By Cathy Jones
‘Viwa’ Burlington Road was known as the Doctor’s House. It was originally the home of Dr George Hurst and built c1883. The property was a home and surgery for more than 100 years.
Unfortunately this end of Burlington Road were rezoned for units in the late 1960s and many original homes were demolished. The house was identified as a potential heritage item in the Strathfield Heritage Study in 1986 but the house was demolished before heritage items were gazetted in the planning ordinance.
The photos below were taken by the Strathfield District Historical Society prior to its demolition.
It is tremendous to be reminded of how Viwa enhanced the eastern end of Burlington Road during my childhood years. Given the number of people now housed on that suburban block it might appear churlish to question the need for its demolition but was the wrecker’s ball the only option? Compare this site now to 62-66 Burlington Road and the generous green courtyard seen in this medium density redevelopment and I question if Viwa had to be entirely razed three decades ago. Whilst I’m not a fan of façadism, surely some elements of this quaint Victorian Italianate villa could have been retained with a new build to each side and at the rear of the property. In general this end of Burlington Road is better than the next block starting to the west of the Rochester Street which is blighted by the visual pollution of too many garbage bins on the street and multiple “For Lease” signs on every front fence. Before Strathfield Council allows the next residential tower to be built in the distinguished and historic “Village of Homebush” it needs to deal with the slum it created on two blocks of Burlington Road with its rezoning of the 1960s. In the meantime I hope we can and find a photo of Dr George Hurst to match these images of his lost home and surgery.
Scott Brandon Smith
As a former resident of Burlington Road, I fully endorse Scott Brandon Smith’s comments about the slum in that street. The whole of Burlington Rd was a historical precinct worthy of preservation. It was destroyed by mindless bureaucrats with no thought beyond increasing revenue…
John and Cathy
‘Opara’, built in 1910 by the Spurway family, was a major contributor to the important streetscape of Burlington Road, Homebush. Strathfield Council should hang its head in shame for its contribution in the destruction of this house. Whilst ‘Opara’ wasn’t a grand and imposing residence it was certainly jaunty in the way it addressed the street. By that I mean it was “lively, cheerful and self confident” in its early last century style. The high slate roof hung low like a fringe of hair over the out turned eyes of it front windows with timber pelmets like eye lashes and Venetian blinds like cataracts. The gentle curve of its front steps on its north facing veranda were like a neck tie on the face of this male Edwardian facial portrait. Now I might be gilding the lilly a little with this description of a demolished house but I challenge any alderman on council to offer an equivalent description of the mess that now stands on Burlington Road. The question is has the council learnt its lesson? Sadly it appears not. The flats have been built, and so they are there, but the presentation of the street is appalling. On this level council might help improve the streetscape by insisting that owners corporations repair their broken down front fences, house their waste and rubbish bins off the street and outlaw local real estate agents from cluttering the view with lease and for sale signs. Dr John Spurway has contributed to this important discussion on the future appearance of the historic Village of Homebush Estate and I thank him although I wish as a Smith I was like him and was a descendant of Granny Smith’s important and fruity legacy.
Dear Cathy, Does anyone have any information/ photographs of the Wheat silo in the street parallel to Albert Rd. Juju Marsden Sundin Ex Resident Albert Rd Strathfield 50’s/60’s.
Sent from my iPad
Sounds like the pre-PC named ABO Fertilisers that was where the goods line came in to the intersection of Beresford Road and Elva Street. Both sides of that corner now have multi-storey blocks of apartments on them. The Scout Hall was down there as well. The sports administrator John Coates AC is the most famous alumnus of that scout troop. It is an area of Strathfield that has changed considerably, for better or worse, depending on your view of industrial heritage. Cathy it would be very interesting to here more of the history of ABO when you have a spare hour in your busy schedule.