‘The Rectory’ 23 Vernon Street Strathfield

By Cathy Jones

Early land owners of lots from the Redmire Estate were John and Donald Vernon.  Donald Vernon was traffic manager of NSW Railways and built the home ‘Parkstone’ (which faced Margaret Street but has since has been demolished).  John Vernon, the NSW Auditor General, built ‘Springfield’ (which has been demolished and faced Redmyre Road).  The Vernon’s subdivided their land c.1880 as the ‘Mount Vernon Estate’, which created Vernon Street, Brunswick Street (then called Redmyre St) and lots on Redmyre Road and Homebush Rd.  All properties in Vernon Street are built on the Mount Vernon Estate.

23 Vernon Street Strathfield was first built as a Rectory for the Reverend Herbert Rose, the first Minister of St Anne’s Anglican Church, Strathfield.  The Rectory was built in 1888 to a design by the architectural firm of Coward & Bell.

Moves to establish an Anglican Church in Strathfield commenced in October 1884 at a meeting at ‘Riccaroon’ Redmyre Road Strathfield, the home of Mr Edward Deas-Thompson.  He was the son of the former Colonial Secretary and Chairman of the Australian Jockey Club, Sir Edward Deas-Thomson, and of a daughter of Governor Burke.  Plans advanced quickly and on 3 May 1885, a small weatherboard Church was built on the corner of Vernon and Brunswick Streets. The district was formed into a parish and the Rev. Herbert Rose was inducted as Rector in December 1885.

In 1888, the St Anne’s Anglican Church Rectory was built on the corner of Vernon and Alviston Streets Strathfield.  Architects William Coward & W. Haughton Bell were engaged to design the Rectory.  A notice issued in the Sydney Morning Herald on 24 March 1888:

TENDERS are Invited for the erection of ST. ANNE’S PARSONAGE, STRATHFIELD. Plans and specification to be seen at the offices of the under-signed, to whom endorsed tenders are to be delivered on or before Tuesday, 10th April, at noon. COWARD and BELL, Architects, Turkish Bath Chambers, 29 Bligh-street.

Coward & Bell were a Sydney based architectural firm. Coward & Bell were also residents of Strathfield and each served as Aldermen on Strathfield Council.  William Coward was an English trained architect who initially worked for the architectural firm of Rowe & Green upon his arrival in Sydney in 1881.  W Haughton Bell studied at Sydney Grammar School and served his articles to E T Blackett.  In partnership, Coward & Bell designed shops, residences, and hospitals.  Coward & Bell are identified as the architects of St Anne’s Church of England Parsonage Strathfield in the Adeline Centennial History of NSW 1888.

As the population grew, the parish required a larger Church.  A site was selected on the corner of Beresford and Homebush Road Strathfield, which was purchased with funds used from the 1892 sale of the Church on the corner of Vernon and Brunswick Streets.  Despite the move of the Church to a new location, the Rectory remained at Vernon Street until 1923.  In 1922, plans for a new Rectory on Homebush located next to St Anne’s Church were approved by Strathfield Council.  The Vernon St Rectory was sold in 1923.

This house was also known as ‘Redcourt’ when owned by Mrs Ethel Carter from the 1920s to 1940s.


Department of Valuer-General, Valuation Lists, Municipality of Strathfield 1924, 1936, 1942.

Fox & Associates, Strathfield Heritage Study, 1986

Advertising (1888, March 24). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954), p. 4. Retrieved August 6, 2021, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article13676540

Jones, Cathy., History of St Anne’s Anglican Church, Strathfield Scene, December 2005.

Morrison, W. Frederic, The Adeline Centennial History of New South Wales, 1888.

Strathfield Council Valuation Lists 1893-94, 1896-97, 1900-01, 1906-07, 1911-13.