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Canada Bay Local Government Area

Queen Elizabeth Park, Concord
Queen Elizabeth Park, Concord

The City of Canada Bay was formed on the 1st December 2000 when Concord and Drummoyne Councils merged.

The City of Canada Bay covers an area 19.82 square kilometres (1,982 hectares) with a population of 59,845 (31,153 females and 28,692 males). The Council has over 113 parks and is notable for the range of sporting and recreational facilities available within the area.

The geographical centre of the City of Canada Bay lies in the suburb of Concord around Rothwell Park.

Council takes its name from Canada Bay on the Parramatta River which was the mid point between the former Drummoyne and Concord Councils. The choice of name also provides a link with the history of the area and recalls the Canadian Exiles.

Canada Bay and the Canadian Exiles

In 1837 and 1838 there were revolts in Lower Canada (now known as Quebec) by French Canadian Patriotes who held a number of grievances against British government rule, most notably the need for greater participation in government and an increase in the legislative power of the lower house. Following the crushing of the revolts some of the rebels were executed while others were sentenced to transportation.

In 1840 the ship Buffalo transported 91 English speaking rebels to Tasmania and 58 French speaking Canadians to New South Wales. Originally the French Canadians were destined for Norfolk Island however due to representations to the Governor Sir George Gipps by the Roman Catholic Bishop, Dr John Bede Polding, they were sent to the Longbottom Stockade a less severe prison. Nevertheless conditions were still harsh for the convicts. At first there was no bedding while food and clothing was of poor quality. Work included breaking stones for the construction of Parramatta Road. Many of them collected oyster shells along the shores of Parramatta River to be be made into lime, a commodity then in high demand for building purposes. Most were Catholic and found some consolation in visits from Bishop Polding and his Secretary Fr John Brady, both of whom spoke French. Despite the harsh conditions the convicts found some time for relaxation and one prisoner fashioned a set of bowls, the first recorded instance of the game being played in the Canada Bay area.

In 1842 the good behaviour of the French Canadians led to their being granted a ticket-of-leave which allowed them to work outside the Stockade. They found work in the colony as clerks, gardeners, builders and in saw milling. Some worked in the construction of the Victoria Barracks in Paddington. Free pardons were granted to the French Canadians between November 1843 and February 1844. Eventually all but three of the Canadian Exiles returned to Canada: two died while one, Joseph Marceau, married a local women and settled at Dapto.

Following the disturbances Lord Durham (John George Lambton), Governor General and Lord High Commissioner to Canada, recommended that responsible self government should be granted to the Union of Upper and Lower Canada. This same principle of self government was later applied to the Australian colonies in the 1850s, thus establishing parliamentary democracy.

Longbottom Stockade was located in the vicinity of present day Concord Oval, St Luke's Park and Cintra Park. Remains of the Stockade were identified when foundations were laid for the new grand stand at Concord Oval in 1984. Several place names in the area reflect a link with the story of the French Canadian Exiles : Canada Bay, Exile Bay, France Bay, Durham Street, Marceau Drive, Polding Street and Gipps Street. A plaque was unveiled in Cabarita Park by Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau in 1970 to honour the Exiles and their role in the political history of Canada. In 1984 the monument was relocated in Bayview Park as this was where the Canadian Exiles disembarked in 1840 on their way to the Longbottom Stockade.

Further information: City of Canada Bay Library Service has more information available in its Local History collection. Sources of information include:

Broissery, Beverley A Deep sense of wrong : the treason, trials, and transportation to New South Wales of Lower Canadian rebels after the 1838 rebellion. St Leonards, NSW : Allen & Unwin, 1996.
Includes a list of the French Canadians who were transported.

Cahill, Jack Forgotten Patriots : Canadian rebels on Australian shores. Toronto, Ontario : Robin Brass Studio, 1999.
Includes a list of the French Canadians who were transported.

Coupe, Sheena Concord, a centenary history Concord, NSW : Council of the Municipality of Concord, 1983. Chapter 4 'Longbottom and the Canadian Exiles' provides an overview.

Ducharme, Leandre Journal of a political exile in Australia; translated by George Mackaness. Sydney : D.S. Ford, 1944. (reprinted Dubbo, NSW : Review Publications, 1976.)
Experiences of one of the Fench Canadian Exiles.

Lepailleur, Francois-Maurice Land of a thousand sorrows; the Australian prison journal, 1840-1842. Carlton, Vic. : Melbourne University Press, 1980.
A journal kept by one of the French Canadian Exiles.

Marceau, Kevin All but one went home. Mona Vale, NSW : K. Marceau, 1987.
The story of Joseph Marceau and his descendants in Australia. It includes a list of the French Canadians who were transported, details of the Buffalo and Pierre Trudeau's speech at the unveiling of the memorial.

Prieur, Francois Xavier Notes of a convict of 1838.; translated by George Mackaness. Sydney : D.S. Ford, 1949. (reprinted Dubbo, NSW : Review Publications, 1976.)
Experiences of one of the French Canadian Exiles.
There is also an entry for Prieur in the Australian Dictionary of Biography vol 2 pp. 352-353.

Find out more about Council services at the City of Canada Bay web site.

Canada Bay Council is a member of IMROC, the Inner Metropolitan Regional Organisation of Councils.


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