Houses by Street – Wandeen Ave

This land formed portions 677-679 of the Field of Mars Common. Portion 678 sold first, at an auction on 20 June 1891 to Henry Salwey of Sydney, Solicitor. He also purchased portion 679. Portion 677 was not sold by auction until 28 September 1898. It was purchased by Emily Lutherburrow, wife of John Lutherburrow of Beecroft, fencer.

Henry Salwey sold his land in February 1894 to Alfred Salwey of Burwood, gentleman.

In 1904 three members of one family (Louisa Little of Wallendbeen widow and Henry John Little and William Augustus Little both of Sydney, auctioneers) purchased all three portions. The Little family combined the parcels and eventually subdivided the combined estate. They did this by changing the primary frontage of the land away from Sutherland Road so that instead it fronted a new road that travelled along the same ridge that contains Malton Road. The lots on the southern side then went from this road down to a creek. The sale of these lots created by this reconfiguration and fresh subdivision was then delayed so that despite an initial sale in 1913, the last lot was not sold until 1921. In emphasising the healthy nature of the locality the lots were advertised as being “445 ft above Sea Level”.

These lots comprised the Wandeen Estate.

The name of the street takes its name from the original home – “Wandeen Cottage”.

2 – “Wandeen” 2Wandeen Ave 2-1

The first lot sold was the one upon which “Wandeen Cottage” was already built. This lot was sold to Horatio William Smith of Cheltenham, builder, in 1913. ‘Wandeen Cottage’ exhibits strong Arts and Crafts influence and is representative of the work of architect George Sydney Jones. The home appears to have been built between 1904 and 1906. Following the subdivision the gently sloping front yard has terraced so as to allow for the land to be built up to permit the construction of the flat expanse of the road and footpath.

The Cottage was the home of Louisa Little and such of her children who were unmarried. Following the death of her husband, Louisa had re-located to this property from the family home in Glebe. Some of her sons were already living in Beecroft.[1] These sons, like Louisa’s husband, were auctioneers and real estate agents who initially had their own firm but which became part of Richardson & Wrench. In addition to this home in Beecroft, Louisa also had a property at Wallendbeen in the Southern Highlands. She retired to that property where she lived until her death. She was buried next to her husband in Rookwood necropolis.

While Mr Smith sold “Wandeen” in 1915 to Ada Mary Burns (wife of James Burns of Blacktown, gentleman) he appears to have continued living there until 1917 at which time the property is again sold – this time to John Bunce of Botany, a master tanner. The neighbouring lots (2 and 3) had been purchased in 1919 by Ada Emmeline Nixon[2], wife of William Mark Nixon of Beecroft architect, but she sold them after only a matter of months to John Bunce who consolidated them into his holding. The ownership of the land by firstly Mrs Burns and then Mrs Nixon, especially when combined with the length of their ownership, presumably indicates that the land was being traded for investment purposes (and capital gain) rather than with any intent of residing there.

John Bunce was born in Campbelltown in 1849. His father died when he was only 4 years of age and he went to live successively in Sydney and on farms on the Hawkesbury and at Wilde’s Meadow in the Southern Highlands. He worked on these farms, never having attended school. At the age of 26 years he went to work for R Hamilton, a tanner at St Marys. While living at St Mary’s he married Harriet (born 4 November 1846), the daughter of the local postmaster at St Marys, William Denett Woodland).[3] Leaving St Marys, John Bunce became a journeyman and then a manager for Cobcroft of Windsor. In 1887 he became partners with Messrs Pausey and Woodland as tanners in Underwood Avenue, Botany. By 1898 he became the sole proprietor, before taking into the partnership his sons Henry Walter, Clifford and eventually Frederick. He retired to Beecroft as his sons assumed greater responsibility in the affairs of the business.[4]

Following the death of John Bunce, of a heart attack late at night, on 15 February 1920, “Wandeen” remains the home of his widow Mrs Harriet Bunce. John Bunce was buried in Botany Cemetery: with “some hundreds of relations, business associates and personal friends journey(ing) in thirty-five motor cars, which constituted one of the most imposing tributes we have ever witnessed.”[5] His two eldest sons (Henry Walter Bunce and Clifford Bunce) who like their father are also tanners, become registered as proprietors. In 1937, all three lots are transferred into the name of Mabel Ann Bunce of Beecroft, spinster. She and her sister continue to live in “Wandeen” until her death in 1962 – although she sells off lots 2 and 3 in 1954 and a small strip neighbouring lot 2 also in 1954. Upon her death “Wandeen” passes to Frederick Henry Bunce of Bellevue Hill, managing director. He does not live in the home but sells the property later that same year to Pearl Wong Pty Limited. The house becomes the residence of a doctor with a large family of children before becoming the home of the Jarrett family. The property was purchased by the current owners in 2002.

While “Wandeen” is on the corner with Sutherland Road for its early years Sutherland Road was broken by the creek at the bottom of the property and there was no through road. During the 1930s this area was awash in bright colours – being a field of nasturiums.[6]

4- “Gumeracha”

Lot 2 was purchased in 1954 by Raymond Zani de Ferranti and his wife, Gladys May. Within the same year of their purchase by also acquired a few extra feet of land from their neighbour, Miss Mabel Bunce. Mr de Ferranti, was a solicitor having been admitted in 1929. He had a practice in neighbouring Pennant Hills but primarily worked in a law firm which at various times was located at 129, 92, 91 and 51 Pitt Street Sydney. He was on the Council of the Law Society of NSW and was its President between 1950 and 1952. In that capacity he was instrumental in the official recognition of regional law societies, and encompassing their efforts within the broader work of the Society as a whole.

Mr and Mrs de Ferranti built their home on this land using a popular North Shore architect, Mr Lyndsay Little. The home incorporates a number of features of the fifties including a use of chrome and strong geometric lines. Within this home Mr and Mrs de Ferranti raised their family until Mr de Ferranti dies in 1969. His widow remained in the property until her death in 1995. Their son, Barry Zani de Ferranti sold the property on his mother’s death to Robert and Carol Hussey.

Robert and Carol Hussey gave the home the name “Gumeracha” after a town located in the Adelaide Hills. Mr and Mrs Hussey had for a period lived in South Australia. Their family had largely grown up by the time they purchased the property. They made extensive renovations and extended the home with the addition of large living and kitchen areas at the rear of the home before proceeding to subdivide the property and erect two townhouses (4A and 4B) at the rear of the property. They sold both the home “Gumeracha” and each of the townhouses in 2004.


Lot 3 was purchased in 1954 by Roy Francis Carrigy a draughtsman of Earlwood and his wife Valma June. Mrs Carrigy died in 1986. This land was subdivided with 6A built at the rear.


Lots 4 and 5 were purchased by Thomas Kenyon, a law stationer of Cheltenham, in 1917. In the next year he transferred title to the land to his wife Munnie Lavinia Kenyon. She sold the land in 1924 to John Tudor Davies a builder of Lane Cove in 1924. Mr Davies built a home for himself and his family on the western lot and moved into this home in 1926. His son, Tudor Davies, was a talented pianist as a boy.[7] Both the home and the neighbouring land were sold in 1941 to a zoologist, Frederick William Shaw Mayer of Concord. Mr Mayer sold the property in 1946 to Regis Coates bank manager, of Summer Hill and his wife Gladys Eileen Coates. They stay until 1955 when they sell to Denis Leo Cowley a teacher of Punchbowl and his wife Maude Merle Cowley. Mrs Cowley died in 1984 and the next year her husband died. Their children, Margaret June Hafer and Robert Leo Crowley, sell the two lots separately in 1986. Lot 4 was bought by Murray Gerard Horan and his wife Lee Mardon Horan. The lot was again sold in 2004 at which time the land was subdivided and a new home built on 8A. The creation of 8A has resulted in each of the lots fronting Wandeen Avenue now having at least one other home being built, down the hill and adjacent to the creek. The use of the land, now only comprises family homes (without any investment properties) but is a far more intensive development of the land than the far gentler course of building over the first 60 years after the initial subdivision.


Lot 5 was bought in 1986 by James Edward Read and his wife Aileen Read.


Lot 6 was purchased in 1919 by Albert Isles Boutcher a chemist of Beecroft. The property then quite rapidly changed hands initially to Frances Amy Meadmore, wife of Clement Meadmore of Beecroft, commercial traveller, and then to Mr Meadmore himself. Then in 1924 it was sold to Eric Arthur Somerville a real estate agent of Burwood. He sold it in 1928 to Cecil Aubrey Green of Croydon, builder. He retained the land for a lengthy period as he did not sell the land until 1947 when it was purchased by Leslie Norman Kiefer a technical teacher of Beecroft. In 1951 a portion of the land on the street frontage is transferred to Council to permit a slight lengthening of the road and the balance of the land is sold to Andrew Henry Etherden of Ashfield, company secretary. It is Mr Etherden who arranges for the current home to be built. The home was then owned by Brian and Angela McGill who sell the home in 2001. The property is purchased by IGS Developments – a company owned by Mr Ian Smith. Mr Smith subdivides number 12 so that its rear 1,000 square metres is consolidated with the land upon which his home (being part of the “Holme Lacey” Estate of Copeland Road East) is built. Having completed this subdivision he then sells the home block of 1500 square metres fronting Wandeen Avenue in April 2002 to the current owners.[8]

Lots 7, 8 and 9 were sold in 1917 to John George North of Beecroft a stock and share broker. When he died in 1942 his medical practitioner sons Robert Bell North and Alan Lindsay North became registered proprietors for the purposes of selling lot 7 in 1944 and transferring (in that same year) lots 8 and 9 to John Alfred North.[9] These lots were purchased to increase the landholding of the North’s home facing Malton Road.[10] With this aggregation of land holdings and the large number of people holding the land for investment purposes, one consequence is that the street continues to be largely undeveloped for many decades.

1 1Wandeen Ave 1-1

Lot 14 was sold in 1916 to Rosetta Dorothea Marrett, wife of Lawrence Beauchamp Marrett. She sells in 1918 to James Thomas Horton of Forest Lodge, builder, He is presumably the builder of the substantial and imposing home on the property. It has an impressive double storey verandah in brick piers. He is living in the house from at least 1922. Upon his death in 1939 the property passed to James Thomas Horton of Ryde carrier and Rose Caroline Sevia Claydon of Annandale. They realise the estate by selling the property in the same year to Russell George Williamson, of Beecroft, retired civil servant. He sells in 1946 to Daniel John Glannon of Annandale, hotel proprietor and his wife Edna May Glannon. The property was transferred into the sole name of Edna May Glannon in 1948.

3 – “Braeholme” 3Wandeen Ave 3-1

Lots 12 and 13 were sold to Louisa Harper of Beecroft, widow in 1917 although she appears to have commenced living on a home on the property (together with her husband R W Harper) from at least 1916. She sells the property to Thomas Herbert Templeton JP, a grazier from Cargellico in 1918 and Arthur Templeton lives in the property from 1918 to 1920. The owner assumes occupation from 1921 and remains there until the property is transferred to Annie Digby Templeton and Hazel Templeton in 1929. The heritage garden probably dates from their ownership. They sell to Gordon Taylor in 1942. He sells ‘Braeholme’ to Reginald Ernest Wherrett of Sydney, medical practitioner in 1950. After his death in 1967 the property was transferred to his widow, Jean Alma Maud Wherrett.

Dr Wherrett was the uncle of Peter and Richard Wherrett (motoring journalist and theatrical director respectively) who speak in their combined autobiography of how they lived in West Ryde but their uncle, being a doctor, “lived up the hill” in “the far more ritzy suburbs of … Beecroft” and had “a big grand house.” They also describe how “all five Wherrett brothers had a problem with alcohol .. Reg died in a car crash, driving drunk.”[11]


Lot 11 was sold in 1914 to Constance Helena Butcher widow and Bertram Haymet Butcher of Sydney surveyor in the Railway Department. Perhaps the proximity of the ‘Wandeen Estate’ to the railway line drew his attention to this land and his mother assisted him in making the investment. They sold the land in 1919 to Owen Lloyd White. He is recorded as living on this land, in a home called ‘Strathmore’, from 1921. Mr White sold ‘Strathmore’ to Eva Burstall, wife of Thomas Philip Cumings Burstall of Parramatta, retired bank manager. Upon their deaths, James Evan Robert Burstall of Beecroft, radio engineer of Beecroft became the owner in 1959. He was a ham radio operator who also had an interest in racing cars.[12] He sold the property in 1970 to Nicoll & Moran Pty Limited. The company sold the property to the current owners in 1975.


Lot 10 was sold in 1921 to Dorothy Vernon Stanton-Cook, wife of Arthur Everett Stanton-Cook of Beecroft electrician. She sold the land in 1922 to Alice Mary Dobbie, wife of Charles Archibald Dobbie of Sydney company manager[13]. Charles Martyn of Beecroft, retired glazier, purchased the land in 1927. He died in 1940 and his daughters sold the property the following year to Drusilla Cobcroft, a single woman of Mosman. She sold the property in 1961 to Clarice Coote Weaver of Beecroft. The next sale in 1981 was to XCBG Pty Limited. The company retained it for 4 years selling in 1985 to Antoliz Cork and Cherie Lynette Cork. They sold it in 1989 to Allan David Dickinson and Maryanne Catherine Dickson.

It can be seen that lot 1, lots 4 to10 and lots 12 to14 were all purchased earlier in their history by people residing elsewhere in Beecroft or Cheltenham.


In 1966 Mr & Mrs W E Spark lived in number 17 and were members of the Beecroft Cheltenham Civic Trust.[14]

House numbers 11, 15 and 17 (there never being a number 13) were all built at the one time in the late 1950’s by the same builder.


Robert North gives property number 21 to his daughter Judith upon her marriage to David Nathan and then gives number 19 to his niece the daughter of Robert North.[15]  In 1966 Mr & Mrs R J S Potter lived in number 19 and were members of the Beecroft Cheltenham Civic Trust.[16]

[1] Henry Little built a timber cottage ‘Glenbower’ in 1907 at 52C Beecroft Road Beecroft.

[2] Ada Emmeline Fox was born in Tumut and married an architect William Mark Nixon in 1886. Following their marriage they lived in Ashfield however decided to move to a healthier climate because of the asthma suffered by their youngest son, Alan.  William designed their new home “Lynwood” in Malton Road on land purchased in 1904. The house was named after the town where his parents lived in England. They sold this home in 1911, once their sons left home, to Mary Bell North, wife of John George North, stockbroker. Mr & Mrs Nixon moved into smaller homes as their children left home – on the other side of Malton Road (designed by either William or their son Charles) at numbers 11 and then 7 until each died in 1931 and when Mrs Nixon was 80. Source: H Barker & M Elven Houses of Hornsby Shire Vol 1 (Hornsby, 1989)

[3]  history/williamwoodland (1844-1851) accessed 11 June 2006.

[4] Obituary, The Australian Leather Journal, 15 March 1920, p 784

[5] Obituary, The Australian Leather Journal, 15 March 1920, p 784

[6] Conversation of the author with Mary Vernon 11 June 2006

[7] Conversation of the author with Mary Vernon 11 June 2006

[8] Email of 15 May 2006 to the author from Janine Dunne.

[9] John Alfred North lived in ‘Mindaribba’ Malton Road Beecroft which he had purchased in 1934. Source: H Barker & M Elven Houses of Hornsby Shire Vol 1 (Hornsby. 1989)

[10] Conversation of the author with Mary Vernon 11 June 2006

[11] P & R Wherrett Desirelines (Hodder, Sydney, 1997) pp 37, 39 & 54

[12] Conversation of the author with Mary Vernon 11 June 2006

[13] Alice and Charles Dobbie had also purchased subdivided land in 1901 from Thomas Henry Brown Skellett of ‘Chetwynd” Copeland Road East Beecroft.

[14] Beecroft Cheltenham Civic Trust folder in the archives of the Beecroft Cheltenham History Group

[15] Conversation of the author with Mary Vernon 11 June 2006

[16] Beecroft Cheltenham Civic Trust folder in the archives of the Beecroft Cheltenham History Group