Smeaton Grange

2008
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Smeaton Grange

Smeaton Grange is a suburb located in the Camden local government area in the southwest of Sydney, and is bounded by Narellan, Mount Annan, Currans Hill, Catherine Field and Harrington Park. Before European settlement, it was the land of the Tharawal and Gundungurra peoples.

The 2001 census recorded that this area did not have any population as at this time it comprised mainly a recently developed (1990s and 2000s) industrial estate and business park, and a Catholic high school complex.

The most significant heritage item in this suburb is the property which gave the suburb its name. The property later known as Smeaton Grange was originally called Narralling Grange and was a land grant of 283 hectares (700 acres) by Governor Macquarie to Captain William Hovell in 1816. 'Smeeton' was an adjoining parcel of land granted to Charles Throsby who was an early settler and town leader in Campbelltown. Both of these landholdings were purchased by James Fitzpatrick who had come to Australia as a convict in 1822 and who worked as a servant of Hamilton Hume. Fitzpatrick accompanied Hume and Hovell on their famous 1824 expedition to Port Phillip Bay, and later became a prosperous farmer.

When Fitzpatrick died, his three children inherited his land. His daughter Elizabeth married Edward Sedgewick and built the present house in 1894. Over time, the spelling changed from 'Smeeton' to 'Smeaton'.

On the property, they first grew wheat, and when rust developed, moved into sheep farming. Their son, Ted, born at Smeaton in 1896, served during World War I before returning in 1919 to carry on dairy farming at the property. The name of Sedgewick was associated with the property until well into the twentieth century.

During World War II, the house was used as a residence for army officers and in the early 1950s it was leased as a residence by Dick and Lorna Inglis (of a well-known local family of auctioneers).

The Catholic Church acquired the property in the early 1960s and the Patrician Brothers Order used it as a religious house, retreat centre and novitiate until it was developed as part of Magdalene High School in 2000. The famous novelist Morris West, then a priest, visited the house in May 1963 for the opening of the Narellan novitiate.

In the early 1990s, the area of land north of the house was zoned industrial by Camden Council in an effort to attract business into the area. The advantages of the locality were advertised as being improved transport access to the airport, a southerly highway to Melbourne as a result of the M5 motorway, access to a workforce who lived locally, and conversely, local employment.

In 2003 there was a proposal to build an aluminium extrusion plant at Smeaton Grange. In an attempt to protect the semi-rural lifestyle of the area, the local community ran a successful campaign against the proposal.

The new industrial estate has been able to attract a wide range of business both large and small. The Coles distribution centre, built in 1999, is a building with one of the biggest floor areas in New South Wales.

References

'The Fitzpatrick and Sedgwick families of Campbelltown', Ivor G Thomas Memorial lecture, 31 July 1992, Campbelltown and Airds Historical Society Inc.

John Wrigley, various articles, The District Reporter, Camden, New South Wales

Alan EJ Andrews (ed), Hume and Hovell 1824, Blubber Head Press, Hobart, 1981

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