By Cathy Jones
Abbotsford Road Homebush was created by the 1878 Village of Homebush Estate. Abbotsford Road runs from Homebush Road (at east) to Bridge Road (at west). It crosses over Rochester and Meredith Streets. Melrose Street joins with Abbotsford Road at its northern end.
Abbotsford Road Homebush is situated on land originally granted in 1793 by the NSW Colonial Government to a group of free settlers, including Frederick Meredith, Edward Powell and Thomas Rose, in an area known as Liberty Plains. The intention of the land grants was to establish farms and food supply for the growing colony. The land proved difficult to farm and the settlers abandoned farming activity and moved from their land. Eventually, this land and other land located in the current day Homebush West and Homebush (both sides of the railway line) came under the ownership of James Underwood, Edward Powell’s son-in-law. The land became known as the ‘Underwood Estate’.
By 1878 when the section of the ‘Underwood Estate’ known as the ‘Village of Homebush’ was subdivided, residential development of the suburbs of Strathfield (then Redmire) had already commenced. The large ‘Redmire Estate’ commenced residential subdivision in 1867 and by the late 1870s, large homes for wealthy merchants and businessmen were being built in Strathfield. In 1877, a rail halt and later a station was established at Redmire.
A railway halt and later a station was established at Homebush in 1855, which was intended to service the Homebush Racecourse, sited north of the current railway line. There is little evidence of development on the south side of the Homebush Railway until the development of the ‘Village of Homebush’ estate from 1878 onwards.
‘The Village of Homebush’ estate is a section, measuring 306 acres, of the ‘Underwood Estate’. it is located south of the railway. The land was purchased by a group who intended to subdivide the land for residential development. The group included: William George Pennington, William Henry Mackenzie Snr, John Piper Mackenzie, Robert John King, and Charles Wye Weekes.
The ‘estate’ is deposited plan DP400, which created Burlington Rd, Beresford Road, Abbotsford Rd, Bridge St, Coventry Rd, Meredith St, Homebush Crescent and Bellevue Street. A section of Coventry Road has been renamed Mackenzie Street. Bellevue Street has been renamed Homebush Road and Homebush Crescent has been renamed The Crescent.
Origin of the street name
The ‘Village of Homebush’ subdivision created streets whose names reflect the early settlers eg Meredith, locations eg Bridge Rd or places in Britain eg Burlington Rd, Beresford Road or, Coventry Rd. It is likely that Abbotsford Road is named after Sir Walter Scott’s home “Abbotsford House”, built on the right bank of the River Tweed in Scotland. Sir Walter Scott [1771-1832], a novelist and poet, also wrote historical novels such as Rob Roy  and Ivanhoe . Scott transformed Abbotsford House into a Gothic-style baronial mansion, which is still the home of Scott’s direct descendants.
Abbotsford Road Properties of Interest
‘Kelvin’ 12 Abbotsford Road Homebush
33 Abbotsford Road Homebush
35 Abbotsford Road Homebush
Rothesay, 72-76 Abbotsford Road Homebush
‘Ettalong’ 90 Abbotsford Road Homebush
Past residents include:
William Morris Hughes, Prime Minister of Australia (1915-1923), at ‘Thanett’ 32 Abbotsford Road and ‘Lila’ 90 Abbotsford Rd (1901-03). Hughes is one of the most prominent and controversial politicians in Australian political history. During his term as Prime Minister, he left the Australian Labor Party in 1917 over the issue of conscription forming a new political party.
Don Talbot, Australian Swimming Coach, lived at ‘Broughlea’ 82 Abbotsford Road in the late 1960’s and 70’s.
Benjamin Gelling [1913-15], Mayor of Strathfield at ‘Lynroy’ Abbotsford Rd.
Alban Gee, Manager of the Sydney Meat Company, lived in Abbotsford Rd.
Harold Hastings Deering, a prominent industrialist who founded the company ‘Hastings Deering’ lived at 79 Abbotsford Rd until his death in 1965.
John J Shipley, spice merchant, built and owned ‘Florenceville’ c.1884.
Samuel Thompson, built and lived at ‘Rothsay’ 72-76 Abbotsford Rd. Thompson was a former stockbroker. His brother Thomas lived at ‘Malvern’ The Boulevarde Strathfield.