The Fa­gan Fam­ily

Galston, Glenorie and Hills Rural News - - News - Mar­garet McKin­ley, Ian Brown­ing, Pho­tos. Netherby- the Fa­gan's Home Friends of Fa­gan Park, Vol­un­teers who main­tain this fa­cil­ity

The peo­ple of the Du­ral, Gal­ston and Ar­ca­dia are very lucky in­deed to have such a mar­vel­lous fa­cil­ity as Fa­gan Park right on their doorstep. It is 55 hectares of beau­ti­ful parkland with a lake and many paths where chil­dren can ride their bikes with­out hav­ing to worry about traf­fic. The large ad­ven­ture play ground is a de­light for chil­dren of all ages, and the his­tory buffs have a chance to in­spect the beau­ti­fully pre­served Homestead, Netherby. The farm sheds con­tain some of the ma­chin­ery that was nec­es­sary for a work­ing farm, from a black­smiths shed to well re­stored old wag­ons and trucks that were nec­es­sary to carry the pro­duce to Mar­ket.

But how did all of this come about? Wil­liam John Fa­gan (1826-1896) was born in a farm­ing Com­mu­nity in County Derby, North­ern Ire­land, and, aged 20 came to Aus­tralia as a free set­tler. His first job was in a Syd­ney brew­ery, but he soon started farm­ing on the Hawkes­bury. Good money was paid for shin­gles for roofing so Wil­liam took up the job and af­ter a lot of hard work had enough money to buy land. The Ge­orge Hall grant of 600 acres (in present day Ar­ca­dia) was sold off in small al­lot­ments in about 1880, and Wil­liam Fa­gan bought sev­eral por­tions in the south eastern part of this grant where he planted cit­rus or­chards.

Wil­liam mar­ried Ann Wad­dell in 1848 and they had three sons, John, Wil­liam and Sa­muel and four daugh­ters. Sa­muel mar­ried Emma High of Cas­tle Hill and took over the run­ning of the farm. He built “Netherby” in 1900 out of bricks that he had fired in his own kiln. (The bricks used to build the present Com­mu­nity Hall in 1906 also came from Fa­gan’s Kiln). Sa­muel and Emma had three sons and four daugh­ters. The el­dest son, Les­lie, went to the 1914-18 War and died from wounds in France in 1917. His name is on the Gal­ston Ceno­taph. Ce­cil died in 1940, leav­ing a wife and two daugh­ters. Bruce, who never mar­ried, be­came the only sur­viv­ing son of Sa­muel and Emma and took over the run­ning of the farm. His un­mar­ried sis­ter, Ivy, lived there too. In the late 1940’s and early 1950’s the Mur­rumbidgee area be­came the premier cit­rus grow­ing area and the old or­chards of Ar­ca­dia and Gal­ston were un­prof­itable, so Bruce turned to breed­ing Jer­sey dairy cat­tle.

It was dur­ing the 1960’s that Hornsby Coun­cil be­came in­ter­ested in ac­quir­ing the Fa­gan prop­erty for a Golf course. But this idea was re­jected out­right by Bruce Fa­gan. If he was giv­ing his prop­erty away it was to be A PARK FOR ALL PEO­PLE TO USE AND EN­JOY. And so, af­ter much ne­go­ti­a­tions, the Deed of gift was signed by Bruce and his sis­ter, Ivy in the Shire Pres­i­dent’s room in Jan­uary1980. The Shire de­cided to take the devel­op­ment of the park as their Bi- Cen­te­nary project, and so “Fa­gan Park” was of­fi­cially opened on the 26th Jan­uary, 1988

At the next meet­ing of the Du­ral His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety on Satur­day, 14th May, at 2pm, Merv Rosen, from the Mar­itime Mu­seum, will be the guest speaker. His sub­ject will be “The Story of the Krait”. All wel­come

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