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.

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - FRONT PAGE - Danielle Jarvis

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.

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