Henry Gorman

Henry Gorman (1849-1923)

Henry Gorman (1849-1923) lived in Strathfield from c.1899 to his death in 1923.  Gorman was best known as the managing director of Hardie & Gorman, one of Sydney’s most prominent real estate, valuers and auctioneers in the late 19th and early 20th century.  This business was first established in partnership with brothers George and Robert Hardie, who were Mayors of Strathfield and Burwood respectively.

Gorman lived at ‘Merley’ in Albert Road Strathfield.  This house was formerly known as ‘Salve’ when owned by Joseph Barling (1839-1921), Under-Secretary of the NSW Department of Works and Chairman of the NSW Public Service Board.  Gorman leased ‘Salve’ from 1899 and then purchased the property renaming the house ‘Merley’.  After his death in 1923, the property was  eventually acquired by the Seventh Day Adventists and their school, which opened in January 1953, stands on this site.  The street ‘Merley Road’ is located at the rear of this property.  The present Dickson St was once known as Merley Road.

An obituary of Henry Gorman was published in the Sydney Morning Herald on Thursday May 24, 1923, p8.

MR. HENRY GORMAN.  DEATH ANNOUNCED.  ACTIVE CAREER CLOSES.

Death took place early yesterday morning at his residence Merley, Albert Road Homebush of Mr Henry Gorman, governing director of Hardie and Gorman Proprietary Limited and president of the ‘Daily Telegraph’  Newspaper Company Limited.  He was in his 74th year.  Mr Gorman had been ill for some weeks, and underwent an operation for appendicitis.

Mr Gorman was a prominent figure in the business life of the community, and he was actively associated also with several public institutions.  He was a trustee of the National Gallery, and a life member of Zoological Society.  He was also associated with the Royal Philharmonic Society and the Sydney Musical Union.  Mr Gorman was a member of the City of Sydney Improvement Board and was the first governor of the Real Estate Institute.  The now defunct Athenenum Club, of which he was one of the foundation members, had in Mr Gorman an enthusiastic supporter.  He was also hon. Treasurer of the Australian section of the Empire Union. 

In not a few directions, Mr Gorman has left the impress of a fine sense of civic pride and responsibility. 

Born at Castlereagh, on the Nepean River, on September 23 1849, Mr Gorman was the youngest son of Mr Henry Gorman, who was a native of Bristol.  His mother was a daughter of John Lees, who built at Castlereagh, the first Wesleyan Church in Australia.  Mr Gorman was educated at Newington College, at that situated at Parramatta, and held the honour of dux of the school.

On the completion of his education, Mrs Gorman became associated with the firm of Farmer and Company Ltd, forerunners of the existing company, and was rapidly promoted to the position of accountant.  It was in 1873 that the firm now known as Hardie and Gorman Proprietary Ltd, was formed by Mr Gorman in partnership with Messrs George Hardie and Robert William Hardie.  About 30 years ago Mr George Hardie retired and Mr John Francis King was admitted as a partner in his place.  This partnership lasted until Mr Robert Hardie retired, and later the existing firm was formed with Mr Gorman as managing director.  As one who practically grew up in Sydney, Mr Gorman had a wonderful storehouse of reminiscences of the old days.  Associated so closely with the real estate business, he had brought before him in a striking way the transitions through which Sydney passes before it attained its present position.  He sold land in the city, for instance, from £50 to £60 a foot which later realised from £500 to £1500 a foot.  Of the many big transactions, with which he was associated, there may be mentioned the Centennial Park subdivisions, which he personally conducted, and which ran into a quarter of million pounds; the Darling Harbour resumptions during the epidemic of plague and, in conjunction with others, the negotiations for the acquisition of Darling Island by the Government.

Mr Gorman married Miss Kingsborough of Randwick, who predeceased him, and he has left three sons, Messrs Harold, Clarence and Alwyn Gorman, and two daughters, Miss Gorman and Mrs C Colyer.  He is also survived by a widow, the sister of his former wife, and by his sister, Mrs J St. L. Whyte, of Concord. 

The funeral will leave Mr Gorman’s late residence at 2.15pm today, by motor, for the Methodist Cemetery, Rookwood.  A train will leave the mortuary station.  Regent-street, city, at 1.55pm.  Those proceeding to the funeral by rail are advised to alight at No.1 Mortuary.

3 comments on “Henry Gorman

  1. Nice post,
    I learned a lot of information from this post. Thanks for the effort you took to expand upon this topic so thoroughly.
    I look forward to future posts.

  2. I have to question the information in this post regarding the cost of land in the 1880’s. 1 acre of land around the 1860-1880 was between 1 and 3 Pounds, not 50-60 and later 1500 (per foot??). That doesn’t make any sense at all. Where did you get this info from?????

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