Hills to Hawkesbury Living Magazine - - History -

Did you know that cof­fee was grown in Cas­tle Hill in the early days of the 19th cen­tury by a French­man?

Che­va­lier Ver­in­court de Clambe, a French colonel, ar­rived in Syd­ney on the Mi­norca in 1801 as a free set­tler. He re­ceived a land grant of 100 acres (40 hectares) from Gover­nor King on 1st Fe­bru­ary 1802 in the District of Dun­das, now part of Baulkham Hills Shire around Ro­gan’s Hill at the cor­ner of Cas­tle Hill and Old North­ern Roads. With the as­sis­tance of con­victs, De Clambe planted cot­ton, grapes and cof­fee trees and he supplied veg­eta­bles to a shop in the vil­lage of Cas­tle Hill. His orig­i­nal home now forms the core of The Her­mitage which is still stand­ing at 342 Old North­ern Road. It was re­stored in 2005.

De Clambe’s prop­erty stretched north to present-day Oakhill Col­lege and the Gover­nor King look­out with its view of the Cas­tle Hill Her­itage Park, the site of the orig­i­nal Cas­tle Hill Gov­ern­ment Farm. De Clambe died sud­denly in June 1804 when he was at­tend­ing a dance at Gov­ern­ment House. The Syd­ney Gazette of 10 June re­ported ‘an in­quest was held at which the med­i­cal gen­tle­men who at­tended the de­ceased at the ap­proach of death gave it as their opin­ion that the event was oc­ca­sioned by an apoplexy’. [Apoplexy: a haem­or­rhage of the brain]

Gover­nor Arthur Phillip cre­ated dif­fer­ent districts in the fledg­ling colony such as the District of the Field of Mars, East­ern Farms, The Ponds and North­ern Boundary. The District of Dun­das, which en­com­passed Ro­gans Hill and West Pen­nant Hills, was named af­ter the Colo­nial Sec­re­tary, Henry Dun­das. With an in­creas­ing pop­u­la­tion, more suburbs were cre­ated and some district names dis­ap­peared. The District of Dun­das was abol­ished in 1889 al­though the name still sur­vives in the sub­urb of Dun­das.

BW Slab Timber House Chim­ney

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