By Cathy Jones
16 Meredith Street Homebush is located within the site of various 1793 land grants offered to a group of free settlers, including Frederick Meredith, in an area known as Liberty Plains by the NSW Colonial Government anxious to secure a 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. The land became known as the ‘Underwood Estate’. In 1878, 306 acres of the Underwood Estate was subdivided for residential development 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 Homebush Road.
16 Meredith Street was built in c.1889-1890. The land occupied by the houses located at 16 to 24 Meredith Street Homebush were owned in 1889 by John Waugh, a local builder. Waugh is likely to have built and developed the houses with the intention to on-sell or rent the properties. Waugh did not reside in any of these residences and all were leased for short periods, before being sold. From 1890-1894, Waugh owned the house but leased it to R V Saddington.
By 1894, the house was owned by James Simpson Perry, a Trust Estate and Finance Agent. In 1889, Perry married Janet Arnott (1867-1948), daughter of Arnotts Biscuit founder William Arnott. The Perry’s lived at 16 Meredith Street until c.1899 and moved to ‘Waratah’ 37 Homebush Road Strathfield in 1899. Perry leased ‘Tregear’ was then leased to a number of successive tenants.
By 1924, the house was owned by Rupert Cameron Martin, manager of Hallams Ltd, chemists. The house was renamed ‘Kenilworth’ at this time. Martin died in 1935 but the house was held by his estate for many years. C.1960, ownership transferred to Raymond and Samira Hallit.
Fox & Associates, Strathfield Heritage Study, 1986
Mr R C Martin. 1935, July 1. Sydney Morning Herald, p12
Sands Sydney Directory, published by John Sands [1889-1932]
Strathfield Council Building Registers
Strathfield Council Valuation Lists 1888, 1889, 1890, 1894, 1896, 1903, 1904, 1905, 1907, 1914, 1917, 1939, 1960