History of Exeter
James Badgery was the pioneer at Exeter. On the 17th November 1821 a grant for 500 acres was surveyed with the deed being issued on the 1st November 1822. Thomas Moore was granted 2000 acres that became known as Moore's Flat, Edward Gray was granted 600 acres and became known as "Spring Hill" and J Underwood was granted 500 acres.
Born near Exeter in Devonshire, James Badgery arrived in New South Wales in November 1799 with Colonel Wm Paterson on the ship Walker.
In June 1803 Badgery got a grant for 100 acres on the Nepean River near Yarramundi and in 1809 Colonel Paterson made grants totalling 840 acres to Andrew, William and Ann Badgery. The land was surrendered once Governor Macquarie arrived, as Colonel Paterson had no authority to make grants. In August 1812 a new deed for 640 acres was issued to James Badgery for the greater portion of these lands. James occupied the property on the South Creek in the Bringelly district. In November 1810 Governor Macquarie visited the farm and found a good house and garden with a considerable amount of land cleared. In 1812 the deed of the farm was titled "Exeter" which was eventually transferred to the town and is what we know it as today.
By 1819 James Badgery had done very well with his cattle and sheep multiplying to such an extent that his farm could not maintain them. On the 23rd of December 1819 he wrote a letter to the Governor requesting permission to send the cattle to the New Country Westward of the Blue Mountains.
On the 29th of December 1819 the Governors secretary JT Campbell advised James that he was able to send the cattle to the New Country Westward of the Blue Mountains by Cox's Pass but not through the Cow Pastures.
From 1804 to 1823 the Cow Pastures were located across the Nepean River and it was an offence to be in this country without a pass and if found there you were arrested.
Governor Macquarie promised Badgery a grant of 500 acres on the 31st March 1821. Having gotten a promise the promise could choose a part where he wished to settle. The next step for Badgery was to obtain a pass to enable him to travel through the Cow Pastures and the country beyond it. A permit was issued to James Badgery and Edward Franks on the 12th of October 1821. The two men travelled together with their stock according to the pass. Franks took two of his servants with him, Isaac Deacon and Joseph Smith, to help with his 79 head of cattle. Badgery had 103 head of cattle but there was never any mention that he had help on his journey.
Surveyor William Harper was marking out grants in the Sutton Forest area and he surveyed 500 acres for Badgery on the 17th November 1821. Knowing the Surveyor was in the district Badgery went to choose the grant, which was authorised earlier, and get it marked out. His stock was then put on this land.
On the 1st of December 1827 James Badgery died at South Creek and than buried at Liverpool. He left behind his widow Elizabeth, daughter Ann, and four sons Henry, Andrew, William, and James.
The census of 1828 showed that the widow, Elizabeth held 1900 acres of land, 500 acres were cleared and 200 acres cultivated. She also owned 400 head of cattle and 486 sheep. Henry had 800 acres, which was called "Spring Grove", Sutton Forest, with 28 acres being cultivated and he owned 425 head of cattle and 413 sheep. Andrew was a landholder and owned 400 acres in the Cabramatta district. The other sons lived with their mother.
On the 27th May 1834 Henry Badgery was granted 201 acres in Exeter and later a consolidated grant covering 1920 acres was issued; it was named "Vine Lodge". Today Exeter is built on a portion of this land. The other brothers in the district also held Land.
Exeter began to develop in 1889. In 1891 a large part of "Vine Lodge" was subdivided and sold with town lots selling for 9/- to 12/6 per foot, farm blocks sold for £27/10/- to £32/10/- per acre. Arthur Yates brought a few farm blocks were he established a nursery.
In July 1891 Exeter was going ahead. Land that had been sold two years earlier had tripled in value with many cottages being built and houses for the station staff. In 1894 a brick store was built and a bakery followed the year after.
On the 9th of May 1891 Exeter Public School was opened with the first teacher being John Cameron. In 1907 a new school building was built and opened on the 29th July with Frank Badgery unveiling pictures from Exeter, England and the Union Jack, which hung on the wall. The school ground beautification scheme was initiated at a jubilee celebration held in 1951. Trees, roses, and shrubs were planted in memory of deceased pupils and residents with liquidambar trees in honour of former pupils who had died in two world wars.
It was decided to build a Church of England in 1894 and tenders were called for the work in January 1895. On The 30th of March 1895 Mrs FE Badgery laid the foundation stone with the dedication ceremony being performed on the 11th January 1896 by the Primate. The Governor, Viscount Hampden was also present and spoke. The Church was called St Aiden's and before it being built services was held in Frank Badgery's house. The church only seated 40 people and became to small so in 1903 extensions were done to it. Miss Elise Badgery laid the foundation stone of the extensions on the 21st November 1903 and the extension opened on the 20th February 1904.
In 1900 a School of Arts of was established and then it was decided to build a building for the institution and Dalgety and Co donated a site. In March 1902 works began on the building and it was completed in September. It was opened on the 19th of December 1902, fully furnished and finished the building cost £630.
On The 22nd of November 1922 Mrs RR Danger opened the Exeter Soldiers Memorial. The building was brick and stood in St Aiden's grounds. The memorial cost £1,421. Sunday School was held in this building and was a meeting place for church organisations.
On the 12th of February 1950 His Excellency Sir John Northcott unveiled the War Memorial Gates at the entrance to Exeter Park.
In 1910 the acquisition of land for a park at Exeter was discussed with the Government promising £200 towards the cost of the land with the residents having to contribute the rest which they agreed to do. The town's residents had collected £150 by the middle of the following year and the land was bought.
A property held by Searl's and was a nursery was purchased in 1915 by Messrs RG Danger, E Lloyd Jones and FG White and offered to the Red Cross for a period of eighteen months after the end of the war to act as a home for returned soldiers. Sir Walter Davidson officially opened the home in December 1918.
In June 1921 Peter Sinclair opened a picture show, which showed films once a week
On the 28th of August 1929 the first electric light in Exeter was turned on.
The branch of the Country Women's Association was formed in 1946 and on the 15th of January 1955 new rooms for the organisation were opened. FE Badgery donated the land on which the building stands.