Saturday, February 24, 2018

Sydney's Suburbs, continued: Blair Athol, Blairmount, Balkehurst, Bligh Park

57 kilometres south-west of the Sydney central business district, in the local government area of the City of Campbelltown, part of the Macarthur region.
Name Origin:
The suburb was named after the house, named Blair Athol, built by early settler John Kidd.
From Wikipedia:
British settlers began moving into the area in the early 19th century, establishing farms and orchards in the fertile soil. John Kidd, a Scotsman, built the original Blair Athol homestead in 1879. The following year he became the area's member of parliament a position he held until 1904.
In 1945, the land was sold to an engineering company who planned to build a factory in the area. Campbelltown Council rezoned the entire area as industrial in the hope that other industries would also move into the area but for the most part the land remained vacant.
In 1992, Council rezoned the land back to residential and the current suburb was born.


John Kidd (1838-1919)

Blair Athol House after which the suburb of Blair Athol, NSW is named. It is now in private ownership and has been restored.


58 kilometres south-west of the Sydney central business district, in the local government area of the City of Campbelltown. It is part of the Macarthur region.
Name Origin:
The suburb is named after a house by that name, still standing, which was originally known as Belmont. “Blair” means “cleared space” in Scottish.
·     Blairmount, the house, was purchased by Leslie Rouse in 1923. He turned it into a horse stud and, after his death in 1928, it was purchased by Frank Young, the horse stud thereafter specialising in Clydesdale horses.
·     The suburb began to be redeveloped into housing in the 1980s and a school was opened in 1983.
·     The main road is Clydesdale Drive and its other streets are named after horse breeds in recognition of the horse stud that was originally there.
·     The suburb had 482 residents in the 2011 census.
·     In terms of Sydney suburbs, that makes it as big as this   à .
·     Okay, I hear you say, then what horse breed is Waler Place in Belmount named after?  Waler Place is named after Australia's own equine. It was mainly bred in New South Wales (hence its name) as a hardy army mount for British forces serving in India during the 19th Century. This same breed carried the famous Australian Light Horse battalions across the deserts of the Middle East in World War One, inning wide respect for their endurance.


Blairmount, the house

18 kilometres south of the Sydney central business district, in the local government area of the Georges River Council. It is part of the St George area.
Name Origin:
Blakehurst was named after William Blake, road assessor and postmaster for Cooks River in 1863. Blake ran a small farm in this area that was originally part of a land grant of 75 acres (300,000 m2) to Robert Townson in 1808.
·       Blakehurst's development from the mid-1800s was aided by its proximity to the water. Water transport was very popular and boatbuilders in the area were kept busy. As a sideline they hired out boats for recreational use.
·       A punt was established in 1864 at Tom Uglys Point.
·       Tom Uglys Bridge, well known to most Sydney residents, was originally known as Georges River Bridge when it first opened in 1929. It connects Blakehurst and Sylvania.
·       The origin of the name is unclear. Suggestions include that:
o   it was the nickname of an Aboriginal man who lived in a cave there;
o   it was named after an old fisherman called Tom Illigley;
o   or after Tom Huxley, a caretaker on a large estate and called Tom Hoogli by the Aborigines;
o   or named after an Aboriginal man called Tom Waggerly who had only one leg ('waggerly' being the Aboriginal word for 'lame animal').
·       Tom Uglys Point has been on maps since c1846 and has been in continuous use ever since.
·       Today Blakehurst is essentially a residential suburb with some of the southern suburbs' most impressive homes,


Intersection Princes Highway and King Georges Road.

Blakehurst, aerial view. Tom Uglys Bridge at right . the lower of the two bridges shown. The top bridge is Captain Cook Bridge, which links Sans Souci and Taren Point.

The punt at Tom Uglys Point, 1903

Another pic of the punt. Photo dates from between 1885-1892. Note that it is steam driven. The bell was to indicate to the other side when it had reached the shore. The punt operated until 1929 when the bridge was built.

Construction of the original Tom Uglys Bridge, 1929

Tom Uglys Bridge as it looks now, still in use

The old and new Tom Uglys Bridges, next to each other.

The two bridges at night.

Princes Highway at Blakehurst near Tom Uglys Point, date unknown

Exhausted diver with workman during construction of Georges River Bridge, 1928

58 kilometres west of the Sydney central business district, in the local government area of the City of Hawkesbury and is part of the Greater Western Sydney region.
Name Origin:
The suburb is named after William Bligh, renowned as the captain who lost his ship HMS Bounty through mutiny and surviving a 6,701 km/4,164 miles journey to Timor in an open boat, accompanied by 18 loyalists.
Seventeen years after the Bounty mutiny, on 13 August 1806, he was appointed Governor of New South Wales in Australia, with orders to clean up the corrupt rum trade of the New South Wales Corps. His actions directed against the trade resulted in the so-called Rum Rebellion, during which Bligh was placed under arrest on 26 January 1808 by the New South Wales Corps and deposed from his command, an act which the British Foreign Office later declared to be illegal. He died in Lambeth, London on 7 December 1817.
I have found little about Bligh Park so here is some information about William Bligh, quite interesting:
·       Because the vessel was rated only as a cutter, Bounty had no officers other than Bligh (who was then only a commissioned lieutenant).
·       Bligh divided his crew into three watches instead of two, placing his protégé Fletcher Christian—rated as a Master's Mate—in charge of one of the watches.  The friendship of Christian and Bligh dated back to Bligh's days in the merchant service and Christian was well acquainted with the Bligh family.
·       Ostensibly the Bounty was to travel to Tahiti and collect breadfruit, then take it to the Caribbean for experiments to see whether it would be a successful food crop for African slaves there on British colonial plantations in the West Indies islands. In reality the voyage to Tahiti was to maintain a presence, the territory being disputed between France and Great Britain.
·       The voyage to Tahiti was difficult. After trying unsuccessfully for a month to go west by rounding South America and Cape Horn, Bounty was finally defeated by the notoriously stormy weather and opposite winds and forced to take the longer way to the east around the southern tip of Africa (Cape of Good Hope and Cape Agulhas). That delay caused a further delay in Tahiti, as he had to wait five months for the breadfruit plants to mature sufficiently to be potted in soil and transported. Bounty departed Tahiti heading east in April 1789.
·       The causes of the mutiny, when one of the watches, led by Christian and using firearms released by Christian, are still debated.  One view holds that  Bligh was a cruel tyrant whose abuse of the crew led them to feel that they had no choice but to take over the ship. Bounty's log shows that Bligh resorted to punishments relatively sparingly. He scolded when other captains would have whipped, and whipped when other captains would have hanged. He was an educated man, deeply interested in science, convinced that good diet and sanitation were necessary for the welfare of his crew. He took a great interest in his crew's exercise, was very careful about the quality of their food, and insisted upon the Bounty's being kept very clean. He tried (unsuccessfully) to check the spread of venereal disease among the men
·       Historian John Beaglehole has described the major flaw in this otherwise enlightened naval officer: "[Bligh made] dogmatic judgements which he felt himself entitled to make; he saw fools about him too easily … thin-skinned vanity was his curse through life … [Bligh] never learnt that you do not make friends of men by insulting them."
·       Bligh was no worse (and, in many cases, objectively gentler) than the average captains and naval officers of the era.  The other explanation put for the mutiny,  the more commonly accepted view, is that the inexperienced crew had been corrupted by 5 months of sun, sex and sand in Tahiti and wanted more of the same.  It is noteworthy that 18 of the 24 mutineers demanded Christian return to Tahiti, despite Christian pointing out that this would be the first place the authorities would check.
·       As Bligh was being set adrift he appealed to his friendship with Christian, saying "You have dandled my children upon your knee". According to Bligh, Christian "appeared disturbed" and replied, "That,—Captain Bligh,—that is the thing;——I am in hell—I am in hell."
To be continued


Rear Admiral William Bligh, 1814

The mutineers turning Lt Bligh and some of the officers and crew adrift from His Majesty's Ship Bounty.

Portrait of Fletcher Christian

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