Oxley Park

Location: Where is Oxley Park?
Oxley Park, New South Wales Australia, is located on the easternmost side of the Penrith Local Government Area. Its boundary is Ropes Creek, the Great Western Highway, Sydney Street and the western railway line. Oxley Park is within the greater regional locality of St Marys. This suburb is a mainly residential; featuring sporting fields, St Marys Cemetery (the second largest cemetery in the Penrith Local Government Area) and a primary school. There are no designated industrial areas in the suburb. With convenient access to both the Great Western Highway and the M4 Motorway, Oxley Park residents are easily able to travel to work and to leisure activities. Oxley Park is one of the older established suburbs with older homes on large blocks of land.33 45′ S 150 47′ E
 
Postcode: 2760 Population: 2,522 (2006 Census) Distance from Sydney: 40 km
Area: 1.24 km3 or 124 ha Density: 20.34 people per ha Oxley Park NSW on Google Maps

 

Government Electorates

Local Government: Oxley Park is located in East Ward of the Penrith Local Government area. Next Local Government elections will be in 2012.

State Government: Oxley Park is located in the State Government Electorate of Mulgoa. Next elections are scheduled for March 2015.
Federal Government: Oxley Park is located in the Federal Government Electorate of Lindsay. Next elections will be held in 2013.
Aboriginal Districts:  Oxley Park is located in the Deerubbin Local Aboriginal Land Council Area. Next elections are scheduled for 2011.

Cemeteries

  • St Marys General Cemetery: This cemetery occupies the north-eastern corner of the Great Western Highway and Sydney Street at Oxley Park. The cemetery was opened in 1881 with an Anglican Section and with Anglicans as Trustees. In later years, as the area was developed, it was divided into denominational sections. The first recorded burial were two Lutheran children (undated) and the next registered was not until 1886 with the interment of David Knighton. St Marys General Cemetery is the major burial ground for the St Marys region. It has a large number of Greek, Maltese, Italian and Eastern European graves. Nepean Family History Society transcribed this cemetery in 1996.


cemetery_stmarys.jpg (47816 bytes)

Source: Don Godden and Associates, Penrith Cemeteries Study, Penrith City Council,
November, 1989.

 

Schools

Roads & Streets

  • The Great Western Highway marks the southern boundary of Oxley Park. This highway is a vital thoroughfare west to Penrith and east to Blacktown and Sydney.
  • Sydney Street is the dividing road between Oxley Park and St Marys. Across the Highway it changes to Marsden Road. Named in 1919 after battleship HMAS Sydney which sank the Emden in 1914 during World War One.
  • Melbourne Street runs along the Ropes Creek and forms Oxley Park’s eastern boundary. Named after aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne.
  • Brisbane Street is a major thoroughfare in the suburb. Named in 1919 after battleship HMAS Brisbane.
  • Adelaide Street is a major thoroughfare in the suburb. Named in 1919 after battleship HMAS Adelaide.
  • Canberra Street is a major thoroughfare in the suburb. Named in 1919 after battleship HMAS Canberra.
  • Perth Street is a major thoroughfare in the suburb. Named in 1919 after battleship HMAS Perth.
  • Hobart Street is a major thoroughfare in the suburb that runs along the railway line and runs into Melbourne Street. Named in 1919 after battleship HMAS Hobart

The Aborigines of South Creek

The first inhabitants of the Sydney basin bounded by Port Jackson and Botany Bay in the east, the Blue Mountains to the west, north to the Hawkesbury River and south to Appin, had in common the Dharug language. Fourteen tribes or clans made up this language group and the people who inhabited both sides of South Creek were known as the Gomerrigal-Tongarra clan.

Unlike the Blue Mountains clans who used rock shelters, the Gomerrigal-Tongarra people lived in open camp sites along the creek in simple gunyahs. These were constructed from three leaning poles lashed together at the top and covered on two sides with bark. They had a habit of smearing mud on their skin to protect them from the effects of both weather and insects. In winter they wore animal skins to keep warm.

Very little is known of their cultural and ceremonial life. According to researcher and writer James L. Kohen, the Gomerrigal-Tongarra clan had rights to the ridges at Plumpton and the gravels of Eastern Creek. From these areas they used red silcrete rocks to make sharp flakes which were then fashioned into tools or used as barbs on spears. The MacLaurin family (who lived at Mamre) also asserted that the bodies of the dead were not buried, but wrapped in bark and placed on platforms elevated in the branches of trees.

There are no remaining rock carvings or marked trees in the area. Emily MacLaurin described a meeting place on South Creek at Mamre at a point where ‘…the Creek takes in a small stream from the west, the right bank of which reaches into the creek in a narrow finger’. It is thought that despite the arrival of the Rev. Samuel Marsden in 1804, ceremonies continued to be held at this spot for some time.

By 1816 however, the Gomerrigal-Tongarra, together with the rest of the Dharug clans, had been ravaged either by clashes with the settlers or by contracting European diseases. They became increasingly dependent on the settlers for their survival. Although they had always maintained a camp on or around the Mamre estate, the Rev. Samuel Marsden now sought to encourage them to work in exchange for food and clothing. He was obviously successful in this endeavour, as by 1835 the Quaker missionary James Backhouse wrote in his journal after a visit to Mamre that ‘…the South Creek Natives may be considered as half-domesticated, and they often assist in the agricultural operations of the settlers.’ He was also impressed by the fact that the wife of their Aboriginal guide – supplied by Marsden – could read, having been ‘educated in a school, formerly kept for the Natives, at Parramatta’. The next day, Backhouse travelled onto Penrith, his guide ‘another South Creek Black, named Simeon. His wife was killed, about two years ago, by some of those whom he termed “Wild Natives”…We tried in vain to persuade this man to accompany us to Wellington Valley; he did not like to go…These people are afraid of other tribes of their own race’.

Another visitor, Charles Darwin, passing through Mamre in January 1836, was impressed by the ‘…good humour and superior hunting skills’ of the Aborigines he encountered around Penrith.

History has given us sparse records indeed about the Gomerrigal-Tongarra people. As part of the Dharug-speaking Aborigines, their life-style was probably similar to others of the Dharug clans. They were hunter-gatherers over specifically defined territories, in this case, mainly the banks of South Creek; and they adhered to particular laws of kinship, marriage, sexual practice and burial which ensured the well-being of the clan. Men and women had particular roles in the clan which were clearly defined; children were given a totem name; traditional medicine was carried out by the ‘koradji’ or doctor; and, like all Aborigines they had a spiritual Dreaming.

The clash of European and Aboriginal cultures, despite original good intentions, meant that the Gomerrigal-Tongarra people and their culture was virtually destroyed within a century of white settlement.

Origin of the place name – Oxley Park

Named after John Oxley (1784-1828) the explorer, who, in 1823 was granted 600 acres in the St Marys area, which is now the present site of Oxley Park. The grant extended from Queen Street east to Ropes Creek and from the Great Western Highway to the railway line. Oxley never lived there nor was any homestead built there for occasional stays. It was most probably used as a cattle run. Oxley owned other properties near Minto, Appin and Bowral and resided at “Kirkham” near Camden, where he died in 1828. After the death of John Oxley, his property at St. Marys was purchased by Phillip Parker King. Anna Josepha King, Phillip’s mother chose a site on this land for the St Mary Magdalene Anglican Church. After World War One this land was subdivided into five acre lots and named Oxley Park.

Historical Timeline

1808   John Oxley granted 600 acres by the rebel Rum Corp as a reward for his support against Gov. Bligh.
1823   John Oxley grant of 600 acres in St Marys district was finally gazetted
1832   Oxley land sold to Phillip Parker King.
1920   Oxley land subdivided into five acre lots and became known as
Oxley park.
1953   Subsidised school closed. It was a cottage in Canberra Street
housing 20 pupils.
1957 January Oxley Park Public School opened.
1970 5 September Ridge Park Hall officially opened.
1988 May Devastating floods hit Oxley Park.
1999 June St Marys Rugby League Club donated $28,000 to Oxley Park School for new technology room.

Historical People

John Oxley (1784 -1828)

John Joseph William Molesworth Oxley was born at Kirkham Abbey near Westow, Yorkshire, England and arrived in the Colony in 1802. In 1809 he was appointed first officer on the HMS Porpoise and returned to England with the disposed Governor Bligh. Oxley left the Navy in 1811 and returned to Sydney where he was appointed Surveyor-General of Lands in 1812 and subsequently led explorations into the interior of New South Wales subsequently suggesting the existence of a vast inland sea. He explored the Macquarie River, discovered the Lachlan River, the rich Liverpool Plains and charted the north coast of New South Wales and recommended settlement at Port Macquarie and Moreton Bay (Brisbane). Oxley owned properties near St Marys, Minto, Appin and Bowral but mainly resided at “Kirkham” near Camden, where he died on 16 May 1828.

oxley.jpg (18981 bytes)

John Oxley: from Penrith City Library Photographic Collection

For more information on Oxley Park:

  • Search Penrith City Library’s Ipac Catalogue under subject or title.
  • Search Penrith City Library’s Ipac Catalogue under Local Indexes for entries in the local newspapers, files, magazines on Oxley Park. 
  • Search Penrith City Library’s Penrith in Pictures Image Database for photographs on Oxley Park.

Historical

  • Green, Annette, St Marys Industrial Heritage Study, Penrith City Council, Penrith, 1987.
  • Murray, Robert and White, Kate Dharug & Dungaree: The History of Penrith and St. Marys to 1860. Penrith City Council, Penrith, 1988.
  • Nepean District Historical Society, From Castlereagh to Claremont Meadows: Historical Places of Penrith City Council, Penrith, 1997.
  • Oxley Park Public School, 10th Anniversary Souvenir Brochure 1957-1967.
  • Parr, Lorna, A History of the Nepean and District Street Names, Nepean District Historical Society, Penrith, 1990.
  • Parr, Lorna, Penrith Calendar, Nepean District Historical Society, 1987.
  • Penrith City Library Local Subject Files – Oxley Park.
  • Stacker, Lorraine Pictorial history: Penrith & St Marys, Kingsclear Books, 2002.
  • Stapleton, E. South Creek – St. Marys – From Village to City St. Marys. St. Marys Historical Society. 1983.
  • Stevenson, Colin R., Place Names and their Origins within the City of Penrith, Penrith City Council, Penrith, 1985.
  • Stickley, Christine, The Old Charm of Penrith, 2nd ed., the author, St. Marys, 1984.

Social

  • Cahill, Lorraine, St Marys Research and Development Project: Setting the scene for social planning in St Marys, Colyton and Oxley Park, Penrith City Council, 1996.