Down Town Douglass Park

The Rail Station

St. Mary’s Towers Retreat Centre is located within a few minutes drive of Douglas Park Train Station. The Station is unattneded by CityRail and CountryLink Staff and tickets will need to be purchased elsewhere, either ahead of the journey, or once the train arrives at its destination.

The Station is on the main southern line linking Sydney and Melbourne and carries frieght services as well as interstate passenger trains.  On the CityRail network the Station is on the Southern Highlands Line and not being electrified, diesal trains transport passengers between Goulburn, Mossvale and Campbelltown.  At Campbelltown passengers may need to alight and tranfer to an electric train for Metropolitan Stations, although some diesal services do run express to Central Station (see CityRail timetables).

The station is conveniently located on the same line as Sydney Airport.  Flight arrivals will easily pick up a train service from the Airport Stations located beneath both International (T1) and Domestic (T2 – Virgin & T3 – Qantas) Terminals. If travelling out to Douglas Park travellers from the Airport should board trains on the Airport-East Hills Line or Southern Highlands Line heading to Campbelltown. Note that at Campbelltown you will need to change to Platform 4 for the non-electric train service.

For more information and maps to assist with travelling by vehicle, or for links to train timetables and maps, go to How to get here… 

The History

Originally called Hoare Town, Douglas Park was one of two vast land grants approved south of Camden Park.  Dr Henry Grattam Douglass, a close friend of Governor Brisbane, owned the Hoare Town land grant. The other grant, owned by Jean Baptiste de Arrietta, was known as Spaniard’s Hill which, in 1860, had a sizeable Catholic community and included one of the first rural Catholic schools.

Dr. Douglass was born in 1790 in Dublin, Ireland to Adam Douglass and Ann Edwards.  He arrived in the colony of NSW, as a free settler aboard the convict ship ‘Speke’, on 18 May 1821 in Sydney NSW.  He died 1 December1865 in Douglas Park NSW and was buried at St. John’s Church Cemetery Camden NSW.  He served as Assistant Surgeon with the 18th Regiment British Army 1809/10 in the Peninsular War and 1811 in the West Indies.  Douglass married Hester Murphy in 1812 in Dublin, Ireland, and had three children; Rev. Arthur Douglass (abt 1814 – 1878), Emily Eliza Douglass (abt 1816 – 1887), and Mary Douglass ( – 9 Jun 1868).  He worked tirelessly for the poor and ex-convicts, was the doctor in charge of the Parramatta Female Factory (the industrial prison housing female convicts), and was instrumental in helping establish Sydney University.  He became a member of the Agricultural Society, a vice-president of the Benevolent Society and first secretary of the Philosophical Society, the first local organization to foster Australian science.  He was in his time an eminent man, serving as clerk of the Legislative Council and later as an elected member, but he also gained powerful foes such as Samuel Marsden and the Macarthurs, who subjected him to years of slander and legal assaults, even rape allegations. But the Doctor’s philanthropic efforts won many admirers. Douglass had numbers of convicts working on his farm, as muster rolls in the State Records of NSW show. This farm may have however, belonged to, or been managed by Douglass’ son Arthur.

The name Hoare Town may possibly find it origins in a Mr. John Hoare who on July 30th, 1811 was listed to receive lands in the new Districts of Airds or Appin (Minto, Campbelltown, Appin).  John Hoare, originally of Wexford, Ireland, was sentenced to death for Mutiny in a trial at Portsmouth on 8th September 1798. He arrived in Australia as a convict at Sydney on the “Canada” on 14th December 1801. He was also imprisoned on Norfolk Island between 1802 & 1804. He obtained his “Ticket of Leave” on 15th July 1811. By 1828, John, his wife Elizabeth and family were living at Airds.  A local tale says the after Douglass arrived in 1821 and received his land grant the name “Hoare Town” stirred up the female residents who lobbied to chaneg it, so Douglass in time gave his name to the town, the final “s” being lost due to a cartographer’s error.

Douglas Park Drive under the rock ledge the trek from the Railway Station

The railway reached Douglas Park in 1863 as a station on the extension of the Main South Line from Campbelltown to Picton.

Blades Bridge over Harris Creek

In 1889, writer Ethel Turner, at the age of 17, visited the area: 
6th April: Went to Newington Sports. Took cab to the grounds. The Sports were very poor. I walked with Mr Curlewis a little and after with Mr Curnow. We left Annie, then Lil and I hurried off and caught the 5 o’clock train to Picton to stay with the Daintreys.
10th April: Mr Daintrey took us all in a buggy to Douglas Park for a picnic. It was a fearfully long drive but very pleasant there, we went mushroom hunting. Afternoon we went to the Show. It is the first country show I have been to. We had tea on the grounds with the Abbotsford Antills and a lot more people.

The Grevilles Post Office Directory has an interesting list of residents at Douglas Park in 1872;

ACKROYD John carpenter East Bargo Douglas Park
BADHAM John D. squatter East Bargo Douglas Park
BASCLEN Josepath labourer Morton Park Douglas Park
BEST James farmer East Bargo Douglas Park
BEST John farmer East Bargo Douglas Park
BESTON John teacher Spaniard’s Hill Douglas Park
BLADES John labourer — Douglas Park
BLADES Thomas labourer Morton Park Douglas Park
BLADES Thomas stockman — Douglas Park
BURNE William labourer Clifton Douglas Park
BUTLER Thomas labourer Morton Park Douglas Park
CARROLL James farmer Menangle Rd. Douglas Park
CARROLL John labourer Morton Park Douglas Park
CLEARY Thomas farmer East Bargo Douglas Park
CLEMENTS Thomas farmer East Bargo Douglas Park
CONLIN John farmer Spaniard’s Hill Douglas Park
CUMMINS John farmer — Douglas Park
DEMPSEY Thomas labourer — Douglas Park
EAGAN John gardener Morton Park Douglas Park
FAHY Thomas farmer Nepean Towers Douglas Park
GREEN Charles labourer Nepean Towers Douglas Park
HENNESSY David farmer Morton Park Douglas Park
JENKINS Richard L. squatter Nepean Towers Douglas Park
KENNIFF Patrick teacher East Bargo Douglas Park
KENNY Michael farmer Condell Park Douglas Park
MEREDITH George fencer East Bargo Douglas Park
MULHOLLAND William farmer East Bargo Douglas Park
MCGRATH John labourer Morton Park Douglas Park
MCINNES Donald farmer Menangle Rd. Douglas Park
MCINNES Malcolm farmer Menangle Rd. Douglas Park
MCLEAN John farmer Menangle Rd. Douglas Park
OXENBRIDGE Edward farmer East Bargo Douglas Park
OXENBRIDGE Henry farmer East Bargo Douglas Park
PEEL Richard farmer Morton Park Douglas Park
RICE James labourer Morton Park Douglas Park
ROCHFORD James farmer Morton Park Douglas Park
ROSE James A. labourer — Douglas Park
SHEIL Francis farmer East Bargo Douglas Park
SHEIL James farmer East Bargo Douglas Park
SHEIL Thomas farmer East Bargo Douglas Park
SMITH George labourer Morton Park Douglas Park
SPEARING Benjamin farmer East Bargo Douglas Park
STARR George labourer Morton Park Douglas Park
STARR Stephen fencer Morton Park Douglas Park
STARR William farmer Morton Park Douglas Park
TURNER Allington labourer Menangle Rd. Douglas Park
WONSON Joseph farmer East Bargo Douglas Park
WONSON James farmer East Bargo Douglas Park
WONSON William farmer Broughton Park Douglas Park
WONSON William jun. teacher East Bargo Douglas Park

The Township

Douglas Park is a town of the Macarthur Region in New South Wales, in Wollondilly Shire. It is near the Hume Highway and on the Main Southern railway line. Its station is served by CityRail’s Southern Highlands services. It is about 80 km southwest of Sydney. Locals refer to the area as Douggo or DP. At the 2006 census, Douglas Park had a population of 827 people.

The village of Douglas Park is a fine example of what living in Wollondilly is all about: So close to the city yet far enough away to retain a rural atmosphere.  Many residents of Douglas Park enjoy large acreage which support hobby farms and a semi-rural lifestyle.  Douglas Park has a General Store which includes a Post Office. Adjacent is a service station. There is no Police Station: Douglas Park is part of the Camden Local Area Command.

Douglas Park Sports Ground is home to The Douglas Park-Wilton Razorbacks Soccer Football Club in the winter and in the summer season Douglas Park Little Athletics Club, and soon-to-be Douglas Park Cricket Club. There are two tennis courts at the sports ground.

The Spaniard’s Hill Catholic community had a Parish School in 1860. Douglas Park Public School opened in 1883, its motto reads; Look to the Future.  Buses and trains now carry the town’s secondary students to High Schools in the Wollondilly Shire and beyond. A Long Day Care service is available, a playgroup, and a rural mobile pre-school.

The Progress Hall, built by the Douglas Park Progress Association is located on the north-western corner of the sportsground.

Nepean River Causeway, Douglas Park Drive; fish-ladder on bottom left.

Douglas Park Rural Fire Service Shed is also located at the sportsground.

Douglas Park is surrounded by low hills, pasture, and bush land. To the south of the town, the Nepean River runs through a rocky gorge. The rugged beauty of the district is a feature of the drive between Douglas Park and Appin.

The drive will take you over the Nepean River causeway, a popular local swimming and canoeing spot.

At the causeway you will get an excellent view of the Douglas Park twin bridges carrying northbound and southbound lanes of the F5 Freeway over the Nepean River.

This bridge was opened in 1980, as part of the extension of the Hume Highway from Campbelltown to Yanderra.  Downstream from this spot was once a suspension road bridge, of a similar design to the Maldon Suspension Bridge, upstream on the Nepean River.

You’ll also see an innovative ‘fish ladder’ (vertical slot fish-way) to enable fish stocks in the river to migrate upstream against the flow, to reach breeding grounds.

The Church

The Douglas Park Catholic Church began its existence as the town’s community hall. Built in 1937, it was consecrated as a church two years later. By 1971 the parish priest, Father Scanlon, came under increasing demand to provide pastoral care for such a large parish. As a result, the clergy from the local St Mary’s Towers provided assistance to the Catholic townspeople in their spiritual needs.

Consequently, in 1977, the then Bishop William Murray merged the churches of Appin, Wilton, Douglas Park and Menangle into one parish and asked the St Mary’s clergy to administer to these communities.

In 1987 this decision was reversed. Douglas Park now exists within the Parish of St Anthony of Padua.

For more information click here.

(photo) Church Of The Sacred Heart – Douglas Park