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The History of our House and Land.

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The Cadigal and Wangal clans of the Eora people were custodians of this area, which was called Bulanaming.

The first map of Cooks River was completed by Captain John Hunter in September 1797. This was part of a survey of Botany Bay.

During October 1803, Governor King granted 700 acres of this land to Thomas Moore. His land included the area around Dulwich Hill Station down to Cooks River and from Stanmore Road across to Unwin's Bridge Road.  This grant contained fine stands of timber that he used as official boat builder to the colony.

In 1824, Dr Robert Wardell came to Australia and set up practise as a corporate lawyer and barrister.  He co-founded the first independent newspaper, The 'Australian', that was first published on 14 October, 1824. Wardell was only associated with the paper for four years but during this time he was a stanched critic of Governor Darling. In 1830 Thomas Moore leased his farm at Bulanaming to Wardell prior to him purchasing it. Wardell purchased 809 hectares (2000 acres) on 21 July 1830. This land stretched from Parramatta Rd. to Cooks River. He developed only 10 hectares of this land for agriculture and produced some high quality wheat. He also ran deer that he imported from England and used for hunting parties. The 'Bald Face Stag' hotel was named after one animal.

On September 7, 1834, Dr Wardell was shot and killed by three convicts whilst he was out riding on his land near Cooks River. Some believed that his death may have been due to him being an ardent critic of Governor Darling.

The area became know as “Wardell’s Brush”.

About 1838 settlers began to move in. The land near good water supplies was used for market gardening and other land was used for raising cattle. The only source of water in dry times was a well owned by the Meeks family.

After the death of Dr Wardell it was found that all his property was left to his mother but she had died in 1830, so it was then divided amongst his three sisters who still resided in England.  One of these was Jane Isabella Wardell who married Charles Frederick Priddle. Mrs Fisher and Mrs Frazer were his other sisters and they all came to Australia in 1845 to take up their inheritance.

On 14 April 1848, Charles Frederick Priddle of 15 Beaufort St, Chelsea and Jane Isabella Priddle obtained ownership of this land from Robert Wardell of Middle Temple, London and later of Sydney. The land was left to Anne Fisher, wife of John Fisher, Margaret Fraser, wife of John Fraser and Jane Isabella Priddle, wife of Charles Priddle. (Refer Indenture in Book 41 No 647 at Land Titles Office.)

Between 1948 and 1974 the ownership of the land must have transferred from Charles Priddle to his son Rev. Charles Priddle.

On 15 January 1874, the land was subdivided by Rev. Charles Frederick Durham Priddle (Vol 174 Folio 175.) Rev. Charles and his wife, Jane Augusta have a memorial in St. James Church adjacent to a bust of Robert Wardell.

Rev. Charles Priddle was curate at St. James Church in the city for seven years and priest at St. Luke's, Liverpool for forty years.

I believe that it may have been at this time that the brother-in-law of Rev. Charles Priddle's first wife, Jane Augusta, a James Norton, became owner of a portion on which this house is built.

It appears as though in 1882, Charles Priddle again obtained James Norton's land.

According to details provide by Marrickville Council, the land on which our house stands is Lot 50 of the Wardell Hill Estate, which was sub divided in 1895. Lots 47 to 52 were owned by a dairyman, Thomas Woolford (or Wolford). A cottage 'Loretto' was built on the site.

A working dairy existed on the site before a further sub division occurred. Earnest Frederick bought lot 50 in 1911 and built a house in the same year. He was listed as the owner of a cottage called 'Arranmore' until 1926. It was in that year that Ernest died and ownership passed to his wife, Mrs Gertrude Frederick. From 1914 until 1923 the property was given the street number of 21.

House Name

The property was renumbered 22 Keith Street in circa 1923. Mrs Gertrude Frederick continued ownership until 1951 when it was sold to Colin James Andrews. He subsequently sold it to Mykola Shywolup senior and junior the following year. In 1955 the property again changed hands, being sold to Richard Idens and Leslie George Little who where identified as Engineers. They owned it until the following year. During this period of frequently changing ownership the house may have been used as flats or a boarding house as a number of internal doors where fitted with locks at around this time.

In 1956 the house was purchased by Bertha May Richards. Mrs Richards was a storekeeper. For many years she owned a white cockatoo. When she moved out in 1977 the cocky moved next door to be cared for by Mrs Ko. Cocky survived until well after we arrived.

In 1977 the house was purchased by Mr Sushif Kumar and Mrs Santosh Salhotra. The story is told that they did not initially live in the house but rented it to two women and a man who ran a brothel. It is rumored that this enterprise was closed down by the bank who informed the borrowers they had to live in the house themselves due to the nature of their loan.

After a number of delays we arrived just before Christmas 1980. Since then the house has gone through a number of changes including a complete rebuilding of the rear portion. Various renovation projects have been completed.

The house has seen the birth of both our children and whilst we have been here the second longest of any inhabitants we still are a long way short of Gertrude Frederick.

Comments and Acknowledgements.

Front Door

Initially this little project began out of an offer by Marrickville Council in 2002 to provide residents with the history of their home. This history was from 1895 to 1984. I then rediscovered the book John Edwards produced for the Dulwich Hill Primary School, called 'From Bulanaming to Education'. John's book assisted with much information prior to 1895.

In addition to this I enjoyed searching websites, books in the local library plus visiting the Marrickville Council History unit and Land Titles Office. I still have many unanswered questions and I'm sure a few corrections. I would value any input or comment.

Whilst we may have purchased the house that has become our home, I acknowledge that we are merely stewards of the land on which it stands.

Geoff, March 2010.

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