Houses by Street – Wongala Cres

Wongala Crescent was originally called Railway Crescent from Beecroft Road to Chapman Avenue and then Thornleigh Road from Chapman Avenue through until it reaches Pennant Hills. In the 1960s the full length was then called Railway Parade. This was however regarded as confusing because there were so many other streets in Hornsby Shire called Railway Parade. There was also some suggestion that Beecroft residents did not like living in a street with such a common name. In 1969 local residents campaigned and advocated for a new name. As a result the name was changed to Wongala Crescent – taking an Aboriginal name for ‘boomerang’.
The station master’s weatherboard house used to stand on the rise close to Copeland Road. Built in 1894 for the first station master Tom Casserley, it was from the beginning regarded as inadequate [1]. In 1933 it was purchased (or leased) by Timothy William McCristel who rented it out to James & Agnes Pearsall who were on the dole [2]. In 1937 it was used by Victoria May Woodley who was a dryer and cleaner as well as Wilfred Edmondson who was a dry cleaner. In 1949 it was the home of John & Greta Edmondson. He was a printer.
After the retail area, heading north, there used to be a shop and residence that was used in the 1940s by the newly formed Liberal Party of Australia as its local headquarters. After an evening meeting, the secretary of the local branch, Mr Allnutt, used to distribute the left over cake from the evening meeting to favoured local boys. While innocent behaviour at the time, this would no longer be seen in the same way. Where the car park now exists there were several timber cottages including one of John Lutherburrow, who apart from other things was the local bread carter. The Lutherburrows lived here from at least 1907 [3]. The baker lived next door. The last site of the Children’s Library, a rare asset to the local community, until its closure in 1998, is now the location of a podiatry clinic.
[1] Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate 13 May 1893, and 3 February 1894.
[2] For further information on this occupancy see 1930s and the New and Old Guard elsewhere on this web site.
[3] Hornsby Shire Council Rates Book 1907 – 1909

1 and 3 [1], [2] This site was originally purchased by Sidney Davis in 1893. He sold later that year to William Gratus Coward, an architect living in Beecroft [3]. Real Estate advertising show a shop(s) on this site in 1904 and 1911. In 1913 the Beecroft Post office opens in #1 which also happens to be the year in which Mrs Coward takes out a mortgage on the land. This may indicate a re-building or a significant renovation at this time.
The successive sales of #1 are (1920) Ann Elizabeth Firth; (1922) Henry Hooper; (1923) John David Franklin Fyfe; (1959) Harriet Lydia Agnes Fyfe and Alan James Fyfe, and (1989) M T Macpherson Pty Ltd.

3 Had as its owners (1923) Roy Bruce; (1923) ALfed Lucky; (1926) Arthur Campbell Baird of Malton Road Beecroft; (1931) William Monahan Keogh and Patrick Ignatius Rowe; (1947) Leila Eileen Church; (1959) Patricia Betty Saunders; (1967) Valerie Margaret Spring; (1974 Napoli Suburban Investments Pty Ltd which started its retail holdings in North Carlingford shops, for which see elsewhere on this web site under Retail, and they subdivided part of the rear to combine with 5 Wongala, and then in 1989 M T MacPherson.
The combined 1-3 was sold by M T MacPherson Pty Limited (who had previously built the Village Arcade in Hannah Street to the family holding company (Ashleigh Holdings Pty Ltd) of John and Jewel Burton. They then transferred title out of the company to their son, Craig Burton, successively from 2015.
The building is listed on the Hornsby Shire Council Heritage Register which comprises Schedule 5 (Environmental Heritage) of the Hornsby Local Environment Plan 2013.
[1] Also see the article on Retail on this website for the shops on this site.
[2] Most of this information comes from GBA Heritage Statement of Heritage Impact (June 2023).
[3] For more on the life of William Gratus Coward see elsewhere on this web site under People.

5 These shops were built by Napoli Suburban Investments Pty Limited from 1974.

19 This land was originally purchased following the subdivision of the Field of Mars Common by George Stanley Littlejohn in 1887. It then had a series of owners until being purchased in 1922 by Lydia & Ernest Shoobridge who subdivided the still vacant land and sold off individual blocks in May 1923. This particular parcel was purchased by George Beal who established a motor garage on the site and was the person who built on the land. Between 1937 and 1948 it was the garage of Lancelot Gilbert Berry Glason and from 1948 by Alfred O’Doherty. On the northern part of the building there was a drive through in the building to allow access to the workshop in the rear. It remained as a motor garage until 1987 when Terrence Gallen a motor engineer subdivided the land. The building was converted into two retail outlets at ground level and commercial premises in the southern portion which had a first floor [1]. Around 2017 a massage parlour on the first floor was successfully prosecuted by Hornsby Shire Council as a brothel.
[1] Edwards Heritage Consultants, Heritage Impact Statement of 19 Wongala Crescent March 2023 EHC 2022/0114.

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

31        is a 1950s house with a single garage underneath, a feature chimney in the front wall and stone path and steps – typical of that era. The old cypress, a survivor of the garden of an earlier house, was planted earlier in the twentieth century. This house is listed as the residence of Richard Adams for membership of the Civic Trust between 1988 and 2008.

33        is a California bungalow of the 1920s. The concrete and brick gateway, while unique to Beecroft, is common in public parklands of the era and was popular in the Blue Mountains. The concrete was produced with a mock timber finish and adorned with Australian motifs. Only a portion of a snake, tree stumps as pillars and an Aboriginal-style kangaroo in the pebble stone path remain. The pebble trim is matched in the verandah wall and the fishpond.

35, Shirley. The land was initially purchased by William Abram [1] in 1887 where he intended to breed bees and become an apiarist. He soon decided that the site was inappropriate because it was windy and purchased land and built a new house at 32 Malton Road. He leased the Wongala property from 1894. This first lease was “to a Sydney gentleman” [2]. Then in April 1898 it was leased to the police until 1912. A photograph of the Beecroft Police Station held by the Crime and Justice Museum is said in an early publication of the History Group to be of the police station in Beecroft. In fact, while still called the Beecroft Police Station the photograph is of the premises leased in 1912 for the re-located Beecroft Police Station at The Esplanade Thornleigh. It was renamed Thornleigh Police Station in 1916 [3].

In 1912 the home was sold to an Accountant, Melbourne Green, who was returning to live in Beecroft for the second time. Green called the house ‘Shirley’ after his son Shirley, who died in 1899, in ‘particularly distressing circumstances’ as a 17 year old University student of peritonitis [4]. Then in 1923 he sold to Edward Summerhayes, an architect. The property was then sold to John Arkell, a draftsman in 1927 who remained in the property with his family until 1946 when it was purchased by Inguer Karl Leonard Krutzelius – who was Chancellor to the Swedish Consul General in Sydney.

In 1953 it was sold to Owen Montague and Ethel Joyce Browning. Mr Browning was a telephone mechanic. They did not stay long until selling in 1954 to Frank Stanley Garner a clerk who moved from elsewhere in Beecroft. Then in 1959 it was sold to Rosemary Loftus Tottenham Headley a widow who also moved from elsewhere in Beecroft. Upon her death the property was sold in 2013. The owners commenced significant renovations to the property in 2020. 

[1]        See biographical article on William Abram under People on this web site.

[2]        Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate, 6 October 1894

[3]        “The cottage which has hitherto been used as a police station for Beecroft was recently purchased by Mr Green who has given the police notice to quit as he wishes to reside there himself.” Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate, 27 July 1912; Police Gazette 25 October 1916. Also see H Barker and P Dewey Pennant Hills: People and Places 1800 – 2010 (Pennant Hills Civic Trust, Pennant Hills, 2018) p. 196-197.

[4]        Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate, 11 March 1899

37.       This was the site of a house that traditionally called ‘the weatherboard house.’ The fence is listed on the Hornsby Shire Council Heritage Register which comprises Schedule 5 (Environmental Heritage) of the Hornsby Local Environment Plan 2013.

39-41   The next group of houses now form part of Arden. This school started in 1922 as an activity of the Beecroft Presbyterian Church and formed the Presbyterian Ladies College Beecroft. The great Depression however meant that the church could no longer support it and a new owner for the school kept it open by gaining support from the Anglican Church – which alignment continues until the present. The school purchased its first of two houses on the site in 1952 [1].

[1]        For more information on Arden see a separate article on this web site on that school.

39        is a large federation house built between 1900 and 1915 that takes advantage of the slope of the land to build up the front foundations so that residents can enjoy the view across the railway line. It has Art Nouveau sidelights at the front door, two bay windows and a roof with three gables. Its siting on a wide block adds greatly to its appearance. The right side addition appears to have been carefully roofed with matching tiles from another house. The stone base and pillars of the front fence demonstrates the width of the frontage of this house. It was sold to the school by Mr Norman.

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

43        is a smaller 1890s house on a narrower block. Original features include the bullnose verandah with its roof painted in stripes, cast iron columns and verandah trim with steep steps and small pillars. The chimney pots of this house, and of 39, are strikingly similar.

45 This was the site of a house that traditionally called ‘the weatherboard house.’ When the weatherboard house was demolished the land was subdivided by Mr Edmund J (Ted) Richardson the foundation President of the Beecroft Cheltenham Civic Trust and a member of the Trust from 1965. He built his family’s home on the southern block.

55 In 1937, at least, this was the home of Harold Henry Thorne, his wife Jessie and their three boys. Thorne (1891-1953) was a lecturer in Mathematics at the University of Sydney – appointed 1919. In 1914 he had won the Barker Graduate Scholarship for Mathematics and the University Medal. In 1928 he (with his wife and two boys) travelled to England where he worked in aerodynamics at RAE Farnborough. In 1933, back in Sydney, he gave the G A Taylor memorial Lecture in Aerodynamics [1].

1 Sydney Morning Herald, 25 March 1914 p 23, 7 April 1914 p 14, 15 October 1919 p 10; Who’s Who in Australia 1938; C Turney, U Bygott & P Chippendale, Australia’s First: A History of the University of Sydney Volume 1 1850-1939 (University of Sydney, Sydney, 1991) pp 521-522.

73.       This was the home of Mr E J Richards the foundation President of the Beecroft Cheltenham Civic Trust and a member of the Trust from 1965.