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Beecroft

Beecroft Road (formerly Beecroft Parade)

Western side

8 - Marabar[1]

This land was purchased in 1887 by Myles McRae of Kogarah. He sold it in 1889 to Edward Orme a merchant of Sydney who in turn sold it to Ludovic Blackwood.[2]

G Dalton a builder of Beecroft constructed the home in 1907-08.

None of Blackwood’s children married and when the last surviving child. Elizabeth, went to reside in a nursing home in 1967, the house was sold. Part of the land forming the estate was also donated to the National Trust.

130 - Ramona

This land was first purchased by George Robert Harrison in 1887. Harrison had migrated to Australia from England in the 1840’s and became a timber merchant. He was extensively involved in both the Church of England and the Church Missionary Society. He built the present house in 1887-8.

Harrison sold the house in 1911 to the Intercolonial Investment Land & Building Co Ltd which subdivided the surrounding land. The house and immediate block was purchased by Gustav Heumann, a city importer.

144-146 - Brunoy

This land was created on the subdivision in 1915-16 of the Ramona Estate. It was purchased by Herbert Leslie Arnott who arranged for the home to be built. Arnott was the son of William Arnott a baker who had migrated from Scotland and founded the famous bakery and biscuit making firm. Arnott managed the Homebush factory of the family firm.

Upon Arnott’s death in 1955 the home was sold to the Home Mission Society of the Anglican Church to become one of its Chesalon Nursing Homes.

The architects of this home were Spain, Cosh and Dods. It was built by Kell & Rigby.

Eastern side

21 - Red Hill

This land was purchased in 1893 by Grantley Hyde Fitzhardinge.[3] The house was so named because of the red soil revealed in the nearby railway cuttings.

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

The architect was Herbert Ross an admirer of William Morris. He designed the house with a mixture of Arts & Crafts and art noveau styles.

Corner with Albert Street - 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.

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.

63 - Lorne

This land was purchased in 1887 by George Thomas Smith who sold it in 1903 to Frederick Knight. Knight sold it in 1909 to Dr Mark Cowley Lidwill.

Lidwill’s wife, Constance, was the sister of the architect George Sydney Jones. Jones was the son of Sir Phillip Sydney Jones a physician 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 was the architect of this home.

Lidwill did not remain long in the property and sold his new home in 1910 to Dr Charles Ryegate.

81 - Shrublands

The family of one of the owners of this handsome two story house is that the land was originally owned by William Chorley, the prominent Cheltenham land owner, as an investment from 1889.

The land was sold to Albert Moore in 1904/5 who built the present 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 other new residents having moved 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. 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, 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) the youngest child 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 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 as their family home. 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.

115 – “Carmel” (corner of The Crescent)

The earliest record is that Samuel and Grace Higgins leased a timber cottage on this site in 1904 or 1905.[4] Higgins moved into new premises in 1908.[5]  

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.[6] 

From about 1936 the property has remained in the hands of the same family. During the late 1930’s the family conducted a doll’s hospital from the home.

149 – “Alabama”[7]

This property was occupied from 1915 until at least 1932 by John E McIntosh

151 – “Grenada”[8]

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

Copeland Road

Copeland Road is named after Sir Henry Copeland (1839-1904) who was Secretary (now known as Minister) for Lands in the NSW Parliament in 1886-1887 and again 1891-1894

Western Side

95-97  "Rowallan"  The Ifield House

Following the sale of part of the Field of Mars Common by the then State Government in 1887, to help fund the infrastructure build of the main northern railway, the land now known as 95-97 Copeland Road was purchased by Frederick Mason. A picture of Frederick and his wife Eliza is to be found at page 259 of the History Group’s publication “Beecroft and Cheltenham: the shaping of a Sydney Community to 1914.”


Mason was 40 years old when he purchased the land. His home was called “Fiona” and was located on the southern side of Copeland Road near Hull Road. As might be expected from his name, he was a builder, but he was also known in Beecroft as an orchardist and he covered this land with fruit trees. In 1892 he also held a licence to run a dairy. In 1912 he built the first bowling green in Beecroft next to his home. A strong Christian, he and his family hosted early Methodist (now Uniting Church) services in their home and subsequently helped to build the first Methodist church. To hold the services in his weatherboard home, Mason opened two rooms to make into one - with his daughter Gertrude teaching Sunday School in the kitchen: with its red ochred flagstone floor. Gertrude also played the family organ to lead the Wesleyan hymn singing. Despite being a builder of many grand homes in Beecroft, Mason, in accordance with his Christian beliefs, lived modestly.

Mason claimed to be the first permanent resident in Beecroft and his wife Eliza later told her family that she was the first person to buy a railway ticket at Beecroft Station.

In 1907 water was connected to the property and Mason subdivided part of his orchard with 95-97 being purchased by John Wallace who then built his home, probably in 1910, called “Rowallan.”  Wallace was a flour merchant with premises in Pitt Street Sydney. This was his third home in Beecroft and he was active in Beecroft affairs as he was a member of the School of Arts, progress association and first president of the Beecroft Bowling Club. Indeed, he was also one-time Treasurer of the NSW Bowling Association and so was clearly a very keen bowler. His portrait is on page 248 of the Beecroft History.

Wallace’s home was set in a remnant of Mason’s orchard and was very similar in design to its neighbour to the east, called “Strathallan” which was owned by William J Lyon. Their proximity and similarity allow the presumption that both homes had the same architect and/or builder. As both Mason and his son (also a Frederick Mason) were both builders who built speculative homes in Beecroft it is possible that the Mason father and son may have been the builders of both homes. A picture of the homes beautifully positioned in a flowering orchard can be found at page 93 of the Beecroft History.

Following Wallace’s death in 1917, his widow Agnes continued to live in her home until 1927 when her son-in-law William John Debenham Lyon (of the house next door with his wife being Margaret Mary nee Wallace) became the owner. Between 1927 and 1950 Lyon rented out the property. In 1950 he then sold the property to Elizabeth Sage who with her husband David, lived in Beecroft. She then sold the house the next year to Richard Joseph Ifield.

Ifield (1909-1982) was an engineer and prolific inventor (especially in aeronautics) and came to Australia with his employer Lucas Industries. In 1963 he bought out the NSW business of this English company and re-named it R J Ifield & Co Pty Ltd. He was a fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society, the Institute of Mechanical Engineers and the Institution of Engineers. After his arrival in Australia he originally lived with his family in Dural where he established his business. Despite his own considerable achievements he is probably now best known as the father of Frank Ifield the Australian singer famous for his yodelling. Frank therefore lived in this home from his teenage years. Frank hosted the first music show “Campfire Favourites” on TV Channel 9 in 1958 before going to England where he eventually recorded “I remember you” which became the first single to sell a million copies in Britain. He went on to be the first person to have three successive number 1 hits in Britain and even had a young support act hailing from Liverpool who called themselves The Beatles.        

Following Frank’s father’s death the house was sold in 1984 to a solicitor and his wife who, until recently, lived in it as their family home for the next 3 decades. The house has had some significant changes made to it - especially in the 1960s and early 1990s.  

Easten Side

138 - “Chetwynd”[9]

The land was first purchased in 1891 by Henry Perdriau Jnr and he sold it in 1900 to Thomas Henry Brown Skellett.

Skellett built the house which originally had its gates on the corner of Copeland Road East and Sutherland Road. Skellett’s father had arrived from England to overseer the construction of the Sydney-Picton Railway line and he similarly worked all of his career for the railways – ending at the time of his retirement, in 1920, as the Chief Cashier. Skellett was very active in the local St John’s Anglican Church as well as the local Progress Association and School of Arts. He survived both of his wives and two children, dying at 84 years.

From 1931 the property was occupied by V Goldwater.[10]

The architect of the Art Noveau style home was Charles Searle of Cheltenham.

142 - “Mirriwa”

From 1914-1918 the home was occupied by Arthur H Stirling. From 1919-1923 by Benjamin J Ball (who had previously lived in ‘Shirley’) and then from 1924 by John A North the stockbroker. [11]

148 – “Copeland” formerly “Coonoona”

This home was occupied between 1914-1919 by Horace O Bucknell, 1918-1920 by William R Moran, 1921-1925 by Ernest Hambridge and from 1927 by J Carr.[12]

154 - “Shirley”

Between 1914-1915 it was occupied by Benjamin J Ball, 1916-1917 by J Thomas, 1918-1925 by William W Service and from 1926 as the boarding house of Beecroft Grammar - and residence of the headmaster Reverend Albert Booth.

During the 1980-90s it was the home of the Graves family. John Graves was a Queens Counsel.

141 - “Araluen”[13]

The land was first acquired in 1891 by Walter Simpson Perdriau who sold it in 1914 to Christina Baker the wife of Frederick Baker. She sold it in 1917 to Lesley James Brown (1877-1919).

Brown was Manager, City Iron Works and died, at the age of 42 years, within just a year of building this home for his family. Upon his death the home was sold to Ernest John Hyde who then leased the home to Brown’s widow, Marion, for a number of years.

The home was built in 1918.

143

This home was built by Walter Perdrieu who then sold it to Mr Clement Meadmore. Phyllis, the Meadmore daughter married Jesse Jewhurst (JJ) Hilder (1881-1916) the landscape artist who visited the house.[14] The late James Gleeson said: “Throughout his short life he [Hilder] was plagued by ill-health and poverty and he died of tuberculosis in Hornsby…Hilder’s reputation rests on his watercolours. These were small delicate landscapes executed in a kind of tonal romanticism derived from Corot…Today his paintings are valued for their wistful charm but it is generally recognised that they hold only a minor place in the story of Australian Art.”[15]

159 - “Uralla”[16]

The land was first acquired in 1896 by John Stinson who sold it in 1900 to Mary Swanborough the wife of James Swanborough a bootmaker of Croydon. She sold the land in 1901 to George Sargent.

George Sargent (1859-1921)[17] and his wife Charlotte (1856-1924) built this home in 1903 and lived in it until 1912 whereafter it was leased. The family sold the home in 1926 to Mabel Cape and Edith Nathan.

The architect was William Nixon.

Cheltenham

Beecroft Road (formerly Beecroft Parade)

 “Edensor”

 The land was purchased in 1889 by Charles William Holloway. He sold it in 1892 to Catherine
Rattray wife of George Allan Rattray a bank official.  

A home was built on the land by Mr & Mrs Rattray and this existed when the property was purchased in 1907 by William Henry Harris (1884-1954). Harris lived off his investments and was a benefactor of the locall community – especially in the formation of the Cheltenham Recreation Club. The grounds of the house reflected his interests in that the large stables near Beecroft Road, with a clerestory roof were some of (if not) the largest in the district. They housed his horses used
for trotting and for riding. The stables were connected to the house by an elegant stone pergola in an Edna Walling style design. He also had between the house and Lyne Road his own bowling rink. He, and his friends, would adjourn from this private rink
to the nearest room in the house – being the smoking room.

His third (and surviving wife) Mary (Mollie) was a keen gardener and the gardens were well known for both their beauty and as the scene for many charitable events. Following Mollie’s death in 1990 their daughter (Julie Harris Harris) remained in the property until 1995 when it was sold to the current owners who have considerably renovated the property and maintaining the extensive gardens.

The Harris family extensively added to the property between 1907 and 1920. The current owners have continued to do so. The stone in the house was quarried from Pyrmont and the name of the property derives from ‘Edensor Park’ which was a property of the Harris family near Liverpool.

 



[1] H Barker & M Elven Houses of Hornsby Shire Vol 1 (Hornsby, 1989) pp 72-74

[2] For more information on Ludovic Blackwood refer to the section on people in Beecroft/Cheltenham

[3] For more information on G H Fitzhardinge refer to the section on people in Beecroft/Cheltenham

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

[5] Cumberland Argus 29 August 1908

[6] Sands Directories

[7] Sands Directories

[8] Sands Directories

[9] H Barker & M Elven Houses of Hornsby Shire Vol 1 (Hornsby, 1989) pp 59-61

[10] Sands Directories

[11] Sands Directories

[12] Sands Directories

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

[14] D Carmichael Tales of Beecroft (Beecroft, 1965) p 17

[15] J Gleeson Australian Painters (Dee Why, 1971) p 119

[16] H Barker Houses of Hornsby Shire Vol 2 (Hornsby, 1998) pp 31-34

[17] For more information on George Sargent refer to the section on people in Beecroft/Cheltenham