Sunday, February 5, 2012


Watkin & Watkin. Vineyard, orchard & farm blocks at Schofields [cartographic material] : near Blacktown on the Windsor line : for sale by auction on the ground, on Jan. 2nd. (New Years Day)  1893 at 3 p.m.
Image from the National Library of Australia
Schofields is named after a thief and convict, who came good, bought land, supported eight children and a wife, went bankrupt, struck Californian gold, survived a shipwreck and settled down to run a saw mill along the railway line.

At the moment, it’s a small village 40km north west of Sydney.  And by small, I mean a few tumbledown shops and a handful of houses.

But things are set to change.  The railway line (built in the 1860’s) has been upgraded and a new station has been built 800 metres south of the original centre.  Master plans are being drawn up to convert the former pastoral lands into a new town centre that will accommodate some  9,000 people.  It will support not one, but all two major supermarket chains, well positioned to stare each other down from across the station.

What’s the interest in the Schofields?  Well, a photo blog can’t all be about tanned, Tamarama swimmers and kinky, Surry Hills laneway markets now, can it?  It’s places like Schofields where Sydney’s increasing population will be living.  It’s an example of modern urban design in Sydney’s north west.  So how are we going?

This is the new station.  The candy stripes, inspired by the tin roofing of the Station Master’s residence, have unexpectedly become a useful landmark for small aircraft.

The former pastoral lands (and former aerodrome in the distance) set to be the new town centre (see the Growth Centres indicative master plan 2011).

And the fate of the original village?  The pelting rain prevented me from jumping out of the car to photograph the cluster of vacant little shops.  But inclement weather didn’t stop me from capturing this monolithic footbridge that replaces the old pedestrian level crossing.  You’ll never see this in Surry Hills.


Julie said...

mmm ... what about the prime agricultural land that is being gobbled up?

I agree that level crossings are a no-no but that footbridge is a shocker!

You sound like you are smiling benignly on the two supermarket suburb. How come?

Is there a planned 'country club'? How many poker nachines have they paid for?

Which developers are involved?

I love your running smiler! How come, in the inclement weather, does he have such a distinct shadow? Tut ... tut ... tut ... c'mon Dalloway!

Emma Dalloway said...

Opposition to increasing densities in our inner city (take Ku-ring-gai), puts further development pressure on our agricultural land at the edge of the metropolitan area. And once its gone, its gone.

And my photo only shows HALF the footbridge! It goes down the same way on the other side. Apparently there were no funds to maintain lifts and an underpass was considered too dangerous. As it is, what is supposed to link the community has severed it in half. There must have been a better solution.

The future population may be able to support both supermarkets - who knows - what I find amusing is that the pedestrian crossings at the station currently favour one supermarket over the other. The disadvantaged retailer is furiously seeking a remedy to this situation with anyone who will listen.

Im not sure who the developers will be. I'll add a comment when I find out.

Too much with the shadow? I'll have another look. :)

Jim said...

This is one place I haven't taken my camera...yet.

Adelaide said...

We live in a rural part of NY State, and developers are always trying to gobble up farm land. What had slowed them down is the drop in home prices these last few years. Most of the plans have been put on hold for now. We moved up here 5 years ago because of the rural and small town feeling. I don't know how long that will continue.

Remarkable photos, Emma.


Emma Dalloway said...

Jim - Im stunned!

Hi Adelaide - judging from your photos, you live in a very beautiful part of NY state. Fingers crossed it stays that way.