The Need-To-Knows of Campbelltown
Governor Lachlan Macquarie founded Campbelltown in the year 1820, deciding to name it after his beloved wife, Elizabeth Campbell. The original inhabitants of Campbelltown were the Dharawal Aboriginal people, and now in the year 2012 Campbelltown still maintains a strong link with its past with one of the largest groups of people identifying themselves as either Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.
The year 1823 marked not only the first official building, there were only a few bark huts and a school house, but also the first church with Campbelltown welcoming the opening of St. Peter’s Church. In 1841 St. John’s Church was opened, shortly after the death of John Macarthur.
1880 marked Campbelltown’s first newspaper, the ‘Campbelltown Herald’, going to print.In 1919 the Campbelltown Herald changed its name to ‘Campbelltown News’ and then, in 1953, to the ‘Campbelltown Ingleburn News.’
Potentially the most significant year of Campbelltown’s history, 1968 signified Campbelltown being declared a city, with a population of approximately 24,000.
One of Campbelltown’s greatest and longest traditions is the annual Fisher’s Ghost festival which attracts locals and visitors alike. The first story of Fisher’s Ghost published in 1835, details how the ghost of a local farmer, Fred Fisher, that had been missing led another man, John Farley, to find his body.
It is notable to mention that Campbelltown’s history is also tainted by such events as the Appin Massacre that occurred in 1816.
The Appin Massacre is traditionally remembered as the annihilation of the Aboriginal people of Campbelltown. (Source: 1988, Council of the City of Campbelltown, Campbelltown, The Bicentennial History, Carol Liston)
Events that ‘Campbelltownians’ are more likely to remember, however, would be the murder of the former Miss Spirit of Campbelltown, Caroline Byrne, the trial of suspected murderer Ivan Milat and the infamous Rosemeadow riots in 2009.
A fact that many people are unaware of is that suspected and infamous Backpacker murderer Ivan Milat was put on trial in Campbelltown in the year 1996. The trial lasted a total of fifteen weeks.
Must-sees in Campbelltown!
– Australian Botanic Garden, Mount Annan: The Australian Botanic Gardens are an infusion of native Australian plants and animals that will delight your senses. Eucalyptus Gum Trees and Yellow Wattle blossom grow free, whilst wallaby’s and native birds frolic in plain site for all visitors to enjoy. The Botanic Gardens must be visited by anyone in Campbelltown as it truly captures every aspect of the characteristic Australian environment.
– Campbelltown Arts Centre, Campbelltown: Art is a central and integral part of the Campbelltown culture, with every type of art form on display at the Centre. The Centre is home to the Japanese Gardens and Teahouse, the bicentennial gift from Koshigaya, Campbelltown’s sister city. This site explores Campbelltown’s multi-cultural identity, defining its strong links with its sister city in Japan.
– Mukti-Gupteshwar Mandir Hindu Temple, Minto: Mukti-Gupteshwar Mandir Hindu Temple is the only man-made cave Mandir and includes one main shrine and six smaller ones. This site is a must-see as it highlights Campbelltown’s religious diversity, which as one of the most characteristics aspects of the city.
These are three of the most defining sites that significantly contribute to Campbelltown’s identity, highlighting its religious diversity, its multiculturalism and its strong links to the identifiable Australian environment.