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Menangle And It's History

Aug 29, 2008
Travel to Menangle and at the end of Glenlee Road stands the impressive property known as Glenlee. Built in 1824 for the Police Magistrate William Howe, Glenlee has a rather auspicious history.

Menangle resident James Fitzpatrick married a daughter of William and Annie Cummins, Glenlee tenant farmers at Menangle. While William Cummins served as Mayor in 1888 and 1890, James' grandson Frederick Sedgwick was Mayor 1957-1959. James Fitzpatrick Jnr came to own Glenlee, and it was he who first postulated a racetrack at Menangle, although by that time horse racing had been held at Menangle for some 30 years, since the 1860s.

When the Menangle racecourse opened in 1914, it became a makeshift Army camp and was used to train member of the Australian Lighthorse Brigade. During the post-WWI housing boom in Campbelltown Menangle was divided up and developed, and the street names reflect the people who made Menangle what it is today - Cummins, Taber and Fitzpatrick Streets commemorate the famous Menangle men, while Racecourse Avenue and Station Road are obvious (Menangle station opened in 1937 at its current location). The designer of the Menangle racecourse, Alfred Payten, is remembered in Payten Street. When WWII was declared, Menangle racecourse was again an Army base, with an airstrip laid out through its centre.

In 1952 the Menangle Racecourse was acquired by the NSW Trotting Club and done up as a paceway. In 1957, the Vulcan Fireworks Company, which operated in a factory on Cummins Street, blew up, leaving a smouldering mess and many a shaken resident in Menangle.

Since 1955 residents of Menangle have been lobbying to have the ability to subdivide their land, as their properties are 'too big for building but too small for rural pursuits', being 2.5 acres each. The State Government granted permission for this in 1981, but the government's ban on new developments near the Nepean River because of water and air concerns have prevented the lots of Menangle from being developed further.

The Menangle Virus was 'discovered' in 1997 in a piggery in Menangle, after a spate of stillborn piglets and deformities, and several staff members taking ill with flu-like symptoms. The source is believed to be a nearby colony of fruit bats, or flying foxes, which appear to be asymptomatic. The Menangle virus is one of three viruses that have recently been discovered in Australia, that can be transferred from bats to humans (zoonotic) and is closely related to the recently discovered Tioman virus (which although related to the Menangle virus is not known to be transmissible to humans). Although, it is believed (because it is so closely related to the Menangle virus) that Tioman may cause disease if it does pass from animal to human.

Menangle remains to this day a quiet, rural town, dominated by Menangle Paceway (which has plans to reopen in 2008 following extensive refurbishment, and with it, Menangle Markets coming back bigger and brighter). The annual Campbelltown Show (held at Menangle Showgrounds) and the beautiful Menangle House are drawcards to this hidden gem in Campbelltown's country.
About the Author
Donna Mathews
http://www.menangle.com
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