It was 36ºC today.
I drove out to Riverstone to walk around during the midday sun and get
sunburnt a panorama.
Riverstone was set up in 1810 to provide food for the new Colony of New South Wales. Cattle would be driven about 10 km to the Hawkesbury River and then sent by boat back to Sydney. With the coming of the railway in 1878 a meat works was established and was the major source of employment until its closure in 1992.
The meat works had a number of fires over it’s lifetime including a few in 1970 culminating in a fire that resulted in the death of 6 workers when a wall collapsed as they tried to save the lives of trapped animals. [SMH]
About 50km North West of the Sydney CBD it’s a small suburban outpost in a rural area. Move away from the main street and poorly maintained roads form Grids that are little more than dreams of a boom that never came. Which also means areas of Cumberland Plain bushland still remain, giving hints of what the area might have been like prior to the arrival of Europeans. It was quiet this Sunday with most of the businesses closed – which for me emphasised it’s rural nature, while the KFC, Subway and 7-Eleven highlighted the suburban.
Riverstone feels like it has always been a place that could have, but never quite did. When your main street is filled with Loan shops, second hand shops, lawyers and accountants you know this is not an area on the up. Even the name shows that Riverstone never caught a break with Wikipedia claiming that “the ‘e’ at the end first appeared on railway timetables in the 1860s, an apparent misprint that has become the accepted spelling, although the name is still pronounced as though the ‘e’ is not present.”
But it’s not all doom and gloom – a new and large Police station is being built and various other businesses are showing signs of renovation. There are still a few older buildings bringing pockets of character and history, including this potential row of terrace houses erected in 1883 but never extended as the boom it was built for never eventuated.
I enjoy learning more about the history of Sydney so I reckon I’ll head back out on a cooler day and have a look around the Museum.
There is more to see on Flickr.