In 1853 William Stapleton, a farmer, his wife Mary and their children arrived in Australia from England. One of William Stapleton’s sons was Charles Harvey Stapleton 1st who became a drover in NSW. He married Elizabeth Thompson in 1871 at Liverpool. They had a total of 11 children. The family moved to Sutherland around 1880 and built a house where Stapleton Avenue is today. Charles became the first and only butcher in the Sutherland district. He had his own slaughter yards off President Avenue backing onto the now Royal National Park between Gymea and Kirrawee.
Charles bought the ﬁrst buggy in the area where only sulkies were used. With his grey dustcoat, red hair and big beard he would drive his family around in the buggy on the weekend as an outing.
In 1884-86, when the Illawarra Railway was being built, Charles with his horse and cart went around to all the railway workers supplying them with meat, he also supplied the soldiers who trained at Artillery Hill, which was on the Royal National Park site.
In 1896 the ﬁrst Stapleton’s Butcher Shop was opened at Sutherland followed by another at Waterfall and Hurstville for Charles’s sons to manage.
Charles’s son, Charles Harvey Stapleton 2nd married Amy Amelia Tabor in 1906 and moved to Woodville St Hurstville to manage the Hurstville shop which was located on a site which was later to become the Waltons Store.
One of Charles’s other sons married Dorothy Boyle who later inherited Boyles Hotel at Sutherland from her father. Charles also bought a bakery for his daughters to operate at Cronulla, this site later became the P.D.F at Cronulla.
Charles Harvey 2nd and Amy had seven children, five boys and two girls and they soon returned to Sutherland where Charles managed the two shire shops with his brother Percy and later with his five sons, Sport, Ted, George, Ernie and the youngest son Jack – father of Ron and Dennis Stapleton.
During 1927 during the construction of the Woronora Dam meat was supplied to the workers and their families living on site.
In the 1930’s during the great depression and during the Second World War many friends and customers of the butchery were out of work and fell on tough times however nobody was ever turned away without meat for their family. Often meat was sourced from local farms in the Lilyvale and Otford area south of Helensberg. Story has it that some cattle went to the slaughter yards without the farmers knowing.
In later times two ledgers of unpaid debts were written off by the brothers who worked seven days per week to sustain the business whilst providing for the local community.
Charles’s daughter Dolly worked in the shop serving customers along with Tuppy who had started working with the family as a young girl before she married Jack. Tuppy had been living at the Woronora Dam Construction site where her father was an Engineer.
Christmas, birthdays and any special occasions were always celebrated by the whole family at Charles and Amy’s house on East Parade, from the 1950‘s onwards large family gatherings were
always held in the pavilions at the Royal National Park.
In 1954 the original shop premises was sold and a new Shop built with a suite of offices upstairs. The new shop at 782 Princes Highway was one of the most modern of the time with butchers coming from abroad to inspect the modern shop.
Sadly, before the shop was opened Alfred (Sport) the eldest brother died of Asthma.
In 1964 Jack Stapleton the youngest son along with his two sons Dennis and Ron opened their own shop in Carlton, which served Sutherland Hospital, Kurnell Oil Refinery and many clubs in the area.
In 1972 due to the sudden death of his son Brian, Ted Stapleton who was running the Sutherland shop was unable to continue. This led to the sale of the business to Jack, Dennis and Ron who carried on the Stapleton Butchery business.
In 1975 Ron and Dennis converted the office suites above the shop into a restaurant marking the start of the Stapleton Steakout.
Ron managed the restaurant before it was sold to current owners Leo and Merrin Rittishauser. Leo and Merrin have taken Stapleton’s Restaurant to local fame by greatly building on the good reputation
established by the Stapleton‘s.
Dennis worked tirelessly day in day out managing and building Stapleton’s reputation of quality and service at the Sutherland shop from the early days as a school boy until his retirement in 2007. During those forty odd years Dennis took the Sutherland shop to new levels winning numerous local business awards along with many industry awards for Innovation, Quality and Customer Service.
Ron went on to manage shops at Engadine, Bangor, Caringbah and Sylvania Waters before establishing the present shop at Gymea in 1998 with his son Mark. Today the shop at Gymea has continued the family traditions of supplying the best quality meat along with good old-fashioned service. The Gymea premises contains the latest technology for smallgoods production and is continuing to win Local Business Awards along with Industry awards in the Sausage King and Smallgoods Competitions and Sydney Royal Fine Food Show.
Now semi-retired Ron is still active in the business, filling in when needed, ensuring the standards are upheld and working the Christmas Ham production in November and December each year. Mark is active in the day to day management of business operations as well as starting Jacks Jerky which is made and distributed from their factory premises at Taren Point.