Beverly Hills 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).

Early History

Beverly Hills
SydneyNew South Wales
Population: 9,661 (2011 Census)
Postcode: 2209
LGA: City of Canterbury, City of Hurstville
State electorate: Lakemba, Oatley, Kogarah
Federal Division: Banks, Watson, Barton
King Georges Road, Beverly Hills, Sydney. Photograph courtesy J bar at en.wikipedia.org
From the date of the settlement at Sydney Cove until 1810, the district was left to the aborigines and the kangaroos, with an occasional visit from escaped convicts or hunters employed by the government. It was dense forest, broken only here and there by small settlers' homes - mostly market gardeners, dairies, timber getters and charcoal burners. Captain John Connell and Dr. Robert Townson were the first grantees of the area. In 1830, Dr. Townson's grant came into the hands of John Connell - the area being known as Connell's Bush. Dumbleton (now Beverly Hills) seems to have been included in this grant. It's name was taken from Dumbleton Farm, which according to an old account in "The Echo" was still standing in the 1890's.

Another early settler in the area was James Oatley who received his grant from Governor Brisbane in 1833. He was a watch and clockmaker whose premises stood in George Street, opposite the Town Hall, where Kerr & Co., jewellers, were later located. It is interesting to note that some of the clocks made by this early pioneer are still in existance today and in working order. In 1925, Mr W. Silversten of Bexley found Oatley's tomestone lying in some vacant land on the Moorefields Estate, and made a sketch of its position. The land was on the southern side of Ponyara Road between Pallamana Parade and Kooemba Road and the tombstone was about 433 feet from Pallamana Parade.

The earliest known Inn in the district was the "Robin Hood and Little John". Inns in those days took the part now played by clubs, schools of art and other meeting places, and it was in them local problems and needs were discussed.

Transport

Road works on Moorefields Road, Beverly Hills, ca 1990's.
When they wanted to get their goods to market in Sydney, the early settlers followed timber tracks which are now highways. During the 1870's, there were only two roads connecting with Sydney, Forest Road and Rocky Point Road. Stoney Creek Road and the Wollongong Road linked themselves to the Forest Road. There was at one time a mile of racecourse near the present Beverly Hills Station. During 1924, a survey of the area was made during negotiations for the building of a railway line. The following statistics were presented on Dumbleton:

Area - 2380 acres Dwellings - 552 Population - 2208 School Pupils - 481 With the advent of the East Hills Railway Line in 1931, considerable land development occurred, followed by a pattern of closer settlement, homes, shopping centres and factories. Dumbleton was renamed Beverly Hills in 1940.

On March 1, 1910, a Post Office was opened at Dumbleton, the postmistress in charge being Mrs C. Evans. The modern Post Office was opened on December 10, 1956.

Railway

The railway to Hurstville had been opened on October 15, 1884, as the first section of the Illawarra Line. The need for a railway to East Hills was first mentioned during the investigations of the Parliamentary Standing Commitee on Public Works in 1915, when the proposed railway from Bankstown to Liverpool was under consideration. One reason given was the increased local settlement in the direction of East Hills. The matter was raised again in 1920 when it was pointed out that a railway would cause development in the area, and in 1921, it was resolved that the railway be built.

Meanwhile, the Dumbleton Tramway League in 1922 asked the Railway Commissioner to investigate the construction of two tramways: Hurstville-Dumbleton-Lakemba and Bexley-Dumbleton-Lakemba. The area near Hurstville and Bexley was thickly populated until the small settlement of Dumbleton was reached. From there to about a mile from Lakemba Station, the bush land had not been cleared or built upon to any great extent. In view of the limited number of people living in the area, it was considered that the lines would cost too much to run and the proposal was not proceeded upon.

Following a request from the Dumbleton Tramway League in 1923, the Minister for Railways and Public Works gave permission for consideration to a Tempe-Salt Pan Creek proposal, and at Dumbleton, the President of the Tempe-Salt Pan Creek-Southern Railway League presented a petition urging the construction of the line, pointing out that it would alleviate the congestion on the Bankstown and Illawarra Lines, make accessible a vast amount of building ground, and make the waters of the Georges River more open to the general public. He further requested that the line continue to East Hills. At last, in 1928, the extension from Tempe began. The double line from Wolli Creek to Kingsgrove was open for traffic in September 1931. In November 1938, the double line was extended to Herne Bay (Riverwood). Dumbleton Station was opened on September 14, 1931. Its name was changed to Beverly Hills on August 28, 1940 following the change in the name of the district.

Education

Beverly Hills Public School, situated on the corner of Stoney Creek Road and King Georges Road, is the oldest school in the area. It was established in November 1891, and opened in April 1892, with Mr W. Crawford, previously Headmaster at Peakhurst , as its first teacher. 70 pupils were enrolled in the first year. Water was not laid onto the school till 1895. The school was first known as Hurstville West, then as Dumbleton, and finally in 1940 as Beverly Hills. No other school was built in Beverly Hills till 1952, when Beverly Hills North Public School's first building was completed at the corner of Shorter Avenue and King Georges Road. The first haedmaster was Mr Pearson who retired in 1967. Beverly Hills Girl's High School and the Regina Coeli School were built much later.

Religion

CHURCH OF CHRIST. This is the oldest church in Beverly Hills, celebrating its Golden Jubilee in November 1968. It began with a Sunday School meeting in November 1918. Meetings were held in an old packing shed on the corner of Stoney Creek Road and King Georges Road. At the beginning, there were 19 scholars and 5 teachers, while church membership was 15. The church moved to its present site at the corner of Stoney Creek Road and Cahill Street in 1920. A new hall was added to the building in 1959.

BAPTIST CHURCH. The Baptists commenced mid-week services in Beverly Hills in 1940, the first meeting being held on August 22. These were continued in the School of Arts until the church building was opened in Warrawee Place on September 13, 1952. The church itself was officially constituted on March 18, 1945. A two-story christian education building was opened in May 1962.

ST BEDES CHURCH of ENGLAND. The first Anglican service in the area was held in the School of Arts on June 22,1941. The foundation stone of St. Bedes was laid by Archbishop Mowell on October 16, 1943. A new church school was completed on February 5, 1944. A hall was added in 1957, and the present church was finished on July 18, 1964. The Beverly Hills Parish was separated from St. Johns, Penshurst, in 1958, when a property for a rectory was purchased.

REGINA COELI ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH. The Roman Catholic Parish of Beverly Hills was constituted in 1948. Regina Coeli in Ponyara Road was built by Father William Evans and was completed in 1963. It was built in honour of Australian-American friendship during peace and war. It is interesting to note that Father Evans had been a Naval Chaplain during WWII and had much contact with the Americans.

Beverly Hills Methodist Church Soccer Team, ca 1960. Photograph courtesy Patricia Dostine.
BEVERLY HILLS METHODIST PEACE MEMORIAL CHURCH. The Methodist Church in Beverly Hills celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1992. The Sunday School was first opened in a hall in Shorter Avenue. It was run by Mr Ted and Mrs Eileen Talbot, assisted by Mr Maurice Jones. In August 1942, the foundation for the school hall was laid in Ponyara Road by Rev. Campbell, the hall being completed in November. The foundation stone for the present church was laid by Rev. Manning Taylor and the building was erected in 1962.

Prepared by Canterbury City Library

Sources

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