The Prospect Heritage Trust Inc.

Hicks Family

© Prospect Heritage Trust Inc.

In 1884 Pastor James Hicks bought 45 acres of land in Prospect from his wife’s uncle for 700 pounds. He called the property ‘Bridestowe’, named after a town in his native Devon, England.  Pastor James Hicks married Lucy Goodin, a granddaughter of a First Fleeter, Edward Goodin (Scarborough) and Ann Thomas (Lady Juliana) on 19/3/1850. James and Lucy had sixteen children.  After buying the Prospect property James & Lucy spent their time between their Ryde orchards and the Prospect Farm. James was still carrying on his church work for the Baptist Church at Ryde and Sydney as well as preaching two Sundays a month at the Smithfield Church. Lucy died at Prospect in 1897 and was buried in the Baptist Private Cemetery at Ryde. Seven months later he married his widowed sister-in-law, Elizabeth Ann Goulding and they lived at Burwood. Pastor James died 26/2/1903, aged 81 and was buried at the Baptist Private Cemetery, Ryde.

The ‘Bridestowe’ property was taken over  by Pastor James’s youngest son, Joseph, who had first come to Prospect as a young man, and drove a team of horses at the Prospect Blue Metal Quarry. In 1900 the farm was recorded as growing barley, oats, maize and grapes, as well as having an orchard.  After the vineyard suffered from an outbreak of Phylloxera, Joseph concentrated on developing a dairy farm with a prize-winning herd of Jersey cows. Some of the original dairy buildings can be seen at the back of the property. In 1908 Joseph won Reserve Champion milking cow at the Royal Agricultural Show in Sydney. He supplied milk to Parramatta Mental Hospital and Parramatta Hospital. Cows from the Bridestowe Dairy held many Australian records for milk and butterfat production

Joseph married Ethel Hibbard Hayes on 18/7/1894 at Smithfield, with his father officiating at the service.

They had 5 children:

Theo James born 1896, died 1985

Norman Kenneth, (known as Ken) born 1898, died 1968

Leslie Gordon, born 1902 died 1973

Dulcie Patience, born 1905 died 1976

Milfred Roy, born 1910 died 1971

Joseph was a foundation member of the Blacktown Agricultural Society, and then President of the Society for 15 years, he was also a Patron of the Prospect School of Arts, the Blacktown R.S.L. Association and the Blacktown Hardcourt Tennis Association. Joseph was also a member of the Royal NSW Lancers and a member of the Metropolitan and Suburban Dairymen’s Association and the Australian Jersey Herd Society.  He was also interested in trotting horses, breeding many good ones over the years. Robert’s Image, who he co-owned with Mr S.G. Evans, was the Champion Trotting Stallion at the 1935 Royal Agricultural Show.

The high esteem in which the community regarded him was evident by the presentation of an engraved gold medallion on 1 December 1912, which is now in the possession of one of his great granddaughters.

Joseph died on 1/5/1939, Ethel died on the 8/9/1947.  They are both buried at St Bartholomew’s cemetery, Prospect.

Their sons Theo and Ken carried on the dairy farm business for many years.

Ken was the President of the Blacktown Agricultural Society for 30 years.

Ken and his son Norman carried on the family interest in trotting, with Norman driving their horses Bridestowe Boy and Snip Star.

Most of the original farm land has been sold, but the homestead, ‘Bridestowe’ is still standing and in private ownership.

Joe Hicks on Sulky with the winning horse at the Blacktown Show

Outside ‘Bridestowe’ during the funeral procession of Joe Hicks

Joe Hicks

‘Bridestowe’ from front c2000

‘Milking Shed’ from front c2000