by Cathy Jones (2022)
‘Libertos’ 53 Redmyre Road Strathfield is a single storey face brick Federation Queen Anne style house, which is located on the ‘King Estate’. This estate includes land bounded by Ardittos Lane to the north, Elva Street to the east, Redmyre Road to the south and Homebush Road to the west. The land was purchased by Robert Joshua King and Mary Ann Balmain, wife of surveyor and Strathfield Council Town Clerk John Hope Balmain, in 1903. Prior to this time, it was largely considered unusable due to the presence of a watercourse and creek (which is now a Sydney Water closed stormwater conduit) from Powell’s Creek. King and Balmain subdivided the two allotments into 66 feet wide blocks fronting Redmyre Road and The Avenue (later Churchill Avenue), a new street to link Elva Street and Homebush Road. The land was then auctioned as the ‘King Estate’.
The land was gradually taken up with the last allotments sold in 1914. Many of the sales did not correspond with the original subdivisions, a number of purchasers preferring narrower frontages. A covenant was placed on most sales requiring ‘one main building only on the said land and such building shall be a double fronted…and be built of brick and/stone with roof of slates and/or tiles and shall not cost less than £300”.
53 Redmyre Road Strathfield is located on part of Lot 49. This lot was purchased from King and Balmain by Sarah Dodson, wife of builder John Dodson. This house was built in 1909 by John Dodson. Dodson rented the house for a short period to Walter Cook, who named the house ‘Quepollie’.
In June 1911, ownership changed to Thomas Brittain (d.1933), a photographer, and his wife Eliza (1861-1934). Britten named the house ‘Libertos’. Brittain pursued a career as a photographer in Johannesburg, South Africa, where he died in 1933. Eliza Brittain lived with her son Issac Vivian Brittain, and daughter Florence until her death in 1934. In July 1938 ownership transferred under Eliza Britain’s will to her son Vivian Brittain, a civil servant.
The house remained in the ownership of the Brittain family until 1957 when it was sold to Clement Fisher Jeffes, an electrician.
Department of the Valuer General NSW – Valuation List – Valuation District of Strathfield 1924, 1930 and 1960
Family Notices” The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW : 1931 – 1954) 22 December 1934: 6. Web. 13 Nov 2022 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article246992689>.
Fox & Associates, Strathfield Heritage Study, 1986
Sands Directory for Sydney and Suburbs 1900-1932
Strathfield Council Notices of Land Transfer (1927-1960s)