Local history fast facts - D

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



This area was originally known as Yaranabe, possibly after a Sydney-based Aboriginal group of that name (spelt Yeranibe by David Collins) or an Aborigine, Yeranibe, who assimilated into the European settlement during the early days of the colony. The name Darling Point was intended to recognise the wife of Governor Darling rather than the Governor himself; the land is noted as Mrs Darling's Point in an 1831 field book of Surveyor Larmer. Eventually the title "Mrs" was dropped from the name in common usage, and the intentions behind the naming of the Point forgotten.

Darling Point was opened up for residential development in 1833, and became from that time a preferred place of residence for the most successful and wealthy members of Sydney's emerging society. Its reputation as a wealthy suburb and haven for members of the successful remains unchanged today. Aggressive re-development and re-subdivision, an inevitable consequence of the prevailing high land values, has ensured that the original 19th century estates have been broken up, and many of the original fine houses demolished. However some examples of these remain, such as Lindesay, Bishopscourt and Swifts.Today Darling Point is one of the most densely settled suburbs in Woollahra. Darling Point Road, which runs down the spine of the Point is the suburb's transport hub: starting at New South Head Road, it passes many examples of high rise apartments, early 20th century houses and the few remaining examples of the Victorian grand mansions, and St Mark's Church (built in 1852). Eventually it ends at the Harbour near the gates of beautiful Mckell Park.

DAVIES RESERVE - cnr Queen and Oxford Streets, Woollahra. The reserve is situated on land that was acquired in 1911 and named in honour of AId. C.W. Davies in 1951. Ald. Davies was a Woollahra Alderman during late 1940's and 1950's, and mayor in 1953. A garden fountain donated by the National Trust and originally from the house Rosemont, was installed on 29 November 1987.

DEEP DENE - The supermarket building No 222 Glenmore Road, Paddington was previously the Five Ways Picture Palace operated by the Hickey family. It started around 1915, was rebuilt in 1929 but closed in 1959, operating for a short time as a country music entertainment centre. Its original use was to serve as an entrance to the Deep Dene estate, a large house of Mr W. G. McCarthy, solicitor, on a four acre property running down to Glen Street.

DENISON STREET - was the original name for Holdsworth Street, Woollahra - renamed in honour of a Councillor of the first Woollahra Council in June 1913. (See James Jervis / A History of Woollahra, p. 124). Not to be confused with Denison Road.

DISTILLERY, THE SYDNEY - In 1823, partners Robert Cooper, Francis Forbes and James Underwood obtained a grant of 100 acres in north-east Paddington as incentive to establish a licensed distillery (the Sydney Distillery). The partnership broke up the following year, Forbes became insolvent and Cooper was levered out Ieaving Underwood in control of the enterprise - the Distillery was established by James Underwood in October, 1824. The distillery building of stone and having three floors was located roughly where the middle block of home units stands today at the bottom of Elizabeth Street, Paddington - refer Oxford Walk for details of the grant. Buildings to the east included a granary (store) and water mill for crushing the grain. The latter drew water from a dam on Glenmore Brook just below the escarpment near the end of Harris Street. Finding the operation unprofitable, Underwood leased the plant to Abercrombie and Mackay in 1836 who also found it difficult to run and turned to leather making by 1842 setting up a tannery in the store building - this was later carried on by John Begg and Ebenezer Vickery. In the same year, the lease was acquired by Henry Fisher, another distiller who ran into difficulties after the collapse, in 1844, of the upper dam (bottom of Elizabeth Street named after James' second wife). The complex was abandoned in the early 1860's and demolished in 1875 when subdivision of that part of Paddington took place.

DOUBLE BAY - Originally called Keltie Cove after the master of HMS Sirius. The present name came into use around 1821.

DOUBLE BAY PARK - See Steyne Park

DOUBLE BAY PUBLIC SCHOOL - Established in 1883; colours: navy and mid blue, motto: Kindness and Courtesy.

DOUBLE BAY VILLAGE - A site for a future Botanical Gardens was marked out by Governor Macquarie in 1821 but not proceeded with. In 1834, Major Thomas Mitchell submitted a plan to Governor Darling for the area to be made into a village of 31 lots, bounded by present day Ocean Avenue, New South Head Road, Bay Street and the harbour - auctioned off in 1835.

DOUBLE BAY WAR MEMORIAL, Steyne Park. Unveiled by the governor of NSW, Sir Walter Davidson on 2 August 1919, the memorial features a bronze statue of a soldier in bayonet charge designed and executed by sculptor William Priestley Macintosh. The statue was then mounted on a monumental pedestal base designed by Oscar Backhouse with the names inscribed of over 400 local residents who had volunteered for service in WWI. .

DOWER HOUSE - Victorian Rustic Gothic house built in 1842 by Thomas Whistler Smith for his mother (nee Penelope Whistler), now part of Ascham School.

DUFF RESERVE, Point Piper. The reserve was renamed Duff Reserve, in honour of Ald. Leslie Edye Duff, on 8 May 1950. The reserve was created in 1882 as part of a subdivision of the Point Piper Estate when it was 'reserved for public access to the water'. The reserved access area was known as Redvers Street. A scheme to create a 'rest park and look-out' was first proposed by council in 1938 and appears to have been carried out in modified form in the 1940s. The reserve was then known as Redvers Street Rest Park and Look-out. The 1938 scheme included paths, steps, retaining wall and shelter shed.

DUMARESQ RESERVE, Rose Bay. Dumaresq Reserve at the foot of Dumaresq Road, was named after Captain William Dumaresq who lived at 'Tivoli' on the foreshores of Rose Bay. The reserve was part of the Tivoli Estate and was formed as reclaimed land and a roadway for a planned subdivision of the estate in 1888-89. In October 1938 the reclaimed land on the foreshores was dedicated for public recreation. In 1960 Woollahra Council resumed the adjacent reserved road area for 'the provision of grounds for public health, recreation and convenience and the preservation of a place of natural scenery'.

DUNARA - 10 Dunara Gardens, Point Piper. Built originally on 2 acres around 1882-4 for Sir Charles Mackellar, eminent physician, the childhood home of poet Dorothea Mackellar.

DUNBAR - The Dunbar, a fast 'frigate built' ship on her second voyage from England to the Colony, struck the rocks at the base of Outer South Head (not at the Gap) in a furious south-easterly gale (not north-easterly as recorded on the plaque at the Gap) on the night of August 20/21, 1857 with the loss of 121 lives - there being only one survivor, the 23 year old James Johnson who was rescued from a ledge near Jacobs Ladder some 36 hours after the ship foundered. The remains of the victims together with those of the Catherine Adamson, wrecked a month later on North Head, were placed in a common grave at Camperdown Cemetery. Anchors retrieved in 1910 were subsequently placed at the grave site and at the Gap (1930). There is a carving in the rock just north of Outer South Head -'DUNBAR WP ESS' cut shortly after the sad event, recut in the early 1900's and again in 1992. A plaque was unveiled September 12, 1992 - positioning the site of the wreck. More information on the Dunbar(PDF, 145KB)

DUNBAR HOUSE, Watsons Bay. The house was built ca 1837 by Mortimer Lewis, Colonial Architect, and acquired by Pieter Laurentz Campbell, Colonial Treasurer who called it Zandoliet. In 1854 it became the Marine Hotel, changed later to the Greenwich Pier Hotel. A pier ran from there out into the bay for some time, post holes for which can be seen in the rock shelf at low tide. For a time the grounds housed a zoo and later an open-air picture theatre (Tiley Brothers). It became the Royal Hotel carrying the name until 1923. In 1924 Vaucluse Council purchased the house and moved its council chambers there from its original Military Road purpose built chambers. It was officially opened as the new council chambers in November 1924 and remained as the chambers until 1948 when amalgamation with Woollahra took place after 53 years of separation. The house was named 'Dunbar House' in 1950 following a resolution of Woollahra Council. A library service operated from rooms on the ground floor of the house from 1946 until 2010 when the library moved to the Watsons Bay Tea Rooms site.

DUXFORD HOUSE - Demolished house in Paddington. The home of John Gurner, one time Registrar of the Supreme Court and later a solicitor, was built around 1843 on his 7 1/4 acre grant of 8 July, 1833 which ran down the west of Cascade Street to Glenmore Road. Gurner later acquired a second holding of 8 1/8 acres to the west running back to Five Ways. The remains of the property was bought, after the last resident Gurner had died in 1886, by Thomas Broughton, his near neighbour at Bradley Hall. Duxford House, believed to have been designed by John Verge, stood at the south corner of present day Suffolk and Norfolk Streets. It was demolished in the early years of the 20th century for terrace house development.

DUXFORD STREET, Paddington - named after the home of John Gurner, Duxford House.

DYKES - Associated with 'Diatreme' type volcanos active in Jurassic times (160 million years ago). High pressure, high temperature steam generated by the action of ground water on molten rock forced the sandstone rock strata apart along natural joint lines allowing volatile volcanic rock (basaltic) to fill the gaps. Such dykes occur in Woollahra at Jacobs Ladder running across Watsons Bay to Camp Cove, Bottle & Glass, Hermit Bay, on Point Piper, at Woollahra and along the line of the creek in Cooper Park.

DYKES, JOHN - The John Dykes Estate was one of the last in the Municipality to be sub divided - offered for sale on 8 December, 1934. Streets created were Myall, Belah and John Dykes Avenues, Vaucluse - houses built there were mostly Functionalist and Art Deco and the most representative group of these styling