by Cathy Jones
The parish of Liberty Plains is one of the 57 parishes of Cumberland County, New South Wales, a cadastral unit for use on land titles.
The name ‘Liberty Plains’ originally applied to the areas of land grants to Sydney’s ‘first free settlers’. The grants commenced in 1793 in response to Governor Philip’s request for the introduction of ‘practical farmers’ to the settlement. These settlers ( who arrived on the ship ‘Bellona’ in January, 1793) were described in the Secretary of State’s Despatch of July 14th, 1792, as “Thomas Rose, aged 40, farmer from Blandford, his wife, Mrs. Jane Rose, and their children, Thomas, Mary, Joshua and Richard, also Elizabeth Fish, aged 18, related to the family.”
Other members of the group were “Edward Powell, aged 30, farmer and fisherman from Lancaster, Thomas Webb (and his wife) gardener, Joseph Webb, aged 18, nephew of Thomas Webb, Frederick Meredith, baker, and Walter Brodie, blacksmith”. Meredith, Thomas Webb and Powell had already visited Sydney as ordinary seamen.
An area ‘at the upper end of the harbour above the flats and to the South Side’ having been selected by the settlers, their different allotments were surveyed and marked out and early in the month they took possession of their land, giving the name “Liberty Plains” to the district in which their farms were situated.’
In later years it included a wider area and is so designated on Parish maps.
The Sydney Gazette of October 27, 1821, described Liberty Plains as “bounded on the North side by the Sydney Road leading to Parramatta, on the west side by a line passing southerly to the Liverpool Road, and on the South side by the Liverpool Road and Cooks River to Johnson’s Farm: on the East by Johnson, Lucas and Piper Farms, to the head of Iron Cove Creek on the Liverpool Road and thence by that creek to the Parramatta Road.”
The current parish of Liberty Plains was proclaimed in 1835 and is bounded by Parramatta Road in the north; the area between Flemington and Homebush, a small part of Cooks River and Liverpool Road (Hume Highway) in the east; the Hume Highway also in the south; and Woodville Road in the west. It includes the suburbs of Auburn, Regents Park, Potts Hill, Chester Hill, Bass Hill and Lidcombe. It also includes Rookwood Cemetery.