James Payten of Woodbine
Extracts from article published in “Grist Mills” By Verlie Fowler
[In 1983 Sara Payten lent the 1869, 1875 and 1889 Diaries of James Payten and other family papers to Verlie Fowler, who subsequently penned an article based on the diaries and papers provided by Miss Payten.]
Nathanial Payten won a respected place in Parramatta society, being associated with many important building projects, most in partnership with architect James Houison.
Nathanial and his wife Susannah had eleven children. Two of their sons married daughters of Thomas Rose. Edward Payten wed Hannah Rebecca Rose and James Payten exchanged marriage vows with Sarah Elizabeth Jane Rose at St Mary the Virgin Chapel, Denham Court in 1866.
In 1873 whilst living at “Leppington Hall”, James Payten acquired “Woodbine”, which would remain the Payten family home for almost a century. Woodbine had a frontage to Campbelltown Road (earlier known as Liverpool or Sydney Road). After the RTA rerouted a section of Campbelltown Road immediately north of Morgan’s Gate Bridge, the old road was renamed Hollylea Road.
But to commence our story, we go back to the year 1855 when “Rose Cottage” became the home of Sarah Rose, widow of Thomas Rose of “Mount Gilead”. The land attached to Rose Cottage was 76 acres and this was the farm that was later known as Woodbine.
When Sarah’s son Alfred Rose acquired Rose Cottage in 1867, he purchased not only the house and its 76 acres but also its furniture, china, glassware, books, cattle, horses, carriages, farming implements, coach house utensils, etc. Alfred Rose also owned Boloco Station, Dalgety. He was a lawyer by profession.
The diaries of James Payten give an insight into not only the Payten family but also the times during which they lived.
The diaries recall James used to join Alfred Rose on shooting and fishing expeditions.
The 1869 diary records frequent visits to Alfred Rose and his mother at “Rose Cottage”; “went to Campbelltown in carriage”; “went to Campbelltown in dogcart”. On 23rd February James “papered room for Mrs Rose”.
The Goulburn Railway was opened on 27th May 1869. “Goulburn Railway opened. Alfred & I went. Alfred went to Wingello & I home”. (Edward and Hannah Payten lived at Wingello and visits to and from Wingello were often.)
The Georges River was a popular place to visit and during November James took his children to the river to escape the oppressive heat. In 1876 the Reverend Thomas Alkin arrived in Campbelltown as Rector of St Peter’s Church of England, bringing with him a keen interest in botany. Alkin formed the Campbelltown Botanical Collecting Society, whose members included Alfred Rose, James Payten and others. Members of the Botanical Collecting Society explored bushland along the Georges River, studying the native flora. James Payten’s son Alfred won book prizes for collecting specimens of wildflowers.
The children of James and Sarah Payten – Alfred, James, Percy, Arthur, Herbert and Rose – shared their father’s enthusiasm for sporting activities. The spacious lawns of Woodbine provided a perfect location for a family game of cricket. Later the Payten sons demonstrated their cricketing prowess in matches played on The Green (now Mawson Park) in Campbelltown and at Camden.
James Payten was a man of deep religious conviction. He maintained that there were certain activities one did not do on Sundays. Playing marbles was one of them, as his sons were reminded when caught red-handed one Sunday.
Young Alfred Payten attended Campbelltown Public School for a time and was later transferred to Sydney Grammar School. His brothers attended The King’s School at Parramatta. James was determined to provide his children the best education possible.
Entries in the 1889 Diary of James and Sarah Payten indicate James was no longer so reliant upon the assistance of paid labour as son Percy was old enough to shoulder some of the responsibility for farm management. Another son, Alfred Rose Payten, had been indentured to a Sydney architect in 1885 with his apprenticeship to be completed at the end of 1889.
Sheep, cattle and pigs were being fattened on Woodbine for sale to local butchers such as James Wilson, whose butcher’s shop stood just north of the then Post and Telegraph Office in Queen Street, Campbelltown.
James Payten died on 3 December 1890, aged 56.
Copyright © 2005 Campbelltown & Airds Historical Society Inc. All rights reserved.
(extracts from article published in “Grist Mills” Vol. 1 No. 6 & Vol 2 No. 1, Oct 1983 & Feb. 1984)