1980s Our Campbelltown

Our Campbelltown 1980s


Barbara Romalis

During the 1960s the art scene in Campbelltown was thriving, with artists such as Arnold and Claire St Claire, Tom Bass, Joan Brassil, and Barbara Romalis. Barbara established an artists colony in Wedderburn and also advocated the need for an art gallery in NSW. In 1982 a gathering of prominent locals formed a task force to establish an art gallery. The original idea then led to the formation of the Friends of Campbelltown Art Gallery, headed by President Barbara Romalis and Vice President Fred Braat. In August 1983 the organisation, with the backing of many community members, submitted a formal proposal for the gallery. Five years later, on 1 December 1988, the Campbelltown Arts Centre—which was originally called Campbelltown Bicentennial Art Gallery—was finally opened.

Campbelltown City Bicentennial Art Gallery nearing completion- shown below.

Construction of the Art Gallery
(Image sourced from Robertson Collection, Campbelltown City Library)

Barbara Romalis

Portrait of local arts identity Barbara Romalis
(Image sourced from Macarthur Advertiser)

Shane Houston

Long time Macarthur resident Shane Houston, was the Chairman of the Tharawal Local Aboriginal Land Council. He stood for State Government in 1984 as an Independent Labor candidate. He was the first Australian Aboriginal to stand for State Government in NSW. Shane would go on to a distinguished career in the public sector, indigenous health services and academia.

Well known Aboriginal Man Shane Houston
(Image sourced from Macarthur Advertiser)

Cork Club

Local "Cork Club" members holding a fundraising/social barbecue in the 1980s - note long-time Campbelltown Mayor Gordon Fetterplace and Town Clerk Bruce McDonald - at the centre of things.

Cork Clun Fundraiser BBQ
(Sourced from Campbelltown Catholic Club Collection)

Marsden Brothers

Well-known Campbelltown solicitors, and brothers, Jim and John Marsden in the late 1980s.

Marsden Brothers
(Image sourced from Campbelltown-Macarthur Advertiser collection)

The Pollies and the Media

The federal MP for Werriwa, John Kerin (who was the Primary Industries Minister in the Hawke Government...being interviewed in the late 1980s by local reporter Jeff McGill.

Interview with John Kerin
(Image sourced from Jeff McGill Collection)


A Sister City for Campbelltown and the Opening of Koshigaya Park

Campbelltown signed a Sister City agreement with Koshigaya City in Japan on 11 April 1984. What began as an agreement developed into a more meaningful relationship, with a range of exchange programs and activities taking place over the years. The Sister City bond has evolved, giving residents of both cities a global perspective on cultural connections through the values of friendship, respect and harmony. To commemorate the beginning of the relationship, Koshigaya Park in Campbelltown and Campbelltown Park in Koshigaya were both constructed in 1984. In 1989, Koshigaya City donated a tea house which is now part of the beautiful Japanese Gardens in the Campbelltown Arts Centre. In return, Campbelltown City donated a number of native birds to Koshigaya when the Campbelltown Forest of Wildbirds was officially opened in 1995. This relationship has stood the test of time, beginning in 1984 and still going strong today.

From little things big things grow...the official opening of Koshigaya Park, then a still-bare playing field, in 1984. Pictured is Campbelltown Mayor Bryce Regan and Koshigaya Mayor Shinichiro Shimamura.

Unveilling of the opening plaque for Koshigaya Park
(Image sourced from Campbelltown Macarthur Advertiser)

The Japanese Teahouse under construction in the garden area at Campbelltown City Bicentennial Art Gallery.

Construction of the Japanese Gardens
(Image sourced form Campbelltown City Council Public Relations Collection)

Major roadworks make big changes for the new city

Before the bypass went through in the early 1980s Oxley Street was lined with houses instead of the car parks that dominate the western side of the bypass today. The Moore Oxley bypass became operational in November 1980. This was a second blow to shop keepers on Queen Street who had also had to contend with the opening of Macarthur Square. The bypass took through traffic trade away from the main street. Another casualty of the widening of the bypass was St David's Presbyterian Cemetery on the corner of Moore Street and Broughton Street which had a number of headstones moved to a different part of the cemetery to make way for the roadworks.

Headstones at St David's Presbyterian Cemetery during the widening of the Moore Oxley Bypass shown in the image below.

Graves to be moved due to road widening
(Image sourced from Fairfax Collection, Campbelltown City Library)

Australia wins the America's Cup

The year 1983 saw Australia win the America's Cup and with national pride at a high, the Cooper family of Bradbury had an "Australiana Party" to celebrate a family birthday. Some wonderful eighties colours here.

A home party, Australiana theme
(Image sourced from (Jackie Curran collection)

Opening of the Mount Annan Botanic Gardens

The traditional custodians of the land now occupied by the gardens were the Dharawal indigenous Australian people. Later, it became the Sedgwick dairy and the land was then acquired by the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust in 1984. The Garden was opened to the public in 1988 by the Duke and Duchess of York. The original name was Mount Annan Botanic Garden and the name was changed in 2011 to The Australian Botanic Garden, Mount Annan. An overwhelmingly popular destination for visitors and residents alike, the Gardens have been described as the "Jewel in Macarthur's crown".

Lake Sedgwick in Mount Annan Botanic Garden looking north from Caley Drive.

A view of Lake Sedgewick
(Image sourced from Stan Brabender Collection, Campbelltown City Library)

Andrew and Fergie in town…the Duke and Duchess of York opening Mount Annan Botanic Garden in 1988

Duke and Dushess of York
(Image sourced from Campbelltown-Macarthur Advertiser collection)

Community Rallies for Koalas

Community protest rallies in 1988, supported by Campbelltown Council, to save the Wedderburn koala colony from state-government backed development plans. The site of the colony is now Dharawal National Park and the koalas have spread through Campbelltown. Read more about what Campbelltown is doing to continue to protect our Koala Colonies.

Save the Koalas protest
(Image sourced from McGill Family collection)

The decade that Computers enter our classrooms

Youngsters at Raby's "Heathfield Public School" in the early 1980s. This school was only a temporary one for the new housing estate - and was located near the present Raby shopping centre. It was replaced by a permanent Robert Townson Public School in 1986.

Students working on computers in the classroom
(Image sourced from Campbelltown-Macarthur Advertiser collection)

Opening of UWS

In 1983, the Milperra College of Advanced Education was renamed Macarthur Institute of Higher Education. The Institute consisted of campuses at Milperra and a temporary campus at Campbelltown in the 'Maryfields' Monastery, leased from the Franciscan friars. The construction of a new Campus on 162 hectares of land to the north of the Campbelltown Regional Centre began in 1984. On 27 November 1987 the Campbelltown campus of the Macarthur Institute was officially opened by the Hon John Hawkins, Minister for Employment, Education & Training. The Macarthur Institute of Higher Education was dissolved by the University of Western Sydney (Amendment) Act, 1989 and the former Institute became the third network member of the University of Western Sydney and was gazetted as the University of Western Sydney, Macarthur Campus from 1 November 1989.

Construction of UWS
(Image sourced from Local Studies Collection, Campbelltown City Library)

Official opening of the UWS Macarthur campus in 1989...formerly known as the Macarthur Institute of Higher Education

Opening of UWS Macarthur
(Image sourced from Campbelltown-Macarthur Advertiser collection)

A massive growth period for education in the area

Campbelltown TAFE (College of Technical and Further Education) opened in 1981. An astounding amount of schools opened in the 80's including Macquarie Fields in '81, Sarah Redfern High School in ‘81, Eagle Vale in ‘84, Ambarvale High School in ‘84, and primary schools including Claymore in 1980, Thomas Acres in '82, Eschol Park in ‘85, Rosemeadow in ‘86, and The Grange in 1980.

Macarthur Institute of Higher Education, Narellan Road, Campbelltown during construction.

Site for Macarthur Tafe
(Image sourced from Campbelltown Macarthur Advertiser)

Fisher's Ghost Parade

Fishers Ghost parade in the late 1980s.

Float in the Fisher's Ghost Parade
(Image sourced from Campbelltown-Macarthur Advertiser collection)


Tharawal Land Council Area

On the 2nd February 1984, the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs gazetted the following, "PURSUANT to the power vested in me by section 5 (1) of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act, 1983, I hereby constitute the area outlined in the map below (see image) as the Tharawal Local Aboriginal Land Council Area." The objectives of the Land Council are to improve, protect and foster the best interests of all Aboriginal persons & culture within its boundaries.

Tharawal Land Council Map
(Image sourced from Government Gazette 2.2.1984)

Campbelltown Mall

Only three years after Macarthur Square was opened, Campbelltown was to have another shopping centre constructed. Bulldozers began their work in 1982 clearing land once owned by Fred Fisher for a double level complex. The Mall opened in July 1984.

Construction of Campbelltown Mall, looking south west shown below.

Construction of Campbelltown Mall
(Images sourced from Bancroft Collection, Campbelltown City Library)

The busy checkouts at Kmart, Campbelltown Mall in 1985

Kmart at Campbelltown Mall
(Image sourced from Fairfax Collection, Campbelltown City Library)

Hallinan Park

Dr Geoff Hallinan, who had retired after decades of being Ingleburn's first permanent GP, speaking at the official ceremony in 1982 of the opening of the park named in his honour. Hallinan Park is still the site of many local gatherings.

Dedication of a park to local doctor
(Image sourced from Catherine McGuire collection)

Orana Park

Young fans at Orana Park (today's Campbelltown Sports Ground) at Leumeah cheering on the Magpies when the rugby league team embraced Campbelltown in 1987.

Fans at a game
(Image sourced from Campbelltown-Macarthur Advertiser collection Local Studies Collection)

Bull Cave , Kentlyn

Local Aboriginal educator Gavan Andrews talking to a group of visitors at the famous Bull Cave in Kentlyn in the late 1980s.

The Bull cave at Kentlyn
(Image sourced from Jeff McGill collection)

Campbelltown Civic Centre

Bicentennial events were common in 1988, such as this ball at Campbelltown Civic Centre, with local historian Verlie Fowler officiating.

Debutante ball in the 1980s
(Image sourced from)

Ingleburn Weir

Young picnickers visiting Ingleburn Weir in 1987.

locals at Ingleburn Weir
(Image sourced from Jeff McGill Collection)

Dumaresq St Cinema

With fifty families moving into the area a week, Campbelltown Council saw the need for a new cinema, and after unsuccessfully trying to interest private backers decided to build it themselves. Using money from council's trading operations to avoid using funds from rate payers the council engaged the services of Centennial constructions and Harmar Theatres to build the twin cinema complex at Dumaresq Street. It was opened in October 1981 by Alderman Guy Thomas with Bill Collins in attendance at a screening of "Gallipoli" - on both screens.

Twin Cinemas
(Image sourced from Campbelltown- Macarthur Advertiser Collection)