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Paterson River history

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The yet unnamed 1,280 acre property on the Allyn River north of Vacy was granted to Mary Tarpy in 1830 and she sold it to John Terry Hughes. After Hughes became bankrupt in 1843, Alexander Park of Lewinsbrook purchased the property on behalf of his sister Alison who had married James Dalglish in Campsie, Scotland in 1836, shortly before the couple emigrated, arriving in Sydney in 1837.

The property was held in trust for Alison, her trustees being her brother, Robert Park, and brother-in-law, Robert Torrens, later Sir Robert, of South Australia.[1] By 1841 James and Alison were leasing and living at "Strathallyn" which was on the western part of her brother Alexander's "Lewinsbrook" property.[2] Alexander Park's gift to Alison meant his sister and brother-in-law could setup home on their own land nearby. Campsie was only a few kilometres downstream from Lewinsbrook.

James and Alison named the property "Campsie" in memory of their Scottish roots.

location of Campsie on the Fingal Parish map

Camspie is north of Vacy. The Allyn River forms its western boundary (Fingal Parish map, with digital additions)

advert for sale of Campsie

Maitland Mercury, 21 July 1868 page 4.

In 1845 James and Alison's first surviving child, James Campsie Dalgish, was born at "Campsie" on the Allyn River.[3] James jnr was educated in Scotland from an early age, so overseas travel may explain various advertisements in the Maitland Mercury to lease "Campsie" and sell James snr's livestock in the 1840s and 50s.[4].

John and Mary Trappel worked on Campsie for a time after emigrating from Germany in 1852.

Despite the probable overseas travel, Campsie remained the residence of James snr and his wife Alison. He died at Campsie in 1864, followed by Alison in 1867. They are buried in St Paul's cemetery, Paterson.[5]

A year after Alison's death, Campsie was advertised for sale (see advertisement on right) and purchased by her sons James Campsie Dalglish and John Dalglish.

In the 1870s Robert Logan purchased the property , along with the neighbouring Allyn River properties of Torryburn, Cader Idris and Bingleburra. Logan died in 1896 and the property remained in the family (more information needed). In 1902 Bruce Logan leased out Campsie because he was leaving the district.[6]

Campsie School

Campsie Public School opened in October 1853 on the Campsie property on two acres that James and Alison Dalglish, and Robert Park as trustee, gave to government for that purpose. It replaced an earlier, unofficial school that operated in a barked building. The school was near the Allyn River (see poster below) and accessible via a ford from the opposite bank.

sale poster for Cader Idris 1926

sale poster for Cader Idris 1926, showing the location of Campsie Public School and ford at top left.

Eccleston School 1967

The Eccleston School building in 1967. It was moved from Campsie in 1944.

The school closed in 1859 and reopened in 1862. In early 1870 subscriptions were sought to build a new school at Campsie. Tenders were called in June 1870 and the new school building opened in early 1871. In 1872 there were 38 pupils enrolled, with an average attendance of about 26 children each day.[7]

The school operated on and off until 1907 when it was renamed Trevallyn Public School. It finally closed in 1938. In 1944 the unused school building was moved to Eccleston where it replaced the previous school building. It was attached to the chimney and water tank of the old school. Eccleston Public School closed in 1986.


1. George Townshend and Trevallyn, Paterson River, by Jack Sullivan. Paterson Historical Society, 1997, page 90. Jack Sullivan cites Old Systems Title, Book 16, no. 622.

2. Hunter Valley Directory 1841, complied by Elizabeth Guilford, 1987. Also see plan of proposed subdivision of Lewinsbrook 1841, National Library of Australia. Strathallyn was on the eastern side of the Allyn River, about a kilometre south east of the current village of East Gresford. It's residence was located within Alexander Park's 2,560 acre "Lewinsbrook" grant. Park first lived at Strathallyn before building and moving into Lewinsbrook homestead in the 1830s, leaving Strathallyn vacant for the Dalglish's (confirmation and further sources needed).

3. Goulburn Herald, 13 November 1888 p3. Some claim he was born at nearby Strathallyn which was part of Lewinsbrook (see note 2 above). Alison's brother, Doctor Robert Park lived at Lewinsbrook so perhaps she gave birth there. It was not her first child – on 6 November 1837 Alison gave birth to a still-born child at Lewinsbrook (Sydney Herald, 13 November 1837 p3).

4. Maitland Mercury: 10 April 1847 p3, 12 January 1853 p1, 15 June 1858 p3.

5. Maitland Mercury: 27 April 1867 p1.

6. Maitland Weekly Mercury: 29 November 1902 p2.

7. George Townshend and Trevallyn, Paterson River, by Jack Sullivan. Paterson Historical Society, 1997, page 91.


History of NSW Government schools database:

Patch and Glennie of Orindinna, Gresford by Jack Sullivan. Paterson Historical Society, 2006.

A History in Three Rivers: Dungog Shire Heritage Study by Michael Williams. Dungog Shire, 2014.