Agnes Banks, New South Wales Australia, is located on the uppermost northwest boundary of the City of Penrith. This locality is placed within two local government areas. The small village of Agnes Banks is within the Hawkesbury City Council Area. Agnes Banks is connected to Penrith by Castlereagh Road which runs alongside the Nepean River between Richmond and Penrith. This suburb was settled as early as 1804 by Andrew Thompson who leased his land out to tenant farmers on the gently undulating alluvial farmlands. Natural woodlands and sandy deposits make up the higher landscape of this suburb. Agnes Banks is a rural outpost of the City of Penrith which has kept its intrinsic agricultural value and rural lifestyle.
33 36′ S 150 43′ E
Postcode: 2753 Population: 911 (2016 Census) Distance from Sydney: 63 km NW
Area: 11.4 km2 or 1140 ha Density: 0.4 people per hectare (2016 Census)
Agnes Banks NSW on Google Maps
The establishment of a nature reserve having an area of approximately 66 hectares on Rickards Road at Agnes Banks was first proposed by the National Parks and Wildlife Service to Penrith City Council in 1987. The region according to the Service contained distinctive vegetation which needed to be retained for scientific research purposes. The Agnes Banks Woodland is listed as an endangered ecological community
The Agnes Banks Conservation Reserve includes an area of Pliocene-Pleistocene sand with distinctive vegetation and an area of tertiary alluvium. The sand deposit originally covered some 6000 ha and was formed into a series of low stable, longitudinal dunes with internal drainage. The area has been extensively degraded by sand extraction operations.
Rough Barked Apple/ Red Gum/Cabbage Gum
Eucalyptus amplifolia / E. fibrosa / E. tereticornis / Angophora subvelutina / Melaleuca decora / Bursaria spinosa
Eucalyptus parramattensis / E. sclerophylla / E. gummifera / Melaleuca decora / Angophora bakeri / Hakea sericia / Banksia spinulosa / Themeda australis / Eragrostis brownii
Eucalyptus sclerophylla / Angophora Bakeri / Banksia serrata / B. aemula / Acacia bynoeana / Restio pallens / Persoonia nutans / Petrophile sessilis / Leucopogon virgatus
Agnes Banks Woodland by D. H. Benson, Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney. This paper is drawn largely from our recent books on Sydney vegetation, Benson & Howell (1990) and Benson & McDougall (1991).
At Agnes Banks near Richmond is an isolated deposit of windblown sand with an interesting shrub-dominated community, floristically similar to that found on coastal sand dunes such as Myall Lakes, and in the eastern suburbs of Sydney before European settlement. Vegetation ranges from woodland to low woodland, with small areas of open-scrub. The characteristic tree species on well-drained sites are Eucalyptus sclerophylla and Angophora baker) and on
poorly drained sites Eucalyptus parramattensis. Banksia serrata and the closely related Banksia aemula are generally a smaller but very distinctive tree species found on well drained sites.
Urban Bushland In Western Sydney: Proceedings of a Seminar held at Werrington Campus, University of Western Sydney, March 23rd 1991. First published in Australia 1992, by the Nature Conservation Council of NSW, 39 George St., Sydney 2000.
Copyright: Nature Conservation Council of NSW.
Land Use profile
The Agnes Banks high level sand deposits have been subject to extractive industry operations since the 1950s. The material in these deposits is thought to be wind blown sands originating from the Grose Valley and not associated with the sedimentary sand deposits of the Nepean River Valley. The sands overlie clay deposits. Leaching action has created a grading within the deposits and in some areas the upper levels have a significant organic content. The sands are extracted for purposes such as filling, bricklaying, concrete industry and the manufacture of special sands for the glass industry.
In 1967 and 1969 Penrith City Council issued consents to P.B. White Minerals Pty Ltd. and Farley and Lewers Pty Ltd. to extract sand from land held under permissive occupancies from the Crown Lands Office as well as land under private tenure. Ten years later Penrith City Council issued development consent to K.H. Dixon Pty Ltd. to operate an extractive industry in the area.
Source: Penrith City Council, Commission of Inquiry into Interim Conservation Order the Natural Area, Agnes Banks: Primary Submission, September 1988.
For more general information on the Dharug people please see The Dharug Story by Chris Tobin (Penrith City Library collection 994.004 DHA).
Origin of the place name
Andrew Thompson (1773 –1810), an emancipated convict was granted 278 acres on the banks of the Nepean River by Governor King in 1804. Situated near the Yarramundi Lagoon, he named his grant Agnes Bank after his mother Agnes Hilson and rented these fertile river flats out to suitable tenants for food production. Thompson became well-known in Windsor and was later named the “Father of Windsor”. He was a builder, farmer, brewer, tanner and was the Chief Constable at Green Hills (later Windsor) until 1808. Andrew Thompson died in 1810 at Windsor. His property was sold in 1815 to John Campbell who built two farmhouses, one of which later became known as ‘Osborne’.
|1792||Andrew Thompson arrived as a convict|
|1803||31 May||Charles Palmer granted 100 acres near Yarramundi Lagoon|
|1803||1 May||Mathew Gibbons received two land grants|
|1803||1 June||William Baxter (ex-NSW Corps) received 80 acres|
|1803||1 June||John Bayliss (ex-NSW Corps) received 200 acres|
|1804||11 August||Governor King granted Andrew Thompson 278 acres on the banks of Nepean River|
|1804||11 August||William Minchin granted 280 acres|
|1810||22 October||Andrew Thompson died at his home|
|1810||30 November||Governor Macquarie visited Agnes Banks on his tour of New South Wales|
|1815||Governor Macquarie’s Secretary John Campbell purchased part of Agnes Bank|
|1823||Campbell leased his farm and farmhouse|
|1838||Robert and Charlotte Williams purchased Agnes Banks|
|1839||Robert Williams died|
|1879||Public School built and named Yarramund|
|1879||John Williams purchased the southern portion of Agnes Banks and named his property “Tyreel”|
|1880||Williams built a two-storey mansion on Tyreel|
|1890s||Agnes Banks common was subdivided into 40 acres block|
|1893||May||St Paul’s Anglican Church erected|
|1895||9 September||Castlereagh Municipal Council proclaimed|
|1900||Post Office opened|
|1926||Ronald Barr purchased a portion of Agnes Banks and named the house there “Osborne”|
|1940s||Tex Morton ran the ‘Dude Ranch’ and guest house|
|1949||Castlereagh Municipal Council amalgamated with Penrith Municipal Council|
|1966||Post Office closed|
|1970||School at Agnes Banks closed|
|1980s||St Paul’s Church relocated to Richmond|
Historic buildings & places
Chestnut: This late Victorian farmhouse was built around 1880 in Flemish bond brickwork and was extended in 1915 with a projecting side bay. This house is typical of the farmhouses built in this area during the latter part of the nineteenth century.
Tyreel: Tyreel was built in 1870 and extended with a two storey addition in 1890. The land had previously been the southern section of the Osborne property owned by Andrew Thompson. John Williams purchased this property and named the farm Tyreel.
photo by Inglis Rural Property
photo by Inglis Rural Property
Osborne: The property was part of a land grant made in 1804 to Andrew Thompson, who named the farm after his mother. The house was built in the early 1820s. The southern part of the Agnes Banks estate was purchased by John Williams who named his farm Tyreel. In 1926 Ronald Barr purchased part of the property and renamed the house Osborne.
St Paul’s Church of England: The church was built in 1893 on land donated by Robert Farlow. It became the centre for social engagement for over 50 years. Concerts and harvest festivals were annual events on the social calendar. After the church closed, the building was relocated in 1991 to the University of Western Sydney Hawkesbury Campus and reinvented as the Owen Carter Memorial Chapel.
For photos and more information on Agnes Banks, search Penrith City Library’s catalogue using an All Resources search.
Penrith City Council Commission of Inquiry into Interim Conservation Order the Natural Area, Agnes Banks: Primary Submission, September 1988.
Cleland, Kevin The Natural Area Agnes Banks, Commission of Inquiry for Environment and Planning, December 1988.
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.
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 File – Agnes Banks.
Phipps, R. J., The History of St Paul’s Church 1893-1977: St. Pauls Church of England, Agnes Banks, NSW, the author, 1977.
Stacker, Lorraine Pictorial history: Penrith & St Marys, Kingsclear Books, 2002.
Stevenson, Colin R. Place Names and their Origins within the City of Penrith, Penrith City Council, Penrith, 1985.
Stickley, ChristineThe Old Charm of Penrith, 2nd ed., the author, St. Marys, 1984.