Houses by street – The Crescent

The Crescent, Beecroft & Cheltenham

Originally called Carlingford Road and then Cheltenham Crescent

The street trees in Cheltenham are listed on the Hornsby Shire Council Heritage Register which comprises Schedule 5 (Environmental Heritage) of the Hornsby Local Environment Plan 2013.


22 This land was part of the subdivision of the Intercolonial Investment Company that went to auction on 7 April 1906. The house presumably dates from shortly after 1906 and was clearly built before 1930 as it appears with an established garden in a 1931 aerial photograph. The house can be described as inter-war bungalow with stone footings at front, timber shingles to street facing gable, wide eves with protruding rafters, bracketed purlins and a projecting frame to the front corner window. Inside the lounge room has a fireplace and timber coffered ceiling. In the 1960s the house was owned by the Buckingham Jones family.

24A, Weetalabah, had as its first owner Richard Thomas Baker, curator of the Museum of Technology and Science (now the Powerhouse Museum). A botanist, he had initially taught at Newington. He championed the use of eucalyptus as an industrial commodity. He commissioned Royal Doulton to produce cups and saucers featuring the waratah – one set of which he gave to Miles Franklin, whose work he admired. The house has wainscoting panels in Queensland maple, patterned ceilings, bay windows and Jarrah floors. The front door features leadlighting. Originally there was a croquet court in the backyard and the house next door, at no. 24, was the yard of this house.  

The house is listed on the Hornsby Shire Council Heritage Register which comprises Schedule 5 (Environmental Heritage) of the Hornsby Local Environment Plan 2013.


26 This land forms part of the land purchased by James Lawson in 1889 as a speculatively endeavour. Lawson founded the eponymous auction house [1]. Lawson sold the land in 1892 to William Henry Price a fruit merchant in Sydney. The land was then included in the “Warwick Estate” auction of 1913 with the neighbouring lots (6, 7 and 10) being purchased by Henry Gubbin Rogers. This land comprising lots 8 and 9 were purchased as part of the larger holding by Eleanor Frances Pines [2].

From 1950 the land was owned by Margaret Irene Constance Hampshire and her husband John Maclean Hampshire, an airline pilot. Then in 1967 the land was purchased by Ethelle Jeanette Bennet and her husband Andrew Gordon Gregory Bennett of Rydalmere, a medical practitioner. It is presumed that the Bennetts built the home on the land. They sold in 1979 to the current owners [3].

[1]      M Kelly “Lawson, James Robert (1860-1926)” Australian Dictionary of Biography (Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 1986) Vol. 10 p. 22.

[2]      See elsewhere on this website: under People for Eleanor Frances Pines and under Houses for Red East. 

[3]      Land Titles Office, Certificate of Title 2478-106.

44  The garden is listed on the Hornsby Shire Council Heritage Register which comprises Schedule 5 (Environmental Heritage) of the Hornsby Local Environment Plan 2013.

46-48, Mount Pleasant.  The land from the railway line to Beecroft Road between The Promenade and Cheltenham Road was once part of the Cheltenham estate of William Chorley called Mount Pleasant now 46-48 The Crescent. The stone fence on the corner of The Promenade and The Crescent is the last remaining element of his home [1].

As well as being a skilled tailor, William Chorley had a keen business sense, successfully speculating, from 1887, in large tracts of land in Beecroft and Cheltenham. He movedhis family from Strathfield to Beecroft in about  1889 for the sake of Lily’s health and, at first, they lived in a small cottage on Beecroft Road. In 1889 William purchased three lots of half an acre each near Cheltenham station, and then a large area of fourteen and a half acres extending from The Crescent to Beecroft Road, north of Cheltenham Road. Over the subsequent decades he continued to buy and sell land across Beecroft and Cheltenham.

In all of his dealings, he retained a large area for his home, together with bushland, with creeks, valleys and waterfalls being for his and his family’s enjoyment. He frequently took them for picnics in the bush at the end of Kent (later Cheltenham), Kethel and Day Roads, carrying with them a hot meal packed in a clothes basket. Their favorite picnic spots he named after his daughters – Beatrice Falls, May’s Hill, Alice’s Glen. The house ‘Mount Pleasant’ was built on high land with a long view south. It was a two storey timber construction with an iron roof and verandas on three sides.


The main bedroom and a library were on the ground floor and four more bedrooms on the upper floor. In 1920 alterations were made, with the front and side verandas replaced with a larger veranda and a sleep-out above. The lower walls of the extension were of sandstone. A stone wall that can still be seen in part, was built around the property, with an iron grill topping the Cheltenham Road and The Crescent walls. There was a full stone wall along The Promenade boundary for privacy. The stone came from Chorley’s quarry across the line close to Sutherland and Cobran Roads.

A large garden, including a conservatory, was established when the house was built together with an orchard planted with many kinds of fruit, as well as macadamia nuts and several varieties of grapes. The first consignment of fruit (in 1898) sent from the new Cheltenham station to the Sydney markets was a dozen cases of apricots and plums from the Mount Pleasant orchard. There were cows and horses in the paddocks and stables and sheds for the sulkies, buggies and four-wheelers. Maize and oats were grown for fodder. The gardener lived in quarters above a workshop and two extra gardeners were often employed. A tennis court was present from early in the life of the house and, in 1920, when William retired, a bowling green and croquet lawn were laid out between the house and The Promenade – notwithstanding that there was a rink down the hill at the Recreation Club.      

For all of his life William loved large dogs, and one special favourite was Nero, a handsome Newfoundland. A small lightweight cart and harness was made for Nero to pull the youngest child, Ethel, around the garden

Following Lily’s death in 1928, William lived at home with his unmarried daughter May, until his death 22 April 1935 at the age of 76 years. As he would have wished, the house was then demolished, the land subdivided and sold, and only the stone walls and a few pine trees on the verge remain to mark the site of the extensive Mount Pleasant estate.

The drive for Mount Pleasant went from the backyard of the corner house (22) to the carriageway of 46.

[1]      For more information on Willian and Lily Chorley see an article elsewhere on this web site under People.

46   The garden is listed on the Hornsby Shire Council Heritage Register which comprises Schedule 5 (Environmental Heritage) of the Hornsby Local Environment Plan 2013.

48   The garden is listed on the Hornsby Shire Council Heritage Register which comprises Schedule 5 (Environmental Heritage) of the Hornsby Local Environment Plan 2013.

22, Cheltenham Road. The two storeyed brick house was built in 1938 for May Chorley after her parent’s home was demolished. The corner gateway was deliberately designed to give the shortest path to the railway. It is notable for its largely intact 1940s garden including a prominent cypress and sandstone fence with evidence of the original wrought iron top. The crazy paving is of the era. The white pool fence erected by Council on the corner is unfortunately discordant. 

50, Ginjilla. It was built in 1927-28 following the purchase from William Chorley, by Helen Martha Graham of Sydney, widow.  It had been Chorley’s rose garden. Graham, who then on-sold so that when the house was built in 1927-28 the land was owned by William Kerridge.  Ginjilla is decorated with panels of brickwork, leadlight windows and a fish pond. It is double brick downstairs and brick veneer upstairs. Notice the impressive gate posts.

In 1949 Neil Kerridge (a son of William) married Betty a daughter of William (Bill) Chorley.

The house and garden are listed on the Hornsby Shire Council Heritage Register which comprises Schedule 5 (Environmental Heritage) of the Hornsby Local Environment Plan 2013.

52, Hillview, was built in 1904 for Henry (Harry) Chorley who lived in it following his marriage. Henry helped manage the family tailoring business after the death of his parents. The house has an unusual octagonal studio on the south eastern side which may have provided extra light if Harry did any tailoring at home. Alterations have been made to the roof. Note the unusual street entrance with a very large stone lintel entrance. Originally there would have been a timber gate.

The house is listed on the Hornsby Shire Council Heritage Register which comprises Schedule 5 (Environmental Heritage) of the Hornsby Local Environment Plan 2013.

54, originally named Windsor Lodge and then Mimosa before reverting to its original name, was built for William Chorley Jnr in 1909. It has stone foundations. After William relocated to Cheltenham Road it became the home of his sister, Edith, and her husband George Graham. The house also has an octagonal studio and this was used by Mr Graham, as a fitting room for boot making in the First World War.

The house is listed on the Hornsby Shire Council Heritage Register which comprises Schedule 5 (Environmental Heritage) of the Hornsby Local Environment Plan 2013.

56 Bridgewater is another of the Chorley Federation bungalows and was built in 1915. During the 1920s it was the home of Herbert Brown. It is unusual in a Federation home in this suburb, in having bay windows.

The house is listed on the Hornsby Shire Council Heritage Register which comprises Schedule 5 (Environmental Heritage) of the Hornsby Local Environment Plan 2013.

58   was built in the 1930s and shows the influence of the bungalow style. Note the use of the dark blue Thornleigh bricks, leadlights on the bay window and featured stonework. Ceramic blue tiles on the steps to the south eastern verandah are a Federation style influence. There is a very recent addition to the garage and rear of the house.

78 & 80 each of these houses was designed by James Vicars the architect relative of Robert & Violet Vicars of Yallambee, The Promenade. When built, these houses had matching fronts including having double front doors centring a full length front verandah.

78, Argyle was owned in by Malcolm Vicars and then from 1924 by Arthur Munro until his death in 1951.

80, Pentlands (formerly Woongana) has been altered by having a front room added on the southern side with consequential change to the roof line and gable. 80 was initially called Woongana and was owned in 1924 by Frederick Snowball. Then it was called Pentlands and was owned by David Shanks from at least 1926 until 1933.

84, Gareloch, was built with Thornleigh bricks on a stone base. It has had a large extension at the rear in a manner sympathetic to retaining the importance of the streetscape. From 1929 until at least 1933 it was owned by D Young.

90, Killoran, uses stucco as a design feature, has diamond paned windows and a shingle roof. It has a north-facing conservatory. It maintains a community garden on the railway verge.

92, Gunyah, has art nouveau in the verandah that does not seem in keeping with the age of the house being from about 1922. The verandah may therefore be a later addition. In 1922 it was occupied by a D Price but from 1925 until at least 1933 by William J Price.

94, Ashby formerly Mundroola [1].

The land was originally acquired by William Gordon in 1895. In 1911 it was acquired by James Arthur Somerville Auctioneer of Beecroft and William Joseph Donnelly of Ashfield. In 1915 it was acquired by Ellen Bruton and Helena Bourke both of Darlinghurst who speculated in land. They sold in 1921 to William Crane Cooper who sold in 1925 to Aubrey William Lofts, an engineer working for the railways. Amongst other achievements he designed the original bracket lights for the Sydney Harbour Bridge. He had a shed on the property in which he built model locomotives [2].

Mr Lofts built a small brick two bedroom cottage of very dark bricks with a tile roof on the land in 1926.

In 1929 it was purchased by the recently married Garfield and Norma Barwick [3]. They called it Mundroola which was an Aboriginal word meaning ‘only two.’ Located adjacent to the railway line which was hidden in a deep cutting, it had bush and valley views, was adjacent to what became a national park and was situated in a suburb without shops or other commercial establishment. It was an idyll for these two young people. Their car was an old Fiat “the duco is practically all off the body, the mud guards are rusted through, the upholstery is worn out and torn, the hood is perished” [4].

On the death of Norma’s grandmother and mother, her sister lived with the Barwicks [5].

Despite Garfield Barwick becoming bankrupt during the Depression as a result of him guaranteeing the business debts of his brother, the Barwicks kept their house because its value had sunk by such an amount during the Depression that it was not worth the while of the Trustee in Bankruptcy to sell [6]. It was not until 1937 that Barwick had become sufficiently established to commence making significant alterations to the home. The new house was built on the old foundations and the jarrah floor boards were retained but little else remained. These alterations were done ‘following the ‘Old English’ style of domestic architecture they favoured and spent several years studying details of technique and materials….The Barwicks were both keen gardeners and built up the shallow soil with bush compost collected nearby, and made paths and walls from loose bush stone. Large trees with stone seats beneath and a formal garden were planned in character with the house” [7]. The crest of Fort Street High School was carved into the mantle piece. While described by Marr as “a fairytale of a place, a Compton Wynyates in the bush, brand new and visible for miles” [8]. It is in fact quite secluded and more visible by bush tail possums than humans. Barwick also commented that “When the plans had been developed to a considerable extent, I realised that the block was a little too narrow on the southern side and endeavoured to purchase a strip of land from the owners of the house on that side, but they stoutly refused to agree, even to a strip a couple of feet wide” [9].

The newly built house was designed by Charles Bohringer. Bohringer (1891-1962) had been born and trained as an architect in Switzerland, arriving in Australia in 1914, where he established a reputation as a designer of cinemas. By 1936 he had designed over 200 cinemas across Australia and New Zealand and was living in Lanham Road Model Farms [10]. The builder of the house was Rupert Symonds who was Norma’s uncle [11]. Barwick recorded how: “It was fortunate the builder was related to us because I was a bit finicky and at one stage he said: ‘You know you don’t want a house, you want a hobby.’ That was said in good humour because he was a very pleasant man” [12].

Title to the house was transferred to Norma in 1939. The house was sold in 1955 to Lindsay Aynsley, a public accountant [13]. It was sold again in 2119.

The house and garden are listed on the Hornsby Shire Council Heritage Register which comprises Schedule 5 (Environmental Heritage) of the Hornsby Local Environment Plan 2013.

[1]      H Barker, Houses of Hornsby Shire Vol 2 (Hornsby, 1998) pp 64-68

[2]      letter, G Barwick to I Rimanic, 10 June 1994

[3]      For an article on Sir Garfield Barwick see elsewhere on this web site under People – individuals – Barwick

[4]      Quoted from the bankruptcy papers of G Barwick in D Marr, Barwick (Allen & Unwin, 1980, Crows Nest) p 19

[5]      letter G Barwick to I Rimanic, 10 June 1994

[6]      D Marr, Barwick (Allen & Unwin, 1980, Crows Nest) p 21

[7]      H Barker, Houses of Hornsby Shire Vol II 1880-1938 (Hornsby Shire Historical Society, 1998, Waitara) p 65.

[8]      D Marr, Barwick (Allen & Unwin, 1980, Crows Nest) p 31.

[9]      letter, G Barwick to I Rimanic, 10 June 1994

[10]    Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate, 29 October 1936 p14.

[11]    letter, G Barwick to I Rimanic, 10 June 1994

[12]    letter, G Barwick to I Rimanic, 10 June 1994

[13]    D Marr, Barwick (Allen & Unwin, Crows Nest, 1980) p 31.

98, Holm Lea, is a cottage befitting a quiet country lane. A timber cottage with a wrap around veranda it has sidelights at the front door. It may have been built in the late 1890s and was the home from before 1910 until at least 1944 of the Lea family. Steps leading down to its tennis court still exist on the southern side of the lot. The stables for the lot were where the neighbouring house on the northern side now exists.

In 1910 Harold Arkell Lea, the father, was killed at Redfern railway station when going home after his work as a fitter in the Everleigh workshops. He was 39 years old and left a widow (May Caroline) and five children. In 1917 one of the sons, Harry, was killed at Passchendale, Ypres on the Western Front during World War 1. Before the war he worked in the Bank of New South Wales (now Westpac) where he had started in 1911. Apart from his family, he also left a grieving fiancé, Miss Gilbert. He was 21. His name is on the Beecroft War Memorial. In 1936 one of his brothers (Alan) who also worked for the same bank, was employed in the Eastwood branch where he met a girl whom he subsequently married. His mother was still living here at that time. May Lea died in 1944.