Rouse Hill may get a dose of Vinegar

AN ADJUSTMENT of electoral boundaries to include land on the north side of Windsor Road in the Area 20 Precinct could force Rouse Hill residents to change their address.

Blacktown Council have proposed to name the new suburb Vinegar Hill and residents have 28 days to comment on the suggested name-change.

A council report stated plans for the precinct had already been publicly exhibited and that proposal would “eliminate the duplication of the Rouse Hill suburb across two local government areas”.

Blacktown councillor Alan Green did not expect residents affected by the change to be impressed.

He said many facilities, including Rouse Hill Regional Park, Rouse Hill Anglican College and Rouse Hill House and Farm fall within the proposed suburb and believes the Rouse Hill name has a stronger historical basis than Vinegar Hill.

But the curator of Rouse Hill House and Farm, Fergus Clunie, said historically speaking the name Vinegar Hill does make sense.

“The council is transferring the electoral boundary so the actual battlefield is going to fall within the new suburb,” he said. “It’ll actually make more sense historically when that happens.”

Vinegar Hill and Rouse Hill were interchangeable names to many in the 1800s and have confused modern scholars. Mr Clunie said the old Sydney Directory of 1802 lists Richard Rouse’s address as Rouse Hill and his oldest son, John Richard, as living at Vinegar Hill — though they both lived in the same house. The name Rouse Hill was an attempt by Governor Macquarie to distance the suburb from the battle after he granted land to Richard Rouse who built Rouse Hill House in 1813.

“Because of the connotations of Irish rebellion the name Vinegar Hill was applied sarcastically,” Mr Clunie said.

“Governor Macquarie tried to change the name to a less seditious one but he didn’t succeed. Even on old maps you never see Rouse Hill in the 19th century. Richard Rouse himself used the names Rouse Hill and Vinegar Hill interchangeably, as did everybody else.

“He often gives his address as Vinegar Hill, so he’d get his mail, and on legal documents, too.”