‘Walden’ 20 Woodward Ave Strathfield

by Cathy Jones

‘Walden’ is located on the Woodward Avenue Heritage Conservation Area.  This area features predominately Victorian houses located on Woodward Avenue, The Boulevarde and Albyn Road Strathfield. This precinct is built on the 1880 subdivision of the Woodgreen Estate and is one of Strathfield’s earliest residential developments.

 ‘Walden’ was built c.1893 and was first owned and occupied by Robert Mander Ross (1849-1902) who called the house ‘Walden’.  Ross was the son of Robert Scott Ross and Eliza Jones, daughter of David Jones. Ross was a partner in the business David Jones & Co. Ross lived there until 1902, the year that he and his wife Eleanor died.  death in 1902.  The house was then let to Allen H. Nott, a grazier, likely a relation of Ross, who lived at Walden from 1903-1905.  The Nott, Ross, Thompson, Wilshire and Jones families were inter-related by birth and marriages.  They were very prominent in the Strathfield and Burwood areas and the Congregational Church in the late 19th and early 20thcentury.

In 1906, the house was acquired by the National Mutual Life Association and tenanted to Joseph Gillespie.  Gillespie was a prominent flour miller and lived at ‘Walden’ from 1906-1910. Ownership then transferred to the Trustees of the Methodist Church.  From 1911 until the 1940s, ‘Walden’ was occupied by Ministers of the Methodist Church including Rev. W E Bromilow (1911-1914) Rev. H E Andrews (1915-1917), Rev. B J Meek (1918-1920), Rev. R Ellison (1921-23), Rev. Rev. J W Leadley (1925-1927), Rev. A M Sanders (1928-1931) and Rev.C J MacAuley (1932-1933).

By 1951, the house was transferred to Jacqueline Downes, who from 1951-1955, used the house as a boarding house.  By 1960, the house was sold to  Edwin and Patricia Judge and the house reverted to a private residence.


Register of Miscellaneous Licenses (1929-1985), Strathfield Council

Fox & Associates, Strathfield Heritage Study, 1986

Sands Sydney and Suburban Directory 1881-1933

Strathfield Council Valuation Lists

Department of the Valuer General NSW – Valuation List – Valuation District of Strathfield