A row of six Federation houses (c.1913) in Floss Street.
The area now known as Hurlstone Park has had multiple names and is largely in an area defined by New Canterbury Road, Canterbury Road, the Cooks River and Garnet Street. The Cooks River, the railway and the tramway have had a significant impact on the development of Hurlstone Park. Most of Hurlstone Park is within the Canterbury Council area while there is a small part west of Canterbury Road that is within the Inner West Council Area.
Hurlstone Park owes its name to John Kinloch who was one of the first graduates of Sydney University. He was admitted as student at the new University of Sydney in 1852 in the first cohort of students, graduating Bachelor of Arts in 1857 and Master of Arts in 1859. He bought the land now occupied by Trinity Grammar School and called it 'Hurlstone Estate, after his mother's maiden name. In 1878 Kinloch set up the Hurlstone School and College. In 1907 Hurlstone became a boys only school. Kinloch was forced to sell the College only two years later and planned to break the Estate up and sell it in residential blocks see Subdivision Plans). The subdivision did not happen because the NSW Government bought up the whole area and Hurlstone School and College became Hurlstone Teacher Training College of Female Teachers for the next 24 years. In 1907 the teacher training college was repurposed and it became Hurlstone Agricultural School, established to provide a practical education for boys who intended to follow rural careers. The school moved to Glenfield in 1926 and the nearby suburb became Hurlstone Park.
The suburb of Hurlstone Park was originally part of a 673-acre estate belonging to Sydney Merchant Robert Campbell. In 1846 Campbell’s daughter Sophia inherited the estate, and in 1865 it was subdivided into four large farms. The farms fronted cart tracks that were originally formed by quarrymen accessing sandstone quarries used in the construction of large early buildings in Canterbury, including the Sugarworks (constructed in 1840) and St Paul’s Church (constructed in 1859). These roads are today known as Floss Street, Burnett Street and Ford Avenue.
In 1874 the Campbell estate was further subdivided into a number of smaller farms, and Dunstaffenage, Duntroon, Kilbride, Melford and Crinan Streets were formed and named for Scottish castles and landmarks associated with the family.
A small creek was originally located at the end of present-day Crinan Street. By the end of the nineteenth century, the land on the south side of Crinan Street from Dunstaffenage Street to the creek was part of Pendlebury’s brickworks. Blamire’s brickworks, in operation from about 1833, was located on the north side of Crinan Street. Figure 22 shows one of the first subdivisions on the new railway line, in the vicinity of newly formed Crinan Street and within land formerly belonging to Blamire’s brickworks. The area appears to be sparsely populated at this time, with only two of the lots, on the corner of Dunstaffenage and present-day Barre Streets, containing cottages. Many of the allotments remained unsold until the Marrickville to Belmore railway was approved. Hurlstone Park Station was originally known as Fernhill Station, named for Sophia Campbell’s home in England.
Subdivisions (See summary below)
Rev. Richard Johnson was granted land around Canterbury and Hurlstone Park in 1796. He cleared the land and cultivated it with convict labour and called the place Canterbury Vale. It was later bought by William Cox who went bankrupt and subsequently sold to Robert Campbell in 1803 when it became Canterbury Park (Robert Campbell Senior was the youngest son of the last Laird of Ashfield in Argyllshire, Scotland but Ashfield owes its name to Joseph Underwood, who came from the parish of Ashfield in Suffolk). In 1843 Campbell subdivided his land to create the village of Canterbury.
The Sugar Mill, built in 1842, was a significant feature and employer of people in the Canterbury area. It closed in 1854 and reformed as the Colonial Sugar Refining Co (CSR) and moved to Chippendale. While technically not part of Hurlstone Park it is one of the oldest industrial buildings in Sydney and it, and the Campbell family, had a significant influence on the way Hurlstone Park developed.
After Robert Campbell’s death in 1846 his family began to break up the estate. In 1865 Sophia Campbell subdivided her estate, almost entirely what is now Hurlstone Park, into farm blocks fronting the old cart tracks used by the quarrymen who produced the sandstone used to build the Sugar Mill (1840–42) and St Pauls Church (1859–60) at Canterbury. These roads became Floss Street, Kilbride/Burnett Street and Fernhill Street (now Foord Avenue). The area was productive farming land with market gardens and small dairies but it was also a source of timber, clay for brick kiln's and quarries. Nearly ten years later, in 1874, Sophia Campbell again embarked on another subdivision of her estate into smaller farms, naming Canberra Street after the locality of Duntroon, the Campbell family's estate in what is now the Australian Capital Territory. Dunstaffenage, Duntroon, Kilbride, Melford and Crinan Streets commemorate landmarks in Scotland associated with the family's ancestors and almost all the streets currently in Hurlstone Park were shown on these subdivision plans with their current names though Sugar House Road is now Church Street. These streets can be seen on the map of Subdivision of part of the Canterbury Estate (1874?) that actually shows much of what we now know as Hurlstone Park including the odd bit that extends to beyond Canterbury Road to Hardy Street in the west.
At the end of the nineteenth century the primary industries of the area were dairy farming and brickmaking. William Pendlebury built the first shop near the railway station about 1903, and the shopping centre grew rapidly from that time. . By 1916, there were about twenty-five shops in Hurlstone Park, including two banks, two estate agents, three confectioners and a pastrycook, three grocers, two butchers, a ham and beef shop, three fruiterers, two drapers, a ladies’ outfitter and a seller of musical instruments.
Sophia Campbell was even responsible for the naming of the railway station as ‘Fernhill’ in 1895, after her home near Bournemouth in Hampshire (England), where she died in 1891. And what she wasn’t directly responsible for her nephew John Jeffreys and her great-nephew, George Darell Jeffreys, who inherited her estate, can be held to account (e.g. Jeffreys Street at Canterbury Station) and in the ten Jeffrey's Estate subdivisions they released between 1901 and 1917. The Jeffrey's Estate subdivisions accounted for approximately half of the lots in Hurlstone Park.
The area then became known as Fernhill when the railway line came through the area in 1893. The name Fernhill was changed because the Post Master General was concerned that there were two other places called Fernhill in Australia and this could cause confusion. Residents were asked to choose from Hurlstone, Fernboroor or Garnet Hill. The original Hurlstone College was nearby where Trinity Grammar is now located. And, so, after the referendum, the station and the local area became known as Hurlstone with ‘Park’ added to avoid confusion.
The early 1890’s were not great times economically and while some development occurred it was often sporadic with some beautiful late Victorian houses erected in Garnet Street. The development that occurred was subdividing what were then the small farms that made up most of Hurlstone Park.
Some development occurred near the railway station at the time the line was opened in 1893, but the real building boom took place at the height of the Federation period, between the turn of the century and the end of World War I, when the small farms were subdivided into housing estates.
In 1913, the tramline from Petersham to Dulwich Hill was extended along New Canterbury Road to a terminus at the junction of Old and New Canterbury Roads, a locality previously known as Wattle Hill. Later, tramlines from Summer Hill, Balmain, and an extension to Canterbury also served the area. This improvement in public transport encouraged development of shops around the terminus, so Hurlstone Park had two shopping strips for much of the twentieth century – one near the railway station, and one on New Canterbury Road.
There are a few rather grand houses in Hurlstone Park, most notably in the northern end of Garnet Street, but most of the houses were built for people of more modest means. Hurlstone Park was a Federation dormitory suburb that allowed workers to commute to their employment by train, tram and bus. Almost all of the land was sold between 1890 and 1917 and most of the houses were built from around the time of Federation through till the early 1920’s and the and the arrival of the Californian Bungalow. Hurlstone park is a unique mosaic of houses from this 30 year period. It is predominantly a Federation suburb. The leadlight that still exists reflects this time period and how it manifested itself in the homes of working people of the time. It is often almost invisible but there is a lot of beautiful leadlight in Hurltsone Park.
I am amused at the spelling of what we now call Dunstaffenage Street.
1874 - Sarah Campbell's Estate: Dunslaffnage Street
1893 - Fernhill Estate: Dunslaffnage Street
1903 Jeffrey's No 2: Dunsnaffnage Street
1906 - Jeffrey's No 3: Dunslaffnage Street
1907 - Jeffrey's No 4: Dunslaffnage Street
1910 - Jeffrey's No 5: Dunstaffnage Street
1912 - Jeffrey's No 6: Dunslaffnage Street
And finally... Dunstaffenage Street
And after all this serious stuff the name I laugh at most is ‘Chuck Rock Reserve’!,
I must acknowledge the work and effort of Marie Healy in her 'Hurlstone Park Heritage Study and Pictorial Survey'. This was a great effort and places my efforts in the broader heritage and cultural spectrum she outlines.
Date of Observations and photographs taken: March-May 2018