Saturday, 8 August 2015

The ‘Ready-Cut’ Homes of George Hudson & Son Ltd


‘We erect the buildings ANYWHERE’ boasted the 1915 edition of the cottage homes catalogue of George Hudson & Son Ltd.  Manufactured under the Hudson ‘Ready-Cut’ brand many examples of this pre-fabricated building technique still survive scattered through the hills of the Kurrajong and in all probability in other locations in the Hawkesbury District.

Hudson was not the originator of this type of building technique, as demountable buildings in timber, and later of iron, were imported from Britain from the establishment of the colony. However, by 1874, according to an article in the Sydney Mail, Hudson pre-cut cottages were sold far and wide including ‘New Zealand, New Caledonia and the South Sea Islands’.

George Hudson, born Redfern 1848, was the only Australian-born son of William Henry Hudson, son of a Plymouth cabinet maker, and Elizabeth Dugdale who arrived in the colony of NSW in 1846, after first trying their fortunes in New Zealand.  From a small workshop in Redfern, the business interests of the Hudson family grew and prospered diversifying into heavy engineering and pipe making.

Designed to be erected by unskilled labour, each piece of the kit was numbered and its position carefully identified on the plan. Mainly of timber construction, with weatherboard cladding and timber interior lining boards, exterior walls were sometimes composed of galvanised iron, and by 1915, purchasers were given the alternative choice of  asbestos cement sheeting for the exterior walls and asbestos cement slates for the roofing material.

Friday, 7 August 2015

Moving House – The Story of May’s Farmhouse

The May family connection with the Hawkesbury commenced in March 1800 when Laurence May was granted 30 acres of land near Wilberforce, having arrived in the colony as a convict per Queen in September 1791[1].  May was a successful and prosperous farmer and was able to increase his holdings in the district by purchasing additional Hawkesbury portions including land at Pitt Town Bottoms[2].

In March 1803 he acquired Wright’s Farm[3], portion 27 Parish of Pitt Town, County of Cumberland originally granted to Joseph Wright, one of the first twenty two Hawkesbury settlers in 1794.  In 1808 May was in the process of building his home when a terrible calamity swept through the Hawkesbury which was reported in some detail in the Sydney Gazette[4].

`On Friday evening a dreadful hurricane set in at Hawkesbury, which raged for about 20 minutes with uncommon fury, and was productive of consequences which it is feared will have a serious tendency.  The growing wheat upon the banks, which wore a rich and promising appearance, was for many miles lain flat, by the irresistible violence of the wind; and it was apprehended, that very little of the forward crop could be saved, owing to the stems being broken short. An unfinished house, the property of Mr. Lawrence May, at Bardo Narrang, was blown down, and some of the materials scattered to a considerable distance; several buildings at and about the Green Hills suffered much, and among others, the old prison which was used as a place of temporary confinement, was totally thrown down…’

Extract from Hawkesbury Historical Society Newsletter: October 2010

[1] Index to Convicts 1788-1812, Society of Australian Genealogists, Sydney.
[2] RLP May Family, Hawkesbury City Library Local Studies Collection
[3] Old Register of Assignments and Other Legal Instruments, p 54, Register 1.
[4] The Sydney Gazette and NSW Advertiser, Sunday 6 November 1808, p 2.

Did You Know?

The Argus, Saturday 20 July 1935


RICHMONDThe Minister for Defence (Mr Parkhill), on behalf of the Commonwealth Government, formally receiving the Southern Cross from Sir Charles Kingsford-Smith after its last flight from Mascot to Richmond (N.S.W.)

The National Library: The Argus (Melbourne, Vic: 1848-1954)


Compiled by
Carol Carruthers, Hawkesbury Historical Society

William Cox (1764 –1837), builder, road maker and military officer was born at Wimborne in Dorset.  In 1789 he married Rebecca Upjohn from Bristol and by 1797 had joined the army and was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the New South Wales Corps.
Accompanied by his wife and four of his six small sons in 1799, William sailed to the colony on board the “Minerva”.  On arrival, William bought Brush Farm at Eastwood from John Macarthur, whom he had succeeded as paymaster to the Corps. By 1804, he had overstretched himself and was sold up by his creditors, and of course, suspended from office as paymaster.
His creditors were paid out within a few years and William re-established himself and bought Clarendon, the site of the current RAAF base in the Hawkesbury.  He was sent back to England for the trial of Governor Bligh.  On his arrival back in the colony, Governor Macquarie made him a magistrate at the Hawkesbury for which he became well respected as a most humane person. 
Cox obtained Government contracts to build the Court House at Windsor and possibly the Rectory to St Matthews Church.  He supervised the construction of the road over the Blue Mountains in 1814, following the route of his neighbour, the surveyor, George W Evans, whose house still stands at Clarendon. 
Rebecca died in 1819 and William married again having four more children by his second marriage.  William passed away in 1837 and is buried with Rebecca at St Matthews Church, Windsor.

William’s property at Clarendon was a self-sufficient village, as the transcription below will show, with the variety of occupations such as its own boot makers, sawyers, drovers and even a collar maker!