Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The History of early Real Estate Agents in Balmain & Rozelle

Happy Easter Everyone!

Today I thought I'd talk about the history of the pioneering real estate agents in Balmain and Rozelle. We all know that for the past 14 years Sarah Lorden Real Estate have been paving the way in real estate excellence throughout the area, but who were the original Property Agents in Balmain? Many of these agents have streets named after them and some even became influential members in the local government.

The very first land auction that took place in Balmain was on the 25th October 1836 in Lookes Avenue, Balmain East. Marine Captain John Roach, purchased what was then known as Lot 9 but what is now known as 13 Lookes Avenue. He later sold this plot of land to real estate developer Joseph Looke who built the current house on it in 1840.

Alfred Hancock - known as the "Father of Rozelle" was an estate agent who encouraged the working class in the area to build and own their own homes. He along with his business partners William Paling and Louis Foucart bought up large areas of Balmain & Rozelle and sold them off in allotments. Hancock St in Rozelle is named after him, Elizabeth St Rozelle is named after his wife while Percy St Rozelle is named after his son. Other areas such as Ruess St, Birchgrove and Springside St Rozelle were also in his portfolio. Hancock lived in Balmain at Mertonville (what is now Cashman Reserve, the park between Lawson, Beattie & Elliott Streets).

Roger Kenniff - Was an estate agent who owned the area around Kenniff Street, Rozelle. He was Alderman on the Balmain Council in 1882-86.

George Clubb - Was an estate agent that became Mayor of Balmain in 1909, 1912-13. Clubb Street Rozelle is named after him.

Robert Ford - was a well known agent in the 1860's. He lived in Ewell Street.

George Paul - was Balmain's most successful auctioneer in the early 19th century. He bought the area what is now known as Paul Street, Balmain East in 1836 and built two houses - both which still stand - c.1840 7 Paul Street & c.1843 13 Paul Street. George Paul's auctioneering firm became the most successful in the Colony. In 1828, he and his brother became the proprietors of The Australian newspaper.

An unknown real estate agent also gave the original title of "the Avenue" to The Avenue in Balmain at the first round of land sales in 1885. We have evidence of the kinds of prices that the lots on The Avenue sold for "...prices ranging from 4pounds to 19pounds per foot."

Interesting to see how much 4pounds would buy you now days!!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Birchgrove - A suburb that began with a single house.

Well hello again!
I'm sorry I haven't written in a while, I have recently become super agent Cherry Owen's assistant and she's had me rushed off my feet!
We've seen the market in Inner West take off with media reports showing a growth in the area by over 11% in the past year!
While Balmain is now considered to be a new member of the million-dollar suburb club:

Today I want to talk about the suburb of Birchgrove which is buried in the northern end of the peninsular and is now, one of the premier suburbs in Sydney.

The original inhabitants of the Birchgrove area were aboriginals belonging to the Eora gens. The land back then was known as "Yurulbin" or "Swift running waters". In 1796, the area was granted to a Private George Whitfield by Governor Macquarie who built an orange grove on the area. In 1806, the land came under the ownership of Captain Edward Abbott who was a key member of the Rum Rebellion that deposed Governor Bligh. Abbott was later court marsheld for treason and sent back to England but not before he had sold the land to John Birch, a paymaster, of where Birchgrove gets its name.

In 1810, 22 years after the First Fleet landed in Sydney, John Birch built the first house on the Balmain peninsular and named it "Birch Grove." It stood for 157 years until 1967 when it was demolished. At the time of its demolition, it was the second oldest house in Australia. The site of Birchgrove House is where no.67 Louisa Road currently stands. I will speak more about Birchgrove House in the future.

In 1882, the NSW government purchased land to build the Birch Grove Recreation Ground, what is now known as Birchgrove Oval.

A bridge was also proposed to be built from Yurulbin Point to Manns Point in Greenwich. But it was scrapped because the tight road of Louisa Road would have made the thoroughfare impractical.