Our history, our shame

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Blink and you will miss it: Fisher's Ghost Restaurant or Milby Cottage
Blink and you will miss it: Fisher’s Ghost Restaurant or Milby Cottage

Will we ever learn to value our history, especially old buildings which are the only visible link to the past?

Does anyone really care beyond paying lip service to the importance of history in our place?

Take a walk on the main street of Liverpool and Campbelltown and you will find the answer.

In Liverpool’s Macquarie Street only the Anglican church of St Lukes (1810) stands out in a desert of historical places. It’s incredible to think that not one other important building could be saved from the developers’ wrecking ball.

Queen Street in Campbelltown is also a history wasteland, until you get to Allman Stret, and then you think, well, there’s hope after all.

Facing the uber modern facade of Campbelltown Mall shopping centre is a row of magnificent 19th century buildings in incredibly good condition.

I worked in one of them, when it housed the Chronicle newspaper back in the 1980s and 90s, and I can tell you being inside such buildings gives you a real sense of what life must have been like in early Australia 200 years ago.

But just as your spirit is lifted at this point, you make the mistake of resuming your walk past the old town hall and you come up the travesty that is the old Fishers Ghost restaurant.

Fenced in by both a cyclone fence and overgrown wisteria so you can hardly see the building, you could weep at the fate of one of Campbelltown’s most historic buildings; so many of us have memories of being inside the ancient rooms for an anniversary dinner in the late 1970s and 1980s.

Also variably known as Milby Cottage and Kendalls Millhouse, the building was in the early days a maternity hospital, and no doubt there will be people living in Campbelltown whose family started inside its historic walls.

Almost next door is a better story with Airds Cottage (1826), which has been known as Farriers Arms since 1840, in good nick and home to the craft society.

But despair returns when you go across the road and opposite our art gallery, to find Emily Cottage boarded up, in a state of disrepair, with the grass in front half a metre long.

I know these may be privately owned properties, but Campbelltown Council should show some leadership and get these beautiful parts of our past in a better state than they are now.

Councillors go on about protecting the Scenic Hills, which is well and good to stop development on a piece of land, but they should also stand up for these vital links to our past.

Farriers Arms at the end of Queen Street
Farriers Arms at the end of Queen Street
St Lukes Anglican church in Liverpool
St Lukes Anglican church in Liverpool
Sight for sore eyes opposite Campbelltown Mall
Sight for sore eyes opposite Campbelltown Mall
Emilys Cottage
Emilys Cottage (above and at right)


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