The Strathfield-Homebush District Historical Society held an exhibition on the Historic Houses of Strathfield at the Ironbark Gallery, Strathfield Council Library & Innovation Hub from December 2021 to February 2022. This exhibition was presented by the Strathfield-Homebush District Historical Society with support from Strathfield Council.
Historic Houses of Strathfield explored the rise of the mansion houses in late 19th century and their eventual fate in the 20th and 21st centuries. The stories of the houses and the associated people also reflect the social, economic and political changes which occurred over a century of development in the Strathfield area.
The Historic Houses of Strathfield exhibition opened at Strathfield Library by Heritage Architect, Clive Lucas OBE on Thursday 16 December 2021. An address was also given by Strathfield Council’s CEO, Henry Wong.
The first Australia economic boom from the 1850s to 1890s coincided with the residential settlement of the Strathfield district. Many wealthy merchants and professionals viewed Strathfield as the ideal place to build large and lavish homes, supported by rail access to the City where their businesses were located. By the 1890s, Strathfield was considered one of the premium suburbs of Sydney.
However, this was not to last. Decline commenced with the 1890s Depression followed by significant and continued economic and social change. The exhibition features photos, maps and illustrations of the stories of the houses and their owners.
This includes ‘Milroy’ and ‘Elwood House’ home of tobacco merchants George Todman and William von der Heyde, ‘Tiptree’ home of Rev. Charles Newman and his wife Elizabeth (née Vickery) and ‘Mount Royal’ home of woolbroker John Hinchcliff and later Sir George Reid, Prime Minister of Australia. Of houses included in this exhibition, only Mount Royal has survived into the 21st century as part of the Australian Catholic University.