Today’s post shows Howe St Lambton on 23 April 1949, and 20 April 2020. It’s interesting to note that the same garage is there 71 years later, minus the pitched roof.
This morning I snapped this photo near the Jesmond Grove aged care home. The Wallsend tram line used to curve through what is now a grass lawn. What’s interesting about this location is there’s a parchmark to be found.
A parchmark is where under the right climatic circumstances, the drying out of vegetation can reveal structures under the surface when viewed in an aerial photograph. So the October 2014 image from Google Earth shows a clear curved line of the former tram line.
Tram services in Newcastle began in July 1887 with the opening of the Newcastle to Wallsend line. Other areas wanted a piece of the action and immediately began agitating for extensions to the tram line. In October 1887, Adamstown Council sent a deputation to Sydney asking for a line to their municipality, but it took another decade of lobbying before the Government finally approved the Adamstown line.
Construction began on 22 January 1900 of a one-mile single track that branched from the Wallsend line at the Nine Ways in Broadmeadow and ran along Brunker Rd. A steam tram service commenced on 13 August 1900, and the line was subsequently electrified in 1925.
Originally the tram terminated at the Public School, and this was a source of much contention. The tram whistle disrupted meetings of the Methodist (now Uniting) Church, and the shunting of engines back and forth across the Glebe Rd intersection to couple up with carriages for the return journey to Newcastle caused much traffic congestion.
In 1927 as part of the tram line duplication, the terminus was moved to just south of Glebe Rd, but this caused as many problems as it solved. With the terminus now in the centre of the narrow main shopping street, in an era when car and bus traffic was increasing, congestion was even worse. In 1929 a widening of the street by 18 feet failed to fix the problem, so in 1938 the tram line was extended south a further 100 yards to place the terminus past Victoria St.
As competition from bus services increased, some advocated that the tram system should be closed, while others argued that it should be extended. Eventually, with falling patronage and rising costs, the service proved unsustainable, and at 11:41pm on Sunday 16 April 1950 the last tram from Adamstown returned to the city.
The article above was first published in the April 2020 edition of The Local.
One piece of information that I deliberately excluded from the published article, to keep it simple, was that the main shopping street of Adamstown that we now know as Brunker Rd, was originally called Union St. A real estate poster from 1921 shows the tram line running along Brunker Rd to the terminus at the Public School. South of Glebe Rd, the roadway narrows and becomes Union St.
In 1925-1926, Adamstown Council negotiated with the Main Roads Board, and reached an agreement to widen Union St. The work progressed during 1927-1929 and an official opening of the newly widened street was held in November 1929, where it was noted that …
“Prior to its being widened, Union street, with a roadway of only 30ft, was long regarded as dangerous for traffic … The roadway [now] is 42ft wide and the footpaths 12ft, the total width being 66ft. To widen the street, it was necessary to resume a strip of land 18ft deep on the western side, and the buildings were either demolished, and new ones erected, or they were moved back to the new alignment.”
I haven’t been able to confirm when exactly Union St was changed to be an extension of Brunker Rd, however a search of Trove reveals that the Union St name seems to disappear around 1949.
The end of trams
The view that it was competition from the motor buses that killed off the tram system is starkly presented in a commemorative postcard from 1950 which stated …
Born 5 July 1887. Died 10 June 1950. 63 years old. R.I.P.
In rememberance of Newcastle’s trams, which were finally suffocated by the deisel ‘buses.
|Article Date Event Date||Notes|
|7 Oct 1887||"The agitation for an extension of the tram line, which has been going the rounds of the district, has at length reached Adamstown."|
|18 Sep 1893||"On Thursday an officer from the Department of Public Works met the Mayor and aldermen on the matter of the extension of the tramway from Broadmeadow to Adamstown."|
|24 Oct 1898||Municipal conference calls for tramway service to Adamstown.|
|1 Nov 1899|
31 Oct 1899
|"The Cabinet decided to-day to construct the tramway extensions from Broadmeadow to Adamstown and from Tighe's Hill to Mayfield."|
|2 Nov 1899||"The announcement in yesterday's 'Herald' that the Government had agreed to construct the tramway from Broadmeadow to Adamstown has given great satisfaction to residents and the public generally. The survey for the tramline was made five years ago."|
|6 Jan 1900||"The plans and book of reference are now open for inspection at the office of the Minister for Public Works for the line of tramway authorised to be constructed from Newcastle to Adamstown. All persons who may be interested in the lands through which the line will run are required to lodge any objections on or before the 26th inst."|
|20 Jan 1900||"The amount of work that the tramway extension from Broadmeadow to Adamstown will provide has caused considerable disappointment to be felt by the local unemployed, many of whom were more than hoping that the work would be sufficient to enable them to relieve families dependent on them. But there should not have been disappointment, as it was not at any time officially represented that the extension, the length of which is only a mile, covering an easy route, and requiring only simple work, would provide employment for a large number of men."|
|19 Jan 1900|
22 Jan 1900
|Construction of Adamstown tramway to be "begun on Monday by the selected men, who will apply pick and shoved to several small hills. At noon to-day Mr. Creer will meet the men at the Broadmeadow waiting shed. About 10 capable men will meet present requirements,."|
|22 Jan 1900||"General satisfaction is expressed at a start being made with the tram extension, but there is a deal of dissatisfaction at the way the men for the work were selected."|
|30 Apr 1900||"The tram extension is proceeding slowly, and now the rails are laid to the municipal boundary of Hamilton and Adamstown. Now that the tramway is nearing completion there are people who argue that the tram terminus will not be in the proper place at the Public School, and that the terminus should be at the Carrington Hall, or down the Glebe-road, near the reserve."|
|14 Aug 1900|
13 Aug 1900
|Opening of the Adamstown Tramway.|
|16 Dec 1901||"Many of the local aldermen say that the tram terminus is in the wrong place. The principal objections are that the tram stands in the centre of the road and starting as it does from a point directly opposite the Primitive Methodist Church door, the whistling annoys the congregation."|
|31 Jan 1925|
2 Feb 1925
|"Slowly but surely the antiquated steam tram is disappearing from the streets of Newcastle. The latest section of tramline to have electric overhead wires strung above it is that between Broadmeadow and Adamstown."|
|8 Jan 1927||"The duplication of the tram line from Melville-road to Adamstown tram terminus has been completed and put into use. Delays which were unavoidable are now overcome, and a faster service established. While the public will appreciate the duplication of the line, the making of the terminal in front of two main business premises, at the intersection of Union-street and Glebe-road, is regretted; in fact, some of the trams make the stop right across the intersection of Union-street and Glebe-road, which at times is dangerous, carrying traffic four ways, and being the main road to Sydney, with an every day increase of traffic. "|
|19 Mar 1931||"Newcastle Transport Trust, by allowing the trams to terminate in the middle of Union-street, has defeated the council's aims, and has created one of the most dangerous spots in the district. Before the street was widened, and before the trams were electrified the terminus was at the public school stop. The steam trams stopped here while the engine shunted across the Glebe-road intersection and back again to couple up with the front portion of the trams for the return to Newcastle. In August, 1925, Alderman Wiggins commenced an agitation to have the bottle-neck eliminated. The work was started in 1928 and the new widened street opened for traffic at the end of 1929. In the meantime the trams were electrified and the Tramway Department made the terminus right at the intersection. Council agitation caused it to move the terminus further along to the middle of Union-street, which was very unsatisfactory to the council. At present the tram loiters here, in the middle of the council's' parking area. If vehicles park at shops on either side of the tram and stay there for any length of time, traffic is completely held up."|
|7 Apr 1932||Council debates having "the tram terminus fixed at its original position in front of the school, pending the extension of the tramline."|
|19 May 1938||"The suggested abolition of Adamstown tram service was not received very favourably in that suburb yesterday, though in some quarters it was thought that an adequate omnibus service might meet demands, particularly during the slack hours. While the people of Adamstown, particularly those in the western portion, seek improved transport facilities, any suggestion to abolish the tramway service was criticised."|
|6 Sep 1938||"Adamstown tram terminus has been extended, not to Rifle-street, but to a point opposite the Mechanics' Institute, just beyond Victoria-street. For many years the terminus was near the intersection of Glebe road and Union-street, but the growing traffic problem and public agitation caused its removal recently to the locality mentioned."|
|10 Oct 1946||"The State's tram, bus and railway services are, generally, in a grave position, the Auditor General (Mr. Swift) warns the State Government in his annual report … The disconcerting feature is the disproportionate increase of working expenses relative to earnings through the years … the number of passengers carried on buses increased, but there was a decrease in tramway travellers.”|
|17 Apr 1950|
16 Apr 1950
|"After 50 years and 8 months' service, the Adamstown tramway closed last night when tram No. 252 left the terminus at 11.41 o'clock bound for Gordon avenue depot."|
|17 Apr 1950|
16 Apr 1950
|"MR. T. H. GRICE, of Brunker - road, Broadmeadow, 70-year-old former ganger for the Tramways Department, last night fulfilled an ambition when he travelled on the last tram to run from Adamstown to Newcastle before buses took over the route. Mr. Grice retired from the department almost 10 years ago. He was on the first electric tram to operate on this route, on January 2, 1925."|
Since I started working from home, one of the routines I’m trying to keep up is the bicycle commute to ‘work’. So each workday morning I’m still going for a bike ride a similar distance that I would normally do when riding to the office.
Bicycle commuting to a home office means I don’t have to take the same route each day. This morning I went via Jesmond to get this Then and Now photo of the intersection of Illoura St and Newcastle Rd. The old photo is from the Newcastle Uni Living Histories site, and is from the late 1940s.
When is a school not a school? When it’s a vital part of Australia’s wartime defence. When Japan entered World War 2 in December 1941 with the bombing of Pearl Harbour, Australia faced a real threat of aerial attack, and a radar defence system was urgently needed to monitor enemy aircraft movements. A radar commenced service at Shepherds Hill in Newcastle in January 1942, and with the establishment of many other radar stations including Ash Island in the Hunter River and Tomaree Head at Port Stephens, a central headquarters was needed to collate information and direct operations of allied aircraft interceptions.
Consequently, on 10 March 1942, the Minister for Education announced with deliberate vagueness that New Lambton Public School was required “to be used for other purposes” and that students would be distributed over Lambton, Adamstown, Hamilton, and Cardiff schools. The school became the site of RAAF No 2 Fighter Sector, the principal coordination and control unit for radar defence operations in the Williamtown and Newcastle area.
The RAAF occupied the three main school buildings, erected temporary buildings in the playground and converted the headmaster’s residence into the unit HQ. Twenty-four hour operations commenced on 29 March 1942 with 134 staff, including 69 from the Women’s Auxiliary Australian Air Force (WAAAF). The school also became the training base for other radar sector units and at its peak in August 1943 had a total of 268 personnel.
In December 1944 the RAAF transferred operations from New Lambton to the radar station at Ash Island, and in January 1945 handed the school back to the Department of Education. The senior boys and girls returned to the school, but necessary restoration and repairs carried out during 1945 meant that the infants’ classes did not return until the following year. The resumption of all classes at the New Lambton site and remembrance of its important war time role was celebrated with a grand “Back-to-school” gala day on 27 April 1946.
The article above was first published in the March 2020 edition of The Local.
Much of the information for this article I sourced from Peter Muller and John Hutchison’s 1991 book “RAAF Base Williamtown, The First 50 Years”, a copy of which is in Newcastle Library Local Studies section.
Payne’s Paddock School
From March 1942, all students from New Lambton school were distributed to other schools around the area, with transport being provided by the Department of Education. There was much complaint from parents about this arrangement, who campaigned for the erection of temporary school buildings. The slow pace of fulfilling this request led the Parents and Citizens’ association in September 1943 to threaten a boycott, stating …
The matter has come to a stage that if there is no [new] school there will be no New Lambton children attending other schools.
A temporary infants’ school was subsequently constructed in “Payne’s Paddock” on St James Rd, consisting of 8 classrooms built of wood, and a separate administrative block. The temporary school opened for students on 18 April 1944.
The infants attended the Payne’s Paddock temporary school until April 1946, when the completion of restorations and repairs to the New Lambton school allowed them to resume classes there. The temporary school on St James Rd was closed, but became the site of the New Lambton South Public School, opened on 31 Januuary 1950 with an enrolment of 360 students.
To assist in the accommodation of Womens Auxiliary Australian Air Force (WAAAF) personnel working at No 2 Fighter Sector, the YMCA opened a hostel, converting a shop and residence on the corner of Hobart and Rugby Roads.
|Article Date Event Date||Notes|
|10 Mar 1942||"Pupils from New Lambton Public School are to be distributed over Lambton, Adamstown, Hamilton, and Cardiff schools because their building is to be used for other purposes. This was announced tonight by the Minister for Education (Mr. Clive Evatt). Mr. Evatt said the necessary transport for the children to be picked up from selected points, and taken to their schools, was being arranged."|
|24 Apr 1942||"Property at the corner of Hobart and Rugby Roads, New Lambton (a shop and residence), has been selected for the establishment of a leave hostel for the convenience of 'W.A.A.A.Fs' and other service women."|
|27 Apr 1942||New Lambton Parents and Citizens' Association campaigning for "more satisfactory arrangements for the 900 school children of New Lambton, who are now distributed among the Hamilton, Adamstown, and Lambton schools. The association last week agreed that a forceful claim should be made for the erection of portable classrooms at New Lambton to accommodate the transferred children."|
|5 Oct 1942||"For several weeks, Mrs. W. E. Bramble and her daughter, Miss Mary Bramble, have entertained groups of W.A.A.A.F. and R.A.A.F. personnel at their home at Russell-road, New Lambton, on Sunday nights. The number of guests varies, but as many as 80 have attended for tea, and 115 for supper. Mrs. Bramble's chief worry is to secure sufficient tea and sugar to cope with the crowd."|
|25 Sep 1943||New Lambton Parents and citizens' Association stated "that the proposal to keep New Lambton children away from school was not bluff. The matter has come to a stage that if there is no school there will be no New Lambton children attending other schools." "The commonwealth Government had provided the funds for the erection of accommodation for an Infants' school at Payne's Estate. The Government Architect had completed plans and tenders for the work would be invited this week."|
|18 Apr 1944||Popularly known as Payne's paddock school, New Lambton, these buildings in St. James-road will be "taken over" by the children this morning. Many of the children who will now go to this school have been travelling by bus to Hamilton school since New Lambton Public School was closed.|
|19 Apr 1944|
18 Apr 1944
|"Opening yesterday of the temporary school for New Lambton infants in Payne's Paddock, St. James-road. The school has an enrolment of 320 pupils."|
|19 Jan 1945||"A letter Mr. R. Cameron, M.L.A., has received from the Minister for Education (Mr. Heffron) with reference to the department's repossession of New Lambton Public School from the R.A.A.F., indicates that action has been taken to enable two buildings to be re-occupied by classes after the vacation."|
|28 Feb 1945||"The Minister for Education, Mr. Heffron, complained yesterday of the way in which the R.A.A.F. had left New Lambton Public School after they had occupied it … the R.A.A.F. had made structural alterations inside and outside the school. After months of negotiation, he had been unable to get the R.A.A.F. to remove the alterations. Because of this, the infants' part of the school was still unusable."|
|18 Apr 1945||Demolition of RAAF huts proceeding. The old headmaster's residence to be demolished and the playground area enlarged. There are 222 boys at the school. Restoration of the girls' school yet to happen.|
|20 Feb 1946||"The painting of the interior of the infants' department was near completion … the girls were now back in their own department."|
|6 Apr 1946||"Plans are under way for a "Back-to-New Lambton" day, to mark the complete reunion of classes of New Lambton Public School at their old home. The Parents and Citizens' Association proposes to have a roll book completed withl the autographs of past and present pupils and to preserve it as an historical record of the school. "|
|29 Apr 1946|
27 Apr 1946
|"THE war role of New Lambton Public School was referred to by speakers at the 'Back-to-school' celebration on Saturday. Saturday's function ... marked the school's full reinstatement."|
|27 Apr 1946||"Many former pupils returned today to participate in the Back to New Lambton School celebrations arranged by the P. and C. Association to mark the reopening of the school after military occupation."
"The boys and girls returned to the school in February of last year, the boys using their own department and the girls the infants' department, while the girls' school was being renovated. The girls returned to their school at tthe end of last year, but the infants remained at Payne's Paddock until this week, when the renovations to the infants' department were completed."
|1 Feb 1950|
31 Jan 1950
|"The new primary school at New Lambton South (Payne's Paddock) ... was opened yesterday for the enrolment of pupils. The buildings, which are of brick, contain 16 class rooms, a special room for a school library, headmaster's and headmistress's offices, staff rooms, special sheds for luncheon for the children, bicycle racks and a separate brick tuck shop ... there was already an enrolment of 360 pupils."|
Opening of the school in 1880
This year marks 140 years of New Lambton Public School. It’s an anniversary that would have been celebrated a decade ago, if not for government inaction, squabbling colliery owners, and construction delays.
New Lambton began with a colliery in 1868, and within a year the newspaper reported that
“a good Public School will soon be required, there being now scores of children in the township.” (The Newcastle Chronicle, 16 Sep 1869)
Although the need was great, the government took no action until August 1875, when a deputation from New Lambton delivered a petition to the Minister for Education in Sydney, and a school was approved.
The New Lambton Colliery initially promised land for the school near Evescourt Rd and Victoria St, but nothing happened while the co-owners of the colliery, Alexander Brown and George Dibbs, engaged in a bitter dispute over control of the mine. After two years of fruitless waiting, the school committee asked for the present site north of Russell Rd, as it belonged to Lambton Colliery whose general manager Robert Morehead was known to be a generous supporter of public education.
A contract for construction was awarded to Edward Constable and the ceremonial laying of the foundation stone took place on 30 November 1878. With an expected construction time of ten months the stone was optimistically engraved with the year 1879. But delays due to contractor disputes and a scarcity of bricks meant that as 1879 drew to a close, the Newcastle Morning Herald reported, with a dose of dry humour:
“There is now no prospect of the Public School being ready for opening at Christmas. Many of the children in whose interest this school was first advocated, are now married, and have large families.”
Finally, on 2 March 1880, classes commenced for 270 children. The following Saturday over 400 people gathered for the opening ceremony, where it was remarked that
“the lack of this institution for years past has been so apparent as to make it appear strange that its erection was not an accomplished fact far earlier.”
The article above was first published in the February 2020 edition of The Local.
The originally proposed site
Although there was much helpful information in the booklet, there were a number of errors, in particular when describing the originally proposed site for the school.
The booklet quite correctly states that “The first site chosen was on ground owned by the New Lambton colliery.” This means that the site was south of Russell Rd, that road being the border between New Lambton and Lambton coal leases. The centenary booklet then states that the proposed site was “around the south-eastern section of St James Rd.” I have found no evidence to support that statement. Instead, we know that:
- In December 1875 Alexander Brown agreed to donate “a splendid site on the side of the hill near to the Wesleyan Church.”
- The Wesleyan Church was “situated at the upper part of the township“
- The Wesleyan Methodists began in New Lambton in 1868 “when they built a church on the corner of Evescourt road and Victoria street.”
I can only guess that the authors of the centenary booklet incorrectly assumed that the eventual site for New Lambton South Public School (opened 1944) was the originally proposed site for the New Lambton school.
|Article Date Event Date||Notes|
|16 Sep 1869||“A good Public School will soon be required, there being now scores of children in the township; the Public School at Lambton is too far distant for tender children to attend.”|
|11 Nov 1869||“We understand that it is in contemplation to make an application to the Council of Education for the establishment of a public school, at New Lambton, where such an institution is very much required”|
|20 Jun 1874||“Great efforts are being made here to obtain the benefit of a public school.”|
|22 May 1875||“the movement in relation to the opening of a Public School in New Lambton is making progress”|
|5 Jun 1875||"There are 172 children under four years of age, and 427 between the age of four and thirteen years. These children have to walk a considerable distance to the Lambton Public school, and the road (particularly in wet weather) is very bad. Mr. Alexander Brown, one of the proprietors of the colliery, has consented to dedicate a piece of his land to the school board."|
|31 Jul 1875||A deputation to Sydney "for the purpose of presenting to the Council of Education the petition recently signed by the inhabitants of this neighbourhood, praying that a Public School may be established at New Lambton."|
|10 Aug 1875||"The deputation to Sydney have returned. They have been successful in their endeavours to obtain a Public School for New Lambton. It is presumed that nearly three hundred children will attend the school when opened."|
|1 Oct 1875||Governement Gazette: application received for new public school at New Lambton.|
|23 Oct 1875|
15 Oct 1875
|Letter from the Council of Education to New Lambton Public School: committee: "1. The Council has finally resolved to establish the School as a Public School. 2. The Council has further agreed to accept the land offered by the New Lambton Coal Company."|
|8 Dec 1875||"There is only one obstacle in the way of commencement with the building at once and that is the delay of Mr. A. Brown in handing over the land promised for the purpose. It is now seven or eight weeks since he promised to come up and hand over the land but has not done so yet."|
|11 Dec 1875||"Mr. Alexander Brown came up on Wednesday, and, in company with Messrs. Sharp and Rippon, examined the most likely pieces of land, and at last picked upon a splendid site on the side of the hill near to the Wesleyan Church."|
|8 Apr 1876||"Nothing further has as yet been done concerning our public school … There are upwards of 300 children in New Lambton able to attend school, the majority of which have to travel to the Lambton public school, which is about two miles distant from some of their homes."|
|13 May 1876||"The delay in handing over the site is the only obstacle to a public school being built in New Lambton. The land was promised some months ago by Mr. A. Brown, jun., but has not yet been handed over, owing probably to the unfortunate disagreement between the Messrs. Brown and Dibbs."|
|28 Jul 1876||"A deputation had visited the Messrs. Brown's recently, but had received no satisfaction, and the promise had evidently been withdrawn." Mr G. Holland of the school committee subsequently "met Mr. A. Brown, sen., in the street at Newcastle recently, and asked him if he would receive a deputation on the school question. Mr Brown informed him then that at present nothing could be done in this matter. The New Lambton people might therefore rest assured that they would not got any land from the Brown's estate. It was therefore their duty to try some other means of procuring a school site."|
|7 Aug 1876||A letter of stinging rebuke regarding inaction on the school: "We are, therefore, in a fix, and must, at least so far as can be seen at present, submit to bring up our children in ignorance … it is rather too bad that a few individuals should be allowed to monopolise hundreds of acres while the public can not procure a few feet whereon a a school can be erected … When next our Legislative wiseacres indulge in their educational clap-trap, it would be well if they would say, 'Educate the children of the colony, but lift not the veil of ignorance from New Lambton.' "|
|16 Jul 1877||"There can be no doubt that the the proprietors of the New Lambton Colliery are in a great measure to blame for this unfortunate state of things, for they have never by word or deed seconded the efforts of the people; but in the choice of a suitable site have thrown every possible obstacle in the way. These gentlemen would do well to take a pattern in this matter from some other colliery proprietors and officials in this district who have evinced a regard for the educational requirements of their workmen's children."|
|28 Aug 1877|
17 Jul 1877
|A petition is presented to Minister for Education requesting change of site for the school. “The site proposed is on the Commonage, at the boundary of the Lambton and New Lambton Company's estates, where it is thought that a barrier of coal has been left in.”|
|31 Jul 1877||In the dispute between colliery owners Brown and Dibbs preventing the granting of land for a school, it appears that Brown is the culprit … "I am informed that the Messrs. Dibbs are doing all in their power to further the movement ; but Mr. A. Brown is inexorable, and will not grant anything which will be a benefit to the people."|
|29 Jan 1878||The grant of land for the school, may be held up "until the matter of the Newcastle Common, of which the land in question forms part, has been settled."|
|16 Mar 1878|
11 Mar 1878
|"The Minister for Lands has now approved of the appropriation for Public School purposes of the two acres of land at New Lambton, applied for by the Council on 11th October last. Steps will now be taken for the erection of the school building as early as possible."|
|16 Apr 1878||"Failing to obtain a site at New Lambton from private individuals, the Council [of Education] made application to the Government on the 18th October last, for portion of land for the purpose. An intimation that this site has been granted, was received at this office on 20th March instant, and the usual steps have been taken for the erection of a public school with the least possible delay."|
|10 May 1878||"The Commonage land promised for a school site is a portion of the Lambton Company's lease ... it is well known that there is not a better friend of education in the colony than Mr. Morehead, who will, no doubt, forfeit all claim to the land in question as soon as application is made to him, and the object for which it is required made known."|
|10 May 1878||Advertisement: "TENDERS are invited for the Erection and Completion of a PUBLIC SCHOOL, at NEW LAMBTON."|
|5 Jul 1878||Contract for erection of New Lambton Public School has been awarded to Mr. E Constable.|
|9 Sep 1878||"It would appear that the fates are against a public school ever being erected at New Lambton. After years of agitation, tenders were accepted several weeks ago for the erection of a school, but the contractor evidently thinks that some time in the next century will be soon enough to complete his work, as beyond a few stones being carted on to the ground, there is no sign of a start being made."|
|2 Dec 1878|
30 Nov 1878
|Ceremonial laying of the foundation stone.|
|26 Feb 1879||Work on the New Lambton Public School "has been stopped, owing to some dispute between the contractor and a contractor, and to a scarcity of bricks."|
|2 Jun 1879||"The new public school building has so far progressed as to be ready for the shingles. The building seems to be of a very substantial nature, and will, when finished, be an ornament to the place, as well as a blessing in an educational point. The children, no doubt, wish it was completed, as those who at present attend school have to tramp up to their knees in sludge to the Lambton school."|
|25 Dec 1879||"There is now no prospect of the New Public School being ready for opening at Christmas. Many of the children in whose interest this school was first advocated, are now married, and have large families."|
|8 Mar 1880|
6 Mar 1880
|Official opening of the school on Saturday 6 March 1880. (First day for students was Tuesday 2 March 1880.)|
Chilcott St, Lambton
There’s often a story lurking behind street names. While many of our streets owe their existence to the rise of mines, some have their origin in the demise of mines. The Scottish Australian Mining Company opened Lambton colliery in 1863. Adjacent to the pit they established a small township bounded by Young, Morehead, Croudace and Howe Streets, these being named after managers and directors of the company.
For the next 50 years the company made their fortune underground, but when the coal seam was depleted, they looked instead to make money above ground, in real estate. They began in August 1914 with a modest subdivision of 24 blocks on the south side of Howe St. On 17 January 1920, one hundred years ago this month, the company auctioned a bigger subdivision with 61 building sites. As was the custom at the time the sale was publicised using large coloured poster prints.
The subdivision included two newly constructed streets. Turner St was named after Frederick William Turner, the London based secretary of the Scottish Australian Mining Company. Chilcott St was named after Henry Frederick Chilcott, the Sydney based General Manager.
Chilcott was born in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) in 1844 and was brought by his family to Australia when he was three. At age 14 he joined the Scottish Australian Mining Company in a junior capacity, and was progressively promoted, eventually becoming General Manager in 1892. Chilcott was also a long-time member of the Colonial Volunteer Forces, a forerunner of today’s Army Reserve, enlisting in 1860 and rising to the rank of Captain by the time of his retirement in 1894.
In a strange coincidence, Henry Chilcott died on 21 January 1920, just four days after the auction of land in the street named in his honour. He was aged 76, still holding the position of General Manager in the company that he had served for an impressive 62 years.
The article above was first published in the January 2020 edition of The Local.
My thanks this month go to Greg Manning, whose research into Chilcott St alerted me to Henry Chilcott’s birthplace being in Ceylon, and led me to the photograph of Chilcott in his military uniform.
There is some slight ambiguity as to the exact year that Chilcott joined the Scottish Australian Company. An article from 1894 states that Chilcott “was born on January 5, 1844” and that “he has been connected [to the company] since he was 15 years of age. This implies that Chilcott joined the company in 1859. However the article reporting his death in 1920 states that he joined the company in 1858, implying that he was aged 14 at the time.
The streets in the the early Lambton township were mainly named after managers and directors of the Scottish Australian Mining and Investment Companies, owners of the Lambton colliery.
|Young St||Named after Matthew Young or Adolphus William Young MP, or possible both. Matthew Young along with Robert Morehead was an early manager of the Scottish Australian Mining Company in Sydney. The mineral leases of the Lambton colliery were original held by “Morehead and Young”, and then subsequently taken over by the S.A.M. Co soon after the company’s registration. Adolphus William Young was a director of the Scottish Australian Investment Company in England.|
|Croudace St||Named after Thomas Croudace (b. 1838, d. 15 Jun 1906), manager of Lambton Colliery and subsequently General Manager of the Scottish Australian Mining Company in Australia.|
|Grainger St||Named after Charles Garston Grainger, director and secretary in London of the Scottish Australian Investment and Scottish Australian Mining Companies. Resigned 1885.|
|Morehead St||Named after Robert Archibald Alison Morehead (b. 1812? d. 9 Jan 1885), General Manager of the Scottish Australian Mining Company in Australia.|
|Dickson St||Probably named after William Henry Dickson, one of the proprietors of the Scottish Australian Investment Company.|
|De Vitre St||Named after James Denis De Vitre, director of the Scottish Australian Mining Company. Retired February 1872.|
|Elder St||Named after Alexander Lang Elder (d. 5 Sep 1885), director of the Scottish Australian Investment and Scottish Australian Mining Companies. Although Elder died in September 1885, he continued to be listed as a director of the company in Australian newspapers until 13 Mar 1886. An updated list of directors appeared on 20 Mar 1886.|
|Kendall St||Named after Charles Holland Kendall, a director of the Scottish Australian Investment Company.|
|Pearson St||Named after Sir Edwin Pearson (d. 1883), director of the Scottish Australian Investment Company.|
|Howe St||Probably named after Robert How, who was named in 1864 as a director of the Cadiangallong copper mine near Orange. This mine was worked by the Scottish Australian Mining Company, and given the overlap of directors between the two companies. it is quite likely that How was also a director or investor in the Scottish Australian Mining Company. The Government Gazette of 14 Oct 1873, shows “How-street” in the list of Lambton streets. As early as April 1872, the spelling appears with a trailing “e”.|
|Chilcott St||Named after Henry Frederick Chilcott (b. 5 Jan 1844, d. 21 Jan 1920), General Manager in Australia of the Scottish Australian Investment and Scottish Australian Mining Companies.|
|Turner St||Named after Frederick William Turner (d. September 1928) director of the Scottish Australian Investment Company, and secretary of the company in London.|
The Lambton Primary School centenary booklet in 1965 stated that Howe St was “named either in honour of the Earl of Howe (prominent Englishman of the day) or John Howe a well known explorer and pastoralist in the Hunter Valley.” I’m a little suspicious of the accuracy of this statement given that I can find no corroborating evidence, and that the centenary booklet has a number of other errors regarding the origin of street names. e.g. the naming of Hill St. Given that all the other street names are of men associated with the mining company, I think it much more likely that it was named after Robert How, one of the directors of the Cadiangallong copper mine .
One curious anomaly in the early Lambton street names is that at one time there were two Croudace Streets. As well as the north-south road we know today, for some period of time the section of road along the south side of Lambton Park (now Howe St) was called Croudace St. See for example the map on a real estate poster from 1906. (For information on the section of LLoyd Rd running across Lambton Park, see my January 2016 article.)
At first I thought this was an error by the map maker, but I found many other maps of the era also had the street labelled as Croudace St. I then found a proclamation in the Government Gazette of 22 Nov 1878 that names the road between Church St and Lambton Coal Company’s railway as being Croudace St – so the map makers were correct in their labels.
So why was there two Croudace Streets? It seems that in the 1860s and 1870s street names were still in a bit of flux. When you look at the Government Gazette proclamation of roads there are many names that don’t match what we have today.
- 14 Oct 1873 – mentions a “Reservoir-street”, which refers either to the present day Grainger St or present day Croudace St.
- 22 Nov 1878 – mentions a West Street and a Crozier St that do not exist today.
- 27 Aug 1880 – mentions “Swamp-street”
The naming of the road to the south side of Lambton Park as Croudace St was probably done by some bureaucrat based in Sydney, unaware of the Lambton locality, and unaware that there was already another street known by the locals as Croudace St.
|Article Date Event Date||Notes|
|15 Jan 1885|
1 Jan 1885
|On the retirement of R A A Morehead as General Manager of the Scottish Australian Investment Company, Mr. Archibald Shannon the sub-manager becomes General Manager, and "Mr. Henry F. Chilcott, the accountant, who has been twenty-six years in the service of the company, will succeed to the post to be vacated by Mr. Shannon."|
|17 Jan 1885|
9 Jan 1885
|Death of R A A Morehead, manager of the Scottish Australian Investment Company.|
|30 Jul 1892||Archibald Shannon, General Manager of Scottish Australian Investment Company and Scottish Australian Mining Company, returns to England. Thomas Croudace becomes General Manager of the Scottish Australian Mining Company, and although not stated in this article, Henry Chilcott becomes General Manger of the Scottish Australian Investment Company. (See article reporting his death in 1920, that states that Chilcott became General Manager in 1892.)|
|21 Apr 1894||Captain Chilcott retires from the Colonial Volunteer Forces.|
|4 Aug 1894||Details of The Scottish Australian Investment Company, listing Henry Frederick Chilcott as "Manager in Australia" and Frederick William Turner as "Secretary to the Company in London."|
|28 Dec 1895|
16 Dec 1895
|The "long and meritorious" decoration bestowed on H F Chilcott of the 2nd Infantry Regiment of the Colonial Volunteer Forces, recognising 26 years of service.|
|14 Jul 1919||Last mention in Trove of H F Chilcott, General Manager of Scottish Australian Mining, prior to his death.|
|16 Jan 1920|
17 Jan 1920
|"Messrs. Creer and Berkeley will offer at auction to-morrow afternoon 61 elevated building sites at Lambton. These sites form a portion of the Scottish-Australian Mining Company's estate, and are within two minutes of the tram. With bold frontages they face Chilcott, Turner, Croudace and Grainger streets."|
|23 Jan 1920|
21 Jan 1920
|"Mr. Henry Frederick Chilcott, general manager of the Scottish-Australian Investment Company, Ltd., and the Scottish-Australian Mining Company, Ltd. died at his residence, Forest Road, Arnclilffe, on Wednesday. He joined the Investment Company in 1858 in a junior capacity, and in 1892 succeeded to the management upon the death* of the late Mr. Archibald Shannon. In 1904 he succceeded the late Mr. Thomas Croudace in the management of the mining company."
* It was actually on Shannon's return to England, not his death, that Chilcott became general manager. Shannnon died in Torquay in 1898.
|22 Jan 1920||Funeral of H F Chilcott.|
|6 Sep 1928||"The death is announced of Mr. Frederick William Turner, a director of the Scottish Australian Investment Company, at the age of 96 years."|