Tom Richmond Oval (formerly Old Dairy Park in Brooklyn)

Tom RichmondThomas Stanley (‘Tom’) Richmond (1941-2021) was renowned in the Hornsby district as an educator, a local historian, a player and coach of the game of cricket and as an activist for his village of Brooklyn. In his professional career he was a senior master at Normanhurst Boys’ and Galston High Schools before his appointment in 1990 as principal of Ku-ring-gai High School.

He was awarded many civic honours and was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2002 for his many public services.

The land on which this oval stands is traditional Darug territory and the locality contains many evidences of pre-European settlement. In 1862 the oval was part of a grant of 40 acres (“Seymour’s Gully’) made to Vincent William Seymour (1824-1899), Tom’s great grandfather whose wife was a granddaughter of Peter Hibbs (1764-1847), a prominent First Fleeter along the Hawkesbury River. The district was known as Peats Ferry until 1884.

Seymour, a longtime secretary of the Brooklyn Progress Association, ran a farm on the site which by 1900 was leased as a Chinese market-garden. In 1932 the Wood family of boat-building fame acquired 16 acres of the grant beside the river and in 1937 the Public Trustee sold the balance. For about 35 years from 1953 Joseph and Jack Homer, father and son, owned the site and worked as dairy farmers and milk and ice vendors.

Ownership passed to Hornsby Council and for three decades the ‘Old Dairy’ as it was familiarly known, was a wasteland used as a dump before Sydney Water built a sewage treatment plant on one part of the land and Council built a sports ground on another part of the land, urged on by Tom and other members of the Brooklyn Ratepayers’ Association.

Felicitously, the Council invited Tom to open the ground on 16 January 2016 and to bowl the first ball in a match between Berowra and Kenthurst Cricket Clubs.

Seymour's Gully1930s view looking down towards the old dairy at Brooklyn

Click on image to enlarge.

Images left to right: Seymour's Gully; 1930s view looking down towards the old dairy at Brooklyn.