By Cathy Jones
‘Florenceville’ 44 Abbotsford Road Homebush is located on part Lot 9, Section 8 of the ‘Village of Homebush Estate’, a 1878 subdivision of the larger Underwood Estate. ‘Florenceville’ is a rare example of a Victorian terrace style house in the Strathfield district. The house was built c.1883 and is one of the first houses built in Abbotsford Road Homebush.
This house was originally known as ‘Florenceville’ and was built c.1883 for John James Shipley (d.1927). Shipley was born in Greenwich, Kent and arrived in Sydney in 1857. He established one of the first spice and coffee mills in New South Wales at Darling Harbour, known as Shipley Mills, in the late 1800s. He was well known in Masonic circles and secretary of Masonic Lodge ‘Kilwinning’. He was an Alderman on Concord Council for 18 years and served as Mayor on two occasions. Shipley Avenue in Concord is named for him.
By 1889, the house was owned by Mrs Annie Hughes Plaice Dickson, wife of Joseph Dickson. The house was renamed ‘The Laurels’. Joseph Dickson died in 1900 and Mrs Dickson in 1913. By 1917, the house was sold to Alfred Genge
By 1924, the house was owned by Eric Roland Shields, a police constable. The house was sold to John Hessel Fell, a merchant in 1930, but in 1932, the mortgage was taken over by Eric Shields. A later owner from the 1940’s to 1960’s was Marguerite Hudson.
‘Florenceville’ is a local heritage item on Strathfield Council’s Local Environment Plan. The heritage inventory sheet describes the house as:
A two storey, rendered brick, Victorian Italianate terrace. Elements include a central parapet arch, triple light arched window with rendered labels and pilasters, decorative wall brackets and fanlight. The first floor balcony features an ogee corrugated iron roof, cast iron valance and balustrade and French doors. This terrace is well maintained and is of local significance. This type of late nineteenth century housing is rare in Strathfield, as the large suburban allotments encouraged the development of suburban villas rather than terrace housing which was more typical of inner city areas. [Fox & Associates, Strathfield Heritage Study, 1986].
Department of the Valuer General NSW – Valuation List – Valuation District of Strathfield
Mr J J Shipley, Sydney Morning Herald Monday, 6 June 1927, page 3
Family Notices (Death Annie Dickson), (1913, September 8). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954), p. 7. Retrieved August 22, 2020, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article15448298
Fox & Associates, Strathfield Heritage Study, 1986
Strathfield Council Building Register
Strathfield Council, Meeting Minutes