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More about the other Llandilo

The article on the Llandeilo artist Carey Morris, by Miss Eirwen Jones in Vol. XV of The Carmarthenshire Historian, has prompted Mrs. Betty Eldridge, Wentworthville, New South Wales, Australia to supply a booklet which was published to celebrate the centenary of Llandilo Public School, NSW in 1966, wherein is given a description of the flag designed by Morris. The flag, which was sent out to Llandilo NSW in exchange for an Australian flag, is described thus:

'The flag is 9 feet by 52 inches. It has two sides, the material being silk. The obverse side contains a painted centre-piece, the arms of Sir Rhys ap Thomas, K.G., with his portrait below showing him on his favourite charger. Above there is the name of the town, Llandeilo Fawr, in gilt letters, and below, "Sir Rhys ap Thomas, Battle of Bosworth, 1485". On each side of the centre-piece is a Tudor Rose. In the top right-hand corner are the arms of Henry the Eighth, and in the opposite corner is the Union Jack.

'The reverse side contains the national emblem of Wales, the Red Dragon, on a green and white ground, with a three inch green and white border, and the Union Jack in the top left corner.

'The flag was designed and painted by Carey Morris, a noted Welsh artist, and the needlework was done by Miss Johns. Both are natives of Llandilo, Wales'.

The centenary booklet reprints a report from the Nepean Times of 9 June 1928, which stated: 'Last Monday, 4th June, King's Birthday, was Welsh day at Llandilo, for on that day the beautiful flag presented by the mother town in South Wales, was dedicated and unfurled in the presence of about four hundred spectators, of whom the Welsh element was the dominant and most enthusiastic portion.

'Members of the Cymrodorion Society, bearing their beautiful banner, were there in force, together with members of the Welsh Choral Society and other folk of the Sydney Welsh community. Many of them had resided in the Llandilo in Wales, and took the opportunity of being present to honor their nationality'.

According to the booklet, 'the first move towards the establishment of a national school at Llandilo, then often referred to as Landilo or Landillo, was made on 6th October 1865', when the newly elected Local Patrons' made formal application to the Board of National Education for a grant towards the Non-Vested School, which was already in existence. The settlement is described as a 'small and rural village' which lies in the 'undulating foothills of the Blue Mountains just east of the Nepean River', six miles north-east of Penrith, a town of some 40,000 population. It was 'first given to settlers in grants of lands by Governor Macquarie to settlers such as Samuel Terry and many others and consisted of an area of some 2,000 acres'.

The booklet explains that the place 'derives its name from the Welsh town of Llandilo in the south-western corner of Wales' and its meaning 'is said to be the village or enclosure around the Church of St. Teilo, who was the second Bishop of Llandaff'. It is further stated that 'back in the year 1928, the community here was in contact with Llandilo, in Wales, and a set of flags was then sent out by sailing vessel to the school'. These 'beautiful flags' were on display during the centenary celebrations of 1966. The school, a 'typical Australian Bush School', then had a hundred pupils approximately and in the village 'is the small but quaint Anglican Church of St. David, which was opened in the year 1899'.

But how came the Australian settlement to acquire its name? The answer is elusive, as demonstrated by the researches of Mr. D. C. Jenkins, St. Austell, Cornwall, who, also, has been encouraged to write in response to Miss Eirwen Jones's article. He states that the 'Australian National Flag was received in the County School, Llandeilo (where I was a pupil), I think, in 1924', and continues:
'Several years later I made enquiries about the founding of Llandilo, NSW. Information from the NSW Department of Lands stated that this parcel of land, about 30 miles west of Sydney, had, for the most part, originally been granted to Samuel Terry (950 acres) and John Hutchinson (200 acres). This was in January 1818. The area was sub-divided under the name of Llandilo between 1884 and 1887. The Llandilo sub-division consisted of 2,000 acres, the remainder of the area being taken from adjoining properties owned by Butcher, Guest, Duckett, Cramby, Cuddy, Freebody and (possibly feeling a bit of an outsider among this un-Celtic sounding bunch) J. B. Williams. There was nothing in the Australian records available to show whether any of these men had a Welsh connection.

'I have no information about any of the foregoing persons, with the exception of the well-documented Sam Terry. Transported at the very beginning of the last century, he completed his sentence, elected to stay there, and was given a grant of land. His modest holding within a very few years, and apparently with a little sleight of hand, grew to many thousands of well-stocked acres. His Botany Bay Convict to Cattle King saga ended in 1837, when he died "leaving a Princely Fortune of nearly One Million Sterling" '.

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