St George and Hurstville Information
The St George/Hurstville region is one of eight regional centres within greater Sydney located just 15 kilometres to the south west of Sydney’s CBD.
It is one of the fastest growing parts of metropolitan Sydney growing by 11% between 1996 – 2001. Covering an area of 2460 hectares, it has several major residential, shopping and commercial centres with approximately 26,000 dwellings that are home to its population of 70,642.
History of St George
For more than ten thousand years Aborigines lived in the area around Botany Bay. The aborigines living along Georges River, from Botany Bay to near Liverpool were part of the Eora tribe, known as the Gwiyagal group.
The aborigines would have used the caves along Georges River for shelter, and middens in Oatley and Lugarno are evidence of aboriginal occupation.
The First Land Grants
Two of the largest land grants in the Sydney region were granted to Captain John Townson and his brother Robert Townson in 1808, and are in the Hurstville area.
The grant to Captain John Townson of 1950 acres includes the present suburb of Hurstville and part of Bexley, while Penshurst, Mortdale and parts of Peakhurst are on land granted to Robert Townson.
Captain John Townson was granted a further 250 acres of land in the Kingsgrove and Beverly Hills area in 1809.
The Townson brothers were not satisfied with this land as it was not suitable for wool production, and probably did not occupy this land.
Several land grants were made in the area now known as Riverwood to Charles Doudall, James Ryan, Jane Trotter and Mary Shepley, in 1809 and in 1816 to Mary Redman. They probably occupied their land grants, and therefore became the first settlers apart from the aborigines.
George Tyrell and Thomas McCaffrey and John Robert Peake were early settlers in the Peakhurst area, and Robert Gardiner and James Oatley in the Beverly Hills - Narwee area, and Thomas Lawrence in the Lugarno area.
In the Hurstville area Simeon Lord, a wealthy merchant, purchased Captain John Townsons land in 1812, and it became known as Lord's Forest. He may have leased the land to timber getters and the 1841 Census shows William Trimby in residence.
Following the death of Simeon Lord the land came under the control of John Rose Holden and James Holt of the Bank of NSW.
In 1839 a dam was constructed on the Cooks River at Tempe with a roadway on top of it, thus providing a direct route to Sydney. In 1843 Mitchells Line of Road to the Illawarra was cut through the forest, and today is known as Forest Road.
A hand winched punt was established at Lugarno, and the road carried over the Woronora River, opening up a settlement at Bottle Forest, now know as Heathcote.
The road did not generate much traffic as it was only suitable for travellers on horseback from Woronora to Wollongong, and no suitable descent to Wollongong was made, however the road was important in opening the Hurstville district up to settlement.
The early settlers were mainly timber getters or charcoal burners, but as the thick forest was cleared market gardens and orchards became established, and later dairy farms became common.
Development of the District
St. George's Anglican Church, Forest Road, built 1856
The Blue Post Inn was opened in 1850 by Richard Fulljames.
The first church was the St.Georges Church of England. Services were held in a bush shed from 1854, and later in the house of George Crew the schoolmaster.
A wooden church was built in 1856 on land donated by George Crew.
The first school in the district was conducted in in Crew's Tent from 1853 and this became the Lord's Forest Church of England school in the wooden church built in 1856.
Charles Claggett's store became a Post Office in 1864.
A Public School replaced the denominational school in 1876, and a school inspector decided it should be called Hurstville School, and the Post Office adopted the new name in 1881.
A policeman was appointed in 1882, the police quarters being half of the butchers shambles.
If an arrest was made he would have to walk the prisoner to Newtown.
Hurstville Railway Station in 1893
The most important event in the history of the district occurred on Wednesday 15th October, 1884 when the Illawarra Railway was opened as far as Hurstville.
Land was rapidly subdivided into residential blocks, and land sales boomed.
Over the following decade mansions were built for capitalists and professional men who could now commute easily to the City, and most of the land in Hurstville, Penshurst, Mortdale and Oatley was subdivided into residential building blocks. Also in 1884 the Hurstville Steam Brick Co., opened, better known as Judds Brickworks, Mortdale, providing more employment.
In 1886 the first telephone in the district was installed in the Post Office, and telephones became more common after the opening of the Kogarah exchange in 1896.
Hurstville Volunteer Fire Brigade
Also in 1886 St. Michael's Catholic Church was opened, and a petition of 635 landowners and residents of the district called for the establishment of the Hurstville Municipal Council, which was achieved on 28th March, 1887.
Water and gas mains were laid in 1895.
A volunteer fire brigade was formed in 1897.
Another two brickwork's were opened - the Federal Brick Company in Hurstville in 1907, and Mashmans at Kingsgrove, in 1904.
In 1911 Hurstville Oval and the Propeller newspaper were established.
The St. George County Council was established for electricity supply, which began in 192
Hurstville Retail and Commercial Centre
First shops in Hurstville, opposite Public School, Forest Road approx. 1900.
The first shop in Hurstville was Claggett's store and post office, which was located on Forest Road, near to where Kenwyn Street is today. The Blue Post Inn was on the opposite side of the road, near where Roberts Lane is today.
A two storey building containing four shops was built nearby in the 1890's or early 1900's. This then was the original commercial centre.
Before the coming of the railway in 1884 Forest Road followed the course of Ormonde Parade, and near where the R.S.L. is now, stood the Gardeners Arms, a hotel owned by Mrs. Humphrey.
Further along was the Free and Easy, previously called the Currency Lass. Cock fights and skittles were played here.
Horse races were held along Forest Road from the Free and Easy to about where Bridge Street is now. The other recreation area was Chappelow's Paddock, behind the Blue Post Inn, where horse racing and pigeon shooting took place.
In 1883 a Hurstville correspondent to the Town and Country Journal pointed out that "our police quarters, at present one half of a butcher's shambles are neither elegant, nor much like a public building, and the prospect of walking a prisoner to Newton [court house] makes our policeman's lot not a happy one."
An immediate effect on Hurstville of the construction of the railway was the closure of the Gardeners Arms and the Free and Easy hotels, which were replaced by Patrick MacMahon's hotel on the site of the present Hurstville Hotel in MacMahon Street.
Forest Road originally meandered over the other side of the railway line, but following the construction of the railway Forest Road was made to run parallel to the railway line where the shopping centre now stands.
The railway station became the centre of the shopping centre in time, as shops took advantage of the trade created by railway passengers, and the old "village" near the Public School declined.
Handy To Know:
St George Phone Numbers:
Ambulance, Fire brigade and Police Emergency 000
Hurstville Police direct 9375 8599
Kingsgrove Police 9150 0441
Kogarah Police 9588 0499
Riverwood Police 9584 1899
Rockdale Police 0577 3699
Water Police 9692 5411
Crime Stoppers 1800 333 000
Child Protection Services 1800 066 777
Dog Pound 9587 9611
Electricity Supply 13 1388
Gas Supply 13 1909
Kids Help Line 1800 551 800
Lifeline 13 1114
Poisons Information Center 13 1126
Rape Crisis Center 9819 6565
Salvo Care Line 9331 6000
Salvo Crisis Line 9331 2000
Salvo Youth Line 9360 3000
State Emergency Services Hurstville 9533 2122
State Emergency Services Kogarah 9547 1244
Victims of Crime Counseling 1800 819 816
Water Supply 13 2090
Women's Information and Referral Service 1800 817 227
Youthline 9951 5522
Calavary Hospital 9553 3111
Hurstville Community Private Hospital 9570 5777
St George Hospital 9350 1111
St George Private Hospital 9598 5555
Wandene Private Hospital 9587 5077
Hurstville City Council 9330 6222
Kogarah Council 9330 9400
Rockdale City Council 9562 1666
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