1890s Our Campbelltown

Our Campbelltown 1890s


Gracius Joseph Broinowski

Gracius Joseph Broinowski, well known artist and ornithologist, was born in Poland in 1837. He arrived in Australia in 1857. The settlements in such areas as The Kent Farms (Kentlyn), East Minto, Wedderburn and Eckersley were beginning to attract settlers, many of whom were European migrants. Orchards, vineyards, and market gardens were among the endeavours of these hardy folk, who literally carved out a living in the bush. Gracius built a house at Wedderburn with his wife Jane and children. It was one of the earliest cottages built in Wedderburn.

Gracius taught painting, and was commissioned to draw Australian birds and mammals for classroom displays. Broinowski had begun in 1887 to prepare a series of volumes entitled "The Birds of Australia". The works were accomplished while he was farming at Wedderburn and were completed in 1891.

Black and white portrait of Gracius Broinowski

Historical photograph of Wedderburn Bridge
(Sourced from P.C.Marlow Collection, Campbelltown & Airds Historical Society)

Members of the Campbelltown Football Club

A Campbelltown Football Club Team portrait in 1892.

Old Football team photograph


Proclamation of the Municipal District of Ingleburn

With the coming of the railway, a number of villages grew up around the platforms which had been built to serve local farms. Macquarie Fields, Ingleburn and Minto evolved from these villages The people of the growing village of Ingleburn felt they should have some measure of local government, and in 1896 the Municipal District of Ingleburn was proclaimed. The first Mayor of Ingleburn Samuel George Barff, and councillor Sydney John Percival (who became Mayor a few years later) with two unidentified men on polling day at Ingleburn.

Old photograph of officials at the first polling day
(Image sourced from Credit Local Studies Collection, Campbelltown City Library)

Formation of a Fire Brigade

It was clear that Campbelltown needed a Fire Brigade so in 1890 Council made application for a Government grant to purchase equipment and build premises. The doors were opened in 1891, with 10 volunteers equipped with a manual hose reel and 1000 feet of hose. In 1907 the Brigade moved to a new premises in Queen Street opposite Cordeaux Street. The original Fire Station and the second premises are shown below.

Photogrph of the original Fire Station in Campbelltown
(First station- Image sourced from Geoff Eves Collection, Campbelltown City Library)

early fire station building
(2nd premises- Image sourced from Alex Goodsell)

A photograph of the early Fire Brigade crew in Campbelltown is shown below.

Old photograph of members of the early fire brigade in Campbelltown
(Image sourced from Campbelltown and Airds Historical Society for Fire Brigade)

The Boer War

In October 1899, the British Empire went to war against the Boers of South Africa. Among the Campbelltown Volunteers were Private Michael Bourke, Lance Corporal Thomas Lees, and Private Charles Spooner who were all invalided home. Lieutenants Joseph and William Newman, Warrant Officer Richard Holman, and Private Frank Axam had 'stuck together' whilst overseas, and returned together in January 1901.

Private Frank Axam of Campbelltown pictured here in 1899, serving in the 1st NSW Mounted Rifles at the Boer War. In 1900 he wrote home that he was having "a hot time, being under fire about a dozen times [while] scouting and in three fights."

old photograph of Soldier Private Frank Axam
(Image sourced from Australian Town & Country Journal)

War games at Campbelltown

“A Battery, NSW Field Artillery 1896” (below) shows the war games at Campbelltown, as captured by famed artist Tom Roberts. This scene was near The Sugarloaf, next to present-day Broughton Anglican College at Menangle Park.

painting of war games in action
(Image sourced from Australian War Memorial)

Campbelltown Social Calendar

The Campbelltown Infantry Ball was a highlight of the Campbelltown social calendar in the 1890s. Below is a dance card from the ball held in the Town Hall in 1893.

Copy of the Campbelltown Mounted Infantry Annual Ball Programme
(Image sourced from Gore Family Collection)


St James Church of England, Minto

To serve the growing villages of Minto and Ingleburn, St James Church of England was built midway between the two. , St James Church of England was first erected on the corner of Minto and Cumberland Roads in 1897.The architect of the building was Henry Austin Wilshire, the youngest son of James Robert Wilshire MLC, who was the second elected Lord Mayor of Sydney. Wilshire provided his services at no cost to the Anglican Church for the design of St James Church. Approximately £200 was donated by the trustees of St James Church in central Sydney, and also a small amount given by St Phillips Church in Glebe. The foundation stone for the Church was laid on 13 September 1897 by the Bishop of Bathurst. The ceremony was well attended and was followed by a fundraising event. Copies of Sydney and local newspapers from the day of the ceremony were placed into a portion of the foundation stone. St James Church was officially opened on Saturday 5 February 1898, with a crowd of people in attendance, a choir, and afternoon tea served in a marquee. This historic church is still standing it was moved to Kent Street Minto in 1918. Saved from demolition by council, it was added to the local heritage register(PDF, 4MB) in 2018.

Old photograph of St James Church front view
(Image sourced from William Bayley Collection, Campbelltown City Library)

Queen Street

High Street was renamed Queen Street in recognition of Queen Victoria’s reign. This was In recognition of Queen Victoria’s reign as the longest serving monarch. The view of Queen Street in the 1890's below shows the Bursill Building and Bank of New South Wales.

historical photograph of Queen Street with the Bank of New South Wales and the Bursill building in the frame
(Image sourced from Campbelltown and Airds Historical Society)