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LOCAL HISTORY
Places

RIVERWOOD
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 separate huts.

 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)

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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)

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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.


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            This picture of the unveiling of the Miles Franklin statue was taken from "Hurstville Council  Comment" Issue 7 dated July 2003, page 1.


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