Scheyville National Park

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Scheyville is a national park in New South Wales (Australia), 41 km northwest of Sydney. Longneck Lagoon lies in the northern section of the park[1][2].



The cultural sites of Scheyville reflect many major themes in Australia’s development since European settlement. Beginning in 1804, the area was set aside as a public common for the people of the district. The Pitt Town Cooperative Labour Settlement was established in 1893, followed by a Casual Labour Farm where unemployed men could live while finding other work. William Frances Schey, MP for Redfern and Darlington, helped this tradition of experimental farming continue in the form of the Government Agricultural Training Farm. The training scheme was a program to promote and assist the migration of British Youths willing to become farm workers. After the outbreak of World War II the training farm was taken over the Commonwealth with the 73rd Australian Anti Aircraft Search Light Company and the RAAF 244 1ST Parachute Battalion being stationed there. During the post war immigration wave of the 1950s the lands and buildings at Scheyville became the starting point for thousands of immigrants seeking a new life in Australia. From 1965 to 1973 Scheyville became the home of the Officer Training Unit. An intense six month course designed to turn out officers capable of leading a platoon in Vietnam was offered to National Servicemen. After years of neglect and many development proposals for the land, Scheyville was finally gazetted as a National Park in early 1996.

Pitt Town village settlement

In 1802 an area of approximately 5,650 acres (22.9 km2) was set aside as a grazing common for the local settlers. This area originally called the Nelson Common finally became known as the Pitt Town Common. By 1889 the Common had increased to 9,000 acres (36 km2) in size, and extended from Maraylya to South Windsor. In 1893 the government resumed 3,000 acres (12 km2) of the Pitt Town Common in order to establish an experimental agricultural settlement. The area we now know as Scheyville was included in the land resumed by the government.

The aim of the settlement was to ease the high levels of unemployment experienced during the depression of the 1890s. Settlers were selected from the ranks of the unemployed and consisted of carpenters, gardeners, wharf hands, storekeepers and seamen, and their families. Run according to Socialist principles and highly controversial at the time, the Pitt Town Village Settlement and similar settlements in Bega and Wilberforce are seen today as a significant step toward unionism and the labour movement in Australia.

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