By Cathy Jones
’Ethelstone’ 60 Broughton Road was constructed as a residence for Thomas Dickson and his wife Grace in 1892. ‘Ethelstone’ is a large Victorian Italianate home prominently situated on the corner of Broughton Road and Meredith Street Homebush.
The land, Lot 1, on which ‘Ethelstone’ was built was sold to Dickson by architect Charles Slatyer, whose family lived on the adjoining lot in a house called ‘Ridgemont’ (located on Lot 3). It is not known whether Slatyer was the architect of this house. Slatyer sold another lot facing Broughton Road (Lot 2) to Mary Corben, the mother of Dickson’s wife Grace, who built the house ‘Jesmont’.
Dickson was a City based solicitor. He was born 28 October 1849, the son of Joseph Dickson [1803-1891], manufacturer of ‘Dicksons Soap and Candles’. Joseph Dickson was an Alderman on the first Waverly Council, in 1859 and first raised the matter of establishing a cemetery at Waverley. Dickson Park at Bondi is named for this family. Two of Joseph’s sons, Stephen and Thomas, also served as Alderman and Mayor on Waverley Council in the 1880’s.
Dickson served on Strathfield Council as an Alderman from 1898 to 1910 and as Mayor in 1902-03. Dickson died at his home ‘Ethelstone’ on 21 July 1919. He is buried in the Presbyterian section of Rookwood Cemetery. Dickson St Strathfield was named after Thomas Dickson.
Grace Dickson sold ‘Ethelstone’ in 1923 to the Trustees of the Catholic Church in the names of Archbishops Kelly and Sheehan. The house was renamed ‘Jurvena’ and became the home of Archbishop Michael Sheehan until July 1937.
The Church transferred ownership to the Dominican Sisters for use as St Lucy’s School for the Blind, which opened 2 May 1938. Modifications were made to the building to suit its use as a school. The adjacent house ‘Jesmont’ at 48 Broughton Rd was purchased by the Dominican Sisters in October 1941 to provide additional classrooms and space. In 1945 St Lucy’s was granted permission to build a new classroom to link the two houses and to extend the corner house on Lot 1. The work was completed in 1947 and design attributed to Mr Fowell, which is likely the architect Joseph Fowell [1891-1970].
In 1950, the house ‘Ridgemont’ was purchased by the Sisters with a view to consolidating their activities. Instead, they relocated to Wahroonga, which was near the Christian Brother’s School for the Blind. St Lucy’s moved to Wahroonga in December 1959 and Lots 1, 2, & 3 of the Homebush site were transferred to the Society of St Paul at cost of £25,000.
Biographical Information on Thomas Dickson provided by Bruce Dickson [descendent] December 2003.
Gorman, M., The Life and Work of Charles H. Slatyer FIA, Thesis for BArch, UNSW, 1983
John Graham & Associates, ‘Jurvena’ Heritage Assessment, July 2003
Jones, C. ‘Ethelstone’, SDHS Vol.26 No.2, February 2003
Waverley Cemetery – a walk through history no. 2, Waverley Council Library at http://www.waverley.nsw.gov.au/library
When Catholics (1938, June 30). Catholic Freeman’s Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1932 – 1942), p. 6. Retrieved July 11, 2021, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article146425318