Demolished Houses of the Parramatta River
Helenie was built in the early 1840s by Isaac and Ann Shepherd. The house was located close to the end of Bowden Street, near the Parramatta River at Meadowbank. In 1846 it had a short life as a classical academy operated by J J Davies; during the 1850s one of its tenants was Sir Henry Parkes.
The integrity of the house’s grounds was compromised with the building of the Meadowbank Railway Bridge in 1886. When the Meadowbank Manufacturing Company established its works in 1890 (on the site of the modern day Meadowbank TAFE) Helenie was occupied by the manager. The building of the Ryde Punt in 1896 brought more transport infrastructure close to the house. It was described in the Northern District Times in June 1938 as, ‘a menace to health, being dilapidated, the woodwork being decayed and ant infested and the whole structure generally being in a bad condition.’
It was demolished in 1939. TEI (Telephone and Electrical Industries, later Siemens Plessey) was built on the site. When that factory closed the area became medium density housing.
Cleves was built in the 1850s by Charles Blaxland and his wife Elizabeth. It was located in the wedge between Charles Street and Waterview Street, Putney. A house of the same name built by John Bayley Darvall had existed on the site previously.
In 1917 the estate was sold to the Inter Colonial Building Company and the area around the house became the site of the Kidman and Mayoh shipbuilding enterprise, the house being occupied by the mill manager.
The house was demolished c.1926. The site is currently occupied by housing.
Lauriston was built in the 1880s by James Johnson and Philippina Shuttleworth and was located at the corner of Bowden Street and Victoria Road, Ryde. James, an architect, was related to Albert Bond, the architect of choice for Anthony Horderns.
The interior was ornately decorated and it had a ballroom reputed to be, ‘the most beautiful around Sydney’. James turned the grounds into a bird sanctuary. In 1916 the property was sub-divided and Lauriston was sold to Alfred and Jane Gorrie. Their daughter Irex, a dancing teacher, conducted lessons in the ballroom at Lauriston with, ‘a special class for married folk’.
It fell into disrepair after the Second World War when it was turned into flats.
It was demolished in 1959, its demise being reported in the SMH with the opening paragraph, ‘every week brings news of the dismantling of another gracious old Sydney home. One more to fall beneath the wrecker’s sledgehammer is Lauriston’. The Leader reported, ‘its gracious day is nearly over’.
When it was demolished one of the Shuttleworth daughters reminisced: ‘I remember the years when it was cool, shady, graceful, lovely. Its ballroom was a joy. We lived in that old house and we loved it.’ The site is currently occupied by a motel.
Glendower, located at the corner of Constitution Road and Belmore Street, was built by Benjamin Charles Martyn c.1890. However, its long term occupants/ owners, from 1907, were members of the Lackersteen family, of jam and condiment fame. It was on a large block of land ,part of which was resumed in 1947 and 1959 for the building of the Meadowbank Public School. By the late 1950s the house was occupied by two unmarried Lackersteen children: Cecil Octavious and Mabel. They died within 7 months of each other in 1962.
The house was demolished c.1964 and the Hoover spare parts factory was built. When Hoover moved out in 1999/2000 Ryde Council purchased the factory and it became their Operations Centre.
Lunnhilda / Dudhope / Putney Park House
This property was built in the 1880s by Francis Augustus and Emma Wright. Originally called Lunnhilda, it was located on the western side of Pellisier Road close to where it meets McGowan Street. It had a tiled hall, sitting room, library, dining and drawing rooms, breakfast room, six bedrooms, two servants’ rooms, small room in the tower, bathroom, kitchen, storeroom, pantry, storeroom, servants’ hall, two cellars, laundry, small wooden boot room, conservatory on the verandah, cowshed, brick stables, boat and bathing houses.
Subsequent owners include the Scrymgeour family (who re-named it Dudhope after an ancestral home in Scotland) and the Connolly family. In 1926 Ryde Council purchased the Estate and it became the Putney Park Pleasure Grounds, the house being the refreshment rooms. Even though it proved popular with between 3000 and 5000 picknickers able to be accommodated at any one time vandalism was a persistent problem so much so that locals formed a vigilance committee.
In 1942 Council made the decision to demolish the ‘old buildings’ in the park. Foundations of the house and the circular driveway are visible. The area is still used as a park, Putney Park.
Ermington was located between Crowley and Lancaster Avenues, Melrose Park and was built c.1828 by Edmund and Sarah Lockyer. It was part of a 184 acre estate. Other owners included Jabez and Sophia Heydon and John and Agnes Linsley.
The house had six bedrooms, drawing, billiard and dining rooms, library, play room, nursery maids’ rooms, main and back halls as well as servants’ quarters. A covered roseway led from the house to the ballroom where parties and balls were held. Visitors entered via Wharf Road and drove though an avenue of pine trees to the house where, ‘the camellias grew as high as the balcony’. In 1926 it was purchased by the City Mutual Life Assurance Society Limited. Parts of the Estate were used for housing and the Ryde-Parramatta Golf Course.
The house was demolished in the early 1930s. The site is currently occupied by housing.