Thursday 19 December 2019

2013 Balmoral-Yanderra Bushfire

Regeneration and New Life after the fires

New shoots of life on trees after fires along Picton Road, December 2013 (I Willis)
Areas that have been burnt by bushfires eventually regenerate and their is new life. Such has happened on the Picton Road area where the trees are now sprouting green shoots. There are dormant buds under bark of eucalypts called epicormic buds. These burst into new growth in the weeks following the fire and trees are covered with new leaves. Fire is a very cleansing process and a fire does not mean all is lost. After the disaster passes there is new life and new hope. New growth on the trees is symbolic of a fresh start and a new beginning.

Along Picton Road near Cordeaux Dam (I Willis, 22 Oct, 9.00am)

Day 12 Balmoral (Hall Road) Bushfire 28 October

The bushfire emergency has passed and most crews have been stood down. This fire has been downgraded to 'alert' status and is contained 3 km south of Bargo.
The Blue Mountains fire effected areas are now in the recovery stage and are appealing for visitors  not to abandon the area. Fire fighters are still working on the area where over 200 homes were destroyed by blazes last week. Crown Prince Frederik and Princes Mary lifted the spirits of residents as they visited the area yesterday according to reports.

Day 6 Balmoral (Hall Road) Bushfire 22 October (6.00pm)

The fire, according to the RFS website, has been consolidated within containment lines. The current status of the fire is controlled and has burnt over 15,300 hectares to date. Two houses have been lost.

The RFS website reports that 'Fire continues to burn in the Southern Highlands near the villages of Yerrinbool, Balmoral, Yanderra, Pheasants Nest, Wilton, Bargo, Buxton, Hill Top, Alpine / Aylmerton and Couridjah'. Illawarra residents are still advised to remain viligent. The Picton Road remains open. ( )
Meanwhile elsewhere in this fire emergency: in the Springwood fire 193 houses have been lost to date, 7 in the Mt Victoria fire and 3 in the Lithgow fire. ( )

Day 5 Balmoral Bushfire 21 October (6.00pm)

On Day 5 the bushfire continues to pose problems for fire authorities. This afternoon Wilton came under ember attack and the fire was status was upgraded to Emergency. 
According the RFS website at 6.00pm the fire has burnt over 14,100 hectares and is currently on a Watch and Act status and still out of control. Illawarra residents are advised to 'remain viligent and monitor the situation'. The Picton Road has re-opened.
The weather conditions at Camden airport are currently: winds ENE at 16 kph; 28% humidity; temperature 30.9 degrees. (Weatherzone)
Relief organisations have swung into action and include appeals launched by the Australian Red Cross, St Vincent de Paul Society, Salvation Army and Anglicare. Similar to wartime relief appeals during the First and Second World Wars and others during natural disasters.

Day 4 Balmoral Bushfire 20 October (6.00pm) 

The fire continues to pose challenges for fire authorities this afternoon. According to the RFS website there are 270 fire-fighters tending this fire, which continues to be uncontained. It has burnt over 12,700 hectares and has a Watch and Act status.
While not posing any direct threat to Illawarra residents they have been advised to 'remain viligent and monitor the situation'.
The fire has crossed the Picton Road which remains closed. The eastern edge of the fire is burning adjacent to Cataract and Cordeaux Dams.

Balmoral-Yanderra fire from Appin area (I Willis, 18 Oct, 6.00pm)

Balmoral-Yanderra Bushfire 18 October 2013 (6.00pm)

The photo of this fire from the Appin area shows the increased intensity of the fire since this morning. The RFS website states that the fire is uncontained and has burnt over 8,000 hectares. The fire has crossed the Picton Road and is burning along the Macarthur Road area near Wilton. Fire crews have put in containment lines and are untaking considerable back-burning.  The village of Wilton has a meeting at the community hall at 7.00pm.

Balmoral-Yanderra Bushfire 18 October 2013 (9.00am)

Balmoral-Yanderra fire from Appin area (I Willis, 18 Oct, 9.30am)
The view of this bushfire from Appin this morning gives some idea of the conditions facing bushfire fighters in the area. The fire was downgraded from Emergency to Watch and Act with the head of the fire now 1.5km east of the Picton Road within the Sydney Catchment Authority. The Picton Road has been closed to traffic since yesterday afternoon and the Rural Fire Service website states that it is likely to remain closed for up to 3 days.
The weather conditions have abated and at 11.00am this morning the wind is currently from the ENE at 9 knots, the humidity has risen to 32% and the temperature is 19 degrees. This is different from the conditions yesterday (17 October) Thursday with a low humidity at 1.30pm of 8% and a maximum temperature of 32.6 degrees. Peak wind gusts at Camden airport recorded at 78kph at 11.30am. (Weatherzone)

Response to the fires

The reporting around the bushfire on the radio and on other media is very similar to wartime (as I outlined below). The fire event is now moving into the relief stage after the emergency in some areas with the Salvation Army swinging into action at the emergency centres, adopting a role it excelled at during wartime. There are reports typical of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) appearing in radio interviews amongst victims and fire-fighters. This is a normal experience after a traumatic event  and people feel frightened, sad, anxious and disconnected ( These type of reactions were typical of soldiers who have experienced the battle-front during wartime. (Lifeline 13 11 14)
The homefront experience of wartime has been replicated this morning with fundraising appeals being launched by the Salvation Army, one of Australia's oldest and most respected relief organisations.
The communications of the fire have included all sorts of modern media with ABC Radio Sydney 702 turning into a community notice board. There were a number of eye-witness accounts being broadcast live on Thursday afternoon. Reports indicated that the fire-front response in specific localities was confused and out of control. A fire storm situation that was changing quickly by the minute. Very similar to reports of the military front line in the heat of a battle where confusion reigns and there is a lack of control. 
The 4 stages of a disaster - preparation, warning, impact, aftermath - are typical of these bushfires and other destructive events.  

Balmoral-Yanderra Bushfires Give Eerie Driving Conditions 17 October 2013

Smoke causing eerie driving on Mt Ousley Road Wollongong from Balmoral-Yanderra Bushfire (K Willis, 17 Oct, 5.00pm)
Smoke causing eerie driving at Picton Road near Mt Ousley Road from Balmoral-Yanderra Bushfire (K Willis, 17 Oct, 5.00pm)
Eerie and surreal driving conditions were created by the emergency bushfires in the Balmoral-Yanderra area. Radio reports constantly give updates of dangerous conditions in the Blue Mountains at Springwood, while conditions deteriorate in the Hunter Valley. There have been losses of houses in the Blue Mountains,while conditions continue to be dangerous for residents of effected areas. 

Warragamba fires 2001

Reports make these fires the worst in the Sydney area since 2001 when Warragamba township was severely impacted. There were many houses lost in the village and elsewhere. The resilience of community spirit is sorely tested under these type of disaster conditions.

Weather conditions

The dry westerly winds, with strong gusts, of both these fire events create difficult weather conditions for fire fighters  on the Sydney rural-urban fringe. Very low humidity (between 8% to 15% today) and high temperature, when combined with the gusty winds, provide a lethal combination for local residents. The rural-urban interface is zone where fire events can have a severe impact on people's lives.  


Bushfires are a part of the Australian environment and cause dangerous conditions when they impact on urban areas. Aboriginal people managed the Australian environment with fire for thousands of years.

The battleground

The organisation, language and actions of fire-fighting have many similarities to the battlefront during wartime. There is the fire ground, the emergency, command structures, command centres, lethal consequences, civilian evacuation centres, dangerous conditions, the fire front and a host of other similarities. The battle on the firefront and wartime frontline are both unpredictable with authorities trying to maintain containment measures. Both are highly stressful for victims and fighters and put communities under incredible pressures. Both try the resilience of communities and the social networks across those village, towns and suburbs involved on the Sydney's rural-urban edge.

1925 Camden Flood

Wet and woolly in a Camden flood 1925

Nepean River

The Perkins family from Cawdor on their way to town in 1925 met the floodwaters of the Nepean River on the Great South Road  (Camden Images/E Perkins)
Floods have always been part of the landscape of the Camden area and this view in 1925 of the Great South Road (Cawdor Road) is no different. Here the Perkins family have travelled from their dairy farm at Cawdor to town. Everyone is dressed up in their finest, women with hats and gloves, while the men are in their Sunday best. The Nepean River is on the far horizon, while the flooded area in the foreground is the Matahil Creek valley on the southern entry to Camden on the old Great South Road. Flooding was a just part of daily life and people just got on with it. The spire of St John's Church is visible on top of the hill, with storm clouds still threatening to bring more rain.

View along Great South Road towards Elderslie from Argyle Street Camden at the Sydney entry to the town. The Camden Railway is on the left and the Cowpasture Bridge and Chinese market gardens are under water in the distance. (Camden Images/Perkins)

To see more of the Perkins photograph collection of Cawdor and surrounds click  here

Friday 8 November 2019

White House (or Reeves House), Camden NSW.

White House
Reeves House

44 Argyle Street, Camden, NSW 2570
Lat: -34 0 23 Long: 150 48 29
Lot 11 DP 771220

White House (or Reeves House) 44 Argyle Street, Camden. (I Willis, 2019)

  History and Description
This Camden icon is located at 44 Argyle Street and was built in 1889 for teacher HP (Henry) Reeves. HP Reeves was mayor of Camden 1894 and was the first band master of the Camden Town Brass Band in the 1870s.  It has been occupied by the Boardman family and Dr Warren. In the mid-20th century is was the head office for the Clinton Mining and Transport Group. It currently has a number of businesses including a restaurant. (Instagram)

Country towns across Australia had lovely Victorian gentleman's town houses. They had a simple and robust construction that reflected the wealth and prosperity of rural Australia in the late 1800s. They were a statement around the confidence of the future of colonial New South Wales. (Linkedin)

A two storey brick house stuccoed to imitate ashlar. It has a hipped iron roof and
projecting bay front. The two storey front verandah has cast iron columns, balastrade and
a bullnosed iron roof. It has a timber and glass panelled entrance door with side and
highlight windows, and two pane double hung windows to the front elevation, and four
pane double hung windows to the side elevation. (NSWHI)

The front verandah and steps are tiled. Interiors are substantially intact with cedar joinery and marble fireplaces and some original ceilings and cornices. The rear rooms have been substantially altered but with little disruption to the external appearance. It is prominently situated on a corner site at the
eastern entry to Camden. (NSWHI)

Condition and Use
The house is in good condition.  (NSWHI)

Heritage Significance
Reeves House retains good integrity and intactness. (NSWHI)

Heritage Listing
Local Environment Plan                       Item 16

Read more

Sunday 3 November 2019

Kelvin Park, Bringelly, NSW

Kelvin Park Farm Group

The Retreat, Kelvin Park Drive, Bringelly, NSW.
Lot 271  Vol  803167

Kelvin Park Homestead c.2010  (

History and Description
The Kelvin Park Group is part of a 600 acres "Bringelly" land grant originally granted to Thomas Laycock Jnr. He came to Australia with his father, Sergeant Thomas Laycock of the NSW Corps in 1789. Thomas Jnr became a Lieutenant in 1802, left the colony in 1810 and fought for England in the American War of 1812, becoming a Captain. On his return to Australia with his family in 1817 he received the Bringelly grant in 1818. He had the main homestead and surrounding outbuildings of Kelvin Park constructed c.1820. He died here in 1823 and by 1824 the property was bought by J T Campbell former secretary to Governor Macquarie. In 1825 the property was leased by the Australian Agricultural Company.

Kelvin Park was purchased by Alfred Kennerley in 1833, later premier of Tasmania. He lived there until 1856, during this time the double gabled brick coach-house was constructed, c.1851.

Since the mid-19th century the property has had various owners. The group is presently privately owned and occupied.

See also SHI 1970119 (Homestead), 1970139 (Kitchen, former), 1970157 (Staff/Shearer's quarters), 1970164 (Coach House, former), 1970167 (Farm Shed), 1970177 (Farm Shed), 1970445 (Relics) and 1970446 (Site Landscaping). (State Heritage Inventory)

Condition and Use
The buildings are intact, and have a high degree of integrity

The current use is a private residence. Its former use was a Homestead complex, part of working farm (State Heritage Inventory)

Heritage significance
The Kelvin Park Group is an intact complex of early Colonial farm buildings within an attractive, mature garden in a rural hilltop setting. The earlier buildings include an excellent example of an 1820s homestead and associated outbuildings in the form of timber slab sheds. The complex also retains additional relics and structures illustrative of the original functioning of the property. There is the potential to gain more information on the site from further architectural, archaeological and documentary research. (State Heritage Inventory)

Heritage ListingLiverpool LEP 0252
State Heritage Inventory

Read more about the Kelvin Park Farm Group Click here

Monday 28 October 2019

Camden Modernism

Camden Modernism
Different aspects of a country town

Camden Cafes and Milk Bars

Howlett's Cafe and Milk Bar, Camden, 1954 (Camden Images)

The local milk bar is a largely unrecognized part of Camden modernism, where the latest trends in American food culture made their way into the small country town by Australian-Greek immigrants.

The design, equipment and fit-out of local cafes and milk bars were at the cutting edge of Interwar fashion. The cafes were a touch of the exotic with their Art Deco style interiors, where fantasy met food without the social barriers of the daily life of the Interwar period.

Camden milk bars rarely just sold milkshakes, unlike their counterparts in the city. To make a living and ensure their businesses paid their way, the cafes and milk bars also sold fruit and vegetables, meals, sandwiches, lollies, sweets and chocolates.

Cafes and Milk Bars

These include Camden Cafe, owned by Sophios Bros, then the Cassimatis Bros in the 1930s. It became the Capital Cafe in 1935. The iconic Camden Valley Inn Milk Bar opened with a great fuss in 1939 on the Camden Park estate by the Macarthur Onslow family. 

Read more about these and other cafes as well as a short history of milk bars in Australia.

Loss of Camden Modernism 

79 Macarthur Road, under demolition in 2015 

Loss of another part of Camden modernism.

Yet another ranch-style home in the local area has gone the way of some others. This one was recently damaged in a storm.

These houses were built in Camden when the Burragorang Valley coalfields generated considerable wealth for the local area.

The demolition of these houses is a loss of the modern Camden and the postwar cultural heritage of the local area.

This adds to the loss of other postwar houses along this part of Macarthur Road in Elderslie, including the Hennings House at 64 Macarthur Road in 2011 (see more on this blog post below)

Stuckey Bros Building

Camden News 24 April 1941

Camden has an art-deco-style inspired building at 102-104 Argyle Street. The 1940 Stuckey Bros Pastrycooks and Bakers building was built by Harry Willis and Sons. The bakery was operated by HH & LC Stuckey, and a bakery had been on the site before 1912, when the Stuckeys purchased the business from J Fleming.


The building's front is yellow-cream brick called polychrome, meaning a brick with more than one colour.  The shop front above street level is finely detailed, with curved bricks and bay-style windows in the centre of the building. The roof is green tiles.

The building is an exciting and unusual example of a two-storey Interwar retail building. The use of decorative polychrome brickwork is unusual for Camden Township. It is an attractive example of a commercial building, and while the street-level shopfronts have been altered, it has kept the integrity of the remainder of the building intact.


Originally the shopfront was tiled with curved glass (bow windows) defining the shop entrance. There was a laneway on the western side (facing the shopfront on the right-hand side) with access to the rear of the premises, which now has a retail business on it. Many Camden Argyle Street laneways have been filled in and are now occupied by retail premises. How many can you pick?

The shop front is the public interface for retail premises and streetscapes. Stuckey Bros' original shopfront window glass had metal surrounds and a tiled entry (ingos/outgo or setback), making it three-dimensional and exciting. A style of shopfront that was common during the Edwardian period. The shopfront awning is still primarily as it was in 1940.

Stuckey Bros Building (I Willis 2012)

Every modern device

According to the Camden News, Stuckey Bros was fitted out with every ‘modern device’. The shop opened at 6.30am, and the first assistant arrived at 8.00am. The shop closed at 7.00pm and operated 6 days a week. The dough makers came in at 11.00pm, and the bakers used wood-fired ovens, which were fired up over the weekends as it took too long to heat them up when cold.

Horse and cart

Stuckey Bros did home deliveries with a horse and cart to Camden, Elderslie, Cobbitty and Brownlow Hill. The mailmen would take bread to The Oaks, Burragorang Valley, Yerranderie, Werombi, and Orangeville. The Stuckeys kept their horses in the Rectory paddock next to St John’s Church.


The Stuckeys were a staunch Methodist family and Beryl Stuckey played the organ at the Methodist Church, while Frank Stuckey was the superintendent of the Sunday School for over 20 years from the 1940s.

Bakers galore

The Stuckey Bros shop and bakery site, had been used as a bakery from 1852 when William McEwan built the premises, and in the 1890s, Mrs McEwan helped her sons Geordy and Alf run the business.

Who has been there?

Do you know what shops are now located in the Stuckey Bros building? Do you know all the retail outlets that have occupied the building since Stuckey Bros sold out in 1960?

Read more @ Frank Stuckey, Our Daily Bread, The Story of Stuckey Bros, Bakers and Pastrycooks of Camden NSW, 1912-1960. Camden, F Stuckey, 1987.


Dunk House 

Camden Advertiser 14 August 1938

There is a building at 56-62 Argyle Street, Camden, an understated Art Deco-style example of the Interwar period. It is Dunk House. Its integrity is still largely intact, and it clearly shows the impact of the newfound wealth in the town from the Burragorang coalfields.

Dunk House has intact art deco-style motifs adjacent to the entry above the display window front. The shop front has black tiling and a brass surround of the large display window on the former car showroom. The showroom has intact timber flooring, and the interior and shopfronts have little changed from the 1930s when the building was erected by its owners. The brass names plates are still attached to the shopfront where the tenant business would put their nameplate.

The Dunk House was built by renowned Camden builder Harry Willis & Sons in 1937. The premises was a car showroom, shopping complex and professional suites owned by EC Dunk. Downstairs were 3 shops, the largest being a car showroom for General Motors cars. Upstairs there were 8 ‘compartments’ or rooms, or what we would not call professional suites, each fitted out with modern amenities, which included water, a wash basin and electric light.

Dunk House, c.1937 (I Willis 2013)

The tenants in 1937 included the downstairs shopfront leased by L Lakin, grocer and Mr Boulous, mercer. Later they included JL Hogg, a dentist and, in the 1950s, dentist Newton Tobrett. At the rear of the property is a series of sheds operated at auction rooms run by the Dunks.

In 1938 EC Dunk was the Camden agent for General Motors Chevrolet cars.

For more information on Interwar Camden, click here.

Gayline Drive-In Movie Theatre

Signage from the Gayline Drive-In Movie Theatre at Narellan (I Willis)

One of the notable attractions in the local area in the 1950s-1990s was the drive-in movie theatre, which was located on Morshead Road, Narellan (now Narellan Vale). Along with rock ‘n roll, transistor radios, the bikini, and the mini-skirt, it defined the lifestyle of the baby boomers. 
It was as popular with teenagers as it was with young families. It was a defining moment for a 20th-century culture based around the period's icons: cars and movies.

The drive-in at Narellan was owned and operated from 1967-1992 by EJ Frazer and operated as the Gayline Drive-in Movie Theatre.

Read more about the Gayline Drive-in here

Shock horror - women show their legs and wear pants

Modernism and changes in fashion

Fashion parade illustrating changes in modernism in Camden
Changes in fashion through modernity, including in Camden, were representative of societal changes and continuities. The changes were brought by the Industrial Revolution and the technology that it spawned; the greatest of these was the railway and, in the 20th century, the motor car.

The railways were the greatest revolution of the early modern period and created a mass movement of people and regular timetables and triggered the appearance of mass tourism. Steamships hastened this, and Camden folk regularly travelled to the metropolitan centre of the Empire in London.

The growth of industrial society and capitalism increased wealth, leisure time, entertainment, and personal freedom. Mass culture clashed with high culture, and the First World War brought the horrors of mechanised warfare.

New inventions that included the bicycle, the movies, the motor car, the wireless, the telegraph, the aeroplane and the milk bar brought many new pastimes. The popularity of the bicycle gave women increased freedom of movement, represented by the fashions they wore while cycling. There was a need for increased freedom of movement, and a new social force arrived.

Young folk in Camden went to the movies at the Star Empire Theatre and later the Paramount Cinema. They were exposed to the latest fashions in clothing, motor cars and all things American. Icons of early 20th-century American culture include the movie stars like Charlie Chaplin and Shirley Temple. 

The inter-war period fashions saw women freed from the corset and the appearance of cosmetics and rayon, which replaced expensive silk. New industrial processes produced ready-to-wear. There were shorter hemlines and shock horror - women showed their legs and wore pants. 

Consumerism was hastened by the Victorians and gained momentum during the inter-war period. Social norms were challenged, and new ideas created by new technologies drove many changes in the daily life of those living in the Camden district.

Camden general stores, like Whitemans and Cliftons, carried goods from all parts of the British Empire for the consumption of the local community. 

Modernism was a transnational force that embraced the Camden community.

Modernism in 1960s Elderslie NSW

Example of modern design from the early 1960s at Elderslie NSW (I Willis)

The land releases in the Camden suburb of Elderslie in the 1960s have produced several houses that have expressed mid-20th-century modernism. The house designs were taken from the book of project homes of the day and were quite progressive.

Australian architects, including Robin Boyd, were expressing Australian modernism. These architects were commissioned by housing developers like Lend Lease to design their housing estates.  One such development was the Lend-Lease Appletree Estate at Glen Waverley in Melbourne. Another Lend Lease land release and a group of show homes were at their 1962 Kingsdene Estate in Carlingford,

The Elderslie homes were built by the miners who worked in the Burragorang Valley and they wanted new modern houses. They generated the wealth that funded the urban growth of the  Camden suburbs of Elderslie and South Camden.

Elderslie was one of the original land grants to John Oxley in 1816. The area has been dominated by farming, particularly orchards and vineyards.

Elderslie examples of 1960s modernism include houses in Luker Street characterised by low-pitched rooves, open planned but restrained design, with lots of natural light streaming in full-length glass panels adjacent to natural timbers and stone. There are also ranch-style houses on River Road with open planning and wide frontages to the street, which some architects designed.

These houses are all located in and amongst Federations-style farming houses of the Edwardian period. The Federation-style houses were on large blocks of sub-divided land during the 1960s.

The now demolished Henning's house in Macarthur Road (image) is an example of open planned ranch style. Other modernist designs are the blocks of flats in Purcell Street, with use of decorative wrought iron railings.
Wrought iron work, Elderslie NSW 1960s (I Willis)

Sunset Avenue in Elderslie was a new land release with a mix of 1960s modern low-pitched roof open-planned houses interspersed with New South Wales Housing Commission fibro construction homes.

Other land releases of the 1960s were the New South Wales Housing Commission 1960s fibro houses, some located in Burrawong Road and Somerset Street.

Modernism and ranch-style housing in Elderslie

Several ranch-style houses are in the Elderslie area along Macarthur Road and River Road. Some are brick, while others are timber construction.

Ranch style housing
Ranch-style housing is a significant post-Second World War housing style. The housing style has been noted by architect Robert Irving as an Australian domestic architecture style. Parramatta City Council has recognised the housing style of heritage significance.

American History of Ranch-Style Homes
The original house style came from California and the South-west of the USA, where architects in these areas designed the first suburban ranch-style houses in the 1920s and 1930s. They were simple one-storey houses built by ranchers who lived on the prairies and in the Rocky Mountains. The American architects liked the simple form that reflected the casual lifestyle of these farming families. After the Second World War, several home builders in California offered a streamlined, slimmed-down version. They were built on a concrete slab without a basement with pre-cut sections. The design allowed multi-function spaces, for example, living-dining rooms and eat-in-kitchen, which reduced the number of walls inside the house. The design was one of the first to orient the kitchen/family area towards the backyard rather than facing the street. The design also placed the bedrooms at the front of the house. The marketing of the ranch-style house tapped popular American fascination with the Old West. (Washington Post, 30 December 2006)

Elderslie Ranch-style Residence

64 Macarthur Road Elderslie

64 Macarthur Road Elderslie 2010 (IWillis)

The residence at 64 Macarthur Road was built in 1960 by Peter and Barbara Hennings in their early 20s. Mr Hennings recalls that the builder had a catalogue, and the house design was chosen among those. Mr Hennings has always been interested in design and was careful in selecting the plans for the house.

Ron McMillan and Sons of Camden

The house was a 3 bedroom double brick ranch-style residence with a separate bathroom and toilet. It has 10-foot ceilings, a stone fireplace and timber sash windows. There was a detached garage. The design was considered relatively ‘modern’ for its time, according to Mr Hennings. There are two pairs of ¼ inch-bevel glass doors in the lounge room and 2 single glass bevel doors.   

When the Hennings bought the 2 blocks, the site was covered in bracken ferns. On the garage end of the house, they filled the site and had a stone batter, which was completed after the house was built.

The residence was in a prominent position on Macarthur Road and one of the first houses to be constructed on the subdivision of the Bruchhauser farm in 1960. The wide frontage ranch-style house was set back on the double block in a high position, which is uncommon in Elderslie, although typical of this style elsewhere in Sydney (Parramatta Development Control Plan 2005).

The residence was built by a thriving local business family whose prosperity was built on the wealth generation of the coal mining industry in the local area. The coal industry was an important part of the Camden story, and Henning’s residence is part of it.

The Hennings sold the house in 1980 to Dr Charles McCalden, who had a medical practice in Hill Street, Camden. He moved away from Camden in the mid-1980s.  In recent years (1999-2009), the house was owned by school principals Joan and Frank Krzysik.

The ranch-style house has been identified elsewhere in the Sydney area as a building style of special character (Parramatta Development Control Plan 2005).  

64 Macarthur Road Elderslie 2010 (IWillis)

The residence's integrity was intact until it was demolished in 2011, including the front fence built in 1960 by the Hennings of ‘Chromatex’ bricks. Several mature trees on the site added to the aesthetic quality of the site.

Katherine Salant, 'The Ranch, An Architectural Archetype Forged on the Frontier', Washington Post, 30 December 2006
P & B Hennings, Camden, Interview, February 2010.

Demolition of 64 Macarthur Road, Elderslie

64 Macarthur Road Elderslie 2010 (IWillis)

In 2011 a ranch-style house in Macarthur Road Elderslie was unfortunately demolished to make way for a preschool. Camden's ranch-style houses are part of the town's post-Second World War development and growth.

64 Macarthur Road Elderslie 2011 (IWillis)

Demolished ranch-style houses in Elderslie
The Macarthur Road house was one of a number in the Elderslie area, and 2 have been demolished. One of the demolished ranch-style houses, Kalinda, was located off Lodges Road Elderslie and owned by the Whiteman family. The Whitemans owned a general store in Camden that operated for nearly a century. The house was a weatherboard cottage demolished in the late 1990s to make way for Sydney's urban development in the Elderslie area. The house was high on the ridge with a pleasant outlook facing west over the Narellan Creek floodplain. Visitors approached the house from Lodges Road by driving up to the top of the ridge along a narrow driveway. 

Thursday 5 September 2019

Spring into artworks at Macaria

Spring Exhibition at Local Art Gallery

The Alan Baker Art Gallery in Macaria has launched a new exhibition for Spring 2019.

The exhibition has three themes:
1. Local Landscapes
2. Flora
3. A Model Wife: A Model Life.

1. Local Landscapes

Alan Baker's local landscape painting captured The Oaks and the surrounding area. Baker loved painting en plein-air with the breeze blowing in his face so he could feel the air around him and take in the environment.

Alan Baker landscape artworks at Macaria 2019 (I Willis)

2. Flora

The exhibition displays some of Alan D Baker's prolific flower artworks in his representational style.

3. A Model Wife: A Model Life.

Alan Baker's wife Marjorie, an artist in her own right, was his model, muse and wife. This exhibition investigates the role of the artist's model.

Alan Baker artworks of his wife Marjorie at Macaria 2019 (I Willis)

The exhibition also highlights the role of Rita Lee, one of Sydney's top artist models, who regularly worked with renowned artist Norman Lindsay. There is work by Lindsay on display.

The exhibition is part of the Unlock Camden open day at the Alan Baker Art Gallery at Macaria in John Street Camden.

Wednesday 4 September 2019

Unlock The Past

Unlock Camden 2019

Camden's past is full of interesting stories about all sorts of things. What is the story of this picture? (Camden Images)

Tell us your story.

Be part of Camden’s Living History.

Camden Brass Band (Camden Images)

An appeal has been put out to the Camden community to tell people your story.

The easiest way it to use the hashtag #mycamdenstory on one of the many social media sites.

Visit the Camden Museum.

Camden Royal Hotel in Argyle Street Camden. (Camden Images)

Learn lots of stories about the past with the exciting displays and strange objects.

Experience Camden’s past, its stories, its characters and its wags. Immerse yourself in their stories.

Visit a local art gallery.

Macaria was once the offices of Camden Council and Camden Library and is now the Alan Baker Art Gallery. (Camden Images)

Learn stories told in pictures.

Local artists and others tell their own stories through sketches and painting.

Experience their world at Macaria – the Alan Baker Art Gallery in John Street Camden.

Talk to a volunteer of a local organisation.

Learn their story at their stalls in the forecourt of the Macaria in John Street Camden.

Listen to stories told in music from The Honeysippers – a bunch of local musicians.

All this is one local contribution to History Week 2019.