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Significant moments in Campbelltown's history

Macquarie Cinema fro 1926 to 1956 - The Entertainment hub of Campbelltown Queens Street from 1926 to 1956 the entertainment hub: Macquarie Cinema, Campbelltown Bowling Club, Mawson Park, St Peter's Anglican Church, Campbelltown Courthouse and 'Club Hotel' in background.


Year Significant Moment

Before European settlement, the Campbelltown region was occupied by the Dharawal tribe. They ranged widely from La Perouse in the north to near Ulladulla in the south but especially Picton and along the Georges River, which provided a great source of food, water and shelter.


Two bulls and four cows wander from the new colony in Sydney Cove and make their way across the Cook and Nepean Rivers. Some aboriginal cave paintings depict these animals.


The small herd of cattle now numbering in the hundreds (estimates vary) are officially found by Governor Hunter in the area and he names the area Cowpastures.


Year Significant Moment

John Warby is appointed Government Herdsman. He lives in "Cowpasture hut" which stood near Elderslie, on the bank of the Nepean River.


On instructions from Lord Camden, John Macarthur is granted 5000 acres of land in order to breed fine-wool sheep to export back to British factories. He chooses the Cowpastures site.

  • Governor Lachlan Macquarie founds Campbell Town naming it after Mrs Elizabeth Macquarie (nee Campbell). Its limits are marked out as well as the sites for a church cemetery and school.
  • During this decade, James Ruse experiments in the area with wheat crops.

St Peter's Church(379KB, PDF) opens. The only other buildings in the township are a few bark huts and a school house. 


Hume and Hovell set out for Port Phillip

  • John Macarthur exports wool from nearby Camden.1826 George Frederick James Fisher found murdered in Local creek bed.
  • Mail service to Campbelltown begins.
  • Private buildings begin to appear between Allman and Broughton Streets.

The Fisher's Ghost legend began in 1826 with the disappearance of our local farmer Fred Fisher.

1827  George Worrall hanged for Frederick Fisher's Murder.
  • First Post Office opened.
  • First Doctor takes residence.
  • First Superintendent of Local Police appointed.
  • 1829 Campbelltown to Bong Bong coach service commenced.

1830s saw the establishment of Campbelltown's first water supply, the Hurley Park reservoir and water tanks(255KB, PDF).

  • Water reservoir built at the upper end of Dumaresq Street. An 'iron gang' was sent for the purpose under the command of Captain Allman.
  • 1834 John Macarthur, agricultural pioneer, dies.
  • 1835 First story of Fisher's Ghost published.
  • Camden Park House completed.

The windmill at the Mt Gilead property on Appin Road was built by Thomas Rose in 1836. 

  • James Ruse, producer of rust free wheat, dies.
  • 1838 Sydney - Liverpool - Campbelltown - Appin service commenced.
  •  St John's Church opened.
  • There are now 77 houses in a town of 16 streets.
  • Glenalvon House is built by Michael Byrne.
  • Opening of Campbelltown court of petty sessions.
  • 1848 Population: 541.

Well known convict, explorer and pioneer John Warby dies.


Two-thirds of the adult population can read and write.


Railway line to Sydney begins service.


Campbelltown railway station opened.


Population: 938.

  • Railway line continued to Picton
  • The Menangle rail bridge(216KB, PDF) constructed in 1863 is the oldest surviving bridge on the State Rail system and is of higher significance in the development of railway technology in the State.

Rust hits wheat crops.

  • Population: 950.
  • There are 17 hotels now in Campbelltown.
1874  The Commercial Bank of Sydney(204KB, PDF) (CBC Bank) our first bank is established.

Dairying begins at Mount Gilead.

1876  The first Campbelltown Public School opens situated in a paddock bounded by Lithgow, Lindesay and Dumaresq Streets, supported by John Kidd MP . Education had previously been borne by churches and small private academies.

A Public meeting seeks to form a local council.

  • Population 688.
  • 22 acres of land on Badgally Road were established as a State Nursery to supply, free of charge, trees, shrubs and seedlings to various institutions around the state.

First public library.


There was a major train crash at Campbelltown on 11 September 1884. A goods train was derailed as a result of a collision between two locomotives. 


Campbelltown Courthouse erected. 


Campbelltown connected to Nepean River Water supply.


Fire station established, with 10 volunteers equipped with a manual hose reel and 1000 feet of hose.


Ingleburn Municipal Council formed. The first Mayor of Ingleburn was Samuel George Barff.

  • Agricultural society is formed and put on 'The Campbelltown Show' on March 16 and 17.
  • 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.


Year  Significant Moment
1900  Rose Payten wins the New South Wales singles tennis championship.
1901  Population 3000.
1905  School of Arts is opened. 
1911  Population 1925.
1913  The telephone exchange opens.
1914 Menangle Park Racecourse officially opened, although racing had taken place there as early as the 1870s.
1915 There are 50 subscribers with a telephone between Menangle and Minto.
1918 Soldier settlement is commenced.
1919 Campbelltown Herald changes it's name to the Campbelltown News.
1920 We celebrated Campbelltown's centenary.
1921  Population: 2345.
1924 Campbelltown connected to electricity: opened by Mayoress, Mrs C.N. Hannaford on the evening of 23 January 1924.
1926  A picture theatre is built.
1928  Campbelltown golf club is formed.
1931  Talking Pictures arrive at the Macquarie cinema.
1936  An overbridge is built over Queen Street.
  • Campbelltown Council starts the first sewerage scheme.
  • Ingleburn Weir is constructed between 6 March 1939 and 22 January 1940. The weir was constructed by local Fred Goodsell.

Campbelltown Pre-School Kindergarten established.

1947  Population: 6995.
1948  Ingleburn and Campbelltown Municipal councils are amalgamated.
1949 A Campbelltown Chamber of Commerce was founded.
1950  Veterinary Laboratory established at Glenfield.
1953  The 'Campbelltown News' becomes 'the Campbelltown Ingleburn News'.
  • Population: 9690.
  • Nepean River County Council electricity Authority formed to serve the area.
  • The first Council naturalisation ceremony held.
  • Campbelltown High School established.
1956  The first Fisher's Ghost festival is held.
  • Proposal for the satellite town of Minto dropped by the NSW Government.
  • Campbelltown golf course opened.
  •  The historic cottages in Queen Street are preserved by a resolution of Campbelltown Council.
  • The Campbelltown News office (Now Macarthur Advertiser) building is restored to the Georgian style.
1960  Campbelltown Ambulance Station is opened thanks to monies raised by the first four Fisher's Ghost Festivals.
  • Kath Whitten is elected as Campbelltown's first female mayor.
  • Population 18701.
  • New Fire Station built in Broughton Street.
  • Camden Railway closed.
1963  Population 24000.
1964 Building our first high rise, the administration centre opened on Saturday 28 November 1964. It was easily the highest building in the town and was seen kilometres around Campbelltown. Mayor Fraser at the time called it "a symbol of our faith in the future".
  • Campbelltown is declared a city.
  • The railway to Sydney is electrified.
  • 1970 Our 150th anniversary is celebrated.
  • The historic building of Glenalvon is renovated.
  • The Campbelltown New City Development board is formed by the State Planning Authority to draw up the "Three cities Plan (Campbelltown-Camden-Appin)".
1971  New City Library opened.
1972  Three Cities plan released.
  • The first of a number of large scale housing commission projects are built. The first is at Macquarie Fields. It is developed kilometres away from rail and has little infrastructure.
  • Second Olympic Pool at Macquarie Fields.
  • Freeway opens: the first 9.8km long section of the F5 from The Cross Roads to Raby Road was opened to traffic on 26 October 1973.
  • Four man delegation visits Commonwealth Games in Christchurch, New Zealand to observe and plan a possible submission from Campbelltown to host in either 1982 or 1986.
  • Population est: 43000
  • Campbelltown City Rugby League Club officially opened.
  • Glenquarie Shopping Centre opens.
  • First Fisher's Ghost Fun Run held on Sunday 2 November, 1975.
1976  The Macarthur Growth Centre budget is cut to $2 million, reputedly cut from an earmarked $41 million. According to the government of the day this was to return Campbelltown to a "natural growth".
1977  Campbelltown Hospital officially opened by Premier Neville Wran on 1 October 1977.
1978  The 2CT Macarthur radio station opens.
  • Fourteen men killed in the Appin mine disaster.
  • Macarthur Square officially opens on Monday 10 September 1979.
  • Hurlstone Agricultural High School accepts female students.
1980  The intersection of Queen Street and Lithgow is paved.
  •  Twin Cinema opens.
  • Campbelltown College of Technical and Further Education (TAFE) opens.
  • The Newtown Jets play out of Orana Park , Campbelltown but last only one season before being cut from the premiership.
  • Blairmount Public School opens.
  • Campbelltown Mall opens.
  • Queen Street, between the historical Georgian buildings and the mall is closed to traffic.
  • April, Campbelltown becomes a sister city to the Japanese city of Koshigaya and established Koshigaya Park.
  • Campbelltown Hospital's Maternity unit opens.
  • The suburb Glen Alpine is launched by Lend Lease.
  • Western Suburbs Magpies make their home ground at Orana Park in Leumeah.
  • Former long standing Town Clerk Harley Daley dies.
  • Campbelltown Bicentennial Art Gallery Opens.
  • Mount Annan Botanic Garden opens.
1989  The Macarthur Institute of Higher education becomes the University of Western Sydney.
  • The Greater Union 9 cinema complex is opened at Macarthur Square.
  • July 1990, Premier Nick Greiner officially opens Bow Bowing Estate, established by Long Homes and planned to incorporate 350 homes.
  • Macarthur Floods: 300mm of rain in 48 hours.
  • Local MP John Kerrin appointed federal treasurer.
  • Scenic Hills given boundary to protect it from development (Scenic Protection Zone).
  • Retirement of former mayor Gordon Fetterplace.

O'Hare's Creek declared a reserve.

  • Koala habitat successfully saved from developers.
  • Catholic Cemetery vandalised. Headstones of James and Elizabeth Ruse moved to Campbelltown and Airds Historical Society.
1995  Former Miss Spirit of Campbelltown Caroline Byrne murdered.
  • Population est: 143,773
  • Trial of suspected Backpacker murderer Ivan Milat begins at Campbelltown and lasts 15 weeks.


Year  Significant Moment
2000  Olympic torch relay passes through Campbelltown.
  • Population est: 145,860.
  • Policeman Jim Affleck killed on Hume Highway whilst on traffic duty.
2003  Park Central development begins.
  • Macquarie Fields riots.
  • Wests Tigers win the NRL premiership.
  • Population est: 146,538.
  • Lawyer, John Marsden dies.
  • Former mayor Gordon Fetterplace dies.
  • Local philanthropist, Ron Moore dies.
  • A newly constructed Menangle Park raceway is opened with a 1400 metre circuit - the longest in Australia.
  • Rosemeadow riots.
  • The new Ingleburn Library and Community Centre opens.
2010 Menangle Park Raceway (TABCORP Park) becomes a premier NSW Harness racing centre when Harold park closes.
  • Population: 151,173
  • Former mayor, Greg Percival dies. First elected to Campbelltown Council in 1956 he became mayor 1960-61.
2012  Dharawal National Park declared.

Coal seam gas mining banned in Campbelltown State Government.


Construction begins on Narellan Road Upgrade Stage 1 2014.

  • Local Historian Stella Vernon dies.
  • Population est: 158,941
  • Lindy Deitz becomes the first female General Manager of Campbelltown City Council.
  • $240 million redevelopment of Macarthur Square announced.
  • The Kangaroo March re-enactment completes its journey from Wagga Wagga to Campbelltown.
  • Population est: 160,041
  • Former Mayor, Bryce Regan, instrumental in forging our sister city relationship with Koshigaya, dies.
  • Publication of Anzacs of Macarthur : the men and women who served in the First World War by L.E. Hokin.
  • Campbelltown 2020 recognises 200 years since Campbelltown was declared a township by Lachlan Macquarie and the more than 60,000 years of Aboriginal history in the area.
  • A time capsule was buried during a ceremony on Tuesday 1 December in honour of the official 200 year anniversary of the declaration of Campbelltown and will be opened in the community in 100 years.
  • The Campbelltown 2020 Yarning Circle officially opened in Koshigaya Park on Wednesday 16 December 2020 featuring a series of artworks and carvings depicting the lyrebird.  Other features includes a series of sandstone rocks, bush tucker tree plantings and messaging in Dharawal language.


Time line of Macarthur District by T. Robinson, Leumeah High School 1979.
Notes on the History of the Macarthur Growth Centre Area - Macarthur development board in conjunction with the Campbelltown and Airds Historical Society. 1978
Campbelltown a Bicentennial History by Carol Liston. 1988.
Campbelltown a modern history 1960 -1999 by Jeff McGill 1999.

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