Stories and Myths about Strathfield

by Cathy Jones

Myth: Strathfield is named after the home of the first Mayor George Hardie

The name Strathfield was adopted in 1885 when local government was established.  The new Strathfield covered the areas of Homebush, Redmyre and Druitt Town.  Strathfield was chosen as the name of the new Municipality.  It was neutral choice, so that none of the districts covered by the new Council could claim ascendency over the others.  The name is derived from the house ‘Strathfield’, owned by John Hardy, of the City jewellers Hardy Brothers.   

The name was chosen prior to the first Council election.  The first Mayor of Strathfield George Hardie, lived at a house called ‘Torrington’, not ‘Strathfield’.  The names of John Hardy and George Hardie are often confused.  While it maybe a good story that the Council was named after the home of the first Mayor, it isn’t accurate.

Myth:  Redmyre, the original name of the Strathfield, is named after the ‘red clay’ of Strathfield.

While it is true that Strathfield is mainly built on reactive red soil, Redmyre [or Redmire] does not appear to be named after the red clay of the district.  Most of Strathfield is built on the Redmire Estate, originally granted to James Wilshire in 1808.  The estate was purchased by Samuel Terry in 1824 and he renamed it ‘Redmire’ after his birthplace in Yorkshire.  The estate was subdivided in 1867 and it was marketed as the ‘Redmire Estate’.  The spelling altered at some point to Redmyre.  The street Redmyre Road is the sole reminder of the previous name of the district.

Myth:  Strathfield Station is the first railway station built in the local area

While Strathfield Railway Station is certainly one of the largest railway stations in Sydney, it was not the first in the local area.  Homebush Railway Station is one of the four first railway station built between Sydney and Parramatta in 1855, mainly because the Sydney Racecourse was located at Homebush.  The first halt was established at Strathfield [then called Redmyre] in 1877.  Flemington Railway Station was built in 1884.

Myth:  There are two Congregational Churches in Strathfield due to a feud involving the Todman, Jones and Hordern families.

There were two Congregational Churches built in Strathfield.  The first was the Homebush-Strathfield Congregational Church built in 1884 [now the Sydney Korean Parish, corner Albert Road and Homebush Road Strathfield] and financed by a group lead by tobacco merchant George Todman.  The second is the Trinity Congregational Church [corner of Morwick Street and The Boulevarde] financed by the Jones and Thompson families.  The Thompson and Jones families were members of the Burwood Congregational Church.  There was a feud in this Church which resulted in the building of the Trinity Congregational Church in Strathfield by a breakaway group lead by Dr Phillip Sydney Jones, stockbroker Thomas Thompson and James Inglis MP of ‘Billy Tea’ fame. 

The supposed feud between George Todman and Phillip Sydney Jones does not appear to be supported by research