By Cathy Jones
90 Abbotsford Road was built c.1882 for auctioneer William E Richards. Richards was the manager of auctioneers, stock and station agents, Hill Clark & Co, who were located at the Homebush Stockyards on Parramatta Rd Homebush (now Sydney Markets).
From 1901 to 1903, this house then known as ‘Lila’ was leased to William Morris Hughes, MHR. Hughes was elected to the first Australian parliament following Federation. He served in the House of Representatives until his death in 1952. He had previously served in the NSW Parliament (1894-1901) as a member of the Legislative Assembly. From 1899 to 1901, he resided at ‘Thanett’ 32 Abbotsford Road Homebush and moved to ‘Lila’ 90 Abbotsford Road in 1901. At the time he first resided in Homebush, Hughes was member of the NSW Parliament. He was represented the electorate of Lang from 1894 to 1901. He contested the electorate of West Sydney in 1901, the first Commonwealth election in 1901 after Federation, and was elected to the Federal Parliament. As the Federal Parliament was located in Melbourne until 1927, Hughes regularly travelled to Melbourne leaving his family in Sydney. He used the time to study for his law degree and was admitted as a barrister in 1903. The Hughes family appear to have left Homebush around this time, though Hughes was recorded as visiting Homebush many times in later years addressing meetings in support of conscription at Homebush in 1917 and post-WWI attending ANZAC Day and events organised by the RSL for returned servicemen in Homebush.
Hughes eventually led the federal Australian Labor Party, after the resignation of Andrew Fisher in 1915 and served as Prime Minister from 1915-23. While Prime Minister during the First World War, he became known as the ‘Little Digger’ and was an advocate for compulsory military service. His political career was tumultuous. He was expelled from the Labor Party after the second loss of the conscription referendum in 1917 but he retained his position as Prime Minister with support from opposition parties until 1923. During his long parliamentary career he representing four different parties and was expelled from three of these parties.
Hill & Clark were recorded as the owners of the house and the house was generally tenanted until its sale c.1920 to Andrew Charles Miller, a builder, who changed the name of the house to ‘Ettalong’. In 1921, Miller received building approval for alterations to the house which included new verandahs, bathroom, garage, roughcast render and redecoration of the interiors. In 1946, Miller sold the house to Albert William Robertson, a merchant for £1450. It was again sold in 1947 for £1450 to Maxwell Alwyn Keddie, a bank officer and his wife Emma Margaret. According to Mrs Keddie, the slate roof was replaced with tiles, the only material they could obtain with post war shortages.
Department of the Valuer General NSW – Valuation List – Valuation District of Strathfield
Fox & Associates, Strathfield Heritage Study, 1986
Notice of Land Transfers under Local Government Act 1919
Sands Sydney Directory
Strathfield Council Valuation Lists