By Cathy Jones
The site of 23 Newton Road Strathfield was part of the Josephson’s Estate, which comprised land bordered by the Cooks River and Liverpool Road to the south, Barker Road to the north and Chalmers Road to the east. The land was transferred to the Strathfield Land Company Limited and was gradually subdivided. 23 Newton Road is built on lot 37 of the estate marketed as Josephson Estate No.1, which commenced subdividing in 1916. Residential development of this estate was gradual, which resulted in a variety of building styles due to different building periods.
Royston Stuckey Cozens purchased Lot 37 of Josephson’s No. 1 Estate, which was vacant, from George Foster, engineer (28th May 1935) for £450. Strathfield Council approved the building application for a brick dwelling of eight rooms January 7th 1936 for R. S. Cozens of Albert Rd Strathfield at cost of £2500. The property dimensions were 68 foot frontage and 230 foot depth.
The architect as identified in the feature on this house in Decoration and Glass magazine (February 1937) as the architectural firm of D T Morrow and Gordon. The identified builder in the Council building register was H Askew.
Royston Stuckey Cozens was a tobacco merchant, who worked for the British-American Tobacco Company as did his father Arthur Cozens. Cozens grew up in Strathfield and his family resided in Albert Road Strathfield. In 1930, he married Daphne Akhurst in 1930. Akhurst was five times Australian women’s champion and played at Wimbledon. Considered one of the best all-round players in the world, she retired from serious competition soon after her marriage and winning the Australian Women’s Doubles Championship with her tennis partner, Louie Bickerton in 1931.
Akhurst died in 1933 of an ectopic pregnancy with the service held at St Anne’s Anglican Church. After her death, Cozens married Bickerton in 1935. Bickerton was also a national women’s tennis champion and often partnered Akhurst in tennis tournaments. Royston and Louie Cozens died in 1998.
By 1964, ownership of the house had transferred to Brian Vernon Cariston Seton of Strathfield, a solicitor and his wife, Esma Seton. In January 1970, the dimensions of the land altered when the owner of 25 Newton Road, Audrey Zedora Davis, transferred part Lot 38 measuring 12 feet x 231 feet to 23 Newton Road. 23 Newton Road increased in size from 68 feet to an 80 feet frontage and the frontage of 25 Newton Road was reduced in size to 56 feet.
Decoration and Glass magazine, ‘A residence in Strathfield’, Vol. 2 No. 10 February 1937
Department of the Valuer General NSW – Valuation List – Valuation District of Strathfield
‘Louie Bickerton’, 1930, Ayre’s Lawn Tennis Almanack
Valuer-General, Notice of Land Transfers
Strathfield Council Building Register