Shortly after the European settlement of Sydney, a number of cattle strayed from their herdsmen and made their way south to pastures considered to be the most fertile in the colonies. As a result, the area was known for a time as the ‘Cowpastures’. In 1805 ambitious lieutenant, John Macarthur was granted 5,000 acres in the Cowpastures to develop the Australian wool industry. The area later became known as the Macarthur region, named after John Macarthur and his wife Elizabeth.
The township of Campbelltown was declared in 1820. The city was named ‘Campbell Town’ by Governor Lachlan Macquarie in honour of his Scottish-born wife, Elizabeth Campbell. Campbelltown’s colonial heritage is reflected in the large number of heritage listed buildings throughout Campbelltown, and a bronze statue of Elizabeth Campbell can be found in Mawson Park, Campbelltown.
Flour milling became the most enduring industry and Campbelltown became the main source of grain and flour for the colony until the 1860s. As this area lay between the Nepean and Georges Rivers it was thought to be sufficiently fertile to produce enough food for the colony.
With the establishment of a rail service from Sydney to Campbelltown in 1858, a Council in 1882, a water supply in 1888, telephone system in 1913 and electricity in 1924; Campbelltown evolved from a rural farming town to a thriving village. With the introduction of department stores and a high school in the 1950s, Campbelltown was declared a city in 1966. Much of the colonial history can still be viewed in and around Campbelltown, with the heritage precinct of Queen Street in Campbelltown remaining intact, as well as many other historical properties from the colonial era dotted throughout the Campbelltown LGA.
Campbelltown is now a bustling suburban city, with a population of around 158 000 people and a growth estimation of more than 70% over the next 20 years.