In 1998 Joan O’Brien of Cambridge Gardens wrote to the then Baulkham Hill Shire Council and described her first visit to Roxburgh Hall back in 1939. She was upset to have discovered that, in her words, ”some fool had destroyed something so beautiful as Roxburgh Park in 1968 to make way for further subdivision”. It seems to me that we never learn as developers and politicians continue to demolish and destroy some of our cherished heritage. The following is Ms O’Brien’s memories of her time during the war years of visiting Roxburgh Hall.
“The first time I went to Roxburgh Park House was in 1939. Mum, my two sisters and I had caught a train at Penrith, where we lived, to Parramatta. It was dark when we got off the train. We found the Kellyville bus and told the driver we had to get off at Roxburgh Park. None of us had ever been there before.
Well, we got off the bus and stood outside some big green gat standing between stone pillars.
The driveway was very dark and the trees on either side formed an avenue that seemed very spooky to me as we walked along that long driveway. Owls in the trees hooted and night birds made sounds and fluttered in the trees. There was a light showing at the side of the house but the front of the house was in darkness. We walked around to the rear of the house and found a verandah. Walking along the verandah in the dark, we ran out of verandah and all fell on top of my young sister Stella, who immediately started to scream. Lights came on everywhere and Gran and Pop came to see what had happened. Mum hurt her leg and my grandparents were worried about her as she was expecting a baby. That was my first encounter of Roxburgh Park. We walked through the heavy green door into a sandstone courtyard with a verandah all the way around with doors leading to rooms everywhere. There was also a big water pump at one end of the courtyard that gave you sweet water. I fell in love with Roxburgh that night and spent all my school holidays there until Gran and Pop left after the Second World War.
My Pop was Henry Linquist, the best grandfather you could wish for. He made us girls a table and chairs, cabinets for our tea sets, dolls beds etc.. My Gran Emma Armistead made all our dresses and our Aunts knitted all our jumpers, so we didn’t want for very much during the war years. My Pop worked for Nock and Kirby’s Hardware and was very good friends with Norman Nock. When War broke out Knock And Kirby’s leased Roxburgh Park to store their wares and Pop was asked to be caretaker for the duration of the War.
The next morning after our noisy arrival we walked into the biggest kitchen I had ever seen (17ft x 17ft). The large fuel stove took up one wall with a door into a very large pantry.
The house had four very large rooms at the front of the house with a very wide hallway (40 ft x 8ft) leading from the main door. I think the doorway was surrounded by green and red glass and also on the door that led onto the courtyard. Three of the main rooms had French doors with green shutters leading on to the front and side verandahs. At the front on the right side verandah was a glass hot house for plants.
Acknowledgements are as follows those relating to Roxborough Hall are from Hills Dist, Historical Socy as are the others with the exception of Hornsby Mobile Library and Pennant Hills Wireless Stn which shoud be acknowledged as from Hornsby Shire Library
More of Joan O’Brien’s memories of Roxburg Hall in the next issue including some of her adventures with her cousin Ron as appearing in her letter of 1998 to Baulkham Hills Shire Council.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]