Know your street – Birnam Grove Strathfield

Birnam Wood Estate Sub-Division Map
Birnam Wood Estate Sub-Division Map

Birnam Grove Strathfield is located between Homebush Road and Chalmers Road near Strathfield Park.  It is a boundary of the Cooks River and Parramatta River catchments, where the south side of the street drains to Cooks River and north side drains to Parramatta River.  The street was established in 1927-1928 from the subdivision of the house ‘Birnam Wood’, the former home of John MacLean Arnott, Managing Director of Arnott’s Biscuits.

The house ‘Birnam Wood’ was originally built on Homebush Road Strathfield in c.1886 by John Booth Jones, Solicitor of Sydney.  The house was originally known as ‘Hatherley’ and was situated on a site of over 9 acres in size.

In 1911, the house changed its name to ‘Birnam Wood’ when it was purchased by Colonel John McLean Arnott (1869-1945), the son of Arnott’s Biscuit founder William Arnott. Arnott, possibly inspired by his Scottish heritage, named his home ‘Birnam Wood’.  The original Birnam Wood is located in Scotland and where the action of Shakespeare’s MacBeth takes place.  In Birnam Wood, MacBeth was slain in battle by Malcolm.

Colonel Arnott was the Managing Director of Arnott’s Biscuits, whose factory operated at Homebush from 1906-1997. Colonel Arnott served in the AIF with much distinction during World War I earning the rank of Colonel.  In 1895, he married Adeline Hardy, the daughter of John Hardy of Hardy Bros jewellers and owner of the home ‘Strathfield’.

‘Birnam Wood’ was demolished c.1927 and the ‘Birnam Wood’ estate was sub-divided forming the current street, Birnam Grove.  A notice of the subdivision was published in The Sun in May 1927.



Once the grounds which surrounded the residence of Col. J. M. Arnott, Birnam Wood Estate, Strathfield,  is now a subdivision of 47 home sites, and will be offered for sale by auction next Saturday, by Messrs.  Raine and Horne in conjunction with the Craig Real Estate Co.  A subdivisional road has been driven through the centre of the estate, so that frontages are now to Homebush and Chalmers roads, Birnam-grove and Gelling-avenue. Along Homebush-road runs the motor-bus service which connects with the railway at Strathfield, and all around the estate are built large and average homes. Frontages of allotments are from 48 to 55 feet, with depths of about 160 feet. Brisk bidding is anticipated. The position of the land— in one of the best residential sections of Sydney — has aroused a demand for plans which necessitated the printing of a second big supply. Terms of sale are: — Ten per cent, deposit, and balance in 12 quarterly payments.

Most of the original homes in Birnam Grove were built from 1928-1932 in the Interwar style. The street is lined with Brushbox trees.

A few houses in Birnam Grove had house names, though by the late 1920s the practice of street numbering rather than house naming had commenced.  According to 1933 Valuation records, the following houses were named:

  • ‘Normanhurst’ 1 Birnam Grove
  • ‘Penrose’ 4 Birnam Grove
  • ‘Avoca’ 6 Birnam Grove
  • ‘Ridgewood’ 14 Birnam Grove
  • ‘Ercildune’ 15 Birnam Grove
  • ‘La-Casita’ 26 Birnam Grove
  • ‘Ernena’ 28 Birnam Grove
  • ‘Georgia’ 32 Birnam Grove


1927 ‘OLD ARNOTT HOME’, The Sun (Sydney, NSW : 1910 – 1954), 7 September, p. 18. (FINAL EXTRA), viewed 03 May 2017,

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