But Campbelltown itself was growing at a faster rate than ever seen. By 1924, four years after celebrating its centenary, electric power was available.
The Rudd estate, a huge area of land stretching from Chamberlain Street to Leumeah Station was subdivided in 1926 creating "farmlets" for orchard or poultry farming (see Leumeah). New thoroughfares were Rudd Road - after the family - and Thomas Street. Thomas Rudd, founder of the local family, had been transported as a convict for stealing a bag of sugar.
However, with the onslaught of the Great Depression and World War Two, development grinded to a halt. Campbelltown had seriously overestimated its potential. It wasn't until after the war ended in 1945 that optimism returned, as thousands of young soldiers returned home to marry.
A Campbelltown Chamber of Commerce was founded in 1949, and the following months saw the birth of the first of the famous St Elmo Estate. These would double the size of the township within just a decade, and set the foundations for the city of the future.
The mastermind behind the St Elmo dream was Neil McLean, After the war, he leased the historic St Elmo house(PDF, 217KB) at the top of Broughton Street, and ran his "Ronross Hatcheries" poultry business on the nearby hillsides. But in 1948, disease hit the entire stock and the fowls had to be destroyed.
Down, but not out, McLean turned his hand to real estate. Purchasing his leased property, he hired a surveyor/engineer, Wal Lewis, to design a new subdivision and supervise road construction. It was to become Campbelltown's first "prestige" housing estate.
When work began in 1949, residents were stunned at the lavishness. Located adjacent to Lindesay and Broughton Streets, it boasted large brick homes, kerbing and guttering and sweeping views.
The first road formed was Lilian Street, named after a relative of McLean's. But the estate itself was nicknamed "Snob's Hill" by local residents. McLean was disappointed at the poor sales. "Campbelltown was still regarded by many people as distant - in the sticks," he would later explain. So for his next estate, McLean aimed at an entirely different market - ex-diggers.
St Elmo Estate No 2 proved a godsend for returned soldiers seeking a cheap house and land to raise a family. Hundreds of newcomers were soon moving into fibro and weatherboard homes north of Snob's Hill.
Newly-formed streets were named after the family of the developer, including a McLean Road. His two children were noted by Rosalind Crescent and Ronald Street, while other family names were noted by Ruzac Street and Clark Crescent. An unusually-named Mereil Street was invented by joining the first names of Neil McLean and his wife, Merle.
McLean had wanted to expand his estate northwards into the scrubby "Warby Paddock", but the owner refused to sell. So in 1955, he opened new subdivisions south of Allman Street, which would be known at St Elmo Estate Nos 3, 4, 5 and 6. This land was on a part of the old property once held by William Bradbury, so the newly-built main road was given the title Bradbury Avenue.
This now forms the official boundary of Campbelltown and Bradbury and many of the St Elmo streets created are now regarded as part of Bradbury (which did not exist in 1950s).
Tiny Asher Place recalls an old family, with Charlie Asher being the Council's overseer of works in the 1920s. Hammond Place recalls early publican, Thomas Hammond, who built Campbelltown's original court house in 1826, while Meehan Place honours early surveyor James Meehan (see Macquarie Fields).
A major thoroughfare was planned to be "Worrall Road" - after George Worrall. But as this was the same man hanged for murdering Frederick Fisher (whose ghost is our town patron), it was rejected by a defensive Council. So the new name was Grandview Drive, highlighting the view across to the Scenic Hills. Geographic considerations were also used for High Street and Hilltop Crescent.
Farnsworth Avenue remembers the mayor of the day, Jack Farnsworth (1953-57), while Hannaford Street notes an earlier mayor, Charlie Hannaford (1919-25), who had owned a dairy farm in the area. But one of the properties being subdivided for housing was Austin Park, once owned by James Bocking - hence Austin Avenue. Percy Marlow, Mayor from 1926-30, 1939-46 and 1951-53, is remembered by Marlow Place, while Sheather Place was inspired by Frederick Sheather, town clerk for the marathon term of 1901-44.
Other smaller streets included Lachlan Place (the Christian name of the town's founder), Fisher Place, after the famous spectre, and Ruse Place after pioneering farmer, James Ruse. The origins of Radnor Place and Rogers Place are unclear, although several early settlers went by the name of Rogers.
By 1957, St Elmo was being so widely used as an address that the local newspaper had to curtly remind its readers they lived in Campbelltown.
Forming the eastern boundary of the St Elmo Estates was an old and rutted dirt track known as Wedderburn Road (due to its destination). But with the development of the new estates, the road was diverted, sealed and renamed St Johns Road.
It was so titled because it ran past St Johns Catholic Preparatory College for Boys, run by the Sisters of Good Samaritan. This facility later closed in 1969 and became the new home of St Patrick's Girls College. Nearby St Thomas More Primary School, founded in 1978, was named after the Catholic parish church at Ruse, which honours the Archbishop killed by Henry VIII for refusing to renounce the Pope's authority.