Sydney James doc.

Still There on the Hill - by Carolyn Troy

Sydney James Troy, born in 1855 and his older brother Thomas, together with their wives, are still to be found on what was part of the Troy farm, Rowe's Hill Cemetery. Although Sydney James, his wife and Thomas died in Sydney, they chose to be brought back to Mittagong. Sydney was the second youngest of Thomas and Louisa Troy's seven children. The Rowe who gave his name to the hill, was Sydney James' cousin George, the son of Aunt Harriet and once the owner of that land which was granted to William Christie in 1822. By the age of eleven, Sydney was the owner of 40 acres, 20 miles from Mittagong, on the Nattai River which flows north west into Lake Burragorang. It was the first piece of land selected there and he had the honour of naming the Creek that ran through it, Troy's Creek.

Sydney's Siblings all married into families who were the Troys' neighbours, the Comers, Crisps and Webbs but in 1880, Sydney married Jessie Beatrice Rankin in her family's home in Native Dog Flat near Bombala., where she had been born. Sydney at this time gave his occupation as a labourer and his address was Nattai, the former name for Mittagong. His grandchildren were told that he went to Native Dog Flat as a surveyor. Jessie Rankin's grandfather was born in Scotland 1787. Leaving behind a wife and five children, he was transported on the Henry and arrived in Sydney in 1823. By 1839 he was working at Mt Cooper, on a property that included Native Dog Flat, which he soon either bought or had given to him.

Sydney Thomas was the first child of Jessie and Sydney James. He was born in 1882 at Henrietta Street, Chippendale when his father was a railway employee at Nattai. Were they in Chippendale visiting Louisa's and Harriet's Hanks Hanks relatives? Regent Street Chippendale was given as Sydney James' address at the time of his death in 1920. Three sisters soon followed. Harriet Louisa was born in 1884, Ethel Beatrice in 1886, and Jessie Venus in 1888. Jessie, when she died in 1936, was living in Manly with her daughter Ethel. In her death notice, Ethel's house was named "Mattai", surely an error?

Jessie and Sydney James were popular entertainers around Mittagong, he for his recitals, and she for her yodelling. "Syd" Troy played the euphonium in Claude Lee's Band. When he died in 1898, Thomas Troy senior, left his 180 acre farm and his personal estate to his youngest son Sydney James. To the south and to the east of this property, was "Glenlorne", the property of Sydney's brother Thomas Troy junior. After Thomas junior's wife Catherine died in childbirth in 1887, Sydney and Jessie became the foster parents to at least one of Catherine's young children, two year old Rosina Maude. It is likely that Sydney James inherited his brother Thomas's property, when he died in 1901, soon after the tragic accidental death of his second wife.

When Sydney's health declined, his son Sydney Thomas, my grandfather, took over the management of his parents' dairy farm, raising his own family there, who would pass on to their children, a wealth of stories from those years. Sydney James' property was sold soon after he died but in 2006, Thomas Troy senior's great, great grandchildren, still return to visit "The Farm" on Rowes Hill, which overlooks the Marist Brothers' vineyard. With her share of the proceeds of the sale of the farm, Sydney Thomas's enterprising wife Lena opened a cafe next to the picture theatre, on Main Street Mittagong, were she served her famous seafood suppers, perhaps to the Fairfaxes, Horderns and Tooths, her former neighbours on the hill. In 1923, Lena decided to move to Sydney, to ensure the best education for her many children. During World War II, she purchased a cottage in Mittagong, where she planned to take her grandchildren, in the event of a Japanese invasion. When her ownership of the cottage ended, so did the story of the Troys of Mittagong.

Carolyn Troy

July, 2006