Homebush project issues monthly news - as "Homebush Happenings"

To receive such or for any enquiries - CONTACT:  john.mail@ozemail.com.au





Slide from Homebush Project talk on Edward Powell and the first settlers of the area.

(From same talk) - Liberty Plains settlement, which later became known as the southern extent of Homebush (a place/property name drawn south by the coming of the railway line).  Liberty Plains was established in 1793 and consisted of four rectangular land grants frontages on a general alignment parallel to Powell's Creek (as later named), and fringe of land about those to the north and east owned by Thomas Rose (also one of the first Free Settlers who came on the "Bellona" in 1793).   Due to death and relatively poor soil for agricultural production the place was soon abandoned in favour or elsewhere with better soil (especially after the Hawkesbury (Windsor) district was opened for settlement) - and Simeon Lord (a wealthy businessman gained a large chunk of Liberty Plains.  However, Edward Powell later returned to his original grant and established an inn there ("Half Way House" - half way between Sydney town and Parramatta) just east of Powell's Creek on the southern side of Parramatta Road - where today's Horse and Jockey hotel traces as a direct descendant of such business.   Powell somehow came to gain ownership of very much of the original Liberty Plains.   After Edward Powell died the land transferred to Underwood (another very rich early Sydney merchant who had married Powell's daughter.  After Underwood's death, trustees subdivided the regular-rectangular-grants area of Underwood land as the "Underwood Homebush Village" estate.   The southernmost original grant land never passed to Underwood's possession and descendants of Powell and Rose at grandson level fought for ownership of this land.   Because of poor Government records keeping on land ownership counter claims were possible, there was a fair bit of supposed boundary fence moving (+/- tens of acres difference) and several court cases were contested in all of this.

(From same talk) - An artistic impression of early Homebush around Powells' inn, which has been painstakingly researched by Mr David Patrick over the years (ask at the bar of the Horse and Jockey Hotel to see a copy of David's work on this).  


Homebush Project is an intitiative for gathering and sharing information on Homebush, and encouraging study of the area.   My own (JGB) gathering of info began around 2008 (although I had made scattered enquiries to Council and others earlier on, like "where was Liberty Plains?") - and a major theme of Homebush Project has been looking for others already interested in the past of the area, or maybe interesting others to begin researching it.   This can be started with the street where you live, or anything at all which takes your fancy/interest.

Results may be fed into Wikipedia and other easily accessible online storage places (it being hoped to slowly establish specific street webpages); and meetings are held from time to time.   The main meeting of any size held to date mainly considered that part of Homebush south of the railway line - which had been Underwood land that got subdivided for sale as the "Village of Homebush"..

The Homebush Project is gradually working northwards and holds public meetings to discuss portions of Homebush as it progresses.   It has thus far dealt with the Liberty Plains project and is expect to slowly progress northwards in similar fashion until reaching the Parramatta River at Homebush Bay.   It is currently (March 2014) focussed on the strip with the Great Western Railway ( a.k.a. the Main Western Line and Main Suburban Line between Sydney Central station and Parramatta), Great Western Highway (a.k.a. Parramatta Road), M4 Motorway (formerly known as F4 Freeway and part of Sydney Metroad 4 until 2013 when when the new M4 route designation was proclaimed along the whole motorway), and the newly laid out WestConnex route to assist traffic flow, which passes along close north of the current M4 and for which the tunnelling machine for the western portal is expected to enter Hawkesbury Sandstone not far south or southeast of the Girl Guides hall west in Ismay Avenue ( 800m west of Concord Road).



The year 2014 is the 25th year since the bicentenary of Australia (1788) and 221 years since the area was first settled (in 1793 as Liberty Plains).

Before 2014 is out, it is hoped to hold a small meeting of researchers on the past in order to review what's been learned in the last 25 years (since the bicen.) and also to think about some sort of celebration for YEAR 222 of European settlement at this place.   

What also has happened in 2014 is that Strathfield Council (via Mayoral Minuter 2014/4) declared the original inhabitants of this area as the Darug people - and this can be ranked with the advances in discovery or awareness of our past.

What else has there been in the last 25 years?   

For the 1788-1988 bicentenary, Strathfield Council and the Australian Bicentennial Authority had Annette Green prepare a brochure, a walking guide, called "The Village of Homebush"  (12 small size, ca. A5, pages in length - an amended later version being downloadable from http://www.strathfield.nsw.gov.au/assets/Files/Documents/Information-Sheets/Heritage/Village-of-Homebush-Walking-Tour-Pamphlet.pdf ).

Annette L. Green, heritage consultant of Vincentia, has written studies on the Royal Hotel in Hartley (1987), Unfired earth walls (1989, Masters thesis, UNSW), terrace housing in New South Wales (1987), Kangaroo Valley (1992) ( http://doc.shoalhaven.nsw.gov.au/Displaydoc.aspx?Record=D12/309618 ), Chittering Park Homestead (2008).   At the time of doing the Homebush brochure she was working from 108 Moore Street, Leichhardt.

The original brochure of 1987 (written before all the highrise began close to Strathfield and Homebush railways stastions) concluded that the area was a "delightful place for a gentle stroll and we hope you continue to explore its back streets AND DISCOVER ITS PAST" (emphasis added).

In the 25 years since the bicentennary what new discoveries have been made about Stathfield's past?

There comes to mind David Patricks work (presented to the first Homebush Talks meeting) which worked out where the Homebush Racecourse tracks had been, and comprehensively studied the history of the Powell's Half Way House inn (a.k.a. Horse and Jockey hotel) - viz. more about this at https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/5737284/edward-powell-ppt-talk.htm

Another advance has been in determining where the Powells burial place probably lies (at the end of Station Street - nominated as local heritage in 2014).

No doubt there have been other discoveries about the past of Homebush and there will be added as learned of.

Aerial view of the M4 Motorway looking east.  The location of the original Homebush property north of Parramatta Road (where Sydney Olympic Park Authority, SOPA, now owns) is marked by the large buildings with curved roofs.   On the skyline may be seen the vertical rectangular outlines of the highrise buildings at City of Sydney, and to their left is another clump of such which is North Sydney.



The original Homebush Post Office at the southern side of the Railway Station.   This was replaced with the present two-storey brick building in 1896, which in turn was abandonned by the Commonwealth Government when it moved the postal services to an agency in Rochester Street (now operated in the rear of a pharmacy) and the old post office building now operates as a medical centre.   (Photo repository:  Strathfield Council)

State Records Digital ID: 4346_a020_a020000007  


Council early requested that this also be made a telephone exchange and this 1908 photo seems to show bundled photo cables going to the building.



Two 1944 photos - note the two telephone boxes at left.

( National Archives C4078, N2257D and N2257E )

The Homebush post office rebuild of 1896 - the 'grand' period of postal service, and since abandoned to privatisation after some further modifications at the top of the building (made by 1944).   The building is now used as a medical centre.


Homebush was originally, as the name implies, a place in the bush.   Today the bush is almost entirely gone and the strip of Parramatta Road is fast becoming a "Highrise canyon" following rezoning of the land by Strathfield Council.   The area today is a suburb in the Inner West[2] of Sydney, in the state of New South Wales, Australia. It is located 15 kilometres west of the Sydney central business district, in the local government area of the Municipality of Strathfield. Homebush is located south of Homebush Bay, an inlet of the Parramatta River. Homebush West is a separate suburb.

HISTORY -- It is commonly thought that Homebush was established and named by the colony's then assistant surgeon D'Arcy Wentworth. For example, historian Michael Jones who had been commissioned by Stathfield Council to write the history of that Municipallity wrote: "Wentworth is popularly credited with having called the area after his 'home in the bush', although Homebush is also a place in Kent." [3]". According to local historian David Patrick (pers. comm. 2014 to John Byrnes, for the "Homebush Project") it wasn’t Darcy Wentworth who named Homebush but an earlier grantee on the land - that being the military figure Thomas Laycock. It would appear that after Laycock became mentally, following his direct involvement in suppressing the Castle Hill convict rebellion ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castle_Hill_convict_rebellion ), Darcy Wentworth became his doctor. It has been reputed that Darcy Wentworth either bought the Laycock Home-Bush Farm from Laycock or, more fancifully, won the property in an unfair game of cards from the ailing Laycock. 

From “The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser” of 24 November 1805, page 2.  This advertisement was placed by Mr Laycock relating to his property Home Bush on the Parramatta Road.

Wentworth retained Thomas Laycock’s naming of the property and added to its extent. Homebush once had a very famous racecourse, established by Wentworth.

The Village of Homebush estate was a section of the Underwood Estate located to the south of the railway. The land had boundaries of The Crescent, Homebush, Beresford, Coventry and Bridge Roads, was subdivided in 1878. Within the estate, Broughton, Abbotsford and Burlington Roads and Rochester and Meredith Streets were also gazetted. In the December of that year, 381 house blocks were auctioned. By the end of the century many large houses and substantial villas had been built. In the 20th century house construction continued and most blocks had been built on by the end of the 1920s.[4]

SOME COAL CONNECTIONS:   1)  The Vickery family, 2) Frederick William Binney (see below) - and there probably are others.




Much research on Strathfield LGA housing has been done by Cathy Jones of Strathfield Council in more recent years, and in earlier times by other members of the Stathfield Historical Society, and by others.   Examples are given below from the Federation period (1895-1915).   This period had many fine buildings built in Stathfield as a whole (see https://federation-house.wikispaces.com/Strathfield+Federation+Heritage ).

Federation Period, 1895-1915

As the 1890s economic depression of the eased by the mid-1890s, expressions of Australian nationalism gathered strength culminating in the proclamation of the Commonwealth of Australia on 1 January 1901 (Federation). With more favourable economic conditions, building activity recommenced.

‘Inglemere’, Abbotsford Road, Homebush

‘Inglemere’, Abbotsford Road, Homebush

Camden Lodge" Burlington Rd Homebush

Camden Lodge" Burlington Rd Homebush



Huntingtower – Federation Queen Anne

33-35 Homebush Road Strathfield



Waratah – Federation Queen Anne style

37 Homebush Road Strathfield



Dagworth – Federation Queen style house

        39 Homebush Road Strathfield



Terry-Hie-Hie – Federation Queen style

43-45 Homebush Road Strathfield



4-6 Rochester Street Homebush

      Federation Freestyle shops

Schedule 9 heritage.   Federation period or not stated:

At least two of these heritage properties have been researched:

"Camden Lodge" 102 Burlington Rd Homebush

“Camden Lodge”is built on Lots 13 to 15, Section 12 of the Village of Homebush Estate (DP 400).  This was owned by Henry Uther and originally formed part of Uther’s land adjacent to his property "Marlborough" (96 Burlington Road Homebush).   Robert Trevethan, a contractor, purchased the land on 20 June 1916 and built the house, which he named "Candilgy".   Robert Trevethan (1859-1945) migrated from England and leased a blue metal quarry with his brothers at Dundas on Kissing Point Road.  Around 1910, he commenced a blue metal (Bumbo Latite) quarry at Minnamurra.  Approaching retirement age, he sold this to the NSW Blue Metal Ltd (later Boral Industries).  Part of the old quarry is now known as Trevethan Reserve  (Trevethan died in 1945 leaving an estate valued at £30,908).  In 1924, he'd sold ‘Candilgy’ to Ethel Rofe, wife of Arthur Camden Rofe.  After Mrs Rofe’s death in 1928, the estate was transferred to the ownership of Arthur Camden Rofe.  Rofe was the son of Arthur Rofe (d.1902), a well known Sydney solicitor who was an alderman of Marrickville Council for six years, and of Petersham Council for six years, and a director of the Great Britain Tin Mining Co., Ltd.  After Arthur Camden Rofe's death, the property was transferred to his sons, who re-named it "Camden Lodge".   In 1942 ownership of the house and grounds was sold for £3000 to Arthur Bush of Strathfield, carcass butcher of A J Bush & Sons, one of Australia’s largest butcher shops.  Bush was the owner of the property until 2009, when it was sold to the Mayor of Auburn, who sought unsuccessfully to have the heritage-listed house demolished.  It was later severely damaged by fire.   (More:  ‘Camden Lodge’, Burlington Road Homebush )


"Inglemere" Abbotsford Road Homebush

   2 Abbotsford Road Homebush

This house originally faced Homebush Road but after subdivision its entry changed was off Abbotsford Road.   It was built about 1894 for William H Norton, and named "Ingera".  Norton sold the house in 1912 to Mrs C H Humphries who renamed it "Inglemere".   Starting about 1929 it was run as a private maternity hospital.  The Matron was Elizabeth Neil.  It also had an operating room and did "minor" operations requiring anaesthesiss like tonsil removals.   It ceased being a maternity hospital about 1960, following which it became a nursing home named "The Crescent Private Hospital".  That closed in the late 1990s and it later became a Bed & Breakfast called ‘Darcy’s Hotel’.


TRANSPORT -- Homebush railway station is the terminus of all stations services on the Airport, Inner West & South Line of the Sydney Trains network. Parramatta Road and the M4 Western Motorway are the main arterial roads passing through the suburb.

HOMEBUSH SHOPPING CENTRE -- This extends along Rochester Street opposite Homebush Public School.  These shops extend to The Crescent, opposite Homebush railway station.  Many more commercial premises once thrived along Parramatta Road but almost all of these perished (awaiting highrise redevelopment) after Strathfield Council rezoned the area.

POPULATION -- At the 2011 Census, there were 6,195 residents in Homebush. The majority of people were born outside of Australia, with the top overseas countries of birth being India 11.8%, China 9.4%, Korea, Republic of (South) 8.1%, Sri Lanka 7.0% and Nepal 2.0%. Most people spoke a language other than English at home. Languages spoken at home included Korean 9.8%, Tamil 9.5%, Mandarin 8.4%, Cantonese 5.7% and Hindi 3.1%. The top religious affiliations were Catholic 21.9%, Hinduism 20.5%, and those of no stated religion comprised 15.2%.[1]

Notable residents:


  1. Australian Bureau of Statistics (31 October 2012). "Homebush (State Suburb)". 2011 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 10 May 2013. 
  2. Australian Suburb Guide: Sydney Inner West Retrieved 7 August 2013.
  3. Jones, Michael (1985). Oasis in the West: Strathfield's first hundred years. North Sydney: Allen & Unwin Australia. ISBN 0-86861-407-6 (page 15)
  4. Village of Homebush Walking Tour Retrieved 7 August 2013.
  5. Strathfield History Images Retrieved 7 August 2013.
  6. Broughlea Retrieved 7 August 2013.
  7. "Family Notices.". Leader (Orange, NSW : 1912 - 1922) (Orange, NSW: National Library of Australia). 7 June 1916. p. 5. Retrieved 7 August 2013. 
  8. Hawthorne Retrieved 7 August 2013.
  9. Inglemere Retrieved 7 August 2013.
  10. ["SPORTING.". Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931) (Sydney, NSW: National Library of Australia). 16 May 1902. p. 2. Retrieved 7 August 2013. ]
  11. "Family Notices.". The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954) (NSW: National Library of Australia). 2 July 1917. p. 6. Retrieved 7 August 2013.

( MAIN WEB REF:   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homebush,_New_South_Wales )