Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Hunters Hill- A Closer Look

In October 2011, we did a Jacaranda Cruise as part of the celebrations of Hunters Hill Sesquicentenary of becoming a Municipality in 1861.

That day we cruised the foreshores of Hunters Hill along the Lane Cove and Parramatta Rivers. Today we did a heritage walking tour to discover up close some of the rich history of Hunters Hill.

Of particular interest were:

Vienna Cottage, the National Trust property at 38 Alexandra Street. This stone cottage built in 1871 was the home of John Jacob Hellman and his wife Ann O'Donnell and their six children. John was a shoemaker by trade and came from Hamburg in Germany. Ann, an Irish bounty migrant, came from Mooneenreave, County Leitrim, Ireland.

Garibaldi Hotel, on the corner of Alexandra and Ferry Streets. This was Hunters Hill first hotel built in 1861 by Italian immigrant and local businessman, John Cuneo. It was named after the Italian patriot Giuseppe Garibaldi (1807-1882) who fought for the liberation and unification of Italy. It is a golden stone building with a classical Italian sculpture in a niche above the door.

History Services NSW in its Hotel and Liquor Licenses Database has a listing of the various publicans of the Garibaldi Hotel during the period 1865-1900.

First official Post Office at 23 Alexandra Street, Hunters Hill. This was in operation between 1879-1891 when the Postmistress was Miss Twentyman.

Current Post Office, at 32 Alexandra Street, diagonally across from the original Post Office. It is a heritage building built in 1891 as designed by the government architect, Walter Liberty Vernon, in Queen Anne Style. It is listed on the Register of the National Estate.

History Services NSW in its Government Contracts and Contractors Database has details of several contracts awarded by the Department of Public Works for building and repairs relating to the Hunters Hill Post Office in 1890s.

The Priory at Tarban Creek. This site was first used as a mixed farming establishment in 1836 by Thomas Stubbs. In 1847 he sold the farm to the French missionary order of the Society of Mary (Marist Fathers). They used the farm, buildings and gardens as their first base in Australia and as a rest and recuperation facility for their missionaries stationed in the South West Pacific. In 1857 the Marists extended Stubbs original sandstone farmhouse under the architect, William Weaver. They named the site "Villa Maria"

In 1864 when the Marists moved to the opposite side of Tarban Creek, the property was purchased by Thomas Salter who built on a gothic style and renamed it The Priory.

In 1888, The Priory became part of Gladesville Hospital. The surrounding land was farmed by the patients for the production of fruit and vegetables for hospital use, and in the Second World War an air raid shelter was cut into the terrace.

Church of the Holy Name of Mary, Mary St, Hunters Hill.

The original foundation stone of the church was blessed by Archbishop John Bede Polding on 12 Septmeber 1867 and laid on the 15 September. The church which is now the centre of the Marist Fathers Headquarters in Hunters Hill, was blessed and opened by Bishop Louis Elloy SM on 12 November 1871.
Our daughter was married in this church in 2003.

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