By Cathy Jones
‘Nereus’ is located on the Woodward Avenue Heritage Conservation Area, which includes predominately Victorian houses on Woodward Avenue, The Boulevarde and Albyn Road Strathfield. This precinct is built on the 1880 subdivision of the Woodgreen Estate and is one of Strathfield’s earliest residential developments.
‘Nereus’ was built c.1893 and is a single storey, late nineteenth century, rendered brick Victorian villa. The owner F J. Bridges lived in the house briefly, then known as ‘Galashiels’, but tenanted the house thereafter. Tenants included James Bearup (1897, 1899), Captain Robert Nelson (1898), W H Read (1900-1906) and Frank Lawn (1907). The school ‘Meriden’, operated by Miss B Turner, was temporarily located in this house.
From c.1912 to 1917, John Williams was the owner and renamed the house ‘Nereus’. Ownership passed from c.1917 to Charles Benson who renamed the house ‘Nereus’ and during the 1920s to William H Shimmon, an accountant. Following Shimmon’s death in 1938, the house was sold to Alan Fischer, a warehouseman, and his wife Daphne. By 1951, the house was owned by Reginald Kennedy, a theatre manager. Kennedy was also a member of the Strathfield District Historical Society, who contributed research to the first 1986 Strathfield Heritage Study and the book ‘Oasis in the West’, the official history of Strathfield Council in 1985. Reg Kennedy died in 1991.
Fox & Associates, Strathfield Heritage Study, 1986
Sands Sydney and Suburban Directory 1881-1932
Strathfield Council Building Register
Strathfield Council Valuation Lists
Department of the Valuer General NSW – Valuation List – Valuation District of Strathfield