How did it get it's name ?
Updated September 2014
July 25th. - 1868 - A strange craft flew over Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. It landed and a local surveyor, Robert McNamara, was invited to board this incredible flying machine by its strange pilot. (Marsfield -Sydney-N.S.W). - Named after the incident that occurred near the present day Macquarie University site, on the other side of what is now Epping Road. Originally called "The Field of Mars" but changed to "Marsfield" in 1892. There were marks on the ground where the UFO landed. - 4 Burn marks...with circles...the circles remained for many years after the incident. Locals talked of the incident up till the mid 1900's..however since this happened nearly 140 years ago there are now no witnesses to the event and only family members of the eyewitnesses remain.
Robert McNamara ( pictured above with his wife Bella ) on their wedding photo.
They were so much in love and all the local Marsfield residents were thrilled but the two left Marsfield suddendly and without any warning after the incident and were never to return.
Robert McNamara was not seen or heard of after this incident and there is no indication as to what happened ( to him ) - The suburb was originally named "The Field of Mars" by Governor Phillip ( of the Australian state of New South Wales ) in 1792 - 4 years after the British landed in Sydney at Botany Bay and declared Australia in the name of the British Empire. The area was Bushland bordered by two rivers ( Now called the Lane Cove River and the Parramatta River ) There is - even today - a marked difference of opinion as to WHAT the "Field of Mars" was named after. There are THREE common theories - (1) named after the Roman god of Mars - in recognition of the Military background of the British Marines who were given title to the land by Governor Phillip (2) named after the Roman "Campus MARitius" (also Military) and (3) named after the French Champ de MARS (in Paris) (also Military). It is noted that the area in the days of Governor Phillip was considered "Haunted" and as such there was a reluctance to inhabit the area.
An early settler - Enid Martin - moved into the area alone. She was described by early settlers as a strange person - refusing any contact with any person - she lived alone in a small thatched hut next to the river and kept to herself.
She would shield her face if any stranger came near her and no one would approach her as they were afraid.
On nights that there was a full moon there would be a small fire next to her hut.
The picture below- of Enid Martin - was taken when on the night she was evicted from her hut in the early 1820's after a fireball ( of some sort ) exploded - near Marsfield - and lit up the night sky - with a brilliant white flash - which caused a great deal of turmoil for the time.
(Note from Phil ) - It has been established that UFO's ( Aliens - if you want to call them that ) - Have been visiting Earth for Several Thousand years. It's quite possible that the area we now know today as Marsfield - has been visited by beings from another planet to "mine" minerals that they take to their planet. It's been confirmed that Minerals from Earth have been taken away by "other powers"(see link) that have not been recognised here on Earth. This has been going on BEFORE the British arrival on Australian soil in 1788.- This may explain the "Haunted" nature of the place - "Marsfield" - Several British Marines stepped forward and told Governor Phillip they were willing to accept the parcel of land as a grant. There is no record of what happened to Robert McNamara, the family moved from the area to the north coast some years after the incident and attempts to trace them have failed. For a long time (after 1868) the area remained virtually deserted, the incident frightening people away from living there.
(Above) Picture was taken in 1868 by Horace Hacken of Ryde. His family are convinced that it was taken over Marsfield, NSW. in 1868. We can only go by the family's assertion that this is an actual shot of the UFO. George ( the last remaining member of the Hacken family ) is certain that Horace saw the UFO land at Marsfield. Now 97 years old George Hacken has gone on record to say " There is something that I cannot explain - I really believe that there is something beyond our understanding."
Sadly I have to report that George Hacken has passed away on the 30th March 2006.
He was the last living member of his family.
In November of 1870 the field of mars was a very large area with a very small settlement (population) mainly centered around the local church. Many people lived close to the church due to the uncertain nature of the area. The (vast) remaining land around was virtually deserted. It was reported at the time that dogs would howl at night and the next day the locals would find their pets dead with no sign of what had caused their death. There were no marks nor were there any signs of a struggle.
This was around the same time that the Ryde Municipal District was founded.
Picture above is the Original Marsfield Church around the turn of the century ( 1900 ) The population of the area lived around the church as it provided comfort for the unknown (deserted) area that was outside the church boundary.
The original church burnt to the ground in a violent thunderstorm one night when it was hit by lightning.
This incident only added to the distress of the nearby neighbours who feared even more about the area.
The Minister at the time - The Reverend Theo Hunter (Picture Below) was in the church at the time and after the incident said " it was a message - a sign from God that we - the people of Marsfield will survive"
And indeed Marsfield did survive AND prosper after this incident. There were no more major troubles after this and Marsfield did prosper and move forward.
HISTORY PHOTO - The picture above shows some local Field of Mars women from outside the church. ( About 1900. )
Picture above shows the Family Funeral Company. Established at Eastwood in the very late 1800's.
Picture above taken sometime in the mid 1900's at Eastwood. They were located right next to ( the rear of ) the Masonic Hall
where the car park entrance is today ( in 2013 )
It was not till 1892 that the area was officially named "Marsfield"
The picture above was taken in 1910 outside the general store in Marsfield and shows ( left to right ) Reginald Milson, Betty Milson ( see picture below ) and Gerald Folkstone who were the operators of the general store at the time. In 1917 Gerald was unfortunately killed in a tractor accident in Marsfield after falling into the blades of a mulching machine.
Marsfield in 1922 a part of it became part of the Municipality of Eastwood. ( An adjoining Sydney Suburb.)
In 1910 the Eastwood Baptist Ladies had a float that was in the Eastwood Parade through the main street of Eastwood that was celebrating womens' place in society. Betty Milson is in this photo ( rear left )
Picture above shows a very early 1900's picture of life at Marsfield. Donald McFadden sits outside the old general store at the Field of Mars. Donald was a local farmer who was responsible for the early tree and bush clearing in the region. He ran a wood cutting business and provided timber to many of the local residents for building.
In the early 1900's ( after the church burnt down ) the school house (above ) was run by the church in a house owned by Vincent Dixon.
In 1949 Marsfield became a part of the Municipality of Ryde ( another adjoining Sydney Suburb.)
The picture above shows Max ( Michael ) Dixon who was a local citizen in the Marsfield district.
Max was a trailblazer. He founded the local envionmental action group that began the clearing of the creeks and gulleys in the region of weeds and put forward the first enviornmental local fire safety plan in 1951 that was the model for urban areas that was later adopted by most local government authorities. Max is a very unrecognised trailblazer. Probably the first "Greenie" He advocated clearing weeds, planting trees, and becoming responsible for Urban Landscape. He was a true beliver in the need for nature and the urban house enviornment. Max knew that urban housing and nature lived together. He was the very first to try and solve the problems. Unfortunately in the early 1950's he was "a rock against a hard place" and well Max Died in 1970 and to this day was not remembered for the legacy he left. He once said " I walk the streets in the early morning on week nights around 2-3 am and plant small trees and I know that when I die these trees will be my legacy "
Marsfield today is a vibrant Sydney Suburb with a house price of over $750 thousand dollars.
It is a built up area with many houses built close to each other and there are now no big open spaces apart from the local parklands and designated wetlands and river areas.
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