Auburn Library – Local History Collection - Edmund Perrin, 26.11.1991, revised April 2005
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AGRICULTURE AND LAND USE
ON LIBERTY PLAINS
AND AT SILVERWATER 1790-1910
The standard histories of the Auburn region, Liberty Plains: a history of Auburn N.S.W. and
Auburn: 50 years Progress 1878-1928, tell the story of the pioneers from 1792-1807 in some detail.
Except for brief mentions to 1823 there is then a gap in the narrative till about 1876. In Lidcombe
and its development as an industrial centre there is a quote from about 1914 that refers to the same
For a period of nearly 40 years the district rarely appeared in the news of the day.
The history of John Blaxland and Newington is found in more detail up to 1846 in Liberty Plains
(1992) and a 1935 article in the Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society. This paper
explores the “lifestyle” and environment on Liberty Plains in the period 1790 to 1910.
During the period under discussion the area was still rural. At the 1851 Census there were about 49
houses and 270 people in the whole of Liberty Plains including parts of Granville. Rookwood is
listed in the Sands Country Directory 1878-79. Before 1876 the village was called Haslems Creek.
In the directory there are 40 households in Rookwood. J.G. Mills of Mills & Pile suggested the
name of Auburn for the locality in 1876 when the Railway Commissioners gave the name to a
goods siding. However the village only developed from about 1884.
Fitzgerald (1987) reminds us that Ashfield and even Strathfield had acquired a suburban character
by the 1880s but Rookwood and Auburn retained their rural nature. Photographs of Auburn at the
railway station and in Auburn Road show that development accelerates after 1910. Auburn &
Rookwood began to look urban after the First World War.
News of Haslems Creek, Rookwood, Auburn and Lidcombe appeared in the Cumberland Mercury,
published in Parramatta. This close association with Parramatta continued through World War I