1920s Our Campbelltown

1920s Our Campbelltown Logo


Percy Marlow

Born in England in 1878, Percy Marlow would be mayor of Campbelltown three times - 1925-1929, 1938-1945 and 1950 to 1952. His father C.J.Marlow settled in Campbelltown with the family, and had a store next door to the Fire Station, where the entrance to the Mall is now. Percy followed in his father's foosteps and became a store owner - his store being on the corner of Queen and Lithgow Streets. Percy became an Alderman in 1920 and helped organise Campbelltown's Centenary celebrations. His pet project in his first stint as mayor was the need for a Campbelltown high school. In 1929 terrible bushfires swept through the area, and Percy attempted to win State Government relief. When it was denied he set up a locally based Relief Fund. A collection of P.C.Marlow's photos are held by the Historical Society.

The photograph below is C.J Marlow's store.

CJ Marlow store front
(Image sourced Fairfax Collection Campbelltown City Library)

Bessie Sedgewick

Nineteen-year-old Bessie Sedgwick, ready to take part in the centenary pageant through Queen Street in December 1920. Bessie was a living part of local history. She was a sister of Campbelltown lighthorseman Ted Sedgwick, a daughter of former Campbelltown Mayor Edward Sedgwick, and a grand-daughter of James Fitzpatrick of Glenlee, the convict who travelled south with Hume in 1826. Bessie remained a lifelong Campbelltown patriot, and was awarded a British Empire Medal for her community service shortly before her death in 1980.

Nash Family Collection - Bessie Sedgewick Centenary pageant 1920s
(Sourced from Nash Family Collection )

A 1920s "dance card" that belonged to Bessie Sedgwick. The names penned it, wanting dances with her, included Fred Moore, Clive Payten and Herb Lack.

Dance crad from the 1920s
(Image Sourced from Nash Family Collection)

Campbelltown Kangaroos

The Campbelltown Kangaroos rugby league team, winning a tough reputation in the 1920s under nuggety coach Alf Duguid (holding the flag, at left).

Campbelltown Kangaroos Team photo
(Sourced from Nash Family Collection )

Fashion of the Day

Jeanne Aujard and Una Longhurst at Campbelltown, showing off the latest 1920s fashions.

Two young ladies wearing the latest 1920s fashion
(Image sourced from Gore Family Collection)


Centenary Celebrations- Campbelltown turns 100

From the Daily Telegraph August 1920, "Four Days Celebration - Campbelltown will on December 1 commemorate the foundation of the town by Governor Macquarie on that date 100 years ago. A programme of 23 sporting items for the first day has been adopted. A colored design, 12 inches x 15 inches, has been chosen as the souvenir of the historic event. The surplus proceeds from all sources will be devoted to a memorial hall in honor of local Anzacs. The building, which will be used as a public library, is likely to cost £3000. The celebrations will last four days, and there is every indication that something quite uncommon will take place. The district is rich in historic marks and memories, including Rose's windmill, built in 1835, and the home of Hamilton Hume, the explorer. A history of the town and district will be printed."

The photograph below shows a procession with bullock dray in Queen Street Campbelltown during Centenary celebrations, 1920, with the "Club Hotel" (corner Cordeaux Street & Queen Street) in the background.

Bull procession down Queen Street
(Image sourced from Campbelltown City Library Local Studies Collection)

A shot of Queen Street during the Campbelltown centenary celebrations of 1920, photographed by Rex Hazlewood from the top storey of the Club Hotel. The vacant block where everyone is gathered was later purchased by shopkeeper Phil Solomon who erected a large two-storey building known as Solomon Progressive Stores. That building, and the site of the adjoining garage (demolished in the late 1940s) was later to form the core of Downes Department Store - now occupied by Spotlight Plaza.

Centenary Parade down Queen Street
(Image sourced from State Library of New South Wales)

The coming of Electricity

Modernisation begins to take effect on the town. When the question of whether or not Campbelltown should get electric lighting back in 1921, the town was almost split down the middle. Campbelltown Council held a referendum to gauge support. There were 80 votes in favour and 65 against. Many people were a bit afraid of this "new-fangled business". Three years later however, electricity was turned on for the first time, lighting up the town like a Christmas tree. The honour of flicking the switch fell to Mrs Hannaford- wife of Mayor Charles Hannaford. This occurred on the evening of 23 January 1924 at the power station in Cordeaux Street. An excited crowd of 1000 people gathered to look at the illumination of hotels and shops in Queen Street. The image below shows the Electricity Station in Cordeaux Street.

An old electricity station building
(Image sourced from Campbelltown and Airds Historical Society)

Campbelltown Golf Club Opening

Campbelltown Golf Club opened in 1928. The course occupied the site that is today Park Central and Market fair Shopping Centre.

Campbelltown Golf Club building at the opening event
(Image sourced from Gore Family collection)


Milby Private Hospital

Dr William Mawson purchased a medical practice in Campbelltown in 1910 and was the local doctor until 1931. He also purchased the old Kendall's Mill and miller's residence in 1923. The large mill building and stack were demolished, and the residence altered to become a cottage hospital, known as Milby Private Hospital. For many years it was the only hospital between Liverpool and Goulburn. Although primarily a maternity hospital, it also took other patients. Dr Mawson did much to advance the welfare of Campbelltown during his tenure here and he was very highly regarded for his contribution to the local community. In 1937 Mawson Park was named in honour of Dr. William Mawson in appreciation. The photograph below shows Fisher's Ghost Bridge in southern Queen Street, Campbelltown looking north with "Airds Cottage" on right and the 2-storey "Milby Cottage" in the centre.

A street view across to the private hospital
(Image sourced from Steve Roach Collection, Campbelltown City Library)

St Gregory's College

Badgally homestead, was in the 1920s donated to the Marist Brothers who, in 1926, opened a school for boys, calling it St Gregory's College. This original homestead still exists but it can't been seen, because it now forms the internal core of the present college, with large red brick extensions built surrounding it in 1940. This artwork is by Sandy Inglis. (Campbelltown Catholic Club).

A painting of Badgally Homestead historical building
(Image sourced from Campbelltown Catholic Club)

Hurley Park

Hurley Park in 1927, with a group of youngsters playing near the eroded banks of the old Campbelltown water supply, off Allman Street. The reservoir was drained in the 1950s as housing estates went in around it. The landscape changed radically when a playing field was excavated into the hill in the background in the 1960s.

Kids playing in Hurley park in 1920
(Image sourced from Walker Family Collection)

Georges River

Young people enjoying a swim on a sandy bank of the Georges River in the 1920s.

Old photograph of young people on the bank of a river
(Sourced from McGill Family Collection)

Macquarie Cinema, from 1926 to 1956 - The entertainment hub of Campbelltown

Queen Street, Campbelltown showing Campbelltown City Council administration building under construction with Mawson Park, Campbelltown Bowling Club, Macquarie Cinema, St. Peter's Anglican Church, Campbelltown Courthouse and "Club Hotel" in background. The Macquarie Cinema was built on the corner of Queen and Browne Street in 1926. Its first double feature was screened in August of that year with a Western and a movie appropriately called "When the Doors Open". The Cinema was built by local Doctor William Mawson largely from the sandstone bricks of the demolished Kendall's Mill. It was purpose-built with auditorium and stage, seating over 450 which rose to 700 with later improvements. At the height of its popularity the Macquarie Cinema showed a newsreel, travelogue, two feature films and sometimes a cartoon, totalling 3 hours of entertainment all for one and nine pence. The decline of the cinema began with the introduction of TV and in 1966 the cinema was sold to "Skatelands" and for a time it became a roller-skating rink run by local bicycle shop owner Jack Hepher. It was eventually demolished in 1979. More stories about Macquarie Cinema.

An old photograph of Queen street featuring Macquarie Cinema
(Image sourced from Geoff Eves Collection Campbelltown City Library)

Hurlstone Agricultural High School

Hurlstone HS was relocated from Ashfield to Glenfield in 1926 with around a 100 students including boarders. The long serving principal was George Longmuir who lead the school from 1917 to 1937.

Old photograph od Hurlstone school building

Old Hurlstone School Building

Old photograph of Hurlstone School buildings
(Image sourced from Glenn Radford, Hurlstone School )