Riverwood is mainly within the Hurstville
Municipality. When the railway to East Hills was opened in 1931, the
station was named Herne Bay after a small arm of Salt Pan Creek. In
1958 the named was changed to Riverwood.
From 1788 to 1816 the area was inhabited by
Aboriginal Tribes with an occasional visit from escaped convicts or
hunters employed by the Governemnt. White settlement in the area
officially began in 1810 with a series of land grants.
Market gardeners and timber getters mainly
occupied the area between Hurstville and Liverpool. Saw pits were dug
and the sound of an axe and the rip of saws were heard across the land.
The charcoal burners came, and many land owners in the area began to
find deposits of ashes on the properties.
Herne Bay Railway Station (now Riverwood)
opened on 21 December 1931. A rail motor passed through the station
until 17 December 1939 because the line (East Hills) was only
electrified as far as Kingsgrove.
During late 1942 the US Army took over a 236
acre site located in the area between Canterbury Road, the East Hills
Railway Line, Salt Pan Creek and Bonds Road. The largest military
hospital in Australia was built on this site by the Australian
Government under Reverse Land-Lease for the 118th General
Hospital, US Army which was formed by doctors and nurses from John
Hopkins University Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. It cost $1 million.
Known as the 188 General Hospital it was planned as a hospital centre
of five hospitals. 490 timber barrack-type buildings each approximately
twelve(12) by thirty(30) metres, were constructed. These buildings were
known as huts, housed a total of 4,250 beds and accommodated 1,250
patients and 3,500 staff. Black and white soldiers were segregated into
The legend that the hospital was really
intended for Hervey Bay in Queensland, is just a legend. The hospital
was formed by doctors and nurses from the John Hopkins University
Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. The hospital staff arrived in Sydney
during June 1942 and ran a 400 bed hospital from August 1942, with a
section at the Hydro Majestic Hotel at Medlow Bath. On the 8th September 1943, Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of the US President, visited the 118 General Hospital.
According to Brian Madden, local historian,
the 1943 Canterbury Council Minute Books record. Council had a flag
embroidered especially for her visit. It is reputed Mayor Stan Parry
was the only civilian to attend a reception for Mrs. Roosevelt.
During 1945 the US Army vacated the hospital
and the site was taken over by the Royal Navy. A Royal Navy Hospital
occupied many of the buildings in January 1946 and the Australian Army
used other sections. (Article taken from Hurstville Genealogist, No. 97 June/July, 2002)
DUMBLETON PUBLIC SCHOOL
An application for the establishment of a
public school at Beverly Hills, then known either by the name of
Hurstville West or Dumbleton, was made on 23rd July, 1890. Signatories
to the document were Messrs. Frederick Thompson, J. Dowman, W. Gosling,
M. Harmston and Edward Butfield. It was stated that the nearest schools
were at Hurstville and Mortdale, while 51 boys and 46 girls resided in
the locality and were in need of educational facilities.Mr. Inspector Skillman, after careful
investigation, recommended that the application be declined as ample
accommodation was provided at Hurstville, Peakhurst and Mortdale
schools. However, Mr. District inspector Dwyer was of the opinion that
a school would be required at Dumbleton in the near future. In view of
these circumstances he advised that steps be taken to secure a site to
meet future requirements. The Department agreed with this proposal and
in October, 1891 a site of four acres, three roods and five and a
quarter perches was obtained for school purposes. The land comprised
allotment 1 of the subdivision of the Dumbleton Estate.Following the acquisition of the site a
contract was entered into with Mr. Robert Gow for the erection of a
school building. The work was completed early in 1892. The school
opened on Monday, 25 April, 1892, under the charge of Mr. William
Crawford. He was assisted by a pupil-teacher, Miss Gertrude Rembert.
There is no record of the initial enrolment, but by May the enrolment
comprised 35 boys and 33 girls with an average attendance of 53.4.
After 23 years the name of the school was
changed from Hurstville West in 1892 to Dumbleton in 1915. It became
known as Beverly Hills in 1940, 25 years later.(Article taken from Hurstville Genealogist, No. 97 June/July, 2002)
26 Grey Street, CARLTON
Miles Franklin, the famous Australian author
of My Brilliant Career fame was born in Tumut in 1881 and lived in that
area during her childhood. The rest of her life was spent travelling
the world in such places as Chicago, USA, Macedonia and England. She
came back to Australia briefly a few times and finally came back to
stay in 1932/33 and settled in the home of her parents at 26 Grey
Street, Carlton and started to reacquaint herself with the literary and
theatrical world of Sydney. Her parents had bought the house for £510 in in 1914, two months before the 1st
World War broke out and called the house "Wambrook". She also worked
from offices in Hurstville's old Council Chambers and also next to the
Hurstville Ritz Hotel in Forest Road. Miles Franklin was left the house
after her mother had died in 1938. Miles lived in the home in Carlton
until 1954, where she was overcome by a severe heart attack and
transferred to Seacombe Private Hospital in Drummoyne where she
subsequently died.Given that Miles Franklin lived for about 20
years in the St. George area, Hurstville City Council are going to
construct a memorial within the Hurstville CBD to honour her. We look
forward to seeing this memorial put in place.
Note: This statue of Miles Franklin was
unvieled on Thursday 19 June 2003 by Hurstville Mayor Vince Badalati
and the sculptor of this statue Jacek Luszczyk. It now stands proudly
on the corner of Dora and McMahon Streets, Hurstville.
picture of the unveiling of the Miles
Franklin statue was taken from "Hurstville Council Comment"
dated July 2003, page 1.