by Cathy Jones
‘Strathfield’ was the name of a prominent home originally built as ‘Strathfieldsaye’ in 1868 for Walter Renny, painter and decorator and Lord Mayor of Sydney [1869-70]. The house was demolished in 1957.
The suburb Strathfield was named after this house. The suburb was formerly known as Redmyre (and earlier Redmire). When the Council was incorporated in 1885, a new name ‘Strathfield’ was selected for the Council area. By 1886, the suburb of Redmyre and rail station became known as Strathfield, instead of Redmyre.
‘Strathfieldsaye’, as it was originally named, was a two-storey brick residence with a lodge, stables and other outbuildings. The house was set back about 600 feet from The Boulevarde. The name ‘Strathfieldsaye’ appears to derive from a ship carrying immigrants, including Henry Parkes, which made four voyages to Sydney between 1838 and 1854. This ship was reputedly named for the country estate, Stratfield Saye, of the Duke of Wellington [website link: www.stratfield-saye.co.uk].
Ownership of the property was transferred from Renny several times including to Davidson Nichol, who shortened the name to ‘Strathfield House’, then ‘Strathfield’. After Nichol’s death in 1880, the property was sub-divided with ‘Strathfield’ preserving over 3 acres and located at the end of the newly created Strathfield Avenue, which was a cul-de-sac. The sub-division labeled ‘The Strathfield Estate’ also created Woodgreen Rd [later renamed Torrington Avenue] and Nichol Parade to the boundary of Wynne’s Paddock [lot 36 of the Redmire Estate which sub-divided in 1885].
Shortly after the sub-division went on the market, ‘Strathfield House’ was sold to John Hardy of Hardy Brothers, silversmiths and jewelers in September 1881. John Hardy lived at ‘Strathfield’ for nearly twenty years before transferring ownership to his wife Emma Elizabeth Hardy in 1900. For a short time, John Maclean Arnott, managing director of Arnott’s Biscuits lived at ‘Strathfield’ after his marriage to Hardy’s daughter, Adeline.
In 1907 Mrs Hardy disposed of the property to Joseph Vickery for £5000, who added the tower and upper verandahs to the house. ‘Strathfield’ and its lavish gardens was featured in magazine ‘The Garden and the House’ in 1924. Following Vickery’s death in 1930, ownership was transferred to his daughters Lillian and Mary Vickery and son, Harland Vickery in joint tenancy. The new owners decided to further reduce the land size and subdivided the remainder with provision for extension of Strathfield Avenue through to Nichol Parade and its dedication as a public road in 1935. The Vickery family maintained ownership of the house, though further lots were sold between July 1937 and November 1938. Located near the western end of Strathfield Avenue, the house was tenanted from 1940 until 1957 when it was demolished for further residential sub-division.
(c) Cathy Jones 2006.