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Monday, September 26, 2011

Commercial premises Springwood

Delaney Bros Butchers




Hurley's who purchased Delaney's premises & house
This photograph is taken at the rear of the premises & shows
 the residence




William Rayner's General Store
left & Nosworthy & Bates is believed to be the shop on the right 
General Store

H.J. Baldwin – 1930s

Viv Colless - c1905 4 weatherboard shops located opposite the Post Office.  Burnt to ground in 1913 & rebuilt 1914.

Tom Ellis - building owned by Ted Honeysett.  Business later purchased by Eric Young

Archie Ferguson - early1900s

Fripps

W. Hall - located in one of Colless's shops

William Honeysett – c1893 store near Royal Hotel

George Mitchelmore – store purchased by H.J. Baldwin

Nosworthy & Bates – Thomas Nosworthy and William Bates shop located adjacent to present-day            School of Arts Town Square

William Rayner – late 1800s

Eric Young - c1930/40s business purchased from Tom Ellis

Butcher Shops

Edward Allen – c1896

Ashe (Horsley bought business)

Edward Ashcroft – took over Dilworth’s business

Ray Bennett – c1930s

John Blackmore – c1910

Mr. Brown – bought Stratton’s business

Eric Bunyan - 1932

Delaney Bros. – Hurley purchased business

Thomas Dilworth – building located on site of present-day Priceline chemist, owned by David Sharpe

Charles Goodwin – 1890s (was an employee of William Rayner)

J. Harris – c1900s

Horsley – 1905 (bought business owned by Mr Ashe)

William Hurley – purchased ‘Kirkstall’ and butchers business operated by Delaney Bros.

James Morrison – c1890s

J.B. Rogers – last butchers to operate from David Sharpe’s building

David Sharpe – c1900s (subsequently Dilworth, Ashworths & Rogers)

James Stratton – c1891 opposite station?  Bought by Mr. Brown
Hairdressers
James Moyes Adamson
W. Brown - from one of Colless's shops c1913
Ham & Beef Shop (now delicatessen)
William John Werner - c1913
Pharmacy
Lock Anderson - c1920s
Refreshment Rooms
Mr Kilduff
* This information is not definitive

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Dairy Trade - Milkmen and dairy farmers

Joe & Beryl Benoit
Benoit family Valley Heights - 'Elmside' dairy & milkman started by Diana and Alexander Benoit in late 1800s. Merv Benoit carried on the tradition.

Thomas Dillworth - c1903 (sold to Mr Street c1905)

T. Farmer - 1924 dairyman

Amy Kearns - dairy Hawkesbury Road 'Sunning Hill' c1920s

Forbes Briown Kerry - diary & milkman (?) Raymond Road Springwood

Mr. J. Radcliffe - dairy & milkman Hawkesbury Road

William Henry Rowling - milkman Valley Heights

Stratton family - dairy Grose Road Faulconbridge (James, Isabella & Minnie)

F.C. Tart - dairyman 1932

Alf Webb - dairyman

Mr Street - c1905

* 'Weemala' at Linden had its own dairy

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Architecture - The place of the summerhouse in public parks


Richmond Park England

A much more extravagant summerhouse in the grounds of Tring House Herefordshire
A recent post on this site mentioned how‘summerhouses,’ located in Lomatia Park Springwood, were used by tramps during the latter part of the 1930s.  This set me to wondering about the history of these small buildings that graced – but have now all but disappeared - many parks.  However, locating the history has been no mean fete and this offering is by no means complete.

One article suggested that the modern jargon describes the ‘Gazebo or Summerhouse as a structure built in the garden for rest and recreation.’[1]   The structure is regarded as a place of refuge and has taken on different architectural forms which in the extreme include styles like Renaissance, Baroque, Palladian, Chinese, Gothic, Indian, American and so on.[2]  Most were modest in size and relatively cheap to construct however, there were exceptions especially structures that were built in private homes.[3]  As such, the summerhouse has a long history because it would seem that they gained popularity in England during the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries where they were placed in ‘large parks and private estates.’[4]

Another article confirmed the above and suggested that in the 1920s a firm in England began to manufacture revolving ones in order to catch that elusive English sun.[5] It would seem there is a brisk trade at auctions for anyone interested in acquiring a genuine old summerhouse.  Pre-war examples by Barnard, Bishop & Barnard from Norwich and the firm of Henry & Julias Caesar sell for thousands of pounds.[6]

However, the ones that were found in public parks in Australia were usually of the modest kind;  built out of weatherboard or a combination of wood, brick or sandstone.  Examples, although difficult to access because of road widening, exist in Blaxland, but the concrete fabricated  ones in the park at Mount Victoria are more easily reached.

Jackson Park Faulconbridge



Concrete structures Mount Victoria Park

Pope's Glen Wentworth Falls

War Memorial Park Woodford




Pamela Smith      



[1] The Australian Summerhouse Company, ‘The History of Gazebos,’
[2]  Ibid.
[3] Ibid.
[4] Ibid.
[5] Katrina Burroughs, Times Online, ‘Gimme Shelter,’ http://property.timesonline.co.uk, 22.7.2007, accessed
  20.9.2011.
[6] Ibid.

Newspaper articles

The Blue Mountains seemed to attract its fair share of wandering tramps during times of economic stress.  For example, several years after the Great Depression the Nepean Times newspaper reported that an incident involving wandering tramps was causing duress to the residents of Holland Street in Springwood.  It would seem that the tramps made a habit of visiting Lomatia Park on Sunday to wash their megre wardrobe which was hung over the oval fence to dry. 




This was not a good advertisement for Springwood because visitors wanting to spend a few pleasant hours  at the park went away in disgust (perhaps never to return).  Furthermore, it was no longer safe for local children to play on the swings in the park because they were located between the 'summer houses' tenanted by the tramps.  Parents were forced to warn their children away.  A plea to the council had not remedied the situation thus residents were urged to apply to the local area League to allay the nuisance. 
Scouts at Lomatia Park c1930s

Ref: Nepean Times, 10.2.1938      

Monday, September 19, 2011

Royal Visits to the Blue Mountains

Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh – 7th February 1868

Prince George (Later King George V) and Prince Albert Victor – 1881

Prince Francis Joseph Battenburg – 1895

Duke & Duchess of York – 1901 (Opening of Federal Parliament)

Edward, Prince of Wales – 1920 (not a visit – drove loco for a distance on the mountains)

Duke (later King George V1) & Duchess of York – 1927

Duke & Duchess of Gloucester – 1934 and in 1946 when he was Governor General

Queen Elizabeth II – 1954

Duke & Duchess of Gloucester (successor to above Gloucester) – February 1979

Other
Archduke Franz Ferdinand and Archduchess Sophie, who were assassinated at Sarajevo in June 1914, visited the Blue Mountains in May 1893

Peter Chinn



Prince Alfred 1868
The visit made by Prince Alfred the Duke of Edinburgh to the Blue Mountains and particularly to the waterfalls at Weatherboard (now Wentworth Falls) was reported in the Queanbeyan Age on 8th February 1868.  The party consisted of the Bishop of Sydney; the Bishop of Goulburn; the Earl of Belmore; the Hon. James Martin QC (Premier); the Hon. Henry Parkes, Colonial Secretary; the Hon. J. Bowie Wilson, Secretary for Lands; the Hon. James Byrnes, Minister for Works; the Hon. J. Docker, Postmaster General; the Hon. T.A. Murray, President of the Legislative Council; Dr. Badham, Professor of Classics Sydney University; Commodore Lambert; Colonel Waddy C.B.; Lord Newry, the Hon. Eliot Yorke; Mr. Brierly;  the Hon. George Allen MLC; Captain Beresford; Mr. Piddington MP; Mr. Lord MP; Mr. Windeyer MP; Mr. Barnet, Colonial Architect; the Countess of Belmore and about twelve other ladies.


Water falls at Wentworth Falls
The article was extensive and reported precise details about the event from the time the party left Sydney to the particulars of who was seated in the ‘Royal’ carriage. The article praised the Nepean Bridge, as one of ‘our greatest wonders,’ and the zig zag, which made rail travel across the Blue Mountains possible.  It mentioned corn fields, orange groves and orchards visible from the train as well as ‘bare-legged... half naked children’ and poorly clad men and women who lined the route as the train steamed past.  About 100 people clad in ‘bush working dress’ met the train at Weatherboard where the Prince and his party alighted to board the waiting carriages which conveyed them to the waterfalls.  

After viewing the falls for around three hours waiters served a sumptuous luncheon in the tents which had been set up for the occasion.  An unfortunate event marred his visit to Australia however when an attempt was made to assassinate the Prince when he visited Clontarf in that same year.


Arrest of would be assassin at Clontarf

Prince Francis Joseph Battenburg 1895
The Prince arrived in Adelaide in February 1895 after spending time in India where, according to The Advertiser, he joined the mail boat in Colombo. He was to spend a short time in the Australia before returning via New Zealand and America.  The paper reported that the Prince had a pleasant intellectual face but he had a ‘suggestion of a stoop in his figure.’

The Advertiser stated;
“he was born in Padua in 1861 and was the son of Prince Alexander of Battenburg (Hesse) who was brother to the late Empress of Russia.  His eldest brother, Prince Louis of Battenburg, an officer in the English Navy, married the eldest daughter of the late Princess Alice of England.  Another brother, Prince Alexander of Battenburg was... Prince of Bulgaria while Prince Henry married Princess Beatrice of England in July 1885.”

 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Cottages - Heatherbrae Hawkesbury Road Winmalee (formerly North Springwood)


Two views of Heatherbrae

Recently an approach was made to the Springwood Historical Society for their views on the de-listing of the above property from Blue Mountains City Councils Heritage Register.  Unfortunately, the society decided not to take the matter further i.e. advocating for retention of the property on the said list given its cultural and historic significance.

The land on which Heatherbrae was built was once owned by Sir Henry Parkes who reputedly traded it off to pay a debt owed to wine and spirit merchant, Mr William Fesq. In 1889 the business premises of Fesq was located at 257 George Street, Sydney.[1]  Fesq had succeeded his father and continued with the wine and spirit business until he retired in 1911.  He died in 1919.[2] Fesq retained ownership of the property some years before he built the sandstone and weatherboard cottage that eventually became known as Heatherbrae, 1893/94.[3]  In 1907 the cottage was sold to William Wallace, a police sergeant, and it was Wallace that gave the home the name that it retains until this present day.  However, Wallace may have been leasing the property prior to that time because his name appeared on the electoral roll for 1903 and he was a member of the local Progress Association 1905-06.

George McKillop of Buddah Station Narromine purchased the property in 1908.  McKillop, who died in 1934, was related to Sister Mary McKillop and the Boland family of Springwood.  Various members of the family of graziers and horticulturalists operated Buddah until it was sold in 1974.[4]  Royden and Norman McKillop were his sons.   Heatherbrae was sold to a Mr. R. McDonald in 1915 and in 1918 to Edward Augustus Beeby who was a Sydney solicitor.  Beeby was secretary of the Starr Bowkett Society and the family ran an electrical business in Springwood.  In 1927, the cottage was sold to Aaron Webb who was born in Forbes in 1886. There is some evidence to suggest the cottage accepted guests and that the proprietor, thought to be Webb, met the trains to pick up his guests.[5]

William M. Reid purchased the property in 1930. An article that appeared in the Australian Women’s Weekly stated that Reid was a softgoods manufacturer.  The couple were still living at Heatherbrae some thirty years later when this article was published.[6]  According to the article William and wife Constance were globetrotters extraordinaire who had visited every country in the world except for ‘Formosa, Russia and the continent of South America.’[7]  William Reid had been around the world forty times while Constance had twenty eight around the world trips under her belt.  Both husband and wife were proficient in several languages including French, Italian and Spanish and could make themselves known in Portuguese, Dutch, German and Norwegian.[8]  As a consequence Heatherbrae contained a unique assortment of treasures collected on their trips including a ‘polar bear skin and stuffed crocodile,’ a ‘dagger made from a human thighbone,’ ‘a Scottish whisky horn...and a brass gong from China.’[9]  The couple had travelled in cargo ships and luxury liners and considered the most important requirement for any traveller was the need to be adaptable to any situation and to eat the local food.

A newspaper article indicated that the Reids were affable hosts and in their mountain home entertained on a somewhat grand scale.  In1932 they entertained a large gathering of members of the English Speaking Union.[10]  Guests played tennis on Heatherbrae’s courts or amused themselves ‘inspecting the curios’ their hosts had collected from a trip to Tahiti.  The English Speaking Union was an organisation founded by Sir Evelyn Wrench after the First World War.[11] The object of the Union was to promote human achievement and understanding through education throughout the world.[12]  It is of interest to note that in 1941, while on a visit to Australia, Sir Evelyn was kidnapped in Sydney by a group who passed themselves off as journalists employed by the Australian Broadcasting Commission.[13]  Fortunately, he came to no harm after being taken and left at a crematorium.  Sir Evelyn implied that, in retrospect, he thought they could have been members of the ‘fifth column’ who wanted to prevent him broadcasting a speech on the radio station 2FC.[14]  Wrench, interestingly, had been blacklisted by the Germans for opinions expressed about Hitler when he visited the United States, thus his kidnapping could have been attributed to any one of several political groups. A luncheon meeting of the Union in Sydney in 1940 included people of note such as Sir Henry Braddon, Sir Kelso King, Dr. Ben Edye, James Moyes and Harry Twigden.

The Reids hospitality also extended to their neighbours in North Springwood. The present owner is thought to be M/s Bronwyn Hickey and family.

Despite a reduction to the original land holding of Parkes and alterations to the original house, it is unfortunate that Blue Mountains City Council does not pay due respect to Heatherbrae and the evolving character of this heritage listed item.  The listing should be retained and represent the way that the Springwood district has progressed since the 1880s.

Pamela Smith

 





[1] Sydney Morning Herald, 12.7.1889, p. 4.
[2] Sydney Morning Herald, 12.5.1919, p. 8.
[3] Nepean Times,18.11.1893.
[4] Noel Butlin Archive Centre, McKillop and Sons, 1849-2005, Ref. Code AU NBAC Z376.
[5] Sydney Morning Herald, 19.10.1929, p. 28.
[6] Australian Women’s Weekly, 13.12.1961, p. 15.
[7] Ibid.
[8] Ibid.
[9] Ibid.
[10] Sydney Morning Herald, 1.11.1932, p. 4.
[11] The English Speaking Union, How ESU Began, www.esu.org.au/?fbk_module_id=cms&fbk_page_id...,
   cached, accessed 17.9.2011.
[12] Ibid.
[13] Examiner (Launceston), 25.7.1941, p. 1.
[14] Ibid.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Early Residents - Goddard Family

Henry Holt Goddard and Kathleen (nee Young) emigrated to Australia on the part sail and part steam ship called the Duke of Sutherland. They set out from Northern Ireland sailing via the Suez Canal and took on coal at Colombo. The journey took six months and they arrived in Australia in 1885. Their first home was in Maryborough, Queensland where Henry set up shop and prospered as a barber. By 1897 Kathleen had borne seven children, six boys and one girl.

In 1898 they decided to sell up and came to Sydney where Henry rented premises from a Mr Saunders who was a local quarry owner. From the Pyrmont premises Henry ran a newsagency along with a barbers shop. The children also attended school in Pyrmont. Tragedy struck the family twice before their move to Springwood when their eldest child Walter died of pneumonia and then son Bertie drowned accidentally in Black Wattle Bay. Kathleen bore another son thereafter.

These very sad events affected Henry and made him consider retirement. In 1909 the lives of the family changed when Henry saw 50 acres of land for sale advertised in the Sydney Morning Herald. The property was located at the end of Whitecross Road, adjoining land owned by St. Columba’s College. In 1910 they purchased the property, which contained the cottage Aberfeldy which had been built by H.C.L. Anderson. The Aberfeldy property contained an orchard with English Mulberry trees and persimmons, as well as a lovely flower garden. Henry sent to the Richmond River for Cecil, now the eldest son, and Stanley.

Cecil arrived in 1911 and took over the running of the Post Office until Henry moved to Springwood.  Each day Cecil took what was known as the ‘sociable’ into town and met the 10am train from Sydney. He sorted the North Springwood mail from the mailbags and delivered it on his homeward journey. Cecil was not averse to taking passengers on the ‘sociable’, and also carried the occasional message for residents who lived in the area. In 1912 Kathleen arrived in Springwood with Henry junior, her youngest child, followed eight months later by Henry senior. Following his arrival Henry took over from Cecil and remained as postmaster until 1932 when he was aged 72.

Postal Inspectors visited every month to check the records, which were then sent to Bathurst. Henry issued postal notes, stamps and so on, and at the end of every week the money was paid into Springwood Post Office where a receipt was issued. Henry Goddard senior died in 1948.

Around c1912–3, Cecil (then aged 22) and Stan (aged 18) started a firewood business. Stan purchased land from Hardman the biscuit manufacturer, near the Springwood subway, and the engine was kept there for cutting wood before it was loaded onto the train. They supplied wood to various bakers in the area, as well as to the Ritz at Leura. In 1916 the Goddard brothers expanded their enterprise by buying a timber mill and transporting the equipment from Camden to Springwood. Harry Keenan was employed as their manager. They purchased land near the then nine-hole golf course on Hawkesbury Road from J.T. Wall, who had a reputation for not handing over deeds to their respective purchasers. Percy Pickering and Mr Turnbull were locals employed by the Goddards.

The Goddard brothers used a bullock team, rather than horses, due to their prowess in the bush. The mill supplied timber for buildings locally and across the mountains, because the nearest mill in those early days was at Kingswood. An article in the Blue Mountains Echo (29 June 1917) reported that Messrs Lacey and Goddard had secured a number of repeat orders for firewood from the upper mountains. Fuel merchants in those regions said that the wood supplied by the Goddards was the finest burning timber. The article said that ‘bakers wood’ was a speciality, and the firm would also execute orders for ‘post and rail’ of standard quality. The Goddards operated the mill until 1923, and sold it to Eric Turnbull in 1927.

The 1927 Springwood telephone directory lists Goddard and Nichols as builders. The 1932 directory only listed Stan, with his address given as De Chair Avenue, Springwood. He married Nellie E. Mills, the daughter of George William and Martha Mills, in 1918. George Mills was the chief gardener for the Fels family. Stan and Nellie’s daughter Meryl was born in 1921 at Penrith, in a hospital run by a Mrs Pullman, who was related to the Ellison family. Meryl, who recorded her early memories on tapes held in the City Library Springwood, could remember being brought up in a close-knit family, and of the community spirit engendered when anyone needed help. She was taught to swim by her grandfather, who she said was a good breast-stroke swimmer, at Mahogany Swamp.

The family attended the Methodist or Presbyterian Churches for Sunday school, according to convenience, even though they were christened as Anglicans. Meryl attended the stone-built Springwood public school, located in the main street (now the northern car park). Mrs Farnsworth was one of her teachers. Later she went to high school in Penrith before attending Summerhayes Typing College. Meryl related that she was ‘horse mad’, and as a child used to ride one of the family cows around until her parents finally bought her a horse. She remembered going by horse and sulky every Saturday night, out to Aberfeldy where the younger members of the family would play grab with their grandfather. Later in the evening the adults would play a game of 7s and before making tea her grandmother would don a set of headphones to listen to the crystal wireless set. As children they were amused at the facial expressions she would pull and would not be content until she related what she had heard that night on the radio.

Henry and Kathleen Goddard’s only daughter Lillie (?) married Charlie Lacey who had the first taxi business in Springwood using a 1910 Oldsmobile. They bought the Whitecross property.

Cecil Goddard died in 1970 at the age of 80. He was survived by sons Cecil and Bruce and daughters Iris and Violet.

Pamela Smith - taken from The Making Of A Mountain Community, A Biographical Dictionary of the Springwood District 

Henry, Stan & Cecil Goddard



Monday, September 5, 2011

Early Residents - Axel Bech

Axel Bech was born in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1857 to Wilhelm and Marie Bech. These birth dates were calculated from his death certificate. However, calculating it from his naturalisation certificate suggests that Axel was born in 1841—a mystery we are unable to solve. Gustav Larsen was Axel’s uncle. They came to Australia in 1877 on the Hawkesbury and began a tobacconist’s business in Balmain. Gustav was naturalised in 1890 and Axel in 1894.

In 1881 Axel married Mary Ann Hodgson, who, according to McCook family Tree on Ancestry, was the daughter of Benjamin Thomas and Sarah Ann Hodgson. The Bech's lived in a brick two storey semi detached house in Darling Street, Balmain called Kronborg. It was a large house which included a servant’s room. They also built a weatherboard iron roofed country cottage called Elsinore at Springwood, probably at the beginning of the 1880s. This house was set on 4 acres with a 550 ft frontage to the main Bathurst Road (now Macquarie Road) and backing on to the Railway line. It stretched from the eastern boundary of the first Public School. It was quite spacious with five rooms, a kitchen and outbuildings which included stables, shed, a man’s cottage of three rooms and a separate building used as a billiard room. They eventually planted an orchard of oranges and summer fruit as well as an ornamental garden, and they built a tennis court. They kept a few cows and some fowls and had a horse and a variety of horse drawn vehicles—a phaeton, a sulky and a spring cart.

Mary and Axel had five children, all born in Balmain: Sarah M.E. (known as Emma) in 1882, Gustav A.J.W. 1885, Dagmar L. 1886, Gertrude L. L. 1889, and Emily E. H. 1891.The Bech family spent quite a bit of time in Springwood and the children attended the Public School for a time. Mrs Bech assisted other mothers in making delicious sandwiches for the school picnics and both Gustav Larsen and Axel Bech regularly arranged lantern show entertainments for the enjoyment of both children and their parents and also to raise money for the school. Emma Bech was artistic and won a prize for one of her works at a Balmain Industrial Exhibition when she was 13, against severe competition. At least one of the girls (probably also Emma) was musical and played a pianoforte duet with Miss Rayner at a benefit concert.

Elsinore and its inhabitants were involved in a strange mystery which ended with the execution of a man called Lars Peter Hansen at Dubbo in 1891 for a murder he committed in Peak Hill. In the previous year Hansen had been employed by Larsen as a gardener, living in the man’s cottage on the property, and a number of burglaries were carried out. Alice Hoare of Homedale and one of her employees were robbed as were Faulconbridge and North Springwood residents, both hotels. The luggage of one of Miss Hooper’s Hartford pupils was also stolen: it was waiting on the railway platform for the morning train when most of the packages and three trunks disappeared. Shortly after the robberies Hansen left Larsen’s employ and went to Sydney. He was not suspected, appearing to be a man of integrity. However a few days after Springwood folk heard he had been arrested for murder, one of the Bech children fell into a waterhole on the property. Axel pulled the child out, finding in the process portions of three empty trunks. Further investigation by the constable uncovered the rotting remains of various articles stolen in the robberies, buried under heaps of rubbish. In an old stove on the premises was a lump of metal thought to be some of the stolen plate ware. It was also found that Hansen had pawned articles in Sydney which fitted the description of items stolen in Springwood.

Gustav and Axel had a couple of clashes with William Rayner whose General Store was opposite Elsinore. On the first occasion they became tired of stray livestock wandering the street and getting into their garden. Axel took up a petition to present to the court to establish a pound in Springwood. He apparently collected signatures of people who were not Springwood residents. Rayner, who kept livestock for his butchery, collected his own signatures and argued against these people who did not work and live in the town all the time. He believed it was a country place and suggested that people who wanted animals kept out of their gardens should put up better fences. Eventually Rayner lost the battle and a pound was established and a pound keeper employed, but the battle was acrimonious and split the town.

On the next occasion, at the end of 1892, a train carrying cattle and sheep crashed just outside Springwood. William Rayner bought the dead and dying cattle and proceeded to boil them down for tallow on his property alongside his store and opposite Elsinore. Mary Bech and her family were in residence and the smell of the boiling down process was so offensive she had to take to her bed. Axel complained to the police constable who investigated, and eventually Gustav Larsen took court action against Rayner. A number of townspeople gave evidence, including Mary, who was at great pains to assure the court that her children played with the Rayner children (thereby, perhaps, demonstrating that she had nothing personally against the Rayners). After two court sessions, William Rayner was reported as having moved his boiling down apparatus out to Cable’s Spring along the Hawkesbury Road and the case was dropped.

When William Rayner found that he needed for his business his big room, Rayners Hall, which was used for meetings and concerts, Gustav Larsen made his billiard room available and groups such as the Progress Committee met there. Axel was elected to the Progress Committee and supported better train and postal services as well as the opening of a Bank branch and the establishment of a School of Arts. In 1894 Gustav Larsen was elected the first treasurer of the newly formed Progress Association. Both Axel and his uncle were appointed as additional trustees of Lomatia Park and the recreation ground (also the Cricket Ground) in 1892. In 1893 the improvements to the Cricket Ground were noted at a Progress Committee meeting and attributed to Larsen and Bech.

Although Axel Bech’s name never appeared in the published cricket results and he was probably not a player, he supported the Cricket Club, becoming a Vice President in 1897 and presenting a first class bat as a prize for the best average scorer in 1895. Gustav Larsen died on 17 September 1894 in his Balmain residence from a cerebral tumour at the age of 58. He was buried in the Church of England section of Waverley Cemetery. It was reported that Axel Bech and his family were Gustav’s only relatives in Australia. His property, valued at £2,304 1s 7d was left in trust to Mary Bech.

After 1897 the Bech family seemed to spend less time at Elsinore. The cottage was let to Mr Orme in October 1897 and to the Mayor of Newtown, Mr W. Rigg MLA, in January 1899. Some of the children were in their teens and perhaps were sent to city schools. On 22 August 1910 Axel Bech suffered a sudden cerebral haemorrhage and died aged 53. He was buried in the Church of England section of Waverley Cemetery. As his wife Mary had been left Larsen’s estate in trust, Axel’s estate was worth only £157 5s 8d, largely coming from the value of the tobacconist business in which he had a partner. Mary Bech lost no time in selling Elsinore. The land was subdivided in October 1911 and sold well, realising £4 10s per foot. Mary died in 1939 in Petersham.

Shirley Evans

Early Residents - Gustav Larsen



Lauritz Gustav Larsen was born in Denmark in about 1836. This birth date was calculated from his death certificate, however calculating it from his naturalisation certificate suggests that he was born in about 1824. Axel Bech was Gustav’s nephew. They came to Australia in 1877 on the Hawkesbury and began a tobacconist’s business in Balmain. Gustav was naturalised in 1890.

In 1881 Axel married Mary Ann Hodgson, daughter of Joseph Hodgson, auctioneer, and Sarah Ann. Gustav never married. They all lived together, first in a brick two storey semi detached house in Darling Street, Balmain called Kronborg, and later they built a weatherboard iron roofed country cottage called Elsinore at Springwood, probably at the beginning of the 1880s.


Gustav Larsen died on 17 September at his Balmain residence from a cerebral tumour at the age of 58. He was buried in the Church of England section of Waverley Cemetery. It was reported that Axel and his family were Gustav’s only relatives in Australia. His property, valued at £2,304 1s 7d was left in trust to Mary Bech.


Bathurst Road (now Macquarie)
Elsinore would have been located
approx. opposite building in background.


Shirley Evans

Hon. William Lygon, 7th Earl Beauchamp

Lygon in fancy dress
What do Evelyn Waugh’s novel Brideshead Revisited; the Hon. William Lygon, 7th Earl Beauchamp (Governor of New South Wales 1899-1901), and Hugh D. McIntosh (the controversial boxing promoter/entrepreneur and parliamentarian) have in common. More precisely, what have they to do with Springwood?  An article in the Nepean Times provided a clue. 

On 11th March 1933 the Nepean Times related how, on Saturday 25th February, the Right Hon. Earl Beauchamp K.C. drove the first ball when he conducted the official opening of the Bon Accord Golf Links at Springwood.[1]  Among the well-heeled guests were locals Dr and Mrs Baxter, Percy Dawson, David Rogalsky and the Blue Mountains shire president, Councillor Percy Wilson.[2]  Others guests included Hugh Lygon (Beauchamp’s son), the well known Macquarie Street specialist, Dr. Sydney Jones and wife and Mrs. White who was the sister of Sir Daniel Levy.[3]
It had been barely two years since William Lygon, who, in his bachelor days served as the Governor of New South Wales, had been outed and banished from England because of his homosexual inclinations.  Jane Mulvagh suggested, in recent years, in an article entitled ‘The Scandal that shook Brideshead,’ that Evelyn Waugh used William Lygon as his model for ‘Lord Marchmain’ and son Hugo as the model for ‘Sebastian.’ [4]  Mulvagh stated the Lygons - who provided the inspiration for the ‘doomed aristocratic family in Waugh’s novel’ – put up a united front (except for his wife) when William was outed in June 1931.[5]  William had married Lady Lettice Mary Elizabeth Grosvenor in 1902, the daughter of Earl Grosvenor and accounts of his life, despite his sexual proclivities, credit William with being a loving husband and a devoted father to his seven children.[6]

Nevertheless, fearing the outcome of the scandal on his friend, King George entrusted Lord Stanmore and two other Knights of the Garter, with the task of presenting William with very limited options.  He was advised to resign from all his official posts and leave England immediately because if he remained the assured alternative would have been imminent arrest, a trial in the House of Lords and certain imprisonment.  Homosexuality was still a criminal offence.  

William did consider suicide but eventually fled to Wiesbaden where he was convinced by members of his family to put all thoughts of ending his life aside.[7]  Sadly, William thought that his exile would be short-lived, but David Dutton observed that in the years that followed William lived a ‘somewhat pathetic peripatetic existence.’[8] Evelyn Waugh - an Oxford friend to one of William’s sons - arrived at Madresfield shortly after his departure and later immortalised the Lygons in the novel Brideshead Revisited.[9]

It would seem that William’s outing had been a long time coming however, and interestingly Mulvagh blamed Australia for his final ‘undoing.’ His sexual tendencies became common knowledge when he visited in August 1930, as part of a round round-the-world trip.[10]  Accompanying William was a servant from Madresfield and Robert Bernays - a young Liberal MP - who acted as his speechwriter both said to be his current favourites.  Unfortunately, William’s ‘varied sex-life’ was reported back to his brother-in-law, the Duke of Westminster, who then passed the news on to the King. 

Mulvagh suggested however, that Beauchamp’s indiscretions had not gone un-noticed even during his tenure as Governor of New South Wales.  The poet Victor J. Daley once described an evening at Government House where ‘the most striking feature of the vice-regal ménage’ was the youthfulness of its members.[11]  Dutton observed that William bestowed his patronage on local artists and writers during his time as Governor which accounted for his friendship with people like Daley and Henry Lawson.[12]

As the Nepean Times article suggests, Beauchamp’s exile eventually returned him to Sydney in 1933, and it is a little known fact that it was he who performed the official opening of Bon Accord Golf Links.[13]  The lessee of the Bon Accord property at that time was the ever controversial Hugh D. McIntosh who is perhaps better known as ‘Huge Deal McIntosh.’[14]  McIntosh established a nine-hole golf course on the property, perhaps to enhance the attraction of Bon Accord Guest House.  Percy Dawson and his brothers were the owners of the Bon Accord property, located on Hawkesbury Road, Springwood which added to their other property investments which included a chain of international jewellery shops, the Strand Arcade and Ambassadors restaurant and night club.[15]   

Frank Van Straten has written extensively about Hugh McIntosh who dabbled in boxing and bicycle race promotion, politics, theatre productions and newspapers in Australia, and a chain of milk bars in England. In 1923, convinced he would spend the rest of his life in England, McIntosh leased Broome Park, the 17th century home of the late Earl Kitchener, and extravagantly re-laid its cricket pitch with soil from Bulli in New South Wales.[16]  McIntosh was a remarkable man; he moved easily in political, high society and theatrical circles, and rubbed shoulders with people like H.G. Wells, Nellie Melba, Anna Pavlova and Oscar Ashe, and promoted artists like Roy Rene, Mo, Ada Reeve and boxers like Jack Johnson and Tommy Burns.[17] However, the narrative of his life illustrates that McIntosh swayed constantly between bankruptcy and times of incredible wealth.
In 1927, McIntosh sought damages from Smith’s Newspapers Limited when Robert Clyde Packer was publisher.[18]  McIntosh wanted compensation for a headline that appeared in the Daily Guardian which read ‘Mr. H.D. McIntosh and how he met the Duke.’[19]  It was obviously defamatory.  Even though the offending article has yet to be found it may have referred to the Duke and Duchess of York who visited Australia in 1927.  The Daily Guardian was part of Joynton Smith’s newspaper empire. 

In 1931, McIntosh was awarded a farthing damages in another libel case he actioned against the Truth because the tome referred to him as an ‘erstwhile pie man who had blossomed into a newspaper magnate and drained the lifeblood from the Sunday Times.’[20]  He was well-known in Springwood; a one-time resident even remarked that the rafters of Bon Accord used to ‘ring’ in McIntosh’s time.[21]  It was not at all uncommon for well-known actors and actresses to attend parties held in the ballroom of Bon Accord and Rose Lindsay, wife of Norman, was particularly fond of him and invited him to her soirees.[22]
Brideshead Revisited became a book and then a television drama, William Lygon died in the Waldorf Astoria Hotel New York on 15th November 1938, and Hugh McIntosh was practically penniless again when he died at Golders Green (an area of London), in 1942.    Bon Accord Guest House burnt down in 1937 and Bon Accord Golf Links was absorbed into what presently exists in 1942 when the council purchased the property.

After his exile William Lygon spent a great of time in Australia.  He owned an apartment at Darling Point and became the president of the Australian Sporting Club.[23] It is obvious that the Blue Mountains was familiar to Lygon because Paula Byrne mentioned a trip made there by him and son Hugh.[24] Hugh McIntosh (said to be a business associate of their father) was so well-known to the Lygon children that his name was used disparagingly among their inner circle of friends (like Waugh) as a private code for anything remotely ‘boring.’[25] The warrant for William Lygon’s arrest was lifted temporarily to enable him to bury son Hugh when he died unexpectedly in 1936, and lifted permanently shortly before he died.
Pamela Smith  





[1] ‘Bon Accord’ Golf Links Opened by Earl Beauchamp, Nepean Times, 11.3.1933.
[2] Baxter was the local doctor, the Dawson family owned the Bon Accord property and Rogalsky was a part-time resident of Springwood.
[3] Nepean Times, 11.3.1933.
[4] Jane Mulvagh, ‘The Scandal that shook Brideshead,’ The Telegraph, 1.6.2008, , http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/3553486/The-scandal-that-shook-Brideshead, accessed 12.7.2011.
[5] Ibid.
[6] Ibid.
[7] Ibid.
[8] David Dutton, ‘William Lygon, 7th Earl Beauchamp (1872-1938), Journal Of Liberal Democrat History, Issue 23, Summer 1999, pp. 18-20.
[9] Selina Hastings, ‘Country house high jinks,’ MailOnline, http://www.dailymail.co.uk, 4.6.2008, accessed 18.7.2011.
[10] Jane Mulvagh.
[11] Ibid.
[12] David Dutton; Cameron Hazelhurst, ‘Beauchamp, seventh Earl (1872-1938),’ Australian Dictionary of Biography, Vol. 7, Melbourne University Press, 1979, pp. 235-236.
[13] Sydney Morning Herald, 25.2.1933, p. 17.
[14] Frank Van Straten, Huge Deal, The Fortunes and follies of Hugh D. McIntosh, Thomas C. Lothian, South Melbourne, 2004.
[15] Pamela Smith, ‘David Stewart Dawson,’ The Making Of A Mountain Community: A Biographical Dictionary of the Springwood District, Springwood Historians, pp. 84-85.
[16] The Register (Adelaide), 3 August 1923, p. 9, Pamela Smith, ‘Hugh Donald McIntosh,’ The Making Of A Mountain Community..., p. 214.
[17] Frank Van Straten, foreword Keith Dunstan OAM.
[18] Barrier Mine (Broken Hill), 31 March 1927, p. 4.
[19] Ibid.
[20] Advertiser and Register, (Adelaide), 12 September 1931, p. 16.
[21] Jean Davenport, Oral Taped Interview, BMCC Local Studies Collection.
[22] Mollie Fraser (nee Chapman) Oral Taped Interview, BMCC Local Studies Collection.
[23] Paula Byrne, Mad World Evelyn Waugh and the Secrets of Brideshead, Harper Press, 2010, p. 198.
[24] Ibid, p. 204.
[25] Ibid, p. 243.