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The Rydges at Elderslie And Its History

Aug 6, 2008
Starting from the west and working north to east, Elderslie is surrounded by the suburbs of Camden, Narellan, Harrington Park, Mount Annan, Spring Farm, and Camden South. Elderslie remains one of the smallest suburbs in the area, holding a population of less than 3,000 people. Although Elderslie is one of the smaller suburbs under the local government area of Camden Council, it boasts some of the oldest homes, including an estate home, in the region.

Two individuals, John Macarthur and John Oxley, originally owned most of the Camden District. In 1805, John Macarthur was granted 5,000 acres in the area, which was once called Cowpastures. Macarthur renamed his share of the land after his patron, Lord Camden. John Macarthur was responsible for developing Australia's Merino wool industry and began the areas wine production. John Oxley was given two land grants, the first of which, in 1815, was 1,000 acres and named after his home in England, Kirkham. The second land grant of 810 acres, Oxley named "Ellerslie" after another property he owned. The names 'Ellerslie' and 'Elderslie' are interchangeable and mean 'the field of elder trees' in Old English.

Oxley was an English naval officer and appointed Surveyor General of Lands in New South Wales in 1812. He and Macarthur were closely associated with each other, Oxley having at one time been engaged to Elizabeth Macarthur. Oxley supported Macarthur during the Rum Rebellion, in which Macarthur deposed Governor William Bligh to become rebel leader of the area. Oxley was able to avoid the many of the troubles that followed Macarthur, who was exiled for a time, because of the rebellion.

Some of the homes remaining from the nineteenth century are still in use in Elderslie, one of which was named after John Oxley himself. The John Oxley Cottage was built on Oxley land in the 1890s, over 60 years after his death. The cottage, originally used as a workhouse, is now home to the Camden Visitor Information Centre. People who visit Elderslie can visit the Centre and take advantage of its services. It offers information on the heritage walk, which tours the historic buildings in Elderslie and rest of Camden.

Also located within the suburb of Elderslie is the Studley Park House. The Studley Park House is one of the last Victorian country estate mansions remaining in the Camden/Campbelltown area. Although the estate now belongs to a golf country club that erected modern buildings on the property, the home's architecture is still preserved. Other homes in Elderslie include the Bruchhauser House, Galvin Cottage, and Hilsyde House. The Bruchhauser House, built by John Bruchhauser in the 1880s, and Galvin Cottage are still used as residential homes. Builder and Mayor of Camden, Walter Furner built the Hilsyde House in 1888 as his residence. The former residence is now home to the Angelican Church.

Just south of the suburb Elderslie, on Elderslie Road, is the Elderslie Bridge. The bridge, built in 1891 by J A McDonald, is considered on of the most technologically advanced bridges of its time. Elderslie Bridge is not only considered to be in good, working condition, it is believed to be in its original state. The bridge, having survived over 100 years of use, is even now in use.
About the Author
Donna Mathews
www.rydgeselderslie.com
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