have been used in limeburning. 

30 March, 1850


MR. T. SPARKES begs to inform his friends and the public in general, that several Horse races and other Sports will come off at the ‘Rising Sun’, Canterbury, on Monday the 1st of April, being the first in the town.

The first race will be between Mr. Dempsey’s ‘Lady Mary’, and a first-rater from Cook’s River, for Ten Pounds a-side; and several other Matches; after which, a Sweepstakes will be run for, for all Cart Horses; to conclude with a Bag Race, and several proposed Foot Races.

A First-Rate Spread will be prepared.

The “Rising Sun” was on Canterbury Road, where there is now an exit from the Aldi store. 

A bag race is what we now call a sack race. 

31 March, 1840

Arthur Conner, assigned to Mr. A.B. Sparkes at Cook’s River, was placed at the bar on suspicion of being concerned in a robbery committed at the house of a labouring man named Lennett. Elizabeth Lennett deposed that the prisoner came to her house about three o’clock on Wednesday morning and borrowed 2s. 6d., which he again came shortly afterwards to repay. About twenty minutes after his second departure two men who had been previously seen in the prisoner’s company forcibly entered the house, and took away a number of articles belonging to the prosecutrix. There not being any proof of the prisoner’s connexion with the robbery, the Bench sentenced him to fourteen days confinement in the cells for being out at an unseasonable hour.

Captain Innes has given orders for a strict eye to be kept on the assigned servants in the neighbourhood of Cook’s River by the constables stationed there, who, he says, are at present under little or no restraint.

A. B. Sparkes, is Alexander Brodie Spark, of Tempe House, of whom the reader, is by now familiar with.

The judgement, appears to be a harsh one, but his was not always the case in the nineteenth century. 

1st April, 1857.


A MEETING of the members of the St. Peter’s Cook’s River, Auxiliary Church Society was held on Monday evening, the 30th March, at the Church of England School-house, Cook’s River Road, to receive the report of the committee, for the past half-year, at which the Rev. Mr. Synge presided……..


……….In the month of September, last year, a meeting was held of the inhabitants of this district, on which occasion the Lord Bishop of Sydney presided, and your Society was inaugurated under the name of St. Peter’s Cook’s River, Auxiliary Church Society, and a committee of eight gentlemen was appointed, with a treasurer and secretary, Dr. Steele, the late respected incumbent of St. Peter’s, being president; immediately after this initiatory meeting the work of collecting and procuring subscribers was engaged in by several ladies, and on the first meeting of your committee in the month of October the sum of £115 18s. 1d. had been raised; this, with a further sum of £35 collected in church after a sermon preached by the Lord Bishop, amounted to £140 18s. 1d., which has been remitted to the parent Society,….

The meeting was then severally addressed by the Rev. Mr. Macquarie Cowper, the Rev. Mr. Alfred H. Stephen, Mr. Fanning, Mr. Chalder, Mr. King, and Mr. Breillat…

Bishop Barker arrived in Australia in 1855 and by 1856 founded the Church Society, whose aim was for expansion of the church using funds from a network of parish church societies within the Sydney Diocese. Such funding would augment clergy stipends, bring clergy from the U.K., and train others at the colony’s own Moore College. The Rev. Steele, had in 1857, departed for England, ‘returned’ not being used as he was Irish. 

St Peters Church of England School House
St Peters Church of England School House

2nd April, 1896.


A deputation of aldermen from suburban municipalities were introduced to the Minister for Works yesterday by the Hon. J.H. Carruthers for the purpose of urging that steps might be taken for the removal of the nuisance caused by silting up of Cook’s River….The members of the deputation were not engineers, but they could tell the Minister that St. Peters, Rockdale, Canterbury, and other municipalities were suffering by reason of an ever-increasing nuisance arising from Cook’s River. At one time the river, which was named after the great Navigator on account of its beauty, was one of the prettiest fresh-water streams in the colony, but its present condition was such as to threaten the health of the inhabitants. There was no doubt a considerable amount of typhoid fever in the locality. He knew it was only too prevalent…… A member of the deputation placed before the Minister a sample of water taken from Wolli Creek. The water was of a very dark colour. It was explained that seven or eight years ago the creek contained very clear water……..Mr. Young in reply…With regard to Wolli Creek he had received reports that it was entirely in the hands of certain municipalities to prevent the pollution of the water by some industries which were carried on there….

It is all to easy to delude ourselves that the Cook’s River of the nineteenth century was a pristine river, certainly it wasn’t in 1896.   

3rd April, 1837.

The overseer to Mr. A.B. Spark, at Cook’s River, suspecting that Patrick, one of Mr. Spark’s assigned servants who had charge of the bullocks, was in the habit of stealing the maize instead of giving it to the bullocks, mixed a quantity of onion seed with some maize that was to be delivered to Patrick, and afterwards, with other corn, some other kind of seed. He then applied for a search warrant for the house of a reputed sly grog seller, named Ross, residing in the neighbourhood, which was granted. In Ross’s house, a bag of corn mixed with onion seed was found, and a female convict assigned to Ross was observed making signs to two of Mr. Spark’s servants who were coming up to the house with another bag of maize….The bench convicted the three assigned servants of larceny, and sentenced them to be worked in an ironed gang for twelve months, committed Ross, who is a free man, to take his trial for receiving the maize, knowing it to be stolen, and sent the female for two months to the third class of the factory for highly improper conduct.

Alexander Brodie Spark recorded this event in his diary for the period, 23rd  March to 1st April 1837. On the 4th April 1838, he recorded, “ Thomas Jackson and Chas. Smith returned from their 12 months sentence in irons. Daniel Patrick, the third man convicted, returned no more, having died in hospital. Jackson is taller and much attenuated.

4th April,1854.

Richard Scott was charged by district constable Harris with having assaulted him in the execution of his duty. Some months ago defendant was bound over to keep the peace towards his wife who in consequence of his ill-treatment was compelled to seek a home elsewhere, and found one as a domestic in the family of the Rev. Dr. Steele, of Cook’s River. Between nine and ten on Sunday night defendant went to Dr. Steele’s residence, much to the annoyance of his wife, and the alarm of Mrs. Steele; a servant was despatched for Constable Harris, on whose appearance and interference Scott partly drew a sword from the stick in his hands, seeing which Harris rushed in sufficiently quickly to give Scott a blow before the blade was full out, and a scuffle took place for possession of the stick, which had not terminated (though both the constable and his assailant were nearly exhausted, neither fancying the idea of the weapon becoming at the disposition of the other) when some troopers of the mounted patrol made their appearance and determined the contest. Scott received one or two wounds in the scuffle, but whether from the sword or baton was not clearly set out, which judging from the appearance of his apparel, must have bled pretty freely. He was sentenced to pay a penalty of 10s. with 2s. 6d. costs, or to be imprisoned for three days.

Life was never quite idyllic for the Rev.  Dr. Steele or Mrs. Steele at St. Peters. The origins of our hero, Constable John Harris, are comparatively humble. Receiving a life sentence for stealing a watch, and with two previous convictions, the Jewish pedlar was transported in 1830. Married by permission of the Governor and had a successful career as a constable in the Cook’s River, Newtown area. He was married at St. Peters Church, his daughter Catherine was the first child to be baptised in the newly completed church in 1839. Eight months later she was buried in the adjoining graveyard.

5th April, 1894.




The ceremony of opening the new wings of St. Magdalene’s Refuge, Tempe, took place yesterday afternoon. His Excellency the Governor, Sir R.W. Duff, who performed the ceremony in the unavoidable absence of Lady Duff, was received at the refuge by Cardinal Moran……

The visitors were shown over the premises, old and new, by the Reverend Mother Gertrude, and saw the inmates of the refuge at work in the various departments of the laundry. The refuge has now been completed by extensive additions, including two wings of two stories in height. and an additional story over the laundry, and other premises. The amount of the contract was £4461….

These additions were substantially damaged by fire in 1990. Today St. Magdalene’s Chapel is the only substantial relic of its previous occupation by the Refuge.  

St. Magdalene’s Refuge Laundry
St. Magdalene’s Refuge Laundry

6th April, 1852.





The trial of this case has not only taken up the longest period of time, but has excited the greatest amount of public attention of any suit since that between the Banks of Australasia and Australia….

The action was one of ejectment, to recover two hundred and ten acres of land at Newtown. The declaration set out two demises – one by Edward Devine, on the 1st of December, 1837, and the other (which was the only one relied upon) by John Devine, on the 1st of January, 1838. The defendants were, Felix Wilson, John Blackman, Ralph Mayer Robey, John Donohoe, John Walker, Mary Hindmarsh, Kezia Iredale, William Innes, Ralph Mansfield, George White, William Macpherson, John McGarvie, James Holt, Jane Malcolm Joseph Sly, James Lendon, Jeremiah Evans, Henry Knight, Samuel Walters, Robert Henderson, Robert Johnson, William Thurlow, Campbell Leveston Macdonald, Charles Sutherland, William a’Beckett, George Dent, Joshua Frey Josephson, Moses Joseph, Edward Druitt, and William Bucknell. These defendants had all pleaded not guilty.

…..some half century ago, or thereabouts, old Nicholas Devine, having, …been Superintendent of Convicts, obtained possession of a large portion of land in what was then called, the District of Bulanaming; that he called Burren Farm, and that having built himself a cottage, he resided upon the the property until his death, which occurred in 1830…..Some six or eight years before his death, old Nicholas Devine was robbed, and shortly after this event a man named Bernard Rochford,…., came to live at Burren farm…..Rochford …….assumed the guardianship of the old man. Some of the witnesses alleged that he also assumed the management of Devine’s property.

The SOLICITOR-GENERAL then proceeded to address the Court and Jury for the defence….. The grounds upon which the latter maintained their possessions were that a conveyance had been executed by old Devine in 1927, to Bernard Rochford, through whom,… all of them (the defendants) derived their titles…

The jury retired….After the lapse of an hour the Jury returned a verdict for the defendants upon both demises.

Buried at the graveyard of St. Peter’s Cook’s River are,  James Lendon, Henry Knight(builder of the church), members of the a’Beckett, Dent, and Josephson  families. Joshua Frey Josephson was at one time the organist at St. Peters Church, Cooks River. 

7th April, 1858.

John Alfred Heath was brought before the Court, charged with having violently assaulted John Cook, of Newtown, brickmaker. The prosecutor stated that at the Hero of Waterloo (now the White Horse) public-house, Cook’s River, a female set herself to abuse him: witness spoke to her in return and told her to go away home; defendant interfered, in an insulting manner, telling him not to tear his shirt, or some such expression, of the precise meaning of which he (witness) was ignorant; in reply witness simply told him to mind his own business; defendant raised a batten as if to strike witness, who immediately rushed upon and disarmed him, and then walked into the public-house; defendant ran into a butcher’s shop close by and seizing a clever was about to follow witness, but some bystanders compelled him to put down the weapon; soon afterwards he came to the public house, took up a ginger-beer bottle and threw it at witness; the missile struck his right cheek, and knocked him down; he became senseless, and when he came to he was under the hands of Dr. Barker, who dressed and sewed up the wound in his cheek. Dr. Barker described the wound as one which lay the prosecutor’s cheek open to the bone, the mark of which he will retain as long as he lives; there was a considerable danger at first, but it is now past; a ginger-beer bottle thrown at him, or a fall upon a stone equally sharp, might produce such a wound. Mr. Roberts for the defence called witnesses to show both that Cook offered considerable provocation and was the first to proceed to physical force. committed for trial at the Quarter Sessions.

8th April, 1899.


On Easter Monday a conference, in which representatives of the various denominations in the district took part, was held in the Tempe Park Wesleyan Church, St. Peters. The following subjects were dealt with:- …The Christian in the Church,” Rev. W. H. Rodgers:… “The Christian in the Street,” Mr. Parkyn. The addresses were followed by a large number of testimonies. In the evening open-air meetings were held at different places, and were followed by an evangelistic service, the speakers being Messrs. Hardie (Wesleyan), W. Arnold (Church of England), Mr. Loveday (Primitive Methodist), Mr. Bowrey (Captain Salvation Army).

Tempe Park Wesleyan Church,
Tempe Park Wesleyan Church,

9th April, 1844.


STRAYED, from Cook’s River, the 25th March last, a bright chestnut Horse, four years old, in good condition, branded A E across the near shoulder, switch tail, white star and narrow white stripe down the face. Whoever will bring the horse to Mr. Thomas Kelsey, Yorkshireman’s Arms, Cook’s River Dam Road, shall receive the above reward.


Cook’s River, April 8.

10th April, 1891.



The City Deputy Coroner, Mr. W. Pinhey, J. P., held an inquest at the Prince Alfred Hospital yesterday, relative to the death of a man named James Upton. Deceased was 61 years of age, a brick burner, and lived with his wife at the Groves St. Peters. On the 23rd of last month he left home to work in Turner’s Carrington Brickworks, St. Peters, but on arrival at these, owing to being incapable, he was not allowed to perform his duties. In trying to walk across a plank he fell over the side to the ground below. Mr. St. George, a medical man, who was called to the yard, said that Upton was not hurt, and was only suffering from the effects of drink. He was then taken home, but refused to have medical attention. On Tuesday Dr. Attwater was called in and deceased was removed to Prince Alfred Hospital, where he died next morning. Mr. Cecil Purser, medical superintendent of the hospital, deposed that death was due to compression of the brain, the the effect of effusion of blood, consequent upon a fracture of the skull. The jury returned a verdict of accidental death.

11th April, 1846.

HIRED SERVANTS – William Graham, a servant in the employment of Mr. Henry Kerrison James, of Cook’s River, was brought up before Alderman Holden, on Wednesday last charged with absconding from his hired service. Mr. James stated that he engaged the prisoner on the 23rd of last March, to serve him as groom, and that on last Monday morning he gave him permission to come to Sydney for a short time. Instead of returning, however, to his service, he thought proper to abscond. He had also been exceedingly disrespectful, both in his manner and language. As Mr. James had no objection to take the prisoner back, if he promised to conduct himself properly for the future, the bench discharged him on his making the promise.- Alderman Holden, at the same time, telling the prisoner that if he should be brought before him again on a similar charge, he would indict on him the severest punishment allowed by law.

Henry Kerrison James, who lived at Petersleigh, opposite St. Peter’s Church Cook’s River, was at the time the Diocesan Registrar of births, deaths and marriages. In 1866, whilst Registrar of the Sydney Diocese it was discovered that all trust monies had been lodged in his private account without record of disbursements. He was allowed to resign in 1867.  

12th April, 1897.

Cook’s River is alive with crabs and flathead. Messrs. T. Slade and J. Serbutt, on Friday afternoon, caught 29 large flathead and 7 crabs drifting in the river, and other reports are equally gratifying.

Apparently the river has improved from our entry in the calendar for 2nd April 1896!

13th April, 1839.


Near Cook’s River.

THREE ALLOTMENTS of LAND, consisting of upwards of Twenty-seven Acres, and situated within twenty minutes walk of the New Church and intended Reservoir for the supply of fresh water to Sydney, and having frontages to the new line of road over Cook’s River to Illawarra.

The above will be divided into Allotments, to suit purchasers, and a liberal credit given on approved bills.

Application to be made to


Sydney, February 8, 1839.

Would a source of fresh water and a church in the area be promoted as valuable in today’s real estate advertisements?

14th April, 1892.


A meeting of the above council was held on Monday evening. The Mayor (Alderman E.J.Harber) was in the chair. The other aldermen present were: Baker, Fallick, Edwards, Hayes, A. Harber, Judd, Parkyn, and Geering……..The Works Department wrote forwarding a report on the proposal to fill in the site of St. Peters Park with silt from Cook’s river, which pointed out that in the ordinary way it would cost from £5500 to £6900, but if pumping machinery could be procured the work could be done for a little over £800. It was resolved on the motion of Alderman Edwards, to interview the Minister for Works with a view to having proper pumping machinery erected.

Map showing location of St Peters Park at Tempe
Map showing location of St Peters Park at Tempe

15th April, 1854.


Opening of the New Race Course at Tempe, Cook’s River.

JOSEPH NOBBS, of the Pulteney Hotel, begs to call the attention of the Sporting Gentlemen, and those who like to enjoy amusements and the Holiday time of Easter, to the various sports which will take place on the New Race Course, at the Pulteney Hotel on



First Prize – a first-rate Hogskin Saddle of the best quality and make. To be run for by ponies.

Second Prize – A New and Complete Set of Cart Harness; to be contended for by Cart Horses.

Third Prize – A New Hogskin Saddle to  be run for by Hack Horses.

Several private matches will come off on the same day.


Two boat races will also be determined, namely, a pulling match between two skiffs for  £5 aside, and

A Sailing Match for £10 aside. Both starts to take place from the Cook’s  River Dam, close by.


at eleven o’clock, a.m., precisely.

To suit the convenience of Sydney parties, Omnibuses will start at half-past 10, a.m., from the White Horse, George-street, Sydney, and ply to and fro from Cook’s River to Sydney during the day.

N.B. An excellent spread will be provided at the Pulteney Hotel. Together with Wines, Spirits, Ale, &c., &c., of the first quality.

16th April, 1839.

The Town Surveyor.

DURING the past week our contemporaries The Australian and The Monitor have been attempting to trump up a series of charges against against Mr. FELTON MATHEW,  the Town Surveyor……

On the 26th ultimo, three prisoners of the Crown attached to the New Town road-party, who had been found at work on Mr. CRUIKSHANK’S farm at New Town about 8 o’clock on the previous evening, and had been taken into custody and lodged in the watch-house on a charge of “being out after hours”- were brought before Major MONTGOMERY, the officiating Magistrate on the Hyde Park Bench. The overseer of the road-party to which the prisoners belonged – a respectable free man – was in attendance, and informed the court, that the men had his permission for being absent on the occasion in question; nevertheless the men were sentenced to receive twenty-five lashes each. From this case our contemporaries have contrived to manufacture two very serious charges against Mr. MATHEW – first of jobbing, in allowing the convicts attached to a gang under his charge, to work for hire after hours – sometimes employing them himself; and second – of cowardice and inhumanity, in shrinking from the consequences of his own actions by failing to come forward to defend the men, and allowing them to be unjustly scourged….

In reply to the first charge, it is necessary to state that the road-gang at New-Town is not a Government road-gang, but a gang lent, or assigned to the residents in the district, …..for the purpose of forming and keeping in repair the public road through the district; the convicts belonging to it are clothed and rationed and a free overseer maintained at the cost of the residents, and Mr. MATHEW superintends the progress of the works, not as a Government Officer, but as one of the inhabitants residing at Cook’s River. A gang of such a description as this is not subject to the same rules as the gangs which are entirely under the management of the Government.

17th April, 1838.

Cook’s River Church.

AT a Meeting of the Subscribers held this day at the Registry Office of the Lord Bishop, the following gentlemen were proposed as trustees comfortably with the provisions of the Act of Council, 8 Wm.1V. No.5, and were unanimously elected.






R. GILL, Hon. Sec:

16th April. 1838.

The Bishop was William Grant Broughton.

Robert Campbell was the merchant of Campbell’s Wharf.

John Lord, merchant, a friend and business acquaintance of A.B. Spark, lived at Bello Retiro in Newtown. He was the stepson of Simeon Lord, known as ‘The Botany Bay Rothschild”.

David Chambers, an Irish solicitor, lived at Leitrim, Newtown, the house designed by John Verge.

18th April, 1843.


NOTICE.- A Meeting will be held This Day, (Tuesday), in the neighbourhood of St. Peter’s Church, to devise means for improving the above road; and all who are interested therein are particularly requested to attend, at Four, p.m.

The outcome of this meeting was that sixteen proprietors of land in the area convened a meeting, … on the 30th day of June 1843. And ….that the question to be …submitted to the consideration of the proprietors..be, that trustees should be appointed for the said parish road….The road was to become a toll road, to pay for its upkeep.

19th April, 1843.




MR. BLACKMAN will sell by auction, at his Rooms, George street, adjoining the Bank of New South Wales, THIS DAY,  the 19th day of April, 1843, at twelve o’clock precisely,

That very beautiful Property opposite


On the Cook’s River Road, lately in the occupation of Adam Wilson, Esq.: the portion adjoining the Road is laid out by Mr. Armstrong, as a continuation of the


and divided into twenty-nine Allotments, and the


with the excellent Gardens attached to it, will be disposed of by itself. A property like the above, so distinguished for its beauty and delightful situation is too well known to require panegyric, as the public must be aware that the whole range of Villas in the neighbourhood of Sydney, there is nothing to be obtained that can surpass what is now offered in intrinsic excellence.

The Cook’s River Road, by means of the Dam and the Punt over George’s River will become the highway to ILLAWARRA and all beyond, and every inch of ground will every day become more and more valuable.

What a beautiful sight for the present day McDonald’s, Newtown Church being St. Peter’s Church, Cook’s River. 

20th April, 1892.

The City Coroner held an inquest in the Summer Hill Hotel, Summer Hill, yesterday, relative to the death of a youth named Oscar Wilson, who the previous day was drowned in Cook’s River. On Easter Monday, in company with a youth named Robert Inman, the two Miss Inmans, and a lady friend, Wilson went on a boating trip at Cook’s River. In the afternoon Inman and his sister Kate were rowing the boat, and Wilson was seated on the bow, when the boat struck a snag, and deceased losing his balance fell into the water. An oar was thrown to Wilson by Kate Inman and he clutched it, but before the boat could reach him he sank. Some time was spent in looking for him and then the party went ashore, and a Chinaman named Ah Quong, together with two of his countrymen, dragged for the body. In about half an hour the corpse was recovered. The police were informed and the body  was removed to Wilson’s parents’ residence, Short-street, Summer Hill. A verdict of accidental drowning was returned. 

Drownings in the Cook’s River, wells, and water holes created in particular by brick pits, are frequently featured in inquests in our area. The more frequent deaths of children caused by scarletina and typhoid fever escapes attention for there was never an inquest into such deaths. Of added interest in this report is that Chinamen are part of the community. 

21st April, 1840.

ATTEMPT TO ESCAPE.- A daring attempt was made by four prisoners of the crown at Cook’s River to affect their escape, on Friday last, of which the following are the circumstances:- One of them, a man named Busby, who had been acting as clerk and storekeeper, had contrived to secure a  quantity of provisions, which they got on board a boat belonging to Mr. Unwin. They cut away her moorings and put to sea, but, being unprovided with any thing in the shape of ballast, they only succeeded in reaching the Botany Bay Heads before they were boarded by the custom house boat and taken into custody. In attempting to return, there being a strong head wind, and the boat being out of trim, she became unmanageable, and was drifted on shore, where she was soon stove to pieces by the surf. The convict Busby was drowned; the other three were however, secured, and are at present lodged in Hyde Park Barracks.

This escape can be traced along Cook’s River. Mr. Unwin’s property, Wanstead, was on the south bank of the river, on what is now Bayview Avenue. Canterbury Council have a plaque on the site. It should be noted that to facilitate the airport, the course of the river has been moved south, The river originally flowing into Botany Bay alongside what is now Foreshore Road, Botany.

Cooks River before the 1940's diversion
Cooks River before the 1940’s diversion

22nd April, 1897.


At the Newtown Police Court yesterday, before Mr. Delohery, S.M., Herbert James Beaumont, assessor to the Water and Sewerage Board, proceeded against F.Smith, of St. Peters, for having on the 8th December, 1896, used water supplied by the board to his premises for other than domestic purposes. A fine of 10s. and costs was imposed. … Arthur Hogan of Marrickville, for having used water for watering stock on 9th March, 1897, without permission of the board, was fined, with costs added, 10s.

Proving perhaps that water restrictions have, for the most part, been part of life in N.S.W. for a considerable time.

23rd April, 1853.


The excitement upon this race was greater than any which had been seen in New South Wales, and sporting men from all parts of this colony, and many from its neighbours, hurried up to be witnesses of the determination of the event…… Farnell had conquered the Stag at one hundred and fifty yards distance, but the latter ran truly and well.. . and it was the opinion of many good judges that if the distance had been extended for twenty or thirty yards, the Stag would have taken the laurels. So confident were his friends that they embraced the earliest opportunity of backing him against Farnell at two hundred yards for the above amount. The competitors took the utmost care of themselves in training, which was apparent on their coming to the scratch in the the Cook’s River Sporting Paddock, on Monday last. … About half past three o’clock the two started by the twig, as previously agreed upon. It was a beautiful start, but the tremendous stride of Farnell soon placed him four or five yards in front of his antagonist; the pair kept at tip top speed from the jump, and when first hundred yards was done, the Stag had diminished the distance between between himself and his competitor considerably…. the two ran nearly level to the rough bush road, about sixty yards from home; there the Stag slipped.. he recovered himself quickly, and ran manfully up to the ropes (a distance of fifty yards), but.. the stride, youth, and strength of Farnell were too much for him; he was beaten by two yards. The defeat was anything but inglorious; a better contested race was never run in the world….

But where exactly lies the Cook’s River Sporting Paddock, where such a world shattering event took place? An answer, in part, may be found in our entry for 30th April, 1853.

24th April, 1839

DREADFUL ACCIDENT – On Sunday evening last, two young boys, named Reid, were drowned in a pond belonging to John Lord, Esq., at New Town.

The younger of the boys, named Francis, was amusing himself with sailing a boat on the pond, when it got beyond his reach, and in attempting to recover it, he lost his balance, and fell in the water. His brother Walter, a lad of eleven years of age, seeing the perilous situation of his brother, courageously plunged in, bringing him to the edge of the bank and caught hold of some grass, which unfortunately gave way, when the younger brother finding that they were sinking grasped the elder one round the throat, and they sank to rise no more. There was another lad with them, but he was so stupefied that he could not even cry for assistance, although the parents of the lads were within a short distance; he proceeded to the hut of some coolies employed on the farm who could not understand him. Some time afterwards the lads were missed, and the father learned from the lad that the boys were drowned; one of the coolies when he understood what had occurred plunged into the pond and succeeded in getting out the bodies; every endeavour was used to restore animation but without success, life being totally extinct.

The Reed children are both buried in St. Peter’s Cook’s River graveyard. The random nature of selection of items for the calendar has brought together, this entry with that for the 20th April 1892, where other Chinamen tried to rescue someone from drowning.  

25th April, 1842.


THERE are comparatively few persons aware that within a few miles of the town of Sydney there is a cloth manufactory in full, and we believe we may add, successful operation…..

The factory is situated near the point where Cook’s River runs into the Bay, within a few hundred yards of Botany Bay, about four miles and a half from Sydney, in a direct line, and about seven miles by the road, which is by way of Newtown Church. The late Mr. Simeon Lord, observing the quantity of fresh water which ran from the large swamps in that vicinity, imagined, that if it was dammed up, sufficient water power would be obtained to drive a mill, and about thirty years ago he procured a grant of six hundred acres of land in that neighbourhood, so as to include the swamp, and after expending a considerable sum of money in embankments and other works, obtained a large fall of water, sufficient to supply the wants of a large town, and which in the driest season has never failed….

Having obtained his water power, Mr. Lord put up a mill and factory which, with various improvements and alterations are standing now, and under the management of his son Mr. Robert Lord…Every process of manufacture, from cleansing the wool until it is ready to send to the drapers in rolls of cloth, is performed under the same roof.

The wool, having been thoroughly cleansed, is dyed the colour that may be required, the colouring matter being prepared from the wattle and other native barks, and it is then taken to the carding machine, ……from the carder it is taken by children to the spinning machines, which are close at hand, and here the wool is spun into yarn of different sizes, according to the quality of the cloth to be made from it.

On another floor are several looms, three of which,… were at work making different patterned tweeds, for trowsers, which are beginning to come into use in Sydney, and will be more so as they become better known.

The principal articles manufactured are tweeds (a large assortment of which has been  purchased by Messrs. Pite and Preston, drapers, of Pitt-street), blankets and flannels. The number of persons employed in the manufactory is, including several women and children, about twenty-five, and the quantity of cloth manufactured is about five hundred yards a week, and the consumption of wool from eight to ten bales per month…

Lord’s colonial cloth is as cheap and as good as that made out of the colony, and therefore we call upon the public to use it.

26th April, 1848.

PRIZE FIGHT AND CAPTURE – information reaching Inspector Higgins yesterday morning that a prize fight for £5 a side, between two men named Green and Yeardon, was to come off at Mudbank, near Cook’s River, he immediately proceeded thither, accompanied with a party of police, and arrived on the scene of action just as the fourteenth round was being completed. The praiseworthy attempt to secure the combatants, owing to the crowd present, … as every possible attempt was made to get the men away, and in which they were successful with Green, whilst the police, with considerable difficulty, secured the second man Yeardon…..

On Saturday last, Yeardon, was placed at the bar of the Police court. Inspector Higgins deposed as to his apprehending the prisoner stripped and fighting in a ring, which was surrounded by about 400 persons. ..

Yeardon who showed by his appearance (his eyes being nearly closed, and his face greatly bruised,) that he had received, during the short time the fight had been proceeding before the arrival of the police, severe punishment, offered no defence, and was directed by the bench to enter into recognizances of good behaviour for twelve months, himself in £100 and two sureties of £50 each, or in default, to be imprisoned in Sydney Gaol for six months.

Mudbank lay, as the newspapers of the time were given to say “not one hundred miles from Lord’s mill,” on the banks of the Cook’s River at Botany.

27th April, 1899.




…. The number of deaths from all causes was greater than the total for the corresponding quarter of last year, and an increase is noted in such diseases as whooping cough, measles, typhoid, and phthisis. … The total mortality from diarrhoea in the metropolitan area in 1898 was 88, and in 1899 37, a noteworthy decrease….

Dr. Kendall remarks: “The effect of insanitary conditions as seen in the miserable physique of the masses, their dirt and immorality, and the appalling sacrifice of human life. It cannot be expected that the less educated masses will improve in physique and appreciate the value of cleanliness, both of person and dwelling, so long as they are provided with jerry-built houses flung together on building sites of made soil….All made ground especially that composed of household garbage or street refuse, should be avoided as sites for buildings or for public parks. If diarrhoea, which is essentially a disease of the soil, is to be avoided, proper measures must be taken for preserving the soil itself free from all germs of an evil nature. ….In the whole of the metropolitan area there were only two deaths from diphtheria during the quarter…. Dr. Kendall points out that diphtheria bears little, if any, direct relation to sewerage systems. (It is) chiefly transmitted through air infection.

During the January-March quarter of 1899 306 cases of typhoid were reported, against 339 in 1898.

The distribution of the cases was in the following order, the rates per 10,000 of population being also noted in each case.:- Botany, 73.4: Canterbury 37.1: Annandale, 33.0: North Botany 25.0: Burwood, 17.9: Enfield 17.0: Concord, 17.0: St. Peters, 12.7: Petersham, 12.6: Randwick, 10.1: Leichhardt, 9.0: Ashfield, 8.9: Newtown, 8.0: Lane Cove, 7.0: Redfern, 6.9:…

This report, for a brief period of time, raises more questions than can be answered. Why is Botany so high? If Botany and North Botany are combined, they account for one third of cases. 

28th April, 1838.

Highway Robbery and Assault.- A man named Higgins in the employ of A.B. Spark, Esq., J.P. was knocked down and robbed by two ruffians on Wednesday, on the road between Cook’s River and Newtown. They had no firearms but were armed with bludgeons, with which they beat him severely. The police are in active pursuit of them…..

Capture of a Highwayman – A ruffian, supposed to be one of those by whom the servant of Mr. A.B. Spark was severely beaten and robbed on the Cook’s River Road, was captured by the police returning from the race-course on Thursday evening. The man has been sent for, for the purpose of having him identified.

Too often are we lost in the romance of Dick Turpin, or Noyes’ “The Highwayman”. This appears to show the brute reality of it in colonial N.S.W.

29th April, 1854.

PRESENTATION – We are gratified to learn that the parishioners of the Rev. Dr. Steele, the respected pastor of Cook’s River, have presented that gentleman with a purse containing 150 guineas, with a view to indemnify him in some measure against the augmented expenses of the present time. The occasion of the election of churchwardens, on Easter Tuesday, was taken advantage of for the purpose, when the senior warden, Mr. A.B.Spark, was deputed to present the purse to Dr. Steele, without any previous intimation, a circumstance which must have made this mark of respect the more gratifying to the reverend gentleman.

Serving at St. Peter’s since 1838, the Rev. Dr. Steele would have been fifty years old in this year. He appears to have been a vigorous man, who seemed, judging by the Parish registers of Marriages, Baptisms and Burials, to have embraced everyone from the convict, free settler and merchant class. Why was he presented with such a handsome gift? The gold rush may have created inflationary pressures.

30th April, 1853.


The particulars of this match were duly heralded in our columns of last week. All that remained to be done as regarded putting down one hundred pound’s worth of the possibles……This necessary (and, by the way, very necessary,) proceeding put Windsor and Parramatta into spirits, and away they went (adventurous dogs), helter skelter, in the direction of the convincing ground- “The Cook’s River Sporting Paddock.”(So we dubbed it, and so henceforth let it be called. It will save any question of cavillers upon locality.) Blackstone’s hostelry, as usual, was the preparatory rendezvous; and there were spread all the necessary elements of a capital luncheon. A round of beef, a real nugget; a splendid eighteen pound sirloin, roasted to a turn, garnished with horse radish and divers other combustibles; a-why should we particularise! there was everything which would provoke an appetite; everything provided to satisfy one; and everything to wash the edible down. The worthy Host’s expressions were – “Eat, drink, and be merry: for in another hour some of your mugs will unquestionably be altered.” The guests heeded the advice, and took advantage of the hour, glass, &c. At length “Time” was called and all made a move to the spot, where, upon the issue of one event, the fate of hundreds depended. The start having been determined upon to take place between the hours of eleven and one o’clock (in lieu of the usual “between “two and four”), the muster was not so numerous as upon other occasions; but the sporting men were there in full force. “Windsor and Kissing Point;” “Kissing Point and Windsor,” were the cries which sounded on the breeze; and the clatter of tongues produced a very Babel of sounds,

The start was beautiful; both went away like Siamese twins, but, as usual, the stride of Farnell soon placed him in advance, and when about thirty yards of the distance was done he was half a yard in advance; Eather kept close at his work, and when the distance of one hundred yards was done he had nearly breasted Farnell: the latter put in fresh steam, so did the Windsor Pet, and a beautiful struggle took place: they ran nearly neck and neck to the goal, and the issue was the toss up of a halfpenny between them; Farnell made a grab at the silk, but missed it and fell – Eather boldly breasted it and took it away. The shouts of all greeted the conquerer and the conquered; winners and losers could not help joining in the cry to mark their sense of the merits of both men. “By how much was the race won?” many persons will ask. “By any number of inches under a foot,” is the only answer we can give. It was an admirable race, and well carried out from its initiation to its conclusion, and we hope to see many more such.

“Mine Host” Blackstone, kept the ‘White Horse Inn’, on the corner of what is now, the Princes Highway and Whitehorse St, Newtown. 

1st May, 1856.

James S. Gardiner was convicted of having passed the toll-gate at Cook’s River, without payment of toll, and was sentenced to pay a penalty of 20s. with

24s. 6 3/4. costs…… The toll gate had been removed by the road trust from a site near St. Peter’s Church, to another near the dam, which some of the residents, it appeared, did not approve of, and believing that the road trust had no right to do so, resisted the payment of toll-or rather, evaded, by passing without payment.

The payment of tolls, was a  source of resentment. Tolls varied as to the type of vehicle driven, the livestock transported. Having payed the toll once you were free to pass through the gate for the rest of the day. Thus brick carters, who were numerous in the area, and did the most damage with their heavily laden carts may well have got the best of the bargain, in contrast to the farmer  occasionally driving his stock to market.  

2nd May, 1857.


The following are the particulars of a match which took place at Newtown, on Saturday the, 25th instant, between eleven members of the Newtown Club and a like number of the Cook’s River Club.


1st Innings 2nd Innings

C. Deane, b.W. Gannon 0        b. Smidmore  6

G.Smith, b F. Gannon   5          run out         5

T. Barnes, b F. Gannon 0          b.F. Gannon  2

S. Fallick, b F. Gannon 6          b. Jas. Gannon   21

H. Goodsell, b F. Gannon 5       not out       13

E. Smith, b F. Gannon  6          b. W. Gannon    1

J. Goodsell, b F. Gannon 1        b. W. Gannon    1

C. Dawes b W. Gannon 1         b. W. Gannon     0

A. Cat      not out       11          b.  Smidmore    7

H.  Cook b. F. Gannon   1        b. F. Gannon    0

J. Gardner, b. F. Gannon  4       b. F. Gannon 9

Byes                            10          Byes         11

Total                           48                           76

Grand total               124


F. Gannon, b. Deane  12                      b. Cook   0

W. Gannon, b. Deane  0                       b. Cook  1

Josh Gannon, c. Cook  2             c. Cat   0

H. Campbell b. Cook   1                       b. Cook 17

D. Hannan  c. Cat       8             c. Cook   6

J. Hindmarsh, b. Cook  1             not out    0

S. Smidmore, b. Cook 27             c.  Cat   4

Jas. Gannon, b. Cook    2                       c. Cook  0

J. Duigan, b. Deane       2       b. Gardner 2

J. Barden,  run out      29             b. Gardner 0

S. Barden,  not out       2               b. Cook    0

Byes             3                 Byes                4

89                                     34

Total…..                                                          124


Cook’s River winning  by ………1.

Inserted, not so much to show any sporting prowess in our area, for the score card in another publication is at odds with this one, but rather to show the names of the families connected with the area – publicans, butchers, brickmakers. 

3rd May, 1892.

A FIRE broke out early yesterday morning in Newtown. The alarm was received at a quarter to 4 at the Newtown Volunteer Station, and messages were sent to the city. The Marrickville and George-street West branches of the Metropolitan Fire brigade turned out, as well as the Newtown, Alexandria, and Standard Brewery volunteer Companies. The building was situated in Cook’s River-road, St. Peters, and occupied as a steam chaff-cutting and produce store by Mr. George Farr. The building was of brick, with iron roofing, containing two stories. In it was a quantity of machinery and produce. It was completely burned out. The occupant owned the premises, which were insured in the following insurance  companies:- The United, £350; Northern, £250; British and Colonial, £250; total, £850. The contents were insured in the Northern for £275 and British and Colonial for £275. The origin of the outbreak is unknown.

A regular feature of fire reporting was whether or not the owner was insured, and if so, by whom. Why did this person have so many insurance policies?

4th May, 1899.


Last evening the Rev. J.G. Fenton, late curate at St. Philip’s Church, Church Hill, was inducted into the parish of St. Peter’s as rector in the room of the late Rev. Rev. E.D. Madgwick. The Archbishop of Sydney presided at the induction service, and preached a sermon suitable to the occasion. The Rev. Dr. Manning, the Rev. Dr. Corlette, and the Rev. H. Dixon assisted at the service. There was a crowded congregation. At the conclusion of the service Mr. Madgwick, brother to the late rector, read the license appointing  Mr. Fenton to the oversight of the parish. The Archbishop then in solemn manner inducted the newly-appointed minister to his high office. The musical portion of the service was conducted by the local church choir, assisted by the choir of St. Philip’s Church. Mr. Garland acted as choir-master and organist. Mr. Fenton is a native of St. Peters, and some years ago served as a Catechist in the district to the Rev. Dr. Manning. He was afterwards ordained to the ministry, and was appointed curate to Dr. Manning at St. Michael’s Church, Surry Hills. He then undertook the duties of curate to Archdeacon Langley at St. Philip’s  Church, in which position he received his appointment to St. Peter’s Church.

The Rev. Fenton died in September of 1900,after only one year as rector, as a result of injuries sustained in a bicycle accident when a child on a pony collided with him. 

Fenton memorial in St Peters Church
Fenton memorial in St Peters Church

5th May, 1897.


The ordinary meeting of the above council was held on 21st April, when the following were present:- The Mayor (Alderman Stuart) and Aldermen Edwards, Farr, Benbow, Baker, Bradshaw, and Campbell, and the clerk (Mr. A. Mackintosh)…….The inspector, in his report, stated that the dairies were in good order, and that the sanitary condition of the borough was good. He added that he had informed a number of persons who kept poultry that they must comply with the Noxious Trades Act, and apply to the council for registration. The Mayor hoped the inspector would exercise his full powers in this matter, as the back yards of premises where poultry were kept were often a great nuisance. The report was adopted….

During the 1870s A Royal Commission into Noxious and Offensive Trades described poultry farms at Arncliffe as “dilapidated and not very clean”, “stunk as bad as anything (the Commission) had yet seen” and “in such a filthy state as to be scarcely expressible with an abominable stench produced by an accumulation of slush and dirt”.

6th May, 1854.

INQUEST  ON THE BODY OF DR. CUTHIL –  An inquiry was held on Tuesday last, at the Wellington Inn, George-street South, before a Coroner’s Jury, touching the death of Dr. Alexander Cuthill, who was shot on the Cook’s River Road on the previous Thursday. James Gray, who stands accused of the crime, was brought into Court in the custody of the Police. John Pitts, lately servant in the employ of the deceased Dr. Cuthill, deposed: On Thursday morning, 27th April last, I was driving the gig, in which was deceased, along Cook’s River road, in the direction of Sydney; deceased had been to visit a patient a little beyond Gannon’s public-house; we had passed Mr. Gannon’s about 200 yards when I observed the prisoner walking leisurely before the gig at a distance of 30 or 40 yards; he apparently took no notice of deceased, but as soon as we had passed him I heard the report of a pistol shot, and on looking round saw the prisoner running away; he ran about 40 yards, and then stopped, and said something to the effect that he had put him (deceased) beyond doctoring again: prisoner was in the act of coming back towards the gig when he was laid hold of by Mr. Gannon, who with some assistance secured him; the deceased at the time he was shot was reading a newspaper; he immediately exclaimed, “Oh my God!” deceased was at once removed to Mr. Nobbs’ public-house, and medical assistance sent for; I have known the prisoner for some years; …. deceased attended the prisoner and his wife upwards of four years ago; about two years since heard the prisoner say that the Doctor (deceased), who some time attended his (prisoner’s) wife, had kept secret from him the cause of his wife’s illness; he at the same time threatened to have the life of deceased, and also the lives of a man named McDonald and some others, who he said had sent him away for the purpose of robbing him; I have several times seen the prisoner when driving deceased along the road; on these occasions prisoner would frequently make use of some words directed to deceased, who always told me to drive on and not to mind the blackguard. Michael Gannon deposed: About a quarter before nine o’clock on Thursday morning, the 27th ultimo, I saw Dr. Cuthill and his servant driving past my house; a few minutes before the gig passed I observed the prisoner go up the road in the direction of Sydney; he was smoking a pipe; immediately after deceased passed by I heard the report of a shot. I went up the road, and asked deceased if he was wounded? He replied that he was shot; I saw a wound in his back from which blood was flowing; I then took the prisoner into custody, who stated in answer to a question of mine, that he had shot Dr. Cuthill, and that it would be a warning to other doctors not to poison their patients as he (deceased) had done to his wife and himself for the last five years; he also said that his wife had been let out of hell to torment him, and that the doctor was spurring her up to it; I searched his pocket, and found a pistol and a box of percussion caps…….

At first the prisoner pleaded not guilty but later changed this to guilty. He was sentenced to death.

7th May, 1898.

Poker Machines in Shops – At the Newtown Police Court yesterday, before Mr. Delohery, S.M., Sub-inspector Elliott proceeded against Alfred Foy, tobacconist, of Marrickville, for having by the act of his servant, named Henry Branson, on the 27th ultimo, disposed of certain goods – viz., cigars – to a person named George Hazlett, by means of a certain contrivance known as a poker machine, contrary to the provisions of the Lotteries Prevention Act. The defendant pleaded guilty. Sub-inspector Elliott explained that the defendant and all shopkeeepers had been duly cautioned against using these machines, which were usually standing on the shop counters, and into which a person placed 3d through a slot. A press of a spring made the machine revolve and expose to view a number of playing cards. If certain court cards came into view the person expending the 3d. received one or more cigars, according to the value of the card. Defendant was ordered to pay a fine of £1, together with 4s 10d costs of court, in default levy and distress. Ada Rochfaud, licensee of the Town and Country Hotel, St. Peters, was charged with a similar offence. She was ordered to pay a fine of £1 and costs. Arthur Lesione, tobacconist, of Forest-road, Arncliffe, was charged with having promised to dispose of certain goods to George Hazlett by means of this contrivance. He pleaded guilty, and was ordered to pay a fine of £1 and costs.

'Town and Country Hotel' where we 'have a beer with Duncan'.
‘Town and Country Hotel’ where we ‘have a beer with Duncan’.

8th May, 1894.

REFUSAL OF A SLAUGHTERING LICENCE.- Upon the reading of a report from Sergeant McCole at the last Rockdale Council meeting stating that a licence had been applied for to slaughter, Alderman Clayton opposed the application. He said that at St. Peters, where people were dying from fever, and in Melbourne, the stench from such places were fever beds, simply because they were allowed to be in the people’s midst, and it was altogether a retrograde step to have such places in their borough. Alderman Godfrey, on the other hand, moved that the application be granted. He thought that certain land in the place was fit for no other purpose than that of poultry, pigs, and boiling-down, and if people were not allowed to carry on these occupations they could not pay rates. The motion for refusal was, after long discussion, carried by a majority of one.

9th May, 1894.

RETRENCHMENT AT ST. PETERS – The Mayor of St. Peters (Alderman R.H. Judd) read a minute at a meeting of the St. Peters council, on Monday evening, to the effect that the finance committee considered it necessary, owing to the prevailing depression, to dispense with the services of the inspector of nuisances for a period of six months, and that the duties should be taken up by the council clerk.

The ‘inspector of nuisances’ was the equivalent of today’s health inspector. 

10th May, 1855.


To the Editor of the Sydney Morning Herald.

SIR…… last Wednesday I attempted to hire one of these immigrants (a quantity being congregated in Macquarie-place), as a farm labourer, a gentleman kindly volunteering as interpreter. I am not at all ashamed of avowing that I offered £15 per annum, with food and lodging (for only three months if desired by the immigrant), or for the term; but that these distressed immigrants required £1 per week, and did not desire to leave Sydney. Captain Deloitte was present, and as the value of a good strong immigrant from the United Kingdom, is only from £20 to £25 per annum, and whose physical power are so immeasurably superior, are the Italians really worth more than £15. Taking into consideration the high price of provisions – that they are ignorant of even French – that their physical powers have not been tried, and they might prove in the field utterly useless; by putting them on a par with our regular immigrants, a great injustice is done to the latter, who are entitled to the first claim upon us. And I cannot help thinking that men who are starving, and refuse even £15, with board and lodging, do not deserve the commiseration of the public.

I am sir, yours, &c.


The Hermitage, Cook’s River, May 7, 1855.

11th May, 1852.

STEALING A TURKEY – An old man of bad character, named William Macanally, was given into the custody of Constable Harris, on Sunday afternoon, for having a live turkey in his possession. Mr. Michael Gannon, of the Cook’s River Road, stated that the old sinner lived in his neighbourhood, where he maintained himself by pilfering, and he was particularly fond of the cabbages, potatoes, &c., which grew in witness’s garden. On Sunday afternoon, witness caught him in his garden. He had two sacks with him, one of which contained the turkey, and the other was probably intended to hold some vegetables to go into the pot with the bird. The bench remanded the prisoner for three days, to give time for any person having lost the turkey, to come to the Police Office and claim it.

(Before the Police Magistrate and P. Grant Esq., J.P.

12th May, 1899.




George Farrow, of St. Peters, omnibus proprietor, sued W.P. Stanley, of Newtown, omnibus proprietor, for the recovery of £50 damages  for injuries received by the plaintiff and damage done to his vehicle, such injuries and damage arising from a collision between the vehicles of the respective parties, which plaintiff alleged, was caused by negligent and unskilful driving on the part of a certain driver employed by the defendant. It seemed that there was a cart in the way, and the accident arose because defendant’s driver pulled off to avoid that obstacle. A verdict was given for the defendant. Mr. W. A. Walker, instructed by Mr. J.W. Abigail appeared for the plaintiff; and Mr. L. Gannon (Gannon and Sons) for the defendant.

Owning a coach company was a competitive business and they advertised as having “a sober and steady coachman and conductor

13th May, 1854.

MAGISTERIAL INQUIRY – A magisterial inquiry was held on Tuesday, at the house of Mr. Parkinson, the Wellington Inn, before Mr. John Ryan Brenan, Coroner…..Another inquiry was held before Mr. R. Ronald, touching the death of a young man, named Thomas Bagnall, a fisherman, who was accidentally drowned at the mouth of Cook’s River, Botany Bay. It appeared from the evidence, that on Sunday last he, in company with his father and another fisherman, were wading in the water, in the act of returning from mooring the boat; whilst so doing deceased’s hat blew off, and whilst running after it to secure it, fell down in the water, and although a good swimmer, he almost immediately sunk, and was not recovered alive. Verdict, death from drowning.

14th May, 1844.


THE DEFIANCE will start from the White Horse Inn, George-street, for Newtown and Cook’s River, every morning, at half-past ten o’clock.

Fares as usual.

15th May, 1839.

PUBLIC WORKS – It is understood that a strong force is to be set to work at the Cook’s River Stockade, in order to complete the reservoir that is to supply Sydney with water from that abundant source. There are two ships with Irish convicts expected shortly; and it is said that these men will be sent to serve their probationary period at this important branch of the public works.

Gov, Gipps thought this reservoir or “dam across Cook’s River…will preserve an inexhaustible supply of fresh water”. As a means of supplying Sydney with fresh water, the dam was unsuccessful, but it allowed road access to the south.

16th May, 1895.

PRESENTATION TO A SCHOOL TEACHER.- In St. Peter’s Public School yesterday the head master, Mr. R. W. Guille, was presented by the teachers and pupils with a beautifully illuminated address, the occasion being his retirement. Mr. Guille, in a very feeling speech, thanked the donors for their handsome present, and mentioned that when he took charge of the school, almost 33 years ago, it was then considered quite a country school, and had an attendance of less than 50 pupils. Now the average attendance is about 500.

Originally it was the St Peters Church of England School and was taken over by the Education Department in 1881. 

Mr Richard Guille was the headmaster from 1860 till his retirement in 1895. He was also choirmaster at St Peters Church. During the 1870’s night school was held for children who worked during the day, especially at the brickyards. 

Mr Guille and Lower Class, St Peters Church of England School  in the 1870s
Mr Guille and Lower Class, St Peters Church of England School in the 1870s

17th May, 1848.

INQUEST.  – An inquest was held yesterday by the Coroner, at Mr. Gannon’s, the Union Inn, Cook’s River Road, touching the death of a child of about three years of age, named Fleming Campbell, then lying dead at the house of its parents in the same locality, where it had expired in the course of Sunday evening, from injuries received from severe burns got in the bush on the afternoon of that day. From the evidence brought forward it appeared that the deceased and two other children, the eldest of the three not being above five years of age, made a fire of fern and brambles at an old stump hole, and that on its blazing up the flames caught the frock the deceased was wearing, and before assistance could be rendered, this garment was entirely destroyed, and the deceased severely burned about the legs and thighs, and region of the abdomen and stomach. The injuries sustained having been certified by Dr. Tierney to be the cause of death, the jury returned a finding of accidental death.

A.B. Spark of ‘Tempe House’ wrote in his diary – “Returning from church I was speaking to Mrs Campbell at her cottage door, when a little boy of hers, named Fleming, about three years of age, was seen in the adjoining paddock with all his clothes on fire. The alarm was instantly given, and the child’s clothes stripped off, but not before he was dreadfully burned.The shrieks and howlings from the mother and others were truly appalling. I walked home for the purpose of providing some remedy, but by the time I returned the child with father and mother had proceeded to Sydney. In the evening the father came to Tempe to say the child was dead.  Hugh Campbell, the father, was gate keeper at ‘The Poffle’ a large house on Cooks River Rd belonging to Lesslie Duguid.

'The Poffle'
‘The Poffle’

18th May, 1853.


EDUCATIONAL ESTABLISHMENTS of a high order are confessedly too few to meet the wants of the Australian Colonies.

To supply in some measure this deficiency, a SCHOOL, has been Opened at COOK’S RIVER, designed as preparatory to the University of Sydney, under the name of


and conducted by the Head Master, the Reverend W.J.M. HILLYAR, Late Scholar of Brasenose College, and Graduate in Honors, Oxford.

“Brasenose Hall” is in every way well suited for a Scholastic Establishment. It is situated at Cook’s River the most healthy suburb of Sydney, about five miles from the city; an Omnibus passing twice daily. The Apartments are large and lofty, the grounds extensive, and Sea Bathing may be enjoyed on the premises.

With respect to the character and competency, the Rev. Mr. Hillyar is authorised to refer to – The Rev. John Wooley, D.C.L., Classical Professor in the University of Sydney;

To the Rev. F. Wilkinson, M/A., Incumbent of St. John’s Ashfield;

To the Rev. Thos. Steele, Incumbent of St. Peter’s, Cook’s River.

For Cards of terms applications may be made to the Rev. C.P.N. Wilton, M.A., Parsonage, Newcastle; or to Mr. Piddington, Bookseller, George-street, Sydney.

19th May, 1899.


(Before Judge Forbes and a jury of four.)


Haywood v. Gulliver and another (part heard).

Mr. Teace, with Mr. Cowan instructed by Mr. Cromwell, appeared for the plaintiff, Dinnah Haywood, widow of Newtown: and Mr. R. E. O’Connor, Q.C., and Mr. Mr. Delohery, instructed by Mr. T.E. Murphy, for the defendants, William Gulliver and Charles H. Curtis, trading as Gulliver and Curtis, contractors. This was a claim for £200 as damages alleged to have been done to a house belonging to plaintiff as a result of some blasting operations carried on by the defendants. Plaintiff’s house is situated at No. 26 Maria-street, St. Peters (now Darley St, Newtown). Defendants were engaged in constructing sewers and they blasted with explosives in the making of the necessary excavations. Plaintiff alleged that these operations were carried out so negligently that the foundations, walls, floors, and ceilings of her house were shaken, cracked, and damaged, and the house was greatly injured. Defendants pleaded not guilty, and that if the house was in a damaged condition it was not due to blasting operations carried on by them. They called evidence to prove that they were not responsible for the injury of which the plaintiff complained.

The jury returned a verdict for the defendants.

20th May, 1892.


On Wednesday afternoon a deputation from the Canterbury Council, consisting of Mayor Scales and Alderman Quigg, Nicholls, and Barnett, met Aldermen Webster (chairman of works), Ritchie, Smith, and Farr, of the Marrickville Council, to confer as to the best means for preventing the flooding of the lands in the vicinity of Cook’s River and Wolli Creek. The parties met at the Marrickville Town Hall, and, after inspecting plans of the locality affected, drove down to Tempe, to the confluence of the streams at the railway bridge. It was pointed out that the railway embankment diverted the waters of the creek and prevented them, as well as the waters of the river, from properly getting away. To remedy this it was suggested that a sufficient opening be made in the embankment to permit a free flow from Wolli Creek. The dam was then inspected, and the opinion was expressed that the present opening was totally inadequate to meet the requirements of a catchment area of some 5000 acres. Wolli Creek, flowing through a a precipitous country, was especially liable to sudden rises, and in consequence of the inefficiency of this get-away the surplus waters flooded the surrounding country. To cope with this it was advocated that the opening in the dam should be extended on the side nearest to St. Magdalen’s Refuge and the channel leading thereto deepened. Mr. Webster, M. Inst. C.E., engineer to Marrickville Council was instructed to report on the matter, and… that a copy of the report be forwarded to Canterbury Council… When the report has been discussed it is intended that the councils shall confer to decide upon a future course of action.

In 1897 the dam was replaced by a wooden bridge.

21st May, 1897.


THE VICE-PRESIDENT OF THE EXECUTIVE COUNCIL moved the second reading of the Cook’s River Improvements Bill. He said that the work authorised by the measure had been submitted to the Public Works Committee and the bill had been drafted in harmony with the recommendations of that committee. Cook’s river, which in the early days, was an innocent stream, had now become to some extent a quasi public sewer, and the smell from the river in its present state was very bad. In the opinion of the health officer it was not only disagreeable, but really dangerous, and the time had arrived for abating the nuisance. The Works Department had submitted plans to the committee proposing works estimated to cost £36,000, but the committee had amended the proposal, and now suggested three things, including the widening of the outlet, and the total cost was set down at £15,000.

The motion was agreed to, the bill was read the second time, the House went into committee…….

22nd May, 1838.

To Professional Gentlemen, Mechanics, and Gardeners.


T.W.SMART begs to announce that he is instructed by J.S. Browne, Esq., to Sell by Public Auction, on SATURDAY, the 26th Instant, at his Rooms, in George-street, immediately after the Sale of Victoria Terrace, a part of that Gentleman’s much-admired and and valuable Estate at New Town, situated on the right-hand side of the public road leading to Cook’s River, and nearly opposite the Residence of Felton Mathew, Esq.

It is divided into convenient Half-acre Allotments, arranged after the Government mode of Township Allotments, and is well adapted, from the respectability of the neighbourhood and its vicinity to Sydney, for the erection of neat and commodious Country Villas for Gentlemen in Public Offices, and those whose duties require their frequent presence in Town. They are also admirably suited for the Residence of respectable Mechanics, the extent of each Allotment being sufficient to allow of a large large portion being appropriated as a garden for the cultivation of fruits, vegetables, &c.

The Residence of D. Chambers, John Lord, A. Wilson, L. Duguid, and A.B. Spark, Esqs., are in the immediate vicinity, and a handsome Church is now being erected near the spot, to which a Minister is already appointed, which circumstances, in addition to its many other advantages, renders the above Property in every respect truly desirable as Family Residences.

T.W.S. also recommends it to the notice of Capitalists, who could not fail of realising a handsome return for the money employed in the improvement of that rising and highly respectable District.

The Allotments will in a few days be staked out, and ready for public inspection…

23rd May, 1859.

CANTERBURY ELECTION – A meeting favourable to the return of Mr. Samuel Henry Terry was held on Friday evening, at Brenan’s Inn, Cook’s River. Mr. Gannon, having been elected to the chair, addressed the meeting, and introduced Mr. Terry to their notice. Mr. Terry then fully expounded expounded his political views and principles,… if elected, he should be perfectly free from the trammels of any party….. Several questions having been answered… the following resolution was put to the meeting, and carried unanimously:  “That Mr. Samuel Henry Terry is a fit and proper person to represent the district of Canterbury in the Legislative Assembly. “Immediately after the close of the above meeting, Mr. Terry attended at Blackstone’s, Newtown Inn, and, having been called upon, addressed the electors who had assembled at a meeting called by Mr. S. Lyons.- Another meeting of the electors of the district of Canterbury, resident in Gannon’s Forest, was held on Saturday afternoon last, at the Man of Kent Inn, for the purpose of giving Mr. Lyons, one of the candidates for the constituency, and opportunity of expressing his political principles…

Samuel Henry Terry owned an estate at Cooks River called ‘Marrionette’.  Samuel, Terry and Henry Streets, Tempe, are a reminder him.

Map Marionette Estate

24th May, 1893.


The council met on Monday evening last, 22nd instant, when the Mayor (R.H. Judd) occupied the chair, and there were also present – Aldermen Baker, Parkyn, Stuart, Hayes, and Edwards…. A large number of ratepayers of Tempe Park petitioned: That they had heard that complaints had been made by one or two residents that the dairy and cows kept by a Mrs Mitchell in Lymerston -street, Tempe Park, were a nuisance, and they emphatically asserted that such was not the case, and asked that the position of same might not be interfered with, as it was of great use and convenience to the neighbourhood. Aldrman Hayes said he was opposed to small dairies. They were a nuisance. In this case the proprietor kept 12 cows and had four bails. The inspector on being asked, corrected Alderman Hayes’ statement as to twelve cows, and stated that there were only seven. Alderman Parkyn thought the council should not interfere when the ratepayers did not object. Alderman Edwards personally agreed with Alderman Hayes, but if the people did not complain why should the council?

25th May, 1899.



For the purpose of Assisting the ‘98 Memorial Fund a demonstration and sports meeting was held yesterday at the Sir Joseph Banks Pleasure Grounds, Botany. The attendance numbered about 3000…. The chief attraction was the carrying out of a well arranged programme of sports, which embraced in addition to the races, a hurling match between scratch teams selected from among the members of the Emmett, Davitt, and Tempe Hurling Clubs. The play was watched with interest by a large section of the visitors. Step dancing under the directions of Messrs. M. O’Riordan and T. Crowe, who acted as judges, also received a good deal of patronage…..Hurling – A drawn game.

Just before 1898, with the centenary of the Irish Rebellion soon to be celebrated, the Irish community decided that a suitably grand resting place for the ‘Wicklow Chief’, as Dwyer was known, was needed. A committee led by Dr Charles McCarthy paid £50 for a plot in the centre of Waverley Cemetery. Two thousand pounds was needed to pay for the memorial’s grand design, an extraordinary amount of money at the time. To raise this, ‘1798 Committees’ were established all over NSW, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia, with fundraising efforts at one stage reaching all the way to New Zealand. So many ordinary Australians contributed that there is an inscription on the monument that reads ‘Erected by the Irish People and Sympathisers in Australia’.

Michael and Mary Dwyer’s bodies were moved and reburied in Waverley Cemetery on May 22, 1898. Their funeral was a massive event, the largest funeral ever seen in the country with 400 horse-drawn carriages following the hearse and a procession of approximately 10,000 people. Enormous crowds lined the street to watch the funeral cortège move from St. Mary’s Cathedral to Waverley Cemetery.

Joseph Banks Hotel 1857

26th May, 1840.

INQUEST – An inquest was held on Friday, at the Bunch of Grapes, in King-street, on the body of a prisoner of the crown named Chamberlain, who was drowned in Cook’s River, on Tuesday last. It appeared that the deceased had been engaged in clearing a passage for the water, which was very much swollen by the late rains, when it broke through and washed him away. The jury returned a verdict of accidental drowning.

Spark’s dairy recorded that –

‘The water spread all over the flat land around the house, and encircled the garden at its lower part. I know not what the consequences might have been had not the dam been opened in two places besides the opening in the middle. In effecting this however a life was lost, the water rushing with such violence as to carry away one of the convicts. He seems to have been unable to swim, and having got below water was swept onward by the current.’

27th May, 1844.

FIRE – About three o’clock on Saturday morning, the family of Mr. A. B. Spark, at Tempe, Cook’s River, was called up by the cry of fire, and it was soon discovered that the stabling and out-offices adjacent were in flames. The fire raged so furiously that they were speedily destroyed, together with two horses, which it was found impossible to extricate from the stable. The house fortunately sustained no injury. Fears are entertained that the fire is the work of an incendiary.

28th May, 1853.


WILL be given by the undersigned, for the prosecution and conviction of the party or parties who stole from Cook’s River, on Friday the 13th May instant, a young pointer dog, of a liver and white colour, the parties in whose possession the dog was last seen, were buying lime from Mr. Blackwell, of Cook’s River, on that day, any person detaining him after this notice, will be prosecuted according to law.


Cook’s River, May 27th 1853.

29th May, 1840.

The three men who it will be remembered endeavoured to effect their escape from Cook’s River in conjunction with another who perished in the mad attempt, were brought before the court of Quarter Sessions Tuesday last, when one pleaded guilty, and the other two set up as a defence that they had acted by the orders of Busby (the man who was drowned), under whose direction they had been placed by the superintendent of the stockade. They were, however, found guilty, and sentenced to be transported for fourteen years to a penal settlement.

‘attempting to leave the colony. They left the stockade, took Mr Unwin’s boat, then boarded a cutter which they got underway for Botany Heads. They were taken by the customs boat, the cutter was wrecked and one man drowned’. 


30th May, 1857.


OSMOND IN A FIX – Monday being observed as a holiday, in celebration of the Queen’s Birthday, the new French cafe in Pitt-street was unusually thronged with visitors. Luncheons had consequently to be provided on a large scale, but the coal merchant had forgotten to furnish the usual supply of coal, and although the kitchen tables groaned under the weight of the choicest eatables, they could not be cooked, of course without fuel…..how was Osmond to provide the usual dinner table for sixty? While in this agony, came an order to prepare suitable entertainment for the Mayor and Corporation! What now was to be done? Three gentlemen, (one a magistrate), volunteered to start off in quest of wood, even to Cook’s River, if necessary, and in the course of half an hour might be seen before the hotel, four cart loads which were eagerly purchased up by Osmond to the gratification of the holiday seekers, who had come expressly a long distance to his establishment to have their appetites assuaged by the fruits of his culinary capabilities.

31st May, 1898.


The following are the handicaps for the Tempe £25 and gold medal pigeon match, which takes place in the Hurlingham (Tempe) Grounds this afternoon, commencing at 2 o’clock:-

A.W. Eales, 30 yards; E. Blake, 28; C. Massey, H. Baxter, 27; *Sparrowhawk, F. Gannon, Clifton, G. R. McIntosh, S. E. Christian, J. Bradshaw, 26; G. B. Modini, H.J. Merewether, W. Moon, 25: L. Gannon, W. Blake, E. Stiff, *Cooma, D.G. Dunnett, E. H. Knight, 24; …..E. Barden, A. J. Usher, E.A. Merewether, H. A. Merewether, H. Roarty, 22…

*Assumed names.


1st June, 1859.


A numerously attended meeting was held at Mr. Rose’s, Cook’s River, on Saturday evening. Mr Michael Gannon in the chair, at which meeting Mr. John Lucas explained his political principles in a satisfactory manner to the electors present, and after a clear and lengthy address, it was proposed by Mr. Robert Gannon, and seconded by Mr. Brennan – “That Mr. John Lucas was a fit and proper person to represent this constituency in the reformed Parliament. Carried unanimously. The usual vote of thanks having been given to the Chairman, the meeting dispersed with three cheers for Mr. Lucas, and three cheers for the Chairman.

The Gannons were an influential family in the Tempe Cook’s River area. In 1860, John Lucas was elected to the Legislative Assembly of N. S. W. as member for Canterbury. 

2nd June, 1897.




With water flowing into it from all directions, and the outlet being closed owing to the tide being at its height, thus necessitating the closing of the Cook’s River floodgates, that portion of Marrickville known as Tramvale was converted into a lake of water dotted with houses. Upon this tract of land, which is about three-quarters of a mile long and a quarter of a mile wide, there are some 80 buildings. The flat is the point at which the water from a large drainage area converges, and the heavy downpour yesterday morning caused water to pour into this locality from portions of St. Peters, Newtown, Petersham, Dulwich Hill, the Warren, and the higher parts of Marrickville, and at the same time the Cook’s River flood-gates were closed, thus impounding all the stormwater flowing on to the flat, but damming back the water of Cook’s River above the floodgates. Early the Marrickville police went round and warned the residents of the locality that there would be a flood, but floods are only too frequent upon Tramvale, one portion of which is known as “Mud Flat.”…….. About 6 o’clock in the morning the flood was at its height, and streets and footpaths had disappeared beneath a broad sheet of water. The water was 4ft. deep in a cottage near the corner of Meeks-road and Renwick-street, but the occupants refused to leave it. In many of the houses the water rose to a depth of between 2ft. and 3ft., but many of the people have raised their little allotments above the general level of the flat, and this to some extent mitigated the discomfort of a sudden rising of the waters. Tramvale has a number of streets running through it, the principal ones being Sydney-street, Faversham-street, Fitzroy-street, Railway-street, Meeks-road, and Carrington-road.

See how vast this area was on Goole maps.

Tramvale flooding rescue
Tramvale flooding rescue

3rd June, 1854.

TROTTING – The match between Buster, and the Brickmaker’s Doll, two and a half miles on the Cook’s River road, came off last Tuesday morning. Buster had it all his own way and was excellently ridden by W. Gannon. The mare broke soon after starting, and never came near the gelding after she was turned. Her backers, however, as the Yankees say, ‘stick to her like a thousand of bricks’, and have matched her once more for Tuesday next, the same distance.

The race was from Newtown to Cook’s River. Obviously amongst the brickmaking fraternity of Newtown and St. Peters, the sentimental favourite was Brickmaker’s Doll, owned by Thomas Barnes of Newtown, who had his children baptised at St. Peter’s Anglican church.

4th June, 1839.

THE DAM AT COOK’S RIVER – In consequence of the accession of hands to this work by the late arrivals, the stockade is nearly completed; when that is finished, the work will be commenced immediately.

The stockade was not only built by convicts but was also to house them. The dam itself, arguably the greatest civil engineering work in the colony at that  time, was completed on the 1st May 1840, when the Governor, Sir George Gipps rode across it. 

5th June, 1893.


Early on Saturday morning the following report of the occurrence was forwarded by Senior-Constable R. Bruce, of the Botany Police Station, to the City Coroner – “At about 7.15 a.m. on the 2nd instant, seven men and a boy went out in a boat hired from James Cook, of Cook’s River. At about 3.40 p.m., when near the middle of Botany Bay, a puff of wind capsized the boat, and it is supposed that all were drowned except Charles Watts, of Campbell-street, St. Peters, who clung to the boat and was drifted ashore at Botany at about 5.40. p.m. Those supposed to have been drowned are – James Bennett, of Terry-street, Tempe; Herbert Bennett, Terry-street, Tempe; John Turner, King-street, Newtown; Henry Turner, Albert-street, St. Peters; Thomas Turner, St. Peters-street, St. Peters; Albert Eales, Cook’s River-road, Cook’s River; Andrew McKechnie, May-street, Newtown. At 11.30 p.m. (2nd June) Constable William J. Castle found on the beach of Botany Bay the bodies of a man and a boy, who have been identified by Charles Spilstead, of Albert-street, St. Peters, as those of Thomas Turner and Herbert Bennett. At 12.30 a.m. (3rd June) Constable Castle found the body of James Bennett, and at 1.30 a.m. he found the body of John Turner. The four bodies recovered have been identified by Charles Spilstead, and removed to the South Sydney Morgue by Constable Castle.

Since that report was written the body of Henry Turner has been recovered and removed to the North City Morgue, it being stated that there was no room at the South Sydney Morgue for any more bodies. Constable Castle states that he found all the bodies between the pier and Edgehill-road…..

The boat, which belonged to Mr. James Cook, of Cook’s River, from whom it was hired, was comparatively uninjured, and it was a curious fact that the oars, which were within the boat, were not lost. When the craft turned over the contents were imprisoned underneath and brought ashore with the boat. In that way a small bag belonging to Watts was recovered.


The Turner and Bennett families are well known at St. Peters and the neighbourhood as brickmakers, and Mr. H. Turner was manager of the Carrington Works at St. Peters. Mr. Thomas Turner, who died about three years ago, was one of the pioneer brickmakers of the district, and was father of the deceased Turners. We are informed that a considerable amount of money, left by him, would have shortly been received by the unfortunate members of the family who were drowned on Friday. Andrew McKechnie was the only one of the party who was not connected with brickmaking. He was employed as a storeman at Messrs. Wallach Brothers, furniture warehousemen of this city.

What is not made clear in this report is that the survivor simply waded ashore, at what was then the mouth of the Cook’s River at Botany. Andrew McKechnie was buried in the graveyard at St. Peters.

6th June, 1892.


at 11 a.m. sharp.

On the Premises,









BARNARD and CO. have been instructed to sell by auction, as above,


Detailed Particulars in Future Issue.


Office – 74 Castlereagh-street. 

7th June, 1841.

TO LET, an excellent HOUSE, now finishing, on the Cook’s River road, containing eleven apartments, besides spacious cellars. The building is of a very superior description, and when completed will be suitable for a family of the first respectability. There are upwards of ten acres of land attached, and the situation (immediately opposite St. Peter’s church) is one of the choicest in the neighbourhood. Possession will be given in June – Apply to Mr. Blackman, auctioneer, Hunter-street.


NOTICE-The undersigned hereby cautions all parties against allowing horses or cattle to trespass upon his land, opposite to St. Peter’s Church, as, after this notice, the same will be impounded.


The house, ‘Petersleigh’, in real estate advertisements was described as almost opposite St. Peters Church, Newtown. Henry Kerrison James was for some time Registrar of the Sydney Anglican Diocese. 

Petersleigh map

8th June, 1850.


Mr. Fitz Roy’s Hounds will meet on Wednesday, at Cook’s River Dam; and on Saturday at One Tree Hill, at 7 A.M.

Mr. Fitz Roy is Sir Charles Augustus Fitzroy. In 1846 he became the tenth Governor of the colony of New South Wales. In 1853, FitzRoy was appointed as Governor of Van Diemen’s Land, South Australia and Victoria – essentially a pre-Federation Governor-General of Australia, with wide-ranging powers to intervene in inter-colonial disputes. He returned to England in 1855.

9th June, 1855.

Metropolitan Races.


ON Tuesday, the 3rd, and Wednesday, the 4th of July, 1855.


First Race – The MAIDEN PLATE of thirty sovereigns, for all maiden horses, ….weight for age; once round and a distance; entrance two sovereigns.

Second Race – The ALL – AGED STAKES of thirty sovereigns, ……. heats, one mile and a half;  entrance £1 10s.

Third Race – The SELLING STAKES of  twenty-five sovereigns, …, for all horses that have never won …….  weight for age;  twice round;  the winner to be sold for thirty sovereigns, …..;  entrance £1 10s.


First Race – A HURDLE RACE, for twenty-five sovereigns,……..for all horses;…….  three times round the course, over nine leaps 3ft 6 in high: Homebush welter weight: entrance £1 10s.

Second Race – The COOK’S RIVER PURSE of fifteen sovereigns, for all hacks, carrying 10 stone;….. one event, twice round;  entrance £1 10s.

Third Race – The BARWAN PARK CUP, value thirty sovereigns, …. for all horses, to be handicapped by the stewards, …..  one event, twice round;  entrance two sovereigns.

Fourth Race – The BEATEN STAKES of ten sovereigns, for all beaten horses during the meeting; once round; entrance, one sovereign;..

Entrances to be made at Mr. J. Beal’s, Currency Lass, Corner of Pitt and Hunter-streets, between the hours of 7 and 9 the night previous to the first day’s racing.

Homebush Rules strictly adhered to unless otherwise specified.

All Jockeys to appear in racing costume. The decision of the Stewards to be final.

Three entrances or no race.

All dogs found on the course will be destroyed.

Qualification – two sovereigns, except for the Cook’s River Purse, for which one sovereign will qualify.

Thomas John Bown, who owned Barwan Park, not only promoted horse racing  within the park, but also pigeon shooting, and “old English Games” which included blindfold wheelbarrow racing, climbing the greasy pole or catching a greasy pig. He is considered the “Founding Father of the Fire Brigade,” in Sydney, and regularly tested fire engines at Barwan Park. 


10th June, 1893.


The refuge for fallen women at Tempe, Cook’s River, conducted by the Sisters of the Good Samaritan, will be considerably benefited by the proceeds of Thursday night’s ball at the Town Hall. Cardinal Moran, who looks with no sort of favour on balls being held to raise funds for institutions connected with the Church, has made two exceptions – St. Vincent’s Hospital and the Magdalen Refuge. Perhaps the most gratifying feature of the very successful social gathering this week, at which pleasure and charity went hand in hand, was the active co-operation of a number of ladies who, while differing in religion from the Roman Catholic Sisterhood, appreciate in a spirit of broad sympathy the work of compassion and reformation carried on at the quiet “retreat,” hidden away among the trees just beyond the bridge at Tempe. There are now 60 “magdalens” under the care of the Sisters, and the institution, which was established on self-supporting lines, relies almost entirely on the laundry. A good deal of plain needlework is also done by the inmates, who have the Sisters working side by side with them every day. Since the refuge was established at Tempe in October, 1887, nearly 200 women have been received.

St Magdalens Refuge

Tempe House and St. Magdalen’s Chapel at Wolli Creek, still stand on the southern bank of the Cook’s River.

11th June, 1894.

OPEN-AIR MISSION AT ST. PETERS – Alderman Parkyn, in the absence of the incumbent (the Rev. E.D. Madgwick), conducted the service of the open air mission at St. Peters yesterday afternoon. Reference was made to the loss which the incumbent had suffered by the death of his mother, and each of the speakers alluded to the sad event. The Tempe Park Mission band was in attendance. The attendance at the meeting was large, and much interest was taken in the proceedings.

This appears to be an ecumenical occasion, (at least for Protestant churches) with the Anglican church joining with a band from the Tempe Park (Sydenham) Wesleyan Chapel.

12th June, 1847.

CANINE – A battle is to come off on Tuesday next, near Gannon’s, Cook’s River Road, between Court’s (the Pitt-street baker) dog Tearaway, and Hogan’s (of New Town) dog Turk, for £10 a side. Court’s dog is the favourite from his known punishing powers.

Gannon’s is never far removed from any sporting activity at Tempe. 

13th June, 1899.

FATAL FALL AT ST. PETERS – The City Coroner, Mr. J.C. Woore, yesterday held a magisterial inquiry at the Grose Farm Inn, Camperdown, concerning the death of Peter Reynolds, aged 60, lately residing at 10 Campbell-street, St. Peters, who died in the Prince Alfred Hospital on the previous day from the effects of injuries received on Saturday night through falling down an embankment into a deep pit at some brickyards at St. Peters. A finding of accidental death was recorded.

This is just one of many “accidental deaths,” today someone would be forced to accept responsibility. 

14th June, 1898.



On the Tempe links on Saturday the Strathfield and Marrickville clubs played their return match. The course was rather heavy through the recent heavy rains. The result of the match was another victory for Strathfield. The winning club included Mr. J. Kidd, who has recently thrown in his lot with it, and he was an acquisition to the team. The following were the scores.:-

Strathfield Holes up.  Marrickville Holes up.

J. Kidd 4 E.W. Boake 0

E.R. Garnsey 0 T. Hay 4

G. Graham-Johnson 2 A. T. Jones 0

E.S. Wilkinson 8 P.E. Gannon 0

R.F. Reading 0 J. Rowley 2

G.M. Jones 0 E.W. Carter 8

T. Frizell 8 T. F. Furber 0

H. J. Miller Halved H. A. Langley   Halved

22 14

Strathfield won by 8 holes.

The Tempe links, a creation of the Gannon family, was situated on their land, the southern and northern boundaries being what are now, Gannon Street and Union Street, and the western and eastern boundaries Unwins Bridge Road and the Princes Highway.

15th June, 1859.

INQUEST – An inquest on view of the body of Mrs. Sarah Ann Lennon, aged forty-four years, who had died suddenly on Saturday evening, was held on Sunday at the late residence of deceased at Silver Hill, Cook’s River. It appeared from evidence that the deceased had been addicted to intemperance in drink, and in the absence of her husband, whose business called him into Sydney, the greater part of the day, indulged her propensity for spirituous liquors. On Saturday afternoon, on returning home, her husband found her under the influence of drink; shortly after she went into the kitchen where she was discovered in a state of stupor with her head resting against the wall. She was removed, and appeared to recover; about two hours later she was again found in the same position and appeared seriously ill. She was then placed on a sofa and a medical man sent for, but efforts to arouse her proved fruitless, and she expired at 9 p.m. A short time prior to the occurrence she had received medical treatment for disease of the heart. verdict – Disease, the result of natural causes; her death being accelerated by intemperate habits.

Sarah Ann Lennon was buried in St. Peter’s graveyard. Their home appears to have been on the Cook’s River road (Princes Highway) near Silver Street. Matthew Lennon, her husband, was at one time a Wine and Spirits Merchant, but subsequently appears to have been employed in a legal capacity dealing with insolvencies. Following Sarah Ann’s death he married Catharine Campbell at St. Mary’s (R.C.) Cathedral  in 1862, 

16th June, 1893.

YESTERDAY afternoon James Davis, 9 years of age, was fatally injured on the Cook’s River-road, St. Peters. He was crossing the street near his home, which is in Bowen Park-road, when he stumbled. A ‘bus was proceeding towards Sydney at the time and before the driver could pull up the boy had been kicked by one of the horses, and the front wheel of the vehicle had passed over his body. The boy was taken from under the ‘bus, and was conveyed to the Prince Alfred Hospital, where he died an hour after admission.

17th June, 1854.

BAR PRACTICE – Bridget MacFarlane was charged with helping herself to sundry bottles of ale and porter from the bar of Mr. Evans, publican, at Cook’s River, who had fancied for some time that the decrease of his stock was more than commensurate with his till receipts, and therefore determined to watch till he found out the reason. One afternoon he heard a slight noise, and on looking round perceived the prisoner, minus her Wellingtons, sneaking away from the bar with five bottles of the “real tack”. She was committed to the Sessions.

This entry illustrates the difficulty of  definning the area known as Cook’s River. Evan Evans’ hotel was the ‘Man of Kent’ at Kingsgrove. The Macfarlane family, who lived in the King’s Grove bush, were “Faganesque”, even the children were given to stealing anything from fish to silver watches. Bridget is their mother, who surprisingly, was found not guilty of stealing one gallon of ale, one quart of porter, and five bottles, at the Quarter Sessions held in August. 

Kingsgrove map

18th June, 1895.

SHEA’S CREEK CANAL – The Minister for Works, Mr. J. H. Young, having been urged to extend Shea’s Creek to Buckland-street, yesterday afternoon paid a visit to the locality, in company with Mr. R.R.P. Hickson, and inspected the whole place from Buckland-street right down to Cook’s River. At present Mr. Young explains the canal ends at what might well be described as “nowhere.” If carried on to Buckland-street, a distance of about another half a mile, it would still practically end nowhere, but it would at least have an outlet, which it will not possess if only finished up to the limit of the present resumption’s. Mr. Young is by no means favourably impressed, but it will be a matter for the Cabinet to consider whether it will be worthwhile sinking any more public money in extending the canal to Buckland-street. As Mr. Young says, it is one of those things which would not even be considered if so much of the work had not already been done. It will take nearly four months to complete the work up to the end of the land so far resumed.

Did the canal get to Buckland Street? Check it out on Google maps.

19th June, 1897.

At the fortnightly meeting of the St. Peters Ladies’ Benevolent Society, held yesterday, it was unanimously agreed to issue a special relief ticket to all deserving cases in the district, in honour of the Queen’s record reign, and also to distribute, as far as necessary, the 25 pairs of blankets which have just been granted to the society by the Government, through the member for the district, Mr. W. Rigg.

St. Peters was one of the areas badly affected by the economic depression of the 1890’s. The Shea’s Creek Canal, see yesterday’s entry, was largely engineered to give the unemployed work.

20th June, 1846.

COOK RIVER SQUABBLES – John and Catherine Austin appeared to show cause why they should not be bound over to keep the peace towards Robert Welch. The parties resided at Cook’s River: and Welch stated that Austin had threatened to knock his sanguinary brains out – to put him in the creek, and to spiflicate him in sundry ways: and had not a little child been with him these horrible menaces would have been fulfilled. The wife also had stimulated Austin in his atrocities, and had come upon complainant, like a roaring lion, with a child in his arms, calling him all the “squint-eyed ———— (the epithets are in daily use at all the cab stands). The row arose from some cattle straying, and as both parties appeared equally implicated the case was dismissed.

21st June, 1898.

Electorate.   Yes.   No.   Informal. For Bill. Against Bill.

Marrickville           822   1,107 4 285

Newtown-Camperdown   712     640          4            72

Newtown-Erskine             498      641          3                                 143

Newtown-St. Peters          529      730          7                                  201

This was the 1898 referendum for a Federation of States. The participating states were N.S.W. Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia. It was passed in all states except N.S.W (which did not get the requisite number of votes), Consequently the Bill was not passed . The voting pattern within the Marrickville area seems to similar to N.S.W. generally.  

22nd June, 1837.



The first Anniversary Meeting of the Diocesan Committee of the Societies for propagating the Gospel in foreign parts, and for promoting Christian Knowledge, was held in St. James’ Parochial Room, on Monday last….. The first object to which the committee directed its attention was the augmentation of the number of churches, and the Committee felt great pleasure in reporting there were thirty-two additional churches in contemplation, towards each of which a considerable sum had been raised, and several of them were actually in progress.

Place. Private Subscription. Church Societies.

St. Andrews, Sydney £400 £600

Camden 660 150

Cook’s River 500   50

Goulburn 500 150

Maitland East 420 100

Maitland West 620   300

Mulgoa 900 100

Penrith 405   50

Parramatta 600 100

Prospect 500 100

Richmond 570 200

South Creek           400 100

Sutton Forest 420 100

As St. Peter’s Cook’s River celebrates the 175th anniversary of the laying of its foundation stone it is interesting to note where private subscriptions were going to fund churches that were contemporary with it. 

23rd June, 1897.


The demonstration programme arranged by the residents of Marrickville was carried out yesterday with every success on Norwood Park. It was a children’s demonstration and sports, ….The children from all the day and Sunday schools in the district assembled at 9 o’clock in four divisions…. These processions started from their meeting places, a band preceding each, punctually at the appointed hour, 9.30 a.m. and united in one long procession at the junction of the Livingstone and Sydenham roads, from where, headed by the Marrickville brass band, they proceeded via Neville-street and Addison-road to Norwood Park. The scene en route was an attractive and bright one. The children, to the number of 4000, carried banners, flags, flowers, and wands, and as they waved these to the various onlookers, who turned out in large numbers, the scene was a brilliant one in the history of the borough of Marrickville.

The park was gaily decorated with bunting and greenery. Over the main entrance was an arch constructed of red drapery relieved with flags, and on the face of the arch were the words, “Long live the Queen.” The children, each wearing national colours with a medal attached, formed a large circle, the bands being massed in the centre…..the children ….dispersed to carry out a lengthy and varied programme of sports and amusements, but not before they had sung in a most hearty manner the National Anthem and had given three cheers for her Majesty the Queen….The programme of sports embraced all kinds of contests… In the dumbbell contest the Tempe Public School proved successful, and the team’s instructors (Misses Brissitt and Green) were warmly applauded by the audience. The children were kept well amused during the day by side shows of all kinds.

This was to celebrate the diamond jubilee of Queen Victoria’s reign, sixty years on the throne. Norwood Park was the name of a dairy run by the Neville family. In 1897 John Neville created the Norwood Cricket Ground on his estate. It is now the site of the Addison Road Community centre.

Could we perhaps see the return of dumbbell contests at Tempe Public School? 

24th June, 1839.


Sydney Monitor and Commercial Advertiser.

SIR – Preparations are making for the dam head across Cook’s River to supply Sydney with water, but it may be asked why carry it below the house of Mr. A.B. Spark? The dam head must be two feet above the spring tides that occur in January, which will flood a number of low marshy lands impregnated with sterilising salts.

This may be partly remedied by means of flood-gates, but the head will not be so strong nor the water at so high a level.

The River higher up is one third the width, and there is abundance of material for making a solid head, which would become a very important line of road to the surrounding country.

The public will have to pay some five or ten thousand pounds for this work, which ought to be done to the greatest public advantage – Yours, &c.,

X. X. X.

A prophetic letter in that the dam, which was to supply a growing Sydney with an inexhaustible supply of fresh water, never did what it was intended for. It didn’t seal off the fresh from the salt water. The dam was extremely long, stretching from what is now the junction of Holbeach Avenue and Princes Highway to the southern bank of the river. The fact that the dam was not set at right angles to the river, led to further structural  problems. A. B. Spark met with Sir George Gipps, the Governor of the time, to discuss the dam’s position, thre was subsequent finger pointing in his direction in the 19th century press. 

25th June, 1895.


On Sunday evening a special religious service, under the auspices of No. 51 England’s Glory Loyal Orange Lodge, was held in the Church of England, Cook’s River-road, St. Peters, by Rev. E. D. Madgwick, Past Grand Master of the Orange Institution, who announced as his subject “The Union of the Churches: A Presbyter’s Reply to the Cardinal.” The church was crowded. There was present a large gathering of Orangemen, in regalia, from the various lodges of the city and suburbs, including representatives from the Grand Lodge. The singing was conducted by a large choir, and the hymns chosen were of an appropriate character.

The Rev. E.D. MADGWICK said that if the spirit of Apostolic Christianity  had not been forsaken by the Church of Rome we would have heard nothing today about the reunion of Christendom. Protestantism was a return to this single-eyed devotion to the crucified Saviour of mankind as the only mediator between God and men. To know none but Him was Apostolic Christianity; it was also Protestant Christianity. Until Rome reformed and returned to that kind of Christianity we could not entertain the slightest proposal for reunion.

A curious episode in the history of St. Peters, Cook’s River, an English Lodge of  an organisation which one now associates primarily with Northern Ireland and parts of Scotland.

26th June, 1894.



(Before his Honor Mr. Justice STEPHEN, and juries of 12.)


The following sentences were passed by the Judge:-


……. Edward Murphy, Stewart Ross, and Jane White were charged with having in their possession on the 11th July 14 moulds for the purpose of making counterfeit half crowns, another mould for counterfeit florins, and three others for shillings. These articles with a quantity of block lead and tin, were found by the detectives in a house at St. Peters. The door of the house was opened to the officers by the female prisoner. Murphy and Ross had counterfeit coins in their possession when arrested. Murphy said that the coins found upon him had been paid to him on a racecourse, and that the moulds and other articles belonged to a lodger. Ross disclaimed any knowledge of the affair. The Crown did not press the case against the woman, who by direction was acquitted. Both Murphy and Ross were found guilty, and were sentenced to be imprisoned and kept to hard labour for five years.

27th June, 1857.

To the Editors of Bell’s Life in Sydney.

GENTLEMEN – I am aware that you are lovers of fair play, and that therefore you will favour me with space in your journal for the following statement of facts relative to a Cricket Match, which was partly played at Kingston, on the 22nd, between eleven of Newtown and eleven of Cook’s River.

The match commenced by the Newtown’s going in first and scoring 23, and Cook’s River 85. During the second innings a dispute arose as to a Newtown player being out; the Umpire for Cook’s River declaring it out, while the Umpire for Newtown refusing to give any opinion, a person was called who was looking on, and said it was out. The Newtown men then threatened to assault the Cook’s River Umpire for declaring it out. If the Newtown Club cannot play fairly, they should not play at all.


28th June, 1831.

As a settler, residing on the Cook’s River-road, (now Princes Highway) was proceeding home from Sydney a few nights back, he was met by four men, who knocked him down and beat him cruelly. They did not attempt to rob him, and he supposes that the object of the villains could only be revenge for some imagined injury. In consequence of the darkness of the night, and the stunning effect of the first blow, he was unable to take sufficient notice of their persons to identify them.

29th June, 1897.


The return relating to deaths during 1895 tends to show that the most healthy district in the metropolitan area is the northern, which embraces North Sydney, Willoughby, Mosman, Manly, Ryde and Hunter’s Hill, and Marsfield. In the northern district the ratio of deaths per 1000 of  the population was 7.87………The district showing the heaviest data is the East Central (11.28),  which embraces Redfern, Darlington, Waterloo, Alexandria, Botany, and North Botany. ……..

Northern: North Sydney, Willoughby, Mosman, Manly, Ryde and Hunter’s Hill, and Marsfield. Population in 1895, 33,790; 7.87 deaths per thousand……..

Southern: Canterbury, Hurstville, Kogarah, Rockdale – Population 16,340; 9.12 deaths per thousand………

West Central: Newtown, Camperdown, Erskineville, St. Peters -Population, 40,025; 11.04 deaths per thousand.

Sydne – Population, 101,935; 11.09 deaths per thousand.

East Central; Redfern, Darlington, Waterloo, Alexandria, Botany, North Botany – Population 54,750, 11.28 deaths per thousand.

The number of deaths in the metropolis per thousand of the population was in each of the last 10 years of the period to which the tables relate respectively:- 1886, 20.87: 1887, 17.52: 1888, 18.76:  1889, 18.03: 1890, 15.10: 1891, 16.48: 1892, 13.59: 1893, 15.37: 1894, 13.91: 1895, 13.18:

The mean for 10 years was 16.06.

Throughout the colony there were in 1895, 8030 marriages, 38,774 births, and 14,914 deaths, the excess of births over deaths being 23,860.

The graveyard at St. Peters closed in 1896. Two-thirds of burials are of children under the age of ten years. The late 19th century saw a marked improvement in the treatment of sewage in our area. In 2011 the Australian death rate per 1000 of the population was 6.5.

30th June, 1898.


Yesterday afternoon a sale of work was opened in St. Peter’s Schoolroom, Cook’s River-road, in connection with St. Peter’s Anglican Church. There was a large gathering of the residents. The schoolroom was tastefully decorated. The objects of the undertaking, which was carried out by the ladies of the parish, were to liquidate a debt in connection with the church. The opening ceremony was performed by Mrs. W. Rigg (Mayoress of Newtown). The following were the stalls and the names of the ladies presiding at each:-

Plain and Fancy Needlework Stalls – No. 1. Miss Talbot and Mrs. Pawley; No. 2, Mrs. Witcomb and Mrs Lee; No. 3 Miss M. Talbot and Mrs Collyer.

Bible Class Stall – In charge of Mrs. Clarke and the members of the class.

Christian Endeavour Stall – The Misses Gillroy, Witcomb, Strettton, and E. Collyer.

Novelty Stall – Mrs. Willings.

Refreshment Stall and Tea Rooms – Mrs. Louden and Miss Douglass.

1st July, 1898.


A largely attended meeting was held last evening in the Foresters’ Hall, St. Peters, of the friends and supporters of Mr. Ernest A. Dent, one of the candidates for the Newtown-St. Peters electorate. The Mayor of the borough (Alderman G. Farr, J.P.) presided. Mr. Dent spoke at considerable length,….. He said, though he did not support the late convention Bill, he was an ardent federationist, and would support the bill if amended in certain ways. As a leader on that question he should follow Mr. Barton in preference to Mr. Reid…

The Foresters’ Hall was opposite the present site of St. Peters Post Office on the Princes Highway. Edmund Barton became Australia’s first prime minister and George Reid, a Premier of N.S.W. became the fourth prime minister. The ‘question’ was whether or not there should be a federation of the states of Australia. 

2nd July, 1860.


An inquest was held on Saturday last before the City Coroner, at the Antrim Arms, St. Peters, Cook’s River, on the body of a man named Edward Johnson, aged 51 years. From the evidence adduced it appeared that the deceased was in the employ of Mr. Holt, of Newtown, and usually drove a horse and cart. On Friday he was driving the horse and cart along the main road, on the Waterloo Flat, and the reins falling on the horse, he stooped over for the purpose of picking it up, and in doing so he fell on his head on the ground, the wheel passing over his chest; he was immediately conveyed to McAuley’s public-house. Dr. Ward was in attendance, and every means was used to bring him round, but to no purpose; he died soon after. On examining the body there was a slight graze on the right temple of the head; there were marks of a dray passing over the chest, but no ribs or other bones were broken. The fall from the dray and the wheel passing over him must have caused such internal injuries as to cause his death. The deceased had been drinking the day previous to his death, and did not appear sufficiently strong to manage the horse. He was a native of London, and arrived in this colony in 1832. The jury returned a verdict to the effect that the deceased fell from his dray, the wheel afterwards passing over him, and causing sufficient injuries to produce his death, but what caused him to fall there was not sufficient evidence to show.

Another newspaper on the same day reported:

CORONER’S INQUEST – ….at the Antrim Arms, Cook’s River Road, on the body of a man named Edward Johnston, aged fifty-one years. The deceased was employed by Mr. Thomas Holt, of Newtown, and on Friday last was engaged with a horse and cart removing stones from Cook’s River to Newtown….

Thomas Holt was, at this time, living at Camden Villa, later he was to build a mansion, ‘The Warren’, at Marrickville.

3rd July, 1847.



SINCE the publication of our running commentary of Wednesday we have received a note from “One of the Committee,” requesting us to state, with reference to our remarks on Nos. 16 and 17, that the Committee resolved to receive in all cases, without comment, the assigned authorship of the paintings, although in many cases the mistakes were both evident and absurd. We beg to assure the writer that we had no intention of reflecting on the taste or judgement of the Fine Arts Committee……

Painting No 40. ‘Tempe, the Seat of A.B. Spark, Esq’ by J.S. Prout – An example of Prout’s power of transmutation. We question whether such a picturesque view of Tempe could be seen except by an artist’s eye.

4th July, 1895.




The PRESIDENT took the chair at half-past 4 o’clock.


Mr. PRESIDENT announced the decease of the Hon. Robert Burdett Smith, a member of the Legislative Council. 

5th July, 1895.


The half yearly meeting of the St. Peters branch of the Labour League was held on Tuesday night, at the Town Hall, St. Peters, and was well attended. Upon the motion of Mr. Ferguson, it was decided that the league should run a candidate for Newtown-St. Peters electorate at the forthcoming general election.

On the same day the same newspaper reported:


The remains of the Hon. R. Burdett Smith, C.M.G., were interred at St. Peter’s Cemetery, Cook’s River, yesterday afternoon. The funeral cortege left the late residence of the deceased, in Macquarie-street, shortly after 2 o’clock. There was a large attendance of mourners. The coffin, which was conveyed to its resting place in a four-horse hearse, was of heavy English oak, with handsome silver handles, and breastplate bearing the following inscription:- “The Hon. Robert Burdett Smith, C.M.G., M.L.C, Born 25th August, 1841; Died 2nd July, 1895.” Among those who forwarded wreaths were Miss E. Burdett Smith and Miss L.E. Smith, sisters of the deceased,…..the residents of the Macleay River, per the Hon. F.T. Humphery, M.L.C., ….residents of the Hastings and Macleay Rivers, per Mr. F. Clarke, M.L.A…

The service at the cemetery was conducted by the Rev. T.K. Abbott, assisted by the Rev. D. Madgwick. The remains were interred in the family vault.

Robert Burdett Smith Vault
Robert Burdett Smith Vault

The substantial vault of Robert Burdett Smith still stands in the graveyard at St. Peters. He represented for many years, the Macleay and Hastings River  electorate in the Legislative Assembly.

6th July, 1894.

CONTAMINATION OF DRINKING WATER.- Residents in the neighbourhood of Undercliffe’s Bridge, Cook’s River recently made a complaint to the Board of Health of the contamination of the water there, and in consequence an inspection was made of the creek to which picnic parties go for the purpose of obtaining drinking water. This creek runs into the river a short distance above the bridge. It is stated that a neighbouring corporation has cleared a space in the undergrowth, about 50 yards distant from the creek, and some weeks past refuse has been buried there. It is thought by the Board of Health that danger to persons using the creek for drinking purposes is great, and that the water should be avoided until the danger of contamination has been removed.

Undercliffe Bridge is Unwin’s Bridge, which crosses the Cook’s River on Bayview Avenue. The creek would have been the Gumbamorra Creek, which is now a concrete drain near Mackey Park, Marrickvile.  

7th July, 1838.

We understand that his Excellency the Governor, accompanied by the Lord Bishop, will lay the foundation-stone of the new church between New Town and Cook’s River on Monday next, at one o’clock.

The church between New Town and Cook’s River is St. Peter’s Chuch, Cook’s River, which recently celebrated  its 175th  anniversary. 

8th July, 1896.


The public Works Committee met yesterday afternoon to consider the proposed improvement to Cook’s River. There were present – Mr. T.T. Ewing (chairman), and a full committee. Alderman S.R. Lorking (Mayor of Canterbury) stated that Cook’s River was in an insanitary condition, and was dangerous to health. It was a national or State waterway, and was beyond the control of local authorities ….He considered that the cause of the nuisance was the silting up of the river through the erection of the dam, which prevented the silt from flowing into the bay. Broken trees and reeds festered along the banks of the river out of sight, causing an abominable stench. The portion of the river between the sugarhouse dam and Enfield, being fresh water, was during a long time of dry weather, stagnant, and it caused a nuisance. A large quantity of the sewage from the 25 miles which the creek and river drained fell into these waters, causing a dangerous offence. He thought that the floods were caused through the depth of the river bed being lessened by silt, and by the meeting of the waters at Wolli Creek, the railway embankment preventing that creek from having a straightaway outlet…..

In the early 1840’s a sugar mill was established on the banks of Cook’s River at Canterbury. This substantial sandstone building has now been converted into housing units. Excavations for the Illawarra railway line created the embankment from which the problems stemmed. 

Sugar mill and dam at Canterbury
Sugar mill and dam at Canterbury
Sugar Mill today
Sugar Mill today

9th July, 1892.

The Sydney Harriers held a five-mile club run on Saturday afternoon. Leaving the Royal Exchange Hotel Marrickville, a course was taken along the Illawarra-road till the Warren was reached. There a turn left brought the pack close to the Tempe railway station, where they wheeled round and went in the direction of Arncliffe, a very stiff hill being met with, which made the runners go rather slow. Out at the back of Arncliffe, some rough country was met with, in the shape of scrub and large rocks, the pack enjoying this part of the run immensely. Leaving the bush the Illawarra-road was once more reached, and a turn for Dulwich Hill was made. There the pace began to get warm and the runners kept improving on it till about half a mile from home. The word to go was then given and the fast men began to get clear, Wachsmann, Fahey, Stayner, and Pike being very prominent. The first to arrive home was Fahey, who beat Wachsmann by two yards, Stayner, Wilson, Pike and Chandler being close up, with the remainder of the pack about 40 yards away.

Royal Exchange Hotel Marrickville
Royal Exchange Hotel Marrickville

10th July, 1852.

John Hanley was committed to take his trial for embezzling the sum of 1s. 6d. of the monies of his master, Frederick Lee, of Cook’s River. Hanley was chiefly employed by Lee in carting firewood to Sydney for sale, and it appears has been deducting for his own use a part of the price of every load so disposed of by him. In one case something like a prima facie case was made out, and he was sent to defend himself before a jury.

11th July, 1891.


On the invitation of Mr. R. P. Hickson, Engineer-in-Chief for Roads, Bridges, and Sewers, the members of the Board of Water Supply and Sewerage, Mr. T. Rowe (president), Messrs. Palmer (vice-president), …….and Mr. Davis, assistant engineer of Government Sewerage Department, yesterday inspected the works in progress in connection with the sewerage system of the western and southern suburbs……. The party inspected the tunnels between Wolli Creek and Cook’s River, and traversed the line of sewer to the main junction on the Warren estate. From this point three sewers will branch off, one running towards Ashfield and Strathfield, and the second towards Petersham and Leichhardt, and the third towards Newtown and Camperdown….Active operations have also been commenced by Mr. Carson whose contract adjoins Mr. McSweeny’s, and comprises the construction of aqueducts across the low lying lands, Wolli Creek and Cook’s River…….The board was driven to the branch line of sewer which crosses Shea’s creek valley, and will drain parts of Alexandria and Macdonaldtown. This work is drawing towards completion…..

Sewer aqueduct across Cooks River at Marrickville
Sewer aqueduct across Cooks River at Marrickville

This development may have been a significant factor in the decrease in the death rate at the end of the nineteenth century.

12th July, 1894.



Alderman W. Rigg, who is running in the free-trade interest for the St. Peters Division of the Newtown Electorate, addressed a large meeting of the electors last evening from the General Gordon Hotel, Sydenham-road, and was favourably received. Mr. Beasley, the selected candidate for St. Peters, held a meeting last evening in the local Town Hall, which was well filled, and the candidate obtained a vote of confidence. Mr. Bowes, the protectionist candidate, addressed the electors from the balcony of Mr. Burke’s house, Tempe. A vote of confidence was carried.

General Gordon Hotel
General Gordon Hotel
Site of Mr Burke's house today
Site of Mr Burke’s house today


Mr. Frank Cotton addressed a meeting of the electors from Burke’s balcony, Railway-road, Tempe, on Tuesday evening. After the address an almost unanimous vote of confidence was carried.

On the same evening Mr. Cotton addressed a meeting from Barden’s Riverview Hotel Balcony, when a vote of confidence was carried.

This was not international free trade, but free trade between the states of what was to become a federated Australia. There were customs houses on the borders of each state. 

Barden's Riverview Hotel
Barden’s Riverview Hotel

13th July, 1838.


We understand the residents of the district of Cook’s River have been for some time most anxious to have a place of worship in their district, for which purpose Mr. Campbell, Senior, had reserved six acres of land, and we find that a temporary Church has been erected, and divine service performed by the Rev. Mr. Steele for some time past.

We have therefore, much pleasure in having it in our power to announce that His Excellency the Governor, on Monday last, accompanied by the Lord Bishop and a very numerous attendance of the surrounding inhabitants, and many of the gentry of Sydney, proceeded to lay the foundation stone of the Church of St. Peter, Cook’s River, and from the design and elevation of the building, which we have seen, we think it will be a very great ornament to that part of the country. The ceremony commenced by the Lord Bishop, attended by the Rev. Steele, reading the service suitable to the occasion; and his Excellency, taking the trowel in hand, made an equally suitable address…….

Among the families appertaining to the district were – Mr. and Mrs. Lord, Mr. and Mrs. Goodsir, Captain and Mrs. Brown and family, Mr. and Mrs. Duguid and family, Mr. and Mrs. Matthew, Mr. D. Chambers and family, Mrs. Radford, Mr. and Mrs. Unwin and family, Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Wilson, Mrs. Adam Wilson,  and Miss Wilson, Captain  and Mrs. Ebhart, Mr. and Mrs. James, Mr. Campbell, sen. Mr. John Campbell, Mr. Spark, Mr. Gill, Mr. Mace, &c.

Among the visitors were – His Excellency and Lady Gipps, the Lord Bishop and Mrs. and Misses Broughton, Mr. and Mrs. Carter, Mrs. Fisher, Mrs. Macpherson, Miss Cruden, Mrs. and Miss Foster, Mr.  and Mrs. Raymond and the Misses Raymond, Mr. and Mrs. Gosling, Mrs. Kinnear, Mrs. Steele, Miss Davis, Major Smyth, Dr. Bowman, Mrs. and Miss Thomson, Mr. Hobler, Mr. Donaldson, Mr. Walker, Mr. Elliott, A.D.C. Mr. Bird. Architect, Mr. Manning, Mr. Coozier, &c.

After the ceremony was concluded, Mr. Spark on behalf of the Gentlemen of the district, requested the honour of his Excellency’s company to a dejeuner a la fourchette which had been provided for the visitors, and the company accordingly adjourned to an extensive awning on a green spot, opposite the site of the Church, and surrounded by oaks…..The Table was laid for one hundred guests, but did not contain even the whole of the Ladies present. … After the company had separated, the workmen attached to the building were regaled.

The day was delightful; joy seemed to pervade every bosom, and thus was laid, in all innocence and mirth, the foundation stone of the first Church, within a delightful drive of four miles from Sydney.

Of those present from the  district, Captain Brown, was the father of the author Rolf Bolderwood, Mrs. Radford was to become the wife of A. B. Spark, who  with David Chambers and John Lord were the church’s first trustees. Frederick Wright Unwin’s was to give his name to Unwin’s Bridge Road.

14th July, 1899.

SANITARY CONDITION OF ST. PETERS. – At a meeting of St. Peters council, held on Monday evening, a communication was received from the Board of Health stating that …. the quarterly report on the condition of the borough had been considered, when it was resolved to direct the attention of the council to the high death-rate from typhoid fever and diarrhoea diseases within the district, and requesting that as soon as the matter had been discussed the council would inform the board what action it proposed to take in view of the gravity of the circumstances brought under notice by its medical officer. Much discussion followed the reading of the letter. It was resolved to inform the board that the council was doing all in its power to prevent the spread of infectious diseases, and that application was about to be made to the Minister for Works to expedite the construction of sewers throughout the borough, which it was hoped would considerably minimise the diseases referred to.

15th July, 1898.


The third annual meeting of the St. Peters Ladies’ Benevolent Society was held on Wednesday evening in the local Town Hall. The Mayor (Alderman G. Farr) presided. The secretary (Mrs. Mackintosh) read the annual report, which was of a very encouraging nature. During the year 2,198 tickets had been issued, affording relief to 130 families. Seven special cases had been relieved, one person being sent to the Thirlmere Convalescent Home, and another benefited through the Fresh Air League. Special provision was made at the Christmas season to help the poor of the district….There was a credit balance at the bank of £172 6s 8d.

Mr. Rigg moved the adoption of the report and balance sheet, and made mention of the valuable services rendered to the society by Drs. Spencer, Tridall, Levy, and Watson……The following officers were elected for the ensuing year:- President, Mrs. Rigg; vice-presidents, Miss Talbot, Mrs. Woodly, Mrs. Russell, Mrs. Madgwick, and Mrs. Gordon; hon. secretary, Mrs. A. Mackintosh; hon. treasurer, Mrs. Russell; committee, Mesdames Young, Baker, McNaughton, May, Loudon, Harper, Beacom, Bowen, and Bradshaw; medical advisers, Dr. Spencer, Trindall, Levy, and Watson; auditors, Messrs. J. Bowen and J. McKechnie.

Mrs Madgwick was the wife of the Rev. Edward Madgwick, Rector of St. Peter’s Church, Cook’s River.

16th July, 1846.


J. RICHARDS begs to return his sincere thanks to the inhabitants of Cook’s River district, Newtown, and O’Connell Town, for the support he has received since he commenced coaching on that line of road, and wishes to inform them he has, at considerable expense, improved the comforts, per Defiance, of those who may continue their patronage and support.

The Defiance leaves Cook’s River Dam every morning at 8 o’clock, and afternoon at 3; arrives at Holman’s White Horse Tavern, morning at 9 o’clock, afternoon at 4; leaves the White Horse, morning at half past 10 o’clock, evening at 5.

N.B. A sober and experienced coachman.

17th July, 1895.



Mr. William Rigg the late member for the above electorate, addressed an enthusiastic meeting last evening from the balcony of Cook’s Pulteney Hotel, Tempe. Alderman R. H. Judd, J.P., ex-mayor of St. Peters, occupied the chair.

Mr. Rudd said it was about 12 months since he had had the honour of being elected to represent them in Parliament. During that campaign he had advocated certain measures, and he now came before them to say conscientiously and in all sincerity that he had kept his promises……..

Mr. T. Malone moved a vote of confidence, seconded by Mr. Harry Woodly. This was carried unanimously.

Cook's Pulteney Hotel, Tempe
Cook’s Pulteney Hotel, Tempe

18th July, 1857.

A single wicket match was played at the Cleveland Paddocks, on Saturday last, between T. Smidmore, of the Cook’s River Club, and W. Russell, of the Emu club, the scouts chosen for each player were, for Russell, J. Bryant and W. Jude; for Smidmore, F. Gannon and F. Nichols. The results of the score were as follows-


First innings Second Innings.

W. Russell, b Smidmore..       2 b Smidmore 3

No ball       1

Total         6


First innings Second Innings.

T. Smidmore, c Bryant        5                   not out                           2


Thus leaving the Cook’s River member to obtain an easy victory.

19th July, 1892.

A BOY named Harry Norman Bains, aged 6 years, was killed by the Kiama excursion train near St. Peters Station yesterday.

The inquest the next day states that,“Deceased was in the habit of attending the Camdenville Public School, and to get to that school he had to cross the Illawarra  railway line at Short -street, St. Peters.” Harry Norman Bains is buried in St. Peter’s Cook’s River graveyard.

20th July, 1850.


MR. QUINN, the Australian Tight Rope Dancer, will give his Farewell performance, prior to his leaving for England, on Monday next, 22nd inst., at 10 o’clock a.m., at Mr. Gannon’s, Union Inn, Cook’s River, upon which occasion he will go through the whole of his Wonderful feats on the Tight Rope: after which, there will be a Foot Race between a Wooden-legged man and a cripple for £5 a-side; also a Race with a Cat on the Water. The whole to conclude with the most daring feat of Mr. Quinn flying from the top of a tree across Cook’s River.

21st July, 1842.

It is said that one of the sluices in the dam at Cook’s River is so much out of repair that when the flood-gate is opened to drain off the fresh water it cannot be lowered again, by which means the salt water mixes with the fresh, and occasions it to be brackish. If this is correct it is desirable that the evil should be remedied.

Built in 1840, the dam, which was supposed to give Sydney, “an inexhaustible supply of fresh water,” already has problems. 

22nd July, 1853.

£300 for repairs to the Cook’s River Dam was opposed by Mr. COWPER, who submitted his belief that it would really be better to allow this ill-constructed affair to be washed away, and then build another, than to keep patching up from year to year a dam of this kind. He referred to Sir Thomas Mitchell’s evidence given before a select committee of that house in 1844, when that officer expressed his entire disapprobation of the whole structure.

Another newspaper, on the same day, disagrees with the costing of repairs, and recognises that the benefits of the dam are not a plentiful supply of water, but an opening up the the George’s River area;

The item £800, for repairs to the Cook’s River Dam, was opposed by Mr. COWPER, on the ground that the sum was insufficient for any real improvement, and that the Dam might as well be washed away, for any good purpose which it served. After some remarks from Mr. BLIGH and Mr. HOLROYD, who advocated the necessity of the vote, on the ground that a considerable traffic in fire-wood and garden produce was carried on over the Dam, the item was put and passed. The next item of £36 10s. for attending to the sluices at the Cook’s River Dam, was passed without opposition.

23rd July, 1855.

SIR – Some three or four months ago, a boy rambling in some scrub at the rear of St. Peter’s Church, Cook’s River Road, discovered a human skull, with a few other bones near it. On making the constable of the district acquainted with the circumstance, the remains, together with hair, a peculiar hat and belt, and the boots of the unfortunate, were put into a box, and taken, as was understood, to the dead-house of the Asylum. Since that time nothing, I believe has been done to elucidate this mysterious circumstance; but for anything to the contrary, the remains might as well have been buried on the spot where found. I believe had the box been left in the neighbourhood, so that its contents might be inspected, that some light would have long since thrown on this affair. I hope Sir, that some one will inform me and others where the box and contents now are, and what has been done. No human creature is so totally destitute but some one might be found caring, perhaps mourning, for him.

I am Sir, yours, &c.,


The burial register of St. Peter’s Cooks River gives no indication as to any burial at this time fitting this description. All burials at this time are of local family members. As the remains were taken to the “dead house of the asylum,” perhaps indicates that the burial was elsewhere.

24th July, 1895.


Mr. A. McKechnie attempted to address a large gathering from a cart upon the Railway Bridge, Newtown, last evening. Mr. McKechnie was received with hooting and shouting, and came in for some very severe treatment, being subjected to flour-bags and eggs.

Mr. Alderman W. Rigg addressed a large meeting at the Town Hall, St. Peters, last evening, when Mr. Harry Woodley occupied the chair. Mr. Rigg said that the electors of St. Peters did not require Mr. Flowers, as he was quite as much a representative of labour as he (Mr. Flowers) was.

Mr. F. Flowers addressed a meeting from a cart opposite the Town Hall, St. Peters, last evening at the conclusion of Mr. W. Rigg’s address. Mr. Flowers, in replying to the remarks of Mr. Rigg regarding his right to contest the seat, claimed justification upon the ground that he was a true representative of labour.

Town Hall, St Peters
Town Hall, St Peters

Mr. Flowers appears to have been the representative of the St. Peters Labour League. See the entry for 5th July 1895. In August of that year, Mr. W. Rigg became the member-elect for St. Peters, and, “entertained his committee and friends in the local Town Hall. There were about 100 persons present. The proceedings opened by each person being supplied with a long clay pipe and an abundance of tobacco, and the meeting at once lost all formality and entered into the pleasures of a social gathering.”

25th July, 1860.


The bad weather abated about five o’clock last night – and a bit of blue sky was perceptible over the heights of Paddington….A large portion of land in the vicinity of Cook’s River is covered with water, and the young crops of many market gardens are undergoing a process of destruction. Although we have heard of no serious injury to house property in this locality in consequence of the severity of the weather, the storm raged with such violence yesterday morning as to force several large trees from their perpendicular; they now present a “rakish” appearance, like the masts of some of our modern clippers.

26th July, 1894.


Edward Murphy, Stewart Ross, and Jane White were charged with having in their possession on the 11th July 14 moulds for the purpose of making counterfeit half crowns, another mould for counterfeit florins, and three others for shillings. These articles, with a quantity of block lead and tin, were found by the detectives in a house at St. Peters. The door of the house was opened to the officers by the female prisoner. Murphy and Ross had counterfeit coins in their possession when arrested. Murphy said that the coins found upon him had been paid to him on a racecourse, and that the moulds and other articles belonged to a lodger. Ross disclaimed any knowledge of the affair. The crown did not press the case against the woman, who by direction was acquitted. Both Murphy and Ross were found guilty, and were sentenced to be imprisoned and kept to hard labour for five years.

There is at least one other instance of counterfeit coin plants operating in the St. Peters area.

27th July, 1999.


This Council met on July 21. The Mayor (Alderman Ibbotson) occupied the chair… A letter was read from the Railway Commissioners in reply to council’s letter complaining of insufficient workmen’s trams from St. Peters and Enmore. The reply was that the 6.30 a.m. tram from St. Peters and the 6.45 a.m. tram from Enmore would be regarded as workmen’s trams from July 10. The Commissioners regretted that the 6.58 a.m. tram could not be made a workmen’s tram.

28th July, 1891.

MR. C. Delohery, S.M., presided at the NEWTOWN POLICE COURT. John Hazell, driver, and Thomas Feeney, carter, were fined 20s or seven days’ imprisonment for behaving in a riotous manner in May-street, St. Peters.

29th July, 1844.

I, Sir George Gipps, the Governor… by this proclamation, appoint and direct tolls to be demanded, levied, and taken upon the aforesaid parish road, leading from Sydney to Mudbank, at Cook’s River…


Of the Tolls to be demanded, levied and taken upon the Parish Road leading from Sydney to Mudbank, Cook’s River.

£      s.       d.

For every sheep, lamb, pig, or goat.       0      0       01/4

For every  ox, or head of neat cattle.       1

For every horse, mare, gelding, ass, or mule.       2

For every cart, dray, or other such vehicle

with two wheels, drawn by one horse or other animal.       3

For every cart, dray, or other such vehicle

with two wheels, if drawn by two horse or other animals.       5

For every cart, dray, or other such vehicle

with two wheels, if drawn by three horse or other animals.       7

For every cart, dray, or other such vehicle

with two wheels, if drawn by four horse or other animals.       9

For every horse or other animal above four,

drawing a cart, dray, or other such vehicle, with two wheels.       2

For every wain, waggon, or other carriage, with four wheels,

drawn by two horses, or other animals.       6

For every wain, waggon, or other carriage, with four wheels,

drawn by three horses, or other animals.       8

For every wain, waggon, or other carriage, with four wheels,

drawn by four horses, or other animals.     10

And for every horse or other animal above four,

drawing a waggon, or other such carriage, with four wheels.       2

For every gig, chaise, or other such carriage,

with two wheels, and drawn by one horse, or other animal.       3

For every gig, chaise, or other such carriage,

with two wheels, and drawn by two horses, or other animal.       5

For every coach, chariot, or other such carriage,

with four wheels, and drawn by one horses, or other animal.       6

For every coach, chariot, or other such carriage,

with four wheels, if drawn by two horses, or other animals.       9

For every coach, chariot, or other such carriage,

with four wheels, if drawn by three horses, or other animals.     10

For every coach, chariot, or other such carriage, with

four wheels, if drawn by four or more horses, or other animals.   1          0

The Tolls on Sunday to be the same as those taken on other days.

The toll was only levied once on each vehicle. This worked to the advantage of the numerous brick carters, who would use the Cook’s River Road to make more than one delivery per day. In so doing they would  also cause the greatest amount of damage to the road surface. The elections for the Board of Trustees of the Toll Road were often very  competitive. The Trustees would put each toll booth out to tender.

30th July, 1898.


At the Newtown Police Court yesterday before Mr. Dolohery, S.M. James Griffiths was charged with having on July 12 wantonly thrown stones to the danger of persons in Frederick-street, St. Peters. ……

Constable Rossiter stated that on the evening of the 12th instant he went to Frederick-street, St. Peters. A Mr. Hopkins was with him, also Sergeant Meyers. The three secreted themselves near to the residence of Mrs. Clarke. Her shop is about 90 feet from defendant’s place. He went with Hopkins to a yard at the rear of the residence of defendant. They saw defendant in his yard. He (defendant) went from there to a side entrance to his house. He remained about 15 minutes, when a man named Weekes, a female, and a man named Leigh, a grocer living opposite, joined him. They were talking for about about 20 minutes, when Weekes and the grocer went away, also the female. A little after that witness heard a stone lodge on the building occupied by Mrs Clarke. The defendant Griffiths was then in a passage. Immediately after the sound of the stone on the building he came inside the back way, there was a light in the room. He stayed there a few minutes, and again went back to the entrance to the passage. A few minutes afterwards witness got a box and stood it by the fence…….Defendant came  inside again….. Defendant then went out, and from the same spot as where he was standing before witness saw him. He stepped back and his arm was thrown forward. Simultaneous witness heard a noise which sounded like a stone lodging on a building. Witness had previously seen windows broken and slates damaged at Mrs. Clarke’s residence by stones being thrown…..Other evidence having been given, Mr.  Delohery said he found the case proven, and his only regret was that the section of the act under which the charge was laid did not allow him to impose a higher penalty than it did, viz., 40s…for he fully believed that it was a conspiracy on the part of several men, of which defendant was one of the ringleaders, to injure this woman, who had no husband to protect her, and so annoy her that she would be compelled to give up her business and leave the district….Defendant was then ordered to pay a fine of £2, together with 16s 8d costs of court; in default 21 days gaol.

31st July, 1834.

Miles Rourke, one of the prisoners who effected their escape from the gaol at Windsor, and for whose apprehension a reward of ten pounds was offered by the Government, was apprehended yesterday morning at Gabramarra, near Cook’s River, by the chief constable. On being interrogated, he produced the Sydney Gazette, wherein he had inserted an advertisement subsequently to his escape from custody, (having been apprehended on a charge of stealing wheat,) cautioning constables, and others against molesting him, he having lost his conditional pardon; the description given of his person in the said advertisement, agreed with that advertised in the Government Gazette.

Gabramarra is more than likely the Gumbramorra Swamp, a low lying area in what is now Marrickville.

August Calendar.

1st August, 1846.

COOK’S RIVER CHURCH – About three months since it was discovered that the timber in St. Peter’s Church, Cook’s River (which has not been built above seven years) was so much injured by the dry rot, and the ravages of the white ant, that there was reason to fear the building would fall down. Since that period the joists, flooring boards, columns, &c., have been examined, and replaced with other timber where requisite, and every possible precaution taken to guard  against such destruction for the future. The exterior of the church has been thoroughly examined and repaired, and once more presents a pleasing object from various points in the neighbourhood, being decidedly the neatest specimen of a country church in this part of the world. The necessary funds have been raised by the voluntary contributions of the Rev. Dr. Steele and his congregation. The church we perceive will be re-opened tomorrow, and the Bishops of Australia and Tasmania purpose being present on the occasion.

The church building is still standing today.

2nd August, 1892.



The ceremony of turning the first sod of the Marrickville to Burwood-road railway was performed yesterday by the Countess of Jersey. The weather was by no means favourable for the event, but a large number assembled at the spot on the Illawarra-road Marrickville, to watch the proceedings. The main street of Marrickville was gay with bunting, and the majority of people kept high holiday.

The contractors for the construction of the Marrickville to Burwood-road line are Messrs. Proudfoot and Co. …. The line leaves the Illawarra  main line at the southern end of the Marrickville station and crosses the Chinamen’s gardens.

The Marrickville Station mentioned here is now Sydenham Station. The name was changed when the new railway line opened and a station was constructed at Marrickville.

Countess of Jersey
Countess of Jersey

3rd August, 1892

AN inquest was held in the Putney (sic) Hotel, Cook’s River, yesterday afternoon on the body  of a man named William Robert Playford Graham, 35 years of age, who died suddenly on the previous day whilst running to catch  a train. The evidence tended to show that the deceased lately resided at Wentworth-street, Cook’s River, Tempe.  Medical evidence was to the effect that death was due to heart disease, and a verdict of death from natural causes was returned.

Union-street is not the quickest route from Wentworth-street to Tempe Railway Station. Via Unwin St. (now Station St.) is, which suggests a wrong street naming. William Robert Playford Graham is buried at St. Peter’s Church, Cook’s River.

4th August, 1843.


The Presiding Magistrate and Assessors…reported ….that the under-named individuals had been elected… as Trustees for the Cook’s River Road, viz – Michael Gannon, Leslie Duguid, Frederick Wright Unwin, Henry Kerrison James, Thomas Wilford – we, the under-signed Magistrates, do hereby declare the aforesaid individuals to be the trustees of the said Parish Road, … Given under our hands, at the Police office, Sydney, this 28th day of July, 1843.


2nd Police Magistrate.


Those elected were, Michael Gannon, former convict and hotel keeper;Leslie Duguid, one time treasurer of St. Peters, Church , Cook’s River, later dismissed from a bank for questionable dealings; Frederick Wright Unwin, a solicitor, his name lives on in our area with Unwin’s Bridge Road; Henry Kerrison James, Secretary to the Anglican Bishop Broughton, later resigning his position under a cloud; Thomas Wilford who lived at Thurnby, and appears to have been a trader of some description in sheep and cattle. 

5th August, 1848.

CANINE – A fight between Joe the Basket Maker’s dog, Spring, and Bob Clarke’s Looby, for £2 aside, came off at Cook’s River in the early part of the week. Joe and his wife seconded Spring, while Little Jack and Bob patted Looby to the scratch. The latter had the advantage of about six pounds in weight, but the little ‘un, nevertheless, showed his teeth to some purpose, and only turned tail from sheer exhaustion after a determined struggle of forty-five minutes duration. As the victorious Looby was about to be carried out of the ring, Mr. Joe strenuously protested against so unprofessional a proceeding, claiming the usual “right of search,” which having been accorded to, and duly performed by the lady, the affair terminated amicably.

Joe the Basket Maker, is Joseph Hilton, who was married to Elizabeth. For further information on Mrs. Hilton see the entry for 7th August, 1847. Dogs are still a popular diversion in the Cook’s River area.

6th August, 1895.


Last evening Mr. W. Rigg, the member-elect for St. Peters, entertained his committee and friends in the local Town Hall. There were about 100 persons present. The proceedings opened by each person being supplied with a long clay pipe and an abundance of tobacco, and the meeting at once lost all formality and entered into the pleasures of a social gathering. Songs were given by Messrs. J.D. Dunglinson, Alex. Edwards, P. Nesbit, and J. Carrick. The Minister for Lands entered the hall, and he was loudly cheered.

Mr. Rigg returned thanks for the splendid victory he, by the able assistance of his committee and loyal support of the people of the St. Peters electorate, had won.

The Minister for Lands said it was to him a source of pleasure to join with Mr. Rigg and his committee in enjoying a social evening, for in Mr. Rigg the electors of St. Peters had as their choice a man of sterling worth and straightforward conduct-(cheers)…..He had been besieged during the last few days with men asking not for money, but for what they should have no need to ask for – work. It was not the fault of the Government. There was plenty of work to do, but instead of happy homes and contentment they had miserable homes and discontentment, all through men in the Legislative Council rejecting the Loan Bill, which would have provided work for several thousand of men. (Loud cheers.) However, he trusted the future Parliament would be able to lift the dark cloud that hung around them, and that prosperity would soon return. (Cheers.)

An illustration of how things were in less politically correct times, and  the  effect of the great depression of the 1890’s on an area dominated by brickworks.

7th August, 1847.

FOUL TONGUE V. DIRTY LINEN – Elizabeth Hilton, who indulges in the classical soubriquet of “The Fighting Hen of Cook’s River,” with a complexion rivalling the mulberry, and whose frontispiece appeared to have been flattened by the application of a frying-pan, charged Sam Taylor, a brickmaker, with having “insulated her, and dirtied her linen, by discharging a quantity of lutarious liquid matter upon her three-and-sixpenny cotton of the newest pattern and make.” It appeared that Mrs. H., who is a sporting character of the very first water, (she, her husband, and dog, having offered to fight anything of equal weight, sex, and quality, in the Colony), applied to Mr. Taylor for a pair of cock’s spurs, which her husband had lent him and that he, instead of expressing gratitude for the loan, addressed her in language that could scarcely be tolerated even in the Court of Queen Victoria. In fact, on asking him a “werry civil kvestion,” he referred her to an animal much used by costermongers, and insulted her matronly dignity by a polite request to accommodate her with a round or two, which she (being out of condition) declined. A Mister Crisp, on the part of the defendant, however, turned the scales in his favour; and as it appeared that he was more sinned against than sinning, their Worships discharged him with a warning. Sam made an extremely polite and grateful bow, and departed, evidently well satisfied both with their Worships and himself.

Elizabeth Hilton, the “Fighting Hen,” and her husband are buried in St. Peter’s Church, Cook’s River, Graveyard. 

Hilton Grave
Hilton Grave

8th August, 1895.


A good deal of interest centred in a cross-summons case heard in the Newtown Police Court yesterday before Mr. Addison, S.M., when a youth named Frank Kinsey proceeded against Archibald McKechnie for having, at St. Peters, in a Mrs. Kemp’s shop, assaulted him by striking him: and Archibald McKechnie proceeded against Frank Kinsey for having assaulted him at St. Peters by throwing a stone at him during the holding of an election meeting. Mr. Abigail appeared for McKechnie and Mr. L. Gannon appeared for the boy Kinsey. Mr. Abigail, in opening the case, stated that as his client had already been before the Court in connection with this case as a complainant, and the mother of the boy had been fined for assaulting him, he thought the matter might be settled once and for all by each side withdrawing. The magistrate said he thought so too. Mr. Gannon objected, and the case was proceeded with. Evidence having been given, the Magistrate said he considered McKechnie was to blame for a good deal of the trouble, and he (Mr. Addison) intended to fine him and dismiss the charge against the boy. McKechnie was fined, with costs, £1 17s 8d.

Archibald McKechnie had lost a son Andrew, in a boating tragedy, which claimed seven lives, on Botany Bay in 1893, . Andrew McKechnie is buried in the graveyard at St. Peter’s Church, Cook’s River.

9th August, 1831.


Having seen in your paper of the 23rd ult. a letter from a Correspondent, signing himself A Settler, respecting the new line of road from Sydney to Parramatta and Liverpool, allow me to add a few observations on the subject…..

Why is it that distant roads should be carried on and thousands, or even tens of thousands expended upon them, and all for an uncertain good; whilst a few score, or hundreds of pounds, are denied for an object which must yield immediate benefit; and that not to Sydney alone, but for the whole population of the Colony? …..

But Sir, being of the number of those whom your correspondent denominates the unfortunate settlers living in the vicinity of Cook’s River, I am more particularly interested respecting that part of the road which refers to them; and shall endeavour to show, not only its importance to ourselves, but even to you that reside at head-quarters.

Is it of no consequence to the metropolis that a large tract of land, superior to what is generally round about its environs, should be laid open to every access for the inhabitants, &c. when this may be done by forming a line of road, for two miles only, over a nearly level country, together with a bridge? Do you complain of scarcity of timber? Here it may be had for the trouble of fetching; or we could afford to send it in to you at a low price, and take out manure in lieu of it….. I advance nothing visionary when I assert, that a near communication from this part would probably be the occasion of hundreds and thousands of acres becoming cultivated that now remain idle. Those in this neighbourhood, who now supply the Sydney market with vegetables, must have their carts in readiness at twelve o’clock at night, in order to be there in proper time; but if they submit to such inconvenience, it is to obtain high prices, which must certainly fall if there were greater competition, and consequently the good people in Sydney are sufferers by it; for it is a fact … that the consumer must pay in proportion to the hardship and expense of growing crops, and taking them to market……

I have the honor to be Sir,

your most obedient servant,


Eight years later the dam across the Cook’s River created the bridge required to open up the land in the St. George area. It was the one great economic benefit from its construction. The hoped for endless supply of fresh water from Cook’s River, to be created by the dam’s construction, never eventuated.

10th August, 1898.

CONDEMNATION OF BUILDINGS AT ST. PETERS – At a meeting of the St. Peters Municipal Council held on Monday evening the sanitary inspector, who had been deputed at a previous meeting to examine and report upon the dilapidated and unsanitary condition of dwellings in the borough, presented a detailed report giving full particulars of the condition in which he found a number of cottages and houses. Many of these he reported were in a very bad state, and likely to cause disease, whilst others were entirely unfit for human habitation. He recommended that the necessary notices under the Public Health Act be served on the owners in each case to have their dwellings put in proper repair and in a thoroughly sanitary state. During the discussion which followed the reading of the report, the Mayor said some people might think the council were acting harshly, but it was not so. The aldermen were only doing what the new public Health Act required them to do, and they must not shirk their responsibility, however unpleasant it might be. The report was adopted. It is stated that this is the first suburban council that has taken action in this direction, in accordance with the provisions of the Public Health Act.

11th August, 1842.

Bishop BROUGHTON suggested that labour should be employed in districts where land would likely to sell if there were accessible roads to it; and he thought it might be very well employed in forming a road to George’s River from the dam over Cook’s River; at all events, it ought to be so employed as to benefit both the government and the colony.

The GOVERNOR said there was some land in that neighbourhood which was ready for the market, but he had doubts about the proposed road and the dam over George’s River; it was practicable to construct a dam there, but it would be a most gigantic work, much larger than that at Cook’s River, and the same necessity did not exist for its construction, which could not be effected without a great deal of expense.

The Cook’s River Settler of 9th August 1831, may have lived to see a road constructed from Cooks River dam to the George’s River, but in spite of later efforts by Thomas Holt to promote a dam across the George’s River, it never became a reality.

12th August, 1833.

A gentleman named Wilson, we perceive, has commenced manufacturing starch upon an extensive scale at Cook’s River. We have received a sample, and recommend this article to the attention of the Public, it being of very superior quality. We invite our readers to examine the parcel in our possession, and are sure they will declare it equal to English starch, which for the future will not meet so ready a sale in Australia.

This early industry probably used water from Shea’s Creek in the manufacture of starch.    

13th August, 1874.

Yesterday morning an inquiry was held into the cause of the death of one Amelia Wilson, an inmate of Dr. Tucker’s Private Lunatic Asylum, at Cook’s River. From the evidence it appeared that deceased was received into the Asylum on the 23rd February, 1872. She frequently exhibited strong suicidal tendencies, and several times attempted to kill herself by cutting her throat or by strangulation. On Saturday night she was undressed and put to bed by the attendants, and at about six o’clock on the following morning she was found dead, hanging by a piece of rope fastened to an iron bar which served as a protection to the window-shutter. Round her neck was a piece of red flannel, and to this was fastened the end of the rope. The jury returned a verdict of “Suicide while in a state of unsound mind.” The deceased was forty-eight years of age, a native of the colony, and had been twice married. Her second husband is said to be alive.

Amelia Wilson is buried in consecrated ground at St. Peters Cook’s River as are numerous others, who have died from their own hand. Her headstone is still standing. 

14th August, 1891.


A number of gentlemen, including Messrs. Carruthers, Wheeler, Bavister and Danahey, representatives of Canterbury in the Legislative Assembly, and the Mayor of St. Peters, waited as a deputation upon the Minister for Works yesterday with a request that he would give instructions that a portion of the silt raised at the Shea’s Creek works should be carted on to a low-lying piece of land known as St. Peters Park. It was pointed out that the reserve, in its present state , was utterly unsuited for the purposes for which it was set apart, but that the objections to it could be removed by filling-in the low lying land in the way proposed.

Mr. BRUCE SMITH said he knew the condition of the St. Peters reserve, and had strong sympathy with the deputation in their desire to so improve it as to make it of use and benefit. He had consulted with Mr. Darley, and found that if the silt were carted on to St. Peters Park, an additional expenditure of 1s 3d per load of silt would be entailed upon the Shea’s Creek works. This was not an expenditure that should be incurred by the Works Department, which had nothing to do with the improvement and maintenance of parks…….ask the colonial Secretary, with whom was vested the care of parks, to place at the disposal of the Works department a sufficient sum to cover the cost of cartage. He had not the slightest doubt that if this were done the objects of the deputation would be fully carried out.

The Tempe area now has a wealth of parks along the banks of Cook’s River. Much of it is land reclaimed some time after 1891. St. Peters Park, whilst marked on maps, never became a recreational area. 

15th August, 1894.


Most of the suburban councils have been supplied with copies of the regulations issued by the Board of Health for the working of the Noxious Trades and Cattle Slaughtering Act, which came into force on 1st July…….From a conversation with the council clerks of several of the municipalities where these trades are carried on a representative of the Herald obtained the following opinions:-

Mr. RADFORD (council clerk Botany) said he thought it a most unjust thing to demand the same fee from all alike….. He considered £10 per year too much. …He expressed astonishment that piggeries were not included in the Act, and he thought tanners should be on a different scale from boiling-downs and such trades. With regard to draining into creeks, in Botany, if tanners were not allowed to do so they would simply have to close up. In the borough of Botany there were 14 tanneries, 5 wool-scouring establishments, 3 boiling-downs, and 2 fat extractors, which would in license fees yield to the council £240 per annum.

Mr. WATSON (council clerk, North Botany) considered that the Act would work well, and would be the means of stopping persons from carrying on such businesses who were not able or willing to put down proper plant. In his borough there were two glue makers, one slaughter-house, three tanneries, two leather-dressers, and 13 fat extractors, yielding from license fees £210 per annum.

Mr. MADDEN (council clerk, Alexandria) said when the Health Board wrote to the council clerks, asking them what fee they considered was sufficient to charge annually he suggested £2. In his borough there were three tanneries, five boiling-downs, one fish-oil works, which in license would  yield £90 per annum.

Mr. McINTOSH (council clerk, St. Peters) said his council had dealt with the regulations at a meeting on the previous evening, but as there was only one small tannery in the borough not much attention was devoted to them, but the aldermen expressed themselves as being pleased that this class of business was likely to be carried out on a scientific principle.

In Waterloo there are at least four businesses that will come under the Act.

St. Peters Council, which included Tempe, may have been comparatively free of noxious industries. What may have polluted the river in the Tempe area at the time were noxious industries in the West Botany Council area, which included Arncliffe.

16th August, 1842.




The Public are informed that the very great addition to the Improvements in the neighbourhood of Sydney, has now been completed, and placed in the hands of Mr. Stubbs for disposal, either by purchase, or for a very moderate ground rent and lease for nine-nine years.


The design of which, if carried out, will vie with some of the most splendid improvements of London, is situated


About a mile beyond


And commands a view of the windings of Cook’s River and the Harbour and Heads of Botany Bay.

Its situation secures the blessings of the SEA BREEZE in SUMMER, and the advantages of neighbourhood, soil, wood, water, &c., are obvious to all who take a drive on the Cook’s River Road.

The Interior of the Circus, with the roads leading thereto (upwards of six acres), and a reservoir of water, will be conveyed to trustees for the use of the purchasers.

Mr. Stubbs, therefore, only invites an inspection of this very desirable property; and the plan, on which it is more fully developed than on the grounds, may be seen at his rooms.

If not previously disposed of, THE ALLOTMENTS will be put up for sale early in SEPTEMBER, at an upset price of £5 per annum.

Auction rooms, King street.

Doomed to failure, perhaps because of the depression in the 1840’s, this was another grand plan that didn’t get off the drawing board.

Plan of Hanover Circus
Plan of Hanover Circus

17th August, 1842.

TO LET, the Cottage of Heathcot, within a few minutes’ walk of St. Peter’s Church, Cook’s River Road. The accommodations consist of six rooms, and possession may be given at an early day, or on 1st January next. Application to be made in writing to Mr. Duguid, Commercial Bank; and the Cottage may be seen at any time.

Duguid seems to had difficulty selling in selling, Heathcot, during the depression of the 1840’s. It stood on the site now occupied by the Southern Cross Hotel, on the corner of Princes Highway and Canal Road.

18th August, 1860.

Henry Kolm, aged twenty-seven, a half-caste native of California, who had earned a scanty living by cutting wood, &c., at Cook’s River, died suddenly at the “Bold Forester” inn. When too weak to work longer, the landlady of this inn (Mrs. Barden) had kindly taken him in, and had lodged, fed, and nursed him until he died. This kind lady well merited the thanks awarded to her by the coroner’s jury.

The license of the Bold Forester, was held by Mary Barden, her husband Levi having died in 1858, She is known to have worshipped in the 1870s, in what was the Wesleyan Church, in Hart St. Tempe, but was being used by at that time by the Anglicans. The building is now a private residence. A memorial window, provided by her in memory of Levi, can still be seen in St. Peters Anglican Church. Levi is buried in the church graveyard, Mary is not.

19th August, 1899.


The annual ball in connection with the Erskineville Benevolent Society took place on Wednesday evening in the Masonic Hall, Cook’s River-road, St. Peters. The decoration of the interior of the ball and supper rooms, together with the attractive dresses worn by the ladies, produced a gay and picturesque appearance. This society has been very successful in past years with its social movements, but the zealous endeavours on the part of a large committee of ladies led to this year’s event being still more successful and in every way superior to its predecessors. The gathering was attended by about 350 persons, amongst whom were:- the Mayor (Alderman G. Clarke), and many of the leading residents of Erskineville…

Investigations so far have not revealed the location of the Masonic Hall. 

20th August, 1846.

COOK’S RIVER ROAD TRUSTEES – Pursuant to Tuesday’s adjournment, Acton Sillitoe, Esq., as presiding magistrate, and Messrs. Robert Bourne and Joshua Fry Josephson, as Assessors, for the election of trustees for the Cook’s River Road, resumed their sittings at the Police Office, at noon, yesterday, and proceeded to the hearing of those proprietors whose votes had been objected to during the poll on the preceding day, when Charles Macdermott, of the Police Office, by producing his deed of purchase from John Kettle, to the amount of £300, for land in the Cook’s River district, had his vote allowed. Joseph Napoleon Dillon having, in like manner, proved his proprietor-ship in the same district, was also declared qualified as an elector. William Parrott having failed to prove that his property is within three miles of the Cook’s River Road, was found disqualified as a voter at the election of Trustees for the said road; as none of the other five persons whose votes had been objected to, appeared to repel the objections taken to their votes, their names were twice called over, and the objection sustained. The Chairman then declared the following gentlemen as being duly elected trustees for the said road, in terms of the Act, viz:-

Felix Wilson 38 votes.

F. W. Unwin 34    “

Lesslie Duguid       31    “

R. M. Robey 30    “

Henry K. James     29    “

The other persons names at the polling, but not elected were Messrs. Kettle, 13 votes; Oatley, 13; Hannam, 12; Flood, 6; Aldis 3; Parsonage, 2; and Moore,  1…….

Note how contested was, not only the election, but the right to vote.

21st August, 1861.


At the Commercial Chambers, in New Pitt-street, opposite the Exchange, there is a collection of small water-colour views, painted by Mr. S. C. Brees. The sketches, which are those of Australian scenes, number about sixty, and are all neatly framed. It is scarcely necessary to state that, though they display considerable merit, their value depends not so much on their qualities as paintings as upon their correctness as representations of well known or romantic spots in these colonies……The sketches taken at Cook’s River will be at once recognised by those acquainted with that locality…….Those who feel interested in seeing coloured coloured pictures of familiar spots, should take an early opportunity of visiting Mr. Brees’ collection previous to their dispersion, it being intended shortly to dispose of them by a distribution upon the principle of the English Art Unions.

The Art Gallery of Victoria holds one of these paintings, but who won the other one, and where is it?

Painting of Cooks River Dam by Brees
Painting of Cooks River Dam by Brees

22nd August, 1891.


….The Public school at St. Peters, in the school district of Marrickville, had a very successful Arbor Day yesterday. The Mayor and several of the aldermen of St. Peters were present, together with the secretary of the school board, local clergy, and a large number of residents. The Arbor Day cantata was rendered successfully by a chorus of about 400 children, under the direction of Mr. Guille, head master….. An adjournment was then made to the playgrounds, where the Mayor planted the first tree, and was followed by Alderman Fallick, Mr. Gibson, Rev. M. Manning (C.E.), Alderman Hayes, Mrs. Gibson, Mrs. E. Harber, Mr. Fleming, Miss Guille, Miss Miller, Miss Warner, and Mr. Guille, in the order named. Altogether 16 trees were planted. The cadets were paraded in front of the school, and together with the other scholars, to the number of 600, were provided with bags containing lollies, cakes, and fruit, supplied by Abel, the well known caterer. The visitors then inspected the infants department, the little ones performing musical exercises very creditably indeed, under the direction of their headmistress…..

Arbor Day was first celebrated in N.S.W. on 16th July 1890. The day being first celebrated in Nebraska in 1872. This Arbor Day was celebrated in August. Today it is celebrated on the Monday of the last week in July.

23rd August, 1892.

MR. W. J. LYNE, the Minister for Public Works, has determined to extend the tram line from St. Peters to Cook’s River dam, at an estimated cost of about £8000. It has been alleged that the tram line to its existing terminus does not tap a large amount of traffic between this point and the limit of the proposed extension. Specifications for the intended lengthening of the line will be prepared without delay, and as little or no resumption of land or property will be necessary, there is no obstruction in the way of the line being completed as quickly as possible.

24th August, 1861.

NEWTOWN RIFLE BUTTS – The Newtown Volunteers have been for some time past engaged in the construction of butts for the practice of musketry. They obtained the use of a marsh at the mouth of Cook’s River, admirably adapted for the purpose in every respect save the swampy nature of the ground and its liability to inundation by the spring tides. This difficulty, however, has been overcome by the industry and perseverance of the Company under the direction of Captain Eastwood. They have erected a large butt, surmounted by a strong ironbark barricade, in such a position that, from the firing points, it is in line with a high mound some distance to the rear. There is, therefore, little danger of bullets going very far astray even with the most ordinary shooting. Another advantage is the absence of traffic in the line of fire, except by water; and as the boats can be readily distinguished, it is not likely, with moderate care, that the safety of those who navigate the bay will be jeopardised….The entire range is 600 yards. Although these butts are not so comfortable as some others which have been constructed since the development of the volunteer movement, the Newtown corps have been fortunate in obtaining a practise-ground at so easy a distance from their rendezvous, and which may be reached so readily on foot or by bus.

At the turn  of the century a newspaper correspondent, and member of the volunteers, remembers; “The recruiting excursions (mostly unsuccessful) to Cook’s River, with drums beating and colours flying; the rifle shooting at the Cook’s River butts, and nearly hitting a sloop about a quarter of a mile out of the line of fire; and other such incidents, come trooping back to one’s mind through the dim mists of nearly half a century”. 

25th August, 1853.

A second inquest was held on Tuesday on view of the body of Jane Robinson then lying dead at the Benevolent Asylum. From the evidence it appears that the deceased resided at Cook’s River; that on Sunday evening, she was somewhat under the influence of liquor, and refused to go to her own bed, preferring to sleep on the sofa in the outer room. About ten o’clock the inmates and neighbours were alarmed by her screaming, and rushing into the room found her in flames. Dr. Norris, resident surgeon at the Benevolent Asylum, stated that he had examined the body of deceased, and found extensive injury of the neck, the fore part of the body, and both thighs; the injury being so extensive as to cause death. The jury found a verdict of accidental burning.

Jane Robinson was the forty-eight year old wife of a sailor, and is buried at St. Peters Church, Cook’s River.

26th August, 1848.

COCKING – A main of Cocks will be fought on Monday next at Gannon’s Cook’s River, for £5 the main and £1 the battle, between Puckridge and the Cook’s River Lads.

In 1835, cock fighting was banned in England, Wales, and the British Overseas Territories, whether this included N.S.W. is not clear. The sporting Michael Gannon, with his hostelry on the corner of what is now Gannon Street and the Princes Highway, Tempe, chose to ignore such legislation.

27th August, 1894.

CHURCH OF ENGLAND CEMETERY, ST. PETERS- Mr. Charles Hudson, of Hawthorne-street, Leichhardt, has received from the secretary to the Health Board a communication couched in the following terms:- “Sir – With reference to your correspondence respecting the present state of the Church of England Cemetery at St. Peters, I have the honour to inform you that the board, after making full inquiries into the matter, have recommended the proper authorities to take steps for the closing of the cemetery in question, and have also drawn the attention of the Public Instruction Department to the position of the underground tank at the local Public school.”

The last internments at St. Peter’s graveyard were on the 10th April 1896.

28th August, 1847.

MISTHER MALONE! OCH HONE – Jeremiah alias Jerry Finn, as nate and paceable a little body as ever twirled a bit of twig in the quiet ragions of Donnybrook, charged his countryman, one Johnny Malone, with having disposed of a cart load of lime, and forgotten to hand over the proceeds to their proper and legal owner, to wit, Jerry himself. Jerry and Johnny stood in the relative situations of master and servant, domiciling together with all the unanimity of brotherhood, in the Cook’s River territory, until the unfortunate misunderstanding, which was the subject matter in dispute. Johnny was sent with a load of lime to a specific destination, but, he, unluckily stopped on the road to indulge in a little conversation with Mr. Magg, a builder, which ended in the sale of the article for the sum of fifteen shillings.- “Well, what have you to say in your defence?” asked the Bench. “Shure, your Honors, jist this, I sold the lime, and got dhrunk wid de money.” “No doubt you fancied the liquor lime juice, and wer’nt aware of its power. So then, Mr. Malone, you wish to excuse one offence by pleading another. We must have a better explanation than that.” “Be me sowl, your Honors, the divil a better can I give: he towld me to sell the lime iv I could git a custhomer,” replied Johnny. “But did he tell you to get drunk with the money?” inquired the Bench most inquisitively. Johnny thereupon hung down his head, and preferred letting things take their own course: when his Worship very kindly postponed the case for a day, in order to give the delinquent an opportunity of procuring sufficient possible to satisfy the sharklike voracity of Jeremiah Finn, for wetting his lime.

Jeremiah Finn was a “master” limeburner on the Cook’s River, using shells from aboriginal middens and more than likely fresh oyster shells, in the production of lime.

29th August, 1898.

ST. PETERS TRAM SIGNS – Complaint has been made that some misunderstanding has been created by the trams running to St. Peters having the same destination signs as the trams running to Marrickville and Dulwich Hill, the junction of both trams being at Newtown Bridge. In order to make a difference, the Commissioners propose from the 1st proximo to adopt a new destination sign for the St. Peters tram, the new sign being two green crosses on a white ground. This at the same time agrees with the colour of the district trams, the Newtown tram generally bearing two green discs.


Throughout the lifetime of trams in the Sydney metropolitan area, the sign for the St. Peters / Cooks River tram remained two green crosses.

Tram signs

30th August, 1894.


A meeting of the above council was held on Monday, 27th August. The Mayor (Alderman Robert H. Judd) presided…. An application from Mr. George Williams for permission to erect a bridge-crossing to his premises in Cook’s River-road was referred to the chairman of works……Alderman Edwards moved, “That Mr. J. T. Lane be refunded the sum of 15s, being half the cost of a wooden crossing in front of his premises, Cook’s River-road.”… On the motion of the Mayor it was decided to write to Marrickville Council drawing attention to the manner in which the roadway was being washed away at the corner of Unwin’s Bridge-road and Sydenham-road.

Gutters on some highways were so deep between the road and the pavement, that property owners erected small “bridges” to enable access. 

Cooks River Road, St Peters
Cooks River Road, St Peters

J.T. Lane was a draper on the east side of Cook’s River Road. 

The west side of Unwin’ Bridge-road was in the Marrickville Council area the eastern side was in St. Peters. The upkeep of this section of the Sydenham-road and Unwin’s Bridge-road junction was the responsibility of Marrickville. The section of Sydenham Road mentioned is now Hogan St, Sydenham. 

Sydenham Rd map

31st August, 1895.



A public meeting was held last evening at the Town Hall, St. Peters, with a view to discussing the advisability of changing the name of the borough from St. Peters to Hampden, or any other name that might be agreed upon. The Mayor (Alderman Stuart) presided, and in stating the object of the meeting remarked that the movement was the outcome of a petition which had been presented to the council. If changing the name of St. Peters would do the borough any good he would be in favour of it but he considered the present name quite good enough, and unless he could be more fully convinced that some benefit would accrue from the change he certainly would not favour it. So far he was opposed to the proposal.

The Rev. E. D. Madgwick, after explaining that he was not the originator of the movement, although he was quite in favour of it, moved,- “ this meeting is of opinion that it is desirable, for the advancement and the general welfare of the whole district, that the name of the municipality should be altered, and that this meeting now decides upon an appropriate name in lieu of St. Peters.” The Rev. gentleman remarked that one of the principal arguments in favour of the change was that in all social and political matters, especially in requests to the Government for the wants of the district to be carried into effect, the name of St. Peters was sufficient to snuff out any deputation or any other movement. It rested with the people to bring about the remedy. Either Hampden or Sydenham would be preferable to St. Peters.

The resolution was seconded by Mr. Foskett and supported by Alderman Dunn.

Mr. Eagle opposed the motion. There was, he contended, no justification for the proposed change, and the district would not be benefited one iota by any alteration in its name.

Mr. Thomas Keep also strongly opposed the motion.

Alderman Hayes moved – “That the name of St. Peters stand as it is.”

Mr. Thomas Keep seconded, and several other speakers opposed the original proposition. The motion for changing the name was negatived by a large majority, and the amendment was carried.

The Rev. Edward David Madgwick, was the rector of St. Peters Anglican Church Cook’s River, from 1892-1899. His booklet, “An Historical Sketch of St. Peters,”was an attempt to generate funds for a Parish badly affected by the depression of the 1890’s. Published in 1896, he refers to, “under employed artisans,” populating the area, in contrast to the comparatively wealthy working class brickmakers of times past. The Rev. Madgwick seems to hope that with a name change, the fortunes of the suburb might change. There are only two Sydney suburbs, (the other being St. Marys) where a church has given its name to the suburb.

1st September, 1894.



On Thursday afternoon three little girls named Florence Carson, Dottie Oderton, and Florence Nebel (Uebel) were playing at the water hole off Unwins Bridge-road, Marrickville, when Dottie fell into the water. Florence (Uebel), a child of 9 years of age, courageously attempted to save her,..the struggling child seized her would-be rescuer and dragged her into the water. Florence Carson seeing what had happened uttered piercing screams, which fortunately were heard by Patrick M’Garry, who rushed to the locality and rescued Dottie: but Florence had already sunk. Some little time afterwards M’Garry recovered her body; but all efforts made by Dr. Patrick and others to restore life proved ineffectual, and the body was removed to the residence of the child’s parents.

Florence Uebel's headsto
Florence Uebel’s headstone

Florence was the daughter of Christian and Sarah Uebel. Christian had a grocers shop on the northern corner of Foreman St. and Unwins Bridge Road. Florence is buried at St. Peters Church. Her brother’s Robert and Charles  both fought in the 1914-18 war. Charles, aged 40 was killed in action at Paschendale. 

St Peters Church Honour Roll
St Peters Church Honour Roll

2nd September, 1867.


Margaret Poole, a little girl aged twelve years, in rags and apparently half-starved, was brought before the Court. She had been arrested by virtue of a warrant at the instance of Senior-sergeant Taylor. She had been living in a house on the Illawarra Road, Cook’s River. The persons with whom she was living named Hardy and Gardiner were drunken women and improper characters. The child was ordered to be sent to the Public Industrial School at Newcastle, and the Bench very humanely ordered her to be at once supplied with something to eat.

The Public Industrial School, Newcastle was housed in the former Military Barracks, and was opened in August of 1867, and closed in 1871. It had a very unsettled existence, providing a minimum education and very little for the girls to do, resulting in riots and unruly behaviour by many of the girls. 

Margaret Poole became a servant to a magistrate in Newcastle. In 1875 she married William Ison, in St. Paul’s Murrurundi, had ten children, and is buried in Uralla Old cemetery. 

3rd September, 1828.


A Coroner’s Inquest was held by Doctor HALLORAN, at the country residence of A. B. SPARK, Esq. Tempe Vale, Cooke’s River, on the body of Thomas Hussey, free, a shepherd, (recently hired in that capacity by LESLIE DUGUID, Esq.) who was accidentally wounded on Thursday, the 28th of August, by a young gentleman, who had arrived on a visit on the preceding evening, and who was amusing himself by shooting at the birds which frequent the banks of that river…. a very slender body of evidence was attainable; sufficient however to establish …that the fatal event was entirely the effect of accident.

George Atkinson, stockman, and assigned servant to JAMES MUDIE, Esq. deposed; -That .. he found the deceased, Thomas Hussey, lying by the side of the river,…about a quarter of a mile from the house of A.B. SPARK, Esq. with blood issuing from a wound in his forehead, groaning and speechless; … witness immediately turned, and called to one James Harvey, another servant on the farm, who was following him, and whom he left with the wounded man, while he returned to obtain further assistance, with the aid of Harvey, and of Edward Owens and his wife, he removed the body to the premises of Mr. Spark. Surgical assistance was immediately sent for, and in about two hours, Surgeon MITCHELL arrived, but in that interval, the deceased had expired; witness had been attracted towards the spot by the barking of dogs, and in approaching it was met by a young gentleman, who had been shooting in the neighbourhood, and who, with much apparent distress and agitation of mind (almost to the prevention of the power of utterance), told witness, “that in firing at a crane in the mud, he feared he had wounded a man, as he had soon after been alarmed by groans,” and pointing to a particular direction, desired witness to hasten and ascertain the fact. The same young gentleman afterwards accompanied the afore-named Owen and his wife to the spot, where the deceased lay, and directed the conveyance of the wounded man to Mr. Spark’s house, which was done accordingly, when the young gentleman immediately hastened to Sydney to procure surgical assistance.

James Mudie, Esq., deposed:- That the deceased, Thomas Hussey, had been engaged by Mr. Duguid, as a shepherd, and had arrived at Cooke’s River only a few days; that the young gentleman, who in firing at a bird had accidentally wounded the deceased, had arrived on a visit to him only on the preceding evening; that the parties were entire strangers to each other, and that on his (witness’s) going out on some business on Thursday morning, the young gentleman, his visitor had observed to him, that he would amuse himself during witness absence by shooting.

This was all the information that could be elicited, respecting the very melancholy event.

The gun, or fowling-piece, having been forfeited, as a deodand, a fine of five shillings to the Crown was directed to be levied upon it.

From  tenderness to his feelings, we have forborne the publication of the young gentleman’s name.

Cook’s River is spelt Cooke’s, throughout the article. 

Major James Mudie, an associate of A. B. Spark, came into conflict with Governor Bourke and returned to England. In 1837 he published ‘The Felony of New South Wales,” an attack on all whom he fancied had opposed him in the Colony. According to the “Australian Dictionary of Biography,” on returning to Sydney in 1840 he found himself ‘unwelcome’.

4th September, 1890.



… an action brought by George Walter Blanks and Bernard Lefobure, carrying on business at the Glebe as engineers, against E. Vickery and Sons to recover £199 19s. 1d. for work and labour done in the repair of defendant’s brickmaking plant at St. Peters, and materials supplied… Evidence was called for the defence, and James Murdoch, formerly manager of defendants’ brickworks,.. …. stated that he estimated the loss to the defendants in consequence of plaintiffs’ delay in repairing the machinery and furnishing a new cylinder for the winch at £160 or £170. He also considered plaintiffs’ charges exorbitant. John Ashley sub-manager for the defendants….stated the the two machines turned out from 80,000 to 100,000 bricks per week each…….

The significant point being, not who was guilty, but rather how many bricks were made by each machine.

5th September, 1891.

At the Water Police Court on August 28, a man named Fred. Smith was fined £3, or two months’ imprisonment, for throwing handfuls of pepper in the eyes of a female member of the Salvation Army who was taking part in a service in the streets of St. Peters.

In 1888 there were complaints made about the noise made by the Marrickville Salvation Army. By 1893 they had a place of worship in Mary St, St. Peters. 

6th September, 1871.

Henry Holt was fined 28s. for driving twenty eight head of cattle, not being either milking or working bullocks, during prohibited hours, in a public street, in the town of St. Peters, Cook’s River; and Robert Beckett was fined 5s. for allowing four cows, his property, to stray on the Newtown Road.

7th September, 1888.


A woman named Isabella Wright, 32 years of age, residing at Southern-street, St. Peters, met with a shocking accident yesterday afternoon. It appears that she was engaged washing clothes at the residence of a Mrs. Haydens, Cook’s River-road, St. Peters, when a piece of live coal or wood fell from the fire on to her dress, which immediately ignited. The poor woman screamed for help, and assistance speedily arrived, it was with great difficulty that the flames were extinguished, it was found that her dress had been completely burned off her. She was at once conveyed to the Prince Alfred Hospital and admitted by Dr. McAllister, who found her to be suffering from severe burns about the lower portion of the body and arms. The patient up to the time of our going to press last night was in a very critical condition.

Isabella Wright, the wife of John Wright, a tanner, died on 23rd September 1888, and was buried at St. Peters Church on 25th September 1888, the burial register has her address as Sutherland St.

8th September, 1849.

DEATH BY DROWNING – An inquest was held at Cook’s River on Thursday last, on the body of a man named John Coleman. It appeared that the deceased, between eight and nine o’clock in the morning, was employed in fetching water from a well; on one occasion a longer time absent than was usual or necessary, a search was made for him.  One bucket was found full, by the well side, when, as Coleman was short- sighted, it was suspected that the top of the well (one of the hinges of which was broken) had given way under him while in the act of drawing up the second bucket; grappling irons were secured, the body of the unfortunate fellow was pulled up – but quite dead. The second bucket being also found in the well, there is no doubt that the cover of the well had yielded to his weight while drawing it up, and thus his footing was taken away. The Jury returned a verdict of accidental drowning.

Deaths in St. Peters graveyard from drowning in a well, are usually of children. In the burial register John Coleman is described as a servant, 39 years, whose address is Cook’s River Road. 

9th September, 1865.

CHILD DROWNED IN COOK’S RIVER – On Monday afternoon, a child, named Alice Dive, was drowned in Cook’s River, near Unwin’s Bridge…. the City Coroner held an inquest…. The evidence showed that deceased, who was about eight years of age, attended the Roman Catholic school at Cook’s River. In returning from school on Monday afternoon she appeared to have got into a boat that was left near the bridge and pushed off into the stream. Two boys, school fellows, who were leaving school at the same time, stated that they saw deceased jump out of the boat into the river; becoming frightened, they ran away, and did not mention the occurrence until some time afterwards. Deceased’s body showed no indications of violence, and there was no evidence beyond the statement of the boys to account for the manner of her death. Verdict: “Deceased was found drowned, but how she got into the water we have no evidence to say.”

A subsequent newspaper account is headlined, “A Case of Great Suspicion,” and accuses a number of boys of giving conflicting evidence.

10th September, 1849.


To the Editors of the Sydney Morning Herald.

GENTLEMEN – As the impression seems to be entertained by some parties, that the proceeding yesterday at the Sydney Police Office, respecting the election of trustees of the Cook’s River road, exempts persons passing over that road from payment of toll, I have to request you will allow me, through your columns, to correct the error. The tolls in question are legally demandable by the lessee, to whom they have, in pursuance of the Parish road Act, 4th Vict., No.12, been duly leased for one year from the 1st January last; and the non-election of the new trustees in no way affects his right to demand them.

I am Gentlemen,

Your obedient servant,


312, Pitt-street, Sydney,

Since 1843, there had been an election for trustees of the Cook’s River Road. Elections, which were to have been held in August 1849, were held in November of that year. The trust seemed to have found itself in financial difficulties at that time, and was incapable of making improvements to the road. 

11th September, 1838.

BUSHRANGERS – Two of this class have lately kept the residents in the neighbourhood of Cook’s River and adjacent parts in a state of excitement. An attempt was made by them the other night to rob the house of a person on the Surry Hills, but they were frightened from their purpose by hearing the proprietor call out for his gun, on which they made off. A party of Police have been engaged for the last three or four days in searching the country about Cook’s River for them, but without success.

The “Respectable Sydney Merchant,” Alexander Brodie Sparke of Tempe House, in his diary makes no mention of this event, though in December of the same year, he records, “Drove out…. to Tempe. On the way we were warned by a man.. that there were five or six bushrangers in my  paddock. We were not disturbed by them.”

12th September, 1833.

TUESDAY – John Brailsford and John Curling, assigned to Mr. Adam Wilson of the Starch Manufactory at Cook’s River, were brought up by their master, who complained that his place was kept in the greatest uproar for the last three or four days, in consequence of the riotous conduct of the prisoners, who were continually quarrelling with the other workmen. On Sunday last they met a fellow servant in the bush, whom Brailsford demanded money of, at the same time assaulting him and knocking him down, in which he was assisted by the other prisoner. Brailsford was sentenced to receive 50 lashes; Curling 25, and to be returned to their master.

A newspaper report dated, 12th August, 1833, reads, “A gentleman named Wilson has commenced manufacturing starch upon an extensive scale, at Cook’s River. A month to the day it appears he has labour problems.

13th September, 1898.


(Before Mr. Justice Stephen and a jury of four.)

CLAIM FOR £1200.

Gentle v. Bakewell (part heard).

Josiah Gentle (plaintiff) sued William Bakewell, (defendant) trading as Bakewell Brothers, for £1200 as compensation for injury to land belonging to him

According to the evidence tendered the parties were proprietors of brick-kilns adjoining each other in the vicinity of Cook’s River-road and Waterloo-road Alexandria. The plaintiff claimed that the defendant, by making certain excavations near the boundary line of the respective properties, had deprived him of the use of 1600 cubic yards of soil, which had slipped away from plaintiff’s land and gone into that held by the defendant in consequence of excavations made by Bakewell.

The case stands part heard.

14th September, 1874.

FATAL ACCIDENT – On Saturday, about twenty minutes past 5 o’clock, a man named William Rowswell, aged 59 years, a gardener at Arncliffe, Cook’s River, was killed by the upsetting of his cart, while driving through the bush off the Rocky Point Road to his residence. Deceased, it appears, was under the influence of drink when seen about half-a-mile on the Sydney side of Barden’s public -house, on the Cook’s River Road. It is believed the cart came into collision with a stump. An inquest will be held at half-past 9 o’clock this morning, at the Tempe Hotel, Cook’s River.

Tempe Hotel in 1950s
Tempe Hotel in 1950s

William is buried at Rocky Point Cemetery, which is most likely the graveyard of St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Kogarah. Barden’s public-house was the ‘Cottage of Content’, on the site of what is now ‘The Valve’, Tempe. 

The Tempe Hotel was on the site that is now Woolworths, Wolli Creek.

15th September, 1870.



Samuel Wilson, 9, was charged with having stolen two loaves of bread, of the value of 8d., and Ellen Wilson, the boy’s stepmother, was charged with having feloniously received the said loaves. Constable Downes deposed that about 7 o’clock this morning, being on duty on Cook’s River road, he saw the male prisoner take two loaves of bread from a baker’s cart and carry them into his father’s house; witness followed the boy, and asked him where was the bread he had taken from the cart; he said that it was in the room, and went into look for it, but returned saying that he could not find it; witness then asked the female prisoner about it, who said that it was not there; witness then went into the room, and on searching found two loaves of bread concealed under the table cloth; then arrested both prisoners, and charged one with stealing, and the other with feloniously receiving the bread; the boy admitted that he stole the loaves, but the woman said nothing. The boy pleaded guilty. He was admonished and discharged. The woman was acquitted.

The boy Samuel Wilson was then charged under the Industrial Schools Act with being under the age of 16 years, and having no visible lawful means of support. Constable Downes deposed that at 7 o’clock this morning he apprehended the boy at his father’s residence, Cook’s River, on a charge of larceny, of which he has since been convicted. James Chisholm of Cook’s River, baker, deposed that the defendant resides with his parents at Cook’s River: and has continually seen him walking about, he does not work or go to school, and believes that he has no visible lawful means of support. Their Worships ordered the boy to be sent on board the Vernon.

 Boys on the 'Vernon" 1870s
Boys on the ‘Vernon” 1870s

The former merchant sailing ship ‘Vernon’ was purchased in January 1867. It was refitted and declared a Public Industrial School in May 1867. The ‘Vernon’ was initially moored between the Government Domain and Garden Island. Admissions commenced on 20 May 1867 and by July the following year, 113 boys had been admitted, with some as young as three being sent to the ship. On board, the boys were given moral training, nautical and industrial training and instruction, and elementary schooling. In 1871 it was moved and moored off Cockatoo Island. The island provided a small plot for the boys to have a vegetable patch and for use as a drill ground and recreational area.  

16th September, 1848.

THE FALL OF NAPOLEON – “A shocking young blackguard,” according to the criticism of Captain Innes, bearing about him the sonorous title of John Napoleon Dillon, and not improbably related to the celebrated Chevalier d’industrie of that name, was saddled by Mr. John Hurley, of Cook’s River, with having borrowed his prad (horse), a spicy little animal of the cob kind, and after having amused himself with it a day or two, returning it to its legitimate owner, minus the pig skin. Mr. Hurley had occasion to leave his suburban retreat, for the less pure atmosphere of Sydney: and in order to fortify himself against the perils of the journey pulled up at Gannon’s, the Old Sportsman, and left the animal hanging to a post. After having popped off a stone fence, he went out to remount his steed, but to his excessive disappointment he found it had been walked off; and that the only chance he had of reaching the metropolis was by using his own trotters instead of his prad’s, being a good tempered man, however, and a philosopher, he tried another of Gannon’s comforters, then retrograded homewards. Two days afterwards the animal returned without the caparisons, and Mr. Hurley then ascertained that John Napoleon Dillon had taken the horse out on a spree, and fenced his trappings to keep up the lark. But it was no joke for Mr. Hurley, or for Napoleon, who found the Bony-part of a policeman’s fingers on his neck-cloth, and himself hurtled into a small and secure retreat, where the only liberty he could enjoy was the liberty of recalling the traces of the harness and the evil effects resulting from them in his own mind. Napoleon in confinement and fallen from his high estate was an awful object of contemplation, and Napoleon behind the bar of the police office was not a whit less so. But luck was for once in his favour, for the bold Captain who was endued with the same magnanimous feelings as the Iron Duke for a fallen foe, set Napoleon free, by informing his worship the Mayor, that Nap was a sad young blackguard who had sold the property without any felonious intention, but merely to keep up a drunken spree. Napoleon bowed submissively to the flattering criticism, and left the court with a telegraphic celerity which recalled strong remembrances of the precipitate retreat of his namesake from Waterloo.

Briefly, Dillon stole John Hurley’s horse, whilst it was tied up outside Gannon’s Inn, at Tempe.  The horse was returned to its owner, without its saddle, which Dillon had sold, whilst drunk. Another report has Dillon, arrested by John Harris, the Cook’s River constable, and Captain Innes being satisfied that his being in custody for two days was punishment enough.   

17th September,  1860.



Population   Number of Deaths    Death rate per 1000.

1856   1857   1858   1859

Balmain. 3500     51       78      58 18

Glebe, &c. 6000     13     165     141 24

Chippendale. 5532             161     198     171 32

Paddington.         6000   109     134     113 20

Concord. 2000     40       41      39 20

St. George. 2600     87     105     111 38

St. Leonard’s. 2591                42       63      58 21

From this table it would appear that the most healthy of all the suburbs is Balmain; the least healthy, St. George, which includes Botany, Cook’s River and parts of Camperdown and Petersham.

Whilst all internments in the graveyard at St. Peters, are not from this designated St. George area, comparisons can be made. 

Burials at St. Peters for 1857 were 22, in 1858 the number 44, and 1859, there were 48 burials.    

18th September, 1858.

EDWARDS V. WELLS – This was a suit for £12 14s., balance of account for work and labour done, and materials provided by order of the defendant, who is owner of a building in course of erection at Cook’s River – the plaintiff being a plumber. The material consisted of lead, for which 10s. a cwt. was charged; and 1s. 6d. a pound was the price of the soldering, the work being ridges and guttering. The plaintiff asserted his charges to be fair and proper ones, and reasonable enough considering the distance he had to go to his work. Witnesses supported him. For the defence it was contended there had been a special contract entered into at Sydney prices, and that therefore the fullest amount due was about £3 7s. 6d. Plaintiff, it appeared, had some work for the defendant on former occasions, and no specific agreement had with reference to this work been entered into. Verdict for plaintiff for the amount claimed.

This dispute involving William Wells, possibly refers to the building of ‘Nelson Lodge’, a substantial sandstone residence, on Unwins Bridge Road, Tempe. Wells, was at one time, mine host of the Lord Nelson Inn. Both buildings are still standing.   

Nelson Lodge
Nelson Lodge

19th September, 1893.


At the NEWTOWN POLICE COURT yesterday, Charles Hinchey, 19, John Fitzroy, 19, William Tucker, 17, John Leonard, 17, were charged on remand with, in company, breaking and entering and stealing from the dwelling of Chong Sing, one box, 3s. in money, and a rifle, the total value being £1 8s.

Senior-constable James Curry, stationed at St. Peters, stated that on 9th September he saw the accused running along Darlington-road, and gave chase. He was on horseback and in plain clothes. Overtaking them he told them who he was and called upon them to stop, which they did, but whilst he was dismounting, they ran away again. That occurred twice. He followed and arrested Hinchey. Subsequently he arrested Fitzroy.

Constable W. P. Bannon gave evidence as to the arrest of Tucker and Leonard.

Chong Sing stated that he was a Chinese gardener at Mitchell-road, Alexandria. On the 9th September he securely fastened up his house and left for market shortly before 7 o’clock in the morning. On returning at half-past 11 o’clock he found that the back window had been broken to effect an entrance, the house ransacked and the articles named stolen.

Thomas Pilkington, butcher, of St. Peters, stated that on the morning of 9th September, whilst on his rounds, he saw three men hurriedly come out of Chong Sing’s house and join a fourth man. Witness saw one of them leave Sing’s house by the window. One was carrying a gun, another was concealing something under his coat. They all ran away. He could not swear that the prisoners were the men. He chased them a good way, and saw Senior-constable Curry chasing them. The men whom Curry chased were the men witness saw coming out of Sing’s house.

The accused reserved their defence and were committed for trial at the Quarter Sessions, each being allowed bail, himself in £100 and two sureties of £50 each, or one of £100.

In 1889, there were a considerable number of Chinese in the area. At a meeting of the London Missionary Society in Sydney, we learn, “Mr. J. B. Stone – who at Cook’s River among hundreds of Chinese, had worked for many years, visiting them Sabbath by Sabbath, and telling them in their own language the story of the Gospel.”

20th September, 1895.

ST. PETERS CEMETERY – Considerable discussion has taken place lately among the residents of St. Peters relative to the powers of the local municipal council in the matter of preventing further burials in the local cemetery attached to St. Peter’s Church. The matter was brought under the notice of the aldermen at their last meeting by the receipt of a long letter from one of the ratepayers of the district, who complained of the danger to health caused by the continued interments. Last year there were nearly 100, and this year about 40 had taken place. At the meeting referred to Alderman Hayes moved, – “That the by law committee be called together in order to frame by laws to prevent any further interments in the cemetery.” The Mayor suggested that if they would leave the matter in his hands he would put a stop to burying by imposing a fine of £500 in every case. Alderman Edwards moved, as an amendment, – “That a vote of the ratepayers be taken respecting the closing of the cemetery;” but the motion was carried by a large majority.

The 10th April 1896 saw the final burials in St. Peters graveyard, that of Gladys Rogers some time after 1. 15 p. m. and after 3. 00 p. m. that of Sarah Ann Sargent. 

21st September, 1995.



Sir – On Thursday, 12th September, a large and representative deputation waited on the Minister for Works to urge the absolute necessity of at once proceeding with Mr. Darley’s scheme for the improvement of Cook’s River, estimated to cost £36,000.

Mr. Secretary Young’s reply was practically this:- “That he would not recommend the matter for the consideration of the Public Works Committee unless the municipal councils concerned agreed to repay the principal and interest incurred by the outlay, such repayments to extend over 60 or 100 years,” which being interpreted, means – Can do nothing for you.

It is the unexpected that always happens, for in less than a week after hearing Mr. Young pronounce the foregoing, I find the sum of £76,000 upon the Estimates for reclamation and dredging, &c., Cook’s River, the Estimate passing the Legislative Assembly on Tuesday last…. I trust the good news is true, and that the desire of the deputation, representative of 75,000 inhabitants of the district surrounding the river, will be speedily realised. Briefly stated, the following facts and reasons have been placed before the Secretary for Public Works to show the necessity for immediate attention:-

1. That the river is virtually locked by the dam at Tempe, the said dam having been thrown across years and years ago, when the population in the locality was comparatively nil.

2. That the river is a natural highway, and should be preserved as such.

3. That the accumulation of sewage matter and filth because of the lock in the river is a positive menace to the health of the residents.

4. That if the present state of things is allowed to continue the river will, in a few years, be silted up altogether.

5. That what is now a plague spot may again be made a resort for pleasure and healthy exercise.

6. That the free admission of tidal waters would make Cook’s River worthy of the name, instead of what it now is – a stretch of stagnant water.

I am, &c., W.W. CLARKE.

Note that one day separates the newspaper articles, for the 20th and 21st of September. We leave the reader to evaluate, whether the graveyard or the river posed a greater danger to the health of residents in our area.

22nd September, 1899.


A special meeting of the Marrickville Council was held in the Mayor’s room at the Town hall on Wednesday evening for the purpose of considering what steps should be taken to better the condition of Cook’s River…..The Mayor explained that he had called the meeting in response to a largely signed petition from ratepayers living on the banks of the river, who complained that the state of the stream was dangerous to public health, and in much worse condition than before the improvement works were commenced.

Alderman Benson referred to the steps taken some three or four years ago, which had resulted in the matter being placed in the hands of the Public Works Committee. The committee had adopted a scheme practically on the same lines as indicated by a report of the council’s borough engineer. A sum of £17,000 had been voted by Parliament, and although a sum in excess of this amount had been expended on the work, instead of improving the stream it had made it worse than before. The dredging had been work of a costly character, and about 15 months ago representation had been made to the Minister of Works,……. that much better results would be obtained with a sand-pump, such as that used at Leichhardt and Rozelle. Mr. Hickson, …explained that it would be impossible to take a sand-pump up the river to the place where it was needed owing to the obstruction caused by Tempe dam. Alderman Benson concluded by moving,- “That this council invites the Mayors and aldermen of Canterbury, St. Peters, and other councils, together with the various members of Parliament residing in these boroughs, to form a deputation to wait on the Minister of Works, to urge upon him the necessity of completing the work of dredging and improving Cook’s River, the action of the Government in lowering the original water level having the effect of increasing rather than relieving its insanitary condition, and which under existing circumstances is a menace to public health.”

The Mayor said it seemed to him that the whole cause of the trouble rested with the government in constructing Tempe dam as a cheap sort of a bridge, which prevented the water carrying off the accumulation of rubbish which continually found its way into the stream. He regarded the matter as one of national importance….

Four years, and a considerable sum of money later, changes have been made, but not improvements. 

Cooks River Dam

23rd September, 1883.

At Newtown, on Thursday, before Mr. John Dillon, S.M. the case of Ambrose Laraghen v. Senior-constable William Hatfield, for an assault committed on Cook’s River-road, adjourned from last week, was decided. After hearing several witnesses for the defence, Mr. Dillon said that it was well known that he had upheld and would always uphold the police in the execution of their duty; but when a member of the force, vested with authority, carried (as in this case) a heavy mounted whip – which a constable had no right to carry – and then grossly and unwarrantably assaulted anyone, his offence must be measured by the amount of authority reposed in him; and from the evidence – especially defendant’s own evidence – he had no doubt such an assault had been committed. Defendant was fined 60s. and 10s. 10. costs, 21s. complainant’s costs, 15s. for three witnesses, or two months in gaol.

Between 1879 and 1884, William Hatfield committed four assaults on members of the public, largely for minor misdemeanours. In one instance his “demeanour before the bench showed a certain amount of excitability and want of self control.” 

24th September, 1836.

BUSHRANGERS – On Wednesday evening last, three armed men went into the hut of a man named Reynolds, near Mr. Spark’s farm, at Cook’s River. One of them told Reynolds to sit down, and put a musket to his breast; the other man, who lived in the hut with Reynolds, called out for Tom, which the bushrangers hearing and fearing they might be overpowered, quietly walked out of the hut without committing any depredation; one of them observing the other two were b-y cowards not to go to work. The men in the hut do not know the bushrangers by their voices – they all had woollen caps drawn over their faces, cut in the shape of masks.

25th September, 1841

Sydney Gazette.

MELANCHOLY CIRCUMSTANCES -The family of Mr. Arthur Manning, was plunged into the deepest distress, by the unexpected death of Mrs. Manning, on board the steamer ‘William the Fourth’, as that vessel was rounding Miller’s point, returning from Brisbane Water on Wednesday last. The unfortunate lady had been seriously indisposed before she left Brisbane Water, but the approach of death so suddenly, was an event for which her relatives were not prepared.

Frances Maria Manning is buried in St Peters graveyard. She was 27 years old and had given birth to a daughter in July of the same year. Her husband Arthur was the brother of William Montague Manning, who became Solicitor General in 1844. 


26th September, 1871.

DISCOVERY OF A SUPPOSED ILLICIT STILL – About midday on Saturday last, Mr. Lumsdaine, the Inspector of Distilleries, acting on certain information received by him, accompanied by two police constables and others, left Sydney to pay a visit to a house situated about two miles beyond the Cook’s River Dam, and about equi-distant between that place and Sans Souci, at which the party arrived about 2 o’clock in the afternoon. The house is very retired and situated in the centre of a dense scrub. It contains eight rooms: but one half of the building would appear to have fallen into a state of disrepair, and in this part of the house the operation of distillation would seem to have been carried on. The occupant of the house is believed to be a man named Grose. On the visitors entering the house – their visit apparently unforeseen – they saw on the floor a quantity of fluid, which turned out to be a mixture of sugar and water, while some small vessels about contained a liquid of a similar nature. A copper vat, which in a state of repair must have held from 16 to 20 gallons, was found cut to pieces, as if from the blows of a tomahawk; and a number of small casks were discovered in such a state as to lead to the supposition that they must have received a like treatment. Further search revealed about half a dozen casks of something like the capacity of hogsheads, and three or four of smaller dimensions. The ground outside the house was next investigated; and it was noticed that there was in the bed of a creek that runs past the house, a piece of piping that appeared to be a portion of a distilling apparatus.

27th September, 1899.

Stone Throwing – At the Newtown Police court yesterday John Talbot was charged with having on September 8, in Railway-road, St. Peters, wantonly thrown stones to the danger of persons passing therein. The evidence showed that the accused picked up a piece of metal from the road and struck a girl on the head with it. The accused was ordered to pay a fine and costs of £1 17s 8d, in default six hours’ imprisonment in the cells.

28th September, 1841.

An inquest was held yesterday morning at the Wheat Sheaf, public house, Parramatta Road, on the body of a man named Stephen Leonard, who was employed as a limeburner at Cook’s River, where he was discovered hanging by the neck to the limb of a tree on Saturday morning. He had been drinking excessively for several days previous to Wednesday last, when he suddenly disappeared from among his companions, who sought him in vain, until Saturday morning, when he was found suspended in the manner described. The jury returned a verdict on the certificate of Mr. Surgeon Cuthill, that the deceased had “hanged himself in a fit of temporary insanity, brought on by excessive drinking.

From its earliest days the consumption of alcohol, by, in particular, lime burners, shell gatherers, fishermen, and charcoal burners in the Cook’s River area has had, the most unfortunate consequences. This entry and the following two are witness to the outcomes from such behaviour over a period of over twenty years.  

29th September, 1864.




One of the most pleasant localities around the Metropolis whither the excursionist may indulge in a quiet drive on a fine afternoon, is along the Newtown road, and away down to the Cook’s River Dam: and so it would seem, the Sydney folk think, judging from the continuous line of omnibuses and other vehicles which, on Sundays and public holidays, are to be seen  dashing along the great macadamised thoroughfare of Newtown, and down the Cook’s River road…….

Taking leave of Newtown, the scenery henceforth assumes a more rural aspect: small brick cottages, with here and there a building of more pretensions, are scattered profusely around, giving a pleasing animation to the scene. The broad and expansive sheet of the waters of Botany Bay next presents itself, with its calm and placid surface glistening in the sunlight far away to the southward. On turning a sharp bend in the road, about a quarter of a mile from the collegiate school, the pretty, picturesque parish church of St. Peter’s is seen peeping through a grove of native trees in the distance. Its tall spire towering majestically above the rustling foliage. After passing St. Peter’s, gentlemen’s mansions surrounded by beautiful gardens line the road on each side, until the village of Tempe, at Cook’s River is reached.

There is nothing particularly attractive about this village, the houses, for the most part, present a mean appearance, the chief attraction being the splendid view obtained of the Bay from the Dam – a broad embankment which serves to divide the waters of the river from those of the bay, and also serves for a crossing place for teamsters. A magnificent view of the Bay is obtained from the centre of the Dam. A mighty expanse of water spreads out before you, sea-like in its dimensions, with countless clusters of stunted mangrove trees scattered over the prospect: whilst, as if to add fresh beauty to the enchanting scene, a smart-looking fishing smack may be seen here and there cautiously threading her way through tortuous channels of the shallow waters, her swelling canvas glistening snow-like in the sunlight.

View from Cooks River Dam
View from Cooks River Dam

The inhabitants of Tempe are chiefly composed of fishermen, shell-gatherers, and lime-burners. These men, generally speaking, are a hardy and industrious class; but unfortunately, for years past, have been notoriously addicted to intemperance. Within the last few months, however, a happy change has been effected in the social condition of this little community. This change is chiefly owing to the exertions of a few earnest, well-meaning members of that glorious little band of philanthropists who are silently, but unceasingly, achieving a blessed future for Australia; “And who are these noble men?”…They are the members of an association which is fast becoming one of our greatest institutions – the Band of Hope….A few members of the above mentioned association, on becoming acquainted with the pitiable moral and social condition of the half-maritime denizens of Cook’s River, initiated a Temperance Society at Tempe, about twelve months ago.. On one of the recent holidays, the members of the Tempe Temperance Society (about fifty in number) marched in procession from Tempe to Newtown, with banners waving and brass band playing lively temperance airs, along as they went. The innkeepers in many instances stood on their doorsteps, and made themselves ridiculous by hooting the procession as it passed along… In conclusion: I am afraid my readers will accuse me of having sadly wandered from my subject…However for the present, I must throw myself on the mercies of my kind readers,,.. BUSHMAN

Newtown, Sept, 1864.

What has to be borne in mind when reading such a description of the dam and Botany Bay, is that in the 1940’s the course of the Cook’s River was diverted south east to accommodate the airport. 

St. Peter’s Church lost its spire in 1963.

30th September, 1857.

DEATH FROM DROWNING – An inquest was held yesterday at the‘Fortunes of War’ public-house, Cook’s River, to enquire into the death of Patrick Johnstone. The deceased was a shell man, and on the 21st instant was going down in a four-ton boat to the Pelican bank with two other men – one of whom was drunk – when, in taking down the sprit of the sail, he fell overboard and was drowned. The owner of the boat, George Taylor, threw the deceased a paddle, but he seemed too frightened to use it. The night was dark, and the weather was stormy when the accident occurred. The body was not picked up till a week afterwards, when it was much disfigured by sharks, but it was recognised by a portion of the dress. The jury returned a verdict of accidental death, and acquitted the parties in the boat of all blame.

The  boat appears to have been quite large, in contrast with many shell boats, which were narrow, and unstable. The Pelican bank is now Pelican Point,  Kurnell, near the mouth of the Georges River.

1st October, 1897.



At a meeting held at Dr. Patrick’s house, Marrickville-road, it was resolved to form a club, to be known as the Marrickville Golf Club. The following office-bearers were duly elected:- Patron, Mr. Fred Gannon; president, Dr. Charles Patrick; vice-president, Mr. E. Ashdown; hon. secretary, Mr. E.W. Boake; hon. treasurer, Mr. A.T. Jones; committee, Messrs. Thiel, Carter, and W. D. McIlvride. The club through the kindness of Mr. Fred Gannon, secured excellent links at Tempe, close to the railway station. The course is well turfed throughout, the soil is of a sandy nature, and some of the hazards, notably a cliff on the banks of Cook’s River, are of decidedly sporting character.

In 1907, with newly-built houses encroaching on the Tempe course, it was decided to move the Marrickville Golf Club across Cooks River to Arncliffe. The club’s name changed to Bonnie Doon, after the home of Myles McRae, which was used for a time as a clubhouse.  In 1950   extensions were made to Mascot Airport, and with Cooks River being diverted through its fairways, Bonnie Doon moved to Pagewood. The Arncliffe site is now the The Kogarah Golf Club 

The present Marrickville Golf Club has no common roots with the club which originated in Gannon’s Paddocks.

1913 Plan of Gannon's property
1913 Plan of Gannon’s property

2nd  October, 1847.


This enlivening little event came off in a paddock not a hundred miles from Cook’s River, on Tuesday, in the presence of a tolerable muster of fistian-ic connoisseurs and young native gentlemen, whose taste for such exhibitions is remarkably striking. The match (for £10) was only made on the previous evening, and arose out of a difference of opinion between the belligerents, upon some very important point doubtless, but which we are unable to chronicle from want of information.

About eight o’clock in the morning, Brickfield Hill presented an extremely animated appearance, from the number of “wehicles” collected there, and which were evidently mustered for the purpose of conveying the men with their respective admirers to be favoured bit of turf, wherever its locality might be. The office was given for the New Town road, and away went cabs, carts, horsemen and toddlers, at a pace that threatened destruction to every orange-barrow in the neighbourhood…..The promised spot was reached without accident, barring a spill or two; and about ten o’clock the men made their appearance in the ring, Banslow (Hanslow) waited upon by Bill Sparkes and Dutch Sam, while Hough and another gent did the amiable for Turbot. Betting was rather slack at starting but little was done at 5 to 4 in favour of Banslow.

ROUND 1.- On coming to the scratch the disparity of appearance between the men was readily perceived. Banslow being much taller and longer in the reach than his  antagonist, and looking considerably fresher, although his attitude was inferior to Turbot’s…………….

The fight continued for two hours and thirty five minutes, during which sixty-two round were fought, the latter twenty of which were in direct opposition to the wishes of Mr.Turbot, who at determination nailed four rum uns on the left ear, which satisfactorily cooked his goose, and all the eloquent persuasion of the Houghs could not prevail on him to continue the contest.

Banslow is Peter Hanslow, the seventeen year old son of Peter Hanslow. Hanslow senior transported for seven years in 1819,  and was the licensee of the ‘Dog and Duck Hotel’ on Parramatta Street (now George St. South) which became the headquarters of the National Sporting club. 

The Hanslow family vault is in the graveyard at St. Peters. Those buried there are – HANSLOW 

Amanda Margaret Emily, daughter of Peter and Louisa Hanslow,  8 mths 29 days, 19.4.54.

Joseph, son of Louisa and Peter Hanslow gentleman, Cooks River, 33 yrs, 31.5.1869 

Louisa Berringer, Cooks River, widow of Peter Hanslow, 52 yrs, 3.4.1869 

Madeline Marcella, daughter of Peter and Louisa Hanslow, 3 yrs, 1 mth 13 days, 13.11.1859 

Sydney Sarah Nancy, father a landowner, child of Peter and Louisa Hanslow, 7 yrs 1 mth 28 days, 12.12.1858 

Florence George Chippendale, son of Peter and Louisa Hanslow, Name carved on headstone but not buried in graveyard as he died in 1936, the graveyard was closed in 1896,

Peter, undertaker, Redfern, 68 years, 28.2.1866 

Hanslow grave
Hanslow grave

3rd October, 1857.

Silvester Kinsley, a young man who appeared to be blind, but is said to have the use of one eye, was brought into custody by constable Fairley, by whom he was yesterday morning apprehended at Cook’s River, on a charge of stealing from a dwelling. He found him wearing a vest which was identified by Levi Bardon, (Barden) as his property, and in his possession was a handkerchief, containing copper coin amounting to between 16s. and 17s., which Bardon claimed as his; the coat, trousers, and black neckerchief he wore, with a cotton handkerchief, and a watch in his pocket were claimed by William Francis, a lodger at Bardon’s, as his property; he (witness) told prisoner that he was charged with stealing these things, to which he replied that it would have to be proved. Levi Bardon, of Cook’s River, publican, deposed that, on Wednesday afternoon, prisoner came to his house, but when he went away he could not tell; on Thursday morning early he found a window open, which aroused his suspicions; he missed from his bedroom a vest and handkerchief, and a sum of money in coppers, the exact amount of which he could not tell; he could not swear to the copper money produced, but believed it to be his; the vest and handkerchief he had no doubt of; they are worth about 5s. William Francis, lodging at Bardon’s, deposed that on Wednesday night prisoner slept at the house – he saw him in bed; next morning he found that his carpet-bag had been cut open, and a number of things abstracted; the watch, trousers, coat, and handkerchiefs produced are some of those things, and are worth upwards of 40s.

Committed for trial on both charges at the Quarter Sessions. Bail allowed.

Levi Barden was the landlord of the ‘Bold Forester Inn’. In “A Village Called Arncliffe” by R.W. Rathbone, it is said to have been on the northern corner of  what is now, Kesey St. and Wollongong Road. 

See the calendar entry for 28th October for the sentence imposed upon Sylvester Kinsley

4th October, 1895.


Yesterday afternoon a village fair was opened in the grounds attached to the residence of Mrs. Talbot, ‘Bellevue’, Cook’s River-road, St. Peters, in aid of the funds of the local Ladies Benevolent Society. The opening ceremony was performed by Mrs. Broughton in the presence of a large audience, which included the Mayor (Alderman Stuart) and Mrs. Stuart, Mr. W. Rigg, M.L.A., and Mrs. Rigg, Mrs. Talbot, Captain Talbot, Aldermen Farr, Lambert, and Edwards, the Rev. E.D. Madgwick, Messrs. McIntosh (council clerk), H. Woodley, and Brain.

Mr. Rigg, in introducing Mrs. Broughton said it was the first time in the history of St. Peters that such a gathering had taken place. It was initiated by a band of ladies desirous of assisting their sisters who had been less fortunate in life. The society had only been recently inaugurated, but it had already done good work, and they had every prospect of a successful future. He had much pleasure on behalf of the society in thanking Mrs. Talbot for the use of the grounds, and in asking her daughter (Mrs. Broughton) to declare the fair open.

Mrs. Broughton expressed her pleasure in being called upon to assist in such a laudable object, and declared the fair open. Mrs. Broughton was then presented with a basket of flowers by one of the little children.

The pupils of the girls’ department of the Camdenville Public School gave an exhibition of a floral march, which won for them and their instructor (Miss McManus) loud applause. Some children attending the St. Peters Public School were equally successful with the Maypole dance, under the direction of Miss Paradice.

A programme of sports was also carried out under the management of a large committee of gentlemen, of which Mr. McIntosh was secretary, Messrs. Brain and Kinsey judges, and Mr. Tom Malone starter. The programme embraced a married ladies race, which was won by Mrs. Campbell, and a single ladies race, which was won by Miss Lambert, Miss E. Squires taking second prize. There was also a number of children’s races. An exhibition of fancy dancing by the pupils of Miss Scott was much admired.

The stalls, which comprise a number of tents and marquees erected on the sloping portion of the grounds were nicely arranged, and were composed of the following;- Provision stall, presided over by Mrs. Rigg and Miss Talbot; refreshment stall, by Mrs. Russell, Mrs. King, Mrs. Dunn…. gingerbread stall, by Miss Nellie King, who was attired as an old woman; toy stall, Mrs. Harper; lolly stall, Miss C. M. Dunn,…..flower stall, Mrs. Brown and Mrs. Beacon. There was also a gypsy tent, which was well patronised and was superintended by Mr. Arthur W. Eales.

The fair remained open during the evening, the grounds being nicely illuminated and the attendance large. A concert took place in a large marquee, the programme being arranged by Mr. H. Leston and Miss Houston, and an exhibition of dancing was given by Miss Scott’s pupils.

‘Belle Vue’ was on the site of  what is now the Salvation Army’s “op shop,” on the Princes Highway, next to IKEA. Mrs. Talbot was the widow of George Talbot, a former wool merchant, who died, aged 87, in  November of 1889, and was buried in St. Peter’s graveyard, his name is on the family grave at Rookwood.

Captain Talbot mentioned is most probably their son, George, who was killed in a tragic accident at Kiama in 1899.

Map showing site of 'Bellevue'
Map showing site of ‘Bellevue’

5th October, 1835.

William Christopher, assigned to Mr. Joshua Thorpe of Cook’s River, charged with absconding from his service; ordered to do a certain piece of work which was not agreeable to the prisoner, and he took a short method of evading the order by absconding; he was absent about three weeks, when he was discovered in Harrington-street, by the Sydney Police, exercising his profession as a tailor, and passing himself off as “free man.” The prisoner, called on for his defence, stated that his master had a “down” on him, and had put him to remove night soil for the mere sake of annoying him, while there were several other labourers on the farm, who were never required to do anything of the kind; he further went on to attribute his running away to an insufficiency of rations and slops, when he was stopped by Mr. Windeyer, who observed that it usually happened, that complaints of that nature were never heard of until the complainants were under examination for some offence for which they anticipated punishment. The prisoner was then sentenced to twelve months in an Ironed Gang, being the second time of absconding. Mr. Thorpe was then asked if he would take the prisoner again, when the Gentleman replied in the affirmative, observing that the prisoner had frequently been heard to threaten, that he would make him send him to an Iron Gang, by which means he would be enabled to get away from his service; under these circumstances therefore, he was determined to defeat his object by retaining him in his service if practicable, after the expiration of his sentence. The prisoner was then taken away, it being intimated to him that the period then awarded would be in addition to his sentence.

Joshua Thorpe had land on the south bank of the Cooks River in the area of what is now Undercliffe. He operated a punt, where the Illawarra Road now crosses the river.  The Calendar entry for the 26th October, relates to the bridge and roads in this area.

Joshua thorp

6th October, 1893.

The members of the St. Peters Young Men’s Institute entertained their friends at a “mock banquet” on Tuesday evening last. The company numbered nearly 60, and included the Mayor (Alderman R. H. Judd). The chairman (the Rev. E. D. Madgwick) proposed the toast of “The Queen,” which was drunk with musical honours. The other toasts proposed were “The president” by Mr. Schuler, “The Vice-presidents” by Mr. Morrison, “The Institute” by Mr. Sheridan, “The Visitors and the Mayor” by Mr. A. Hatton, “The Ladies” by Mr. J.S. Garfield, “Our Next Happy Meeting” by Mr. Morrison.

7th October, 1848.

A WHIPPING MATCH. Robert Gannon, son of Michael of Cook’s River, was favoured with a card of invitation, by one George Hunt, to answer the charge of a violent assault, and threatening to cut short the thread of his valuable existence. The parties are both knights of the whip, driving their teams on the Cook’s River road, and hence the present unfortunate collision. Robert Clarke, a gentleman with a short crop and flattened snuff inhaler, deposed to having witnessed a bit of a “scrimmage” between the parties, but it “wor neither fighting nor a holdin of the candle.” At the suggestion of the Bench the parties retired to discuss the question of reconciliation and wash out all disagreeable reminiscences over a friendly nobbler. After a short absence they returned into court declaring it impossible to arrange the matter without the assistance of his worship, who with a laudable zeal to discharge the duties of his office to the satisfaction of all parties, obligingly ordered defendant to enter into sureties to keep the peace towards all her Majesty’s subjects, and particularly, &c., &c.

The competitive nature of coach driving lead to this altercation between Hunt and Gannon. Robert Gannon being the son of Michael, the renowned host of a ‘sporting’ Inn at Tempe. Robert Clarke, the witness, appears to have had short hair and a very flattened nose. 

8th October, 1894.


A variety entertainment in aid of the church funds of the Church of England at St. Peters was held in the Sunday school room, Cook’s River-road, on Friday evening. the Rev. E.D. Madgwick presided, and the following contributed solos:- Messrs. Robinson, Woodley, W. Osgood, A. Hatton, G. Hatton, H. Fernside, and W. Silversides. Mr. Charles Osgood officiated as hon. musical director, and was accorded a vote of thanks for his services. The proceedings concluded with a very amusing farce entitled “Irish Justice,” in which Messrs. Bible, Kell (2), W. Osgood, Morrison, McDonagh, A. Hatton, Robinson, and F. Sanderson took part.

9th October, 1897.


In connection with St. Peters Anglican Church, Cook’s River-road, St. Peters, a garden fete was opened in the parsonage grounds, adjoining the church, yesterday afternoon by Mr. W. Rigg, M.L.A., in the presence of a large gathering. A committee of 60 ladies and gentlemen, of which Alderman L. F. T. Schuler was chairman, Mr. Mark Witcombe hon treasurer, and Messrs. A. Hatton and G. Mitchell hon secretaries, had charge of the arrangements, which were of a most complete kind. The grounds were nicely decorated. Marquees were erected, in which various stallholders displayed their goods in a most tempting manner. On the lawn an excellent programme of sports was carried out. The girls attending the local public schools were present, and contributed exercises in Maypole and dumb-bell work. Considerable interest was aroused by the sideshows, such as Punch and Judy exhibition, the phonograph, &c., while the shooting gallery was also well patronised. The children were highly amused by having donkey rides. The donkey was kindly lent by Mr. G. C. Hatte. During the afternoon the band connected with the Newtown Public School contributed selections of music, and a concert took place in the evening, during which time the grounds were beautifully illuminated with Chinese lanterns. The following is a list of the stalls and stallholders:-

Fancy Goods Stall.- Mrs. Clark and the Young Women’s Bible Class.

Sweet Stall.- Mrs. Schuler, Miss Madgwick, Mrs. Hamilton, Miss Dege, and the members of the Christian Endeavour Society.

Needlework Stall.- Mrs. Witcombe, Mrs. Ogden, Mrs. Lee, Misses Talbot (2).

Flower and Plant Stall.- Miss Strange, Miss Hardy, Miss S. Witcombe, and Mr. William Marsh.

Refreshment Stall.- Miss Douglas, Mrs. Loudoun, Miss Gilroy, Miss A. Madgwick, Misses Baker (2), Miss Eldershaw, Mrs. Favell.

Maypole dancing
Maypole dancing

10th October, 1888.


The monthly meeting of the Horticultural  Society of New South Wales was held at the Technical College Hall, Pitt-street, last evening. Mr. F. Turner, Superintendent of Hyde Park, presided and there was a good attendance of horticulturists and others. A splendid collection of cut flowers was exhibited on the platform, including a number of very fine roses, stocks, and pelargoniums;  indeed the floral display was the best ever witnessed at one of these meetings.  …. Mr. R. Reilly, Cook’s River (secretary to the society), showed a basket of very fine roses and cut flowers (non-competitive), among which was a seedling camellia, raised by the late Mr. Guilfoyle, and named after the late Mr. T. S. Mort. The colours of this particular bloom, when seen in daylight, are exceedingly beautiful; it has flowered better this season than on any previous occasion.

11th October, 1850.


THE Congregation of St. Peter’s Church, Cook’s River, are requested to take notice that a collection will be made on Sunday next (13th instant), after the Morning Service, to aid in the erection of a School-house, in connexion with the said Church.

12th October, 1850.

STEALING FROM THE PERSON.- Between 12 and 1 o’clock on Thursday, as a man in the employ of Mr. Howarth, residing at Cook’s River, and his master’s son, were returning home from Sydney, the servant took from the lad the sum of £5 2s. 6d., and decamped in the direction of Sydney. The man is well known, and will no doubt speedily be brought to justice.

13th October, 1893.


A meeting of the committee of St. Peter’s parish relief Fund was held in the vestry of St. Peter’s Church of England on Wednesday evening. The Rev. E. D. Madgwick occupied the chair. The chairman congratulated the committee on the success which had attended its efforts in the past, and hoped that it would stimulate them to greater exertions in alleviating the prevailing distress among their poorer brethren. The hon. secretary (Mr. Richard Madgwick) reported that during the past week 30 families had been supplied with food, and that the ladies deputed to canvas the district had been fortunate in securing a large number of weekly subscribers. The report also stated that the treasurer had a balance of £8 in hand, which, it was hoped, would be largely augmented by the proceeds of a high-class concert, which was now being arranged to be held on an early date. the report was adopted. The relief committee has only been in existence about six weeks; but during that time, has accomplished a deal of good work in assisting the destitute.

Rev. E.D. Madgwick
Rev. E.D. Madgwick

14th October, 1873.

THE LATE MR. T. C. BREILLAT – Our readers will learn with feeling of deep regret that  Mr. Thomas Chaplin Breillat died Wednesday morning at 2. 30, at his suburban residence, ‘Thurnby’, after an illness of brief duration.

Mr. Breillat, born in the year 1804 was therefore in the 69th year of his age. He arrived in the colony on the 8th of March, 1834, and immediately joined the well-known firm at that time of Messrs. J. Barrow Montefiore, and Co., the business of which he conducted until the end of the year 1841. Mr. Breillat then, in company with a number of other enterprising merchants, purchase Gerard’s Mills, near the A.S.N. Co’s Wharf, and formed the Sydney Flour Company. He took the active management of the concern until 1843, when he became the proprietor of the establishment, and from that time to the date of his decease, (upwards of thirty years), he has been engaged in milling operations of a most extensive character. Mr. Breillat has for the last thirty-five years been identified with the management of many of our leading banking, insurance, and other mercantile institutions;  and, as a chairman or director, he has always  been connected with the Exchange or the Chamber of Commerce.  As a merchant,

Mr Breillat was a man of unimpeachable integrity. As a magistrate he was highly esteemed for his strict impartiality. In private life his amiability of disposition and goodness of heart endeared him to all who had the happiness to be numbered among his friends. He was a consistent and zealous member of the Church of England, and, what is of greater consequence, in his daily life exemplified in a high degree the virtues of a Christian gentleman. The lamented deceased is survived by Mrs. Breillat, his two sons (one of whom – Mr. Robert Breillat – was a partner with his father in business), and four daughters. The funeral on Friday was attended very largely by the mercantile and commercial community.


15th October, 1809.

A numerous banditti fell upon a flock of sheep, the property of Mr. Edward Powell, between his house on the Parramatta road and Canterbury, and drove off 43 head, 9 of which afterwards got away from them, and rejoined the flock. They were soon after pursued, and traced as far as Cook’s River, which is about two miles and a half from the place where the sheep were driven from, but a heavy rain setting in, the pursuers lost their track. On Wednesday forenoon Mr. Powell attended by four other persons, discovered a fire at which two of his sheep were roasting; several natives attending, who immediately ran towards their encampment, as it afterwards proved, to give the alarm. This was about half a mile distant, whereat 23 carcasses more were found, with the wool singed off, but all in a putrid state. Eleven others the robbers got clear away, so that the loss sustained by Mr. Powell amounts to 34 fine sheep.

In addition to the above heavy loss, three large pigs, belonging to Mr. Powell, were on Friday killed by a native dog, which was shot with his head in the belly of the last killed; and in so mangled a condition were the carcasses as to be wholly unfit for use.

The mode in which the cookery of the sheep was performed was as follows:- A large hole was dug in the ground, in which a fire was kindled, and when the wood was reduced to charcoal, the carcasses were quartered and laid upon it, then covered over with the of the tea tree, and the whole earthed over to confine the smoke as much as possible, in order to avoid discovery; and all reports agree, that Tedbury, the son of Pemulvey, is the chief director of the mischiefs.

The above atrocities are for the most part confined to the hordes about George’s River. They have several muskets, and what is no less to be dreaded, several desperate offenders who from a preference to idleness have deserted to the woods are suspected to have joined them.

16th October, 1830.

BUSHRANGERS.- Information was received at a late hour, on Wednesday evening, by Mr. Jilks, the Chief Constable, that a party of bushrangers had advanced to within a short distance of Sydney, and were only waiting a suitable opportunity to put into execution their nefarious designs. With his accustomed alacrity, he instantly despatched a strong body of the police, with strict orders to search every hut and skillion on the road side to which any any suspicion attaches, and to leave no means untried for effecting their capture. In pursuance of these directions, they closely examined several places of a dubious character, and among the rest, at 2 o’clock the following morning (Thursday) a small hut, on the road leading to Cook’s River, where they discovered, and apprehended, three desperate and well known individuals, who have absconded for mountain iron gangs: one of whom turns out to be the notorious Gipsy Smith, whose former depredations occasioned so much stir. Too much credit cannot be given to Mr. Jilks, and those acting under his command, for their promptitude of their measures on this occasion; but for which, there is little doubt, but we should have had occasion to announce some more daring and serious robberies, as the result of their operations.

On the evening of Wednesday last, some villains forced an entrance into a hut, belonging to Mr. Spark, on the Cook’s River road, where they threatened to shoot one of the inmates, and committed several other acts of violence, There is every reason to believe they were the same fellows as above mentioned.

17th October, 1896.


The suburb of St. Peters was en fete yesterday afternoon on the occasion of the opening of the second annual village fair in connection with the local Ladies’ Benevolent Society, which took place on the grounds attached to ‘Heathcote’, Cook’s River Road. The opening ceremony was performed by Mr. W. Rigg, M.L.A., in the presence of a large assemblage, among whom were Messrs. J.S. Hawthorne and G. Anderson, Ms. L.A., the Revs. E.G. Madgwick and Mrs. Madgwick, T.W. Dunn and Mrs Dunn, Captain and the Misses Talbot (2)…… and most of the principal residents of the district…….

At the conclusion of the opening ceremony the girls attending the St. Peters Public School, who were attired in sailor costume, gave an exhibition of the Maypole dance and club and dumb-bell exercises under the direction of the Misses McPhillamy and McManus. This was followed by a detachment from the girls’ school of the Enmore and Newtown Public Schools, under the direction of the Misses Hallam and Farrar, going through the same exercises in an equally satisfactory manner.

A programme of races was commenced under the supervision of a committee of which Mr. T. Malone took a leading part. Merry-go-rounds, swing boats, ocean-wave rides, and donkey rides were all in full swing, and proved a source of much attraction to the children. Mr. Le Roy gave an exhibition on the high wire. The various stalls, including a large refreshment tent, were well patronised.

In the evening an open air concert, arranged by Herr Pechotsch, Miss Lannen, Signor Podenzana, Mons. Napoleon Boffard, Mr. Gehds, Mr. Jeffcott, and others. During the afternoon and evening the Newtown Brass Band and the St. Peters Mission Band performed on the lawn…..

Children with dumbells
Children with dumbells

18th October, 1851.

CORONER’S INQUEST. Yesterday evening, an inquest was held by the Coroner, at the Antrim Arms, Newtown Road, on view of the body of Charlotte Stewart, now lying dead at her residence on the same road. John Gannon stated that he was driving an omnibus on Thursday evening, about half-past five o’clock, on the Newtown Road, and when he arrived near Mrs. Riley’s he saw a cart upset. He immediately pulled out his knife to cut the harness, when he saw the deceased under the horse, and two other persons, named Thomas Maples and Ann Rodgers, under the cart. In consequence of being interrupted by two dogs, whilst cutting the harness, he was obliged to go for assistance to Mrs. Riley’s and when he returned the deceased had expired. Maples and Ann Rodgers were both drunk, and incapable of giving any account of the manner in which the occurrence took place. Witness believed that he was the first person who came after the accident. He had known deceased for some time, and, of late, considered her a sober woman. From the position in which witness found her, he thought she had been driving. Dr. Tierney stated that he had viewed and examined the body, and he described the appearances; giving it as his opinion that death had been caused by the rupture of some internal organ. Verdict, accidental death.

19th October, 1896.

VILLAGE FAIR AT ST. PETERS.- The village fair at St. Peters was largely attended on Saturday. The chief attraction was a lengthy programme of sports under the management of Mr. T. Malone. Several of the obstacle races created much fun. The baby exhibition brought forth many fine specimens of miniature humanity, including several twins, the prize being awarded to a fine little fellow three months old, the son of Mr. Hanny. A skipping contest was won by Miss Goodin, who went up to 700 skips before she was stopped; Miss Foulston taking second place with 493. The ladies art union was won by Mrs. Baker, and the gentleman’s art union by Mr. J. Farrow.

20th October, 1840.

Observance of the Sabbath.

It was with feelings of most sincere pleasure that we observe, by the proceedings in Council on Friday last, that the respectable portion of the settlers in several districts up the country, have petitioned the governor to bring forward an act to put a stop to the disgraceful abuse of the Sabbath Day, which has been carried on too long in almost every part of the country. We are only surprised that such petitions should have originated elsewhere than in Sydney…….The Governor stated in presenting the first petition on the subject from the inhabitants at and in the neighbourhood of Cooke’s River, “That the object of the petition was to procure the enactment of some measure to prevent shooting and other practices which are so detrimental to a proper observance of the Sabbath.”….. As this first petition met with no dissenting voice in Council, we hope that a sufficient Bill will be framed to do away with the evil complained of, and laid before, and passed by the council, if not this session, early in the next.


21st October, 1856.

GARDENER V. WILLIAMS.- This was an action to recover the sum of £13 5s. 9d., the balance of an account for a quantity of lime delivered by the plaintiff, a lime-burner at Cook’s  River, to the defendant….Gardener had for some time supplied Williams, who is a builder, with lime, which was contained in three -bushel bags. Some circumstances having arisen which caused Williams to supsect that the bags did not contain the full quantity, he measured the contents of some of them, and found that they did not contain three bushels. One bag measured in presence of Gardener contained only two bushels. The lime was to be supplied in loads of 36 bushels each, and the sum sued for was the value of the lime which Williams alleged was deficient in the measurement, and also of a bag of lime said to have been carried back by Gardener, after delivery, together with £5, the balance of a former account retained as security for the fulfilment of the present contract. The plaintiff admitted that some of the bags, when the contents were measured at William’s premises, did not contain three bushels of lime; but alleged the deficiency was owing to  an escape of the material occasioned by the jolting of the cart, on the road between  Cook’s River and Sydney, and by the crushing of the shells. The deficiency in one of the bags which contained only two bushels, was explained by saying that the lime escaped by an opening made in the bag by the friction of the wheel of the cart. Evidence was adduced to show that lime always lessened in quantity in being conveyed from one place to another, and that those purchasing did not expect to receive as large a bulk as was put in the bags at the kiln, when the material was conveyed any distance. The defendant alleged that by his contract he was entitled to measure the lime after delivery, and that the bags were supposed to contain three bushels under all circumstances. He also alleged that the bags were not capable of containing three bushels, and adduced evidence to show that they had been reduced in size. He admitted that lime lost a little in quantity, by escape and otherwise, but by no means to the extent of the deficiency which was found in the measurement of the material supplied to him by the plaintiff. His Honor summed up, pointing out to the Assessors that if they thought the contract was for the delivery of loads of lime, consisting of twelve bags, each bag containing three bushels, then the contract was vitiated by fraud, and the plaintiff could not recover the price of the lime. The Court found for the plaintiff, damages £6 15s.

22nd October, 1851.

A sum of £600 is included in the Estimate of Works and Buildings, for the construction of a second dam across Cook’s River. The present dam has lately undergone complete repairs, the original gates having been remodelled, the race flagged anew, and a second set of gates put up on the sea side. The Colonial Architect reports that the effect of these repairs has, as yet, been satisfactory, and that the water in the river is quite fresh. He considers, however, that, to form a reservoir of perfectly fresh water, a fixed elevation of water must be maintained, whereby the pressure against the gates will prevent the admission of salt water. To effect this, a second dam will be indispensable, as a long continuous drought might reduce the level of the river below that of the race, which would endanger the whole. The best position Mr. Blacket thinks, would be between Woolli and Newtown Creeks, in the site of Mr. Unwin’s bridge. By this position, the lands on Woolli Creek would be exempted from the effect of the greater elevation of water, and Newton Creek would be available as apart of the aqueduct necessary for conveying the water to Sydney. The width of the river at Mr. Unwin’s bridge, is about 300 feet.

23rd October, 1856.


At his residence, Tempe, Cook’s River, on the 21st instant, Alexander Brodie Spark, aged 65 years.

24th October, 1895.

ST. PETERS PARK.- After waiting for years to have the local park prepared the St. Peters aldermen have become disheartened, and purpose to forego their claim to the grant altogether. At the last meeting, in view of a refusal by the Government to contribute anything for the maintenance of the park or its repair, Alderman Judd succeeded in carrying the following resolution:- “That this council having agitated for several years for Ministers to fill in the park and make the same suitable for recreation, this council deems it best, failing reclamation, to resign as trustees, and to communicate to the Colonial Secretary to that effect.”

25th October, 1845

On Monday last, Mr. Gannon opened his new house on the Cook’s River Road, a few hundred yards this side of the Dam. A goodly company had congregated to witness the promised entertainment – but owing to a disappointment in the receipt of the Kangaroo, which he explained to us, some dissatisfaction was given to the numerous classes assembled.

Sir.- Having noticed in your publication of Saturday last, an Advertisement of Mr. Gannon’s, under the inviting heading, in the hand-bill type, of “The Greatest Sporting Novelty ever seen in New South Wales,” and stating, that on Monday, among a great variety of sports, an Old Man kangaroo was to be started, and inviting gentlemen having Kangaroo-dogs to attend there, the Kangaroo to be the prize of the owner of the dog that pulled him up, I proceeded out to Cook’s River….I was on the ground an hour before the appointed time, (one o’clock), expecting to see the Pigeon Match, for a Purse of Ten Sovereigns, shot for. No doubt, Sir, there were some pigeons shot at, but was it for the advertised prize? No, but on the contrary, for the paltry prize of a few bottles of ale or porter. The Kangaroo coursing was equally as great a hoax. When three o’clock came,I expected to see the “Old Man” led out for the chase – but after waiting for half an hour, I enquired why it was that he was not making his appearance; but the only thing I could learn was, that a report was very industriously circulated that “a razor had been incautiously left at the stable in which the Kangaroo was confined, with which he committed suicide, by cutting his throat!” Thus was it that I was disappointed and hoaxed by Mr. Gannon and his puffing Advertisement…..I am, Sir, AN OLD SPORTSMAN.

26th October, 1854.


The following is a compendium of the evidence of Mr. Piddock Arthur Tompson, taken before a Select committee of the Legislative Council with reference to the Cook’s River Bridge Bill.

Witness is one of the promoters of the Bill, and one of the owners of the land where the proposed Bridge is to be erected. Mr. T. J. Fisher is owner of the land on the other side. It would be unquestionably advantageous to the inhabitants in the neighbourhood of Cook’s River, and also of the district of Illawarra, to have a bridge or dam, or both combined, constructed across Cook’s River between witness’s land, and the land of Mr. Fisher. The proposed site of the bridge is at the point marked on the map as “Thorpe’s Punt,” about half-way between Prout’s bridge and the dam. The passage to it from Sydney was by roads already formed, and roads which are being formed….The land through which these roads are to be on this side of the river, are the property of Mr. Fisher, and on the other side they had obtained the consent of the proprietors through whose land the road will run to the Illawarra road. The new line would materially shorten the distance to Illawarra…….Witness and Mr. Fisher are willing to make this bridge or dam, and to form the roads required, at their own expense, and they are forming and clearing roads up to existing roads on both sides…..The residents in the neighbourhood had also received sufficient notice of the Bill…. With respect to the flooding of other lands, witness and Mr.Fisher would take care for their own sakes that no flooding took place. He believed that the cost of the undertaking would considerably exceed £1000. He believed the depth of the water was about twelve feet, in the centre, before good bottom is got to; the bottom at present was composed of sand and mud……

The report, the evidence, and the Bill as amended in Select Committee, were accordingly ordered to be printed.

Canterbury City Council panel
Canterbury City Council panel

27th October, 1893.

ST. PETERS CHURCH OF ENGLAND SUNDAY SCHOOL:- The annual picnic of the St. Peter’s C.E. Sunday School was held at National Park on Tuesday. There was a large gathering. A special train conveyed the visitors to their destination, leaving St. Peters at 9 a.m., and returning at about 6.30 p.m. Messrs. Madgwick, Bedford, Sharp, and Garfield, and Mesdames Madgwick, Clark, Pauley, May, and Miss Douglass (members of the committee) carried out the arrangements in a satisfactory manner.

The weekly meeting of the St. Peters Relief Fund was held in the vestry of the Church of England on Wednesday evening. The Rev. E.D. Madgwick occupied the chair. The secretary (Mr. Richard Madgwick) reported that during the week relief had been given to 39 families, and the treasurer, after paying the week’s expenses, had a balance of £8 in hand. The chairman, at the conclusion of the meeting, briefly addressed the committee, and congratulated them on the hearty manner in which they had worked to assist their less fortunate brethren.

28th October, 1857.

Silvester Kinsley was indicted for stealing from the house of Levi Barnett (Barden) of Cook’s River, a quantity of wearing apparel and a watch, the property of one William Francis. Verdict guilty.

Sentenced to be imprisoned in Parramatta gaol, with hard labour, for two years.

There was another indictment against the same prisoner, for stealing money and wearing apparel from the premises of Levi Barnett, but the Crown Prosecutor declined to prosecute on this information. The prisoner is to all appearance completely blind.

29th October, 1858.


Schools 1858

30th October, 1854.


Under the patronage of His Excellency the Governor-General. On MONDAY, October 30th, near the Barwan Park, Cook’s River Road.


T.W. Campbell, Esq. J. F. Downes, Esq.

G. T. Rowes, Esq. L. E. Lester, Esq.

A Sweepstake of 5 sovereigns each, with 100 sovereigns added, as per former announcement. To start at 2 P.M.

A Hack Steeple-chase, post entry, will conclude the sports.

31st October, 1898.


Saturday was the concluding day of St. Peters Village fair, which was opened by the Post-master-General in the earlier part of the week. The chief event was the carrying out of a lengthy and varied programme of sports……The various events drew forth many competitors, and the racing was watched with interest by a large concourse of people. Capital fun was provided in some of the competitions, none more so than the Menagerie Race, which was competed for by dogs, the owners of which forced their canine pets along under great difficulties and amid roars of laughter.

In addition to the sports, there was an excellent exhibition of the dumb-bell and other school exercises by the pupils of the Camdenville and Tempe Public Schools. Selections of music were provided by the Primitive Methodist Band, and in the evening a concert was held, the programme  being contributed to by well-known amateur singers. The grounds in the evening were again illuminated, and drew a large crowd. Much of the success of the fair was due to the energy displayed by Mrs. Mackintosh, the hon. secretary, who with Mrs. Rigg, the president, carried out her duties in an admirable manner, the result of which will be that the fund of the local Ladies Benevolent Society will be considerably augmented. The following is a list of the winners of the chief sporting events:-

Single Ladies Race won by Miss Russell, with Miss Townsend a good second.

Married Ladies Race.- Mrs. Mellor,1; Mrs. Townsend

Skipping Contest (girls), Miss Adelaide Annabel, 1; Miss May Steele.

Novelty Race (boys),- Master Anderson 1.; Master L…2.

Maypole and Drill Girls’ Race.- Miss May Steele,1; Miss Annie Hatfield, 2.

Tug-of-war, eight men aside, from among brickyard employees.- T. King’s team,1; P. Straney’s team, 2; A splendid contest.

Handicap Flat race, for residents of Newtown, St. Peters Electorate, 75 yards.- C.Dunn, 2 yards, 1; G. Brennan, 5 yards, 2; T. Williams 3 yards 3.

All Schools Champion Race, boys and girls under 15, 75 yards.- Boys: J. Broughton, 1; Master Smirt, 2.

Girls: Miss Ida Shaw, 1; Miss Maud Brennan, 2.

Menagerie Race, with dogs,- S. Gilroy, 1; G. Brennan, 2.

Maypole and Drill Girls’ Race.- Miss Nellie Russell and Miss Violet Nelson a tie.

Novelty sack Race.- T. Williams, 1. G. Brennan, 2.

Race for Bona-fide Brickcarters.- W. Mc Carty, 1; T. Williams, 2.

Boys Race.- Alfred Cook, 1. H. Jones, 2.

Three-legged Race.- Russell and Nelson, 1;  Williams and Brennan, 2.

Brickmakers’ Employees Race.-W. Brown, 1; R. Brennan, 2.

Ladies Bracelet Race, presented by Mr. T. M. Malone, to be competed for by gentlemen nominated by ladies. open to residents of St. Peters only. J. Baker, 1; F. Brown, 2; Williams, 3.


November Calendar.

1st. November, 1898.



The City Coroner (Mr. J. C. Woore, J.P.) held a magisterial inquiry yesterday morning at the ‘Town and Country Hotel’, St. Peters, touching the death of a woman named Alice Maud Winspears, which was caused by hanging on Sunday morning,….the deceased was 32 years old and resided in a cottage with her five children, the youngest of whom was three months old, and the eldest 12 years. They lived in Lackey-street, St. Peters. Her husband being away, deceased had to support herself and family. Being in a very delicate state of health she was unable to do so. This preyed on her mind, and as she got into monetary difficulties her mental worries increased her illness. The evidence of her son Herbert, a boy of 6 years of age, was that on Sunday morning his mother put the baby to sleep just after breakfast. She then asked him to find his “daddy’s strap,” which he, through an elder brother, procured for her. The other children were at Sunday school. His mother then went into the front room and shut the door. About ten minutes later he wanted to ask his mother something. He opened the front room door and saw her fastened to the wall over the mantel-piece by the strap, which was tied to a picture nail, on the wall. He went up to her and spoke to her, but she was quite still and did not answer. He then went into the next room where his brother was reading, and said to him “Come and look at poor mamma.” The elder boy George, aged 12, stated that he went to the room and saw his mother. He then ran to a neighbour and brought a Mr. Baker, who cut away the strap and laid his mother on the bed. She was quite dead, his mother had been crying that morning. She was ill and hardly able to crawl about. Before she asked for the strap she was walking about the room putting the baby to sleep. After the baby fell asleep she continued to walk about and seemed to be thinking. The police and relatives gave evidence that the woman bore an exemplary character, was a good wife and a kind mother. She was a total abstainer. the Coroner after hearing the evidence of Dr. Taylor entered a finding of death from asphyxia by hanging, her own act.

Town and Country Hotel
Town and Country Hotel

2nd. November, 1898.


At the St. Peters Council meeting on Monday evening Alderman Bradshaw complained of the serious danger caused by cattle being driven through the borough. He had moved in this matter before, but had been informed by the Mayor that no action would be taken till the new bylaws which had been approved by the Municipal Association were received, on referring to their old bylaws he found one which stipulated that when cattle are being driven through the streets one of the attendants should ride in front to warn people. This was not being done, and he suggested that the inspector of nuisances should enforce the bylaw. The Mayor promised attention to the matter.

3rd. November, 1856.

DEATH FROM INTEMPERANCE – A coroner’s inquest was held on Thursday last, at the house of Mr. J. Finn, lime-burner, Cook’s River, before J. S. Parker, Esq., on the body of a man named Thomas Simmons, aged 56 years, who died on the previous day. From the evidence, it appeared that the deceased, formerly a sailor, had for some time been employed by Mr. Finn to obtain shells for him – an occupation at which he could earn £2 1s. 8d. per week; but he was so inveterate a drunkard that Mr. Finn at length declined to employ him any longer. On Sunday last, Mr. Finn saw the deceased, and gave him something to eat; and about eight o’clock on Tuesday evening, was informed that he had expired. Mr. Finn did not go to see the deceased; he considered that he had died through drunkenness and exposure to cold. Richard Johnston, a shell gatherer, deposed that he resided in a hut with the deceased, who had been 30 years in the colony;  was a confirmed drunkard, and spent all his earnings in drink; lately, his mind was much impaired: there was hardly any covering over the hut, and it would not keep out rain or wind: for the last six weeks the deceased had been ailing: witness wanted him to go to the infirmary, but he said, “If he went there, he would be cooked at once”: he never asked for a doctor; witness obtained for him everything he could eat; on Monday morning about 12 o’clock, the deceased became light-headed, and continued in that state-till about eight o’clock on Tuesday evening, when he expired; he had very little to drink for nine days previous to his death: witness had seen him in a similar state before, and did not think he was about to die. The jury found that the deceased “came to his death by disease brought on from intemperate habits, exposure, and neglect.”

4th. November, 1898.



The annual excursion in connection with St. Peter’s Sunday School, Cook’s River, was held at Clifton Gardens on Tuesday last. About 700 children, representing St. Peter’s, Camdenville, Tempe Park and Tempe schools, headed by the P.M. Band, marched through St. Peters to the tram terminus, where two trams were in waiting, and proceeded thence to Circular Quay, where they embarked on the steamer ‘Waterview’. Lunch was partaken, the teachers looking well after the children, and be it said to their credit nothing was lacking in the way of provisions. After lunch Mr. Arthur (assistant superintendent), on behalf of the teachers, made a presentation to Miss M. and Miss R. Guest, of a brooch and silver thimble respectively as a token of the high esteem in which they are held by the teachers for their consistent work in connection with the church and Sunday school. In the afternoon races arranged for the children were run off. Tea was served and an early start made for home.

5th. November, 1853.

BIGAMY – A case came before the Police Court yesterday, the trial of which will in all probability raise the question of the validity of marriages as alleged to be performed by some of the Presbyterian ministers in this colony. Thomas Smith was charged with bigamy. The Rev. Robert Stewart produced the registry of marriages by the late Dr. M’Garvie, minister of St. Andrew’s Scots church, Sydney, by which it appeared that on the 6th November, 1848, one Thomas Smith was married by Dr. M’Garvie to a Bridget Curry; he (Mr. Stewart) did not know either of the parties. Cross-examined by Mr. Nichols: He could not say whether any declaration was made by the parties at the marriage, but if any was made and taken the registry would show it. Mr. Dowling referred to the registry, and found that no declaration had been made. Mrs. Walsh deposed that she was present at the marriage in question; Thomas Smith, the prisoner, is the man referred to, and Bridget Curry (now Smith) now in Court, is the other party; did not know whether they afterwards lived together as man and wife, but frequently saw them walking together, by which she presumed that they had. Mary Ann Kellan deposed that she had been about five months in the colony; she lived as a servant at Cook’s River, in a family where the prisoner was also a servant; he represented himself as a single man, and proposed marriage; she accepted his offer; they were called in church, and subsequently married by the Rev. Dr. Steele, in St. Peter’s Church, Cook’s River. She lived with prisoner as his wife for six weeks, when another woman (now in Court) came to the house and claimed Smith as her husband; he at first denied, but subsequently admitted that the woman in question was his wife; she thereupon left him; that was six weeks ago; James Rattenbury and Rosetta Pulman were present at the ceremony. Mr. Rattenbury having given evidence that he was present at the marriage of Smith to Kellan, the case for the prosecution was closed. Mr. Nichols declined to offer any defence at this stage. Smith was then committed to take his trial at the Central Criminal Court in December next. Bail refused.

6th. November, 1839.

We with great pleasure direct the public attention to the intended Consecration of St. Peter’s Church. The interesting ceremony is appointed to take place on the 20th Inst. This elegant little edifice reflects great credit on the Architectural talents of Mr. BIRD. Its style is Gothic, and it is surmounted by a tower and steeple. The interior has been fitted up with great taste, and two windows of beautifully stained glass have been added to its other adornments. The Church is situate in a picturesque spot on the Cook’s River Road, at the distance of an agreeable half-hour’s drive from town.

7th. November, 1895.


A public meeting of the residents of St. Peters, convened by the Mayor in response to a requisition, was held last evening at the local Town Hall to consider the action of the municipal council in framing a bylaw to prevent further burials taking place in the cemetery adjoining St. Peter’s Church, Cook’s River road. The Mayor (Alderman Stuart) occupied the chair, there was a large attendance.

Alderman Edwards moved – “That this meeting of ratepayers and residents of St. Peters protests against the action of the municipal council in passing a bylaw having the effect of closing the Church of England cemetery without first consulting the wishes of the ratepayers and residents.

Alderman Dunn seconded the motion.

The motion having been supported by several speakers, was carried unanimously.

Alderman Judd moved – “That this meeting considers the proper course for the Mayor and aldermen to pursue now is to recall the bylaw, and submit the same to a vote of the ratepayers.”

The motion was carried unanimously.

Mr. Alfred Talbot moved – “That in the event of the Mayor and aldermen not complying with the second resolution, a petition be forwarded to the Chief Secretary praying that this bylaw do not receive the assent of the Government.

The meeting became somewhat disorderly. A discussion of an irregular nature took place. Ultimately the resolution was carried unanimously, and a committee was appointed for the purpose of obtaining signatures to the petition.

8th. November, 1895.



Sir – The municipal council of St. Peters, by its action in closing the St. Peters Cemetery, deserves the thanks of the community and particularly the local residents. How any persons can be found advocating the continuance of internments at this graveyard is impossible to conceive.

Is it not a well-known fact that of late years many deaths have occurred in the district from typhoid fever, and some of our streets in close proximity to the cemetery are scarcely ever free from it?

I believe no less an authority than Professor Anderson Stuart has recommended the discontinuance of burials there, yet in the face of such an opinion some of our residents are clamouring for a continuance of the old state of affairs. This cemetery has been open to my knowledge for the last 40 years, but I am certain I would be nearer the mark if I say 50 years. just imagine the number of bodies that must have been buried there during these years, yet we are asked to believe by a few that such a spot in our midst is not likely to prove prejudicial to health. I sincerely hope that the Government will not take the slightest heed of the representations that will be made, but speedily approve of the bylaw submitted to the Attorney-General, and thus prevent any more internments, especially during the present hot weather.

I am, &c.,     A RESIDENT.

The first burial in the graveyard at St Peters was in March 1839.

9th. November, 1844.


We have heard, that this evening, the operatives employed at the new Custom House will be discharged…. There is a report that they will be employed on the dam at Cook’s River: even that would be better than utter want of employment. The rations given them, we have heard from a man working there, who has a wife and five children, (seven in all) is twelve coarse brown loaves, and ten pounds of meat per week, this is indeed a miserable ration. The men would far rather to get tents sent to the spot and be encamped there, getting even the usual low wages, than five shillings a week and such rations, and to have to walk daily from and back to Sydney, four or five miles, which in itself is considerable labour. We wish his Excellency had returned….. We cannot think his Excellency will ever forget that he is a man too, exactly like them in natural structure and natural wants; but that he will say when he hears their tale of woe, Homo sum et á me nihil humani alienum puto. (I am a man and nothing that belongs to humanity is alien to me.)

A few days later the newspaper published a correction, “the rations given with 5s. per week to the men with families employed at Cook’s River Dam we by mistake said it was 12 brown loaves and 10 lb. of meat a week, whereas it is 26 lb. of meat, with a slender allowance of tea and sugar: just enough one man told us, for his family of wife and five children, for three days. This with a walk of five miles out before a quarter past six, a.m., and five miles back after six p.m., makes the case of these poor people hard indeed.” 

10th. November, 1897.


At the last meeting of the above council the Mayor (Alderman James Gould) presided, and there were present- Aldermen Henson, Scouller, Farr, Benson, Leslie, Morehouse, Langley, and Clarke.  Apologies were received from Aldermen Josephson and Brewer……A letter from the Board of Health concerning a complaint from a ratepayer in South Ward regarding the insanitary condition of a waterhole near the Tempe Public School. The matter was referred to the sanitary committee. The sanitary inspector (Mr. John Collmann) reported that in accordance with the arrangement existing with Canterbury Council the dead animals had been removed from Cook’s River during the week, consisting of 31 dogs, 1 pig, 2 cows, and a large number of fowls. …….

11th. November, 1895.


The foreshores on the west side of Botany Bay, running from Cook’s River to George’s River, become more important as a picknicking area as the population of Sydney and its approximate suburbs increases. Thousands of people who have no particular desire to travel on ferry boats, but find pleasure in being seated behind a team of spirited horses, on Saturday spent their holiday in sheltered spots from below Tempe to Lady Robinson’s Beach, right on to Sandringham, and round by Sans Souci. It is a long stretch of fine beach. There are a hundred and one little bays and nooks where the piscatorial enthusiast can unmolested enjoy his pastime with profit and satisfaction to himself. On Saturday a great many of these places were occupied. The secluded covers where paterfamilias and his family can effectively deal with a vigourous appetite and enjoy the beauties of a refreshing prospect are numerous. Cook Park, which reserves to the picknicker and holiday enthusiast the foreshore of the bay from the speculator, and will one day be looked upon as a boon, is just now esteemed for the facilities it affords for quenching one’s thirst.

Cook Park 1898

On Saturday a great demand was made on the water at the taps, which are conveniently placed in the more frequented parts of the foreshore. At Lady Robinson’s Beach all day until dark, and even after that, a constant stream of people was being conveyed backwards and forwards by the private tramway from Rockdale.

Brighton tram

Most of them came to try their strength in the long waves which sweep the large baths here. Others came to either see the flower show, which was held there on Saturday, or else to lounge round and inhale the ozone from the ocean. Sandringham was mostly taken up by parties who came out in four-in-hand ‘buses, or in less pretentious vehicles. A very orderly and happy scene it was reminding the visitor of rustic pictures in older countries. A tramline from Kogarah runs through this little hamlet and terminates at Sans Souci, on George’s River. At this place a holiday fair seemed to be conducted with vigour. Vendors were disposing of their wares and products, showmen were inviting customers, swings were going in all directions. The spot being a sheltered one, an elbow of the river, most of the holiday makers took a pull on the waters. Sumptuous feasts were spread on the closely-cropped grass under the shade of the trees. The whole place was a scene of enjoyment.   

12th. November, 1861.


A NUMEROUS meeting was held at Mr. Blackstone’s ‘Newtown Inn’, on Saturday evening last, the 9th instant, at eight p.m., for the purpose of nominating gentlemen to act as trustees during the ensuing three years for the Newtown and Cook’s river road. All the trustees were present. On the motion of Mr. CHERRY, seconded by Mr. HOLROYD, Mr J. E. Robberds took the chair.

The CHAIRMAN stated the object of the meeting. He did not know by whom the meeting was called, but understood it was called by Mr. G. A. Davis; if so, he requested him to bring forward any resolution. He hoped that this meeting would be characterised, as all meetings held in Newtown were, viz., by quietness and regularity – hearing impartially all that any gentleman might say.

Mr. MARTIN GIBBONS moved, and Mr. Robert GANNON seconded, “That the  trustees give some explanation as to the metal now lying for use on the road at South Sydney, and what quantity has come in during the last three years, and also as to an alleged deficiency in the weight of the metal,” which was carried.

Mr. GIBBONS said he had weighed four loads supposed to contain a ton each, and had found a large deficiency; he wished the matter explained. It appeared that the trustees were not on the ground to receive it, nor was their superintendent, which he thought highly censurable.

Mr. GOODSELL explained that it was perfectly impossible for the trustees to attend and receive every load delivered, and the superintendent might possibly, when the delivery commenced, be at the other end of the road. With regard to the alleged deficiency in weight of the metal, he scarcely believed there was so much. There was no doubt, in one load, a deficiency, but that was made up in the next. The box used to measure the metal had been tested, and found correct. Loads had been weighed at Messrs. Tooth’s and the weigh-bridge, and there had been a difference. He could only say all he wanted was fair weight, and if it turned out there was a short weight there would be a reduced price paid to the contractor.

Mr. JOLLY also explained as to the weight.

Mr. G. A. DAVIS asked how long the box for measuring the metal had been in use?

Mr. HOLROYD replied four or five years.

Mr. TYE wished the trustees to explain what the large amount charged in their account as “sundries” was composed of? He thought that each item ought to appear.

Mr. HOLROYD: To insert in the papers each item that composed the £600 and odd pounds under the head of “sundries” would be too expensive; but if any gentleman wished he would show him the vouchers for every item for the last six years. One large item in the £600 and odd pounds was represented by promissory-notes that the trusteed had to give and discount; for when they could buy a cheap lot of metal, they did so, and were compelled to give the notes in consequence of the trouble given by Mr. G. A. Davis, the then lessee, and his defending actions brought by the trustees to recover the rent of the gate. In this way the trustees had taken advantage of fine weather and cheap metal, and had got the road into the present excellent state. As to the tolls they would be reduced 40 or 50 per cent, next year. The gate erected on the railway bridge was placed there at the request of Mr. Davis, he representing that people could go down Missenden-road or Australia-street, and so evade the tolls; the gate on the Parramatta-road being removed.(“No, no,” from Mr. Davis.)

Mr. HOLROYD; I say yes, I hold your letter. At any rate Mr. Davis had put the trust to great expense and trouble in suing him for the rent of the gate.

Mr. CHERRY moved, and Mr. TYE seconded, “That another load of the metal now lying in the heap at South Sydney be weighed at the Police Office weighing machine to test the box – three gentlemen to be appointed to attend on behalf of the freeholders, and meet the trustees at such weighing,” which resolution was carried.

Mr BOWN moved, and Mr. ROGAN seconded, “That the following gentlemen be trustees for the ensuing year: Mr. A. T. Holroyd, Mr. T. Caalder, Mr. F. J. Goodsell, Mr. Henry Knight, and Mr. Martin Gibbons.

Mr. CASHMAN moved, and Mr. CLAPPISON seconded the nomination of Mr. M. Gibbons, Mr. A. Tye, Mr. F. J. Goodsell, Mr. W. Bryan, and Mr. H. L. Knight.

Mr. LODER moved, and Mr. RICHARDSON seconded, that each name be put separately.”


Mr. Gibbons here declined to stand for election.

The CHAIRMAN then put each name, and declared the show of hands to be greatly in favour of Mr. Holroyd, Mr. Chalder, Mr. Goodsell, Mr. Knight, and Mr. Jolly, the present trustees.

A vote of thanks was passed to the Chairman, and the meeting separated.

13th. November, 1861. 

NEWTOWN ROAD TRUST – A meeting was held on Monday evening, at the ‘Daniel Webster Hotel’, in reference to the Newtown and Cook’s River Road Trust……Shortly after eight o’clock, when nearly fifty persons were crowded into a room about twelve feet square, business commenced, the chair being taken by Mr. J. Conly. there were present three of the trustees, viz., Mr. Jolly, Mr. Goodsell, and Mr. Knight. A statement was first made to the effect that metal drawn for the road had been tested and found deficient in weight. This deficiency was admitted by the trustees present, and Mr. Jolly proceeded to explain. In the course of his observations he received the lie direct from Mr. M. Gibbon, and in consequence of this and other language of a similar kind, left the room. The proceedings of the meeting were utterly unfit for publication, being characterised by violent epithets, blasphemous language, and observations filthy in the extreme. Some milder expressions, which were used with freedom, included the following, “That’s a lie-a d-d lie.” “scum of the world.” and “B-y rogue,” personally applied…..Mr. Gibbons said in reference to the office of trustee, “It must be a slashing billet for it seems hard for them to slack it off.” …..Mr. Cherry then made an incoherent speech replete with violent gesticulation, after which he was proposed as a candidate, whereupon some one in the meeting moved by way of amendment that he (Mr. Cherry) be taken to Tarban Creek……..Towards half-past ten o’clock, it occurred to some one to ask, “What will the reporters think?” Mr. Gibbon replied, “D- and b- the reporters, and you and all.” The meeting was a disgrace to Newtown, and on several occasions during the evening afforded sufficient reason for the interference of the police, the obscene and blasphemous language being distinctly audible in the public highway.

14th. November, 1855.

ROBBERY – A report has been made to the police by Thomas Williams, in the employ of Mr. Way, of Cook’s River, that on Monday or Tuesday night, £13 in gold, notes, and silver, and some articles of clothing were stolen out of his box, which was placed in an outhouse; the thief had gained admittance through a window left unfastened.   

15th. November, 1894.

DEPUTATIONS TO MINISTERS – The following deputations to the Minister of Works have been arranged for today:  At 11.30 a.m., Waterloo and Botany and other councils in regard to bridge over Cook’s River at the Sewage Farm, and in regard to the construction of a road skirting Botany Bay to Rockdale; at noon, St. Peters Council, in regard to an extension of the tramway from St. Peters to Cook’s River dam; 12.30, Mr. Kidd, in regard to the Stoney Creek Bridge.

Regarding the extension of the tramway, the following day the Minister of Works is quoted as saying, “that all the reports he had received were entirely against the extension, which, it was declared, would result in a loss to the revenue, and he could give them no hope of their request being complied with.”

Between 1894 and 1898 a horse drawn tram replaced the steam tram between Newtown and St Peters.

Horse drawn tram at Newtown
Horse drawn tram at Newtown

16th. November, 1898.

The fifty-ninth anniversary of the consecration of St. Peter’s Church, Cook’s River-road, was celebrated on Sunday last by special services. In the morning the preacher was the Rev. John Dixon, of St. Thomas’, Balmain West. In the afternoon, at 3 o’clock, the archbishop of Sydney held a confirmation service, when the rite was administered to 33 candidates, the rector (the Rev. E. D. Madgwick) being present. In the evening the service was fully choral, the Rev. F. T. Trivett intoned, and the Archbishop preached to a large and attentive congregation. The choir, conducted by Mr. Reg. Madgwick, and ably accompanied by the organist Mr. Charles Rowlings, rendered with good effect Eldon’s service and the anthem “Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem.” The offertories for the day were good.

St Peters Church 1890s. Rev. Madgwick at side of doorway
St Peters Church 1890s.
Rev. Madgwick at side of doorway

17th. November, 1853.

CORONER’S INQUEST – Yesterday, an inquest was held before the Coroner, Pultney Inn, Cook’s River, upon view of the body of John Cressey, then lying dead there.  From the evidence of Edward Cousins, residing at Cook’s River, it appeared that deceased was a seafaring man, and on Saturday last was engaged in a boat belonging to the father of the witness, the witness and deceased were gathering shells. They loaded the boat rather too heavily, and the wind was blowing rather fresh.  Suddenly, as they came round the point, the wind blew upon the larboard side, and the boat immediately went down bow forward.  Witness was then in the bow, and immediately swam for his life.  Witness called to deceased but he did not answer. He saw deceased holding on by the boat in such a way that he thought his feet were touching the  ground. Witness reached the shore, but the boat had then sank, and the deceased had disappeared. On Sunday morning last, after a long search, the body was found. Verdict, accidental drowning.    

18th. November, 1876.

YESTERDAY forenoon the City Coroner held at Lymerston, Marrickville, the residence of Mr. Harmsworth Robert Way, an inquest touching the cause of death of Richard Frederick Cecil Way, aged three years and seven months. Harriette Albinia Way, residing at Lymerston with her husband, Cecil Way, deposed that deceased was her son; she last saw him alive early on Thursday morning at home; he came up to his aunt’s with his cousins about that time; about 11 o’clock she had occasion to go to the pond at the back of her residence to get some water, and she saw deceased’s hat on the top of the water; this excited her alarm; on seeing it witness went up to his aunt’s, which was only a few yards off from her house, to inquire if deceased was still there; she learnt that he was not there, and that they did not know where he was; several of them went to the pond; a boy named Henry Baynes, a servant of her brother-in-law, went into the pond at her request, and almost immediately after going in he discovered the body and brought it out; life appeared to be extinct; means were adopted with the view of restoring animation, but without avail; the pond to which reference had been made was close to the house, within a few yards of the back door; there was no fence around it; the deceased had formerly been in the habit of playing about the pond, but he had been checked and did not go lately but once, rather more than a week ago, when he went there to gather flowers. Sophia Elizabeth Way, aunt of the deceased, was also examined. She said that he left her place between 10 and 11 o’clock in the forenoon, saying that he was going home; he had been in the habit for the last two years of going backwards and forwards between the two houses; the pond was dry last summer; he had only been gone from her place about a quarter of an hour, when his mother came to inquire after him. The evidence of the boy who recovered the body was then taken. He said that he found it in three to four feet of water; the pond was from six to seven yards in length, and from three to four yards in width. Charles Russell Watson, a legally qualified medical practitioner, gave it as his opinion that death had resulted from suffocation by drowning. The jury found that the child had been accidentally drowned. Although no rider was appended to the verdict, the jury had remarked on the great danger attendant upon having open ponds or waterholes in the immediate vicinity of dwelling-houses.  

19th. November,  1894.


A concert was given by the girls’ department of the above school on Friday night at the St. Peters town Hall, in aid of the prize fund. The hall was crowded, and the items were given with great success, the chair being taken by the Mayor (R. H. Judd, J.P.). The programme included the fairy operetta, “Daisy Bell,”  in which the characters were taken by Master Sid. Brian, Miss May Russell, Miss Mabel Jones, and Master Richard: followed by maypole and fairy wand dances, club swinging exhibition, and a series of tableaux vivants.   

20th. November, 1897.



At the Newtown Police court yesterday, before Mr. Delohery, S.M., the Municipal Council of St. Peters, through their inspector under the Dairies Supervision Act, proceeded against a dairyman named Andrew Brown, for having at St. Peters, contrary to the Dairies Supervision Act, on the 2nd instant sold and supplied milk in the district of St. Peters at a time when his name, place of residence, dairy premises and milk store used for the production, deposit and distribution of such milk was not entered upon the register of that district……

Archibald Macintosh stated that he was the council clerk and local inspector under the dairies Supervision Act for the Borough of St. Peters. The defendant in this case was, as far as witness knew, a partner with Martin Brown, his brother, and together they carried on a dairy business in Lackey-street, St. Peters. ..The council had power to remove such name from the register, and on September 20 last the council by resolution decided to cancel Brown’s registration on sanitary grounds. Subsequently the council received a report from the Health Board on this dairy……

The report was read by Mr. Rich….recommending the cancellation of defendant’s license on the grounds that the board’s veterinary inspector had visited this dairy among others, and reported that he found 14 milch cows and two dry ones. The premises were simply filthy, the floors underrun with drainage. There had been evidently an attempt to drain a portion of the place, but practically it was useless, as there was little or no outlet. The buildings were in a neglected condition. The milkroom tables, door, and floor he found dirty. The walls had appearance of recent limewashing-patches here and there; but all in an ineffective manner. On examining the cattle the inspector found one half-bred Jersey cow exhibiting suspicious symptoms of tuberculosis, a red-coloured cow had a bony tumour near the lower jaw, a roan coloured cow had a large tumour on the off side ribs. Both these animals were suspicious cases of actinomycosis, which should be kept under observation for a month until the inspector returned again…..

The magistrate said in this case he intended to inflict a heavy penalty….He would order the defendant to pay a penalty of £10, together with £3 12s 6d costs, in default imprisonment for three months.

Mr. Abigail gave formal notice of appeal.

21st. November, 1864.

A man named Samuel Blackwell was found lying dead on the Cook’s River Dam, last Wednesday morning. His death was an accident, caused by the dangerous state of the dam.    

22nd. November, 1851.



SEALED TENDERS are herby invited for the Lease of the Tolls on the Cook’s River Road, from the 1st January to the 31st December, 1852. Tenders to be left at Mr. JAMES OATLEY’S corner of Pitt and Goulburn-streets, on or before Monday, the 1st December, at noon.

The rent to be paid monthly in advance.

Parties tendering will be required to be in attendance, and to deposit one month’s rent in advance on the tender being accepted; and to find sureties to be approved by the Trustees.

23rd. November, 1839.


On Wednesday last, the 28th instant, the above named edifice was, according to appointment, solemnly dedicated and set apart to the service of almighty God. The day was fine and the Church crowded to overflowing; a large proportion of the congregation being of the most respectable families in New South Wales. The solemnities of the day commenced at about a quarter past eleven in the forenoon, by his Lordship the Bishop of Australia and a large number of his Chaplains being received at the great or western door and proceeding up the southern aisle, reading in alternate verses the xxivth Psalm; after which (the Bishop having taken his seat at the communion table, and the Rev. Mr. Steele, the Minister of the Parish, in the reading desk) the surpassingly sublime service of the Church of England for the Consecration of a Church was proceeded with. His Lordship (who we were sorry to observe looked very ill) preached a most able sermon from text xvith Matthew, 17,18, v. “And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou Simon Bar Jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my father which is in Heaven. And I say also unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.” He commenced by observing, how decent and proper it was that places which were intended to be set apart for ever from all profane and common uses, should by some special act be solemnly dedicated to the service of that God, through whose munificence alone it is that we have life and breath, and all things…..He then went on to observe and demonstrate how unfounded was the Church of Rome to any superior authority…. The rock, his lordship said, on which our blessed Saviour had stated he would build his Church, was the confession made to St. Peter in the 16th verse, “Thou art the Christ, the son of the living God.” In fact, the Church in Rome was not founded by St. Peter at all, but by St. Paul, and who it was to be observed had never been instructed by St. Peter, but so far from it had once on a memorable occasion proved St. Peter wrong,….The Church is a handsome building in the Gothic Style, and the pulpit and reading desk are of equal height, one being placed on either side of the communion table. The service was attended to with reverential awe by the members of the congregation. The 1st lesson from 1st Kings, viii c., 21st to 63rd v. ; and the Gospel, 2nd John, 12th to 18th v., struck us as being peculiarly appropriate. The Church is surrounded by a handsome railing, and is distant four miles from Sydney; it has a steeple, spire, &c., &c.

24th. November, 1853.



Mr. Mort’s sale of house and land property was well attended, and very brisk competition amongst capitalists was maintained throughout. The annexed are the prices realised – Mansion and grounds on the Cook’s River, known as the late property of Leslie Duguid, Esq., convenient to St. Peter’s Church, £ 5500…

25th. November, 1840.

BUTCHERS AND BAKERS – There is a most advantageous opening at this time for the above craft in the district of Cook’s River, where a Church is erected, and gentlemen’s villas, and peasants’ hamlets, are rising around in all directions; and yet there is not a tradesman or mechanic in the neighbourhood. the consequence is that every family is compelled to send into Sydney, distances varying from two to six miles, for every loaf of bread and every pound of meat, as well as for every other article of domestic consumption. Surely there are those who would do well to take the hint.

26th. November, 1891. 

It is the intention of Mr. W. J. Lyne, the Minister for Public Works, to continue the work of canalising Shea’s Creek, from Ricketty-street to the vicinity of Eveleigh, providing all difficulties which have hitherto existed regarding the resumption of certain land necessary for the purpose can be removed. When in office several years ago Mr. Lyne initiated the Cook’s River reclamation scheme, and the Shea’s Creek canal is a continuation of this undertaking. Eighty men are now engaged in cutting the channel which will form eventually the water-way from Botany Bay, along Cook’s River and Shea’s Creek, to Eveleigh. Before the water will be navigable, however, the cuttings on the Cook’s River side, including the widening of the old creek to Ricketty-street, will have to be deepened.

27th. November, 1851.

THE COLONIAL SECRETARY could not admit that the proposition before the House, had not been well considered by the Government. There had been a most elaborate survey made of all the localities from which water could be obtained for the supply of the city, by his honorable friend the Chief Commissioner of Crown Lands, during the government of the late Sir George Gipps, and Cook’s River was reported to be the most desirable source. The experiment of draining out the salt water had been made in the case of George’s River, where a dam of solid masonry was constructed, and in the short space of seven months after that dam was constructed the water on the river for seven miles up was perfectly fresh, inasmuch as the inhabitants of Liverpool preferred the water from it to any other they could obtain. The same result would no doubt have been attained at Cook’s River, if the dam could have been made water tight, and thus the salt water been effectually dammed out. He thought however, by the construction of this second dam, it would be efficiently excluded. The water in the intermediate bason between the two dams could at low water be let off, and thus the salt water would be prevented from rising at highwater above the second dam. The fresh water would thus be effectually preserved, and by being dammed back into the Newtown Creek the distance which it would be required to bring the water to the city, would be much lessened……   

28th. November, 1898.


The twenty-seventh anniversary of St. Peter’s Primitive Methodist Church, May-street, St. Peters, was celebrated during last week. On Monday evening the annual tea meeting took place in the Foresters’ Hall, Cook’s River-road, and was very largely attended. The Mayor of St. Peters (Alderman G. Farr, J.P.) presided at the public meeting. The secretary of the church (Miss J. Annabel) presented the annual report, which showed that, in addition to meeting the ordinary expenditure, the congregation had been enabled to pay off £100 of the church debt. The children of the Alexandria City Mission Sunday School rendered the cantata, “Liberty,” and short addresses were also delivered.

Methodist Church St Peters

29th. November, 1894.



A meeting of the above council was held in the Town Hall on 26th November. Mr. G. Mason wrote that an accident had happened to his wife by falling into an open ditch on the footpath in Unwin’s Bridge-road when proceeding to Tempe station, whereby she had been much injured in her business as a music-teacher; and claimed compensation. On motion of Alderman Farr, seconded by Alderman Geering, it was decided that the writer be informed that the place complained of was not in the municipality.

30th. November, 1835.


Report from the first Police Magistrate of Sydney, to His Excellency the Governor, relative to the Police of that Town and District.

Police Office, Sydney,

1st May, 1835.

SIR – I have the honor to lay before Your Excellency a Report on the present state of the Police Establishment……

A Constable has also been appointed at Cook’s River, on the application of several gentlemen of that neighbourhood, who receives 2s. 3d. per diem. ….

this man’s residence being on the right bank of Cook’s River, he cannot be considered as belonging to the district of Sydney, according to the new distribution.

1st December, 1896.

DEPARTURE OF COMMANDANT BOOTH – Yesterday morning was spent by commandant and Mrs. Booth in inspecting the different homes under the control of the Salvation Army…..The Prison-gate Brigade Home at Ashfield was first visited; and then followed inspections of the homes about Newtown, the Wells and Wilson street homes, and the Rescue Home for men in Silver-street, St. Peters. The commandant contented himself with taking notes of all he saw with a view of considering in what manner the progress which he has determined upon can be best effected……

Silver st PGB

2nd December, 1899.

The sixtieth anniversary of the dedication of St. Peter’s Church, Cook’s River, was marked by special services, &c., held from November 19 to 26. On the 19th the congregation were very large. At the morning service an old rector, Rev. C. Baber, preached the sermon. In the evening, the Rev. Dr. Manning, also a former rector, preached to an overflowing congregation. His Grace the Archbishop occupied the pulpit on the 20th, and again there was a crowded church. The choir was strengthened by some members of All Saints’, Petersham choir. Winchester’s service and Elvey’s anthem “I was Glad” were effectively sung, with Mr. G. Garland at the organ. The offertory, £116, included the result of one month’s effort in collecting for the renovation of the old church, which has fallen into decay. On Thursday, November 23, a tea and public meeting were held in the Parish Hall and were well attended.

3rd December, 1860.

Those who recollect an English rabbit-warren, and know how large a part it contributes to the provision market, will be glad to hear that an attempt is now made on a sufficient scale to introduce the wild rabbit on the estate of Mr. HOLT, at Cook’s river. It has been imported from Tasmania. Hares and pheasants have been brought to the colony, and if successful, they will shortly be added to our scanty list of game.

These are enterprises which enrich a country and enhance its attractions. When the settler first landed on these shores, hope and not possession was his only solace. Now our animal wealth is our grand resource, and most precious export. But there is no reason why we should not possess around us all that is choice and beautiful in the living creation.

Thomas Holt's property at Cooks River
Thomas Holt’s property at Cooks River

4th December, 1897.

Cook’s River is alive with crabs and flathead. Messrs. T. Slade and J. Serbutt, on Friday afternoon, caught 29 large flathead and 7 crabs drifting in the river, and other reports are equally gratifying.

5th December, 1894.


(Before the Chief Justice and a jury.)


Margaret Jackson was charged on an indictment with having, on the 17th May, at St. Peters, been in charge of a certain lying-in home without first obtaining the written consent of the chief officer, as provided under the Children’s Protection Act, and without obtaining the consent of the mother, allowing a child to be removed from her house.

In opening the case for the Crown, Mr. Wade, explained that the accused kept a lying-in home in Terry-street, St. Peters. Last January a young woman named Mary McDonagh went to the home, and in the following May was delivered of a child. During her period of illness the accused, without notifying the officer of the district or the mother, took the child away. The learned counsel went on to refer to the late Makin tragedy, and pointed out that the Children’s Protection Act had been specially called into existence to prevent offences like that with which the accused was charged.

Mary McDonagh was examined by Mr. Wade. She stated that she had applied to the accused several times for her child, but had been unable to obtain possession of it. She was a barmaid, earning £1 a week when in work, but at present she was not in work. One day the accused came into her room and took the child away. The accused told her that it was going to New Zealand, whereupon witness remarked that it was a cruel thing to rob her of her child. In cross-examination, witness admitted that she had continued to live in the house with accused for many weeks after the child had gone.

The accused gave evidence in her own behalf. The child was given by the mother to a lady, who promised to take it to New Zealand, but afterwards accused ascertained that the lady had gone to Melbourne. Accused went to Melbourne to try and find the lady, but could not.

His Honor having summed up, the jury retired, and were locked up for the night.

6th December, 1836.

On Saturday, a man named Simpson proceeding homewards along the Cooks River Road, was muzzled, and nearly strangled as he terms it, by a man who robbed him of his hat, and one pound note; Simpson was so intoxicated that he could offer no resistance-serve him right for being drunk.

7th December, 1835.


THURSDAY – A settler, at Cook’s River, was charged with melting twenty-five fowls into good hard Spanish Dollars. It appeared that prisoner resided within a short distance of Mr. Thorpe’s, at Cook’s River, who was possessed of a fine clutch of cuckoo fowls which he prized, and prisoner admiring dollars, issue was joined. Prisoner with a view to effect his object, proceeded to Captain Ebhart’s residence in the vicinity, and offered to supply him with green stuff and a batch of poultry, which was acceded to; Prisoner dispatched his man of business with the cuckoos to the Captain’s, who found them exceedingly toothsome. On the person who had charge of the poultry returning from an absence of a few days, he found, to his horror, that his pets had vanished; on making proper enquiry, he found, not only the cause but the effect, for out of twenty-five blooming cuckoos only two remained, which were produced, and certainly had “Monsieur Ude” had the handling of them, and divers concomitants here added they would have satisfied the hungry edge of appetite – Fully committed.

8th December, 1893.

FATAL MISTAKE -An inquest was held yesterday by the Deputy City coroner, Mr. W. T. Pinhey, J.P., in the Bay View Asylum, Cook’s River-road, Tempe, concerning the death of a woman named Anne Jane Dewhurst. The evidence showed that the deceased, who was married, 47 years of age, had been a government patient in the asylum for the past nine years. on Wednesday morning a nurse, by mistake, gave her some medicine which had not been adequately diluted with water, though Dr. Vause had intended that this should be done, according to custom in the institution, by the matron. The jury returned a verdict that the woman died through taking a dose of bromide of potassium and chloral hydrate, which had been accidentally administered to her, and that no blame could be attached to the matron or nurse. The jury further considered that Dr. Vause should have exercised more care, and not have allowed medicine to leave his hands in such concentrated form as that which caused the woman’s death.

9th December, 1856.


….Nest and eggs of the Water-rail (Rallus pectoralis), from Patmore’s Swamp, Cook’s River. By Mr. John Bird…..

A young Halmaturus, from Corunulla. By Mr. M. Gannon, Cook’s River.

10th December, 1853.

BIGAMY -Thomas Smith was indicted for having, at Cook’s River, on the 25th July last, married one Mary Anne Callan, being at the time a married man, having previously wedded one Bridget Curry, on the 6th Nov. 1848. Verdict, Guilty. His Honor, after reserving a point of law as to the validity of the first marriage, sentenced the prisoner to be kept to hard labour on the roads of the colony for the space of five years.

11th December, 1897.

All the good grounds near Sydney have been well-tried by thousands of sportsmen this week. Indeed, indications are not wanting to show that fishing is fast becoming a national pastime. So excellent is the sport with the hand line in such easily fished places as Woy Woy, Tuggerah Lake, Lake Macquarie, George’s River, Cook’s River, and Port Hacking that parties consisting of ladies exclusively are quite common. Some of them handle their lines with great skill, and having a convenient surface upon which to coil the line they rarely have tangles after the first experience.

12th December, 1899.


…….The following tenders have been opened by the Tender Board of the Public Works Department;- ……

supply of 110 ironbark poles for the tramway from St. Peters to Cook’s River, 3 tenders, Francis J. White, £2 10s per anchor pole and £2 per span pole lowest…

13th December, 1892.

An inquest was held on Tuesday with respect to the death of a man named William Doyle, aged 23, whose dead body was found on the previous day in a waterhole in a brickyard off Cook’s River-road. The evidence showed that the deceased had been of late somewhat depressed, and suffered much from neuralgia. At an early hour on Sunday he was noticed running in the direction of the waterhole mentioned in an excited state. Some hours later some of his clothes were found at the edge of the water, and dragging operations were commenced by the police. An open verdict was returned.

14th December, 1897.


On Friday evening there was a crowded attendance at the Town Hall, St. Peters, when the children attending the local Public school gave a concert, the funds of which are to be devoted to the prize and library funds. An excellent programme opened with a splendid rendering by the senior scholars of the cantata “The Picnic,” in which the sports and over joyous movements of the youths at such festive seasons were shown to advantage. Miss Josephine O’Reilly sang with excellent taste “Three Fishers Went Sailing.” for which she received an encore. Musical items were also given by Mr. Eugene O’Reilly. The Misses M. Russell, E. Burling, E. Penfold, E. Mullens, J. Harper, and G. Baker. A chorus “Football,” by the boys, was warmly received as was also the concluding chorus “Good night.” The accompanists were Misses E. Brian and Lannen, and the whole performance was under the direction of the principals of the school, Mr. P. O’Reilly and Miss McPhillamy.

15th December, 1894.


The annual distribution of prizes  of the St. Peters Public School took place yesterday at the school. The gathering was presided over by Mr. W. Rigg, M.L.A. The visitors proceeded first to the infants’ department, which is presided over by Miss Hannigan, where Mr. Rigg, after addressing a few words of encouragement to the children, presented a number of books to the pupils, the dux of the boys’ division being Master Albert Farr, and that of the girls’ division Miss Kate McIntosh. The principal prize-winners in the various classes were Kate Grasnick, Emily Jones, George Beehag, John Stuckey, and William Smith. At the conclusion Mr. Rigg, on behalf of the pupils, presented to Miss McNamee an illuminated address and some handsome books as a mark of esteem and respect. The girls then gave an exhibition of an Oriental display in costume, with tambourine, cap, and dress, under the direction of Miss McNamee, and the boys and exhibition of dumb-bell exercise, under the direction of Miss Davis, Miss Grant acting as accompanist.

16th December, 1897.


The Foresters’ Hall, Cook’s River-road, St. Peters, presented a very attractive appearance yesterday afternoon on the occasion of a sale of work in aid of the church debt existing on the local Primitive Methodist Church. The following are the various stalls and the names of the ladies presiding:-

Needlework Stall – Mrs. Young, Mrs Kemp, Miss Squires, Mrs. May, Mrs. Fernside, and Mrs. Maller.

Crinkled Paper Stall, in charge of Miss Eaton.

Stationery Stall – Miss Young and Miss Zilla Squires.

Refreshment Stall – Mrs. Nickels, Mrs. Spackman, and Mrs Eaton.

Summer drinks and Jellies – Miss Loveday and Mr. H. Fernside.

Ice-cream Stall – Mrs. Bubb and Mr. S. Bubb.

Shooting Gallery – Mr. Bubb.

Flower and Plant Stall – The Junior Christian Endeavours.

Christmas Tree, Toy Stall, and Bran tub – Miss Lambeth and Miss Chappel.

Galvanic battery – Mrs. Hirst.

Gramaphone – Mrs. Nickels.

16th December, 1893.


Under the auspices of the St. Peters Young Men’s Institute, a minstrel and variety entertainment was given in the Sunday School hall, Cook’s River-road, on Thursday evening. There was a large attendance, and the programme, consisting principally of comic items, was concluded with an amusing farce entitled “The Pawnshop Ghost.” The principal parts were taken by Messrs. Gannon, Sheridan, Carmody, and Vaughan. The proceeds of the entertainment were devoted to the gymnasium fund in connection with the institute.

17th December, 1856.


This was an action for recovery of damages for malicious prosecution. The parties were lime-burners. They were in partnership at Cook’s River for two or three months. On the 26th of May last, Gardiner sent a notice to Bell, intimating that as the state of affairs was not prosperous, he intended to dissolve the partnership. Among the assets in the partnership affairs was a kiln-bottom which Bell contended he made, but which Gardiner said he bought and paid for. This he kept possession of, and refused on demand to give it up. Bell then sought legal advice, and filed an information against Gardiner for obtaining forcible possession. The information was dismissed, as it appeared the partnership had not terminated. For the defence it was maintained that there was no malice, and no want of reasonable and probable cause for the prosecution, and that the defendant in acting upon the advice of his solicitor was justified in the course which he pursued. The Court found for the defendant. Mr. Robberds conducted the defence, and Mr. Brown appeared for the plaintiff.

18th December, 1838.

Eliza Scott, assigned to Mr. Josephson, was charged with having sent another servant for half a pint of rum during church time on Sunday, and getting drunk with it, and afterwards behaving insolently to her mistress. the prisoner in defence said that the other woman had asked her to join, and that they had paid for the rum between them. Sentenced to two months’ hard labour in the third class, Factory, at the expiration of which to be returned to Government.

19th December, 1844.


…. the House then resolved itself into committee upon the Estimates of Expediture for 1845, with the view of examining the witnesses then in attendance.

SIR THOMAS MITCHELL was then called in and examined with reference to the Cook’s River Dam. The substance of his evidence was as follows: “The building of the dam originally was carried on upon a faulty principle, for instead of being built at right angles across the river, it was constructed obliquely, by which reason the great pressure of the current was thrown upon one point. That part of the dam which fronted the sea was built of loose stones and rubbish, instead of being formed of solid blocks of stone, and the consequence was that it offered only an imperfect resistance to the water. He thought this plan was most insufficient, and that the better course of facing the dam with solid stone would occasion very little more expense than the finishing of it in its present imperfect manner, from the facility with which stone could be procured from the adjacent quarries. He had seen 120 blocks of stone ready cut for this purpose lying in one of these quarries, which had been withheld from the work as being too good. The present sluices were most imperfect, and it would be necessary to construct a water way to guard against future floods. It would also be well to raise the dam about two feet, in order to prevent the bar on the sea side from affecting the fresh water above the dam, when the former rose higher than usual, but the water-way proposed could be constructed without this raising. He (Sir Thomas Mitchell) was not aware as to who was superintending the work which was being carried on there, but he presumed it was Captain Innes, for when he last came to the House for the purpose of giving evidence, he was met by that gentleman, who asked whether he had seen his work, remarking that if he had not seen it he could not have seen the dam at all, and this was the first time that he had seen anything of this gentleman. In an answer to questions from the Colonial Secretary, Sir Thomas Mitchell remarked that he understood an impediment to exist in the carrying of the dam straight across the river, from the fact of Mr. Sparke’s property being on the opposite bank, through which the road would have to run. This he had no doubt was opposed by Mr. Spark, although in his (Sir Thomas’s) opinion the property would have been much improved by it. The length of the dam was 385 yards, and its breadth about 40 feet, consequently the raising of it for two feet throughout, and the facing of it with blocks of stone on the sea-side would be a work of considerable magnitude, but he did not apprehend that, with the facilities possessed for procuring extensive supplies of stone upon the spot, it would be a very expensive one. The work when complete would unquestionably be one of great public benefit, if it was only for the purpose of a road, but this work alone would not ensure a supply of fresh water for Sydney, as the water above the Dam would still be rendered brackish by the presence of a small salt water creek in the vicinity of Mr. Spark’s property; but this could be dammed up at a small expense.

Mr. LEWIS, the Colonial Architect gave similar evidence to that of Sir Thomas Mitchell, as to the propriety of having a good sea wall of stone, a water way, and a raising of the dam to the extent of about a foot and a half or two feet, but considered that this would be a work of considerable expense, and would cost at least £1500. He was aware of the oblique direction of the dam having been caused by the unwillingness of Mr. Spark to allow the road to pass through his land. The sluices were in bad repair, but if put in order, he believed them to be as good a plan as any other for keeping the salt water apart from the fresh. The work was not actually under his (Mr. Lewis’s) superintendence, but at Captain Innes’s request he had accompanied that gentleman to the dam, and pointed out how the work ought to be done, the actual superintendence of the work being entrusted to Capt. Innes himself. The work, however was being done in a different style to that which he (Mr. Lewis) had recommended. the repair of the dam was certainly an object of great public importance, but the work as at present constructed would most probably want something doing to it every year.

The COLONIAL SECRETARY then moved that a sum not exceeding £300 be appropriated to defray the expenses of repairing the Cook’s River dam, and this amount thus moved for was voted without opposition.

Dam at Cooks River
Dam at Cooks River

20th December, 1856.

Messrs. Rishworth and Co. disposed of the year’s lease of the Mudbank and Cook’s River Toll-bar at £12 10s. per week.

21st December, 1897.


A terrible accident occurred near the Tempe station late last night. Four men were in company crossing the line oblivious of the fact that a train was approaching from Hurstville. But when the men realised their position a shout was raised and an attempt was made to escape to a place of safety. In this attempt they were too late, and two out of the four were hurled with shocking force to the ground. The train was brought to a standstill and assistance was quickly at hand. It was then found that two men had been killed. The remains of the deceased men were conveyed to the Sydney Morgue. The two men killed were named John Murray and Thomas Patrick Kierney. Murray was employed as a labourer on the Sewage Farm and Kierney was in the service of Major Stephen of the Warren, Marrickville. The deceased were preceded by two men, Charles Kierney, brother to one of the killed, and Bernard McMuller, who resides in Premier-street Marrickville. Murray seems to have occupied a camp at a place called the Pines Farm, and it was to this place the men appear to have been going when they were overtaken by this terrible visitation.

The train that caused the death of the two men was that which left Hurstville at 11.5 p.m. When the impending danger was realised by Charles Kierney and McMuller, they, by way of warning, did all they could to avert the catastrophe. By signs and shouts they indicated the approach of the train, but, as stated, the fated men made their dash for safety a moment too late. Each man was shockingly injured about the head, and one man had both feet cut off.

22nd December, 1855.


A PIGEON MATCH will take place at Mr. J. S. HENRY’S, Cook’s River Inn, the day after the Regatta, viz, Thursday, the 27th inst. Mr. Henry, being an old Sportsman, and a crack shot, intends to celebrate the inauguration of pigeon shooting upon his grounds by presenting a 3 cwt pig as the Opening prize for all visitors.

Gentlemen may rest assured that Mr. Henry will make every arrangement to avoid the possibility of disappointment in any particular, having already secured an unlimited quantity of strong winged birds.

23rd December, 1868.

DEATH FROM DROWNING – The City Coroner held an inquiry yesterday, at the Pulteney  Hotel, Cook’s River, respecting the death of a youth named James Rottenbury. Eliza Rottenbury stated, that deceased was her son, and was about 11 years of age; between 8 and 9 o’clock yesterday morning she sent him to a well, which was situated on her husband’s premises, to get some water. Water was obtained by means of a bucket and a rope; he would have to stand on the slabs of wood with which the well was partly covered; as he did not return in the course of ten minutes or so, she went to look for him; she found the bucket about four feet from the well, and on looking down the well she found his cap floating on the water, and could just see his fingers beneath the water; his fingers disappeared; she screamed out for assistance, and put a pole down the well, but he did not take hold of it; several persons came to her assistance, and within a quarter of an hour, the body was recovered by Mr. Hunt; she used every means in her power to restore animation, but without avail: Dr. Sedgwick was sent for, and he came and pronounced life extinct. Dr. Sedgwick stated, that he was of opinion that the cause of death was suffocation by drowning. A verdict to the effect that deceased was accidentally drowned was returned by the jury.

FATAL ACCIDENT – An inquest was held at the house of Mr. William Cook, Pulteney Hotel, Cook’s River, yesterday afternoon, on the body of James Rattenbury, aged ten years and eleven months, lying dead in his parents’ residence, adjacent. Elizabeth Rattenbury, mother of deceased, said : There is a well on my premises, containing five feet seven inches of water. It is about six feet in diameter. Yesterday morning, between 8 and 9 o’clock, I sent deceased to the well above described, to get a bucket of water. The means of drawing the water was by rope and bucket. Deceased not returning, in about ten minutes I went to the well, and saw the bucket he had taken near it. I looked down the well, and saw his cap floating, and below the surface of the water I could just see deceased’s fingers, which immediately after disappeared. I procured a pole, and put it down the well for him to get hold of, but he did not do so. Mr. Hunt and others came to the house, and Mr. Hunt recovered deceased’s body from the well. Dr. Sedgwick was sent for, and every means were tried to restore animation, but life was extinct. Dr. Sedgwick stated that death was caused by drowning, and the jury found a verdict of “Accidental drowning.”

24th December, 1852.

Boxing Day.


Canine Fanciers are informed that Two Dogs,

OF 36 lbs. weight each, will be open to be matched (give or take a lb.) with any dogs that may be brought to the scratch, at Gannon’s Hotel, Cook’s River.

Gentlemen who may feel disposed to fight


can likewise be accommodated on the same day, and at the same place, for from £25 to £50 the battle.

Further arrangements can be made on application at the above Hotel.

Cook’s River, December 20th.

25th December, 1847.

CORONER’S INQUEST – An inquest was held yesterday afternoon, at Mr. Beaumont’s, the Sir Joseph Banks Hotel, Botany, on view of the body of John King. From the evidence it appeared that on Thursday afternoon, as Mr. John Johnson was coming up towards Sydney from the Botany Heads an aboriginal who was in the boat directed his attention to what he thought was a human body; Mr. Johnson landed, and at about 150 yards from the jetty found a dog lying on some male wearing apparel, and some twenty or thirty yards from the beach saw an object floating, which he thought was a human body; assistance was procured, and the object he saw proved to be the body of John King, which was quite naked; King had been at the hotel on Thursday morning and wanted something to drink, which was refused him, when he went away, saying that he would get it elsewhere. this appeared to be the last that was seen of him alive. Every exertion was made to resuscitate the body, but without effect. Dr. Tierney examined the body, and deposed that in his opinion death had been caused by suffocation. the Jury returned a verdict of accidentally drowned.

Joseph Banks Hotel

26th December, 1856.

BOXING-DAY SPORTS – Barwan Park, Newtown-road. Horse Racing! Pony Racing! ! Cart-Horse Race! ! Brickmakers’ Race! ! &c., &c.,&c., OLD ENGLISH SPORTS. Jumping in sacks! ! Pig hunt! ! Wheelbarrow race! ! Bobbing for rolls! ! Quoits, and an endless variety of amusements. Admission Free! ! ! ! ! Remember THIS DAY, Boxing Day!

WATERLOO RETREAT, Botany-road – THIS DAY, Boxing Day, a grand Balloon, the largest ever made in this colony – no calico in its composition, will ascend from the Retreat immediately after the races and the other fun of the day terminates.

27th December, 1859.


The races customary at Cook’s River on Boxing Day came off with considerable éclat yesterday. Owing probably, to the numerous other attractions with which our beautiful city and suburbs-especially at this season of open-air festivities abound, the assembly of gaily-dressed holiday keepers and pleasure seekers congregated at Cook’s River on this occasion was not so large as might otherwise have been expected. Though there were some sports of a minor character on the hill overlooking the river, those on the racecourse – and they consisted for the most part of horse and foot races – attracted by far the largest concourse of people.

As it was the prowess of the horses belonging to the farmers and other residents of the surrounding country, rather than of regularly trained racehorses, that was to be tested, a large number of the classes mentioned, on their favourite hacks, came into the village from all quarters to witness the sport. At about one o’clock the first race was started by Mr. N. Gannon, judge, who was also appointed starter and umpire. The following were the conditions of the race: For all hacks that have never won an advertised prize, for a new hogskin saddle and bridle. Entrance, £1. Four entrances or no race; heats.

For this race there were four entrances, as follows:-

Mr. J. Gannon’s ‘Butcher’

Mr. Bardon’s ‘Flash Jack’

Mr. Davis’ ‘Paddy from Cork’

Mr. Hughes’ ‘Corn Dealer.’

The race was well contested, and was won by Mr. Gannon’s ‘Butcher’ taking both heats.

The second and only other horse race for an advertised prize (though there were several others advertised, but from unpropitious circumstances, did not come off) was for all bona fide cart horses known to be working on the Cook’s River Road, once round the course, for a new set of cart harness. Entrance £1. Four entrances or no race.

For this race there were also four entries.

Mr. Bryan’s ‘Brickmaker’

Mr. Gluck’s ‘Paddy Darling’

Mr. Harden’s ‘Colonial’

Mr. R. Newcombe’s ‘Coachey’

This race was won by Mr. Bryan’s ‘Brickmaker’ by two lengths.

A foot race for a new riding whip, entrance 5s., was the next on the programme. there were five entrances.

Prize taken by Joseph Gannon.

The next race for a prize was a foot race, exclusively confined to carters. Prize, a new driving whip. there were three entrances.

Won by Thomas Kelly.

Besides these races, there were others, both horse and foot races, made up among the owners of the competing horses in the one case, and by the rival runners in the other, which afforded much sport to the persons assembled.  though racing was the great attraction to the mass, many persons amused themselves with quoits and other sports. As the shades of evening began to advance the holiday seekers dispersed towards their respective habitations. Though several of the riders who – in these particular cases, appeared to be amateurs, and unaccustomed to riding at races – were observed to fall heavily from the saddles of their hacks, we are glad to state that no serious accident occurred throughout the day.

28th December, 1895.

At St. Peter’s Church, Cook’s River, special services were held on Christmas Day. the 11 o’clock service was choral. The “Te Deum” was sung to Dykes’s setting in F, and the “Jubilate” to Bridgewater. The solo “Oh, Thou that Tellest” (“Messiah”) was sung by Mrs. Hugh Duff; and the chorus by the choir, “Behold, I bring you good Tidings” (Goss). The preacher was the Rev. E. D.  Madgwick. Mr. Hugh Duff acted as organist and choirmaster.

29th December, 1855.



The Cook’s River sporting folk, determined to sail with the tide of custom at this festive season, issued an inviting card of aquatic events, which came off with unqualified success on Boxing Day, and were attended by a numerous company. The committee spared no effort to gratify visitors, and Mr. Henry of the Cook’s River Inn, was indefatigable in his exertions to promote the comfort of his numerous guests. The following is a summary of the sport:-

First Match- THE AMATEURS’ PURSE of 8 sovereigns, for all skiffs pulling a pair of oars. To start from the flag Ship, proceed round the Flag Boat moored off Gannon’s Dock, and back to the Flag Ship.-Entrance, 20s.

John Doyle………Tiger……….1

James Gannon….Volunteer.. 2

John Saunders………………..dr.

The Volunteer led, waited upon by the tiger which eventually shot ahead, winning cleverly by several lengths.

Second Match – THE COOK’S RIVER PURSE of 20 sovereigns, for all sailing boats over 26 feet on the keel. To start from the Flag Ship, to proceed down the river, round a Flag Boat moored off  Bumburra Point, opposite Brown’s garden, thence round a Flag Boat moored off Bona Point, and back to the flag ship. Second boat £3. Entrance, £2.

J. McNaughton’s… Thomas and Mary…1

George Morris’……Emma Morris………2

William Woods’………Sarah…………….3

Robert Curtis’…….Santa Barbara……..0

At starting the Santa Barbara unfortunately stranded. The Thomas and Mary got away first, and maintained her advantage, beating her opponents, after a most interesting struggle, by about five minutes.

Third Match – A PRIZE of £7, for all shell boats, being of a proportionable size, and employed at Cook’s River, pulling a pair of oars. To start from the Flag Ship, proceed round a Flag Boat moored in Muddy Creek, and back to the Flag Ship. Entrance 15s.

Matthew Campbell’s Barney McGee……..1

John Saunder’s……….Long Jack………….2

James Pointer’s……..Defiance……………dr.

The race between the Barney McGee and the Long Jack was marked by several exchanges of places, but the former boat ultimately won.

Fourth Match – THE SHELL GATHERERS’ PURSE of 15 sovereigns, for all sailing boats between 20 feet and 26 feet on the keel; same course as No 3: second boat £3. Entrance 30s.

Dennis McGuire’s… Rover’s Bride…..1

Charles Hick’s……..Helen…………….2

James Pointer’s… Enterprise…………3

The Rover’s Bride was never headed, beating the Helen by about ten minutes.

Fifth Match – A PRIZE of £3, with a sweep of 5s each added, for all dingies over 11 feet on the keel; same course as No 4. Entrance 5s.

Robert Lamb’s…… Mary Ann………1

James Barden’s Butterfly……………2

John Doyle’s…….Midge…………….3

A very pretty struggle between the Mary Ann and the Butterfly. Won by a dozen lengths.

Sixth Match – THE LIMEBURNERS’ PURSE of 10 sovereigns, for all sailing boats under 20 feet on the keel; to start from the flag-ship, proceed round the flag-boat moored off Bumbara point, and back to flag-ship; second boat, £2. Entrance, 25s.

Amos Salmon……….Tom……………………1

Joseph Nobbs’ …….William and Mary….2

Thomas Busby’s… Creeping Jane……….dr

Master T. Morris’…. Louisa……………..3

The Tom beat the William and Mary by six minutes, the latter beating the Louisa by about two minutes.

Seventh Matc – A Prize of £2, with a sweep of 5s each added, for all Cook’s River dingies, barring those in No 6; same course as No 4. Entrance 5s each.

John Gannon’s ….Mosquito………….1

William Brown’s…..Flea……………..2

Edward Bramwell’s….Sand Fly……(dr)

Joseph Nobbs’…. Follow me………..0

The event lay between Mosquito and Flea, two ticklish customers, but the former proved the greater nipper and won easily.

30th December, 1854.

New Year Sports!



Star and Garter Hotel,




heats, once round; post entry.


round; heats; post entry.





And “lots of fun”!

To commence at 2 p.m.

N.B.-Mr. Bown distinctly notifies that no guns will be allowed on the grounds after the commencement of the sports.

Barwan Park Steeplechase
Barwan Park Steeplechase

31st December, 1840.

COOK’S RIVER – On Saturday last, the Lord Bishop of Australia consecrated the new burial ground, attached to St. Peter’s  Church, on the New Town Road. (The site forming part of the original donation from Robert Campbell, Esq., M.C.) Divine service was performed at 4 p.m., by the Rev. Thomas Steel, B.A., assisted by the Rev. M. M. Simpson, Acting Chancellor; after which the congregation assembled in the church yard, when the ceremony took place according to the appointed form. An impressive extemporaneous address was delivered by the Right Rev. Prelate, who very appositely adverted to the circumstance of the day being that of St. Stephen, the first martyr, and also within but a few days of the close of the year; reminding his hearers of the possibility of some who were then present (mostly residents of the district) being interred in that spot before the next anniversary of that day, and therefore exhorting them to the practice of piety and holiness. The weather was very propitious, and the proceedings conducted with the greatest solemnity.