Just meters apart but years away.

The ‘History Beyond The Classroom’ unit allows for individuals to bring awareness to the stories of a community that are often untold, sometimes forgotten or simply are unknown. In undertaking this unit, I want to highlight that history is not just confined to a museum or to the archives of a library, but rather it can be just a few streets away, within our own local communities, where through time and change in industries, houses and the physical landscape, bring about stories and experiences of how it was once was.
For my initial investigations of the suburb of Glenwood, I sort collaboration with the Glenwood Community Association. From me they were seeking some form of ‘history of Glenwood’, which I think would be fantastic, but with additional consultation, we are still yet to clarify on how this would look. However with this occurring in due time, I decided to undertake my own small investigation of Glenwood through walking. In geography, walking is seen as a geographical research method, which aims to make observations of the real world. When working upon the history of Glenwood, I really wanted to capture real examples that existed. And so there was a place that I knew had some form of heritage attached to it, I had often driven past it, but never had the actual opportunity to go there and examine for what it was worth. This area was Glenwood Park Drive which was connected to the streets Thompson Crescent and Diamond Avenue. Within this location it hosts Glenwood Park House and Parklea Public School.
Glenwood Park House was built in 1853. Classified as a Victorian-style home, it was initially utilised as a property for farming where orchards, wheat and hay and a dairy herd had been present (Powell, 2005). Since then the property has served different purposes whether it be for the grazing of cattle, as a medical centre and to what it is now a private property (Powell, 2005). A heritage listed building, it is surrounded by parkland and vegetation which somewhat obscures its full view upon a hill, whilst housing from the early 2000’s surrounds the property.
Just down a few meters is Parklea Public School. Upon face value it looks like a modern school built in the early 2000’s. However on the school sign, it proclaims to be a school established in 1919. What is interesting is that the school retained its name although it was relocated to its current site in 1999 (Sharpe 2000, p.38). I guess no matter how well you know the suburb that you live, there will always be new things to learn and notice, whether it be the minuscule change to the natural landscape or in discovering new facts about a place. Walking can provide further contextual insights into a suburb. Although utilised in geography, walking is a method that makes history that much more tangible, which can give a broader perspective as to how life could have possibly been like in the past. I feel that there is a greater sense of appreciation, when one is able to visibly see with their own eyes, at history being presented in front of them. History was just a few meters away from my own home. I sure that there are plenty of stories to be shared about a place just a few meters away, of the years that have gone by.
Powell, D. (2005). Glenwood Park (Sorrento). Retrieved from http://roots-boots.net/history/blacktown/glenwood.html
Sharpe, A. (2000). Pictorial History Blacktown and District. Kingsclear Books Pty Ltd.

2 thoughts on “Just meters apart but years away.”

  1. Hi,
    History is really just a few meters away from your home and I can testimonify it because I had been spending my life there, as an ex schoolboy of the historical Parklea Public School, since1954-59. My teacher had been then a young lady in class 1/2 and Mr. H. D. Bell in class 4-6. I used to live on the top of the hill in Parklea Rd. I used to walk downhill to reach the school and I have done so much work with my schoolmates and believe me that I was really upset when an Irish friend of my mine sent me the photo of the old school which had been pulled down, etc. I remember every little momentos of my childhood there. Nostagia is my problem now so when I am in the mood for writing I do it through poetry. I love mixing up languages so I have written Alcheringa which speaks about my childhood, etc. I have tried to find archives about the historical school and also about my ex school friends but in vain. I have also lived in Recevoir Rd near Blacktown.
    I am really interested in “your untold, sometimes forgotten or simple unknown stories behind that Parklea School sign dated 1919. I have been living in Italy since 1960, etc.please write if you like.
    The Italian Farmer’s son.
    Pasquale Amabile

  2. G,day Folks,I attended the old Parklea school from 1944 to 1950. Jim Howden was the only teacher at the time.(Big Jim)..We only used one of the two rooms as there was on average about 25 kids per year attending.
    I lived in Meurants Lane and still live in Blacktown(2018).
    Davidsons had a small shop opposite the school in Laylor Rd, we used to duck across there to buy penny chocolates or what ever….I still remember the sign on the eastern end of the building that stated 1919 was the build date.. I never knew the building was to be demolished until after the deed was done.
    We had some wonderful times doing all the things that got young boys into trouble… Used to have the occasional dance nights that required all the desks to be moved out, then saw dust and candle grease spread on the floor and rubbed in by running around and skidding all over the place…
    I guess that building was where us boys had our first girl friends(writing love notes etc)
    Yep it was an important part of our early lives and is sorely missed. Billy Peterson.

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