‘Melba’ Strathfield Hoyts Cinema

Just spotted a blog from National Film & Sound Archive featuring photos of the Melba Theatre in Strathfield based on footage of its demolition in 1969.  http://ryszard.net/unknown/?p=61.  This theatre was located in Mosely Street on the north side of the Starhfield railway station and now is a block of units.

The Strathfield area had a number of theatres built form late 1920s and early 1930s, like the Melba, Enfield Savoy, Homebush Theatre as well as the Astor and Palatial in nearby Burwood. The decline of cinemas started as television audiences grew in the 1950s and by the late 1960s many had closed, turned into carpet or furniture warehouses or demolished and replaced by something really dull.

The Roger McKenzie Collection at the National Film & Sound Archive is from footage shot by McKenzie of the demolition of many suburban cinemas from the 1960s to 1980s.

Many readers of this site may be aware of my interest in theatres as my both the Homebush Vogue and Enfield Savoy were at different times managed by my great grandfather, who worked for Western Suburbs Cinema and then Hoyts.

Both are still standing, the Homebush Theatre is a listed heritage item but I don’t think the Enfield Savoy is listed by Burwood Council. The old Theatre buildings are a reminder when the suburbs were sprinkled with the glamour of Hollywood (as US films dominated the screens) and were a well loved community meeting place.  My grandmother often spoke about nights at the cinema as a time for dressing up and throwing on the furs but the theatres were often used for large community meetings also.

Milroy Photo Gallery

'Milroy' home of George Todman, formerly Albert Road Strathfield

‘Milroy’ home of George Todman, formerly Albert Road Strathfield

‘Milroy’ was built c.1882 for tobacco merchant George Todman. ‘Milroy’ occupied the corner of Albert Road and Homebush Road. Todman lived at ‘Milroy’ until his death in 1924. Many photographs of ‘Milroy’s’ interior and exterior were published during Todman’s occupany and the house was often featured in magazines of the day. A selection of photos of Milroy exterior and interior are available here.

Yarrowee Wetland tree planting and activities day

The final Yarrowee Wetland tree planting and activities day will be held on Sunday 23 November 2014 at 10am to 2pm. Yarrowee Wetland is located at Myrna Road and Yarrowee Road, Strathfield NSW. All participants will be provided with a BBQ lunch and free giveaway of a native plant. Bookings can be made online at http://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/yarrowee-wetland-tree-planting-and-activities-day-tickets-14080638569?aff=eorg

As well as tree planting, there will be a conducted tour of the wetland and its surrounds and demonstration of weed suppression.

What is the Yarrowee Wetland?

The Yarrowee Road Wetland is a habitat and stormwater quality improvement wetland within a small tributary of the upper Cooks River. It was constructed using ecological and water sensitive urban design principles.
Extensive weed control, including targeted works to control Alligator Weed and Willows was undertaken to enhance this area of under-utilised open space along the edge of Strathfield Golf Course. Works also included assisted regeneration in zones of remnant vegetation and the installation of approximately 5000 locally indigenous plants to enhance habitat for small birds and other local fauna and to provide a seed source for future wetland rehabilitation projects.

Street trees and nature strips

Albert Road Strathfield postcard c.1915

Albert Road Strathfield postcard c.1915

Strathfield is known for its distinctive streetscapes of street trees and wide grassed nature strips. Strathfield is easily identifable in aerial maps of Sydney by its streetscape and many parks.

The street tree program is over 100 years old.  In 1889 Strathfield Council received a government grant of over 800 pounds towards the cost of tree planting in the Municipal area for the NSW Government.  Ratepayers were notified that if they met one third of the cost the Council would plant trees in front of their property.  By 1890, eight kilometres of streets had been planted at a cost of about 5,000 pounds.  The first street planted was apparently The Boulevarde.  The street trees on The Boulevarde are distinctive as they are double planted on both sides of the footpath. Most early street trees are of the brush box variety. 

The government subsidy ceased in 1893, but the Council continued its planting policy.  The value of this on-going program is still clearly evident today.    

From the late 1880s, Council initiated a program of ‘boulevarding’ which included street tree planting, road widening, gas lighting in streets, public open spaces, building of footpaths, development of nature strips etc. The objective of early planning was to create pedestrian friendly streets, integrating footpaths and roads with accessibility to parks and facilities. Much of the distinctive character of the Strathfield district developed as a result of these early programs.

The postcard of Albert Road Strathfield illustrates the tree planting programs in early 20th century.

Photo of 'Quisiana', Cathy Jones 2004

‘Quisiana’ 81 Homebush Road Strathfield

'Berelle' as featured in an advertisement for the Strathfield Park Estate in 1914.

‘Berelle’ as featured in an advertisement for the Strathfield Park Estate in 1914.

‘Quisiana’ 81 Homebush Road Strathfield has recently been listed for sale.  ‘Quisiana’ (or sometimes known as ‘Berelle’) is one of Strathfield’s most prominent Victorian Italianate houses in Strathfield. This heritage listed property was built in c.1893.

‘Quisiana’ is located at 81 Homebush Road Strathfield. This property is heritage listed on Strathfield Council’s Local Environmental Plan and is a prominent two storey Victorian Italianate house set on large landscaped grounds.  The statement of heritage significance states:

Situated at the end of the vista along Alviston Street this two storey Victorian villa is of local significance for its form and scale and streetscape contribution, however, it has lost some detail and does not retain its original roofing material.  An asymmetrical façade has a projecting two storey rectangular bay with a two storey return verandah.  The verandah has a cast iron valance, brackets and balustrade and French doors to the balcony.  Other features include rendered labels, elaborate gable decoration, arched top to parapet, an elaborate iron palisade fence with rendered columns and a central rose garden.  The landscaping features of cypresses sempervieus [Bhutan Cypress] are important streetscape elements to Homebush Road. (Fox & Associates, Strathfield Heritage Review, 1986).

The house is located on the Bushy Hill Estate, a c.1880 subdivision of the larger 1867 Redmire Estate.

Photo of 'Quisiana', Cathy Jones 2004

Photo of ‘Quisiana’, Cathy Jones 2004

The house was built c.1893 for its owner railway contractor Thomas Tate.  In 1896, Tate moved to Western Australia and leased the house to various occupants. One of the more prominent occupants was George Hindmarsh MLA (1861-1916).  Hindmarsh was Member for the State electorate of Rous from 1905 to 1913, when he retired. During Hindmarsh’s occupancy from c.1909-1911, the house was renamed ‘Berelle’.

By 1917, ownership of ‘Berelle’ transferred to Professor James Douglas Stewart (1869-1955).  Stewart was the owner of ‘Berelle’ until at least 1948.  Stewart was the first Professor of Veterinary Science at Sydney University and received many hours in the course of his professional career.  His biography is detailed at http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/stewart-james-douglas-8666

References

Bushy Hill subdivision poster.

Radi, Spearritt & Hinton, Biographical Register of the New South Wales Parliament 1901-1970, ANU Press, 1979

‘Auction Sales’, Sydney Morning Herald, Saturday 12 December 1896

Sands Sydney Directory, published until 1932 by John Sands.

Strathfield Council valuation lists

‘Verani’ 24 Homebush Road Strathfield

Photo Strathfield Council 1986

Photo Strathfield Council 1986

‘Verani’ 24 Homebush Road Strathfield has recently been listed for sale.  ‘Verani’ is only one of three terrace style houses in Strathfield, which is very rare for Strathfield.  This heritage listed property was built in 1888.

History of ‘Verani’

‘Verani’ was built in 1888 on the original 1793 Frederick Meredith land grant.

The Meredith land grant was later acquired by James Underwood and subdivided in 1878 as the ‘Village of Homebush’ estate.

Lot 11 was purchased by Henry Koch, a merchant, for £62-10-0 and sold two years later to Will Greatrex, a tinsmith of Rookwood for £97-10-0. The land remained unimproved for six years before being sold to Jane Anderson for £200, who then sold the land in April 1888 to land agent David Hazlewood for £237-10-0.

The house ‘Verani’ was built byHazlewood in 1888. In 1894, the property was transferred to the mortgagees, John Henry Stephenson and David Roxburgh apparently on foreclosure [this was during the 1890’s Depression].  Ownership was unchanged until 1915, when ‘Verani’ was purchased by Henry Joseph Bishop. The Bishop family owned the house until 1968.

‘Verani’ is listed as a heritage item on Strathfield Council’s Local Environmental Plan. This property was identified as heritage significant in the Strathfield Heritage Study in 1986.  The statement of significance/description states:

Verani, a two storey Victorian house was built in 1888 for David Hazlewood, a property agent. Constructed of dichromatic Flemish brick it has an asymmetrical façade with a slate gable roof, corrugated iron bull nosed verandah roof, timber barge and finial, arched top windows, brick voussoirs and fan and side lights to the entry.  The verandah features a cast iron valance, brackets and balustrade.  The house is screened from the street by planting and has a timber fence and curved entry path.  Verani helps to illustrate the range of good quality housing built in the Underwood Estate in the late nineteenth century.

References

Fox & Associates, ‘Verani – Inventory sheet no. 93’, Strathfield Heritage Study, 1986.

Malcolm C S, ‘Verani 24 Homebush Rd, Strathfield District Historical Society Newsletter, Vol.3 No.5, January 1981

Strathfield Council Valuation Lists

Photo: Members of Our Lady of Loreto Board Reg Jones (left) and Eve Dutton with Paul Zammit, Federal Member for Lowe (1995)

Eve Dutton OAM (1928-2014)

Photo: Members of Our Lady of Loreto Board Reg Jones (left) and Eve Dutton with Paul Zammit, Federal Member for Lowe (1995)

Photo: Members of Our Lady of Loreto Board Reg Jones (left) and Eve Dutton with Paul Zammit, Federal Member for Lowe (1995)

Eve Dutton (1928-2014), a former Mayor and Councillor of Strathfield Council, has passed away. Eve was a long-term resident of Strathfield. She attended Meriden School as a boarder in the 1930s and was an active supporter of the school throughout her life.

She as a teacher and was employed in the School of Art and Design, TAFE New South Wales from c1960s to 1986.  She was the Head of the Design Branch, Randwick Technology College, from 1978 to 1986.

Eve served as a councillor of Strathfield Council for three successive terms from 1987 to 2000 representing the Liberal Party.  She was elected Mayor in 1991-92 and 1995-96 and was the first woman to be elected Mayor of Strathfield.

In June 1997, she was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for service to local government, and to the community through a range of aged care, charitable, educational and service groups. She was involved in a wide range of community activities mainly based in Strathfield.

Eve served as a Board Member of Our Lady of Loreto Nursing Home which was operated by the St Vincent de Paul Society from 1990-1998.  She was a Board Member of the Strathfield Home for the Aged for 8 years.

She assisted older persons from non-English speaking backgrounds in nursing homes at Strathfield and Lewisham by volunteering as an English tutor.  She also worked as a volunteer teacher for the Exodus Foundation.

Eve served as patron and an office holder of the Strathfield Lantern Club, the fundraising auxiliary of the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children and volunteered for many years for Homebush-Strathfield Meals on Wheels.

Eve was a long-term member of the Rotary Club of Strathfield and had served as Assistant Treasurer, Attendance Recorder and fundraiser.

She was a member of the New South Wales Legal Services Tribunal from 1993 to 1996 and made a Justice of the Peace in 1973.

A community centre in Strathfield was named The Dutton Centre in 2012 after Eve Dutton.

Growing Veggies in Small Spaces Workshop

Many people are increasingly living in smaller spaces in Sydney.  In the Strathfield Council area, 52% of the dwellings were medium or high density, compared to 40% in Greater Sydney according to the 2011 Census.  This trend will continue to meet increasing population demands.

The Growing Veggies in Small Spaces workshop will show you how to plant and grow vegetables in small spaces. The workshop will be held at Strathfield’s new Community Gardens and followed by a BBQ lunch.

The workshop will be held on Saturday 31 May 2014 at Strathfield Community GardenLaker Reserve, Elva Street
Strathfield from 10am to 12pm.

This is a free event and will include a workshop, free plants and a BBQ lunch.  Bookings can be made via online booking at http://www.eventbrite.com.au/o/treading-lightly-3872044903

If the tour is full, add your name to the waitlist and you will be contacted when the next similar event is organised.

This event is part of the Treading Lightly program, which hosts a wide range of sustainability themed events in the Inner West and is supported by Strathfield, Burwood, Ashfield, Canada Bay and Leichhardt Councils.

Yarrowee Wetland Tour

The Strathfield area has two wetlands: Mason Park Wetland in Homebush near Powells Creek and Yarrowee Wetland in Strathfield near the Cooks River.

Yarrowee Wetland was constructed in 2010 and provide a natural filter for storm water prior to entering the Cooks River.  Yarrowee is also a testing site for health of the Cooks River.

On Sunday 23 March 2014, a tour of the wetland will be held.  It is free event and will include demonstration of sampling of macroinvertebrates, tree planting and a BBQ.  Bookings can be made via online booking at http://www.eventbrite.com.au/o/treading-lightly-3872044903

If the tour is full, add your name to the waitlist and you will be contacted when the next tour is organised.

Cooks River Strathfield South 1943 aerial photograph

Cooks River Strathfield

Cooks River Strathfield South 1943 aerial photograph

Cooks River Strathfield South 1943 aerial photograph

A timeline on events and developments affecting the Cooks River in Strathfield has been published.  Click here for information.  This is certainly not the definitive history of the Cooks River in Strathfield, which will take more time to write, however this is a timeline of information I have gathered so far, which is helpful for others looking for historical information such as students.  This page will continue to be amended as it is a work in progress.

Also a request for locals to share their memories and recollections with the Cooks River Valley Association. Click here for further details.

I am always happy to receive any photos or information to add to the site.  Please contact me at cathy.jones@optusnet.com.au.  Regards, Cathy Jones.

Homebush North Shops

Homebush Newsagency 1936

Homebush Newsagency 1936

The Homebush North Shopping Centre is located on Parramatta Road Homebush near the corner of Knight Street (formerly Rochester Street). The establishment and later decline of this commercial centre reflects the changing development and demographic patterns of the Homebush North area.  A full article has been added to this site.  Click here.

Strathfield history video on YouTube

Someone shot a short film of the historical exhibition held in Strathfield library for the 125th anniversary of Strathfield Council in 2010 and uploaded to YouTube. http://youtu.be/jcSs5Al_f-w. I didn’t know this existed and came across looking for something else but it is a great a recording of the event was kept.

For the anniversary, a short film on the history of Strathfield was made, I think copies are still available from Strathfield Council.

Time goes by quickly, it will be the 130th anniversary in June 2015.