Name’s Shane but who the blazes is he?
For years the fireys at Shanes Park RFS have been copping it about the confusing origins of their suburb’s name.
JUST who is Shane?
Shanes Park Rural Fire Service opened up a can of worms recently when someone asked where was Shanes Park?
“It’s here, alongside Shane’s swings, Shane’s slide and Shane’s climbing frame,” the RFS quipped on social media.
But it also had amateur historians sleuthing as to who the northern Penrith Council suburb was actually named after.
The good-humoured fellas at Shanes Park RFS put forward as a likely candidate “their” Shane – Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons – but he is more than likely not “the” Shane.
Since Shanes Park was established in 1960, its namesake seems to have been lost in the documentation.
Shanes Park volunteer firefighter Brian Harris, in charge of the brigade’s social media, has a few theories.
He said the “who is Shane?” question came from other firefighters more often than not.
“It comes up with other firefighters who know our commissioner’s name is Shane,” he said.
“They say things like, ‘This is Shane’s personal brigade’.”
One would think Shanes Park was named after an infamous Shane, but investigations revealed another explanation, and maybe closer to the truth.
Irishman John Harris, one of the area’s early pioneers, named his estate Shanes Park. Shane is the Irish form of John and it seems Mr Harris would not let anyone forget it.
Norma Thorburn, of St Marys and District Historical Society, said she had seen remains of what is believed to be the gateway to the estate owned by John Harris near the current suburb.
“It was at least 30 years ago, I was riding with the pony club and the locals pointed it out,” she said. “It was sandstone blocks . . . I believe that was the gateway in the Shanes Park estate.”
When Mr Harris died, his will insisted only people with the name John Harris could possess the land.
“I give and bequeath the property on which I now reside Shanes Park to John Harris son of my brother William Harris during the term of his natural life and from and after his decease I give and bequeath the same to his eldest son bearing the name of John Harris and his heirs so baptised and being lawfully begot to have and to hold forever.
“And in the case of the said John Harris dying without male issue I give and bequeath the said property to his next of kin bearing the name John Harris and being lawfully begot and to his heirs male being so named and lawfully begot to have and to hold forever.”
Such a strict instruction could have limited the options for prospective land owners and may be the reason it is largely parkland.
As the name John Harris seemed to be an important one, there may be a descendant living today unaware of his royal bequeathment passed down from his great, great, super grandfather.
It comes up with other firefighters who know our commissioner’s name is Shane . . . ‘This is Shane’s personal brigade
Shanes Park firefighters Mark Pendergast and Brian Harris and (inset) the suburb with the perplexing moniker.