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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

History Conference - Colonial Society and Beyond

Blue Mountains Association of Cultural Heritage Organisations Inc. (BMACHO)
will hold its inaugural history conference "Colonial Society and Beyond" at the Carrington Hotel Katoomba Saturday20th October 2012.
Official Opening; Professor Ian Jack
Speakers: Paul Ashton - (Public History UNSW)
                 Glynis Jones - Textile and costume archivist Powerhouse Museum
                 Silas Clifford-Smith - Historian and horticulturist
                 Jill Roe - Academic and author
                 Paul Innes - Carrington Hotel Historian
                 Musical interlude provided by Jim Low
Registration: $45 (early bird until 20th August)
                      $50 thereafter
Registration  includes morning and afternoon tea and lunch in Grand Dining Room

Thursday, August 2, 2012

World War One Monuments - Harold Kenneth Campbell Monument

Harold Kenneth Campbell, aged 19 years and 5 months, enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force on 29th June 1915.  His parents gave their written consent saying he had “been raised to fight for his King & Country”.  His father, James Spink Campbell, of “Beverley”, Blaxland, was named as next of kin.  Harold’s occupation was poultry farmer and James was a civil servant.

Harold fought at Pozieres as a Private in the 3rd Battalion, sustained gunshot wounds to his knee and leg and died as a result of his wounds in the General Hospital, Rouen, on 2nd August 1916.  He is buried at St Sever Cemetery, Rouen.

On 22nd October the Blaxland Progress Association requested permission to erect a Soldier’s Memorial at the intersection of Railway Parade and Station Street, Blaxland (that is on the north side of the Railway Station) opposite the station in full view of passengers in passing trains.  Permission was granted.  It was to be a stone or granite pedestal with a machine gun mounted on top.  The monument was unveiled in 1925 with about 200 people assembled. Councillor Wilson made a speech in which he said that it would “stand for ever as a beacon for the boys of the future to do their duty as the fallen hero had done his”.  The machine gun was one of a number of German guns seized in France.  The monument was unveiled by Major General Sir Charles Rosenthal, a local highly decorated soldier.  Councillor Wilson took the opportunity to collect donations to finish paying for the cost of the memorial.

In 1926 the Great Western Highway on the south side of the railway station was proclaimed as a Main Road and superseded Mitchell’s Pass as the main western road.  It was decided to move the monument to Blaxland Park, a small park opposite Blaxland Public School and between the Highway and the Railway line.  In 2001 the Blue Mountains City Council requested and received permission from the Minister for Land and Water Conservation to rename the park the Blaxland War Memorial Park.  Barbara Higginson had lobbied for this renaming and had been supported by the Blaxland and District Chamber of Commerce & Industry Inc. who commented:
“The war memorial is a significant part of the history of Blaxland and the Chamber of Commerce are mindful of the importance of the memorial and the park to the township and the residents.”

In the 1980s when the Highway was widened the monument was again moved and is now stranded on a narrow strip of land between the overhead bridge on Wilson Way and the Highway where it is difficult if not impossible to access.  The park is also difficult if not impossible to access.

Over the years the plaque(s) and the gun on the monument have disappeared and the Blaxland – Glenbrook RSL Sub Branch who have assumed a de facto ownership of it have, with the help of the Blue Mountains City Council, organised restoration and refurbishment, replacing the plaque and repairing the little fence at the base.

Springwood Historians have considered the possibility of moving the memorial to Glenbrook and make the following recommendations:
      a move to a more accessible site would be desirable. 
    the move should be to another site in Blaxland as the monument is an important part of Blaxland history. An excellent position would be the Blaxland Mall which would provide easy access and space for holding memorial ceremonies
     a move to Glenbrook should not be made without consulting:
a.       any surviving family by advertising in the press
b.      the Blaxland Chamber of Commerce
c.       the general Blaxland community

We thought it was quite unusual for a World War I memorial to be erected for a single fallen soldier.  Honour Boards and Monuments in the Blue Mountains were erected in memory of numbers of men (and a few women).  Perhaps Harold was the only Blaxland man who enlisted.  Four other men, born in Blaxland, were located in the World War I Nominal Roll; two enlisting in Cootamundra, one in Lithgow and one in Sydney, but nothing further is known about them.   Blaxland was a very small township and Harold would have been quite well known locally.  His parents, James and Edith, and sister, Edith, lived in a house called “Beverley” which was situated where the Blaxland Arcade now is.  The house was named after James’ family home or rather property in Boorowa, NSW.

James and Edith were active community and Church workers.  James was treasurer of the Urban Area and Progress Association for many years and he and Edith were strong supporters of St Davids Church of England in Taringha Street.  They donated the block of land on which the Church Hall was built and they set up a Memorial to their son in the Church.  Unfortunately the church was destroyed in the 1968 bushfires.
James could claim a very interesting and prestigious pedigree.  His maternal grandfather was Rowland Hassall, an early colonial preacher and farmer.  His paternal great great grandfather, William Campbell, was a colourful sea captain who owned a ship called the “Harrington”.  He had trade connections with John Macarthur and settled in Australia after receiving a land grant of 2000 acres near Camden.  He named his property, “Harrington Park", and there is now a suburb with this name.  The homestead still stands and is being restored.  The Fairfax family are thought to have been the last private owners.

The Hassall and Campbell family members married into other well known colonial families including the Antills (Captain Henry Antill was Governor Macquarie’s ADC) of “Jarvisfield”, Picton. They also frequently married cousins so their family tree is scattered with the Campbell and Hassall surname.

James Spink Campbell was married twice, first to Gertrude Williams of Yass.  She gave birth to a son, William Douglas Adye Campbell in 1883 and died in the same year.  James married Edith Deacon at Ashfield in 1894 and they had two children – Harold and Edith.  Edith married John Back and they lived in Sydney for a time before moving back to live in “Beverley” in Blaxland in 1942.  They had three children, Josephine, Kenneth and Shirley. Kenneth became Vice Chancellor of James Cook University in Townsville.  He married Patricia Cummings, daughter of Regner Olaf Cummings, who was a noted tennis player during the Hopman era.  They currently reside in Queensland (see attached note).  After serving with the military forces in World War II, Josephine married Francis Clement Murray.  Shirley married veterinary surgeon Marcus Richard Edward Durand.

In the Hassall family tree on James’ second marriage and children are not recorded.  William, the son of his first marriage, is noted as the family historian.  He died in 1966.  Does this indicate a family disapproval of the second marriage?  We don’t know.

With his privileged family background and his position in the tiny Blaxland community he would have been well known and respected and his loss of a son would have been felt by all – hence the erection of a community memorial.

Report by Pamela Smith and Shirley Evans

Since this report was produced new information has come to hand.  Information was supplied by Davina Curnow, Beryl Madden and Doug Knowles from a meeting of the Glenbrook and District Historical Society meeting in June, when these points were discussed and agreed upon.
 * the monument was located on the south side of the railway station, which, at that time, was the central location of the small village.

* The monument has not been moved since it was relocated to Blaxland Park.  What has changed is the re-alignment of the Wilson Way overbridge to form the present-day intersection.  The Wilson Way Overbridge and the 1926 GWH originally intersected in line with Bridge Road, Blaxland and this intersection was distinguished by having a large Turpentine tree strategically and centrally placed to act as a "Silent Cop."  In the 1980s the overbridge was realigned to its present location which effectively alienated the monument with the greater section of the park.

* Until about 1958, the original fence was intact.  It was of 1" x 1" steel posts: 6 of them, all 3' high, with a 3/8" diameter link chain through a ring on top of each post.
* The chain was stolen about the time that safety chains on trailers were made compulsory.  Scrap-metal collectors then stole the posts and the bronze plaques.  The end ones were a  bas-relief style laurel wreath.
The original name plaque was, of course, the full size of the recess in the sandstone  monument.





Medical Practitioners - Dr J. Boyce Mugliston

 Dr Mugliston was a member of the Royal College of Surgeons (England) and had been locum tenens for Dr Spark in Katoomba. In November 1895 it was announced that he was coming to live in Greenheys where he would begin to practise and would dispense his own medicine. By December he and his family had arrived and he was ready to begin. Horse and buggy accidents soon gave him opportunities to show his skills. In 1898 the Muglistons moved out of Greenheys and into Edmundville.

Dr Mugliston was a community minded citizen and became one of the Vice Presidents of the Cricket Club in 1897. Unfortunately, he found the Springwood community too healthy and went to Cargo near Orange in 1898 with the idea of relocating there, leaving his family temporarily in Springwood. He only stayed a few days, as he did not like Cargo. He threw himself into the recreational life of the town, participating in debates and entertainments. He debated ‘Republicanism versus the Monarchy’ with Martin Olsen, being himself in favour of the monarchy. He and Olsen often found themselves on opposite sides of a debate. He also organised a burlesque from Dickens’ Pickwick Papers in which he took the part of the judge, Justice Starleigh. In 1899 he was elected to the committees of the Debating Club and the Social Club, and later in the year he was elected President of the Debating Club. When the two clubs amalgamated he was made President of the new club.

He was always happy to take the chair at meetings and functions and chaired a banquet at the Oriental Hotel given for Mr S.E. Lees, the local member. Martin Olsen was present at this function too and spoke a few eulogistic words in favour of Dr Mugliston, who did not know what he had done to deserve all the nice things Olsen said about him. He felt it must have been because Olsen was a foreigner, and hence given to flattery. He also said that he was always willing to assist in anything that would tend to the progress of the town.

In July 1901, he finally had to accept that there was not enough sickness in Springwood to support a doctor and announced he was leaving the district. In December he returned for a presentation at the Royal Hotel where he received an address and a handsome present of plateware. He had been practising at Neutral Bay.

Shirley Evans
The Blue Mountains Association of Cultural Heritage Organisations will hold its inaugural history conference "Colonial Society & Beyond" 20th October, 2012 at the Carrington Hotel Katoomba. Speakers will present papers on topics like public history, textiles and fashion, gardens etc. Strictly limited bookings. Contact  

Medical Practitioners - Dr. Joel Baxter

BAXTER, Dr Ernest Joel (c1902–50) & Sylvia: Dr Baxter was one of Springwood’s most admired and respected medical practitioners. Both physician and surgeon, he trained in a number of Sydney hospitals.

He was born in Western Australia and was the son of Mr and Mrs John Baxter. In December 1929, following his marriage in August to Sylvia Watson (the daughter of Mr and Mrs J. A. Watson), he purchased the practice of Dr Milne in Springwood and remained here for the rest of his life. There were no children of the marriage.

His initiation into the Springwood practice was not an easy one. On the evening of 27 January 1930 a crowded excursion train ran off the rails and over an embankment at Warrimoo. Dr Baxter was one of the first to arrive at the accident site and found both the driver and the fireman dead and a 16-year-old Blaxland porter, who had been riding in the engine, trapped under the wreckage. Assisted by another doctor, Dr Baxter crawled under the engine and, in a two-hour operation carried out in heavy rain and using the light from car headlamps, amputated the boy’s hand to free him.

A cheerful and sociable man with a keen sense of humour, he involved himself in numerous town activities. He served a period as president of the Golf Club and as a member of the Christ Church Parish Council, was a life member of the School of Arts, a member of the Masonic Lodge and was actively associated with the Springwood Development League. He was a keen golfer and tennis player and a champion at billiards. ‘His handling of the cue’, noted one admirer, ‘like everything about him, was neatness personified.’ He was also a member of the honorary medical staff at the Nepean District Hospital.

Dr Baxter carried on working almost to the end of his life, assisted and supported by his equally popular wife, Sylvia. He died on 12 April 1950 in the Mater Misericordia Hospital in Sydney and was cremated at the Woronora Crematorium. A memorial service was held at Christ Church, Springwood, on 30 April and a committee was later established to raise money for a public memorial. The Dr Baxter Memorial Gates, designed by Wynn Davies, were erected at Buckland Park in front of the Springwood war memorial as a lasting tribute to one of Springwood’s most respected citizens.

Baxter Memorial Gates
John Low