Dictionary of Sydney

The Dictionary of Sydney was archived in 2021.


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Laughtondale is in the parish of Frederick and the shires of Hornsby and Gosford.

The original owners of the area were the Aboriginal people of the Dharug language group.

Located on the banks of the Hawkesbury, downstream from Wisemans Ferry, Laughtondale was named after the pioneer settler John Laughton, who arrived in the colony of New South Wales in 1835 as a crew member on the Stirling Castle. Fortunately for him, he absconded from the ship when it reached Sydney Harbour: the ship was later wrecked near Fraser Island. This incident and the story of one of the passengers, Eliza Fraser, were fictionalised in Patrick White's novel A Fringe of Leaves (1976).

John Laughton settled in the area in the 1840s, making a living from boatbuilding and orcharding.

Today, most of the farms have gone, and many of the houses are used for weekend holidays. There are now caravan parks catering for water skiers and fishermen close to Laughtondale.


John P Powell, Placenames of the Greater Hawkesbury Region, Southwood Press, Sydney, 2001, p 65