Victoria Rd, now widely known to residents and visitors alike due to the Jubilee stop on the Light Rail and the access to the Tramsheds, was created in the subdivision by George Boyce Allen in the period 1894-96 (south side) and 1902 (north side).1
The street’s elevated proximity to Jubilee Park and Oval was an attraction. However from 1922 the goods line to Darling Harbour with steam engines became operational following a four year construction period. The Glebe tunnel has been discussed in the Bulletin previously.2 Tenders for the manufacture and supply of stonework for the viaduct over Jubilee Park were called in November 1918.3 Goods traffic ceased in January 1996.4
Architect Edward Rumsey was 73 years old and four years into retirement5 when he purchased No 2, the first lot to be sold.
The son of Nathaniel and Lavinia, he married Octavia Yockey in the St Pancras Parish Church, London on 1 August 1848 then immigrated to Melbourne with two children, arriving in December 1853.6
In Melbourne Edward continued his architectural career winning in 1858 first prize for the plans of arrangements in the new Melbourne GPO.7
|2||2 Nov 1897||Edward Rumsey of Summer Hill, gentleman|
|4||6 Sep 1901||Henry Gibbons of Leichhardt, builder|
|6 – 8||20 Aug 1902||Charles Albert Muller of Sydney, physician and surgeon|
|10||31 Jan 1903||Charles Albert Muller of Sydney, physician and surgeon|
|12||15 Aug 1904||Charles Albert Muller of Sydney, physician and surgeon|
|14 – 24||6 Nov 1911||Emma Louisa Rogers of Newtown, widow|
|26 – 32||6 Oct 1911||Anne Jane McMahon of The Glebe, spinster|
|34 – 44||6 Apr 1914||James Alexander Brodie of Balmain, gentleman|
|3||24 Apr 1906||Henry Beeson of Turramurra, builder|
|5||30 Apr 1910||Eugene Augustine Boyle of Glebe Point, civil servant|
|Also No 1 Alexandra Lane purchased by George Roberts of Annandale, salesman on 30 Apr 1906.|
Source: Certificates of Title
With an expanded family now living in Sydney, 1873 was a year for Edward Rumsey to remember. In May he was appointed Clerk of Works in the Government Architect’s Branch8; in June he applied unsuccessfully for the position of City Architect9 but did in the same year receive acclaim for his architectural drawings from the NSW Academy of Art.10 At this time the family was living at 513 Crown St.
There were two daughters and four sons, the youngest of which, James Herbert, became the owner of No2 in January 1898 living there with his family. Following his early death aged 43 in 1903 the ownership transferred to his wife Grace. She remained the owner for 11 years but didn’t live there.
Edward died in September 1909 aged 85. The original house no longer exists replaced by a block of units possibly in the 1960s.
Henry Gibbons (1857-1939) born at Bethnal Green, London, married Mary Jane Landsbury in Sydney in 1879. The son of Phillip a silk warehouseman then tailor, and Sarah he was one of nine children and only 10 when his mother died. Travelling alone Henry possibly arrived in Sydney via Queensland in 1875.
Sands Directory records show him living at 37 Elswick St, Leichhardt, occupation carpenter, from the mid 1880s until about 1905.
Henry was the owner of No 4 for only 3 months before he sold it to Margaret Muller, the wife of Charles and purchaser of Nos 6-12. Was it because Henry was having cash flow problems? Payment was stopped on one of his cheques in March 1903.12
These troubles were behind him by May 1908 when Henry, now a builder of Stanmore, purchased two lots at Smith St, Manly. Here he created three lots where he built the family house and two others for his children. A builder in the expanding nearby suburbs until late in his life Henry died aged 81 in 1939.
Henry and Mary had five daughters and two sons. Henry, the oldest son, was also a carpenter.
Charles Albert Muller (1866-1932), born in Toowoomba in Queensland, became a registered medical practitioner in NSW in August 1891, having graduated from Melbourne University in 1889.12 By 1900 he went under the title of Physician and Surgeon and was living at 263 Elizabeth St, Sydney.
The purchase of Nos 6-12 and subsequently No 4 by his wife Margaret between 1901 and 1904 may not have been a financial success. The Railway Commissioners for NSW acquired these lots in May 1918 for the construction of the goods line so it is likely no dwellings were allowed to be constructed on the lots until after the goods line was completed.
Whether it was to get away from this complication we will never know, but what we do know is that Charles and Margaret travelled to Honolulu on the ship Makura for a holiday in March and April 1913.13 Also memorable was the cyclone they encountered soon after leaving Sydney.14
Charles was house surgeon at St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney 1891-93 then entered private practice but remained an honorary surgeon for over 15 years.15 He had three sons, Raymond, Harold and Charles. Margaret predeceased him in 1931. Charles died in September 1932 aged 66. His estate was valued at £16,474 4s 0d.
Widow Emma Louisa Rogers (1873-1949) purchased Nos 14-24 in 1911, soon after her husband Robert had died.
Robert and Emma, born respectively in Forest Lodge and Redfern, had married at St Stephens, Newtown in May 1894 then had two daughters and a son. Together they operated the Town Hall Hotel at 333 King St, Newtown he also being the proprietor of Wilce’s cordial factory, Newtown.16
Robert died aged only 31 in March1909 so his entrepreneurial talents had not had time to bear fruit. It was Emma, daughter of designer Joseph Morelli and Elizabeth Maybury who in the next 40 years amassed a sizeable number of assets.
When she died aged 75 in February 1949, her estate was valued at £15, 489 1s 1d. Robert’s had been valued at £874 17s 0d with debts of £1,055 10s 2d.
Emma sold the row of six terraces to George Fischer of London, an export buyer, in June 1914.
James Alexander Brodie, a successful businessman, hotel owner, landowner and in 1891 Mayor of Balmain, purchased Nos 34-44 in 1914 then arranged for the existing row of six terraces to be constructed. James died in 1916 aged 74 at which time the properties were transferred to his sons Gordon and Malcolm.
When they were offered for sale to investors in 1920 the returns were stated as 2s 6d per week each or £300 per annum17.
Annie Jane McMahon (1865-1945) was the youngest of eight children born to Terence McMahon and Annie (nee Jennings), both born in Ireland. The family lived at 40 Upper Fort St, Sydney from the 1850s until Annie’s mother died in 1884. Terence was a Shipping Officer attached to the General Post Office. This at the time was an important role as in 1855 a number of the merchants of Sydney gave him a testimonial of ‘a massive gold watch and a purse of 80 sovereigns’18. Terence retired in 1868 and died in 1870 aged 50.
When Annie bought Nos 26-32 in 1911 she was already a resident and had been a landowner in Glebe since 1909. She lived close by at No 1 Alexandra Rd with her brother William. The year after William died Annie, now 50, married Patrick Joseph McNamara in September 1916.
Annie died aged 79 in 1945 while still living at 1 Alexandra Rd. The Victoria Rd properties were sold after she died.
Builder Henry Beeson would have built No3 between April 1907 and December 1909 when he sold to Herbert Henry Cush, a manager of Annandale. Henry built a number of houses in Alexandra Rd, Allen St, Arcadia Rd, Avenue Rd and Wigram Rd between 1890 and 1910. See also details in The Glebe Society Bulletin Issue 4 of 2017.
Eugene Augustine Boyle (1859- 1932) was appointed a clerk in the NSW Public Service in June 187819. Born in Ireland to Eugene and Isabella (née O’Brien) the family arrived in Sydney on 27 March 1864, eventually living in Annandale.
Eugene Jnr married Elizabeth Mozelle in 1886. Sands Directory records suggest they were living in one of the Edith Cottages, Darling St in 1890 and by 1900 they were living at 61 Boyce St. Two daughters and three sons had been born by 1906, however only Hilda and Archibald survived to adulthood. Hilda became an operatic soprano travelling widely including overseas. Archibald became a solicitor living in Bellevue Hill where he died in 1984 aged 85.
Working in the Sales Division of the Department of Lands Eugene would have known of developments in Glebe. In 1897 his salary was £225 per annum rising to £365 by 1921. He purchased No 5 in 1911 then lived in the new house until it was sold in 1925 when the family relocated to Bellevue Hill Rd, Bellevue Hill.
In his spare time ‘Hughie’, as he was known to the keen billiard players in Sydney, was the State amateur champion in 1882 and 1883. For over 21 years he was the honorary secretary of the NSW Billiards Association.He died in 1932 aged 73.
Little is currently known about George Roberts. He lived in Annandale at Young St and Wells St from 1897 to 1906 after which details have not been found.
No 1 Alexandra Lane was sold to William Stone (of Waratah Stoves fame) in 1910 then retained by the Stone family until at least 1960.