At the outbreak of World War 1 on August 4 1914, the community of Beecroft and Cheltenham was still new. Following the opening in 1886 of a reliable railway service to Sydney, subdivisions had been created in an area dominated by small farms. The new residents were often better off than the pre-existing farming families and they were determined to improve the amenities of their district. Grand houses and more modest villas rose on the generously sized blocks close to the station. Churches were built and a new School of Arts became the focus for a large range of activities.
Throughout the war, the local newspaper, “The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate” (known as “The Argus”) reported in detail on the efforts of this community to support the war and show loyalty to the “mother country”. The Protestant clergy, the Beecroft Public School and local patriotic associations all strongly promoted the war effort.