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Houses by Street – Wellham St

Welham Street, Beecroft

Northern corner, Beecroft Road – this house was built by William Birkenhead (1863-1937). He was born to Isaac Drummond and Mary Anne Birkenhead. He married in 1896. They built a house in Beecroft in 1897 and then this house in 1903 [1]. The family had left this house by 1923.

Birkenhead was by occupation a clerk in the Department of Education from at least 1897 (primarily in the Labour & Industry Branch) but was also an artist and exhibited at the Royal Art Society of NSW between 1893 and 1897. His daughter Olive Lucy (1898-1995) was also an artist and was in the circle of Winifred Caddy in the 1920s and 1930s. Olive had won a student prize from the Royal Art Society in 1922 and then exhibited (including with the Society of Women Artists) to respectable critical review [2].

The current owners have significantly added to and extended the house.

[1]        Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate, 19 June 1897 and 14 March 1903

[2]        Sydney Morning Herald, 7 July 1922 p6, 16 May 1928 and 17 May 1930; Sun, 6 May 1934; Daily Telegraph, 4 December 1928 and 3 April 1929. She lived with her father until his death (when she still described herself as an artist) and then at Wentworth Falls and finally at the Anglican Retirement Villages where the electoral roles describe her as having no occupation.

Southern corner, Beecroft Road was built by the Presbyterian Church on the land of its halls as a manse for its minister. The Church subsequently sold this property when it sought to consolidate all of the church buildings onto a single consolidated site.

Pre-schools:    These buildings were the original halls for the Presbyterian Church. As such it was in these halls that Presbyterian Ladies College Beecroft (now Arden) commenced [1].

[1]        See elsewhere on this web site for separate articles on the Presbyterian Church and Arden.

Rosebank.       This was the home at least until 1923 of William Saunders. From at least 1924 to 1932 it was the home of William Rothery.

Glandore.        From at least 1924 until 1932 it was the home of Benjamin Taylor. This home is now the manse of the Presbyterian Church.

7.         This home was built in 1907 and significantly renovated in 2011. It was sold in 2014 [1].

[1]        Northern District Times, Property Supplement, 4 September 2014

19.       This home was built in 1956 by Frederick Benjamin Prigg it was purchased by Keith and Dot Neal as their family home. In 1978 a second storey was added and in 1993 a free standing room was added to house my Neal’s train set. Mrs Neil sold in 2011 [1].

[1]        Northern District Times, Property Supplement, 13 July 2011.

24, Chilworth. There are two neighbouring properties called Chilworth. One built by the parents Cyril and Ida Byles [1] and the other by their son, Baldur Byles. This refers to the parent’s home.  This land was originally 3 acres that had been purchased from George Willis. They built the home in 1913. They remained here until Ida (having survived Cyril) died in 1953.

Living in the bush nearby to their home was Nicholas Ffrench until the early 1920s.

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]        See elsewhere on this web site under People for an article on Byles.