by Cathy Jones
‘Broughlea’, a two storey Victorian Italianate style house, has been carefully restored by its current owner. The restoration of this house won a Strathfield Council Heritage Conservation Award in 2001 and is one of the important historic properties of Abbotsford Road, which contribute highly to the character and amenity of the Abbotsford Road heritage conservation area.
The Abbotsford Road heritage conservation area is built on the ‘Village of Homebush’ Estate, which part of the larger Underwood Estate. The Underwood Estate absorbed most of the original 1793 land grants to the ‘Liberty Plains free settlers’ such as Edward Powell, Thomas Rose and Frederick Meredith. Though granted for purpose of farming, this land proved difficult to farm and the settlers ceased farming activity and moved away from their land. Eventually, considerable amounts of land in current day Homebush West and Homebush [both sides of the railway line] came under the ownership of James Underwood, Edward Powell’s son-in-law, and became known as the ‘Underwood Estate’.
By 1878 when the section of the ‘Underwood Estate’ known as the ‘Village of Homebush’ was subdivided, development in Strathfield and Homebush had commenced. A railway halt and later a station was established at Homebush in 1855, with a halt established at Redmire [later Strathfield] in 1877. The large ‘Redmire Estate’ commenced residential subdivision in 1867 and by the late 1870’s, large homes for wealthy merchants and businessmen were being built in Strathfield and businesses had been established on Parramatta Rd at Homebush.
‘The Village of Homebush’ estate is a section of the ‘Underwood Estate’ located south of the railway. The land was purchased by a group, intending to subdivide the land for residential development and included: William George Pennington, William Henry Mackenzie Snr, John Piper Mackenzie, Robert John King, and Charles Wye Weekes.
The ‘Village of Homebush’ subdivision created Burlington Rd, Abbotsford Rd, Bridge St, Coventry Rd [parts have been renamed Mackenzie Street], Meredith St, The Crescent [then called Homebush Crescent] and Bellevue Street [renamed Homebush Rd]. Melrose St is also located on the ‘Village of Homebush’ Estate but was created at a later time.
One of the earliest homes built on the ‘Village of Homebush’ estate is ‘Broughlea’, 82 Abbotsford Road. ‘Broughlea’ is one a few remaining two storey brick Victorian Italianate style houses in Abbotsford Road. This house was was built c.1880 by Horatio Aylward, a City based solicitor in the practice of Aylward and Wild. Many of the early houses in Abbotsford Road were built by professional men, attracted to Strathfield and Homebush by large land allotments and rail transport to their places of business in the City. Both Aylward and Wild were foundation members of the prestigious Strathfield Union Club [later Strathfield Recreation Club], whose members in its early history were prominent and wealthy businessmen, merchants and professionals. ‘Broughlea’ appears to be the first house built in Abbotsford Rd and was called ‘Rhodanthe’ when owned by Alyward.
Horatio Alyward died in September 1886, and the property was later acquired by Benjamin Chapman, an estate agent of the firm Chapman & Hazlewood, in April 1888. Chapman renamed the house ‘Broughlea’.
By 1897, the property was owned by the executors of the estate of R Young and the property was leased by F.A. Davenport. The house was then known as ‘Orme’. Other occupiers of “Broughlea” were George Kiss , J. Dyer [1901-2]. From 1905, ‘Broughlea’ was owned by William Richards. Richards was manager of the stock and station agency Hill, Clark & Co, which operated from Homebush Saleyards Parramatta Road. Richards also served as an Alderman on Strathfield Council.
In 1923, Frederick W. Hulls of Hulls Haberdashery purchased the house. In 1924 the first subdivision of the property occurred, when a 50 x 200 foot block was partitioned off. This created the lot on which 86 Abbotsford Road is now located. In 1927 a second subdivision took place, when another similar size lot was portioned, thereby creating 88 Abbotsford Rd. Hulls continued ownership until 1955 when John Linnett Hulls became the owner. In 1959 the last subdivision occurred when a 20 foot strip was partitioned off and combined with a 100 x 100 foot block behind Nos.86 and 88. This created a ‘battle-axe’ block, which is now 84 Abbotsford Road.
In 1968, ownership of “Broughlea” passed to Don Talbot, then the Australian national swimming coach. Talbot was the owner for four years and then sold the property to John Herbert Mason in 1972. ‘Broughlea’ was awarded with a Strathfield Council Heritage Award in 2001 for restoration and conservation.
A short history of Strathfield Recreation Club 1881-1956
Duxbury, Trevor, ‘Broughlea’ 82 Abbotsford Rd, 2001
Sands Sydney Directory
Strathfield Council Rates Book 1891 and Valuation lists1897-99, 1899-1900,1901-07, 1920, 1924,1933,1957
Wise’s Post Office Directory 1904, 1908, 1936
(c) Cathy Jones 2005. Pursuant to the provisions of the Copyright Act 1968, no permission is given to any person to reproduce any work. Existing publications do not assign or imply any ownership by any other person by the author. No permission is given by the author for any commercial advantage to any person or organisation.