Alfred Barnby was born around 1850 to Edgar and Hannah Barnby. He was a draftsman when he married a widow Angelina Charlotte Wachsmann in 1880. Angelina was born in London in 1846 and moved with her family to Nelson, New Zealand. She married Albert Frederick Wachsmann and had a son, Albert Ernest, born in 1874. In the late 1870s her husband died and she brought Albert and their daughter Ada to Sydney. In their Liverpool Street house in the city, she took in boarders to make ends meet.
Angelina and Barnby were married , at St Peter’s Church of England, Woolloomooloo. By 1881 Barnby was a ships architect . They moved to Beecroft in 1893 when Barnby purchased four acres of land on the western corner of Murray Road, Boronia Avenue and Castle Howard Road. He paid only £60 for this allotment of thick bush running down to a steep gully and creek and facing unformed roads. He and his wife built a brick house with veranda amid the tree ferns, clearing only a small area for a garden and naming the house ‘Kia Ora’, now 20B Boronia Avenue.
The Barnabys had two sons, Sydney Norfolk (born 1881) and Clyde Gourlay (born 1884), and a daughter. They adopted a young girl, Esther (Ettie) Dolphin, whose parents had been killed in an accident, and who lived with the Barnbys until her marriage in 1916. Angelina Barnby gave a reception for the newlyweds at ‘Kia Ora’.
Both Sydney and Clyde Barnby were keen local cricketers, Clyde being the first skipper of the new Beecroft Cricket Club in 1900. Sydney joined the Australian contingent with service under Lord Kitchener in the Boer War and in 1901 local friends gave him an inscribed gold watch chain with pendant. A cricket match was, appropriately, part of the special send-off for him. Happily his mother was able to give him a welcome home party in Miss Ogden’s schoolroom when he returned in July 1902 after 12 months of service with the 2nd Regiment of Mounted Rifles.