Houses by Street – Beecroft Rd – Eastern Side

Beecroft Road (formerly Beecroft Parade) Beecroft

Eastern (or odd numbered) side

21, Red Hill. This land was purchased in 1893 by Judge Grantley Hyde Fitzhardinge (1854-1939) [1]. The house was built in 1894 and so named because of the red soil revealed in the nearby railway cuttings. The architect was Herbert Ross an admirer of William Morris. He designed the house with a mixture of Arts & Crafts and art noveau styles. The house was originally intended as the family’s holiday home however they liked it so much that the family made it their permanent residence. The house and separate laundry each have superb chimneys. It was originally built at the highest point of the 4 ½ acre site – although much of the land has now been sold through various subdivisions. Originally there were exotics and natives running down the hill with the Judge one of the first in the district to cultivate natives.

While the house originally had its own tennis courts, school room and quarters for a governess, the Judge preferred to sleep on a first floor open verandah. Amongst other things, sleeping outside was considered healthy. Following his death his daughter Miss Julie Fitzhardinge lived in the home. Miss Fitzhardinge was Principal of Women’s College, University of Sydney.

Horse riding was a feature of the family until the 1950s. Sometimes gypsies would camp in the park opposite and then everything was securely locked – including the horses and chickens. By contrast, when troops used the park between 1942 and 1945 as canvas transit camps, the soldiers were invited to the house for a hot Saturday bath as a break from their cold makeshift showers.

The restorations are being undertaken by the owners and are taking a lengthy period of time.

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

[1]      For more information on Fitzhardinge see the separate article on this web site under People

39. Granted to Edward Collier on 21 October 1889 he sold to a series of owners (many locals) who did not build on the land but presumably kept it for investment purposes. These included in 1890, Murray Rawes Whittel, in 1891 Hubert Gray Burnell a bank manager of Granville, his widow then sold it in 1896 to Julia Fitzhardinge who passed it to her daughter Julie Grant Fitzhardinge on 2 June 1927. She subdivided and this lot was sold to Vernon Rupert Clements on 20 May 1948. Presumably he built. He sold to Ruby Edith May Williams on 9 April 1951 who sold to Alfred and Lily Hatfield in January 1965. The widow sold to Vinod Odhavji on 8 March 1988. S Porter was a member of the Civic Trust between 2001 to 2004 and gave this as the residential address.

40 This land had the same ownership as no. 31 up until sale by Julie Grantley Fitzharding who sold this land in 1948 to Eric Charles and Gwennyth Mary Richards. They sold to John Charles Housego on 28 November 1952 then to George Alexander and Shirley Porter on 19 December 1958.

45, Kilwinning. This land was purchased in 1887 by Alfred Cox (or Cock) and Alfred built the house on the property in 1889. Alfred’s occupation was a dyer. It originally had an acre of land. Cox planted a large garden with beds of annuals running down hill to the railway. In 1895 it was said: ‘the sunflowers alone are well worth seeing, there being several varieties of the choicest now in full flower.’ The house is a small gem, with Flemish Bond brickwork, sandstone foundations, 2-storeyed at the rear where upper and lower verandahs gave long views of the bush and the train. A large timber coach house was built at the lower end of the block.

Upon the death of both of his parents, Alfred’s son William sold the property in 1907 to Joseph Home, a Sydney real estate agent. From 1916 it was the home of Henry Hughes.

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.

59, Springfield is an 1890s house built in a Flemish Bond pattern on sandstone foundations. From 1915 it was the home of James T Bull. The original chimney pots are still in place on the slate roof. The verandah is a replacement and the double garage, built in timber alongside, is unusually sympathetic to the 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.

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

63, Lorne. This land was purchased in 1887 by George Thomas Smith who sold it in 1903 to Frederick Knight who in turn sold to William Hotten and Marie Griffin. They sold it in 1909 to Dr Mark Cowley Lidwill [1].

Lidwill’s wife, Constance, was the sister of the architect George Sydney Jones. Jones and Constance were the children of Sir Phillip Sydney Jones a physician at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital who specialised in treating tuberculois and was Chancellor of the University of Sydney. The father of Sir Phillip was David Lloyd Jones of the retailing family.

George Sydney Jones as the architect of this home, had already designed for a brother-in-law, Edgar Jones, a house Regenbar on Pennant Hills Road (for which see elsewhere on this website), and would design for himself, again in a similar style, Barncleuth, in Pennant Hills.

Sydney Jones went to Sydney Grammar and “from there he passed on to the University of Sydney for a time, but there being no architectural school, he was sent home to London, and entered University College Gower Street” [2] under Professor T Roger Smith. The Professor had presented a paper to the RIBA in 1868 on ‘tropical architecture’ based on his experiences in India and where he promoted the idea of a home with a flat, roof, terrace and overhanging eaves. As early as 1905 Sydney Jones wrote how ‘the Eastern races were right in the use of [the flat roof], for it increases space available for use, and adds to the convenience and pleasure of the home. And there is no reason why it should not be a useful feature in this country where climatic conditions are much like those in Eastern lands” [3].

When built, Lorne was described by the Cumberland Argus as “being of Moorish style of architect, with a flat roof, upon which an assortment of pot plants will impart the appearance of a garden there. The ornamental glass windows are without doubt the finest the writer has ever seen ….This has been achieved by what is known as ‘lead work.’ The building cost, it is said, above 3,000 [pounds]. From the roof the outlook is extensive, including an excellent view of Botany Bay” [4]. In addition “the front door panel, sidelights and fanlight all have leadlights of red flowers and trailing green leaves” and timber work was incised with tulips and eucalyptus leaves. Stables at the rear were in the same style as the house but have since been altered to create a separate dwelling. From the roof of Lorne can be seen its sister house, Barncleuth, in The Crescent, Pennant Hills.

The Lidwill family had four live in staff to assist run the home.

Lidwill did not remain long in the property and sold his new home in 1910 to Dr Charles Rygate [5].

At Lorne the front fence and elaborate entrance with tiled steps and wall recesses for urns or statuettes are additions of the late 1930s. After Rygate the house was purchased in 1936 by Dr Eric Cook and this medical family lived here (and conducted a medical practice) for three generations. Alexander Cook was a member of the Civic Trust in 1989. It was then acquired by Arden in 1994, and the home was named Cook House. The Arden Heritage Centre is located on the upper floor of the home [6].

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

[1]      For information on Mark Cowley Lidwill see elsewhere on this web site under People. Likewise Rygate and Cook are mentioned under Medical Professionals.

[2]      “George Sydney Jones” Art & Architecture (1912) Vol. 9, p. 444.

[3]      quoted in H Edquist Pioneers of Modernism (The Miegunyah Press, Carlton, 2008) p 62.

[4]      Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate, 18 September 1909

[5]      Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate, 9 April 1910 p. 12.

[6]      “Historic Cook House at our Junior Campus has an interesting history” Arden Alumni Association 18 March 2021 accessed on 20 July 2021.

81 – Shrublands. The oral history of this site is that it was land originally owned by William Chorley as an investment from 1889. The land was sold to Albert Moore in 1904/5 who built the house in about 1914.

Albert Edward Moore (1872-1942) came to Beecroft in 1906 with his wife Lillian (née Williams) and their two young children. Albert was the son of Samuel James and Rhoda Moore of Dural and his wife was from a farming family in Old Northern Road. When younger, Albert had owned an orchard at Round Corner, Dural, but after an accident left him unable to do heavy work, he went into partnership with Alan Lloyd as fruit agents in the City Markets. The Moores were one of the few families in Beecroft who came from a rural area, most of the new residents moving from suburbs closer to the city.

On a 2¼ acre block between Beecroft Road, Malton Road and Railway (now Wongala) Crescent, Albert Moore built his two-storeyed home, Shrublands, to his own design and he turned the grounds into a large garden with many varieties of shrubs, fruit trees and flowers which he exhibited at district shows. He also raised poultry, employing a man to help with this work. In 1917 the local newspaper reported:

‘Mr. Albert Moore the well-known poultry fancier of Beecroft has imported nine White Leghorn pullets and two cockerels and a Barred Rock cockerel from the Oregon Agricultural College, Cornwallis, Oregon, USA’.   

Within a few months of his arrival in Beecroft, Albert Moore was elected to the new Board for the Public School which his children attended. The Board became the Parents’ and Residents’ Association and Albert was at various times Secretary, Treasurer and Vice-President. He was also an involved member of the Progress Association for many years, being twice on a deputation to the Railway Commissioners and a delegate on the Joint Committee. As an expert gardener he was one of the committee to beautify the station gardens in 1916 and 1918. In a public meeting in Beecroft in 1916 which supported the six o’clock closing of hotels, Albert Moore was elected Secretary of the committee formed.   

A long involvement with St John’s Church of England (now Anglican), Beecroft, began in 1907 when Albert Moore was appointed a Warden. From 1906 to 1915 he was Superintendent of the Sunday School and was the recipient of a gold sovereign case and an illuminated address on his retirement.   

Lillian Moore was also an active member of St John’s and in 1915 donated the Sunday School prizes. Her greatest love was croquet and she moved from champion of Beecroft Club to that of New South Wales, and once represented Australia in an international competition.   

The Moores’ elder daughter, Amy (born 1897), married Arthur Brown, son of Fanny Skellett, second wife of Thomas Skellett of Copeland Road East. The Moores’ second son Charles Gordon (born 1903) married Gladys Allum of Pennant Hills. He joined the 2nd AIF, was taken prisoner, and died in May 1945 in Sandakan prisoner of war camp in Borneo. Edna (born 1907) married Vivien Lambert of Beecroft.

In the early 1920s the Moores sold Shrublands and built a brick cottage, East Gate, on the eastern portion of their land, facing Railway (now Wongala) Crescent where a poultry run was retained. After Albert died in 1942, Lillian moved to Eastwood to live with her daughter Edna and died there seven years later, aged 77 years.   

The house was then purchased by Ernest Westrup who owned the Joyce chain of shoe stores.

In 1957 the house was purchased by Harry and Essie Thurston. The Thurstons eventually built a home in Cheltenham Road but subdivided this property before selling it in 1974.

During the time of the Thurston’s ownership it had extensive gardens with a drive bordered by sandstone leading from the gate to the property off Chapman Avenue – with stables being at the rear of the property. The garden was filled with camellias and in spring there were daffodils in abundance. The garden was used for a number of garden parties – especially in aid of the Royal Blind Society.

The house was demolished to permit units to be constructed in 2017 which now front Chapman Avenue.

83, Mandalay, is an 1880s-1890s house of formal design with cast iron columns, a bullnose verandah and cement trim under the windows. It has unusual narrow side windows on the pair of main front windows. It is two-storeyed at the rear taking advantage of the natural slope of the land similar to Kilwinning. In earlier days there would have been a wonderful view from the rear of the house to the railway station and gardens with their pines. The rear yard was however sold to permit the building of units which completely blocks the view.

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

115, Carmel (corner of The Crescent).

While the land was subdivided in the later 1880s, the earliest identified record of this house is in a photograph showing a guard of honour for a visit of the Governor, Sir Harry Rawson in September 1903 where the house can be seen in the background [1]. The earliest record of occupancy is that Samuel and Grace Higgins who leased a timber cottage on this site in 1904 or 1905 [2]. Higgins moved into new premises in 1908 [3]. The cottage had a shed attached that was used as a shop before they built the larger brick one on corner Beecroft Rd and Mary Street in 1908.

The property was used by a series of carriers from at least 1915 – namely John T Griffiths (1915-1918), James Doran (1918-1923), Bateman & Coleman (1923) and Doran & Gilroy carriers (1924-1932). The house appears to have been separately occupied by W J Kalman JP between 1925 and 1932 [4].

From 1937 until 2010 the property was held by two generations of the same family. This Harris family has no known connection with the Harris family of Edensor Cheltenham. Mrs Harris had been a nurse and served during the First World War with the Australian troops in Cairo, Lemnos and then in Belgium. After the War she would still help the families of former soldiers struggling with trauma. Following the death of Mr Harris, Mrs Harris (with assistance of her daughter) made and repaired plaster and wax dolls. Those made new were retailed through major department stores like Anthony Horderns, David Jones and Farmers. The house became known as a dolls hospital.

The daughter, Margaret Mary Therese (Tess) Harris, was studying medicine at the University of Sydney when her father died. It was decided that the family could not support two students at university and so Tess ceased her studies so that her brother Henry could undertake his. Her brother Dr Henry Harris went on to practice as a general practitioner and surgeon in Broken Hill and Blaxland. As a child she told of collecting coal and blackberries from along the railway line or fashioning craft out of corrugated iron to sail in Devlin’s Creek. Tess went out to work but also helped her mother with the dolls. She worked with Dorothea Mitchell OAM to establish the Hornsby Arts Foundation and every Sunday could be seen walking to Pennant Hills to attend mass at St Agatha’s. She had a deep and abiding faith. She was always very upright and slim, as she aged her grey hair was kept in a simple bun and her clothes were basic and old-fashioned but elegant. She was a woman of high principles and was straight talking. Her home became increasingly derelict but her fearlessness remained, so that when lads threw stones on the roof or against the walls or windows as a dare, she would astonish them by opening her door, no matter what the hour, and invite them in for a cup of tea. She was not interested in dwelling in the past and declined all invitations to talk about the past [5].

After her death in 2010, Carmel was restored and new houses were built on the original subdivision, facing The Crescent.

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

[1]      Beecroft Cheltenham History Group Beecroft and Cheltenham the shaping of a community (Beecroft, 1995) p 196

[2]      Conversation of Jean Higgins with H Barker in 1993.

[3]      Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate, 29 August 1908.

[4]      John Sands Directories

[5]      Northern District Times, 2010

121, The Retreat, Owned 1915 to 1918 by David Young a plumber. From 1919 to 1933 by Thomas Duff.

127, Torrington. Owned 1915 to 1923 by Charles E Gilbert. 1924 to 1926 by William Baker. From 1927 to 1933 by Cyril C Pearce.

129, Martindale. Owned 1915 by Edward Martin. Owned 1918 by J E Bellamy. Owned 1919 to 1920 by Percy Shields. 1921 by John Hartnell. 1922 by Arthur Grubb. 1923 to 1924 by George T Atkins. 1925 by J C Robinson. 1926 to 1927 by H Shipton. 1928 by A L Bower. 1929 to 1931 by Walter Hall. 1932 by Frank Sneed.

Emoh Ruo, 1915 to 1933 by A H Martin, carrier.

? 1915 to 1917 George Ogden. 1917 to 1918 by Elizabeth Ogden. 1919 to 1926 by G H Beale. 1926 to 1931 by Lambert Souter. 1932 by Hugh Thomson.

143, Elysian and then from 1922 Granleigh.  1915 to 1917 by Perry N Christie. 1918 to 1920 by Harry B Sevier. 1921 by Andrew Towns. 1922 to 1925 by Charles de Kantzoro. 1926 to 1933 by George Donaldson.

149, Alabama. This property was occupied from 1915 until at least 1932 by John E McIntosh

151, Grenada. This property was occupied between 1915-1922 by Sydney Wheeler and from 1923 until at least 1932 by Charles E James.