By Cathy Jones
Coventry Road Strathfield 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’.
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’ created Burlington Rd, Beresford Road, Abbotsford Rd, Bridge St, Coventry Rd, Meredith St, Homebush Crescent and Bellevue Street. Parts of Coventry Road have been renamed. In July 1918, the section of Coventry Road from Elsie Street (now Shortland Avenue) to The Crescent was renamed Mackenzie Street. Bellevue Street was renamed Homebush Road and Homebush Crescent was renamed The Crescent.
‘Edna’ 13 Coventry Road is located in Section 7 of the Village of Homebush Estate, a 1878 subdivision of the Underwood Estate.
13 Coventry Road was built in 1899. The first owner was Edward Chambers, a builder, who is likely responsible for the construction of the house. Chambers named the house ‘Westmoreland’. Chambers lived at ‘Westmoreland’ with his wife Edith. During his occupancy of this house, his occupation changed from builder to railway carriage builder to railway inspector by 1917. During this period, many residents of this area worked in railway associated employment.
In 1917, ownership transferred to William Hicks Sharp (d.1944), a commercial traveller, who renamed the house ‘Edna’. In 1939, ownership of the house transferred to William McNaught, a plumber and his wife Jane. The McNaughts were still recorded as owners in 1960.
Department of Valuer-General, Valuation Lists, Municipality of Strathfield
Electoral roll, Parkes Electorate 1903
Electoral Roll, electorate of Nepean, Sub-division of Homebush, 1915
Fox & Associates, Heritage Inventory Sheet No.108, Strathfield Heritage Study, 1986
RE the estates of the undermentioned deceased persons. (William Hicks Sharpe), (1944, October 27). Government Gazette of the State of New South Wales (Sydney, NSW : 1901 – 2001), p. 1887. Retrieved August 26, 2020, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article225099082
Sands Sydney & Suburban Directory 1913-1932
Strathfield Council Building Register
Strathfield Council Valuation Lists