What’s in a Name?

Last week CWA of NSW (finally) became the new owners of 244 Coward Street, Mascot.

The building was completed in 2009 and presents a fresh and contemporary ‘face’ for The Country Women’s Association of NSW. The design of our interior spaces, whilst being functional and purpose built, will also provide a glimpse into our past and the design team have done a fantastic job of not only incorporating our memorabilia but giving some things a ‘little tweak’ and a modern twist! I am truly impatient and excited to see how it will all look.

Mascot building

BTW – there is a little landscaped ‘park’ area at the front of the building which is called “The Nancy Bird Walton Park” – fitting for us don’t you think?

This week’s blog is about the origins of Coward Street Mascot and was written by guest blogger Katherine Greatrex, from our Kendall Branch, whom I met during a tour of the Mid-North Coast Group earlier this year.

I hope you find her story as interesting as I did:

Before 1870, North Botany consisted largely of sandy patches swamps and market gardens.

In the 1938 Jubilee year celebrations, 50 years after North Botany became the municipality of Mascot, a report was given to those in attendance that Mascot is at present an attractive residential and manufacturing suburb within easy reach of Sydney Central Post Office (three and a half miles on admirable roads) and with efficient train and bus service.

The pioneering Alderman in 1888, a 15 man team, elected James Coward as their first Mayor of the new Municipality of Mascot.

James Coward was a very old resident of North Botany and took a most prominent part in its incorporation, being chairman of the committee. His election as first mayor was unanimous.

James Coward 7

He was a most energetic man and did a lot for the Municipality during his three year term as Mayor.

So members we have CWA State Office in a street named after a much esteemed citizen in James Coward.

James Coward was born in 1830 at Doulting near Shepton Mallet in the County of Somerset, England. He arrived in Australia in 1858, died 1912 at Mascot. He was one of the first Dairymen in the district of Botany and carried the cans of milk attached to a yoke over his shoulders (as did most dairymen at that time) to take the milk to Redfern for sale. It is not recorded if they did two trips a day.

There were also orchards and market gardens, potatoes gave heavy yields, 24 tons to the acre. When the Goldfields opened up a ton of potatoes rose to 20 pounds, a ton. There were also several piggeries.

A plant nursery was established, as was a mill near the water works. As we all know when we have travelled in the past years through Botany to Mascot airport there used to be Glue factories and Tanneries at Botany, they were started in the late 1870s. Most of them have now gone.

Mascot was so named after Ascot race course at Epsom, Surrey, England where the famous Derby horse race is run in early June each year. There was a race course where the airport is now.

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