Meredith Street Homebush

By Cathy Jones

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.

Underwood Estate and ‘Village of Homebush’

Village of Homebush Estate Subdivision Map December 1878
Village of Homebush Estate Subdivision Map December 1878

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 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.

There are representative buildings for the various stages of residential development of Meredith Street.  This ranges from the Victorian style residences at ‘Kilwinning’ 7-9 Meredith Street and the row of Victorian cottages built by John Waugh c.1889 at 16-24 Meredith Street.  Federation style homes are represented by ‘Edensor’ 21 Meredith Street and ‘Truro’ at 34-36 Meredith Street.  There is also a series of reasonably intact inter-war houses located on a subdivision of the former house ‘Howglen’ at 37-43 Meredith Street.

Meredith Street takes its name from Frederick Meredith, one of the original 1793 land grantees.  Meredith (1763–1836) arrived in Sydney in January 1788 as part of the First Fleet as a steward on the Scarborough.  He returned to England in 1791.  He then returned to Sydney in January 1793 on the Bellona and received the land grant in Homebush.  Though he left this land, by 1802 he was a private in the Sydney Loyal Association and was a member of Governor Macquarie’s constabulary in 1810.  He received land grants at Punchbowl and Bankstown and worked as a baker.  He died on 23 June 1836 and was buried at St Luke’s, Liverpool.

References

‘Meredith, Frederick (1763–1836)’, People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://peopleaustralia.anu.edu.au/biography/meredith-frederick-29789/text36875, accessed 18 May 2020.

2 comments

  1. Cathy
    I’ve found this reference, via Trove, of an architect calling tenders for the erection of a residence in Meredith Street, Homebush, in 1936.

    https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/17291844

    John Reid & Son was a major Sydney firm who completed the second stage of the Department of Education building in Bridge Street in 1938. The timing of this domestic project corresponds to the building of the the inter-war bungalows on the subdivision of the Howglen estate. My feeling is that the house built was at 43 Meredith Street. It is clearly the most distinctive of the row with its liver-coloured brick work, columns, arches and porte cochère. The current owners appear to be very house proud and extensions to the rear have been sensitively handled. They should be congratulated for their care of this piece of Strathfield Heritage. I notice that you have written that 41 Meredith Street was designed by John Brogan. The State Library has a copy of this book:

    https://trove.nla.gov.au/work/5720981

    and I’ll look at it next time I’m in the The Governor Marie Bashir Reading Room at SLNSW and see if there is a similar plan to the Homebush house. The large eastern verandah has been enclosed, thus taking away its distinctive appearance, but the porte cochère and the exposed beams to the eaves suggest an architect as designer rather than just a speculative builder. Brogan is of course better known for his grand stockbroker Tudor style homes. Given architects of this calibre were involved in the design of this run of houses I trust Strathfield council are looking to list this collection of inter-war houses on the LEP or will they all be soon demolished?

    Cathy, will you post an article on Howglen, and it owners tragic demise, so as to show how grand the high point of the Village of Homebush Estate was in the Victoria Era.
    Scott

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    1. Thanks for the information. I gave no involvement in Councils heritage listings, so I can’t comment on what they are doing or planning. You would need to contact the Heritage advisor regarding potential listings.

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