By Cathy Jones
Land lots between Homebush Road and Chalmers Road on the south side was created by the subdivision c.1880 of the Bushy Hill Estate. ‘Wirrulda’ is one of the oldest surviving houses on this estate.
‘Wirrulda’, 102 Redmyre Road Strathfield was built c.1887 for Frederick Priddle, a clerk. Priddle (1858-1942) was owner of the house until c.1907. Priddle’s sister married Thomas Mackenzie MLA and former Mayor and Alderman of Strathfield. Electoral rolls record that Frederick and his brother Charles, a banker, lived with their families In Redmyre Road. Charles Priddle lived at ‘Elswick’, Redmyre Road Strathfield which has since been demolished.
Around 1907 the house was sold to Leonard Rossell (d.1938), manager of the Homebush Flour Mills in Beresford Road Homebush (formerly Chicken’s Flour Mills and later Jackett’s Flour Mills). Rossell was a well known figure in the flour trade. He was born in South Australia and moved to Victoria, working in the flour milling and farming industries. He joined the staff of John Darling and Co, Ltd. flour millers and wheat merchants, in 1893, and represented that firm in the west coast districts of Tasmania. He came to Sydney in the late 1890s and was on staff of Brunton and Co, Ltd., flour millers, then moved to the Great Western Milling Company. Ltd, at Millthorpe and became the managing director of the company, which established a mill in Sydney. Rossell took the position of manager of Homebush Flour Mills, Ltd and in 1914, he was a member of the Wheat Acquisition Board. Later, when the compulsory pool for the handling of wheat was formed, he was appointed honorary adviser to the Holman Government.
Mr. Rossell was an active member of the Flour Millowners Association of New South Wales and of the grain section of the Sydney Chamber of Commerce. He acquired properties in the Canowindra district, and engaged in wheatgrowing and sheep farming.
In July 1928, the house was sold to Dr Frederick Maguire, medical practitioner, for the amount of £4235. Frederick Arthur Macguire (1888-1953) was one of Australia’s most eminent surgeons commanding the 1st Field Ambulance in France and serving as Assistant Director of Medical Services during World War 1 and Director-General of Army Medical Services during World War II, where he received the rank of Major-General.
In July 1951, Macguire sold the property to Robert Alexander Rooney, company director for £9750, who called the house ‘Sunny Ridge’. In 1959, rear grounds of this property were subdivided into three lots: A, B and C. Lots A & C became the ‘battle-axe’ lots at 100 and 104 Redmyre Road. ‘Wirrulda’ or ‘Sunny Ridge’ is located on Lot B.
Department of Valuer-General, Valuation Lists, Municipality of Strathfield
‘Death of Mr Leonard Rossell’, Sydney Morning Herald, Friday 29 April 1938, page 7
Fox & Associates, Strathfield Heritage Study, 1986
NSW Electoral Rolls, Electorate of Parkes (Strathfield Polling Place), 1903
NSW Electoral Rolls, Subdivision of Nepean, 1909
Sands Sydney and Suburban Directory 1881-1932
‘Surgeon Dies’ (Frederick Macguire), Sydney Morning Herald, 11 June 1953
‘Frederick Macguire’, Who’s Who in Australia
Wise’s Post Office Directory for Strathfield 1908, 1936