By Cathy Jones
The house ‘Konubia’ 40 Beresford Road was built in 1909-1910 for its owner Mrs Beatrice Swales. ‘Konubia’ is a substantial Queen Anne style federation house, featuring decorative chimneys, roof, leadlight windows and doors and detailed timberwork.
The land on which the house is built had previously been owned by Camden Congregational College, who intended to build a college on this site. Following the 1890s Depression, the plans were withdrawn and the College proceeded with subdivision and sale of the land. This land includes properties on Albert Road (north-side), Homebush Rd and Beresford Road (south side), which are primarily Federation in style.
Mrs Swales (nee Barclay) was born in Scotland in 1825 and died at ‘Konubia’ in 1915. She married James Swales (1825-1904) and they met with some success on the goldfields before establishing a pastoral estate called ‘Woodlands’ in 1875 in the Uralla district. This fine pastoral property was held by James Swales (1825-1904) until his death in 1904 and then by Mrs. Swales, until her son James Swales (1860-1925) became the proprietor in 1910.
Mrs Swales and her unmarried daughter Edith moved to Homebush in 1910 when the house ‘Konubia’ was built. The Swales family were devout Methodists. Edith continued to live at ‘Konubia’ after her mother’s death in 1915. Ownership appears to have been held in her mother’s estate. In the 1930s, Edith Swales moved to “Cariowrie,” Uralla to be closer to other members of her family where she died in 1950.
The Swales family were intermarried with members of the Vickery family, who were the descendants of Ebenezer Vickery MLC living in Strathfield and Homebush in the early twentieth century which included Joseph Vickery (1857-1930) of ‘Strathfield House’, Elizabeth Vickery Newman (1860-1942) of ‘Tiptree’, George Begg Vickery (1866-1938) of ‘Inveresk’ Coventry Road Homebush and Amy Alfreda Vickery (1868-1942) of ’Lauriston’ The Boulevarde. Two of Joseph Vickery’s children, John Alan Vickery (1895-1973) and Enid Queenie Vickery (1897-1983) married into the Swales family. John Alan Vickery married Margaret Josephine Swales (1904-2004), grandaughter of Beatrice Swales and Enid Vickery (1897-1983) married Alan Cleghorn Swales (1897-1945), grandson of Beatrice Swales. Both the Swales and Vickery families were devout members of the Methodist Church. John and Margaret Vickery later lived at ‘Newinga’ 25 Agnes Street Strathfield, while Enid and Alan Swales lived in Strathfield but later moved to ‘Woodlands’ in Uralla.
In 1938, ‘Konubia’ was offered for sale. The house was described in the Sydney Morning Herald (19/3/1928 page 29) as:
‘Konubia’ 32 Beresford Road. In a desirable residential area, tree-planted street A SUBSTANTIAL DOUBLE-FRONTED COTTAGE OF BRICK, on stone foundation, tuckpointed, French tile roof, having tiled verandah in front and along part of side, and containing 10 COMMODIOUS ROOMS, kitchen, laundy, pantry, bathroom, rear verandah, small detached workshop. All usual conveniences. The grounds are laid out in lawns, gardens, fruit trees. LAND 121 ft 7 ¾ x 218ft.
In 1938, ‘Konubia’ was transferred from the estate of late Beatrice Swales to Alan Daniel Holtorf, contractor, 1 The Crescent Homebush for £1500. However, by June 1939, Holtorf transferred the house to Mrs Alice Maud Bawtree, a widow, for £1900. In 1942, the house was transferred from Mrs Bawtree to Septimus Jonas, a printer for £1900.
Department of Valuer-General, Valuation Lists, Municipality of Strathfield
Advertising (1938, March 31). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954), p. 3. Retrieved November 1, 2021, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article27978443
THE LATE MRS. SWALES. (1915, June 5). The Methodist (Sydney, NSW : 1892 – 1954), p. 9. Retrieved November 1, 2021, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article155446025
OBITUARY (1950, April 6). The Uralla Times (NSW : 1923 – 1954), p. 4. Retrieved November 1, 2021, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article175347832
OBITUARY (1945, December 24). The Armidale Express and New England General Advertiser (NSW : 1856 – 1861; 1863 – 1889; 1891 – 1954), p. 7. Retrieved November 3, 2021, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article194210331
Wedding (1937, January 27). The Inverell Times (NSW : 1899 – 1907, 1909 – 1954), p. 4. Retrieved November 3, 2021, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article185369948
Strathfield Council Valuation Lists