By Cathy Jones
‘Waratah’ is situated on the original Thomas Rose grant of 1793. This land was acquired by the Camden Congregational College, who intended to build a theological college at Strathfield. With the onset of the 1890’s economic depression, this plan became unviable and the College Trustees opted to subdivide the land and offer it for residential sale in 1898. This subdivision includes land in Albert Rd [65-103 Albert Rd], Homebush Rd [25-39 Homebush Rd] and Beresford Rd.
37 Homebush Rd commenced construction in 1899 and was built for William Arnott, founder of Arnott’s Biscuits. Arnotts first biscuit factory was built in Waratah, near Newcastle, hence the name of this house. Arnotts biscuit factory was established in Homebush in 1908.
Arnott lived at ‘Waratah’ for a short period before moving to ‘Arnottholme’, built at the rear and facing Albert Road. These properties were linked by a shared rear boundary. ‘Waratah’ was bequeathed by Arnott to his daughter Janet, the wife of broker James Simpson Perry. The Perrys maintained ownership of ‘Waratah’ until at least the 1940s, but leased the house after c.1913. The various occupants include: Mrs Jessie Pomeroy, the widow of John Pomeroy, a partner in David Jones & Co; 1918-1920 Alfred Morgan, prominent solicitor [Alfred Morgan & Co], and father of Charles Morgan, Mayor of Strathfield [1950-51]; 1921-23, Frederick Lindeman of the Lindeman Wines family. From 1923 to 1944, this house was leased to Miss Margaret Thompson who operated a small school which she renamed ‘Branxton’.
Jones, C ‘Five Federation Houses of Homebush Rd’, Strathfield District Historical Society Newsletter, July 2002.