By Cathy Jones
Abbotsford Road is built on the ‘Village of Homebush’ Estate, a 1878 subdivision of the Underwood Estate. 8 and 10 Abbotsford Road are built on the site of the former house ‘Cambria’. ‘Cambria’ was built on Lots 15 and 16, Section 4 of the ‘Village of Homebush’ subdivision.
Cooyal’ 8 Abbotsford Road is built on Lot A of land formerly occupied by the house ‘Cambria’, which was located on Lots 15 and 16. Frank Hiriam Gee (1884-1952) and his wife Jessie (1887-1962) owned the house ‘Cambria’, which was subdivided into Lots A and B (now 8 and 10 Abbotsford Road). The house ‘Cambria’ appeared to be demolished and two new houses were built in 1940-1941. The Gee’s retained Lot A and sold Lot B. Gee was the son of Homebush resident Alban Gee (d.1917), Manager Sydney Meat Preserving Company from 1872 to 1917 and former Mayor of Lidcombe and Granville. His son Frank Gee was a wool merchant.
‘Cooyal’ was built in 1941 on Lot A of the subdivision of Lots 15 and 16. Frank Gee received building approval in November 1940 to build a brick dwelling of eight rooms. The house was named ‘Cooyal’ was built at an estimated cost of £2500. A tender notice identifying the architect was published in ‘Construction’ in October 1940 “Homebush—Erection, of 2-storey residence in Abbotsford Road.—R. S. Hamilton, 133 Pitt St., Sydney”.
According to the Caroline Simpson Library, the architect Robert Saunderson Hamilton (1897-1972) studied architecture at Sydney Technical College in the early 1920s, following his return from service in the AIF abroad. According to a brief profile published in the architectural journal ‘Decoration and Glass’ in December 1936 : ‘Mr Hamilton has built up a comprehensive practice, his work having embraced all classes of domestic buildings, shops, stores, flats and industrial structures. Among the most recent are Messrs. Woolworths Ltd.’s bulk store at Pyrmont; large blocks of flats at Edgecliff and Wollstonecraft, the IOOF Building in Clarence Street, Sydney, and a large business and office block at Wollongong.’
By 1948, ‘Cooyal’ was sold to Francis Gumbly, master builder, who remained the owner until the 1960s.
Strathfield Council Building Register 1940
Department of the Valuer General NSW – Valuation List – Valuation District of Strathfield
Notice of Land Transfer under Local Government Act 1919
TENDERS CALLED (1940, October 16). Construction (Sydney, NSW : 1938 – 1954), p. 6. Retrieved October 17, 2021, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article222859659