Monday, 25 February 2008

Victorian Domestic Architecture: some more modest examples!

Modified Victorian cottages, Wollongong Rd

'Tardis' , Stanley St (bigger inside than it looks on the outside, just like Dr Who's police phone box, I guess!
Victoria St
Old coach house/stables at rear of Victoria St terrace

78 Wollongong Rd

Wollongong Rd
Semis, Stanley St
Semis, Stanley St

71 Hirst St

23 Walters St

16 and 18 Wollongong Rd

16 Mitchell St. A lovely modest weatherboard cottage

9 Dowling St

1 Dowling St

3-4 Mitchell St. Terrace-style semis

Victorian Domestic Architecture: Teluba

It is owned by the NSW Department of Education who use it as a professional services centre/district office. It shares the grounds of Arncliffe Public School.

As late as 1973 it was the Arncliffe Girls Intermediate High School, meaning it was not a full academic high school. Prior to that it was Arncliffe Domestic Science School. In 1974, it amalgamated with Tempe Boys' Junior Technical High to form a comprehensive, co-ed full high school at Tempe.

I remember when that merge too place, as I was at high school and our school donated old books to the newly created school. Some act of noblesse oblige no doubt, but I wonder what the kids at Tempe thought about a library stocked not with new books, but the cast-offs and donations from some snooty nosed kids from a selective school! I hope they've been culled by now!

Victorian Domestic Architecture: Belmont and Fairview, built 1881

Fairview. 197 Wollongong Rd

Belmont: 215 Wollongong Rd

Brothers Thomas and Alexander Milsop were attracted to Australia in 1852 by gold discoveries in Victoria. They failed to make their fortunes there or in New Zealand. They then struck it rich on the Kurrajong goldfield near Forbes in NSW.

The Milsop brothers moved to Wollongong Rd in 1881, purchasing six acres each and erecting two identical houses, Belmont and Fairview. Alexander became the first Mayor of Hurstville.

I don't know anything about their current use, but supect they are either boarding houses, halfway houses or some kind of rehabilitation centres.

Sunday, 24 February 2008

Victorian Domestic Architecture: Coburra, built 1905

Built in 1905, a date more usually associated with Federation style architecture, this ornate rendered brick house is more typical of the late Victorian era.
The western NSW town of Cobar comes from an Aboriginal word, Coburra, meaning 'burnt earth', which was used as a body decoration.
Still a private home.

Friday, 22 February 2008

Victorian Domestic Architecture: Myee/Wilga built 1893. Myee Babies' Home

220 Forest Road.
Like Dappeto (next entry), this house played a role in the institutional care of children made wards of the state through the 20th century. Subsequent government enquiries have painted a chequered view of the motivations and legacies of such policies.

Brick and stucco. Built in 1893 by John Horatio Clayton, Mayor of Rockdale from 1895 to 1898. Transition in Victorian architecture from rendered brick to use of face brick. Clayton was a solicitor, and founder of law firm Clayton Utz & Co.

Originally called Myee. I discovered that at one stage Myee was a home for Wards of The State, babies who were in "care" for various reasons, and known as . Myee Babies Home - National Library pictures. This was in the era when it was policy to remove children from their parents for various reasons. Children could be classed as state wards on various grounds including any variation on 'being uncontrollable', 'neglected' or 'in moral danger'. In other words, children were often declared 'uncontrollable', 'neglected' or 'exposed to moral danger' and deemed to be wards of the state, not because they had done anything wrong, but because the circumstances in which they found themselves resulted in them being status offenders and often they were institutionalised. In the case of babies, it was often because the mother was unmarried. Other reasons wer eparents' deaths or divorce, parents unable to care for children, economic stress, social disadvantage, Aboriginality.

In 2004, the Australian Senate Community Affairs Committee published a report called Forgotten Australians: A report on Australians who experienced institutional or out-of-home care as children. Included in it was this testimony in Chapter 3 - Why Children Were In Homes:

Single parents (usually mother)

3.40 The Committee received stories from people about how they came to be placed in care because of lack of support for their mothers. This occurred mainly in times when government or other financial support to unmarried mothers was clearly lacking and when being a mother out of marriage carried a stigma, which for many women, would have been too much to endure:

My story begins on 6 September 1932 when I was born to an unmarried 19 year old. My mother had no support from her family, so when I was born at Crown Street Women's Hospital, I stayed there till I was one month old. I was then taken to Myee Children's Home at Arncliffe and made a State Ward...I remained at Myee till I was 18 months old and was then fostered by the Newman family of Campsie. (Sub 179)

Above: Myee Babies' Home, National Library of Australia, 1971

Victorian Domestic Architecture: Dappeto, built 1885. Girls' Home, Retirement Village

171 Wollongong Road, Arncliffe. A very interesting history associated with this building...including playing its part in the institutional care of girls, with the chequered legacy that left...but first:

One of the finest examples of High Victorian architecture. Built 1885 by oyster merchant Frederick Gibbins (1841 - 1917). Constructed of sandstock face bricks mixed with whale oil to protect against dampness. Patterned Welsh slate roof, surmounted by ornate Captain's Walk.

Gibbins made a fortune as an oyster merchant with leases on nearly all the rivers of northern NSW. He built his own ships to transfer the oysters to Sydney where he had his head office and depot. In 1907, Gibbins' daughter, Ada married naturalist David Stead. Gibbins bought another local house, Lydham Hall, for Ada and Stead. Ada was Stead's second wife; he and his first wife, Ellen Butters, who died in 1904, were parents of Christina Stead (b 1902), who became a noted author. Her works included The Seven Poor Men of Sydney, Letty Fox Her Luck, The Man Who Loved Children. Stead lived most of her life outside of Australia, and was probably most known in the USA. (Lydham Hall was bought by Rockdale Council in 1970. They operate it as a museum. Though close by, it is in Postcode 2216 - Rockdale so out of the scope of this blog!)

Stead wrote of her stepmother, Ada Gibbins: " My stepmother did not like me, very natural, as I was the kind of child only a mother could love and then probably with doubts: her treatment of me was dubious. Sometimes servants thought I was my father’s illegitimate child, at other times, they fancied I was an orphan on my stepmother’s side: friends who came to the house took me aside and told me what I owed the kind people who had taken me in." Here's a fascinating piece about Christina Stead.

When Gibbins died in 1917, the property was bought by the Salvation Army.

From 1917 to 1965 they operated it as a girls' home. In 1916 it was called Arncliffe Girls' Industrial Home; in 1930 it became The Nest - Children's Home and between 1941 and 1969 The Nest - Girls Home. (Information from Senate Inquiry into Children in Institutional Care 2004). Part of the land was subdivided and sold.

In 1969 the Salvos turned it into an aged care home and retirement village. One of the conditions imposed by Council ws that the original building had to be restored. It is still serving that function, and is called "Macquarie Lodge".

Information from: A Village Called Arncliffe by R. W. Rathbone, 1997 and

*David George STEAD was born 6 MAR 1877 in Mount Street, North Sydney, NSW, and died 2 AUG 1957 in Watson's Bay, NSW. Son of Christina McLaren and Samuel Stead. He married Ellen "Nellie" BUTTERS 17 AUG 1901 in Sydney, NSW, daughter of Richard Cameron BUTTERS and Mary BOOTE. She was born 1876 in Sofala, NSW, and died 9 DEC 1904in Camperdown, NSW. He married Ada "Tot" GIBBINS 1 JAN 1907 in "Dappeto", Bexley, NSW, daughter of Frederick GIBBINS and Catherine PICKETT. She was born 12 JUL 1878 in Clarence Street, Sydney, NSW, and died 2 JUN 1951 in Mortdale, NSW. He married Thistle Yolette HARRIS 13 JUN 1951 in Bondi, NSW, daughter of Charles Thomas HARRIS and Ilma Richardson ROKES. She was born 29 JUL 1902 in Mosman, NSW, and died 5 JUL 1990 in Summer Hill,NSW.

Victorian Domestic Architecture: Gladstone and Wentworth, 1886

134/36 Forest Rd, Arncliffe

Built in 1886, original builder unknown. Pair of Victorian semis. Rendered brick, cast iron lace featuring angels.

Victorian Domestic Architecture: Cairnsfoot, built 1880s. Special School

Edward Manicom Farleigh was born County Mayo, Ireland in 1838. In 1865 he migrated to Victoria with his wife and two sons, and in 1873 came to Sydney. He established a leather firm at Mascot, a suburb not too distant from Arncliffe (or at least these days!).

In 1884 he bought 5 acres of land in Loftus St, Arncliffe and built this two storey Italianate mansion. By 1885 he and his wife had 10 children!

Farleigh died in 1909 and the land at Cairnsfoot was broken up. The family remained in the residence, and Mrs Farleigh lived here until she died in 1939, aged 98.

In 1955 the final member of the family, Miss Elizabeth Farleigh died. Cairnsfoot was bought by the NSW Department of Education who opened the 'Loftus Street Special School' in 1959.

Since then the Department has restored the building and restored its name. Today it operates as the Cairnsfoot School For Specific Purposes (SSP), for approximately 80 children aged from 4 to 18, with intellectual and physical disabilities.

Information from : A Village Called Arncliffe by R.W.Rathbone, 1997.

Arncliffe Park Part 3

, park

Above: Tai Chi 25 August 2006
Early autumn, February 2007
Regrassing the cricket pitch 8 Feb 2008