Greendale was officially gazetted on 7 April 1972.

Aboriginal Occupancy

Greendale was originally home to the Mulgoa tribe of the Darug people.

Colonial Exploration

The first British explorer to visit the area was botanist George Caley in October 1800. Caley’s Lookout at Bents Basin is named after him.

Colonial Land Grants

Greendale Farm

Formerly a major timber and wheat-producing area, Greendale takes its name from the 500 acre property called Greendale that was held by Mary Birch from 1811. Mary’s husband John Birch was the Paymaster for the 73rd Regiment, but he was judged insane in 1813, and his property was granted to Mary as a provision for his young family. The property appears to have been sold to D'Arcy Wentworth, Principal Surgeon and Superintendent of Police under Governor Macquarie in 1819. By 1902, John Thomas Colburn Mayne had acquired most of Greendale Farm.

After Mayne died in 1924, Greendale was sold in 1928 to William Matchett who passed it to his two sisters. They sold the property to Mr. Wolstenholme in the early 1960s, who subdivided it into 25 acre lots for sale.

Ellis Bent

George Wentworth, the brother of D’Arcy, acquired Bent’s Mousley property and built a home which he named Greendale House in 1811. Bents Basin, a recreational area on the Nepean River at Greendale is named after him.

Greendale Promotion Estate

Further land grants were obtained by brothers John Palmer Junior and GT Palmer, which were later subdivide as the Greendale Promotion Estate

Farming and decline

The district of Greendale was a thriving wheat-growing district for many years from about 1815-1861. Wheat rust struck the crops in Greendale in 1861 and again in 1863.

“This, of course spelt the beginning of the end for Greendale although a lot of the farmers grew millet, which was used to stuff horse collars, to gain an income. A large number of the younger farmers however, left to do better for themselves by squatting on larger properties over the mountains. Only a few people remained in Greendale, but when they died the district died with them.” – Bringelly Public School Centenary, 1878-1978.

This marked the decline of farming in the Greendale area. Services such as the bakery and post office began to close in 1907, with the Greendale school closed in 1925. In 1939 a severe fire moving down from Bents Basin and Horseshoe Basin destroyed all the old buildings remaining in Greendale, except St Mark’s Church.

St Mark’s Church

In 1848 the Wentworth family gave one acre of land to the Church of England to build a church. Designed by the important colonial architect Edmund Blacket, St Mark’s church was consecrated on 12 November 1849 by Bishop Broughton. The first marriage there is thought to have been between Zachariah Cooper to Mary Eaton on 29 April 1850. Ann Elizabeth Wentworth was buried there in 1851 and the inscription on her tombstone stated that there were “830 inconsolable friends and neighbours” at her funeral.

It was badly damaged by a cyclone in 1903 and restored in 1910. The last service was held there in 1929. In 1939 a bushfire destroyed all the old town buildings in Greendale apart from St Mark’s Church. St Mark’s was restored in 1964, but by 1980 was once more in a derelict state. It was sold in 1980 and has since been renovated as a private residence.

Roman Catholic Church

A Roman Catholic Church stood near St Mark’s on property originally belonging to Samuel Fowler until after 1900. From 1848 until at least 1874 a Catholic School operated in the church building. The Church was used by the Parish Priest from Penrith until 1900. Later it was moved and joined to an old house in Wallacia. The cemetery remained however, and in 1990 the graves of those buried at St Francis Xavier Chapel in Luddenham were moved and rededicated on the site. St Francis Chapel was opened on the site in 1996. The population of Greendale in 1996 was 776.

See something missing?

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