By Cathy Jones (2021, updated 2023)
‘Edensor’ 19-21 Meredith Street is a large two storey Federation brick house. The house is listed as a heritage item on the Strathfield Local Environmental Plan 2012 and described as:
“Two storey asymmetrical Federation house constructed of brick with a projecting gable that features a bay window with verandahs to both floors. The verandah has a timber balustrade, columns and balustraded valance. The tile roof features gable forms, however, the tiles are not original and this detracts from the overall appearance of the building. A scalloped timber picket fence with a hedge behind. Palm trees are located behind the open carport on the northern side of the lot”.
Meredith Street Homebush is located within the site of various 1793 land grants offered to a group of free settlers in an area known as Liberty Plains by the NSW Colonial Government anxious to secure a food supply for the growing colony. Land was granted to Frederick Meredith 60 acres dated 28th May 1793, Thomas Rose 70 acres originally granted on 10 May 1798, Simeon Lord granted 160 acres dated 9 August 1803 and Edward Powell 19 acres dated 1 January 1810. 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’. In 1878, 306 acres of the Underwood Estate was subdivided into 15 sections and marketed as ‘Village of Homebush’. This subdivision created Burlington Rd, Beresford Road, Abbotsford Rd, Bridge St, Coventry Rd, Meredith St, Homebush Crescent (later The Crescent) and Bellevue Street (later Homebush Road).
‘Edensor’ is built on Section 13 of the Village of Homebush Estate, which was offered for sale in late 1878. By 1906, John Peate Duguid acquired land to build a house. The Strathfield Council Rates Book of 1905-1906 records “Duguid, House, Lots 22 and 23, Section 13’ on Meredith Street west. This was in pencil and would have been added after the preparation of rates assessments in early 1905, which indicates the construction of the house occurred late 1905 or early 1906. The likely architect is Joseph Alexander Kethel. Kethel let a contract to builder C W Roper for construction of a villa residence in Homebush in August 1905. Kethel is also the architect of ‘Yambah’, 28 Coventry Road Strathfield, the home of Duguid’s sister, Mary. The house first appears in the Sands Directory for Strathfield in 1907 named ‘Dunkeld’ and occupied by John Duguid.
John Peate Duguid (1875-1961) was the son of John Kendall Duguid and Jessie (nee Scott) Duguid. Duguid worked for nine years in the New Zealand Loan and Mercantile Agency Company, Limited before being admitted in 1901 as a partner in the family business Duguid & Co, Bridge Street Sydney, pastoral land and shipping agents. He also was noted tennis player. In 1903, he married Lily Watson and shortly afterwards, established residency in the Strathfield area. In 1905, he was noted as an occupant of ‘Serenata’ in Albert Road Strathfield in 1905 Sands Directory. In 1906, Duguid’s sister Mary Duguid (1877-1947) built ‘Yambah’ 28 Coventry Road Homebush. ‘Yambah’ is located nearby on Coventry Road near the intersection with Meredith Street. While John Peate Duguid left Homebush around 1911, his sister resided at ‘Yambah’ until her death in 1947.
By 1911, ownership of ‘Dunkeld’ transferred to James Pearce (1857-1916). Pearce was a native of Cornwall, England, and migrated to Australia as a very young man. He entered the flour industry as a miller and became manager of the Great Western Flour Mills. Pearce moved to Strathfield as the proprietor of the Strathfield Flour Mills. Pearce died in 1916 and the house transferred to his widow, Mrs Mary Pearce. Mrs Pearce died in 1925.
By 1925, ownership of the house transferred to Mrs Margaret Alice Hogan (nee McElroy), wife of Samuel Henry Hogan (d.1941), a contractor. Mrs Hogan lived at ‘Dunkeld’ until her death in 1945.
By 1945, the house was owned by William Stuart Miller, a factory manager and his wife Mildred Alice Miller, who divided the house into two flats. The house was renumbered in 1958 from 9 Meredith Street to 19-21 Meredith Street.
In 1968, Dr Bruce Smith and his wife Pam bought the house and returned it to a single house. Pam Smith was a gift retailer with stores in Chatswood, Lane Cove and Balmain and her husband, Bruce Smith (1925-2000) was a physician. Smith was a graduate of University of Sydney and St Andrews College. He had a two years residency at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (RPAH), then two years pathology in the Fairfax Institute at RPAH, followed by general practice at Fairfield. As a busy GP he gained Membership of the RACP in 1956. He subsequently commenced consultant practice in the western suburbs of Sydney for the next 40 years. He had honorary appointments and beds at Liverpool, Fairfield and Blacktown Hospitals and at St Joseph’s Hospital, Auburn and also took up an associate cardiologist’s position at The Hallstrom Institute, RPAH, where he conducted an outpatient session and attended both thoracic and cardiac clinical meetings weekly for some 30 years.
In 1980, the house was sold for $250,000 to solicitor Ian Gordon and his wife Audrey.
In 1993, the house ‘Clifeden’ 17 Meredith Street was acquired by the new owners of ‘Edensor’ and demolished to build a tennis court. 17 Meredith Street was later sold as a separate block of land.
“Advertising” The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954) 5 October 1878: 14. Web. 6 Apr 2023 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article13417820>.
Contracts Let (1905, August 15), Sydney Morning Herald, p11
Department of the Valuer General NSW – Valuation List – Valuation District of Strathfield
Fox & Associates (1986), ‘Edensor’, Heritage Inventory Sheet, Strathfield Heritage Study
Harvey, H P B, (2018 updated) Bruce Smith MB BS Syd, MRACP, FRACP, Biography https://www.racp.edu.au/about/our-heritage/college-roll/college-roll-bio/smith-bruce-john
‘I John Kendall Duguid’ (1901, October 18), NSW Government Gazette
Late Jas. Pearce (1929, January 23), Sydney Mail, page 3
NSW Index to Deceased Estate Files, Jessie Mary Duguid (date of grant 18/2/1948)
Obituary (1916, June 7), The Leader (Orange, NSW : 1899 – 1945), page 5
Strathfield Council, Minutes of Council Meetings
Strathfield Council Rates Book 1905-1906, 1906-1907
Sands Sydney and Suburban Directory, Municipality of Strathfield 1905, 1907-1932
 Fox & Associates (1986), ‘Edensor’, Heritage Inventory Sheet, Strathfield Heritage Study
 Strathfield Council Rates Book 1905-1906
 Contracts Let (1905, August 15), Sydney Morning Herald, p11
 Sands Directory for Strathfield 1907
 ‘I John Kendall Duguid’ (1901, October 18), NSW Government Gazette
 NSW Pioneer Index – Federation Series 1889-1918
 Sands Directory for Strathfield 1905
 NSW Index to Deceased Estate Files, Jessie Mary Duguid (date of grant 18/2/1948)
 Leader 1916: 5.
 Late Jas. Pearce (1929, January 23), Sydney Mail