All Aboard the Steam Tram

iMag Articles
Discuss a Book
About this Site

The steam tram service from Parramatta to Baulkham Hills began in August 1902 providing members of the Farmers and Fruitgrowers Co-Operative in the Hills District with a practical method of transporting farm produce to Redbank Wharf, Parramatta, and thence by boat to the Sydney Markets. It also offered a comfortable ride to town to the citizens of outlying farms.

Steam Tram on Windsor Road
Steam Tram on Windsor Road

The Agricultural Society of New South Wales was granted land on Toongabbie Creek in 1873 to create an experimental ‘model farm’. It was initially used as grazing land but never developed as the intended model farm.

Developers Hooker-Rex created the suburb of Winston Hills when they bought up properties listed as Model Farms and Old Toongabbie in the years 1960 to 1970. The name was chosen as a tribute to Winston Churchill, former Prime Minister of England who led the British Commonwealth during the Second World War. The main thoroughfare of the suburb leading off Windsor Road is Churchill Drive which becomes Caroline Chisholm Drive after a distance of only one kilometre.

The developers marketed the suburban blocks with streets being named in themed segments. There are the Prime Ministers of England: Wilson, Attlee, Baldwin, Disraeli, Melbourne, Asquith, Peel, Lloyd George, Palmerston, Eden, and McMillan. There are writers: Tennyson, Thackeray, Dickens, Belloc, Keats, Defoe, Dumas, Twain, Homer, Rudyard. Scientists and inventors: Einstein, Marconi, Volta, Kelvin, Lister, Nobel, Stephenson, Euclid and Scottish links with Lomond, Glasgow, Caledonian, Rothsay, Skye, Banff, Elgin, Spey, Caithness, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Cromarty, and Ness.

Model Farms Road is a reminder of the area’s agricultural past. The park at the corner of Model Farms Road and Windsor Road marks the location of the original Model Farms Railway Station. Today there is a replica platform sign in the park.

Trevor Patrick is a local historian of the north-west of Sydney, Australia. His latest book, In Search of the Pennant Hills, recounts some of these stories (and others) in more detail.