Local history fast facts - S

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


SACRED HEART CONVENT - Rose Bay. The Convent of the Sacred Heart Rose Bay was founded in 1882. The Society of the Sacred Heart leased the house Claremont, later purchasing the site and building the Convent School, completed in 1888, extended in 1922 in the same style, again in 1927, 1951 and 1955. The master work of this complex is the Chapel completed in 1900 and designed by architect John Horbury Hunt. The school amalgamated with Kincoppal at Elizabeth Bay in 1971 becoming Kincoppal-Rose Bay School of the Sacred Heart.

SAILING CLUBS - Regattas were held in Double Bay for many years, the first recorded was on New Year's Day, 1867 with races for yachts up to 22 feet (6.7 m.) and an ocean event. The 18 footer open boat class was created in the early 1890's with the formation of the 'Sydney Flying Squadron Yacht Club'. The class quickly developed to monumental proportions - up to 24 feet (7.3 m.) beam boats and 24 crewmen, heavy spars and gear which ultimately proved too costly to build and maintain. These were phased out around 1900 generally being replaced by 8 foot (2.4 m.) beam boats. In 1935, the 'N.S.W. 18 Footer Sailing League' commenced racing using 7 foot (2.2 m.) beam boats, with crew of 7-8. Postwar trends saw the development of the 6 foot (1.8 m.) beam boat progressing into the 'high-tech' flying machine of today. The League's presence in Double Bay started in 1958 in 'lreland's' boat shed with the present premises being opened in 1961 but repaired and substantially renovated in 1990 and officially re-opened by lain Murray on June 16.

The Vaucluse Amateur 12 ft. Sailing Club was formed in 1926, the club house being located at the foot of Wharf Road, Vaucluse was opened in 1930 and 'two-storeyed' in 1934. Although 12 ft yachts ceased to be raced after 1985 a number of other classes are raced. The Vaucluse Yacht Club was a breakaway from the 12 ft Club and was formed to build and race the VJ class of boats designed by Sil Rohu and Charlie Sparrow although the first were built at the 12 ft Club. These being quickly righted after a capsize were intended for low cost amateur construction and as trainers for youngsters - a VS class boat for 'seniors' followed. Its Club Room is located in Watsons Bay at the foot of Robertson Parade.

Double Bay Sailing Club was established off Steyne Park in 1958 sailing a number of classes.
Woollahra Sailing Club was established in 1959 with club rooms built in Lyne Park in 1985 sails a number of classes of yachts.

Royal Prince Edward Yacht Club is located at 160 Wolseley Road, Point Piper and was established in 1923, named in honour of Prince Edward, the then Prince of Wales, following his visit to Australia in 1920. Its first commodore was Sir Alexander MacCormick. Cruising Yacht Club of Australia located in Rushcutters Bay deals in big ocean racers.

ST ANDREW'S PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH - Dover Road, Rose Bay. The Church was opened for Divine Service on November 1, 1913 and contains stained glass windows, 'barn-Gothic' rafters, the 'Hill' organ (1885), the cedar pews, stone font, memorial plaques and communion plate (1839) which came from the original St Andrew's Scots Church built in 1835 and located in Sydney City behind St Andrew's Cathedral - it was the second Scots Church in Sydney. The memorial plaques include those to Dr John McGarvie (1853), a prominent educationalist and to Alan Cunningham (1839), botanist and explorer.

ST ANTHONY'S CHURCH - Watsons Bay. Small Roman Catholic church was built in 1870 largely by the Portuguese community - now part of the Vaughan Village. It was replaced by Our Lady Star of the Sea Church.

ST BRIGID'S - 548 New South Head Road, Double Bay. House designed by English architect Frederick Moore Simpson and built in 1897 for Captain Arthur Lassetter. It was purchased by Woollahra Council in 1951, becoming the Woollahra Municipal Library in 1957.

ST CANICE - cnr Loftus Rd and Annandale St, Darling Point. Gothic style house built in 1860's by Edward Butler and named after the patron saint of his native Kilkenny. It now houses the Jean Colvin Hospital managed by the Cancer Patients Assistance Society of N.S.W. as is the house Ecclesbourne in Ocean Ave.

ST COLUMBA UNITING CHURCH - cnr Forth and Ocean Sts, Woollahra. Built to the design of architect John Sulman following early Christian basilica style, the Church was opened for Divine Service on 8 March 1890 as a Presbyterian Church. The Church was named for Saint Columba (521-597), the founder of the Monastery of Iona (island off Argyllshire, Scotland). A native of Ireland, he made frequent missionary visits to the Highlands of Scotland.

ST JAMES' GLEBE - Edgecliff. The Glebe was granted to the church in King St, Sydney in September, 1842 and totalled some 29 acres (11.7 ha.) and bordered by Glenmore, New South Head, Ocean and Jersey Roads and Trumper Park. The land was subdivided and given over to others generally under 99 year leases developed from the 1850's. Those that exist in Herbert Rd, Cameron and Great Thorne Sts are mostly original terrace and free standing houses built in the latter half of the 19th century. The development consequent on the Eastern Suburbs Railway destroyed the commercial streetscape including the Horbury Hunt McLean's Butchery previously on the corner of McLean Street. The Edgecliff Preparatory School was originally located there.

ST JOSEPH'S CHURCH - Albert St, Edgecliff. A Roman Catholic church was erected in 1866 but the present structure, of early English Gothic style, dates from 1874 it is ministered by Franciscan Friars. It is said that the Church largely attended to the spiritual needs of the many serving girls of Irish extraction attached to the large homes in the area.

ST KEVIN'S - 117 Queen Street, Woollahra. The house was built 1892-93 for DR Patrick Collins to the design of John Bede Barlow and is the only known building by this architect surviving unaltered. It was restored in the 1970's by Leo Schofield.

ST KILLIAN'S - see Aspinall House

ST MARK'S CHURCH - An Anglican Church on Darling Point Road, Darling Point. In 1839, St Peter's Church, Cooks River, was established but because of the vast area its clergy was required to cover, Chapels of Ease were attached - Newtown, Canterbury, Kogarah, Botany and St Mark's temporary chapel, Alexandria North (now Darling Point). In 1847, the Rev. Thomas Steele of St Peter's secured the use of a coach house belonging to Mr Thomas Ware Smart of Mona as a chapel - the first church wardens being Mr Smart, Thomas Whistler Smith and T.S. Mort (the three Toms). The Holy Trinity Church at Horncastle, Lincolnshire, England formed the model for St Mark's, built under the direction of Edmund Blackett and on land donated by T.S. Mort - the spire was added in 1875 and donated by William Laidley. St Mark's was opened for Divine Service on November 7, 1852.

ST MARK'S CRESCENT SCHOOL - Darling Point Road, Darling Point. The School was established by the sisters Macauley. A high class boy's preparatory boarding and day school, it operated up to 1907 in the Rustic Gothic style house adjacent to St Mark's Church.

ST MARK'S COTTAGE - Darling Point Rd, Darling Point. The Laidleys were a family of considerable significance in the history of Darling Point. James Laidley (1788-1835) arrived in Sydney in 1827 becoming Commissary-General living at Rose Bank (site of the old William Street Post Office) and had eight children. His first daughter, Theresa, married Thomas Sutcliffe Mort, the second, Elizabeth, married James Mitchell, the third, Maria married Henry Mort, the fourth, Catherine Marianne, married James Dowling and another Emily married a George Merrivale (Annery). His son William was to donate the spire for St Mark's Church. James died in 1835 and his widow lived for some time before her death in 1860 in St Mark's Cottage.

ST MARY MAGDALENE'S CHURCH - New South Head Road, Rose Bay. This Roman Catholic Church was established in 1920 and built to the designs of architect J. Barlow. The tower was added in 1932 and additions made in 1938 by Leslie Wilkson.

ST MERVYN'S - A large house 'St Mervyn's', built to the designs of J. Horbury Hunt, stood where the block of units of the same name now stand and to the west of St Mervyn's Avenue, Point Piper, while the 'Lodge' building can still be seen on the New South Head Road frontage. More information on St Mervyn's(PDF, 248KB).

ST MICHAEL'S CHURCH - An Anglican Church in Gilliver Road, Vaucluse. Gothic rusticated sandstone church built in 1877 (Edmund Blackett), with three bays in the nave. Transepts were added in 1907 and 1910 (Cyril Blacket), altered and extended in 1928 & 1938 (Leslie Wilkinson). It was awarded Sulman Prize in 1942. The spire was rebuilt in 1965.

ST PAUL'S CHURCH - A previous Anglican Church, Nos 94-96 Newcastle Street, Rose Bay. The first church (later the Church Hall) was opened for Divine Service 17 October, 1918 and the second dedicated 1 December, 1929. It was a small brick church which ceased as a parish church in 1991 the property sold off.

ST PETER'S CHURCH - An Anglican Church in Warsons Bay. Built in 1864 in early English Gothic style in a characteristic rural Edmund Blacket design. The church is unique in that except for the choir vestry added in 1902, two new roofs and an added organ gallery it remains exactly as it was originally designed.

ST STEPHEN'S CHURCH - An Anglican Church in Victoria Road, Bellevue Hill, replacing a previous church in Edgecliff Road, Woollahra. A brick Inter-War Romanesque style structure with a little hint of Art Deco was dedicated on March 28, 1932 by the Most Rev. John Charles Wright, the Archbishop of Sydney. Its cycle of stained glass windows, although modest are outstanding and quite varied in nature.

SALISBURY ROAD, Rose Bay - was named after Robert Cecil Salisbury, 1st Earl of Salisbury - British Statesman who succeeded his father as Queen Elizabeth I's Chief Minister.

SAMUEL PARK, Vaucluse - Vaucluse Council Minutes of 7.01.1931 (page 405) show that Alderman Combes moved and Alderman Flood seconded a motion that three acres of land on the New South Head Road (formerly known as the Shaftsbury Grounds) be dedicated by the Government to Vaucluse Council for public recreation purposes and be named "Samuel Park" as a token of appreciation to the Mayor, Alderman Alfred Charles Samuel for his untiring efforts in the welfare of the Municipality.


SCOTS COLLEGE - Established at Brighton in 1893, the College transferred to Bellerue Hill at St Killian's, a leased property of 10 acres in 1895, bought in 1907 by the Presbyterian Church. In 1922 Kambala was acquired for the Preparatory school while in 1950 the Fairfax property Ginahgulla was purchased, in 1953 the Chapel was built and in 1988 Glengarry in the Kangaroo Valley acquired (first intake 1989). The College motto is Utinam patribus nostris digni simus (O that we may be worthy of our forefathers), colours blue and gold - see Aspinall House and Ginahgulla.

SCOTTISH HOSPITAL - 2 Cooper Street, Paddington. A house, originally known as The Terraces, was built in ca.1848-9 for Henry Burton Bradley. Burton, a noted horticulturist, created terraced gardens and a number of significant trees remain on the site. It was acquired by Sir Alexander MacCormick (Kilmory, Point Piper) an eminent surgeon and academic, and others, in 1901, with the purpose of establishing a private hospital. Sir Alexander retired in 1926 and donated the hospital to the Presbyterian Church in memory of his son who was killed in WWI. The hospital became known as the Scottish Hospital. In 1998 the hospital ceased to operate as a private hospital and in 2002 the Presbyterian Church obtained approval to develop the site as an aged care facility.

SEAFORD HOUSE - see Gladswood Gardens.

SEVEN SHILLINGS BEACH - This, the eastern half of Double Bay and formerly known as 'Busby's Beach', the origin of its name enjoying a number versions. One states that a nurse employed by Captain John Piper lost a purse containing that sum subsequently recovered in a fisherman's net, another, that a substantial haul of fish was sold to Captain Piper for that sum, the most recent, that the Busby's bought the native 'fishing rights' for that sum. Except for 'Redleaf Pool', its foreshore is privately owned but currently open to the public.

SHARK POINT - see Steele Point


SHIRASE, NABU - see Japanese Antarctic Expedition

SID EINFELD DRIVE - The Bondi Junction Bypass was officially opened Tuesday, January 9, 1979 and named The Sid Einfeld Drive on Friday, February 5, 1988.

SIDDINS GRANT - the southern part of Robertson Park in Watsons Bay. Land area of 3 1/2 acres was granted to Richard Siddins (Siddens and Siddons) on 12 September, 1834 on which his house was located, roughly in present day Clovelly Street north east of present day Dunbar House. Siddins later became Superintendent of the South Head Lighthouse.

SIGNAL HILL - Old South Head Road, Watsons Bay. The fortifications there were originally built to accommodate a 9.2 inch breech loading disappearing gun' as part of Sydney's coastal defence - two others were installed, one at Bondi North (still in position but buried) and the other at Clovelly. It was housed in the centre of the group and had a steel canopy with a slot through which the barrel protruded in the firing position. It was hydraulically jacked-up to the firing position with the recoil pushing it down under the canopy for reloading. The gun was commissioned in 1893, the last firing there was in 1933 and it was removed in 1937 and replaced by two 6 inch MK 11 guns placed in each of the outer pits - these were removed after World War II. The barrel of the 9.2 inch disappearing gun can be seen at the Artillery Museum at North Head. A memorial was placed there in November, 1992 by the Royal Australian Signal Corps Association on behalf of its members while two plaques were also placed on March 30, 1993 placing the Reserve in proper historical perspective.

SIGNAL STATION - see South Head Signal Station

SILCHESTER - 4 Trahlee Rd, Bellevue Hill. Four storey block of eight flats built in 1930 around a central courtyard (Architect: Leslie Wilkinson).

SOLDIERS ALLEY, Watsons Bay - now known as Clovelly Street.

SOUTH HEAD LIGHTHOUSE - see Macquarie Lighthouse

SOUTH HEAD ROAD -The South Head Road was originally cleared as a 15 feet (4.5 m.) public way in 1803 by Surgeon John Harris and roughly on the line of present day Old South Head Road/Oxford Street. The inscription on the obelisk in Robertson Place, Watsons Bay indicates that the road was improved in 1811 by 21 soldiers of Macquarie's 73rd Regiment over 10 weeks the work was undertaken through subscriptions made. This evidently provided for an access route down the hillside from the Lookout Post to Watsons Bay. The monument is the oldest in the Woollahra area. The road, 7 miles long (11.3 km) with 11 bridges, was rebuilt in 1820 by Major Druitt. Until 1854, the South Head Road, as a road, terminated at the Signal Station, then the road was extended to Watsons Bay by the present route eliminating a very rough route down the hillside.

SOUTH HEAD ROADS TRUST - Set up by Act in May, 1848 controlling Old South Head Road, New South Head Road and Point Piper Road ( now Jersey Road/Ocean Street) totalling 15 miles (24 km.). Two Turnpike gates were set up to extract tolls from users. Maintenance of these roads was very poor and after many deputations, the Trust was disbanded in 1904.

SOUTH HEAD SIGNAL STATION - Watsons Bay. Established on 20 January, 1790 by Capt. John Hunter as a 'Lookout Post' with huts and a flagstaff to signal to the Governor when a ship appeared in the offing. The present sandstone tower was part built in the 1840's (Mortimer Lewis, architect) and completed in the 1890's. The Station ceased as a government instrumentality in March, 1992. More information on South Head Signal Station(PDF, 250KB).

SOW AND PIGS - submerged reef that separates the Harbour's eastern and western channels and is the location of for rounding markers. The group of rocks suggests a large sow with her litter.

SPENCER LANE, Rose Bay - formed from land resumed from the purchasers of two adjoining allotments of land on the Carlise Estate in 1911 (See WMC Minutes Jan-Nov. 1911, pp. 320,380,383,411). Named following a motion moved by Alderman Millin (WMC Minutes 13.11.1911, p. 504) presumably after the already existing Spencer Street.

SPENCER STREET, Rose Bay - was part of the Carlisle Estate which was subdivided in 1903. Named changed from Cranbrook Street to Spencer Street on a motion of Woollahra Council (see Minutes of 25.10.1909, p. 93).

SPRINGFIELD - Demolished house in Darling Point Road, Darling Point. Originally of one storey the house was built around 1880 on the bend of Darling Point Road near the course of permanent water (spring) from whence the house took its name. See also Springfield for for more information. More information on Springfield(PDF, 382KB).

STABLES, THE - Darling Point, 28 Yarranabbe Rd. Built on the site of a previous quarry at the foot of the Denhohm property, it is a fine stone house with parapeted gables and stone balcony.

STADIUM - See Sydney Stadium

STEELE POINT - Nielsen Park. Named after one of the joint Secretaries to the Treasury in England in Governor Phillip's time and is often wrongly spelled 'Steel'. It is sometimes called Shark Point and provides one of the most spectacular views of Sydney Harbour. It contains one of its early fortified sites, comprising three gunpits with associated magazines etc, built in 1871 originally housing 80 pounder Rifled Muzzle Loaders (RML's) to 1894 then replaced by 5 inch Breech Loaders, removed around 1907.

STEYNE PARK - Established as part of the village of Double Bay, named after 'The Steyne' in Brighton, England. More information on Steyne Park(PDF, 344KB).

STREET NAME INLAYS - In the 1930's, an extensive programme of implanting street names in footpaths, kerbs and gutters was undertaken throughout the Woollahra Municipality of the time - over 600 were put in place.

STRICKLAND HOUSE - Established in 1915 as a women's convalescent hospital and named after Sir Gerald Strickland , N.S.W. State Governor, 1913-17, closed December, 1989 - see Carrara and Greycliffe.

STRUAN LODGE - No 14 Roslyndale Ave, Woollahra. A Georgian Revival house built in the 1920's by architect Hardy Wilson.

STRUAN LODGE - No. 26 William Street, Double Bay. Two storey house probably built c. 1883. Previously known as Undine.

SUSPENSION BRIDGE - Parsley Bay. The Bridge was the creation of Edwin Sautelie, the then Council Clerk and Engineer of the Vaucluse Municipal Council and built in 1910 to improve access to the ferry wharf on Point Seymour. Legend has it that a peg was placed at a point on the southern side and instruction given that the bridge was to be built to the right of the peg. However, in facing the wrong way around, the instruction was misconstrued and the bridge placed too far to the west requiring the acquisition of property and leaving a 'kick' in the approach to it.

SUTHERLAND CRESCENT, Darling Point - renamed from Carthona Road by a motion of Woollahra Council, 14.07.1902.

SUTTIE ROAD, Double Bay - Sir Daniel Cooper (1848-1909), son of the first Sir Daniel Cooper of Woollahra House, married Harriet, daughter of Sir James Grant-Suttie in 1886.

SWIFTS - Corner Darling Point Road and Thornton Street, Darling Point. Robert Lucas Tooth, a nephew of Robert Tooth who built Cranbrook, built a house on the site in 1875 The present house, a Victorian Academic Gothic mansion built in 1882 (G.A. Morrell, architect) modelled on his father's home, Swift Park at Cranbrook, Kent. It contains 42 rooms decorated in Italian style. In 1915 it was acquired by Edmund Resch, bequeathed to the Catholic Church for the Cardinal's residence, currently in private hands.

SYDNEY STADIUM - Hugh Donald Macintosh ushered in a new era in Australian Boxing when he leased a Chinese market garden site at Rushcutters Bay on the corner of New South Head Road and Neild Avenue. Here he built the Sydney Stadium to promote a world title fight between Tommy Burns and Bill Squires on 24th August 1908. Burns won this first major competition (although there were a few earlier exhibition matches) by a knockout in the 13th Round. The early big fights proved to extremely popular and profitable.

On 26th December 1908, Tommy Burns accepted an offer of 6,000 pounds to defend his heavy weight title against Jack Johnson - the first Black American to try for a world title in the class - at Sydney Stadium. This fight provoked a huge amount of interest in Sydney for a number of reasons: there was an increasing interest in all things American in Australia due in part to the visit of the United States Great White Fleet to Australia, the novelty of Johnson being Black and a prevailing fear in some quarters that if Burns were defeated it might signal a weakness in what was seen as the Anglo-Saxon Race. This interest encouraged a huge crowd to pay to watch the fight.

According to the Australian Encyclopaedia, Johnson was to receive 1,500 pounds but when he saw the full house on the night of the fight he demanded more money. Macintosh forced Johnson to enter the ring a gunpoint. The fight was stopped by police in round 14 when Burns was knocked out, though the referee awarded the fight on points to Johnson.

The Stadium was roofed in 1911 and in 1912 was acquired by the sportsman Reginald "Snowy" Baker (1884-1953) and his brother Harald. In 1914, Stadiums Pty. Ltd. was formed with Baker, Richard Lean and the Melbourne based financier and gambler John Wren (1871-1953) as the chief shareholders.

World War I restrictions closed the Stadium in 1916, and it reopened at the end of the War. Boxing matches continued to be held at the Stadium until the 1970s, although by the 1950s it was also being used for music and stage productions and for over half a century was an important part of Sydney's popular culture.

The Stadium was demolished in 1973 to make way for the overhead section of the Eastern Suburbs Railway. Its former site is marked by a plaque.