His­tory

Hills to Hawkesbury Living Magazine - - IN THIS ISSUE -

The Bene­dictines were brought to Aus­tralia when the Ro­man Catholic arch­bishop in the colony, the English Bene­dic­tine Dr John Bede Pold­ing, es­tab­lished two monas­ter­ies: St

Mary’s in Syd­ney in 1843 where monks prac­tised; and Su­bi­aco in 1849 for the nuns, on the banks of the Par­ra­matta River. The Church’s min­istry was to con­duct schools, which it did at Lyn­d­hurst in Glebe, open­ing in 1852 through to 1877; and at Su­bi­aco from 1851 to 1921.

Su­bi­aco was the former home of Han­ni­bal Macarthur (17881861), nephew of John Macarthur. In 1813 Han­ni­bal bought the prop­erty known as the Vine­yard, one of the ear­li­est land grants made by Gov­er­nor Phillip in 1791. Philip Schaf­fer had been the orig­i­nal grant holder. It was later owned for a pe­riod of time by Cap­tain Henry Water­house who had brought the first Span­ish merino sheep to Aus­tralia in 1797. Han­ni­bal Macarthur ex­panded the size of the prop­erty to 700 acres (280 hectares) and built a grand man­sion on it, de­signed by John Verge and com­pleted in 1836. Maria Macarthur, wife of Han­ni­bal, was the daugh­ter of Philip Gidley King, former gov­er­nor of New South Wales. The Vine­yard home­stead was sur­rounded by an or­angery, ex­ten­sive gar­dens and a cir­cu­lar ter­raced vine­yard. Par­rots and pos­sums were brought to the Macarthur chil­dren as pets. Han­ni­bal Macarthur lost his for­tunes dur­ing the de­pres­sion of the early 1840s and a por­tion of 140 acres (56 hectares), which in­cluded the house, was sold and re­named

Su­bi­aco in ref­er­ence to the place where St Bene­dict had spent some of his early monas­tic life.

Trevor Pa­trick is a lo­cal his­to­rian. Find the trea­sures of the Hills in the new award-win­ning book, “In Search

of the Pen­nant Hills” re­ceiv­ing the 2008 Hornsby Shire Owen Nan­nelli Me­mo­rial Award, and Sil­ver Tro­phy, NSW Print­ing In­dus­try Ex­cel­lence Award And now avail­able at Pen­nant Hills Phar­macy; Chil­dren’s & Capella Book­shop, Beecroft; Banjo Books, Ep­ping; Old Church Book­shop, Car­ling­ford; Ken­thurst Newsagency.

Su­bi­aco man­sion (de­mol­ished 1961)

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