I have covered a lot of the early history of Campbelltown (NSW) when researching the Post Office history for the Lost Post Offices of Australia series. However, surprising as this may seem, there is more to Campbelltown history than the former Post Office and the city is steeped in its own unique, some would say, ghostly, history!
While a ghost story is intriguing, what is more amazing is how many of Campbelltown's historic building are still in existence today, especially in and around the southern end of Queen St.
Commercial Banking Company of Sydney - 263 Queen St - built 1881
Campbelltown Town Hall - 297 Queen St - built 1862
(This building is also the former Temperance Hall, purchased by the council in 1884. It is also thought to be haunted by the ghost of Frederick Fisher).
Fire Station - next to Town Hall - built 1891
Dredge's Cottage - 303 Queen St - built early 1870's
Fieldhouse Store - 317 Queen St - built 1853
Emily Cottage - Cnr Camden and Old Menagle Rd - built early 1840's
Farriers Arms (Airds Cottage) - 320 Queen St - built early 1840's
Coaching House - 298 Queen St - built 1840's
Bursill's Shop (used as the Post Office in the 1850's) - 292 Queen St - built 1842
Railway Hotel (but nowhere near the railway?) - 288 Queen St - built 1840's
McGuanne's House - 286 Queen St - built 1840's
St Peter's Anglican Church - Cordeaux St - built 1823
Campbelltown Railway Station - Platform 2 - built 1858
Campbelltown Court House - Queen St - built 1888
What makes Campbelltown stand out from other historical areas in Australia, would be not only be the age of the buildings, some dating as far back to the 1820's, but also the variations, from Churches, banks, hotels, shops, toll booths, Post Offices, Fire Stations, Town Hall, Railway Station and general residences, most are intact and still in use to this very day.
Of course no look at the rich vein of Campbelltown history would be complete without mentioning poor old Frederick Fisher. On the night of June 17, 1826, poor old Fred, after a night of drinking with George Worrall, disappeared and a legend was born. Now the ghost story goes that George Worrall claimed that old Fred had decided to head back to England to avoid a forgery charge and Frederick had sold him all his worldly belongings, just lucky for George. However when George tried to sell the property, it was noticed that the sale papers were forgeries On the strength of this information, Police arrested Worrall on the 17th September on the suspicion of Frederick Fishers murder. Here the story deviates, so going with myth, it is then reported that respectable local farmer John Farley whilst walking home from the pub in October of that year, observed the ghostly apparition of Frederick Fisher sitting on a bridge side rail pointing down the creek line to a paddock and then faded away. The body of Frederick was found on October 26, 1826, where the apparition had pointed and George Worrall was then charged with his murder, convicted and hung on the 5th February 1827.
Lets just leave the story there as I think it is more romantic and I think even Fred would be happy with that.
The stories from around the Campbelltown area are a wonderful insight into our colonial past and is well worth a visit. Just make sure you take your camera, for you never know who just might tap you on the shoulder and say .... boo!
I'd like to thank the staff and online resources of Campbelltown City Library and the Campbelltown Visitor Information Centre.