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In the very early years of the 20th century, the undulating lands of the Cooks River basin were ripe for development. The population of Sydney Town was growing steadily as many migrants were arriving in the newly federated nation of Australia.
The progress to Bankstown in 1909 of the St Peters to Liverpool railway was a great boost to development. The bush was cleared, surveyors pegs spread over the land, new suburbs, with very British names such as Canterbury, Campsie and Belmore emerged, drawing young working class families pursuing the great Australian dream.
Among the new arrivals were several Salvationist families of Ashfield corps who were keen to 'open fire' in Campsie . The official opening took place on June 21, 1912, led by none other than the legendary Commissioner James Hay. Originally the Commissioner was to open the building on Saturday 22 June but a week before the date was changed to Friday night 21 June 1912 at the beginning of a Sydney Congress.
The first meetings were held in a weatherboard hall in Harold Street but within a year the corps had its own citadel, in Anglo Road.
'The Campsie Citadel, opened by Mrs Commissioner James Hay in 1913. This building, on the site of the present citadel, was the main hall from 1913 to 1929. After a large new citadel was built next door in 1929, the old hall became the Young Peoples Hall. The wooden 'Primary', shown in the photograph at the rear of the hall, was opened in 1918.The 1913 citadel, the wooden 'Primary' and the front of the 1929 citadel were all demolished to make way for the present building opened in 1969'
The corps grew rapidly during World War One and on into the 1920s. The band scribe wrote in 1921:
'To bandsmen who are thinking of coming to Sydney and are looking for a prosperous, go-ahead suburb, a few miles from the "madding crowd", Campsie fills the bill to a nicety. It is a homely corps with 26 players, where a warm welcome awaits newcomers'.
Additional history of the Campsie Corps can be found on our special Centenary History 1912-2012 page.