By Cathy Jones
Albemarle’ 9 Shortland Road Strathfield was built in 1889 as a residence for Thomas MacKenzie (1854-1934) and his wife Marian (née Priddle) ( – 1923). The house is two storey Victorian Italianate style stuccoed house, which was built by Marian Mackenzie’s father, Rev. Charles Frederick Durham Priddle ( -1897), a minister of the Church of England. Priddle served for seven years as curate for St James Church and 35 years as incumbent for St Luke’s Church Liverpool (SMH 1897: 1). Marian Priddle married MacKenzie in 1885 at Liverpool NSW.
The house is located within the 256 acres originally granted as Glebe but regranted in 1841 to Joseph Hyde Potts. Ownership of the land was held by Potts’ descendants until the 1880s. The land on which ‘Albemarle’ was built was transferred to W H Wilkinson and Charles Frederick Durham Priddle in 1889 (Israel 2014).
‘Albermarle’ was constructed in 1889 for Thomas and Marian MacKenzie, on Elsie Street (later renamed Shortland Ave). The house was set on land measuring 1 ½ acres. It has been previously published that the house was owned by MacKenzie (based on searches of rates books and valuation lists which identify MacKenzie as the owner), but according to land titles, the property remained in the ownership of Priddle under his death in 1897 and was then passed to Marian MacKenzie, and on her death in 1923 was transferred to her Priddle relatives, through Thomas MacKenzie retained a right to residency of the house until his death (Israel 2014). However, following Marion Mackenzie’s death, Mackenzie entered into a settlement in 1924 and moved to Neutral Bay where he died in 1934 (Israel 2014).
Thomas Mackenzie was born in Melbourne in 1854, but moved to Sydney with his parents in 1859. He was educated privately and at aged 15 years joined his brother cotton growing in Fiji in c.1869 (Radi 1979). He returned to Sydney in 1874 and went on land on Macquarie River with his brother. Ruined by drought, he went to Queensland in 1883, later to Murrumbidgee (Radi 1979). He moved to Sydney in c.1888 to take control of his father’s business, who was in declining health and subsequently established himself in Sydney as an accountant, auditor and arbitrator (Cyclopedia on NSW 1907: 93). For many years was an auditor with Australian Mutual Provident (AMP) Society (Radi 1979).
Soon after moving to Strathfield in 1889, MacKenzie engaged in local politics. He successfully contested the 1892 Strathfield Council election in the Homebush Ward and was elected an Alderman. Mackenzie served as an Alderman of Strathfield Council from 1892 to 1911 and was elected Mayor of Strathfield from 1898 to 1902 and 1908 to 1911. He was an executive member of Municipal Association of NSW from 1899 to 1911 (Radi 1979).
As a member of the Free Trade Party, MacKenzie was elected to the NSW Parliament as the State Member for Canterbury in the Legislative Assembly from 1901 to 1907. He also served as treasurer of Western Suburbs Cottage Hospital (1904) and the Australian Protestant Defence Association (Cyclopedia on NSW 1907: 93). The street Mackenzie Street Strathfield was formerly called Coventry Rd but renamed after Thomas Mackenzie.
Following Mackenzie’s settlement with the Priddle family in 1924, the land surrounding Albermarle was subdivided creating 7 residential lots. The house ‘Albermarle’ and it’s grounds occupied Lot parts 6 & 7 and ownership transferred to Charles Baron Cordukes, a dealer. The remaining site was described as occupied by a house, tennis court and garage.
Cordukes died in 1939 and the house was transferred to his widow Annie. She sold Lot 7 in 1939, retaining the house on Lot 6. ‘Albermarle’ was sold c.1957 to Mildred Smith, though rates records record ownership in the name of Clive Smith, a college principal (Valuation record 1957). By 1960, ownership transferred to Patrick and Monica Ryan (Valuation record 1960).
Department of the Valuer General NSW – Valuation List – Valuation District of Strathfield
Family Notices (1897, February 27). Death of Rev. Charles Priddle, The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW : 1883 – 1930), p. 1. Retrieved December 5, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article238408293
Israel, C., 2014., Statement of Heritage Impact 9 Shortland Avenue Strathfield.
Jones, C. 2009. ‘Thomas MacKenzie’, Strathfield Heritage.
Mouwle L M, 1978, ‘Pioneer Families of Australia’, 5th Edition, Rigby Ltd.
Radi, Spearitt & Hinton, 1979, Biographical Register of the New South Wales Parliament 1901-1970, ANU Press
Sands Sydney and Suburban Directory
Strathfield Council meeting minutes
Mr T F H MacKenzie. (1934, March 22). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954), p. 10. Retrieved June 14, 2021, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article17067208
“Thomas Mackenzie”, 1907, Cyclopedia of NSW