Do you know the story behind the person your local park is named after?

Named after people who have made an enormous contribution to The Hills Shire, many of the parks in The Sydney Hills are rich in history and have interesting but mostly unknown backstories.

Some parks in The Hills district area are named after convicts turned settlers and war heroes.

Others are named after former councillors and mayors who have helped to shape The Sydney Hills.

Others still are named after ordinary everyday Hills residents who have given up their time to make The Hills a better place.

One such park is Russell Reserve, located in Rouse Hill, which is named in commemoration of two brothers who died in action during WW2.

Private Arthur Russell and Private William Russell were enlisted in the 1st Battalion, 13th Reinforcement, and were sent the Battle of Fromelles on 20 December 1915.

Arthur was killed in action during the battle and had no known grave up until 2011 when DNA from a relative in Australia allowed his body to be identified from a mass grave at Fromelles.

He was buried with full Military Honours at the Pheasant Wood Cemetery in Fromelles, France.

William Russell was wounded in the Battle of Fromelles and evacuated to England to recover.

He then re-joined his battalion in France in the Somme Valley.

On the eve of the battle of Polygon Woods in September 1917, William was killed in action.

He has no known grave although his name is listed on the Menin Gate at Ypres with others who lie in unknown graves in Belgium.

Another park with a similar story is A C ‘Charlie’ Moore Reserve, located in the suburb of West Pennant Hills.

Private A C Moore, known as Charlie Moore, served in the Australian Imperial Forces during WW2 in Malaysia in 1941.

He died as a prisoner of war in 1945.

Prior to enlisting, Charlie Moore owned and operated an orchard in The Hills.

One park which is named after an everyday Hills resident who contributed to the community is Annie Pryor Reserve.

Annie Pryor Reserve is the former location of the home and farm of Hannah Harriet Pryor, better known as Annie.

The stone wall, which can still be found within the reserve, was built by Annie.

When she took her sheep out to graze she would collect stones and stack them, gradually building a wall.

Annie’s crocheting skills were also renowned throughout the district and she would often climb into a fork of a tree and work on her crochet while she watched her sheep graze.

One reserve with a convict background is George Thornton Reserve.

The reserve is named after George Thornton, an emancipated convict from Dublin.

In recognition of his service as overseer of the Bennelong Point Lime Kilns, he received a grant of land of 100 acres in the West Pennant Hills Valley in 1823.

These are just a few of the many interesting stories behind the parks everybody knows and loves in The Hills Shire.

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