Abbotsford Road Homebush

By Cathy Jones

Abbotsford Road Homebush is a heritage conservation area on Strathfield Council’s Local Environmental Plan.  There are a number of houses which are listed as individual heritage items in Abbotsford Road.

Abbotsford Road Homebush is situated on land originally granted in 1793 by the NSW Colonial Government to a group of free settlers, including Frederick Meredith, Edward Powell and Thomas Rose, in an area known as Liberty Plains.  The intention of the land grants was to establish farms and food supply for the growing colony.  The land proved difficult to farm and the settlers abandoned farming activity and moved from their land.  Eventually, this land and other land located in the 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.  The land became known as the ‘Underwood Estate’.

Village of Homebush Estate Subdivision Map December 1878
Village of Homebush Estate Subdivision Map December 1878

By 1878 when the section of the ‘Underwood Estate’ known as the ‘Village of Homebush’ was subdivided, residential development of the suburbs of Strathfield (then Redmire) had already commenced. The large ‘Redmire Estate’ commenced residential subdivision in 1867 and by the late 1870s, large homes for wealthy merchants and businessmen were being built in Strathfield.  In 1877, a rail halt and later a station was established at Redmire.

A railway halt and later a station was established at Homebush in 1855, which was intended to service the Homebush Racecourse, sited north of the current railway line.  There is little evidence of development on the south side of the Homebush Railway until the development of the ‘Village of Homebush’ estate from 1878 onwards.

‘The Village of Homebush’ estate is a section, measuring 306 acres, of the ‘Underwood Estate’.  it is located south of the railway.   The land was purchased by a group who intended to subdivide the land for residential development.  The group included: William George Pennington, William Henry Mackenzie Snr, John Piper Mackenzie, Robert John King, and Charles Wye Weekes.

The ‘estate’ is deposited plan DP400, which created Burlington Rd, Beresford Road, Abbotsford Rd, Bridge St, Coventry Rd, Meredith St, Homebush Crescent and Bellevue Street.  A section of Coventry Road has been renamed Mackenzie Street.  Bellevue Street has been renamed Homebush Road and Homebush Crescent has been renamed The Crescent.

Development history

Abbotsford Road is primarily residential.  Residential development commenced c.1880 in Abbotsford Road and the street developed in stages.  More detail on each of the sections is contained in the links below:

Abbotsford Road Homebush – Homebush Road to Rochester Street

Abbotsford Road Homebush – Rochester Street to Meredith Street

Abbotsford Road Homebush – Meredith Street to Bridge Road

Name of street

The ‘Village of Homebush’ subdivision created streets whose names reflect the early settlers eg Meredith, locations eg Bridge Rd or places in Britain eg Burlington Rd, Beresford Road or, Coventry Rd.

It is likely that Abbotsford Road is named after Sir Walter Scott’s home “Abbotsford House”, built on the right bank of the River Tweed in Scotland.  Sir Walter Scott [1771-1832], a novelist and poet, also wrote historical novels such as Rob Roy [1817] and Ivanhoe [1819].  Scott transformed Abbotsford House into a Gothic-style baronial mansion, which is still the home of Scott’s direct descendants.

House histories

‘Inglemere’ 2 Abbotsford Road Homebush

‘Florenceville’, 44 Abbotsford Road Homebush

‘Badgelly’, 53 Abbotsford Road Homebush

‘Goongirwarrie’, 55-57 Abbotsford Road Homebush

‘Strathayne’ 60 Abbotsford Road Homebush

‘Gowan Brae’ 62 Abbotsford Road Homebush

‘Greenock’ 66-68 Abbotsford Road Homebush

Rothesay, 72-76 Abbotsford Road Homebush

‘Hawthorne’, 78-80 Abbotsford Road Homebush

‘Broughlea’, 82 Abbotsford Road Homebush

‘Stockman Manor’, 91-93 Abbotsford Road Homebush

Prominent residents

Past residents include:

William Morris Hughes, Prime Minister of Australia [1915-1923], at ‘Thanett’ 32 Abbotsford Road and ‘Lila’ 90 Abbotsford Rd [1901-03]. Hughes is one of the most prominent and controversial politicians in Australian political history.  During his term as Prime Minister, he left the Australian Labor Party in 1917 over the issue of conscription forming a new political party.

Don Talbot, Australian Swimming Coach, lived at ‘Broughlea’ 82 Abbotsford Road in the late 1960’s and 70’s.

Benjamin Gelling [1913-15], Mayor of Strathfield at ‘Lynroy’ Abbotsford Rd.

Alban Gee, Manager of the Sydney Meat Company, lived in Abbotsford Rd.

Harold Hastings Deering, a prominent industrialist who founded the company ‘Hastings Deering’ lived at 79 Abbotsford Rd until his death in 1965.

John J Shipley, spice merchant, built and owned ‘Florenceville’ c.1884.

Samuel Thompson, built and lived at ‘Rothsay’ 72-76 Abbotsford Rd.  Thompson was a former stockbroker.  His brother Thomas lived at ‘Malvern’ The Boulevarde Strathfield.

(c) Cathy Jones 2010.

3 comments

  1. Hello Cathy: 32 Abbotsford Road Homebush “Thanet” was the residence of my maternal great grandparents Henry (aka Harry) & Catherine BAILEY who emigrated to NSW from Kent England circa 1883. Henry Wm BAILEY was a Railway Station Master from KENT and eventually became Station Master at Homebush where 3 of their 4 children were born (eldest Katherine Bailey m Bridekirk my Grandmother). BAILEY family relocated to appointment as Station Master at Moss Vale NSW in charge of NSW Governors’ carriages & tours, family lore has it BAILEY rented “Thanet” at that stage to Rt Hon William HUGHES. One such Governor’s carriage is at the Powerhouse Museum. BAILEY’s last child was born in Moss Vale, his older children being educated at Moss Vale. Have managed to collate the family history & have found portraits & hopefully an old photograph of “Thanet”. Both Henry & Catherine BAILEY (nee James) were born in “Thanet” in the county of KENT England. Elder BAILEY daughter Katherine returned to her parents’ home “Thanet” to give birth to her firstborn child Marjorie (my mother) and secondborn child Harry Bridekirk & both have vivid recollections of the house & the area. Perhaps I can upload some of these photographs to you Cathy if you can advise me how to ? Kind regards Helen

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