By Cathy Jones
‘Badgelly’, 53 Abbotsford Road Homebush was built in 1911 by local builder John Dodson for its owner John Johns. In July 1911, Strathfield Council approved an application by the builder to erect a brick cottage at estimated cost of £650.00. Dodson was a prolific local builder and is responsible for a number of federation styled residential properties in Redmyre Road, Abbotsford Road and Churchill Avenue Strathfield.
The first owner John Johns was a bootmaker with city premises which traded as Thomas Johns at 75 Pitt Street Sydney. The Johns family specialised in making orthopaedic footwear and the business operated for three generations. The Johns family (including relatives living in Burlington Road Homebush) were prominent in Homebush and appear to have been devout parishioners of the Homebush Methodist Church. There are a number of references to the Johns family in the interior of this Church such as inscriptions, stained glass windows and tablets. While owned by Johns, the house was known as ‘Glenmavis’, a name Johns transferred to 59-61 Abbotsford Road Homebush when he moved house.
About 1922, ownership of the house transferred to Frederick Moore, a grazier. Moore renamed the house ‘Badgelly’, the name of his estate in Campbelltown (now the site of St Gregorys Catholic College).
Moore was the son of E. L. Moore, of Badgelly, Campbelltown. Moore was educated at the King’s School, Parramatta, and a student at the Sydney University. He was also President of the Campbelltown Agricultural, Horticultural, and Industry Society and served as Mayor of Campbelltown from 1901 to 1919. As described in an article in the Macarthur Chronicle in 2013:
‘Elected in 1901, Moore — who lived at his hilltop Badgally mansion, now the site of St Gregory’s College — was our first great mayor. In two long administrations totalling 13 years he guided our town through the Federation period and into the horrors of World War I. Eloquent, wealthy and popular in local sporting, rural and militia circles, he brought stability to a mayoralty that had changed hands 16 times since 1882. The constant tributes he received were gushing and, as the owner of the first car in Campbelltown, he would meet returning Diggers from the war at the railway and chauffer them home past cheering crowds. But in 1919 it all went sour. Complaints grew about the poor state of local roads and services, often neglected in the interests of “the war effort”, and Moore was held to blame by a new generation of rather blunt young councillors. Offended by their ungentlemanly comments, he resigned — a bitter end to a long, successful career.’
By 1954, ownership of ‘Badgelly’ transferred to John Clement Schreerer.
Commonwealth Electoral Rolls, Division of Reid, 1926 and 1939
Department of Valuer-General, Valuation Lists – Municipality of Strathfield
Fox & Associates, Strathfield Heritage Study, 1986
McGill, J, 2013, ‘Campbelltown’s Mayors – the Good, the Bad and the Ugly’, MacArthur Chronicle, https://www.macarthuradvertiser.com.au/story/1813097/campbelltowns-mayors-the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly/?cs=1809
In and Around Campbelltown. (1905, April 12). Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1870 – 1907), p. 28. Retrieved July 14, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71501065
NSW Electoral Rolls, 1917, Division of Nepean, sub-division of Homebush
Sands Sydney and Suburban Directory – Strahfield Muncipality – 1914-1932
Strathfield Council Meeting Minutes 1911
Strathfield Council Notice of Land Transfers
Strathfield Council Valuation Lists
Wise Post Office Directory 1936