Baden House 97 The Boulevarde. Photo Cathy Jones 2004

‘Elaine’ 95-97 The Boulevarde Strathfield

By Cathy Jones

‘Elaine’, 95-97 The Boulevarde Strathfield  is located on the 1880 subdivision of the Woodgreen Estate, itself a subdivision of the 1867 Redmire Estate.  Over its history, the house has had a number of names including ‘Baden House’, ‘Koonya’ and ‘Elaine’.

‘Elaine’ was built in 1894.  John Butterworth, a local builder, is recorded as the land owner in 1894 and it is likely he was responsible for the construction.  In May 1894, Butterworth offered the house for sale, however the house was not sold until 1895.  The house first appears in the Sands Directory in 1895 with Butterworth as the occupant.

In 1895, the house was sold to Mrs Annie Small, wife of hotelier William Small, and daughter of William Beaumont of ’Presteign’ The Boulevarde Strathfield. William Small was the managing director of the famed Hotel Metropole in Sydney.  The Small family lived at ‘Glencona’ 10 Wakeford Road Strathfield until 1899.  The Small family were recorded as occupying this house, then known as ‘Elaine’ periodically but it was often leased during their ownership.  The Sands Directory records the following occupants: 1896 J W Gillespie; 1897-98 Mrs A B Briggs ‘Elaine’; 1899-1900 Mrs B Palmer ‘Oikas’; 1901-03 W P Small ‘Elaine’; 1904 Eugene Curtin; 1905 William Small ‘Elaine’; 1906 Charles Schrader ‘Elaine’ and 1907-11 Lawrence Myles ‘Elaine’.

From 1911 to 1925, the house was owned by engineer George Peacock Innes. During Innes’s ownership the house name changed to ‘Koonya’. Innes is considered a pioneer of the Motor Industry in Australia. He was born in Tasmania and moved to Sydney in 1890 to work for Smith and Timms the railway contractors, who at the time were building the line from Nyngan to Cobar. Following the end of this work, in 1897 he started the bicycle business Mills and Innes (with brother-in-law Robert Mills) in Bathurst Street Sydney. By 1902, the business had vastly expanded and traded in motor cars, motor cycles, motor tricycles and quadricycles as well as bicycles and oil engines. At this time, motor vehicles were in their infancy with only about twenty cars in Sydney.

In 1905, Innes started his own business Geo. Innes & Co in Bathurst St Sydney. Innes’s motorcar customers had included several prominent Sydney businessmen but in particular motor car enthusiasts John Maclean Arnott and Harold Arnott of the Arnott Biscuit Company at Homebush NSW. Later Innes became the first agent in Sydney for the Humber and Vauxhall cars, carrying on in Castlereagh street until 1915.  Innes was one of the first members of the Royal Automobile Club.  Among his chief mourners at his funeral in 1936 was Mr W M Small, the grandson of William and Annie Small, the previous owners of ‘Elaine’.

Ownership changed around 1924 to businessman and timber merchant Ernest White OBE MC (Order of British Empire and Military Cross).  He renamed the house ‘Baden House’.  White was a prominent businessmen and managing director of the timber merchants R J White and Co, suppliers of timber for large constructions such as bridges, wharves etc and poles for electric light and power transmission.  The Strathfield South shopping centre at the crossways of Homebush Road and Liverpool Road was locally known as ‘White’s Corner’, a reference to White’s timber yard and shops which were located there.

White had a number of interests including directorship of RS Lamb and Co Ltd, Shipping and General Merchants, the ‘Kalingo’ Steamship Company’ and Hotel Ettalong  Ltd.  He owned the racehorse ‘Winalot’ winner of Rosehill Guineas, 2nd in Derby and Craven Plate 1928 and winner of Warwick Farm Autumn Cup, St Leger and Sydney Cup and 3rd Kings Cup 1928, also owner of “Gamblers Gold” a well known sprinter.

White served with the 4th Battlion AIF in Egypt and France from 1915 to the end of the war, rising to rank of Captain. He was mentioned in despatches in 1917 and awarded the Military Cross in 1918 for his service in World War I.  White was awarded an Order of British Empire in 1954 for co-founding the Australian-American Association in 1936.  This objective of the Association was to form a close alliance between the British Commonwealth and the United States to promote cause of world peace.

White stood for election as an independent candidate in the electorate of Warringah in the Federal election of May 1954.  He obtained 19.2% of the vote.  The successful candidate was Francis Bland, who was later a resident of Strathfield.

By 1947, ‘Baden House’ transferred ownership to the Right. Reverend Fortescue Leo Ash, an Anglican Bishop, who lived at ‘Baden House’ until the time of his death in 1956.  At the time of his death he was acting Rector of St. Anne’s Anglican Church, Strathfield, where he was appointed in his first curacy as a young man.  Ash served as Bishop of Rockhampton 1928 to 1946 and for six years served as Commissioner of the Centenary War Memorial Appeal raising over £100,000 and enlisting over 50 new missionaries for church work in New Guinea.

Following his death, ownership of the house transferred to Lowell Williams, a newsagent, and his wife Rae Williams, who renamed the house ‘Koonya’.


Advertising (1894, May 19). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954), p. 12. Retrieved October 20 2021, from

Death of Bishop Ash (1956, April 26). The Central Queensland Herald (Rockhampton, Qld. : 1930 – 1956), p. 17. Retrieved May 22, 2019, from

Department of Valuer-General, Valuation Lists, Municipality of Strathfield

Ernest White, 1929, Who’s Who in Australia

Flawbert, J (2016), G. P. Innes (1863-1936): Pioneer of the Motor Industry, AHA 2016 Conference Proceedings

Fox & Associates, Strathfield Heritage Study, 1986

Mr. G. P. Innes. (1936, April 7). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954), p. 8. Retrieved December 3, 2021, from

Sands Sydney and Suburban Directory

Strathfield Council Valuation Lists 1894

Strathfield Council Building Register