The September-October 2022 Newsletter features an article on the auction of ‘Arnott-Holme’ as well as the Society Year in Review and the death of Queen Elizabeth.
On 8 September 2022, Elizabeth II, Queen of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms, including Australia, and the oldest living and longest-reigning British monarch, died at the age of 96 at Balmoral Castle in Scotland. She was succeeded by her eldest child, Charles. Charles III was proclaimed King Charles as head of state of Australia on 11 September 2022 at a ceremony at Parliament House in Canberra.
A state funeral service was held for the Queen at Westminster Abbey on 19 September 2022, followed by a committal service later that day at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. The Queen was interred in the King George VI Memorial Chapel at St George’s. A commemorative public holiday was announced in Australia for the 22 September 2022.
The Queen celebrated her 70th Anniversary or Platinum Jubilee of her ascension to the throne earlier in 2022. The Queen visited Australia on sixteen occasions. She is not known to have visited the Strathfield district, though on her 1954 tour, she visited the nearby Concord Park and the then Concord Repatriation Hospital (now Concord Hospital).
The Prime Minister of Australia, Anthony Albanese said:
“With the passing of Queen Elizabeth the Second, an historic reign and a long life devoted to duty, family, faith and service has come to an end. This is a morning of sadness for the world, for the Commonwealth and all Australians. It is a day of profound sadness and grief for the Royal Family who have lost a beloved mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. The person who for so long was their greatest inner strength.
Australian hearts go out to the people of the United Kingdom who mourn today, knowing they will feel they have lost part of what makes their nation whole. It is a time of mourning for the people in Britain, across the Commonwealth, and indeed around the world. There is comfort to be found in Her Majesty’s own words: “Grief is the price we pay for love.”
This is a loss we feel deeply in Australia. Queen Elizabeth II is the only reigning monarch most of us have known—and the only one to ever visit Australia. And over the course of a remarkable seven decades, Her Majesty was a rare and reassuring constant amidst rapid change. Through the noise and turbulence of the years, she embodied and exhibited a timeless decency and an enduring calm. Her Majesty served our nation and the Commonwealth for 70 years.
She is the longest-reigning monarch in British history and, remarkably, the second longest reigning monarch of a sovereign state in world history. Her life of faithful service will be remembered for centuries to come. From the moment the young princess became Queen, Her Majesty’s dedication to duty and service over self were the hallmarks of her reign. Performing her duty with fidelity, integrity, and respect for everyone she met. We saw those qualities each time she visited our shores — and she graced us on 16 occasions during her reign, travelling to every state and territory across our vast continent.
Her first visit, with Philip, began on the 3rd of February 1954 — just eight months after her coronation. It was the biggest single event ever organised in Australia and it remains a defining moment in our nation’s history. Some 7 million Australians — or 70 per cent of our population at the time — turned out to catch a glimpse of the young Queen passing by. Queen Elizabeth II was a wise and enduring presence in our national life. Sixteen prime ministers consulted with her – and sixteen governors-general served in her name.
The Strathfield-Homebush District Historical Society has become aware of the proposed auction of ‘Arnott Holme’, 65-69 Albert Road Strathfield by estate agents, Belle Property. Until recently, this property was a Technical and Further Education (TAFE) education office, which is owned by the NSW Government. This property was purchased in 1954 for £12,000 by the NSW Department of Education for the purposes of establishing a school for disabled children. Though the use of the premises later changed to a TAFE education office, the property has been maintained in the Strathfield area for nearly 70 years as a public educational institution. it is obvious from the response of many concerned local residents that there has been no community consultation regarding the sale of this publicly owned asset. The Sydney Morning Herald reported on October 28 2021 that up to 19 TAFE campuses across NSW have been earmarked for sale. The Strathfield property was not mentioned in the article or other public reporting. Therefore, the erection of an auction notice on the site, has generated significant public concern about the future of the property and the privatisation of a publicly owned asset.
Given the increases in population and demand for community facilities in the Strathfield area, why is the NSW Government able to sell off public assets without any notification, any apparent consideration about potential community uses of the property or any consultation with the local community? These assets were acquired and have been maintained from public funding. If TAFE no longer needs the facility, why not commence discussions with other public agencies or Strathfield Council regarding utilisation of the property for community use?
The property has significant historical and heritage value to the local community. It is a heritage item listed on Strathfield Council’s Local Environmental Plan and is recognised by the Australian Institute of Architects (AIA) Register of Significant Buildings in NSW as an item of historical and heritage significance.
‘Arnott Holme’ was built in 1900 as a home for its owner William Arnott, founder of Arnott’s Biscuits, Australia’s largest biscuit company. The Federation style house occupies a large site set within a mature garden landscape. After Arnott’s death and until it was sold in 1954 to the Department of Education, it was owned and/or occupied by a number of prominent residents including Harry Jackett MP and Arthur Cozens, a tobacco merchant.
The Society has sent a letter to the Member for Parliament for Strathfield, Jason Yat Sen-Li, requesting representations are made to the NSW Government and Department of Education regarding this process, which appears to have not included any transparency regarding the closure of the TAFE office and plans for disposal of a public asset.
The Industrial Heritage of Strathfield Exhibition, Minding Our Business, is presented by Strathfield-Homebush District Historical Society and Strathfield Council. The exhibition is open during Library opening hours from Friday 17 June 2022 to Sunday August 14 2022.
This exhibition explores the many businesses which were based on the Strathfield district from the 19th century, usually located close to rivers or transport such as railways and major roads. The district’s central location facilitated transportation of materials and goods across Sydney and beyond from businesses as diverse as Arnotts Biscuits, EMI/HMV records, Ford Car manufacturing, Textile factories, Flour Mills, Cattle and Sheep Stockyards and Brickworks. Industrial development also supported growth of worker populations and housing in the southern and northern ends of the Strathfield Council area in the early to mid 20th century.
The Strathfield-Homebush District Historical Society wrote to Strathfield Council on 8 November 2021 to request that an Interim Heritage Order be placed on 40 Beresford Road Strathfield as a matter of urgency. This house is currently on the market and is not heritage listed, though is adjacent to a number of heritage listed properties.
The house should meet the criteria for heritage listing of local significance. The potential loss of this house would affect other heritage properties located close to this house.
The house at 40 Beresford Road Strathfield is called ‘Kobunia’ and is an relatively in-tact Queen Anne style Federation bungalow built c.1909. It is surrounded by a large number of heritage listed items and areas. However, this house has not been listed. The house is currently listed for sale and is being marketed as having no heritage protection and is suitable for re-development. The property is set to go to auction on 13 November 2021.
40 Beresford Road is consistent with the character and style of the other similar heritage items and areas on Beresford, Albert, Homebush and Broughton Roads. 40 Beresford Rd is a substantial Queen Anne house, very similar in style and design to other very impressive Queen Anne homes situated surrounding this property along Homebush Road and Albert Road at rear. The western side of Homebush Road between Redmyre Road and Beresford Road features some of the most impressive Queen Anne homes in the district and these are recognised for their significance as local heritage items and also covered by the Homebush Road heritage conservation area, which also includes some impressive church buildings on the eastern side of the street.
The potential loss of this house would detract from the heritage character of this area of Strathfield and the other heritage listed properties.
The house features most of it’s original details and retains decorative chimneys, roof, lead-light windows and doors, tall ornate ceilings (possibly a mixture of pressed metal and plaster), detailed timber work, etc. It is interesting to note that the house has some resemblance to “Ravenswood”, 67 Homebush Road Strathfield, which is owned by Strathfield Council, in the detailing in/around the gables, chimneys and where the brick is not painted in the chimneys appears to have similar multi-coloured brown colour of brick.
The World War I exhibition at Strathfield Library closes on 20 June 2021. Thanks to everyone who visited or attended the talks. If you haven’t seen the exhibition, catch it before it closes. This page features some images from the exhibition, featuring some items from the collection of the Strathfield-Homebush District Historical Society.
Strathfield Council recently requested the Strathfield-Homebush District Historical Society provide comments on a proposal to relocate the Homebush War Memorial from its current location. The Society does not support this proposal. The submission to Council was sent on 3 September 2019.
The Society lodged a submission objecting to DA2019/ at 7 Albyn Road Strathfield concerning the demolition of a house in a heritage conservation area, which contributes to the heritage area and should not be demolished.