Little is known about the early life of Henry Brewer, one of the first free settlers to receive a land grant in Concord.
Born in 1739, he must have spent his early days in the building industry, for he had extensive experience in carpentry, draftsmanship and architecture when he arrived in the colony with the First Fleet.
In later life, however, he would not talk about why he left his trade and enlisted in the Royal Navy at the age of 40.
When the First Fleet set sail from Portsmouth in May 1787 on its 12,000-mile voyage to Botany Bay, Brewer was on board the flagship, HMS Sirius.
When the flag was raised in Sydney on January 26, 1788 Brewer was appointed Provost-Marshal by Governor Phillip.
Much of Brewer’s time in the early days of the colony involved supervising building work by the Convicts, reflecting his experience in the building trade.
In 1793 Brewer received a grant of 50 acres in Concord on the eastern side of Majors Bay Road. Brewer Street marks the approximate southern boundary of the grant.
Brewer relinquished the post of Provost-Marshal early in 1796 through ill-health, and he died in July 1796, aged 57.
Brewer’s land grant made a major contribution to the life of Concord in subsequent years.
Part of the grant edged onto Hen and Chicken Bay and included what were considered unhealthy areas.
In 1928, Concord’s health inspector, Charles Massey, suggested that the Brewer Street swamp be drained and reclaimed. With some financial assistance from the NSW Government, Edwards Park was the first step of the reclamation program in 1933.
Greenlees Park followed, as did the public Massey Park Golf Course, which was opened in 1953 — although the drainage work had begun 20 years earlier.
Geoff Howe, Inner Western Courier