Sunday, August 8, 2021




Colyton is located 43 kilometres west of the Sydney central business district, in the local government area of the City of Penrith. It is part of the Greater Western Sydney region and is the easternmost suburb of the City of Penrith.

Name origin:

Colyton is named after Colyton in Devon, England, which had been the home town of the wife of William Cox Junior, son of the famous builder of the road across the Blue Mountains, also named William.


William Cox Snr (1764 – 1837) was an English soldier, explorer, road builder and pioneer in the early period of British settlement of Australia.

Portrait of William Cox, 1830

Another image of William Cox

Cox sailed for New South Wales in 1799 on the Minerva, with his wife and four sons. Aboard the ship were around 160 convicts, including Joseph Holt and Henry Fulton who were among many political prisoners. Cox used his influence so that the prisoners were often allowed up on deck for fresh air, and Holt in his memoirs states that as a result "the ship was the healthiest and best regulated which had ever reached the colony". Yay for the Day for William Cox.

Upon arrival of The Minerva in Sydney, Cox purchased a 100-acre (40 ha) farm and made Holt its manager. Further land was purchased but in 1803 large liabilities led to Cox's estate being placed into the hands of trustees. He was suspended from office due to allegations that regimental accounts were involved. Cox returned to England in 1807 to answer allegations that he had misused army funds. Cox was cleared in 1808, and was promoted to Captain of 102nd Regiment of Foot, and placed in charge of Irish political prisoners. However, the London Gazette of 19 April 1808 records, "Paymaster William Cox, of the New South Wales Corps, is dismissed the Service."

In 1811 Cox returned to Australia. Once back there, he resigned his commission and became principal magistrate at Hawkesbury. He was also responsible for erecting many government buildings.

As every schoolchild in Sydney knows (or at least they did when I was a kid), Sydney settlement was hemmed in by the Blue Mountains to its West. At a time when new grazing pastures were sorely needed, every attempt to cross the Blue Mountains had ended in failure. That is, until 1813 when Blaxland, Wentworth and Lawson succeeded (again as every schoolchild can repeat by rote) by sticking to the ridges and not the valleys. No points for guessing who the Blue Mouuntains townships of Blaxland, Wentworth Falls and Lawson are named for.

In 1814, Governor Lachlan Macquarie approved Cox's offer of superintending and directing the working party that would build a road crossing the Blue Mountains, between Sydney and Bathurst. The completed dirt track was 12 feet (3.7 m) wide by 101 miles (163.3 km) long, built using five free men, 30 convict labourers and eight soldiers.

Starting at Emu Plains on 18 July 1814, in four months the team had completed a road covering a distance of 47 miles to Mount York. In six months, Cox had crossed the Blue Mountains with a road of one hundred and one miles all the way to Bathurst.

The road opened the way for new settlement although this was limited in the early years.

Macquarie surveyed the finished road in April 1815 by driving his carriage along it from Sydney to Bathurst. He commended Cox and as a reward Cox was awarded 2,000 acres (810 ha) of land near Bathurst.

The road became known as Cox's Road and over time much of it has been bypassed in favour of easier grades. The steep grades of Cox’s road made it unsuitable in places for horse-drawn vehicles. In 1832 a new road from Mount Victoria to Hartley was built by Major Thomas Mitchell. This road made it possible to travel safely via wagons and coaches, but the route was still not much travelled until the gold rushes of the 1850s.

Parts of Cox’s erection remain standing and visible - the Old Bathurst Road section of Cox's Road at Woodford is one of the most easily accessible, largely intact and still clearly recognisable surviving sections of the 1814 road within the Blue Mountains. It extends for over a kilometre beside and overlapping with an unsurfaced local road along the top of the ridge. It can be accessed either from Hepburn Road or from Old Bathurst Road and Taylor Road, Woodford.

Enough history, back to Colyton . . .

The property of 800 acres (3.2 km2) owned by William Cox Jnr had been granted to him in 1819 by Governor Macquarie. It was located on the southern side of the Western Highway opposite the present Colyton Primary School (which, despite its name, is not located in Colyton, but across the Great Western Highway in Old Mt Druitt.).

The land was only used for grazing and wheat growing.

In 1842, a notice appeared in the Sydney Herald advertising the auction sale of William Cox's estate to form the 'Village of Colyton' with surrounding farmlets. The land was described as partly forest and partly alluvial with grass on it being 'abundant and nutritious'. The timber on the land was described as being fit for 'building and farming purposes' and the water 'abundant and never failing' from nearby Ropes Creek.

Historically, the name Colyton generally referred to the area east of Ropes Creek. The present site of Colyton was originally part of St Marys.


Colyton’s boundaries are Ropes Creek, the Great Western Highway, Marsden Road and the M4 Western Motorway.

It is one of the older suburbs in the St Marys area, primarily residential with large sporting fields.

There is some industrial activity along Roper Road.

According to the 2016 census:
- there were 8,439 people in Colyton.
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people made up 5.1% of the population.
- 66.9% of people were born in Australia. The next most common countries of birth were New Zealand 3.0%, Philippines 2.4%, England 2.1%, Fiji 2.0% and India 1.4%.
- The most common occupations included Clerical and Administrative Workers 18.3%, Machinery Operators and Drivers 16.4%, Technicians and Trades Workers 13.4%, Labourers 13.3%, and Community and Personal Service Workers 10.6%.


Above: The first public school in the Mt Druitt area was Colyton School on the highway. The school was there from 1864 to 1883 and is now a vacant paddock after being destroyed by fire in 1964.

Above: The Mt Druitt Hall which WW2 RAAF veteran Dick Simpson transformed into the Vogue Cinema in 1946.

AboveL Crowds of people lined up outside the Mt Druitt Hall. Date unknown.

The Sargents company, manufacturer of famous pies and sausage rolls, is located  in Roper Road at Colyton. The business is the successor to that conducted by George Sargent (1859 - 1921) and Charlotte Sargent (1856 - 1924), pastry cooks and caterers who were husband and wife.

Above: Sargents Pies were first produced by George and Charlotte Sargent at their shop in Paddington. The small pies sold for a penny each. Although this business was eventually sold, in 1901 the couple and their son Harley opened two bakeries and refreshment rooms in the city. Sargents Pies (now distributed only in frozen form) account for about half of Sydney’s pie sales.

These two classrooms of Colyton Public School were erected and furnished for 529 pounds in 1898. Mr Edgar Fuller became the first Headmaster at this school. He opened a Colyton School in 1861 and retired in 1889, after 28 years of teaching and in three different buildings at Colyton public schools.

1898 classroom, Colyton Public School

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