It’s Quondong Cottage’s 183rd Birthday. Let’s take a trip down memory lane and see what Quondong has been up to for the last 183 years.

Schoolchildren outside St. Patrick's Catholic School Quondong - ca. 1870 - 1889 - Credit - Campbelltown and Airds Historical Society

183 years ago Quondong Cottage was called St Patrick’s School and opened on St Patrick’s Day 17 March 1840. It was the first Catholic School in Australia to be built from private subscription and remained a school for 75 years.

Pictured here are schoolchildren out the front of St Patrick’s School possibly around the time of 1870-1899.

Many artefacts from these years are on display at the Visitor Centre in the schoolroom, such as ink bottles, marbles, rulers and even the school newsletter.

After 75 years as a school, Quondong became home to the Bourke family until 1959. The family are pictured here out the front of Quondong in 1915.

We are lucky to have the Bourke family descendants still pop in for a visit from time to time.

Here’s a photo from 1979. Quondong Cottage was owned by Cyril and Pearl Segal from 1959 to 1991, and they decided to lease the building as two flats.

It would be another 17 years until restoration commenced to transform the Cottage into the Visitor Centre you see today.

By the 1990’s Quondong had fallen into disrepair. Luckily Campbelltown Catholic Club purchased the building, and restoration began in September 1996. The Catholic Club over the years have also purchased Emily Cottage as well as the old Fisher’s Ghost Restaurant, both just down the road from Quondong.

It’s Party Time! On 20 April 1997, we celebrated the official opening of the Campbelltown Visitor Information Centre at the newly restored, Quondong Cottage. What a celebration it was!

Music from the Campbelltown Camden District Band, horse drawn carriage, penny farthings, steam machinery, classic cars and local children dressed in period costume. It was definitely a proud occasion for the many locals who came in their droves, excited to have such a beautiful building to welcome visitors to their town.

During the 2000’s Quondong Cottage welcomed some new neighbours. In 2004 construction had completed on the new Aquafit Health Fitness Wellbeing Facility, and then in 2007 we welcomed our first 4.5 star accommodation, Rydges Campbelltown. The scenery has certainly changed, but for the better. Both are much loved assets to our town, community and visitors.

Did you know Campbelltown is said to be haunted by many ghosts? There’s of course, Fred Fisher, the most famous ghost in Australia. But we have our own ghosts here at Quondong. In 2014 the team at Sydney Investigation Ghost Tours – SIGHT came on-board and started tours at Quondong, followed by a spooky visit to Town Hall Theatre and sometimes Mawson Park, to have a chat with anyone who met their fate at the gallows!

Christmas in 2019 the backdrop was a little bleak, with bushfires wreaking havoc on Australia. Our staff still found enjoyment creating Christmas decorations for the schoolroom, with their own children helping create cardboard Koalas and collecting fallen jacaranda pods to decorate. We created a delightful Aussie School Christmas themed room for our visitors to enjoy.

Local students love our School Excursions. The students from Sackville Street and Glenwood Public Schools loved their excursions to Quondong Cottage back in 2019 and 2022. Not only did they learn the history of St Patrick’s School, they played old-fashioned garden games, like quoits and jacks or knucklebones. After a quick morning tea they ventured up Queen Street with their tour guides to learn about the many historic buildings in Campbelltown, some well over 150 years old! The students and teachers all had a fantastic time!

We have entertainment for the young-at-heart too! Our guided group tours have been going strong for 18 years. Taking visitors from all over NSW and beyond on a journey through the history and attractions of our region.

Some of our first tour itineraries included: Ghosts & Ghouls, Heritage & Bushranging, Food Safari, Macarthur Arts & Heritage. Nowadays we offer: Campbelltown Heritage Highlights, Fisher’s Ghost Explorer, Camden Country & The Great Macarthur Drive.

Hip Hip Hooray for Quondong! 183 years and still going strong serving the community and visitors from all over Australia and the world. An abundance of NSW Travel brochures, maps, souvenirs, a VR experience, Koala & School room, excursions, tours plus amazing knowledgeable friendly staff. Quondong and Campbelltown Visitor Information Centre is an asset to Campbelltown and a boost to our tourism economy.

Images courtesy of Campbelltown & Airds Historical Society, Campbelltown City Library, Campbelltown City Council and Campbelltown Visitor Information Centre