Love gardens and history? Fagan Park, the crown jewel of Hornsby Shire’s parks, has both.
William Fagan was a free settler from Londonderry Ireland, who arrived in Sydney in 1848 and later married Ann Waddell. William and Ann raised four daughters and three sons on their 70 acre property purchased in Arcadia.
The family established a successful citrus orchard and became pioneers in the citrus industry at Dural, Galston and Arcadia. Sons and partners, William and Sam, also became excellent citrus orchardists. Sam and his wife Emma purchased their own land at Galston in 1900 and moved from Dural to Galston after the partnership between William and Sam dissolved. Sam and Emma conducted their owned growing operation on the property and constructed a fine homestead made of hand- made bricks known as ‘Netherby’.
The Fagan property became the largest orchard in Galston but by the early 1930s and the onset of the Great Depression, Sam Fagan gradually closed down his orchards. Bruce Fagan, youngest of William and Ann’s children, then ran a herd of Jersey dairy cattle on the property. Bruce constructed a dairy building and his cattle breeding programme was described as first class. In 1980 Bruce Fagan and his sister Ida, donated the original Sam Fagan property Fagan Park, to the Department of Lands and appointed Hornsby Shire Council as its sole trustee. The park was adopted as Council’s bicentennial project.
Before his death in 1984, Bruce Fagan was consulted about development plans for the site. Hornsby Shire Council received a Bicentennial Grant towards the Garden of all Nations which covers a 10 hectare site in Arcadia Road and is part of the larger 55 hectare Fagan Park. The garden features flora from around the world including North and South America, England, Netherlands, Africa, Asia and the Mediterranean. The original homestead ‘Netherby’, plus the original packing shed and milking complex were all restored in time for the bicentennial year.
Fagan Park, which includes picnic and barbecue facilities, playgrounds and bushwalking trails, was officially opened on November 5, 1988. Despite some controversies, the wishes of Bruce Fagan have been honoured. Fagan Park provides a recreational, educational, cultural and historical area for the people.
Reference: Edited extract from Hornsby Shire Council’s Library and Information Services