Travel to Menangle and at the end of Glenlee Road stands the impressive property known as
Glenlee. Built in 1824 for the Police Magistrate William Howe, Glenlee has a rather auspicious
Menangle resident James Fitzpatrick married a daughter of William and Annie
Cummins, Glenlee tenant farmers at Menangle. While William Cummins served as Mayor in 1888 and 1890,
James' grandson Frederick Sedgwick was Mayor 1957-1959. James Fitzpatrick Jnr came to own Glenlee,
and it was he who first postulated a racetrack at Menangle, although by that time horse racing had
been held at Menangle for some 30 years, since the 1860s.
When the Menangle
racecourse opened in 1914, it became a makeshift Army camp and was used to train member of the
Australian Lighthorse Brigade. During the post-WWI housing boom in Campbelltown Menangle was divided
up and developed, and the street names reflect the people who made Menangle what it is today -
Cummins, Taber and Fitzpatrick Streets commemorate the famous Menangle men, while Racecourse Avenue
and Station Road are obvious (Menangle station opened in 1937 at its current location). The designer
of the Menangle racecourse, Alfred Payten, is remembered in Payten Street. When WWII was declared,
Menangle racecourse was again an Army base, with an airstrip laid out through its centre.
In 1952 the Menangle Racecourse was acquired by the NSW Trotting Club and done up as a paceway.
In 1957, the Vulcan Fireworks Company, which operated in a factory on Cummins Street, blew up,
leaving a smouldering mess and many a shaken resident in Menangle.
residents of Menangle have been lobbying to have the ability to subdivide their land, as their
properties are 'too big for building but too small for rural pursuits', being 2.5 acres each. The
State Government granted permission for this in 1981, but the government's ban on new developments
near the Nepean River because of water and air concerns have prevented the lots of Menangle from
being developed further.
The Menangle Virus was 'discovered' in 1997 in a piggery in
Menangle, after a spate of stillborn piglets and deformities, and several staff members taking ill
with flu-like symptoms. The source is believed to be a nearby colony of fruit bats, or flying foxes,
which appear to be asymptomatic. The Menangle virus is one of three viruses that have recently been
discovered in Australia, that can be transferred from bats to humans (zoonotic) and is closely
related to the recently discovered Tioman virus (which although related to the Menangle virus is not
known to be transmissible to humans). Although, it is believed (because it is so closely related to
the Menangle virus) that Tioman may cause disease if it does pass from animal to human.
Menangle remains to this day a quiet, rural town, dominated by Menangle Paceway (which has plans
to reopen in 2008 following extensive refurbishment, and with it, Menangle Markets coming back
bigger and brighter). The annual Campbelltown Show (held at Menangle Showgrounds) and the beautiful
Menangle House are drawcards to this hidden gem in Campbelltown's country.