Matthew Webb (Snr) – 1860

Four years later, on 1 April 1860, Matthew Webb (Snr), a Bootmaker, and owner of a tannery took over on a salary of thirty pounds per annum. (1) His small “Waterloo Store”, was also on the same side of the Western Road, a little west of Drapers. (2) His sureties were Peter Royal and John Morrision, both of St Marys. Peter Royal’s daughter Elizabeth Margaret married Thomas Ralph Woodland, son of William Woodland, the Postmaster in the 1840s. (3) Peter Royal had a tobacconist shop, (4) Mr John Morrison had a butcher’s shop (5) and was also known as a grazier. (6) He also became one of the trustees for Victoria Park, (7) and was part of the team that went to court to fight for the Park to be returned to the people, with the people winning.

The population of St Marys by 1861 had grown to 444 people. (8) Following the extension of their services into NSW, Cobb and Co held a contract for the mail service, six times a week during 1862. The rail service was also extended to St Marys by 1862 and this eventually made a difference to the mail services. (9)

Following a visit to St Marys in August 1875, the Postal Inspector reported that Mr Webb had died on 6 June 1875, and that his eldest daughter, Miss Jane Webb, had been managing the post office, with the assistance of one of her sisters. He recommended that Miss Jane Webb be appointed Postmistress, and that approval be given for Miss Christiana Webb, to assist her. There seems to be some discrepancy here, as on the headstone of Matthew Webb’s grave at St Mary Magdalene church states that he died on 7 February 1875. Maybe Jane did not want to let the inspector know thatshe had been carrying on the business for several months

Headstone of Matthew Webb (Snr ),
St Marys Magdalene Church

At this time consideration was being given to the establishment of a Telegraph Office at St Marys and Miss Webb said she intended to resign so her appointment was not confirmed. (10) There is also a record of a Jane Webb of Richmond getting married on 12 February 1876 to Mr Gale Wilberforce Shaw of Pyrmont. (11) After his father’s death Matthew Webb junior carried on the tannery business, as the 1882 Post Office Directory had a listing for Webb and Son, tanners, St Marys.


  1. A.Evans, St Marys Post Office History, Local History Section, Penrith City Library, p 6. / Nepean Times 22 November 1924, p 4. / Australian Archives SP 32 Series, Post Office St Marys.
  2. Unknown writer, St Marys Post Office History, Local History Section, Penrith Library.
  3. Marriage Records, St Marys Magdalene Church, Local History Section, Penrith Library
  4. Nepean Times, W Charker, ” As it was in the fifties”. 8 November 1924, p 5
  5. Eugenie Stapleton, South Creek-St Marys, from village to city, 1872 PO Directory Penrith City Council, 1988 p 14.
  6. Baptismal Records, St Marys Magdalene Church, Local History Section, Penrith Library.
  7. Eugenie Stapleton, South Creek-St Marys, from village to city Rural Cumberland yearbook 1885.,Penrith City Council, 1988 p 17
  8. Helen Proudfoot, Exploring Sydney’s West, Kangaroo Press, 1988, p44
  9. Penrith Press, 1 September 1965, p 15
  10. Australian Archives, SP 32 Series, Post Office St Marys, B 239 10 July 1875 Letter re Jane leaving by end of week.
  11. Pioneers Index, 1788-1888, Marriages, on CD Rom, Penrith City Library.