November, 2018

Book highlights estate’s oral histories

Step back in time: Therese Sweeney has written the history of Camden Park Estate through the eyes of former employees.The stories of the people who worked at Camden Park Estate have been recorded in a new book.
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Therese Sweeney, an oral historian, photographer, researcher and digital archivist answered the call of the Belgenny Farm Trust to take on the task to write the history of the estate through the eyes of the people who worked there.

“It was such a significant project and one that I enjoyed being part of,” she said.

Over the past three years, Ms Sweeny interviewed 50 former employees and people with links to the estate. She photographed them, digitised their interviews which are available to be heard at Camden Museum and Library, and wrote their stories in the 200-page book called Oral Histories from Camden Park Estate, the Community Story.

“They were one big happy family. They loved the people, the environment and they all took real pride in the fact that they were part of its amazing history,” Ms Sweeney said.

One of the first people she interviewed was the late Fred Potter, then aged 93, who shared stories of his time as a rabbit catcher and whose family enjoyed a long association with Camden Park.

Among the other stories are fond memories of the estate owners and agricultural pioneers John and Elizabeth Macarthur, their family and the famous rotolactor, the most modern milking machine of its time.

Ms Sweeney said meeting and being received by the Camden Park community was a personal highlight. “The people of that era were so committed to Camden Park and they had a genuine love for the place,” she said.

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Airport planners entreated to remember those who live next to it

Campbelltown Council has called on the federal government to ensure its proposal for a 24-hour Badgerys Creek airport does not infringe on Macarthur residents’ quality of life.
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An environmental assessment of plans for the second Sydney airport was launched in December, with the aim to start building in 2016.

It involves two parallel 4-kilometre runways that would be used by planes coming from the north-east and south-west to land, over the broader Western Sydney employment area.

It would eventually cater for around 70 million passengers annually and operate on a 24-hour basis to “maximise the potential of the site and its commercial viability,” according to the proposal currently on display with the Department of Environment.

The site, about 23 kilometres north-west of Campbelltown, covers 1700 hectares and the first stage would include one runway and be operational by mid-2020.

The plan sparked Labor councillor Rudi Kolkman’s suggestion, at last month’s council meeting, to write to the government and Macarthur MP Russell Matheson.

He asked they ensure the airport “proceeds on the basis that it will maintain, as a minimum, a quality of life enjoyed by those who live and work near, or under, the flight paths” of Sydney Airport.

“My point is the people of Macarthur are no less valuable and no less important than the people who live around Kingsford Smith Airport,” he said. “We need to know where fuel is going to be dumped in an emergency. At the moment it’s dumped at sea.”

Liberal councillor George Greiss supported the idea, calling it worthwhile, but he said it was too early to make demands on the government.

Labor councillor George Brticevic said Badgerys Creek would be targeted by major airlines stifled by Sydney Airport’s 11pm-to-6am curfew.

“We want it on the same conditions as the inner west and inner city residents so we can sleep at night,” he said.

“It’s going to be hard enough for our children to concentrate at school during the day.”

Liberal Democrat councillor Clinton Mead said Kingsford Smith was a relatively small airport, surrounded by residents.

“That means there isn’t much room for planes to get a bit of height before they fly over houses,” Cr Mead said.

“Hopefully, Badgerys Creek won’t be like that if they get it right.”

NSW Planning Minister Pru Goward said the state government had finalised plans to lock in employment land around the airport, estimating it would create 57,000 jobs over 30 years.

“We’ve heard the message from people living in Western Sydney,” she said.

“They want to work closer to home to cut their commute and spend more time at home with their family.

“With about 40 per cent of all jobs in our west located in an industrial precinct it’s critical we harness the potential of Western Sydney as the nation’s third largest economy by investing in infrastructure.”

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James Estate Wines sold

JAMES Estate Wines has been sold to ROI Unit Trust.
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The sale, completed on December 22, was achieved by Neil Cussen and Vaughan Strawbridge, who were appointed receivers and managers of seven companies trading the businesses of Print National and James Estate Wines on August 28, 2013.

The James Estate Wines business consists of vineyards, winemaking facilities and a cellar door operation located at Baerami in the Upper Hunter.

A second cellar door operates at Pokolbin in the lower Hunter Valley.

The purchaser of both properties, plant and equipment, wine, cattle and intellectual property of the business is ROI Land & Hedging Pty Ltd as trustee for ROI Unit Trust, the purchasing vehicle for Mr Sam Fayad, managing director of Dyldam Developments.

“This is an excellent outcome for the James Estate Wines business, its employees and suppliers,” receiver and manager Neil Cussen said.

“Immediately on our appointment in 2013, we began preparing both businesses for sale, with the printing part of the group sold in November 2013.

“James Estate Wines continued to trade and this has been made possible thanks to the commitment of many stakeholders, including employees, suppliers and customers.”

The receivers oversaw the 2014 grape harvest and then started a sale marketing campaign in March.

Negotiations took place with a number of interested parties, with the sale agreed in September, and settled on December 22.

Twenty James Estate Wines employees have transferred to the new owner.

“I am particularly pleased that we have been able to ensure ongoing employment for the winery’s staff,” Mr Cussen said.

“Their work during an uncertain period has been invaluable in positioning the business for a successful sale.”

Other details of the sale transaction are commercial-in-confidence.

EXCELLENT OUTCOME: James Estate Wines has been sold to ROI Unit Trust.

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Happy 100th to one of the greats

Local VAD (Voluntary Aid Detachement) nurses in Campbelltown during World War II. Pictured is (at front) Lil Hepher and marge Wilkinson, (back) Betty Cowls and Edna Parker.
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She was born before the Anzacs landed at Gallipoli, worked as a local newspaper reporter in the 1930s, served as a nurse in World War II, and was one of the founding forces behind Campbelltown Theatre Group in the 1950s.

And that’s barely the tip of the community iceberg.

Lily Hepher’s 100th birthday celebration was held at Warrigal nursing home in Bundanoon on Saturday.

A large contingent of Campbelltonians headed down to the Southern Highlands to join the fun.

Before retiring in the 1980s, Lily Hepher and her late husband Jack were two of the most active and best-loved identities in Campbelltown.

Lil Hepher, aged 92, at a drumming workshop in Tahmoor in February 2006.

Son John and daughter Rosalind were both present and praised their mother.

“Mum is a wordsmith,” John, a skilled author, told the Advertiser.

“I remember her challenging me over matters of grammar, spelling and ideas.

“She didn’t read me too many fairy tales, but I remember often going to sleep as a very young boy to Greek mythology.

“She remains my critic and my mentor.

Campbelltown Centenary, 1920. Pic of local girls including Lilly Triglone (later Lil Hepher) circled.

“I often wonder what sort of heights she would have achieved as an actor had times and circumstances been as they are today.

“My mother and late father always allowed me the freedom to pursue my creative endeavours, none more so than to allow me to go to Vietnam in 1969 [to entertain the troops] as a 16-year-old playing in a rock’n’roll band.

“I suppose she just wanted us to be happy.

“And I certainly am. Thank you, Mum.”

Lily was renowned for her encouragement of young people and her interest in the arts. She was performing on stage in amateur productions in her teens and was a leading director of the theatre group in its early heyday.

Born Lily Triglone in 1915, she worked as a young news-gatherer on the Campbelltown News (the old name for the Advertiser) in the 1930s, working for Bob Sidman.

She fell in love with Jack, who ran a bicycle and radio business in Campbelltown, and they married in April 1942, just before Jack joined the army.

Jack saw action in New Guinea and was wounded as a stretcher bearer.

At home, Lily served with the voluntary aid detachments.

The Hephers were always on hand for any good community cause.

In the 1960s, Jack and Lily cowned a roller-skating rink in Campbelltown and established a skating club, from which many of the local kids won state championships for hockey, racing and dance-figure skating.

Many people will remember Jack showing off his skills on an antique penny-farthing at the Fisher’s Ghost Parade.

In 1976, Jack and Lily purchased the Old Bike Shoppe in Bundanoon and in the 1980s they ”retired” there – but kept as busy as usual.

They remaimed proud Campbelltonians by sentiment and stayed in close touch with their home town.

Campbelltown’s Uniting Church was particularly well represented among the visitors on Saturday.

Radio Revellers Review at Campbelltown Town hall, 1937. Jack Hepher and Lilly Triglone performing.

The celebration was a light luncheon, and a group of ladies sand, a cappella, some of Lily’s favourite songs.

Lily, who is now less mobile after a bad fall six months ago, was alert but somewhat overcome by all the fuss.

She was surrounded by bunches of flowers, gifts and cards, plus albums of old photos of Lily in her many roles over the past century.

The crowd sang Happy Birthday accompanied on the piano by one of Lily’s friends, Don McGill, and tehy sang, as a special request, the tune Lily of Laguna.

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Town to rise from greenfield site

Hive of activity: An artist impression of the Edmondson Park town centre.
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Edmondson Park, the first town to be built on the South West Rail extension, is a step closer to coming to life, with the town centre development now at tender stage.

The town centre will have a range of retail, commercial and community uses, and serve as a vital hub for the growing population along the south-west corridor.

Located five stops from the future Badgerys Creek airport, and just eight kilometres from the Liverpool central business district, Edmondson Park also offers handy access to the M5 and M7.

UrbanGrowth NSW development director Donna Savage said the Edmondson Park model, of a master-planned transit-oriented town, would lead the way for other future cities around Australia.

“The Edmondson Park town centre master plan sets the scene in terms of connecting the community with transport, community spaces, shopping, restaurants and cafes and day-to-day services,” she said.

Last September, UrbanGrowth NSW sought expressions of interest for the sale and development of the next stage of the suburb: a 24-hectare site of the future village-style town centre built around the station.

The town centre will feature a main street with a supermarket, shops, cafes and restaurants and commercial and community spaces set around the station and bus-rail interchange.

All of these will be close to the regional park and other open spaces.

“These elements make Edmondson Park a unique, standout address in south-western Sydney and indeed, Australia,” Ms Savage said.

Edmondson Park landowners Marc and Melissa Ghignone, both teachers, said their decision to buy was based on the town centre and rail mix.

“For us it was a no-brainer; it had to be Edmondson Park,” said Mr Ghignone.

“At the moment Melissa and I work at local schools, but if we were transferred to a school in the inner west, the train line here would make the commute easy. And we’ll be able to walk to the train station from our new home. We like that Edmondson Park is close to Liverpool and Campbelltown and all they have to offer, but far enough away to avoid the busy side of those centres.”

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