Monday, 29 April 2013

Tracking Heritage: Loch Lomond, Marrickville's Oldest House

This post is an answer to a question, but it's also a way of showing how I track down the information used on this blog. References in bold, are regular sites I visit when trying to trace information.

Through Facebook, I was asked "Apparently 1 Myrtle st Marrickville is the first structure built in the area and was once home to the first mayor of Marrickville and his wife. Are you able to shed any light on this?"


My first thing when I was asked was to do a search of the internet and a few of my favourite places for helping me track down information.

I'm a visual person so I love looking in the image databases at maps & old photographs. You should know already how much I love Trove by all the newspaper clippings littering this blog!

First stop was Google. It showed me that the first Mayor of Marrickville was Gerald Halligan and via Sand's Directory I discovered he lived at Geraldine Cottage in Meeks Road from when he moved to Marrickville til when he died. The National Library of Australia provided me with a map to show that this was on the other side of the railway line to Myrtle Street. So unless he stayed at Myrtle Street while his home was being readied (The Marrickville Council site indicates he purchased the house, not land) ... I took a guess that the original resident wasn't Halligan. Information on 1 Myrtle Street was limited to a Marrickville Council Environment Plan that gave the address and details of it being a stone cottage, but nothing more.
Gerald Halligan. Image Source: Marrickville Council


Image Source: National Library of Australia

Next stop Marrickville Library Services digital collections catalogue. Here I was able to assertain that the area around Myrtle Street was known as Meek's Garden.

Image Source: Marrickville Library Services

 I had to assume that Meek's Garden belonged to Meek. A name I know has a connection with Marrickville (Meeks Road for example) .. but what connection actually? I really did realise I was ignorant about this important man/family in Marrickville's history.

Do you notice something else from this map?? Extra brownie points if you noticed G Halligan Esq's house in the corner of Meek's & Marrickville Road! The more I look at it the more I'm convinced the Good's line has been built on that property.

Now I felt I had a name so I went old school and grabbed my copy of Marrickville: Rural outpost to inner city.

Perhaps I should have grabbed it a little sooner, because all my answers were there waiting for me (on page 126) . And the answer to my original question:

Loch Lomond, 1 Myrtle Street, Marrickville, was built as the home of James Meek Jnr, probaly in the 1870s. James Meek Snr built a stone cottage in Harriet Street 1860 which was subsequently demolished. Loch Lomond was built by his son to the same design but on a larger scale. James Jnr, who married Harriet Fairburn in 1866, lived in Loch Lomond and raised their 8 children there until a new residence, Myrtle Grove, was built in 1887. The house was occupied by C.G. Neilson in the 1920s and he renamed it Stonehenge.
As usual that sparked me off to looking up other information. A post about Myrtle Grove will come after this one.

Who was C G Neilson? Well I searched here, I searched there. Births, Deaths & Marriages didn't give me any help. Perhaps this person was still alive in 1986? *LIGHT BULB MOMENT* .. let's try a different spelling. And there he was on the 1930 Australian Electrol Roll. George Charles & Aileen Neilsen living at 1 Myrtle Street, Marrickville - Electrician. I couldn't help myself so I found out via Ancestry.com that A P Clapin is Adolphus P Clapien who resided at Fernbank, Victoria Road, Marrickville in 1890 and he was registered as a Clerk of the Legaslative Assembly in (Sands 1858-9).  Marrickville Rural outpost says he was an Alderman for Marrickville Council.

Next was the hunt for images. As usual Street View in Google Map was checked out .. though it was hard to see the house (a drive by photo shooting is in order I think!).

... And then the Marrickville Image Library where I found this interesting photo with 1 Myrtle Street on the far right.

Image Source: Marrickville Image Library
And finally ....... OF COURSE ... a newsclipping from Trove.

The Sydney Morning Herald, Wednesday 5 January 1881, page 9
Image Source: Trove


5 Hours, 2 Blog posts later ...

The simple answer to the question is:

yes (probably) and no, I don't think so.

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