by Cathy Jones
‘Lauriston’ was built in 1907 for Amy Alfreda Vickery (1867-1942), the daughter Ebenezer Vickery (1827-1906), who was one of Australia’s wealthiest men. Vickery, a prominent merchant, manufacturer, philanthropist and politician, built a vast financial empire and was one of the largest station owners and property speculators in the New South Wales.
Presumably with the proceeds from her father’s vast estate, Amy Alfreda Vickery commissioned her cousin, architect Alfred Newman to design ‘Lauriston’ in 1907, which she resided until her death in 1942.
Amy Vickery was a prominent stamp collector. Since 1982 the Vickery collection has been on permanent loan to the Powerhouse Museum and consists of over 1,800 mounted pages. Amy Vickery won gold medals in stamp exhibitions in Sydney in 1932 and 1938.
Many of Ebenezer Vickery’s children settled in Strathfield in the late 19th and early 20th Century including Joseph Vickery (1857-1930) who lived at ‘Strathfield’ (1907-30), George Begg Vickery of ‘Inveresk’ Coventry Road and Elizabeth Vickery Newman, who with her husband Rev. Charles Newman built ‘Tiptree’ in Kingsland Road.
In 1942, during World War II, the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) requisitioned use of the Presbyterian Ladies’ College (PLC) at Croydon. The School Council, requiring property for school use, rented ‘Lauriston’. Though PLC relinquished use of ‘Lauriston’ after the War, PLC maintained a presence in Strathfield for many years. ‘Braxton’ at 16 Margaret St was initially leased but purchased in 1944 by PLC as an infants school. PLC continued this school until 1997, when it was purchased by Meriden. This property is now known as ‘Lingwood’, the original name of the house when it was a private residence.
In 1946, ‘Lauriston’ was leased by Trinity Grammar Preparatory School as a house for their school boarders and a sub-primary school during the day. In 1951, the Church of England Property Trust purchased ‘Lauriston’ for £21 000 and it continued use as Trinity’s Junior School.
In 1967, the Dominican Sisters purchased ‘Lauriston’ for a price over $200,000. The Dominican Sisters incorporated this building into Santa Maria Del Monte, the junior school of Santa Sabina College.