Andrew McGovisk built the Bridge Hotel on the corner of Pyrmont Bridge Rd and Junction St with a shop on either side. Rooftop plaques commemorate the completion of his adjacent terraces Avoca (1877) and Auburn (1883) on Junction St and Magnolia Terrace (1879) on Pyrmont Bridge Rd. McGovisk lived in number 130 where space over a carriageway was utilised for an extra room. Numbers 132-8 had seven main rooms plus the standard bathroom, scullery, wash-house, balcony and verandah. There was also a three-storey factory at the rear of Magnolia Terrace.

The former Bridge Hotel, built by Andrew McGovisk (Image: Phil Young)
The former Bridge Hotel, built by Andrew McGovisk (Image: Phil Young)

A speculative builder, McGovisk sold or rented each building as soon as it was finished then applied to the bank for a new mortgage. Among the properties he dispensed with were three houses in Irving St Chippendale. At the time of his death McGovisk’s assets included the Forest Lodge properties plus real estate in Surry Hills: the Cleveland Hotel on the corner of Buckingham and Belvoir Sts and four neighbouring houses. His executor was his solicitor, Thomas Michael Slattery, a prominent Irish-born Catholic who became a barrister and politician.

McGovisk was also Irish Catholic, born in Dublin on 30 November 1837. In 1885 he was in the crowd which greeted Sydney’s archbishop Moran on his return from Rome after being appointed the colony’s first cardinal. A worshipper at St Benedict’s Broadway, McGovisk paid the £1200 building and installation costs of that church’s new organ but died on 24 April 1892, six months before its inaugural recital by City of Sydney organist Auguste Wiegand.

McGovisk appears to have died unmarried and without family. What his relationship was with ‘his loving friend’ Priscilla White who placed newspaper memorial notices until 1896 is unknown. Priscilla lived at Forest Lodge. She may have been related to fuel merchant John White of 1 Cross St.

After the Bridge Hotel ceased trading in 1955 it became a cheap and cheerful trattoria (the Aurora, later Aniello’s) at a time when dining out in Glebe meant choosing from a handful of Chinese eateries.

1. The street numbering has changed since McGovisk’s time. His terraces featured in Liz Simpson-Booker’s article on Glebe’s surviving carriageways in Bulletin 5/2014.

2. Thanks to Professor Ivan Barko of Annandale for his correction to my article on Edsburg in the May 2015 Bulletin. Madame Boivin, teacher of French, was in all likelihood the daughter-in-law of milliner Madame Clémence Boivin née Bercher. Both women were living in Sydney by 1886, but the milliner and the teacher were not the same person.

Avoca Terrace in the 1970s (Image: Bernard Smith Collection)
Avoca Terrace in the 1970s
(Image: Bernard Smith Collection)

Sources: 1891 census collectors’ books; Evening News 25.11.1892; NSW cemetery records; Sands Directories; Solling, Max Grandeur & Grit: a history of Glebe; Sydney Morning Herald 24.4.1893, 24.4.1895, 24.4.1896; Sydney telephone directories 1955-60.