If you have ever driven through Haberfield in Sydney you may have noticed ‘Algie Park’. In 1911, Ashfield Council unanimously decided to name it after Charles Hugh Algie to recognise his “persistent and successful efforts in the betterment of the immediate locality”.2 Algie however was not from Sydney, he grew up in Ghinni Ghinni.
Born in 1876 to John and Mary Jane Algie,3 Algie was the manager of the Australian Dairying Company’s creamery at Ghinni before moving to Sydney to work as a representative for the Excelsior Brick Manufacturing Company.4 He devoted much of his life to civic duty becoming an Alderman of the Ashfield Municipal Council 1908-1917 and Mayor of Ashfield 1913-15. During WW1 he set up a fund to raise money for the war effort and by 1917 he had raised nearly £15,000. Algie also founded the Haberfield Progress Association and School of Arts of which he was President. Algie’s wife Sarah was also devoted to civic life and was President of the Ashfield and Haberfield Red Cross. Both Algie and his wife were much loved and appreciated by the community.5
The Algies briefly moved back to Ghinni Ghinni to farm when Algie bought his parents’ dairy farm in 1922, but they soon after returned to Haberfield.6 In 1930, Sarah Algie died at the age of 58 years.7 After this time Algie started to suffer from a nervous condition. In August 1933, Algie was found injured on a Haberfield footpath in the early hours of the morning. Tragically he died the next day from these self-inflicted wounds.8
Author: Janine Roberts inspired by a story uncovered by Vicki Fletcher.
The following poem and cartoon about Algie were published in 1913.
Mayor of Happy Ashfield
He is a man of wondrous sense,
He is a man of great renown:
He is a chap who’s most immense,
Up there in sun-kissed Ashfield town,
Where balmy summer breezes blow,
And well the rose doth bud and grow.
He writes a really splendid fist,
And right well he can speak:
He is an elocutionist,
Who can speak by the week,
He’s up to date to many tricks
And knows a lot regarding bricks.
The manager he is, you know,
Of a brick company –
And he is worth a ton of “dough.”
A merry man is he,
He’s far from old, he’s far from hoary:
Here! See him in his pristine glory!9
1 Sydney’s Inner West KIDsize living. https://sydneysinnerwest.kidsizeliving.com.au/content/algie-park-haberfield
2 Ashfield Council, Algie Park Plan of Management, February 2011, Sydney, p 7. https://www.innerwest.nsw.gov.au/about/policies-plans-and-regulations/park-plans-of-management-and-studies
3 NSW BDM, Birth Index No. 14494/1876.
4 Manning River Times and Advocate for the Northern Coast Districts of NSW, 12 March 1902, 2.
5 Macleay Argus, 10 March 1922, 6.
6 Land, 10 March 1922, 6.
7 Sydney Morning Herald, 18 January 1930, 21.
8 Sydney Morning Herald, 22 August 1933, 10.
9 Truth, 23 November 1913, 3.