Belmore NSW

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Leaflet.png The foundation of this article derives from early library leaflets from the 1980s. Please see Local History Leaflets (City of Canterbury Library Service).

Name

Belmore
SydneyNew South Wales
Population: 12,574 (2011 Census)
Postcode: 2192
LGA: City of Canterbury
State electorate: Lakemba
Federal Division: Watson
St George Hotel, Belmore, [group portrait], ca 1919.
During construction of the Marrickville to Burwood Railway Line, in the early 1890's, there was much discussion about what to call the terminus station. The most popular suggestion was St George. The name, which today is readily identified with the Hurstville, Rockdale and Kogarah areas, used to refer to an area that also included much of Canterbury. In fact the first Hotel in the Belmore district was called the St George Hotel (it still stands on the corner of Canterbury and Kingsgrove Roads).

Councils on the Illawarra Railway Line objected, feeling the name was more appropriate for them. Canterbury Council was adamant the station be called St George and it took the, then member for Canterbury, Joseph Carruthers to change their mind. Carruthers was an astute politition who knew how to convince people his way was right, not only did he convince the people of Canterbury to name the Burwood Road Terminus, Belmore, he went on to occupy many senior ministries before becoming Premier of NSW in 1904, a position he held until he retired in 1907.

The name Belmore had been associated with the area since 1869, when a local school was named after the Governor of NSW, the Earl of Belmore. See Belmore - Name Origin for more information.

Early History

Portrait of Hannah Laycock.
The area had been settled long before this with the first land grant given to Hannah Laycock in 1804. This land grant was for 500 acress and was located in the areas we know today as Kingsgrove. Hannah Laycock called her estate King's Grove as a mark of gratitude to Governor King who gave her the grant. The remainder of Belmore was granted in two periods; 1810 and the early 1830's.

Due to transport difficulties, the area remained a sparsely settled agricultural community. The first post office was not established until 1879. the first major subdivisions occurred after the arrival of the railway in 1895. The railway also centralised the business district around Burwood Road.

Population

The major increase in population in the area occurred between the wars. This period saw a substantial remodelling of Belmore South Public School and a massive expansion of Belmore North Public School. Various work schemes initiated during the depression saw major road works for Burwood Road and Lakemba Street. The distinctive concrete slab roads of the area were built at this time.

Religion

St Joseph's Church, Canterbury Road, Belmore, ca 1980s

St Joseph's Catholic Church was erected on its present site, near the intersection of Burwood and Canterbury Roads, in 1906. Previously Belmore's Catholic community met in a hall hired for the purpose. A number of small Catholic schools, run in peoples homes, were replaced by a new parish school built adjacent to St Joseph's Church in 1921. When opened, this new school was run by staff from St Mel's in Campsie. In 1954 a much larger Church was built on the site and still stands there today. The school, now St Joseph's Primary, still serves the area.

In 1964 the All Saints' Anglican Church, a small church on the corner of Cecilia and Isabel Streets, was purchased by the Greek Orthodox Community. They retained the All Saints' name and used it for their church. The Greek Orthodox community quickly outgrew the little church, so adjacent properties were purchased and in 1972 the prominant white Church , which stands there, was completed. The new building included a large area for classrooms and community activities.

The Greek community was not the only ethnic group to establish itself in Belmore. The Lebanese, Korean and many other communities are all represented in the area, making it, like the rest of Canterbury, a richly diverse area.

Prepared by Canterbury City Library

Sources

JERVIS, James : A History of the Municipality of Canterbury. [Campsie, NSW: Canterbury City Council], 1951.

LARCOMBE, Frederick A. Change and challenge: a history of the municipality of Canterbury. [Canterbury, NSW]: Canterbury Municipal Council, 1979. Last updated June, 1997