‘Hawthorne’ Abbotsford Road Homebush
‘Hawthorne’, built c.1886, is a well known and admired local house. A photograph of ‘Hawthorne’ is featured prominently in ‘Oasis in the West’. ‘Hawthorne’ is a heritage listed item and also located within the Abbotsford Road Heritage Conservation Area.
The house is a single storey rendered brick Victorian house with a symmetrical façade. Elements include a slate hip roof, return verandah with a corrugated iron bull nosed roof, rendered chimneys, paried eave brackets, side and fanlights to entry door and rectangular bays to the street façade. A small gable is located over the entry. A rare group of Forest Red Gums (Eucalyptus tereticornis) are featured in the rear garden. These are examples of remnant regrowth from the original tall open forest of the Homebush area. It is likely that these trees may have self-seeded from a single larger parent tree which has now been removed. These trees are included on Strathfield Council’s Significant Tree Register as representative of an important remnant population of the original forest.
‘Hawthorne’ was one of the first homes built in Abbotsford Road on the ‘Village of Homebush’ estate. This estate is located on part of the original 1793 Liberty Plains land grants. These lands eventually became part of the large Underwood Estate, which covered most of Homebush and Homebush West. ‘TheVillage 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.
By 1878 when the ‘Village of Homebush’ was subdivided, residential 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. In the Strathfield area, 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 Road at Homebush.
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 Stis also located on the ‘Village of Homebush’ Estate but was created at a later time.
The section of Abbotsford Roadwhere ‘Hawthorne’ is located, between Meredith Street and Bridge Road, was the first section of Abbotsford Roadto be developed. Other significant Victorian style properties, which are heritage listed, are located near ‘Hawthorne’ including ‘Rothesay’, ‘Broughlea’ and ‘Stockman Manor’.
‘Hawthorne’ was built c1886 for Frederick William Binney Esq. to a design by Blackett Bros. In January 1886, the Blacket Bros placed a tender advertisement in the Sydney Morning Herald for builders:
“To Builders. TENDERS are invited for a Cottage at Homebush, for F. W. Binney, Esq. Plans and specifications may be seen at the Offices of the Architects, to whom tenders are to be addressed, on or before MONDAY, the 16th February. BLACKET BROTHERS, Architects. Bond-street.”
It is not known who the builders were but the owner of the house Frederick William Binney was notable person. Binney was the Secretary of the Newcastle-Wallsend Coal Company and the Northern Collieries Association. Binney was associated with development of the coal industry in NSW from 1861 to his retirement in 1900. His obituary notes in particular, his skill in negotiations with miners and unions, noting that he “displayed much tact in the difficult negotiations which arose, although his energies were mainly exerted on the side of the owners”. When he relinquished duty for the company and the association the colliery officials in the northern mining district presented him with an illuminated address. The mine ceased business in 1935. There is a street in Wallsend, a district of Newcastle named for him.
Binney was the owner and occupant of the house until his death in July 1901. His wife Isabella died at ‘Hawthorne’ in 1899. The following article was published in the Sydney Morning Herald:
FUNERAL OF THE LATE MR. F.W. BINNEY
The funeral of the late Mr. F. W. Binney took place on Saturday afternoon fromHawthorne, Abbotsford-road, Homebush. The remains in a polished co-tar coffin, were interred in the Church of England section of the Necropolis, and were followed by several old friends of the deceased and gentlemen connected with the coal trade of the State. The service was conducted by the Rev. H. J. Rose. Wreaths and sympathetic messages were received from the directors and manager of the Newcastle Coal Company, the directors, secretary, and officers of the Newcastle Wallsend Colliery Company, Messrs, J and C. Brown, P. F. and H. Langwill, Alderman A W. G. Gregg, and there were present Messrs. V. H. Binney (nephew), A R. Douglas, Alderman John Wheeler, Captain J. L Fawkes, Fraser, S. Thompson, P. Reid, J. Mullens, A. Ross (manager of the Wallsend Colliery), T. B. Frith, T. Chilcott, Iredale, Price, and Johnston.
The architect of ‘Hawthorne’ was the architectural firm of Blackett Bros. The firm consisted of Cyril and Arthur Blackett, the sons of prominent architect Edmund Blackett (1817-1883), former NSW colonial architect. Cyril Blackett trained as an architect inEnglandand gained his qualification with the Royal Institute of British Architects. He was elected President of the Institute of Architects (NSW) in 1903. His brother Arthur was a surveyor. After the death of Edmund Blackett in 1883, the Blackett Bros took on a number of jobs.
Following Binney’s death, the house was purchased by Dr Arthur Salter, a medical doctor. The house was maintained in the ownership of the Salter family until at least the mid-1960s.
The house was first heritage listed in 1992. It is also classified by the National Trust.
“Advertising.”, Sydney Morning Herald, 27 Jan 1886, page 11
Fox & Associates, Strathfield Heritage Study, 1986
Jones, Cathy, Strathfield Council Building Approval Records 1913-1922, 2005
Sands Sydney and Suburban Directory, 1880-1932/3
Strathfield Council Building Registers Vol. 4 (1928-1935) and Vol.5 (1935-1940)
Strathfield Council Building Approval Index Cards 1950s to early 1990s
Strathfield Council Significant Tree Register
Strathfield Council Valuation Lists 1880s
(c) Cathy Jones 2011. 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.