East Kurrajong, New South Wales is a scattered settlement stretching the length of the landform known as The Bull Ridge which runs from the Comleroy Road and East Kurrajong Road intersection near Kurrajong, thence in an easterly direction to the vicinity of Sackville. On the southern side of the ridge meanders Howes Creek and in the valley to the north flows Roberts Creek.
The earliest portions to be settled by Europeans in the East Kurrajong area were along the creeks namely, Roberts, Howes and Buttsworths Creeks due to the obvious necessity for a reliable water supply. Land was also taken up along established roads and tracks. The grants near the Comleroy Road end of the ridge date from an earlier period than those further to the east along The Bull Ridge. For example: William John was granted Portion 19, Parish of Currency, County of Cook consisting of 100 acres in 1840 and Portion 9, a further 30 acres in 1852. Peter Hornery was granted Portion 10, Parish of Currency, County of Cook of 60 acres in 1831.
During the first half of the 19th century, settlement was also spreading northwards from Wilberforce through present day Glossodia and along Buttsworth and Howe’s Creeks on the south side of the ridge. For example Henry Buttsworth received two large grants in the Parish of Currency, County of Cook, Portion 3, of some 1,000 acres in 1837 and Portion 7 of 500 acres also in 1837, William Nowland was granted Portion 141 in the Parish of Currency, County of Cook, of 50 acres in 1840.
Further along the ridge, Portion 61 of 30 acres in the Parish of Meehan, County of Cook was granted to Daniel Rawson in 1823 but it was not until the latter part of the 19th century that other allotments were taken up in the vicinity. A study of the electoral roll for 1878 indicates that at that time most of those eligible to vote gave their place of residence as Howe’s Creek, Buttsworth Swamp or Ryan’s Swamp. In comparison, the 1901 Electoral Roll shows, apart from a large increase in the numbers of eligible voters, that 50% gave their address as Bullridge. [http://www.hawkesbury.net.au/lists/1901Census.html]
Apart from the previously mentioned scattered early grants, much of the land settled along the Bull Ridge was made possible by the Crowns Lands Alienation Act of 1861, also known as the Robertson Land Act. This act permitted free selection of Crown Land before survey. Land selected could be between 40 and 320 acres at a fixed price of £1 per acre. There were several conditions to be met by selectors: one quarter of the purchase price was required as deposit with the balance was due within three years. Later this condition was changed so that only the interest was required to be paid. Many years often elapsed between the date of conditional purchase and the date of the first certificate of title.
Another method of gaining land was purchasing of Crown Land blocks at a public auction. Public auctions were often advertised in the local newspaper, The Windsor & Richmond Gazette. Land which was to be auctioned was surveyed prior to the auction taking place. Some blocks along the Bull Ridge were conditional purchases dating from the 1870s but many date from the 1890s. By the early 1900 almost all of the productive land between Roberts Creek and Howe’s Creek had been selected for small farms and orchards. In contrast, the poor productivity of some areas along Blaxland’s Ridge retarded development in that area until recent times.
Settlement in the locality was also encouraged by the fact that the track along the Bull Ridge was an established stock route. From the 1850s onwards, the track along The Bull Ridge became the main thoroughfare for the droving of stock from Sackville to Richmond and beyond. In those days the main tracks tended to follow the ridges cutting through private land holdings with side tracks leading down to reliable sources of water. It is said that The Bull Ridge therefore earned it’s name and reputation as a stock route. The portion of land now occupied by Stanley Park was part of a Camping and Watering Reserve notified for the use of travelling stock in 1889. As late as the 1930s, older residents of the area remember that there were still slip rails along the Bull Ridge and it was necessary to stop and open the sliprails in order to pass through, whether you were travelling by car or horse.
Please make your comment below. PLEASE NOTE that comments are moderated and only relevant comments will be published