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The paddocks

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The second half of the nineteenth century saw a rapid expansion in New South Wales railways. In Sydney, this meant both the early stations and workshop facilities quickly became too small, and had to be expanded or relocated.

The Chisolm Estate and Calder House

Calder House was built by James Chisholm on Gadigal territory. He named the house after his birthplace in Scotland.
  • 1791

    James Chisholm arrives in the colony of New South Wales aged 19 as a non-commissioned officer.

  • 1800

    In the early 19th century, the area that contains Redfern remains undeveloped, labelled as 'government paddocks', and becomes known as Cleveland paddocks after Governor Macquarie’s friend, Major Thomas Cleveland.

  • 1817

    Circa 1817 major land grants are given to Dr William Redfern, William Chippendale and William Hutchinson.

  • 1837

    James Chisholm dies and is buried in the garden of Chisholm Estate and Calder House, until damage to the grave prompts relocation of his body to Camperdown Cemetery.

  • 1849

    Sydney Railway Act is passed. Sydney Tramroad and Railway Company is authorised to build the Sydney to Goulburn railway, and starts to build the first railway track in New South Wales, between Sydney and Parramatta – a distance of 22 km. The project runs into financial difficulty and is taken over by the New South Wales colonial government.

  • 1850

    On 3 July, 10,000 people gather in Redfern to watch Mrs Keith Stewart, the daughter of Sir Charles Fitzroy, turn the first sod of earth for the construction of Australia’s first railway.

  • 1855

    Sydney’s first railway line, from Sydney to Parramatta Junction opens on the 26 September. It runs through the garden of the Chisholm Estate. Parramatta Junction becomes Granville in 1880, named after Granville Leveson-Gower.

  • 1855

    J.F. Castles takes a lease over Chisholm Estate and Calder House on the Chisholm Estate and opens an exclusive school for boys.

  • 1855

    Imported English rails, locomotive and carriages arrive in Sydney.

  • 1855

    Railroads are nationalised by the government, after the privately owned Sydney Railway Company fails.

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