Five decades ago the people of Campbelltown were gearing up in their thousands to celebrate the new city’s coming of age.
On May 4, 1968, Campbelltown was proclaimed a city and people came from far and wide to mark the milestone - which was teamed with another significant event.
While historians recount that the city’s proclamation generated much excitement, it was the introduction of the electric train system to the now named South Line which was eagerly anticipated.
Those were the days when Campbelltown was still quite small, it was more of a community where everybody knew each other and they all participated in events, even the school children attended.- Kay Hayes
Kay Hayes, president of the Campbelltown and Airds Historical Society, explains that the Campbelltown of the 1960s was vastly different to the burgeoning city of today.
“Those were the days when Campbelltown was still quite small, it was more of a community where everybody knew each other and they all participated in events, even the school children attended. There was a totally different feel to the town compared to what we have now,” Ms Hayes said.
“So, the events of the day, on May 4, caused great enthusiasm and much excitement.”
Share some memories and celebrations in this special publication, Campbelltown City celebrates 50 years.
It seemed everyone in Campbelltown and the region had decided to spend the mild autumn day celebrating the dual events, with historians estimating as many as 20,000 people began to pour into town from the early morning - parking out Queen Street and the surrounding side streets.
Though it was a Saturday, they put on their Sunday best and crowded the railway precinct to witness the first official electric train pull into the revamped station at around 12.15pm.
On board was Mayor, Alderman Clive Tregear and special guests who had boarded the train at 11.45am at Glenfield for the historic trip to Campbelltown Station.
After the speeches at the station and unveiling of the plaque by the NSW Minister of Transport Milton Morris, dignitaries gathered at the Civic Centre for a formal lunch.
Meanwhile, mums and dads - with excited children by their side or atop their shoulders - community groups, girl guides, scouts, and school students, were all preparing for a pageant (now referred to as a parade) scheduled to flow down Queen Street. People, up to 15 deep, lined the route of the pageant along Queen Street, between Broughton and Allman streets.
After the pageant the crowd split – one half packed Mawson Park to enjoy the attractions of the day, while others attended the City Proclamation at the Civic Centre.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.