The aim of the Camden History Notes blog is telling stories about the characters, events, general goings and changing landscapes of the Macarthur region of New South Wales, and occasionally elsewhere.
Storytelling exists in all cultures and the Macarthur region has a rich mix of cultures on Sydney’s southwestern urban fringe. It is one the fastest, growing areas in Australia with its master-planned housing estates and peri-urban farmland.
The land was originally occupied by the Indigenous Dharawal people until settler colonialism dispossessed them of their country. Europeans named the area the Cowpastures in 1796, settlement followed, with inevitable conflict on the colonial frontier resulting in the 1816 Appin massacre (south of Campbelltown).
The construction of place by European occupation created a farming landscape composed of gentry estates with convict labour, mixed with smallholder grants to ex-military, emancipated convicts and free settlers, and a scattering of villages whose communities called England ‘home’.
A new layer of stories were added to by the emergence of the three market-towns of Campbelltown (1820), Camden (1840) and Picton (1841) which shaped their own sense of place and regional identities.
From the mid-20th century urban planners drew inspiration from post-war Britain and shaped the emerging region with greenbelts and new towns. In 1973 the ‘new cities project’ modelled on the British Garden City concept re-shaped the region with the new Macarthur Growth Centre (1975) in honour of colonial reprobate John Macarthur.