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1910s Our Campbelltown



Dora Ohlfsen-Bagge

Adela Dora Ohlfsen was a member of a very musical family from Minto, where her father, Christian Ohlfsen-Bagge managed a poultry farm. She travelled widely, studying and teaching music and art in Germany, Russia and Italy. Whilst studying engraving in Italy, the war broke out so she signed up to the Red Cross as a nurse. She worked tirelessly throughout the war, and witnessed the devastating toll that the war had on the civilian population. In 1919 she developed the 'ANZAC Medal' which was sold to raise funds to support Australian and New Zealand troops. The front of the medal depicts a young woman, who represents Australia, bending over a young man to place a laurel wreath on his head; the back, showing an Anzac soldier with a rifle, bears the inscription "Anzac. In Eternal Remembrance. 1914–18". After the war ended, Dora continued on with her artistic and musical pursuits until her death in 1948. Ohlfsen Road Minto is named for the Ohlfsen-Bagge family.

Below is a portrait of Dora Ohlfsen.

A portrait of a lady, Dora Ohlfsen

( Image sourced from Italian Magazine " Rivista di Roma” 1908 )

The Anzac medal designed by Dora Ohlfsen.

A bronze medal showing a woman and an injured soldier

( Image sourced from Museums Victoria)

Edith Hagen

Edith Hagan of the Kent Farms (modern Kentlyn) during World War 1. Her brothers were fighting overseas when this photograph was taken.

 A formal looking photograph of a young lady in 1910

(Sourced from Henson Family Collection )

The Vardy Family 

The Vardy family at Ivy Cottage, Allman Street. The cottage became home to the Vardy family some time around the early 1900s. It's unclear exactly when they moved in. There were 12 members of the Vardy family with Michael and Mary the parents. Michael and Mary lived at the cottage for some time before 1877. When Michael's father died he inherited Springfields at Menangle. They lived there for a while before returning to live at Ivy Cottage upon his retirement. Check out more information about Ivy Cottage and the Vardy Family.

A family portrait in fromt of a horse and cart

(Sourced from Tess Holm Collection )

Lighthorseman Ray Dredge

Lighthorseman Ray Dredge. His old home in Queen Street survives as Dredge’s Cottage(203KB, PDF) Veterans’ Recreation Centre. Ray served with the 7th Light Horse, in support of the famous Charge of Beersheba in 1917. A Turkish bullet hit him but struck a souvenir from Egypt in his pack, saving his life.

A portrait of a lighthorseman soldier

(Image sourced from Dredge Family Collection)

Charlie Dench of Campbelltown

Charlie Dench of Campbelltown survived three years of trench warfare and returned home with his English war bride, Florence Whybrow, to become a well-known butcher in Ingleburn.

A wedding potrait of a soldier anf his bride

(Image sourced from Dench Family Collection)

Jack Farnsworth

Jack Farnsworth of Menangle Park, a fettler, with his mates and a locomotive. Jack many years later became Mayor of Campbelltown from 1952 to 1956.  Jack was a working class man, well-liked and known for his creation of the Fisher's Ghost Festival

An old sepia photograph of a steam train and the work men around it

(Image sourced from Farnsworth Family Collection)

Sister McRae

Sister Elizabeth McRae (at front) who worked as a private nurse in Campbelltown – she lived on the “Ben Lomond” farm at Minto. She served with distinction as a surgical nurse immediately behind the front line in World War 1.

A portrait of two young Nurses in their uniform

The Nash Family

A lovely photograph taken of the local Nash family and friends at their “Merriwe” farm at Leumeah.

An old sepia photograph of a large group of fmaily and friends

(Image sourced from Nash Family Collection)


World War 1 (WW1)

The declaration of war on Germany by Britain in 1914 saw a stream of young Campbelltown men enlisting. At home, patriotic events, fund raisers and working bees raised money and made items for the boys at the front. News of the loss of local boys was taken hard, with around 300 deaths, and many more wounded. Mayor Fred Moore said “Campbelltown has given almost as many men as it is possible to give”. Campbelltown nurses also served with honour during the war, working in hospitals, on hospital ships and trains, or in casualty clearing stations closer to the front line. Campbelltown supported the war effort from home and through enlistments, the community wanted to help their own where they could. For more information and stories about Campbelltown's contribution to the war effort go to The History Buff Blog.

The photograph below is a group of people in Campbelltown collecting comforts for soldiers serving overseas during the Great War.

Old photograph of people helping out at a fundraising event for soldiers  

(Image sourced from Hansen Collection, Campbelltown City Library)

Many local soldiers lost their lives in WW1. One young local soldier Walter Hagan was killed in action on 12th October 1917 at Passchendaele Ridge. His name is recorded on the Menin Gate Memorial in Belgium.

A portrait of a young soldier sitting in a chair

(Sourced from Henson Collection, Campbelltown City Library )


Light Horse encampment at Menangle Park

Breaking horses at the Light Horse encampment at Menangle Park. The Light Horse Camp was a military facility based on the Menangle Park Racecourse during World War One.

 A man breaking in a horse at Menangle in 1916

(Image sourced from Nash Family Collection )

Menangle Racecourse

A race meeting at Menangle Park Racecourse (later called Menangle Park Paceway), Menangle Park in 1916 is shown in the photograph below. Attendees would have seen a young pre-Phar Lap Jim Pike ride a winner that day. Menangle Park Racecourse was officially opened on August 6th, 1914, although racing had taken place there as early as the 1870s. A training camp was set up for the Light Horse and the Camel Corps at North Menangle in 1961 near the racecourse. Racing always an important part of the early fabric of the town. The beautiful architect designed Menangle Park Racecourse was said to be “the most up to date track in the State”. The photograph shows crowds in the St Leger Stand.

Crowds in the stands watching a race

(Image sourced from Campbelltown City Library Local Studies Collection )

The Soldier's Settlement - Waminda

The rehabilitation of returned servicemen posed enormous problems. Many returned with the strong hope of settling on the land. The Soldiers Settlement scheme was financed by the Commonwealth and controlled by the States, who were to obtain the necessary land. The settlers were given money for equipment, but had to pay this back plus the purchase price of the land, plus interest. At Campbelltown, the dairy farming estate known as “Cransley”, was purchased by the government, and cut into 36 poultry farms and two administration blocks. The principal thoroughfare was appropriately named Waminda Avenue – ‘Waminda’ meaning comrade. The soldiers and their families began to move into their farms in about June 1919. The initial years were hard. Although the men were “triers” during the Depression years many farmers were forced to give up their holdings or take up other jobs and run their farms as a sideline. A few were successful despite the odds, and in fact continued to flourish as poultry farms up until the land was released for residential development in 1959. In 1960, the Campbelltown Ingleburn News headlined “The end of an era”, with the closing down of the last poultry farm in the Soldiers’ Settlement.

Farm land with small cottages scattered across it

( Image sourced from Campbelltown City Library- Local Studies Collection )


Women picking crops at “Riverside” farm on the modern site of Airds.

old photograph of women picking crops in a field

(Image sourced from Egelton Family Collection )

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