The Perdriau brothers
Among the early buyers of Crown land on the eastern side of Beecroft were the three Perdriau brothers, Henry Jr, Walter Simpson and Ernest Charles. They were the sons of Henry Carter Perdriau and Annie (née Simpson) who married in the Congregational Chapel, Pitt Street, Sydney, in 1845. Henry, born in 1845, was the eldest of their 13 children; his younger brother Walter was born in 1860 and Ernest in 1864.
Henry Carter Perdriau was of Huguenot stock, his predecessors becoming shipowners and traders with the West Indies. On coming to Sydney, Henry purchased ships for the wool trade to England. He began a ferry service in Balmain which became Perdriau’s Steam Ferry Transport Co., and he set up the Balmain Fuel Co. His sons worked with him and the family became wealthy. Henry Carter Perdriau was Mayor of Balmain in 1868, 1873 and 1875.
Henry Perdriau Jr began importing india rubber and founded the Perdriau Rubber Co. in 1883. In 1891 he purchased 3 ½ acres of land on the southern corner of Sutherland Road and Copeland Road East, and here he built his house and tennis court. He began the Kennedya Tennis Club and was its first President (1895).
In 1900 Henry sold his property to Thomas Skellett and possibly left the district at that time to make his home in Strathfield. He and his wife Lydia (née Martin) had ten children. Henry died in 1935 at the age of 90 years.
Ernest Charles Perdriau purchased two acres of land on the northern side of Copeland Road East in 1891 and he and his family made their home in Beecroft. He was a committee member of the Kennedya Tennis Club and the Progress Association, being President of the latter in 1898 prior to his moving to Melbourne to manage a branch of the rubber company there. In 1902 he sold his Copeland Road land to George Sargent.
Walter Simpson Perdriau purchased a 1½ acre block of land on the northern corner of Sutherland Road and Copeland Road East in 1891, close to his brothers’ allotments. Walter and family took up residence in Beecroft in 1893 and in 1895 when he built his home, the reporter considered that ‘by all appearances it will be one of the best in the district’.
Walter became an active member of the Progress Association and in 1896 made the first suggestion that a School of Arts be built in Beecroft. He was Captain of the Kennedya Tennis Club in 1897 and was a keen player on his own court. In 1898 he suffered severe sunstroke whilst playing tennis and spent some time at Leura recuperating. He became a magistrate in 1897 was one of the founding committee to establish the School of Arts (1903). He worked in his brother’s rubber company which had a factory in Drummoyne and its head office in the city.
After the sudden death of Henry Carter Perdriau in 1892, brought on by the collapse of his companies in the bank crash, his widow came to Beecroft to live. She at first leased a house in Welham Street and later a house in York Street. She died in 1918 at the age of 94 years.