Beecroft-Cheltenham History Group

Despite appearing on Department of Lands maps from at least 1886 as a reserve, the Village Green was ‘opened’ on 5 September 1903 by the Governor Sir Harry Rawson who travelled to Beecroft by train. Over 2000 people were present and this was ‘the largest gathering seen in Beecroft to this date.” The Governor inspected a guard of school cadets and a troop of police and lancers from the Parramatta Barracks.[1]

This distinguished event belied the earlier history of the reserve. It was dedicated for public purposes in 1898. Over the next decade it was described as so thickly timbered that it was not possible to determine where the reserve ended and the bush commenced. It was described by the local paper as remarkable only for locusts, lizards and snakes.[2]

The southern part of the Green was leased in 1898 for the construction of the present day tennis club.[3]

Closer to the middle of the present day reserve, a drinking fountain was constructed to the memory of David Willis. It was unveiled by the local Member of Parliament, Frank Farnell, on 24 November 1901. The 6th Australian Rifles were present. The unveiling was to have taken place by the Premier but he forgot about the event.[4] A vote of thanks was moved by Mr Holcombe who said that “one of the objects in the rectionof the monument was to impress on the heart of the young people of the district the importance of duty and discipline.”[5] The drinking fountain fell into disrepair and was relocated to its present position in the 1930s. At that time running water was not re-connected and the inscription re-inscribed with an incorrect date of death – 10 rather than 1 October.[6]

A small parcel of land between the reserve and the School of Arts, was purchased in 1905 to supplement the Green.[7]

Local residents contributed 60 pounds to the upkeep of the Green and eventually, in 1910 a sawn fence was constructed along Beecroft Road, ornamental shade trees were planted and between 1910 and 1913 a timber bandstand on brick foundations was built. There is a reference, in 1912, to a stone bandstand erected in the Village Green as though it was already built.[8]



[1] Beecroft Cheltenham History GroupBeecroft and Cheltenham: The shaping of a Sydney community to 1914 (Beecroft, 1995) pp 196, 237

[2] Beecroft Cheltenham History Group Beecroft and Cheltenham: The shaping of a Sydney community to 1914 (Beecroft, 1995) p 238

[3] Beecroft Cheltenham History Group Beecroft and Cheltenham: The shaping of a Sydney community to 1914 (Beecroft, 1995) p 240

[4] T McCaskill One Great Hour (Beecroft, 2000) p 57

[5] T McCaskill One Great Hour (Beecroft, 2000) p 58

[6] T McCaskill One Great Hour (Beecroft, 2000) p 60

[7] Beecroft Cheltenham History Group Beecroft and Cheltenham: The shaping of a Sydney community to 1914 (Beecroft, 1995) p 239

[8] Cumberland Argus 7 September 1912

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