Riverwood

Riverwood

  Pre  
 1810
Riverwood possibly inhabited by the indigenous Darrug people.
 1810 Land grants made to George Pashley (80 acres), David Batty, James Plunkett, Richard Calcutt and Andrew Murphy (60 acres), William Holmes and Robert Lack, 50 acres. This land was mainly used by timber getters, charcoal burners and some market gardeners.
 1863 Robert Levingston acquired the farm known as Wakefield Outwood, bounded by Belmore Road, Canterbury Road and Salt Pan Creek. It was approximately 70 acres.
 1881 Robert Levingston purchased Pashley’s farm of 80 acres.
 1886 Robert Levingston died and passed land onto sons James, Francis and Robert.
 1905 Francis and James Levingston, sons of Robert, purchased land on Cullens Road for farming purposes.
 1930s James Levingston established Herne Bay Public Golf Links, an eighteen hole golf course on the Wakefield farm site. The original slab hut farmhouse of Robert Levingston dating from about 1864 was used as the club house.  In addition to the golf course, cattle were reared on the property for local dairymen and trees were felled and dressed for Bankstown Council to use as light poles.
 1931 Herne Bay Railway Station opened with a single line and staff of 3. The station was named Herne Bay after the small inlet of Salt Pan Creek near the station. The name originally derived from Herne Bay, a town on the coast of Kent, England.
 1939 Railway line electrified
 1942 The United States Army was granted authority to assume control of Levingston’s Golf Course under the auspices of national security regulations. James Levingston was permitted to continue living in his home on the property.
 1943 The US Army 118th General Hospital was constructed by the Australian Government under the Reverse Lend-Lease program. The installation was the largest military hospital in Australia, comprised of 490 timber barracks-type huts accommodating 1,250 patients and 3,500 staff. The staff were drawn from the John Hopkins University Hospital, Baltimore.
 1945 US Army vacated the hospital site which subsequently became a Royal Naval Hospital and an Australian Army facility.
 1946 The Housing Commission converted the vacated huts into emergency   accommodation to help ease the severe housing shortage after the war and in excess of 5,000 people were living there by 1951. A welfare officer was employed and community amenities such as a school, shops, playgrounds, police station, halls, small factories, and churches were established at this time. Families waited two to four years for permanent housing.
 1947 St Andrews Anglican Church was founded in Shenstone Road, with Reverend, S.N. Paddison as the first chaplain.
 1954 Herne Bay Businessmen’s Association requested Hurstville Council change the name of Herne Bay as the present name had been made infamous by the emergency housing settlement. Hurstville Council agreed to support the proposal and a ‘Herne Bay Change of Name Committee’ was formed. Popular suggestions for the area were Avonlea, Forrest Hills, Warrina and Ferndale.
 1957 Riverwood officially became the new name for the suburb on 21 November after a process involving inquiries and ballots.
 1971 Riverwood Branch Library opened on land given to Canterbury Council by Housing Commission on the corner of Belmore Road and Roosevelt Avenue.
 1976 Eight storey residential buildings named Lincoln and Jefferson were completed at the former hospital site. The redevelopment was in response to the deterioration of the original huts. The construction program resulted in the provision of 1,382 dwellings at the site, comprising bedsits, townhouses and multi level towers.
 1978 Seniors Citizens Centre opened on the corner of Washington Ave and Kentucky Road.
 1983 Riverwood Community Centre opened at Belmore Road North.
 1992 M5 Motorway constructed through the northern end of the old ‘Emergency Housing’ site.
 1997 Riverwood wetland constructed at William and Henry Roads. Footpaths, boardwalks, educational signs and barbecue areas were established to promote and encourage recreational activities and encourage awareness of the environment.
Sources Madden, Brian Hernia Bay Sydney’s Wartime Hospital at Riverwood, 2001.
http://images.maps.nsw.gov.au/pixel.htm# Local History Vertical File, Riverwood, Local Studies Collection, Hurstville City Library.