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Beverley Park is situated within the Kogarah local government area and is bounded by the Princes Highway, Rocky Point Road and Kogarah Bay. The original inhabitants of the area were members of the Aboriginal Gameygal (Kameygal) clan, part of the Dharug language group. They were known as the people of Kamay which was the Aboriginal word for Botany Bay.
The southern tip of Beverley Park runs into Kogarah Bay, a wetland haven for wildlife foraging and feeding amongst the mangroves and tidal waters. Beverley Park was low-lying and prone to flooding, and for many years it remained undeveloped, used mainly for market gardening.
Much of the area now making up Beverley Park was crown land or originally granted to Matthew Carroll, one of the first settlers to take up land in the Kogarah area.
The residential development of the area began during the Depression years of the 1930s. Funding for the project was granted in 1937 and the reclamation, drainage and subdivision were completed by the start of World War II.
A people's park
As early as 1887, Kogarah Municipal Council had raised the idea of developing an area of Kogarah Bay as a public park. However the proposal was rejected by the colonial government, which pleaded lack of funds.
In 1905 the issue was raised again in a different context. The local mayor, DJ O'Brien, proposed that a short cut was needed between Rocky Point Road at Ramsgate and Kogarah Road (Princes Highway). A council deputation went to the Minister for Public Works to urge the construction of a causeway across the head of the bay, pointing out that as well as providing a short cut, the causeway could be used to reclaim some 30 acres (12 hectares) of land for use as a park.
The work began in 1906, yet the dredging of Kogarah Bay to provide a means of reclaiming the swampy land above the causeway did not progress. Other attempts over the years were also doomed to failure until the 1930s. In 1935 the Local Government Act of 1906 was amended to help relieve unemployment and assist municipal councils to undertake water, sewerage and road works. It was in this context that the project finally began.
Kogarah Municipal Council decided to offer a £10 prize for the most suitable name for the new subdivision. From the entries, the aldermen chose the name of Glenroy, and at the same time, decided to name the streets of the subdivision after themselves. However, a rescission motion was signaled and at the next meeting it was decided to let each alderman propose one name and to draw the winner out of a hat. This time the name Bareena was chosen, and an argument broke out over who had won the prize and whether it should be split in two. The farce continued until the next meeting when a considerably altered shortlist was presented and from it, the name Beverley Park was chosen. Estelle Tucker of Kogarah submitted the name, but why she chose Beverley Park remains a mystery.
Beverley Park Golf Club and course
Another local mystery that remains unsolved was the decision to establish the Beverley Park Golf Club and course on land which, for more than quarter of a century, had been earmarked for a 66-acre (27-hectare) sporting complex. The first nine holes were officially opened on 14 June 1941 by the Member for Kogarah William Currey, and the second nine holes were opened in 1943.
With reclamation work complete, the land proposed for residential development was subdivided and put to auction. Kogarah Municipal Council was keen to ensure building standards in the area and they placed a covenant on the land. This required that all buildings had to be built with brick or stone, have roofs of either tile or slate (or other material approved by council), and cost a minimum of £750. No residential flats were permitted to be erected. The first auction on the Beverley Park Estate took place on 17 February 1940, when 159 lots were sold.
Beverley Park today
Today, Beverley Park remains essentially a residential area. Many of the houses in the area are single-storey bungalows although redevelopment is taking place and many of the early postwar cottages are now being extended or replaced.
In 1988, the National Trust of Australia (New South Wales) nominated part of Beverley Park as a conservation area for its value as a rare example of a 1930s subdivision composed predominantly of Californian bungalows and the quality of the streetscapes.
Beverley Earnshaw, The Land between Two Rivers: The St George District in Federation Times, Kogarah Historical Society, Kogarah NSW, 2001
J Fletcher (ed), River, Road and Rail: A History of Kogarah Municipality, Kogarah Municipal Council, Kogarah NSW, 1985
D Salt and L Freestone, From causeway to clubhouse: Beverley Park Golf Club Limited, 1941 to 1991 in commemoration of our first fifty years, the authors, Como West NSW, 1991
Kogarah Municipal Council, Guide to Localities in Kogarah LGA, Kogarah NSW, 1999
Kogarah Library Local Studies vertical file folders, Beverley Park