By Cathy Jones
‘Halsbury’ is located at 12-14 Albyn Road Strathfield. It is a large two storey Federation style house. This item is classified as a heritage item on Strathfield Council’s Local Environmental Plan, National Trust Register and the Royal Institute of Architects significant heritage item list.
The house was designed for solicitor Dr George Sly by architects Slatyer and Cosh in 1898. The builder was J A Oag.
Sly (1864-1934) purchased land measuring 200 feet long and 120 feet wide from Thomas James Thompson in 1897. This land was subdivided from the grounds of Thompson’s home ‘Malvern’ which was bounded by The Boulevarde (frontage), Albyn Road and Kingsland Road Strathfield.
Sly was one of the three sons of Joseph Sly, famous colonial cabinetmaker. The three sons – George, Richard Meares Sly and Dr Joseph David Sly (1844-1934) – were all educated in law and graduated from University of Sydney. Richard Meares Sly was a judge and resident of Strathfield and Burwood and Dr J. David Sly, headmaster and solicitor, who established the ill-fated Eton College in Redmyre Rd Strathfield from 1888-1892.
Dr George Sly was one of Sydney’s most prominent solictors and practiced for over 60 years until his retirment in 1928. In 1868, George Sly founded the legal firm of Sly and Russell, which is now the Sydney office of the law firm Deacons. This is one of Sydney’s oldest and largest law firms.
One of Sly’s chief interests was promotion of Freemasonary. He was a member of Lodge Harmony and at one stage was Deputy Grand Master for New South Wales. At the time of his death, he was a member of the committee of the Masonic schools and of the Grand Lodge of New South Wales.
Sly was a member of the Church of England and took a keen interest in the local Church.
Sly resided at ‘Glen Luna’ 2-4 Carrington Ave Strathfield from 1887. He maintained a country residence at Bowral, NSW. After his retirement, he moved to Darling Point where he died. He was cremated at Rookwood Cemetery.
The house ‘Halsbury’ was owned by Sly until 1928, though Sly never appeared to reside in this house. Sly’s home in Strathfield was ‘Glen Luna’ 2-4 Carrington Avenue. ‘Halsbury’ was continually leased until ownership transferred in 1928 to Harry Sevier Brown, a merchant. During Sly’s ownership, occupants included James Kidd (1900-1905), Edward Lloyd Jones of David Jones retailers (1906-1910), Mrs Anning (1912-1920) and Harry Sevier Brown (1923-1928). Mr. Harry Brown Sevier (1874-1942) was President of the Chamber of Manufactures of New South Wales (1927-1931) and of the Associated Chamber of Manufactures of Australia (1932-32). He was born in Tennessee, USA and moved to Sydney in 1911 as general manager of paint and varnish manufacturers, Lewis Berger and Sons. He was later appointed managing director until 1931 and then chairman of directors.
In 1937, ‘Halsbury’ was purchased by Arthur Donovan Swan of Narellan, Grazier and Investor. From 1958 until 1992, the house was owned by Frank Zions OAM. Zions (d.1991) Zions was principal of Zions Pty Ltd, which produced wages and time keeping records. Zions served on Strathfield Council as an Alderman from 1960 to 1980. He was elected Mayor and served from 1970-72. He was a member of the Local Government Association Executive from 1973 to 1975. He also served on Burwood Council and was elected in 1980. He received an Order of Australia Medal [OAM] in 1985.
After his death in 1991, a park ‘Frank Zions Reserve’ Mitchell Rd Strathfield was dedicated in his memory.
‘Death of Dr G J Sly’, Sydney Morning Herald, 3 May 1934 p10;
‘Dr G J Sly (Funeral)’, Sydney Morning Herald, 4 May 1934, p13
Gorman, Michael, The Life and Work of Charles H Slatyer FIA, UNSW BArch Thesis, 1983.
Fox & Associates, Strathfield Heritage Study, 1986
Jones, C, ‘Frank Zions Biography’, http://strathfieldheritage.org
Kemp & Johnson, Heritage Impact Statement for 12-14 Albyn Rd Strathfield, December 1999
Mitchell, Bruce, ‘Sly, Joseph David (1844–1934)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 6, Melbourne University Press, 1976
‘Solicitor Retires.’ The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 – 1954) 25 Jul 1928: 6. Web. 5 Aug 2011.
Strathfield Council Valuation Lists
(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.