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2 corrections, most recently by markauturnbull - Show corrections

PJROGBESS OP THE SUBUliBS

XIV., WOOLLAHRA.

II. ' ' -?

Teople orten wondered why Sir George Reid, when Premier, refused such a tempting offer as the purchase of Woollahra Houso for State Government House purposes, but the Idea which Sir George held nttthe time, and which ho gave expression to, was that State Gov- ernment House should bo erected in Centen- nial Park. However, thero were few who took thoPiemlor serioualy when he ventilated such a proposal, but there were -many who said that "George Reid was afraid of tho Lab- our party," who, at the time, hold the balance of power in tho House, and whoso platform conlained a plank for tho abolition of State

Governors.

Be that us it may, the Government of which Sir John Sen was Premier leased for live years the property 'known as Cranbrook, in the .New South Head-road, as a Stato Government House. When that lease expired, In October, IfiOG, Sir Joseph Carruthers, as Premier, asked for an extension of the lease, but the owner, Captain Scott, refused to grant an extension, and offered lo Bell the property to the Gov- ernment for £22,600, otherwise to subdivide tho same. Finally Captain Scott consented to the Government having an extension of the lease, but only for 12 months, and at a rental o't 5 per cent, on the £22,500 purchase money. That means that £1225 was paid in rental tor the 12 months which was 'much above the ren- tal paid for the previous fivo yoarsl Before that leaso expired, however, the Government, through tho agency of Messrs. Raino and Horno and Hurdle and Gorman, purchased the propcrtyvfor £22,500, and since that date an- other £25,000 has boon expended in enlarging the houso and Improving tho grounds. The land on which Cranbrook stands was origi- nally the pioperty of Sir Daniel Cooper, and was portion of the grant of 1100 acres to Messrs. Cooper and Levey. The ( land was leased to Edwin Tooth, at a rental of £100 per annum, but ultimately- it was purchased as a leasehold by the late Hon. Jamos White, and was used by hiin as his town residence. After the death of Mr. White, his widow mar- ried Captain Scott, a veterinary surgeon In the Army, and at her death Captain Scott in- herited tho property, which had in the mean llmo been converted into a freehold at a cost

of £8000.

But there is a portion of tho municipality of ?Woollahra over which the Cooper family exercised little, if any, control. While Messrs Cooper and Levey, in the early days of coloni- sation, securod throe-fourths of the district

by . grant, an<l otherwise, and which grant included the 1100ft of foreshore frontage in that 'beautiful headland, Point Plpor, they fail- ed to take in the adjoining, and equally pic- turesque and important, headland of Darling Point, which was called Mrs. Darling's Point, after the Governor's wife, the native namo being Yarrauabe. Darling Point, possesses over 100 acres of land, and eight) people owned tho lot as original grantees. Thomas Holt had 16 acres right on the point. The other grantees were T. Wyatt "h acres, T. Barker 17 acres, J. Dunlop 15 acres, J. Chisholm OS acres, W. McDonald 13Ï acres, E. Pike Ile aeres, and T. Smith 2SJ acres. It was back in tho early 'Thirties when these grants were issued, and as Messrs. Cooper and Levey obtained tholr grant of 1100 acres seven years prior to the grants for Mrs. Darling's Point being given the wonder is that this magnificent water-frontage was not Included In the larger grant, in favour of Messrs. Cooper and Levey. But, perhaps, the Goorgo-streot merchants thought thoy had enough land without Darling Point, or It may bo that the Government held such views. At any rate, in after years Darling Point became ono of tho most fashionable residential areas outside tho city, and it is so to day, although in a lesser degree, due, no doubt, to so many other beautiful suburbs springing into exis-

tence.

In tho early days Pott's Point, Darling Point, Double Bay and Bellevue Hill, although situa- ted in the cast; were a group of suburbs that could well be classified as "the West End." Attached to Darling Point thero is a good deal of interesting history which dates back to the 'Forties and the 'Flftips. There w'ere quaint old homesteads lu existence m those dnys,' and some of them aro still to be found in the modern Darling Point of to-day. One of the most interesting and complete histories of Darling Point that has yet been published Is contained In a paper which was prepared and road before tho Historical Society, in September, 190«, by Mr. James Arthur Dowl- ing, a son of the late Judge Dowling. Mr. Dowling, who was intimately associated with this district in the early days deals in a lucid manner with the ownership, occupation, and nomenclature of the' various properties and ho traces the history and vicissitudes of many of them in a pleasing manner.

Glancing round the old and historical pro- perties which were the homes of the tow inhabitants of Darling Point in the 'Fifties, wo lind that right at the point was a grant dated November 28, 1833, to Thomas Holt, portion of which Is tho site upon which the lato Air. Harry Rickards built his residence, Cannonbury. The site was1 originally con- veyed by Mr. Holt to a Mrs. Brackcnburg, -who built a cottage known as Lansdown (upon tho land. It was purchased from her in 1850 by Mr. 'Arthur Dight for £8000. Mr. Dight added another story, and occupied the house as a bachelor for about a year. Ho then married and/went to live at Clarendon, near Windsor, but subsequently Mr. Dight returned to the old home and there he died. After his death his representatives sold the property to Mr. Harry Rickards for £5000. Adjoiniug Lansdown, on the south side, Is a property known as Lindsay. It was built on the same grant. s The house was of Gothic design. This home was tor a time owned by Mr. James' Barker, and afterwards by the Hon. Thomas Icely. It was later occupied by Sir Charles Nicholson, then by Sir Thomas Mitchell, the Surveyor-General, In the 'Thir- ties. That was while ho was awaiting the com- pletion of Carthona. This last-named pro- perty, the name of which is derived from a Spanish phrase -"the meeting of the waters" -was'in the'same grant. The dwelling was erected in Gothic design, and was built on the water's edge, at the extreme west .of Double Bay, which was then named Keltic Cove, after the boatswain of the Sirius; with a small but clean sandy beach adjoining. Sir Thomas Mitchell built this house from a model of one at Lake Windermere, and koine otthe ornamental stonework and many of the kéy-stones of the arches oft he windows and doors he carved himself. He died there on October 5, 1855, and was burled in the Cam- perdown Cemetery.

The WtllowB, which was virtually the Ethani property, was built on, a grant dated November 28, 1833, to the same Mr. Thomas Holt. When Mr. Mitchell purchased the buBh land surrounding it between Mr. Daniel Cooper's cottage and Mount Adelaide, he also purchased The Willows, and made one pro- perty known as Etham. The Willows were so called by reason of thero being a large pond in the centre of the property, around which some magnificent willow trees flourish- ed. The house was built and occupied by Mr. Acton Sillicties, who had an office on the site of the present Oxtord Hotel, In King street. Etham House, where Sir Matthew Harris resides, was built by Mr. Mitchell on the edge of the slope fronting Double or Keltic Bny. It was ti charming spot, and in the 'Fifties, to go to an entertainment at Etram was the ambition of those m v the social world of Sydney. Mr. Mitchell was never more happy than when entertaining others. After his death the .estate was sub- divided, the willows removed.' the- pond filled in, and to-day the land is covered with modern

villas. ,

Next to Estram was Mount Adelaide, a charming cottage, owned and built by Mr. M. W. Lewis, who was Colonial Archtect Iii 1S43. It was then known as Derby Lodge. In the vicinity of theso nnd^ other similar properties at the head of Break Neck Steps was a small, old-fashioned building, whicli was used as a guard-house in the early flays when.the convicts were working In Double Bay' Facing the Darling Point-road was a small cottage, occupied by Mr. Christopher Rollen- ston, n former Registrar-General, and ad- joining this cottage stood that comfortable old building, afterwards known as St. Mark's Cottage, which'was built by a well-known solicitor named Callaghan. who died 60 years ago, and whose widow and daughter were well-known equestriennes in the neighbour- hood. It was originally called Kensington Cottage, but was afterwards purchased by Mr T. S. Mort, who renamed it St. Mark's Cot- tage. It was then occupied by Mrs Laidley widow of Commissary-General Laidley and Mr. Mort's mother-in-law. At the foot of the eastern lawn of Mount Adelaide was situ ated a comfortable cotage, known as East- bourne. Tho eastern extremity of this nro perty ended in an abrupt cliff, not very hich over which the drainage of the surrounding land expended itself. It was known as the dripping rocks. There the children hart their picnics, and thero the women of thn neighbourhood did their week's washing tuh« and other appliances being ,left there for that purpose. In fact, in the 'Fifties the bulk of the washing of Darling Point was done at the dripping rocks. These were days when

water was not obtained from street mains. In Brooksby garden, one of the best in the district, and made by convict laoour, there stood, in the early 'Sixties, two large ponds, each of which received its water supply from The Greenoaks and Smart's land. These ponds discharged themsevles Into another pond, near tlic foot of Break-Neck Steps, ad- joining the Double Bay or Keltic Bench. This pond or lagoon was a picturesque place, be- ing surrounded by she oaks. It alfao re- ceived the waters from the dripping rocks above. The site of this lagoon Is now densely covered with dwelling houses.

But to go back" to tho Darling Point-road, adjoining St. Mark's Cottage. There stood the entrance lodge to Greenoaks; then carno St. Mark's Church, and St. Mark's Crescent. The latter were two semi-detached villas, which wero built by Mr. T. S. Mort. The ground in which 'this church stands-still a land-mark of Sydney--was a gift from Mr. T. S. Mort. He also built the church, and provided some of the fittings, the rest being subscribed by various parlshiuers, notably Mr. Whistler Smith, Mr. Smart, and others. Mr. Mort was proud of the church,'and took pleasure in seeing that it was kept in a condition worthy of the parish. It had at first' no steeple. This was the gift, in late years, of Mr. William Laidley, Mr. Mort's brother-in-law. The lighting in the body of the chui'ch in those days was provided by wax candles in wooden standards, erected about 12 feet apart, and between the centre and side pews. The remains of. these stand- ards aro still visible, and in the chancel tho light was obtained from a brass, three-tiered hanging candelabrum, which is now in use in the chapel at Iho King's School at Par- ramatta. It should be mentioned that prior to the erection of St. Mark's Church, wor- ship was conducted in a small house, at first occupied by Mr. Smart's gardener, but later converted into a chapel, and later still, the service was held in St. Mark's school-room, on the New South Head-road. But the church Itself was built and opened In 1847. The first Minister was the Rev. Francis Thom- as Cusack Russell, B.A. The Rev. H. C. Carey, who afterwards became Master in Equity, and later a Dlsti'ict Court Judge, suc- ceeded Mr. Russell, but really the first incum- bent of St. Mark's Church proper was the Rev. G. F. Macarthur. He was also the pro- prietor of St. Mark's Collegiate School, which he conducted first at the Parsonage, and, at a later date, at Macquarie Field, Liverpool, and afterwards at the King's School, Parramatta. The next incumbent was the Rev. G. W. Richardson, Who was, untorunately, drowned in Cook's River. The Rev. Mr. Richardson was followed by tho Rev. Thomas Kemmis, and at his death, in 1807, the present rector, the Rev. Willoughby Flowers, M.A., took charge.

In the 'Fifties and the 'Sixties there wero still the few families living at Darling .Point. They were well known as leading citizens, and they all worshipped at St. Mark's Church. Their leader, that noble citizen, Mr. T. S. Mort, was always to be found on Sunday morning at Greenoaks gate, next to the church, surrounded by his neighbours, indulg- ing in their weekly gossip and chat before service. It was there they received the neivs of one of the successes of the British and

French armies in the Crimea jyar. They discussed It so much that they were all late

for chuch.

Tho church and grounds and St. Mark's crescent had been part of the Greenoaks estate, and there is no doubt that Greenoaks, the home of Mr. T. S. Mort, was the show place not-only of Darling Point but of Sydney generally. The property consisted of por- tions of the grants to Elizabeth Pike and Thomas Smith, and It was originally owned by Mr. Thomas Woolley, an ironmonger, who built a cottage on the land. Mr. Mort pur- chased the property from Mr. Woolley. He then added to the house on two occasions. That was late in the 'Forties and early in the 'Fifties. The first addition was made under the direction of Mr J. F. Hilly, archi- tect, and the second under the supervision of Mr. Blackett [ Blacket], architect. It was lookerl upon as the finest specimen of Elizabethan architecture In the colon'y. It was furnished with taste, much of the furniture being of old oak and of antiquated English design. It also contained a collection of old English nrmour and weapons of war, and a picture gallc>y. which up to tho death of Mr. Mort was filled with a' collection of valuable pic- tures, chiefly water-colours, some of which are now in the Art Gallery. Mr. Mort's gal- lery was open to Inspection "on certain days

in the week.

One could go on discussing the many In- teresting Gothic-designed homes of some of Sydney's leading citizens which wero to bo found at Darling Point in tho 'Fifties and early 'Sixties, but space docs not permit. Those, however, have been happily dealt with by Mr. Dowling In his interesting paper, which he rood betoro the Historical Society a few years ago, and in which, when describing the properties, he speaks of that well-known landmark, the old dead gum tree, which stood for more than 60 years at the corner of Darling Point and New South Head roads, on land which was a grant of 15

acres to Mr. J. Dunlop, the astronomer in Governor Brisbane's time. The estate was known as the Mona property. The tree has disappeared, and the land covered with modern cottages. It was once the home of Mr. Smart, which contained a picture gallery open for public Inspection. There was also the stockade on the land adjoining St. Mark's school house, which housed the 100 convicts, who formed the roads In the locality. Next door a Mrs. A. McLean kept the early local post-office, where the residents came for their letters. Mr, Dowling mentions also, that while Darling Point was the home of well to-do citizens, the neighbourhood was not free from evil-doers. 'The whole frontages along the Darling Point-road to the entrance gants of Mona was enclosed by a rough fence with a large growth of lantana bush between

It and the footway. This was tho resting place of rubbish, and the resort of loafers and vagabonds. In those days It wits even unsafe for a pedestrian to walk airing there after dark, unless armed. Occupiers of vehicles were not even froe from molestation, and on one notable occasion, Sir Thomas Mitchell, who had been dining at the Victoria Barracks, was being driven home to Carthona at night in an open carriage, when he was way laid and robbed of his boots, watch and chain, and all his cash by two men who had been waiting for him. This caused Sir Thomas to erect a cottage to house the police who were ordered to protect the residents of Darling Point. Not far from the police cot- tages, still standing as a dilapidated land- mark, was Malcom's Folly. The house was built on land contained In h grant of 6J acres, dated November 28. 1833, to an old sea cap- tain named Malcom, who, evidently Influenced by his nautical experience, erected the house on steep land, with the best and living rooms on tho bottom floors, and lils kitchen and outofiicos as an upper story, almost level with the road, the whole crowned by a flag- staff. It is said that a subterranean passage ran from the house to the front gate, but that Malcolm never lived in the house. In fact, it was never completed, and was unoc- cupied for many years, until it became a

wreck.

Digitisation generously supported by
Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation
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