Monday, 14 November 2016

Thornton Hall

On the morning of Saturday the 12th of November our group was fortunate enough to be invited by Peter Cipollone, the owner of Historic Thornton Hall in Penrith, to have a guided tour through the property.

Our group had been on site before Peter owned the property and we had noted it's run down condition. After seeing what he has done since taking over, we all agreed that he is doing a remarkable job in restoring the house back to it's original state,

The house was built by Thomas Smith in the 1870's on 234 acres and in 1941 it was taken over by the Royal Army Engineers, and just handed back from them recently.  

The front of the house

Side View

Loft under construction.
Again, we would like to thank Peter for giving us this chance to see this historic building.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Archaeology Open Day

Last Sunday we held our annual open day and it was a resounding success. A lot of people came through the workshop to have a look at our range of artefacts, books, photos and bricks. 

Our raffle was a hamper of chocolates generously donated by Lindt Chocolates, it was won by Chris who only gave a first name and phone number.

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Lithgow Trip September 2016

Some of our group went to Lithgow Valley Springs in Lithgow on Saturday. Not only do they have spring water that they supply to several well known company's and sell under their own brand, but they also a small brewery on site. They not only make beer for themselves, but are also supplying some of their beers to several local pubs. 
A very interesting place that we would recommend to anyone looking for a different day out. 

 We then went to the historic Ambermere Rose Inn on the Western Highway at Hartley for lunch. This was the second time we have been there and it was as nice as the first time.

A very enjoyable day was had by everyone.                                                                    

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Hawkesbury Dig

We have recently been on a dig in the Hawkesbury area, and uncovered a previously unknown paved brick area. Covering the bricks was a layer of what looked like road base, on top of this were a lot of off cuts and scraps of leather that we think came from a leather cutting factory that was situated nearby in the 1800’s. Over this was yellow bush sand that had over the years packed down very hard. The bricks had at one stage been used as an access into the property for vehicles as there were definite ruts on either side of a hump in the middle of the brickwork.

The paving went right up to an old brick wall that had been built on brick footings, you could just see the top of these footings. We had no idea of how far the footings went down or how wide they were. This will be for a later dig.

It was a very successful day and we are all looking forward to when we can return for more investigations.

Monday, 14 March 2016


2016 History Conference

On March 12 we attended the 15th annual History Conference at the Joan Sutherland Centre in Penrith. We again had two tables allocated to us and we filled them with bricks, artefacts, photo albums and our publications on local history that were for sale. Also for sale was a book written by one of our members, Amanda, the book is a beginners guide to old bricks.
The first speaker was Grace Karskens who spoke on the settlers of the Castlereagh area, which included the women and children. She described how they formed a close knit community and most of the time they married into this community. Sometimes the girls were as young as 15 and the men 30 years older.

Second speaker was Craig Bratby who told us about the bushranger John Vane who had family connections in Castlereagh.  John Vane rode with Ben Hall but saw where his life was headed and surrendered to police and went to prison. He came out and went on the straight and narrow.

Graham Wilcox was the third speaker and he spoke on Sir Arthur Rutledge, who was born in Castlereagh and finished up as the Queensland Attorney General. He was instrumental in bringing Queensland into the Australian Federation.

Ann- Marie Bonner from Penrith Library gave a talk on how you can research the local area using the council resources at the Library.
There were tables with all sorts of interesting displays, historical books for sale, family history, how to trace convicts in your family plus much more.
As usual it was a good day, and as usual, Penrith Council and its employees did a good job planning and running the event. We are already looking forward to next year. 

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Samuel Terry

 On the 25th March, the hottest day of the year so far, our group went to a site at Cranebrook. The Council has been working there and discovered some building remains which may, or may not be the site of Samuel Terry’s demolished house.
The house was built in 1820 by Samuel Terry and his wife Rosetta and had been demolished in 1950. They called the house and the estate Mt Pleasant, after which the current suburb is named. 
 As the site was fenced off and no one was there, we could only see where they had been digging the trench and had discovered the remains.  Even so, we took some photos of the site.

We also had a look on the hill where Council had planted the replacement olive trees that had been mistakenly cut down. We were happy to see that at least three of the original trees planted in the 1820’s had regrown.
Professor Ian Jack, a Archaeology Professor from Sydney Uni had been in touch with us, and came to our workshop seeking any information we had on Samuel Terry. He was writing a report on the site, and we were able to provide him with some maps and papers for which he was grateful. 
He has since sent us a copy of his report and It is available to be read at our workshop.  



Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Open Day November 2015

We had another open day on the 8th of November, and for the first time we had it on a Sunday.
A lot of people came to the workshop and they all appeared to enjoy the displays, again there was a mixture of all ages. The younger children were really more interested in the snacks.
Our new bottle collection which was only just recently donated to us was a big hit, and as soon as we have cleaned them all up we will have them on permanent display.

 Several people who have liked us on Facebook also attended and made themselves known, it was a pleasure to meet them face to face.

The first price for our raffle was a painting of the old Emu Plains Police station, kindly donated by renowned local artist Joe Cartwright.  This was won by Kevin S, Second prize a BBQ set went to Rachel W.