Paver Tales: The Origins of the Beard Place and Venetta Road Names

James & Venetta Beard at Noel & Mary’s Wedding 16th May 1959

As part of our fund raising activities for the Ray Whiteman Heritage Fence, the GPA has been offering Glenorie district locals and families the opportunity to have their names engraved in pavers and laid in perpetuity in a path in the precinct of the Glenorie Memorial Hall, opposite Woolworths.

As a result of this exercise, there has been much excitement generated in the Community and to date well over 50 single and double pavers have been ordered. For many, the pavers symbolise not only their family’s connection to the Glenorie district but also offer an opportunity to preserve the historical connection by literally laying it in stone.

The GPA has been heartened by some of the amazing stories that have been told by people when ordering their pavers. The first of these ‘Paver Tales’ is told today: The origins of the Beard Place and Venetta Road names.

James & Venetta Beard, February 1933

The Beard family’s legacy in Glenorie spans generations, beginning with Joseph and Caroline Beard’s arrival in Sydney by boat from England in 1852. Despite facing the tragic loss of seven of their ten children in infancy, their perseverance laid the foundation for a lasting impact on the Community.

Their tenth child, Joseph (Joe), was born in 1870. He married Elizabeth Ann Sullivan in 1892. They originally lived at Petersham but were advised to move from the suburbs due to health concerns.

In 1906, Joseph and Elizabeth obtained a Land Grant of 80 acres on Old Northern Road, Five Mile Forest – now Forest Glen – just past the Glenorie Oval – now Les Shore Oval. At that time, they were parents to five children. After moving to Glenorie they had a further three, Walter, James and Alma, all of whom attended Glenorie Public School.

Walter became a successful farmer in Glenorie, he married Ethel Gregory. They had 3 sons, Leslie, Allan and Kenneth. Allan still lives in Glenorie.

Joseph and Elizabeth later moved to a property in Cattai Ridge Road, near Smith’s Lane, paid for and financed by their son, James. In around the mid-1930’s, James then purchased a further 40 acre parcel of land on Cattai Ridge Road where he and his father built a home.

James married Venetta Ivy Packer from East Kurrajong. They raised 7 children, all of whom lived in this home until their respective marriages. This original home still stands on Venetta Road.

James and Venetta farmed stone fruit, citrus and vegetables, which he sold at the Sydney Markets.

In order to irrigate the farm, James, in collaboration with fellow farmers, erected an irrigation line from Pinus Avenue through the bush and other properties to his own farm. As it soon became apparent that he required additional water for the farm, in 1956, James engaged a Mr. Gordon Lucas to construct a large dam at the bottom of his property. This dam is now part of a property on the lower side of Venetta Road.

Beyond farming, James was an accomplished cricketer for the Glenorie Cricket Club, a passion he shared with his four sons.

In the late 1950’s, James expanded his farming operations with the purchase of a property in Post Office Road. His eldest son, Noel bought the adjacent 25 acre property where his wife, Mary still lives today.

When James and Venetta later moved to their Post Office Road property, their son, Kevin took over the farm on Cattai Ridge Road. It was later subdivided to form various estates served by Venetta Road and Beard Place, which were named after and in honour of James and Venetta.

Joseph & Elizabeth Beard


James retired around 1965 due to ill health and after the tragic death of his son, Colin at the age of 15, in a farm accident. James passed away in 1969 at the age of 59 years. Venetta passed away in 1988 at the age of 78 and after many years of ill health.

A number of James and Venetta’s Grandchildren and Great Grandchildren still reside in Glenorie and the Hills District.

If anybody has similar personal or family tales about the history of Glenorie, we’d love to hear from you at [email protected]. If you’d like to order an engraved paver, please visit

We recognise the Traditional Owners of the Glenorie area, the Dharug people, and pay respect to their Ancestors and Elders past, present and emerging and to their heritage. We acknowledge and uphold Joseph & Elizabeth Beard their intrinsic connections and continuing relationships to Country.