Baulkham Hills Heritage Trail

A. H. Whaling Reserve

The reserve is part of a 150 acre grant given to Andrew McDougall on 12 November 1799. Andrew and Elizabeth McDougall had arrived in Sydney on 8 May 1798 aboard the Barwell as free immigrants from Scotland and first resided in Parramatta. Andrew called the property Roxburgh Place after County Roxburgh Scotland the area of his birth. By 1802 the name Baulkham Hills derived from his native place Buckholm Hills was in use for the surrounding area. By 1832 the family had extensive orange orchards with trees that had been established for about 20 years.

Roxburgh Hall

Roxburgh Hall built in 1858 was the third McDougall house built on the estate. It contained 9 large rooms, a long wide hall, a schoolroom and a huge kitchen, pantry and bathrooms and was in the vicinity of what is now Jamieson Avenue but facing Windsor Road. There were also 3 cottages (for the overseer, groom and labourer) and numerous outbuildings including a conservatory, aviary, summerhouse and fernery, coach house, and stables for 13 horses.

Baulkham Hills Memorial Swimming Pool, now known as Waves,
was opened 11 March 1967

The property was sold to James G. Doyle in 1869, William E. Sparke in 1874 and Mr. E.J. Wehlow in 1881. Wehlow’s property, known as Roxborough Hall Estate, was advertised for auction in1886 as a subdivision of 20 orchard blocks ranging from half a hectare to 20 hectares in size.

There were 17 hectares planted with oranges, lemons, mandarins, apples, pears, peaches, plums, apricots, cherries; 11 hectares planted with oats, barley, lucerne, turnips, peas, beans, and other vegetables; 45 hectares cleared for grazing purposes and the remainder bushland. The property was well watered by a creek that ran through it (now the site of the reserve), 4 large dams and wells and 8 underground tanks. William Thomas Wright purchased the entire estate and owned it until c1904.

By 1904 the property was owned by Frederick George Fox who, with his brother Alfred Paine Fox, ran Fox Bros. Ltd, Manufacturers and Importers of Plumbers’, Galvanised Ironworkers’ and Gasfitters’ Materials, 276-278 Pitt Street Sydney. F.G. Fox died in 1931 but his widow, Frances Catherine Fox, remained at Roxborough until her death in 1941.

From 1931 to 1945 the Perpetual Trustee Company held the deeds, with Nock and Kirby’s Hardware leasing the property for storage from c1941 until 1945 and Mr. and Mrs. Linquist acting as caretakers. Celestino Baiada a poultry farmer from Pendle Hill purchased the property in 1945 and converted the 4 main rooms of the house into 2 bedroom flats making four flats in all. In 1964 Stocks & Holdings purchased it and, in stages, developed Roxborough Park housing estate. Roxburgh Hall was demolished in 1965.

Roxborough Park Reserve was established by Council as a local park for the new residents. The Baulkham Hills Shire War Memorial Swimming Centre (now called Waves Fitness and Aquatic Centre) was officially opened there on 11 March 1967. The Hills Community Kindergarten was opened in July 1973 following the formation of an association of parents in 1969.

One of the rare rare native Toona Australis deciduous red cedar
rainforest trees that were planted outside the Pool entrance in 1988

The site for the Rose Garden was originally chosen by Council in 1966 and the original concept design prepared by the Senior Landscape Designer of Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney. Eventually rose plants were obtained from many sources including donations from local nurseries and rose societies. The Rose Garden, with 8,200 square metres under roses, was officially opened by Senator R.C. Cotton, Minister for Civil Aviation, on 23 Sep 1972 during Orange Blossom Festival.

In c1986, following discussions with Ben Swane from the Horticultural Field Crop Growers (NSW) Group, it was decided to extend the formal gardens along the grassed area adjacent to the swimming pool fence and encompass the ornamental pond. The Group made plant material for the garden beds available and a bed was ceremonially planted with the Australian Bicentennial Rose on 12 June 1987 in preparation for the 1988 bicentennial celebrations. With over 4,000 rose plants representing more than 100 varieties, it is one of the largest public rose gardens in Sydney.

The reserve was renamed after Alfred Henry Whaling who was a Shire Councillor from 1953-1969 and Shire President from 1956-1963. This was gazetted on 13 July 1984. On 23 April 1988 rare native Toona Australia deciduous red cedar rainforest trees were planted outside the Pool entrance.


Bunya Pines originally lined the driveway to Chelsea Farm

Torry Burn Reserve

George and Sarah Suttor arrived in Sydney on 5 November 1800 aboard the Porpoise as free immigrants from England sent by Sir Joseph Banks with a precious collection of plants for the New South Wales colony. He received a grant of 186 acres on 31 March 1802 at Baulkham Hills between those of John Smith and Andrew McDougall. George, who planted and later sold various fruit trees, especially oranges, is credited with being the first nurseryman in the colony.


Their home facing Windsor Road was south of Toongabbie Creek in Torry Burn Reserve, and had a bunyah pine driveway. The property was first called Suttor Farm and later became known as Chelsea Farm after George’s birthplace in London. Over time the Suttor family built three homes on the property. The current 2 storey brick residence, in Englart Place, was constructed in 1873 by a grandson and has been extended substantially by various owners over time using a combination of materials.


Chelsea Farm

In November 1938 Chelsea Park Training Farm at Windsor Road Baulkham Hills was opened by The Australian Jewish Welfare Society and consisted of a 25 acre farm, two-storey colonial homestead and various outbuildings built by the Suttor family. Surrounding property of about 10 acres was acquired including cottages on Coronation and Palace Roads. The Farm trained Jewish refugees to become poultry or mixed farmers or farmhands, and married couples to work on farms.


St Michael's in the Field 1991

By March 1940, due to the halt in migration of Jewish refugees, no trainees remained at Chelsea Park. The Military Authorities took over the property leasing it from April 1941 until mid 1944. 1 Cavalry Division (Australia) was there from 8/4/1941 until 23/5/1941, and Royal Navy Hydrographic Branch occupied it from 13/1/1942 until 12/11/1942. In 1949 the Jewish Welfare Society decided Chelsea Park was too far away from the city to be used as a hostel so it was sold.


Scottish free settlers John and Mary Smith arrived in Sydney on 18 May 1798 aboard the Barwell. Fellow passengers were the McDougall family who became their neighbours in Baulkham Hills. John Smith received a grant of 150 acres on 12 November 1799, naming it Torry Burn after the village of his birth in Dunfermline Fife Scotland. His homestead was situated on Palace Road near St. James Avenue, north of Toongabbie Creek in Torry Burn Reserve.


Torry Burn produced grain, fruit and cattle. After his death on 12 August 1846, John’s sons organised the sale of one and a half acres of his property to the Catholic Church for the building of St Michael’s in the Field and this was completed in 1849.

The 1907-9 and 1910 Council Rate Books show that the land originally granted to George Suttor and John Smith had been acquired by Edward Henry Pearce of Bella Vista Farm. After his death the Chelsea Farm residence and 17 acres were advertised for auction on 18 April 1914 as part of Pearce’s Estate subdivision. Land north of Toongabbie Creek was advertised for auction on 12 March 1921 as Pearce’s Estate no.4 subdivision with 37 small farm lots.

Developers bought land over much of this area and residential blocks in new housing subdivisions were offered for sale from 1965. Torry Burn Reserve was developed by Council for the new residents and its name was gazetted on 12 February 1982.


Sophie Doyle Reserve

Andrew Doyle, an engraver and calico printer, having been found guilty in November 1801 of forging bank notes, arrived in Sydney from Ireland as a convict aboard the Rolla on 12 May 1803. His wife Sophia Isabella Norris and their three children accompanied him, paying their passage. Andrew was assigned to his wife who received a land grant of 60 acres on 4 June 1804, west of John Smith’s property Torry Burn. Four more children were born in NSW.

Dargle Lower Portland 1991

On arrival Andrew was appointed by Governor King to produce watercolours of native shrubs for Sir Joseph Banks. The family sold their grant on 25 December 1807 and in 1808 moved to the Lower Portland Head area where they became prominent citizens. Dargle was one of their Lower Portland properties. Six marriages between the neighbouring Doyle and McDougall families occurred over the ensuing years.

Sophia Doyle Reserve, located between Jasper Road and Seven Hills Road Baulkham Hills covers 15 hectares and is part of a continuous corridor of bushland adjoining upper Toongabbie Creek from Windsor Road through to Old Windsor Road. Plant communities include Blue Gum Forest, Cumberland Plain Woodland, River Flat Forest and Turpentine/Ironbark Forest. The reserve name was gazetted on 13 July 1984.


Joyce Farmhouse 2002

William Joyce Reserve

William Joyce arrived in Sydney from England as a convict aboard the Albermarle on 12 October 1791. He received 105 acres on 1 December 1794 - the first land granted in what is now The Hills Shire. In 1799 William married his convict servant Sarah Jackson who had arrived on the Britannia III in 1798. He warned Elizabeth Macarthur and Samuel Marsden of the 1804 convict outbreak from Castle Hill and received another 75 acres as a reward.

William’s house was damaged by fire on 7 October 1804. On 17 March 1811 he opened one of the earliest inns on the Hawkesbury (now Old Windsor) Road. In 1826 the property was sold to James Pye who named it Pye Hall. The house is located in Valerie Avenue.


Crestwood Reserve

In 1799 Major Joseph Foveaux was granted 300 acres in this area to which he added surrounding properties to create his Stock Farm of 1770 acres. He sold his farm with 1250 sheep on 5th December 1801 to John Macarthur for 2000 pounds. Until the sale, Foveaux had been the largest landowner and had the most sheep in the colony. After the sale, Macarthur inherited this claim and, with his sheep added to Foveaux's, he had 2220 in 1801- the largest, by far, in the colony. By 1821, John and Elizabeth Macarthur had exchanged the Seven Hills Farm with the Crown for land at Camden.

170 acres in the vicinity of the southern end of Crestwood Reserve was re-granted to Matthew Woodward Pearce, son of Matthew Pearce, in 1835. His residence Orange Grove built in 1834 was on his main property south of Seven Hills Road Baulkham Hills and east of William Joyce’s grant. In 1927 John Forth Peel bought 1,000 acres in the Chapel Lane area from the Pearce family and then established a dairy, later adding to the property.

In 1840 700 acres in the vicinity of the northern end of Crestwood Reserve was re-granted to Andrew McDougall junior and J.F. Doyle (in trust). Paddocks were leased for grazing and cultivation to various locals including Redden, Reid and Tuckwell until the subdivision plan of Andrew Louis McDougall’s (grandson of Andrew McDougall) Baulkham Hills Estate advertised a public auction on 24 March 1869. From the late 1800s until the 1970s the area was home to dairies operated by such families as Luke, Peel and Higgins.


Dairy farm near Windsor Road 1970

Chapel Lane was the main road that traversed the area until residential housing was developed in stages from the mid 1960s until the early 1970s. In Nov 1963, Hudson’s United Developments Pty Ltd first proposed to Council the subdivision of John Peel’s 184 acres to be known as Kanangra Park Estate, Aboriginal for beautiful view. In 1966 Hudson’s sold the land to Parkes Developments Pty Ltd and Stage 1 consisting of 174 lots in Chapel Road & Lukes Lane area was launched. Stage 2 off Merindah Road was released in 1968, with further stages off Chapel Lane developed in the next few years.



MacKillop Reserve

This reserve, like the northern end of Crestwood Reserve, is part of 300 acres originally granted to Major Joseph Foveaux in 1799 and sold with sheep to John Macarthur on 5 December 1801. The land was re-granted in 1840 to Andrew McDougall and J.F. Doyle in trust and by 24 March 1869 Andrew Louis McDougall’s Baulkham Hills Estate subdivision plan indicated that this area was mostly grass paddocks for grazing. The 1907-09 and 1910 Council Rate Books show that orchardist George Woodward Pearce of Seven Hills owned the land which was later subdivided into smaller farms.

The extensive grounds of St Joseph's

In 1952 Mother Leonie, the Superior General of the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart, purchased a farm along the Windsor Road south of Barina Downs Road and on 11 April 1953, the foundation stone was laid for St Joseph’s Novitiate by Cardinal Gilroy. The official opening took place on 14 April 1956 with Sisters moving in immediately and novices by the end of the year. The training of novices was the prime function of the Novitiate. By 1978 the building also became a training centre for Sisters of other orders.


Boys from St Michael's Orphanage ready for church
at St Michael's Baulkham Hills c1943

In the beginning the Sisters maintained their own dairy, piggery and fowls and they also grew their own vegetables. They baked bread for themselves and surrounding parishes. The “Brown Josephites” celebrated 100 years of dedicated service in 1980, the order having been founded by Sister Mary MacKillop after whom MacKillop Drive was named. The land fronting Windsor Road was sold for residential development in 1985, followed by more in Barina Downs Road in 1991 with the nuns keeping their Novitiate building and surrounding land on MacKillop Drive. In recent times it has been used for conferences and other events.

In 1901 the Sisters of Mercy Parramatta established a convent for convalescent purposes on Windsor Road Baulkham Hills north of the stone St Michael’s in the Field Catholic Church built in 1849. By the end of the following year they had commenced St Michael’s Orphanage as a preparatory home for small boys prior to admission into St. Vincent’s Westmead. Today St Michael’s Family Centre operates on the Convent site. Excess land was sold in the Chapel Lane and MacKillop Drive area in 1985-1986 for residential housing development.