What would you like to find?



History Week 2022 – “Curiosity”

Camden Library Services presents an online exhibition: -

Camden’s Heritage Festival – How do I know?

The Australian Heritage Festival is a national event that is organised by The National Trust of Australia and held annually. This year the festival will run from 1 April – 31 May.

Every year a new theme is chosen for the event. This year’s theme is “Curiosity”, with the focus here at Camden on the question – ‘How do I know?’

Camden Library is hosting a photographic display that showcases a mixture of old and more modern photographs that have been chosen to find the answers to some questions about features of our local area, including Camden’s natural and built environment.

Plan of Camden Village 1841, CHS0975, courtesy of Camden Historical Society

Have you ever wondered where the places names found around Camden originated? There are the obvious names such as Macarthur Park that pays homage to the Macarthur family. There are many other place names that are connected to people who were eminent outside the area and not necessarily ever likely to visit here. One example is Lord Camden, British Colonial Secretary who was responsible for John MacArthur receiving his 2000 acre named land grant from Governor King in 1805. It follows that this is the origin of the name of our Camden township and council area.

Views of Camden postcard, CHS 0832, courtesy of Camden Historical Society

At Cobbitty, named Cobbedee by Macquarie and which was called “Cubbady” by Gregory Blaxland when he received his land grant there in 1816, can be found the Heber Chapel. It was built by Rev. Thomas Hassall, known as the “Galloping Parson”, who lived on his own property – Denbigh acquired from the widow of Charles Hook.

 Denbigh, 1995, CLS 0001, courtesy of Camden Library Service


 Macquarie Grove House ,1997, CLS 0052, courtesy of Camden Library Service

He had been living at Rowland Hassall’s nearby residence, Macquarie Grove up to this time. The Heber chapel was completed in 1828. It was dedicated by Rev Samuel Marsden, father-in-law of Thomas Hassall.  The chapel was named in honour of British cleric, Reginald Heber who served as Bishop of Calcutta for 3 years until his death at the age of 42 years. He who was a highly regarded poet whilst at Oxford and the composer of well-known hymns such as Brightest and Best.

Heber Chapel School, children outside building c. 1868, CHS 0767, courtesy of Camden Historical Society.


Heber Chapel c. 1997 CLS 0206, courtesy of Camden Library Service

Pomare Grove was the name of the land where Thomas Hassall built the Heber Chapel. Pomare was the name of a Tahitian chieftain. Thomas had spent time in Tahiti with his family doing missionary work before arriving in Australia. Pomare Grove was operated by Mrs Gracie for many years as a guest house and is now known as Teen Ranch, a Christian children’s holiday camp.

 Pomare, 1920s, CLS 0249, courtesy of Camden Library Service


Teen Ranch, c. 2009, CHS 2457, courtesy of Camden Historical Society

Another local place name that resulted from Hassall’s stay in Tahiti is “Matavai”, the name of the residence of Chief Pomare. It was the name given to Jonathon Hassall’s residence and there is now a Matavai Street in the new subdivision called Arcadian Hills.

 Leppington, 2007, CHS 1840, courtesy of Camden Historical Society

The rapidly growing suburb of Leppington gets its name from a large property granted to William Cordeaux in 1821. On it was built a large two-storey home that had its own ballroom. It was built by convict labour. Unfortunately, it was destroyed by fire during the 1940s.

The name Leppington comes from the property granted to William Cordeaux in 1821. Cordeaux came to New South Wales to take up a post with the Commissariat Department. Leppington Park House was a huge two storey home with its own private ballroom built by convict labour. It was destroyed by fire in the 1940s. By 1911 the property was owned by Charles and Fanny Perry who set up a “country tea garden” and riding school. The Perrys also established an animal menagerie that included wallabies, kangaroos, Pademelons, and monkeys. Their aviaries held an extensive collection of around 600 birds of numerous varieties.

William Cordeaux also held a large property near Sutton Forest. There are many examples of his name being used in his memory. Cordeaux Road, near his Leppington estate, is one example. Cordeaux River, Cordeaux Dam and the suburb of Cordeaux Heights are amongst several locations outside of Camden that use his name.

Members of the Fuchs family on their vineyard, Lodges Road Elderslie,1920s, CHS 1866 courtesy of Camden Historical Society

Another local park that has an interesting name is Fuchs Reserve at Elderslie. It is a tribute to the Fuchs family who arrived in Sydney in 1852. They had been engaged by William Macarthur’s agent in Germany to work in the vineyards at Camden Park Estate. The Fuchs family were related to the Thurn family, and they had travelled on the “….” to take up their new lives.
German migration to the area commenced with the “Original Six” who were a group of six families brought to work at Camden Park to help establish the vineyard, by the Macarthur family. They arrived in 1838 from the Rheingau district of Germany, an area where viticulture had been in practice for many years. The six vinedressers were Casper Flick, Friedrich Seckold, Georg Gerhard, Johann Justus, Johann Stein and Johann Wenz.

Mr and Mrs Thomas Funnell and their 10 children, Harrington Park House, 1910s, CLS 0157, courtesy of Camden Library Service

Another suburb that owes its name to the original land grant holder is Harrington Park. Captain William Douglas Campbell was awarded this 2000-acre grant in 1813. It was in compensation for the loss of his ship ‘Harrington’ that had been seized by convicts in Darlin Harbour. He named his estate ‘Harrington Park’ in honour of his lost vessel. The property passed through ownership several times until 1944 when it was purchased by Sir Warwick Fairfax. Sir Warwick himself is remembered in the naming of Sir Warwick Fairfax Drive that connects the suburb to Camden Valley Way and The Northern Road.

Harrington Park under housing development, c. 1995, CL 0329, courtesy of Camden Library Service

The above are only a few examples of how some of our place names came about. If your curiosity has been aroused about the place where you live, please visit Camden Library. Don’t forget that our local Camden Historical Society and Camden Area Family History Society can also help to provide answers or direction to other resources for many of your questions.