Local history fast facts - B

This information has been provided by the Local History Centre and the Woollahra History and Heritage Society.


BABWORTH HOUSE - Mount Adelaide Road, Darling Point. House of 40 rooms built for Sir Samuel Hordern II, in 1912 (Morrow & DE Peutron, architects) in a style combining elements of Federation Classical, Bungalow, a forerunner of Art Deco displaying Art Nouveau decorative motifs. In 1956 Sir Sam Hordern died and the property was bought by Major Harold Rubin who presented it to St Vincent's Hospital - for a time was an aftercare unit, a Sacred Heart Hospice and staff residential - refer Mt Adelaide.

BALFOUR ROAD, Rose Bay - was named after Arthur James, Earl of Balfour, British Prime Minister from 1902 to 1905 and Leader of the Conservative Party for over 20 years.

BALFOUR STREET, Bellevue Hill - Vivian Street was originally known as Balfour Street but renamed in 1912 after Charles A. Vivian, Town Clerk of Woollahra from 1883 to 1920.

BANK STREET, Darling Point - Name changed from Bank Street to Eastbourne Road in 1916.

BANKSIA & HULVERSTONE - Both houses face Double Bay and were built in the 1850's by Joseph Trickett, Master of the Royal Mint who, after a stay at Banksia (the corner house), moved to Shorewell, Queen Street, Woollahra. Captain Phillip Gidley King, grandson of the early Governor moved to Banksia in 1869.

BATHS, HARBOUR - In the first years of the 1900s, the Sydney Harbour Trust approved the construction of a number of public bathing enclosures along the harbour foreshores, reflecting the increased popularity of bathing as a pastime, and the rising fear of shark attack. The earliest harbour enclosure established in Woollahra was the Rushcutters Bay baths, anchored off the eastern side of the Bay, north of the naval complex. Vaucluse Council built baths at Watsons Bay at the foot of Gap Street (now Robertson Place) in 1905, the same year that baths were built off the northern edge of Lyne Park in Rose Bay. Of these three, only the Watsons Bay facility survives today. The Rose Bay baths, a floating bathing enclosure clad in corrugated iron and extending 50 metres out into the Bay, operated variously as 'Pike's Crystal Baths' and 'O'Keefe's Crystal Waters', and included a high diving tower. The structure was demolished c1942 when the area it occupied was required for an extension of the war-time Flying Boat base. The Rushcutter's Bay enclosure, for many years known as 'Farmer's baths', fell into disrepair and was eventually dismantled in 1974. While the original Watsons Bay baths were demolished in 1923, a new structure on the same site was completed by 1927 and enlarged in the early 1960s with the addition of a new section designed to meet the standards and dimensions required for NSW inter-club swimming competition. The Watsons Bay baths underwent a major refurbishment in 2010, providing an Olympic-sized swimming enclosure with many additional leisure features.

BAY COTTAGE, Watsons Bay - Built in 1835 for Mrs Fullerton the wife of Harbour Master Captain Fullerton. The land associated with the cottage extends from Old South Head Rd to Hopetoun Avenue.

BEAULIEU STREET, Vaucluse - This street-name was changed from Beaulieu Street to Ray Avenue in 1935.

BELAH AVENUE, Vaucluse - formed as part of the Dykes Estate of 1933/34. Vaucluse Council minutes record that Council formally adopted the name 5.11.1934 as an example of 'Aboriginal nomenclature'.

BELLEVUE HILL - The name given to the suburb was taken from that given to the look-out area which later became Bellevue Park - named 'Belle Vue' by Governor Macquarie as an alternative to the colloquial 'Vinegar Hill' which Macquarie considered vulgar.

BELLEVUE HILL PUBLIC SCHOOL - Birriga Road, Bellevue Hill. Established in 1925, the existing building being extended in 1929. The school colours are 'maroon and gold', and the motto 'Truth and Honour'.

BELLEVUE PARK, Bellevue Hill. A long-established Look-out point on Bellevue Hill, the land for this park (originally a little over an acre plus provision for an entry from Old South Head Road) was acquired by the colonial authorities from the Cooper estate in order to reserve the place for public recreation in perpetuity. The park area was subsequently increased to the present size of some two acres. Woollahra Council was appointed the trustee nearly forty years later (gazetted on November 16, 1888)

BENTLEY'S BRIDGE, Rushcutters Bay - A stone arch bridge carrying New South Head Road over Rushcutters Creek, built in 1839 by Lieu. A.C.D. Bentley of the 50th Regiment. The stone bridge replaced a wooden trestle bridge built in 1834. Bentley's bridge was completely replaced by one of girder decking in the early 1890s, which was widened to its present width around 1932.

BICENTENNIAL CLIFF WALK - A walking track of 1.1 km from Christison Park to Signal Hill Reserve which skirts the cliff line in Vaucluse and was constructed in 1988 by the Woollahra Council with financial assistance from the Australian Bicentennial Authority. It was opened on Sunday September 11, 1988 by Mayor, AId. Susan Collett.

BISCAYA, No 27 Victoria Road, Bellevue Hill. This grand residence in Mediterranean Villa style with a strong Spanish Mission accent was built in the 1930s by architect F. Gyn Gilling, and substantially refurbished in 1984. The house has also carried the name 'Alcooringa', and served for some time as a consular residence. The house is one of the most prominent and best examples of the styling in the Municipality.

BISHOPS COURT, Greenoaks Avenue, Darling Point. Gothic Revival house built 1841, for Thomas Woolley, a Sydney ironmonger, calling it Percyville with J.F. HILLY as architect. Most of the front of the present house is the original design. In 1846, Thomas Sutcliffe Mort purchased the property and enlarged it, naming it Greenoaks and in the late 1850's to the early 1860's transformed the interior in a grand manner - Blacket was his architect. Further extensions were made in 1935 to the designs of Leslies Wilkinson. It has been the Anglican Archbishop's residence since 1911.

BLACKBURN COVE - David Blackburn was master of H.M.S. Supply, the first vessel of the First Fleet to enter Sydney Harbour and it likely that it was named after him.

BLACKBURN GARDENS - New South Head Road adjacent to the Woollahra Council Chambers. Developed as a public garden and landscaped in its present formal style in 1954-5. officially opened September 3, 1955 -see also 'Redleaf', and 'St Brigids'.

BLACKET, EDMUND - He was the architect who designed the major Gothic churches including St Peters, Watsons Bay, St Michael's, Vaucluse, St Mark's, Darling Point, All Saints', Woollahra and a number of homes in the area.

BOOM NET - see World War II Anti-torpedo Boom Net.

BOTO FOGO - A planned sub division in Watsons Bay. In anticipation of being in title to the 'Watson Claim' land, a sub division of the land that as subsequently granted to Henry Horton James (11 acres) and Francis Mitchell (39 acres) was made around 1836 being referred to as the Village of 'Tivoli' or Boto Fogo the former an allusion to the Country villas in the Sabine hills west of Rome and the latter to a suburb of Rio de Janiero; typical developer hype - the lots did not sell well since title was not available. The Mitchell grant subsequently became known as the Village of Beaconsfield.

BOTTLE AND GLASS - Nielsen Park. The island to the east of Vaucluse Point apparently once resembled a glass and a bottle. Legend has it that their appearance was somewhat altered by the use of the island as a target for gunnery practice. The island is readily accessible at low tide. The peninsular follows the line of a volcanic dyke of Jurassic age (160 million years ago).

BOUNDARY STONE - Cnr Bell St and Old South Head Road, Watsons Bay. One and a half metre high block of shaped sandstone set in the brick front fence is a boundary marker similar to those used to mark the extent of the Wentworth (Vaucluse) estate.

BRADLEY AVENUE, Bellevue Hill - was named in 1910. Prior to this it was known as Vivian Street South.

BRADLEY HALL - Demolished house in Paddington. Halfway down Bennetts Grove Avenue is the remains of a high stone wall which runs from Union Street and formed the southern border the Broughton Estate also the border of the original Underwood grant. Bradley Hall, a single storey Colonial Georgian house, was built in 1845 for Thomas Broughton, merchant, Lord Mayor of Sydney, 1846 and a member of the first Legislative Assembly. The house stood in the centre of present day Stafford Street a little to the east of Duxford Street on the 8 1/4 acre grant to William Lithgow of January 8, 1833. Broughton acquired the second Gurner holding (8 1/8 acres) in 1845 and the remainder of Gurner's estate in 1886 - his property then ran from Heeley St to Cascade St. This was sold off in 1898 and sub divided, being the last estate in Paddington to be broken up - built on in the early 1900's, some of the houses show strong Federation influences.

BREAKWELL GRANT - Of 60 acres, bordered by present day Bay View Hill/Towns, Old South Head Roads, Fernleigh Avenue and the foreshore was given to Irish man Samuel Breakwell a 'dealer' initially on 25 August, 1812 and formalised again on 8 March, 1831 - Breakwell was associated with Sir Henry Browne-Hayes. The grant was sold on 2 May, 1831 and settled down to five large blocks comprising the Mitchell, Tivoli, Fernleigh, Osborne Estates and the Sir John Hay portion.

BERESFORD ROAD, Rose Bay - named after Charles William De La Poer Beresford, 1st Baron, British Admiral and, intermittently,conservative Member of Parliament. Born 1846, died 1919.

BRICK WHARF - A wharf on the Rose Bay side of Vickery Avenue and presently used by the Cranbrook School as a boat shed and built upon. The base structure of this was a brick wharf used by the Clyde Brick Company. Bricks were barged in from the Homebush area - deep water on the east of the wharf - and unloaded in crates by a crane mounted on the NE corner of the wharf. This was the last of such wharves that existed on this part of the harbour foreshore - another such existed at the foot of Wharf Road, Vaucluse and became the 12 foot Amateur Sailing Club facility. On the eastern corner of Vickery Avenue and New South Head Road and the present site of the Tingira Memorial Garden, there was a small brick building used as a sales office. When, Clyde ceased operating this facility around 1940, it became a small garden supplies shop selling i.a. 'Anderson's seeds'. This area was part of the original Reserve dedicated for public recreation and now forms part of the Tingira Reserve and houses the 'lingira Memorial.

BROOKSBY - Demolished house, was on the slopes of Darling Point in Double Bay opposite Guilfoyle Avenue. Believed built by James Maclehose in 1838 (unnamed) and occupied on completion by George Cooper Turner, a Solicitor. It was bought by Mr Robert Johnson in 1847 who named it Brooksby after his family home in Leicestershire: later occupied by Robert Tooth (additions by BLACKET in I848-50) also by Thomas Mort - demolished in 1965 (G. Nesta Griffiths, 'Some Houses and People in NSW). More information on Brooksby(PDF, 198KB)

BROUGHAM - cnr Nelson and Wallis Sts, Woollahra - Built in the early 1860's, added to in 1870 and again in the 1900's, the house was occupied by Judge James S. Dowling of the District Court, up to the early 1900's and by Frederick H. King, a Solicitor, up to the early 1930's. It was purchased by the N.S.W. State Government, and used until 1992 under the control of the Department of Youth as a Reception Centre.

BROUGHAM LODGE - see Callooa.
BUCKHURST - In 1856, Edwin Tooth acquired from Daniel Cooper 40 acres (16 ha.) on the south side of New South Head Road and 6 acres (2.4 ha.) on the north side running down to the foreshore. He did not make use of this land and died in 1858 bequeathing his land to his two brothers Robert and Frederick. Robert built 'Cranbrook' (refer Cranbrook). Frederick built 'Buckburst' on the northern section and lived there with his large family until 1865 - the property was subdivided in 1908. The house no longer exists but the name is perpetuated in the street Buckburst Avenue in Point Piper, roughly where the house stood, and in the block of units. No. 574 New South Head Road, Point Piper.

BYRN Y MOR - 11 Wyuna Road, Point Piper. Professor Haswell (Mimihau) persuaded his Colleague Professor Sir Mungo MacCallum who occupied the Challis Chair of Modern Literature at Sydney University to move to the Point, building Byrn Y Mor, then next door to Haswell - the house was replaced in the 1970's.