Dictionary of Sydney

The Dictionary of Sydney was archived in 2021.


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Fiddletown, an area whose original inhabitants were Dharug-speaking people, is in the local government area of Hornsby and lies between Arcadia and the Marramarra National Park in the parish of North Colah. It is still predominantly rural.

Fiddletown is a name that was started as a joke by Francis Waddell. In the 1890s, three young men – the brothers Horace and Frederick Henstock and William J Small – searching for arable land, found some deep soil amongst the shallow Hawkesbury sandstone. They were the first landowners in the area. To meet the residential conditions for acquiring the land, they were obliged to spend at least one night a week on their property. Horace and William usually spent Saturday nights in the huts they had erected on their allotments. To while away the long nights, they procured violins and took lessons from a local violin teacher in Galston, and later played at parties and dances. So persistent were they that one of the Arcadia residents laughingly referred to the area where they had selected their land as 'Fiddletown', and the name persisted.

Horace Henstock and William Small stayed and developed their properties, but Frederick Henstock left to serve in Brabant's Horse troop during the Boer War.

There is only one school in Fiddletown, the Northolm Grammar School, which was opened in 1982.

In 2003, the postal authority tried to convince residents in the locality of Fiddletown that they should have a separate postcode and identifying name, that is Fiddletown, to distinguish them from the surrounding area of Arcadia.

The Geographic Names Board sought public comment in May 2003 on the proposal to amend the boundary between Arcadia and Fiddletown, increasing the extent of the suburb of Arcadia to include Fiddletown, but retaining the name Fiddletown as an 'unbounded feature with the designation rural place'. [1]


[1] Hornsby Library Local Studies Section, vertical files