Scheyville National Park Camp Precinct
Historic silos at Scheyville National Park
So…….the Scheyville National Park Camp Precinct is a kinda fascinating, kinda odd, very interesting place to visit. It is probably not what you expect of a national park day out so here’s our low down on visiting this park.
A bit about the park
Entrance to Scheyville National Park
First up – how do you pronounce it!!? Scheyville is actually pronounced ‘Sky Ville’. It gained its name after William Schey who was the NSW Director of Labour and Industry at the time the farm was a casual labour farm (see history section below for more details).
Scheyville National Park is located in Scheyville which is about 50km north west of the Sydney central business district. The park stretches across 920 hectares. It includes one of the largest surviving remnants of Cumberland Plain Bushland.
The grand entrance to the park is a remnant of its use as a Military Training Camp!
History of the Park
The quadrangle buildings were the original dormitories of the Dreadnought Boys
Scheyville National Park was originally part of Pitt Town Commons, which was set aside in 1804 as part of Pitt Town.
In 1893 with the depression upon Australia, it was decided that a co-operative farm was to be established on 2,500 acres of the Pitt Town Commons. It was to be run by unemployed workers to provide employment, however the scheme failed.
In 1896 the NSW Government established a casual labour farm training city workers as farm labourers.
From 1911 Scheyville National Park farm moved to training British boys for work on Australian farms. The farm existed in this state for many years. In fact 5,595 ‘Dreadnought Boys’ arrived in NSW between 1911 and 1939. The boys would spend a few months being trained on the farm. They were then were assigned to a farm as a worker.
The boys were known as the ‘Dreadnought Boys’ as the money used to bring the boys to Australia was originally set aside by the Government to build a battleship – which is also known as a ‘dreadnought’.
Between 1939 and 1945 Schyeville was used as a military training camp.
After the war Scheyville became a migrant accommodation centre and continued to be used in this manner from 1949 to 1964.
Many people visit the park today to re-visit their time at the Military Training Camp or Migrant Accommodation Centre. Relatives of the Dreadnought Boys also come to discover some of their family history.
The Migrant Heritage Walk
Discover the remains of the hospital building
It is hard to describe what it is like to walk around the main camp precinct which is where the bulk of the historical buildings lie. It is a bit of an eerie place being so deserted and in ruins in places. The buildings themselves are fascinating and you really feel like you get a sense of what it would have been like for the migrants who lived here.
The migrant walk is made up of 12 key panels which include text and photos. The panels provide a narrative of the building or site and how it was used.
You will see the former dining room, toilets, silo, site of the hospital and laundry. Visitors will see the site of the canteen and the storage huts. Some of the buildings are in good nick with others crumbling and some aren’t there at all anymore. Most of the buildings you cannot enter although you can peer through windows.
The area that the walk cover is quite large so visitors may wish to park at the NSW National Parks office, see that area then drive further up the road to see the other sights.
Along with the information on the migrants, there are also panels that describe how the area was used as a military training camp. See where the soldiers undertook their obstacle course, their dorms and training sites.
The dining room and cadets mess
Former migrant toilet block
Go for a walk or bring your horse!
Peaceful walking trails
Along with its fascinating history Scheyville is also popular with locals for its relaxing walks and horse trails. Within the main camp area there are several trails that meander around the precinct.
The Longneck Lagoon Walking Track is also popular as it by-passes a small inland lagoon. This 4km loop track is also home to lots of birds if you are a keen birdwatcher. Longneck Lagoon is accessed via a different park entrance on Cattai Road, Scheyville.
A good place to start your day is to stop into the NSW National Parks office which is located in the main camp area. Ask for a map to guide you around the area or download the Avenza Map app. Install the app by searching for ‘Avenza’ in iTunes or Google Play, and find the park maps by searching ‘NPWS’ in the apps map store.
Check the area map before heading here to get a good understanding of the locations of the trails and the camp precinct.
Five reasons to visit Scheyville National Park
- Learn the history of this fascinating area
- Enjoy a walk through the rural surroundings
- Simple picnic facilities
- Go bird watching at Longneck Lagoon
- Go for a horse ride
- Entry: Free
- Toilets: Yes
- Wheelchair friendly: Yes
- Free carparking: Yes
- Free BBQ facilities: No
- Time to spend here: 1 – 2 hours (unless you are having lunch)
- Food available: No
- Address: Scheyville Road, Scheyville NSW 2765
- Further details: Visit Scheyville National Park directory listing
More free things to do
After exploring the are why not:
- Check out Cattai National Park