In our exhibition, Home Sweet Home, photographs from the Georges River Council Local Studies collection capture the variety of homes and their owners in the local area.
These photographs were taken at a time when the Georges River area was developing and estates were being subdivided into smaller lots. Homes varied from large sprawling villas or mansions with extensive grounds and gardens, to smaller cottages and bungalows. They depict the architectural variety and diversity of people’s lives during this time from the late Victorian era to the 1920s.
Many homes, particularly the grand mansions or villas, are no longer standing. These photographs capture domestic and private life frozen in a moment of time.
Image: ‘Gannon Grove’, Croydon Road, Hurstville, NSW. Date unknown. Georges River Council Local Studies collection.
Michael Gannon, a carpenter by trade, was an Irish convict transported for life in 1820. He was conditionally pardoned ten years later. In the 1850s, he became a major landholder of the area now known as Hurstville. He paid £732 for the 1,950 acres of land then called Lord’s Forest, becoming Gannon’s Forest or Gannon’s Bush, and established a successful timber cutting enterprise.
‘Gannon Grove’, was located on a large area between Kimberley Road and Moore Street. Although built in 1880, the style was mid Victorian, with decorative brackets under the eaves and windows in tripartite format on the ground floor. Michael’s son, Alfred, may have lived there until his death in August 1908. However, the property was leased to several people, among them Mr. Alfred Black and Mr. C.H. Gurner until 1917, when Gannon Grove was sold to Herbert Spencer who renamed it ‘Wollondilly’. He then sold it to developers in c.1932; the property was demolished about 1937, and the land subdivided.
Image: ‘Deuaran’, home of Dr James Lamrock. Date 1897. Georges River Council Local Studies collection.
At 26 Belgrave Street, Kogarah, Dr James Lamrock sits in a sulky, while groom, Paddy Carew, stands in front. The late Victorian house was on part of a 55 acre Crown Grant to Simeon Henry Pearce and his brother, James, in 1853. The land passed through several owners until John Lamrock purchased the lot. The house was built in 1888 and John then transferred it to his son, James, in 1892. It then went to James’ widow, Margaret, after his death in 1916.
Dr William Johnstone Binns, who became St George County Council’s official medical officer, purchased ‘Deuraran’ in 1917. The house went to his widow with his death in 1957, then to Belgrave Private Hospital in 1960. It passed through several companies and individuals as a nursing home, to Moran Hospitals in 1990, until it closed in 1997. It was demolished in October that year.
Image: ‘Fernland’, Forest Road Penshurst, NSW. Date 1886. Georges River Council Local Studies collection.
‘Fernland’ was built in 1885 for Presbyterian minister, Reverend Thomas Hill and his wife, on seven acres of land. Several members of the Hill family lived there until their deaths, including the Reverend’s father, John, until 1894, Thomas, until 1902, and his mother, Janet, until 1908. Then Miss Margaret Hill, his sister, lived there until 1916.
In November 1916, Father O’Kelly of St Declan’s parish, Penshurst, purchased ‘Fernland’ for £1,650. By then it occupied only an acre of the original estate. It was converted into a Catholic Presbytery, and additional land purchased adjoining the building later accommodated a convent school. ‘Fernland’ remained at the St Declan’s site falling into disrepair until the building was deemed structurally unsound in 1968 and was soon demolished.
Content for this blog post is taken from the Snapshot Gallery exhibition Home sweet home, on display at Hurstville Museum & Gallery from 1 December 2018 – 24 March 2019.