Beecroft-Cheltenham History Group

Beecroft

Lilla Road

The Glen

This land had been purchased by Henry Rawes Whittell in 1887. He was the son of Dr Henry Rawes Whittell of College Street  Sydney and he was a surveyor working for the railways and the Registrar-General. In 1884 he had married Amelia Amy Menzies the sister of Mrs John Vernon (Mary) of ‘Cranebrook’ Malton Road.

Whittell had an extensive interest in botany and horticulture being a member of both the Linnean Society and the Horticulture Society, He grew an experimental plantation of tung oil trees (aleurites fordii) on his property.

The house was originally called “Glen-Ha-fren” and had a frontage to what is now Wongala Crescent – with the house being oriented to obtain city views.

Malton Road

This road was named after Malton a town in Yorkshire,  England, where the wives of Sir Henry Copeland were  born.

2 - Cranebrook

The land was originally purchased in 1891 by Robert Henry Carter, who sold it in 1903 to Robert Fowler MLC of Camperdown. He sold in 1908 to George Sargent who in turn sold in 1910 to John Vernon.

John Vernon (1844-1924)[1] and his wife Mary, built the home following his retirement as Auditor-General. When building the home they included a dental surgery with a separate entrance for the last of their children to be living at home – Harry Gordon Vernon. Their son also had a dental practice in Sydney. In 1937 the property was sold to Charles Horton a carpenter of Beecroft.

12 – Lynwood

As with Cranebrook, this land had been owned by Robert Henry Carter and Robert Fowler MLC before being purchased in 1904 by Ada Nixon the wife of William Mark Nixon.[2] William Nixon was an architect and he designed the house built on the property as their family home. As the family started to leave home, the Nixon’s sold the home and built a new home across the street – now known as ‘Kunaware.’ This property was purchased in 1911 by Mary Bell North, the wife of John George North, stockbroker.

The architects were Charles Slatyer and Nicholas Shiels.

14-18 – Mindaribba

This land was originally purchased by John Mason of Petersham in 1891. He sold the land in 1895 to John Seale.[3] John Seale had been a Station Master at Maitland and he named the house which he built on this site after a town near Maitland.

The house was built by Joseph Fowler who was married to John Seale’s sister Mary. Joseph Fowler founded Fowler’s Potter Works.

11 – Kunaware

This home was designed by William Nixon as his family home, after his earlier home in Beecroft (‘Lynwood’) became too large. In 1921 the home was sold to Charles Robertson Swann (1880-1946) of ‘Kunaware’ Hannah Street Beecroft. The name is an Aboriginal word for ‘swan’s nest.’

Robertson Swann was a member of the New Guard and of the Free Trade and Va;ues League. He was an avid book collector. His wife was also a collector, and had a large collection of tea pots. She was also a great supporter of charities working especially with the Red Cross, Anglican Boys Home at Carlingford and the Malahide Tuberculosis at Pennant Hills. She was Secretary of the Dickens Fellowship. Their son Raoul died tragically in 1931 from an infection caught while swimming. The shelter on Beecroft   Road near St   Johns’ Anglican Church was erected in his memory.

27 - Cloonycarn[4]

This land was originally purchased in 1891 by Edward Tysoe Lea of Granville. He sold it in 1892 to Joseph Horne who sold it in 1909 to Winifred Carlos the wife of Joseph Carlos a barrister with chambers in Elizabeth   Street Sydney. Mrs Carlos was a noted golfer and was a finalist in the 1907 Beecroft Golf Club competition. Mr & Mrs Carlos moved in 1916 and rent the house until it was sold in 1923 to Edward Wailes. His family retains the home until 1975.

Mary Street

This street was named after the second wife of Sir Henry Copeland who was Mary the daughter of James Beecroft brewer of Malton   Yorkshire, England.

3 

The earliest occupant is Charles L Little who resided there between 1914-1916. Between 1917 up to at least 1933 it was called “Wisbech” and occupied by Charles H Stanger.

It was occupied from the late 1950s until 1962 by the Norrie family and then from 1962 until 1984 by George and Ruth Baur and their daughters. George, a forester, called the home “Tallawang,” being the botanical name of the angophora – a significant specimen of which occupies the backyard.

Pennant Hills Road

587 Pennant Hills Road, Beecroft

For the early grant and ownership of this land see the item on Early Settlement.

 The earliest reference to a house on this property may be in an advertisement to lease Mount Wilberforce Farm on which there was a “newly erected verandah cottage” recently occupied by Mr W P Palmer. [1] A subsequent advertisement in 1847 referred to a “farm of 100 acres at Pennant Hills with a cottage and under cultivation.” [2]

 When Mount Wilberforce Estate was sold in 1855 it was subdivided into 3 lots with the third of 30 acres being purchased by Edward James Maher for 363 pounds. Unlike lots 1 and 2 the advertisement expressly states that lot 3 (which comprises this land) did not contain a cottage. [3]

 For information on Edward James Maher see his entry under People.

 According to family history there was a shepherd’s cottage on the land and this was occupied and extended by Edward James Maher and his wife Brigid. They added a timber wing of 5 or 6 bedrooms to help accommodate their 14 children. Edward James Maher died in this property, called “Mount Wilberforce” on 17 September 1894 aged 63 years. Under his will this property, now called “Home Farm” was gifted to his son Charles Ambrose Maher however his widow Brigid and unmarried son James continued to live in the house until Brigid’s death in 1905.[4]

 Following the death of Charles Ambrose Maher in 1929 the land passed to Charles’ son Wallace Michael Maher, and he subdivided the land by plan dated 6 September 1933. The corner block containing this property, now just over 5 acres, was sold to Gordon Holdsworth Musgrave, a customs agent of Sydney for 650 pounds. Musgrave appears to have lived in the house which, in an aerial photograph of 1943 remains the only house in this part of Beecroft. He subdivided in 1948 and the house block, now of just over 2 acres, was sold to Alfred Clive McGrath and Mona Catherine McGrath. The McGraths further subdivided in 1950, 1956 and 1961 but always retained 587 Beecroft Road. The McGraths lived in the house and he is described as a poultry farmer. The McGraths sold this site in 1966 to George Ernest Littlewood and his wife Ann Vivienne Littlewood. He was a public relations officer living in Neutral Bay. They then sold it in 1968 to Frederick Arthur James and his wife Gillian Hope James. James was a company manager of Darling Point.

 The house was built, facing east, with its rear to Pennant Hills Road and originally contained two rooms, brick walls and a chimney. There was a west wing built possibly in the 1940s. The house was significantly damaged by fire in 2009 after which the west wing was enlarged and rebuilt.

 There is a Moreton Bay fig in the grounds of the house which can be seen as an established tree in the 1943 aerial photograph.

 The house was demolished without Council approval in June 2018.

  [1] Sydney Gazette and NSW Advertiser, 9 May 1839.

 [2] Sydney Morning Herald, 14 August 1847 p 4

 [3] Sydney Morning Herald 7 May 1855 p 7

 [4] NBRS + Partners Pt Ltd Statement of Heritage Impact: 587 Pennant Hills Road, West Pennant Hills (Milsons Point, 2015) p9; Cumberland Argus, 14 January 1905

 

Cheltenham

Murray Road

Red East 

This land was first purchased by James Lawson in 1888. He sold it in 1913 to William Henry
Price a city fruit merchant. Price then on-sold in the same year to Eleanor Frances Pines (1869-1947) the widow of Frederick Pitt Pines (1839-1901) who had been chief manager of W H Paling & Co the music company. She built the property and remained there until her income from shares in W H Paling failed in the Great Depression. She sold the house in 1931 to Ida Gertrude Taylor wife
of Arthur Bernard Taylor. One of her sons, Cleveland, married Jean a daughter of the nearby home Jenambe.

The house was designed by the architect William Nixon and built by James Brown of Ashfield. The house was so named because it faced the rising sun.

 

 

 


[1] For more information on John Vernon refer to the section on people in Beecroft/Cheltenham
[2] For more information on William Mark Nixon refer to the section on people in Beecroft/Cheltenham
[3] For more information on John Searle refer to the section on people in Beecroft/Cheltenham
[4] H Barker Houses of Hornsby Shire Vol 2 (Hornsby, 1998) pp 38-39
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