Located in the suburb of Kellyville Ridge is a property which has a confusing history. Now known as Merriville it was originally called Maryville.
Sometime between 1822 and 1825 a small home was built on the property now known as Merrivale by Jonas Bradley. Governor Macquarie had granted Jonas and his two sons, Thomas and William, 380 acres in 1818.
Jonas already had land holdings at Freemans Reach. Jonas shortly purchased another 300 acres adjoining his grant and, reportedly, successfully grew tobacco on the property and developed a sheep dip using tobacco leaf for the treatment of scabies. They also had very large land holdings in Goulburn. Thomas died in 1835 and Jonas inherited his holdings.
After the death of Jonas Bradley in 1841, the property was inherited by his son, William. At the time that William acquired the property it consisted of 680 acres. William had married Emily Elizabeth Hovell daughter of the explorer William Hovell and resided mainly in Goulburn.
Around 1852-53 William sold the property to Elias Pearson Laycock, grandson of Quartermaster Thomas Laycock. Elias’s wife was the daughter of Grace Lysaght whose mother was Mary Longfield and perhaps the property became “Maryville” in honour of Grace’s mother as that was around the time the property became known by that name. In 1858 Grace’s brother, John, was residing at Maryville.
Well-known in the Hillls district, the Pearce pioneering family become owners of Maryville when Robert Pearce, grandson of Matthew Pearce of Kings Langley, purchased Maryville in 1866. The Pearce family were successful orchardists, their many sons worked and developed large farms in Seven Hills, Kellyville and Rouse Hill. A few of our local suburbs have been named after many of the Pearce properties including Stanhope Gardens, Bella Vista and Kings Langley.
Robert Pearce added to the Maryville property by purchasing the 1500 acre property known as Hambledon which adjoined Maryville. I have read that the cottage on Hambledon may have been transported and used to establish additional rooms to the Maryville homestead and possibly provide material for outbuildings.
The rolling logs used to transport the building were apparently left lying on the ground for around 40 years. The Pearce family continued to own the property until the mid-1950s. At that time, the Pearce family had greatly reduced the size of the property having sold of parcels of land chiefly between 1949 and 1955 as the farm had become economically unsustainable.
The new purchaser of Maryville was the former Mayor of Manly, Charles Robert Scharkie. The property was said to be quite run down at the time and some building work was done on the house and outbuildings. Charles Scharkie’s son, Ian, and his wife Janne, moved into the home. Janne’s mother also came to live there and was known locally as having a “green thumb” having maintained the small garden at the house. The property was further reduced in size by the Scharkie family as maintaining most of the unproductive land was found to be very costly.
It was also during the ownership of the property by the Scharkie family that the property became known as “Merriville” possibly due to confusion or misunderstanding of the previous name of “Maryville”. Charles Scharkie also had a son named Robert (Bob) who purchased the 430 acre property named “Mungerie’ in 1955 upon which he started a dairy and transport business which he named “Mungerie Park”.
In 1969 Ian Scharkie inherited Merriville from his father and joined his brother Bob in combining the two properties and started the Mungerie Park Golf Course which they later leased to the Australian Postal Institute and it became the very successful Kellyville Country Golf Club.
The Golf Club together with grazing paddocks and Mungerie House was sold to the NSW Government in the 1980s, transferred to Landcom and became the site of the Rouse Hill Town Centre and surrounding developments. During 1992, the Merriville property was sold to Landcom and the land subdivided with Landcom separating the house and around 2 acres surrounding the house from the rest and selling by auction in 1993 to Colin and Marion Wade. The remainder of the Merriville property has become part of suburbia.
Merriville was classified by the National Trust of Australia (NSW) and a permanent conservation order was placed on it by the Heritage Council of NSW in 1982. My thanks and appreciation to Mark Pearce and Jilly Warren for their contribution to this article.