By Cathy Jones
‘Restawhile’ 53 Broughton Road Homebush is located on Section 13 of the 1878 ‘Village of Homebush’ Estate, a subdivision of the larger Underwood Estate. This house is featured in the book William Hardy Wilson: a 20th Century Colonial: 1881-1955 (National Trust: 1980).
‘Restawhile’ was built in 1926 to a design by architects Wilson, Neave & Berry for Miss Aldythe Quaiffe. The building approval was granted in 1926 to the owner Miss Quaiffe for a brick dwelling of 5 rooms at the estimated cost of £1000. The architectural firm of Wilson, Neave & Berry was first formed between William Hardy Wilson (1881-1955) and Stacey Arthur Neave. In 1920, John L Berry joined the firm. This house was designed during the period of this partnership. The other Wilson, Neale & Berry design in Strathfield is the Strathfield War Memorial, outside the Strathfield Council Chambers.
Aldythe Quaife (1880-1954) was the daughter of Dr Frederick Harrison Quaife, who founded the British Medical Association and the Astronomical Society in Australia. Dr Quaife brought the first X-Ray to Australia and was a significant figure in Sydney in the 1880’s. Her grandfather Rev. Barzillai Quaife (d.1873) was a Dissenting minister in England, who challenged traditional class structures and migrated to Australia in 1840. He is known as Australia’s first philosopher, a newspaper editor and an advocate of Aboriginal rights stating ‘Men may be foreigners but they are men. One nation may not oppress another. The natural rights of man are universally the same’. The Quaife family are listed in the Australian Dictionary of Biography and associated with ‘Hughenden’, Queen St, Woollahra, a heritage listed Victorian mansion, which now operates as a boutique hotel. Aldythe Quaife’s sister Winifred married Sir Charles Lloyd Jones, Chairman of David Jones & Co, in 1900. Jones was born in Homebush and members of the Jones family were highly prominent in the Strathfield district from 1880’s to 1930’s.
In 1938, Aldythe Quaiffe transferred ownership of this house to the Benevolent Society of NSW, which is the oldest charity in Australia. This appears to be a donation as no purchase price is recorded. The name of the house was changed to ‘Restawhile’. By 1957, it returned to private ownership of Kenneth and Marion Wilson. In the 1960 valuation records, the property was owned by Roy and Mary Heath.
NSW Births, Deaths & Marriages Index.
Land Titles searches
Locket, G., 1967, Barzillai Quaife [1798-1873] and Dr Frederick Harrison Quaife, Australian Dictionary of Biography 1788-1850 Vol.2, Pike D (ed).
National Trust of Australia, William Hardy Wilson: A 20th Century Colonial 1881-1955, 1980.
Rathbone, Ron, A very present help: caring for Australians since 1813: the history of the Benevolent Society of New South Wales, Sydney: State Library of New South Wales Press, 1994
Ryerson Index (Quaife), www.ryerson.com
Sands Sydney and Suburban Directory
Strathfield Council Building Register