By Cathy Jones (2022)
Burlington Road Homebush is situated on land originally granted in 1793 by the NSW Colonial Government to a group of free settlers, including Frederick Meredith, Edward Powell and Thomas Rose, in an area known as Liberty Plains. The intention of the land grants was to establish farms and food supply for the growing colony. The land proved difficult to farm and the settlers abandoned farming activity and moved from their land. Eventually, this land and other land located in the current day Homebush West and Homebush (both sides of the railway line) came under the ownership of James Underwood, Edward Powell’s son-in-law. The land became known as the ‘Underwood Estate’.
By 1878 when the section of the ‘Underwood Estate’ known as the ‘Village of Homebush’ was subdivided, residential development of the suburbs of Strathfield (then Redmire) had already commenced. The large ‘Redmire Estate’ commenced residential subdivision in 1867 and by the late 1870s, large homes for wealthy merchants and businessmen were being built in Strathfield. In 1877, a rail halt and later a station was established at Redmire.
A railway halt and later a station was established at Homebush in 1855, which was intended to service the Homebush Racecourse, sited north of the current railway line. There is little evidence of development on the south side of the Homebush Railway until the development of the ‘Village of Homebush’ estate from 1878 onwards.
‘The Village of Homebush’ estate is a section, measuring 306 acres, of the ‘Underwood Estate’ located south of the railway. The land was purchased by a group, intending to subdivide the land for residential development and included: William George Pennington, William Henry Mackenzie Snr, John Piper Mackenzie, Robert John King, and Charles Wye Weekes. The ‘Village of Homebush’ subdivision created Burlington Rd, Beresford Road, Abbotsford Rd, Bridge St, Coventry Rd, Meredith St, Homebush Crescent and Bellevue Street. A section of Coventry Road has been renamed Mackenzie Street. Bellevue Street has been renamed Homebush Road and Homebush Crescent has been renamed The Crescent.
The section of Burlington Road, between Meredith Street and Bridge Road, is located on Sections 11 and 12 of the ‘Village of Homebush’ Estate. Residential development commenced c.1880 in this section of Burlington Road.
‘Claverton’ 99 Burlington Road Homebush is a single storey dark brick interwar style bungalow that was built in 1924. The house features a central verandah with classically influenced posts and windows with timber shutters. The house was built by its first owner Robert Lightfoot, a builder. The approved construction was valued at £850 for a dwelling of 4+ rooms and offices.
Lightfoot (1862-1935) was a prolific builder and based in the Sydney suburb of Auburn for much of his career. He was a member of the first Auburn Council, serving for nearly forty years as an Alderman and elected as Mayor in 1918 and 1919. Lightfoot built ‘scores of cottages’ in the district and built the Auburn Methodist Church, St Philip’s Church of England and the first portion of the Auburn District Hospital. His first wife Ann Smith died in 1927, while they were living in their Homebush residence. He remarried Henrietta Harding in 1933 and they settled in Dee Why where he died in 1935. He was survived by a son, Ross Lightfoot and a daughter.
Following Lightfoot’s death in 1935, the house was transferred (by transmission) to Henry Longbottom, the executor of his estate. In 1948, the house was sold to Ross Alfred Lightfoot, Architect for £1500 who owned it until 1952, when the house was sold to Rob White and Cathie White, master builder and his wife, for £4650.
Department of Valuer-General, Municipality of Strathfield, Valuation Lists 1924, 1927
Land Title Search, NSW Land Titles Office
Notice of Death ‘Ann Lightfoot’ (1927 7 April), Sydney Morning Herald
Mr R Lightfoot (1935 6 August), Sydney Morning Herald, p14
Sands Sydney Directory published until 1932/3 by John Sands
Strathfield Council Building Register Vol. 2