The Fagan Family
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