Snap­shots- Fa­gan Park

Hills to Hawkesbury Living Magazine - - Gardening - By Carmel Lid­dell 38-48 Arcadia Road, Gal­ston Ref­er­ence: Edited ex­tract from Hornsby Shire Coun­cil’s Li­brary and In­for­ma­tion Ser­vices

Love gar­dens and his­tory? Fa­gan Park, the crown jewel of Hornsby Shire’s parks, has both.

Wil­liam Fa­gan was a free set­tler from Lon­don­derry Ire­land, who ar­rived in Syd­ney in 1848 and later mar­ried Ann Wad­dell. Wil­liam and Ann raised four daugh­ters and three sons on their 70 acre prop­erty pur­chased in Arcadia. The fam­ily es­tab­lished a suc­cess­ful citrus or­chard and be­came pi­o­neers in the citrus industry at Du­ral, Gal­ston and Arcadia.

Sons and part­ners, Wil­liam and Sam, also be­came ex­cel­lent citrus or­chardists. Sam and his wife Emma pur­chased their own land at Gal­ston in 1900 and moved from Du­ral to Gal­ston af­ter the part­ner­ship be­tween Wil­liam and Sam dis­solved. Sam and Emma con­ducted their owned grow­ing op­er­a­tion on the prop­erty and con­structed a fine homestead made of hand- made bricks known as ‘Netherby’.

The Fa­gan prop­erty be­came the largest or­chard in Gal­ston but by the early 1930s and the on­set of the Great De­pres­sion, Sam Fa­gan grad­u­ally closed down his or­chards. Bruce Fa­gan, youngest of Wil­liam and Ann’s chil­dren, then ran a herd of Jersey dairy cat­tle on the prop­erty. Bruce con­structed a dairy build­ing and his cat­tle breed­ing pro­gramme was de­scribed as first class. In 1980 Bruce Fa­gan and his sis­ter Ida, do­nated the orig­i­nal Sam Fa­gan prop­erty Fa­gan Park, to the De­part­ment of Lands and ap­pointed Hornsby Shire Coun­cil as its sole trustee. The park was adopted as Coun­cil’s bi­cen­ten­nial project.

Be­fore his death in 1984, Bruce Fa­gan was con­sulted about devel­op­ment plans for the site. Hornsby Shire Coun­cil re­ceived a Bi­cen­ten­nial Grant to­wards the Gar­den of all Na­tions which cov­ers a 10 hectare site in Arcadia Road and is part of the larger 55 hectare Fa­gan Park. The gar­den fea­tures flora from around the world in­clud­ing North and South Amer­ica, Eng­land, Nether­lands, Africa, Asia and the Mediter­ranean. The orig­i­nal homestead ‘ Netherby’, plus the orig­i­nal pack­ing shed and milk­ing com­plex were all re­stored in time for the bi­cen­ten­nial year.

Fa­gan Park, which in­cludes pic­nic and bar­be­cue fa­cil­i­ties, play­grounds and bush­walk­ing trails, was of­fi­cially opened on Novem­ber 5, 1988. De­spite some con­tro­ver­sies, the wishes of Bruce Fa­gan have been hon­oured. Fa­gan Park pro­vides a recre­ational, ed­u­ca­tional, cul­tural and his­tor­i­cal area for the peo­ple.

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