By Lyn Collingwood, Bulletin 9/2022, November 2022

John Gardner Fraser (1838-1911)

John Gardner Fraser (Image: Sydney Mail and NSW Advertiser)

When clergyman J G Fraser (1838-1911) moved c. 1883 from Innellan on Point Piper Rd, Woollahra, to the house on the eastern corner of Forsyth St and Glebe Rd he took the name with him, no doubt a reminder of his Scottish heritage. Glebe’s Innellan had nine rooms, a kitchen and a servant’s room, was connected to gas and served as a venue for weddings. At its rear was Arden, built in 1837-8 as Forsyth Cottage on three acres by banker George Miller. Arden survived until 1971 when it was replaced by a multi-storey apartment complex.

Born near Edinburgh, Fraser followed his father’s vocation as a clergyman. In 1864 Alexander and Janet Fraser landed with their three sons in Melbourne from London as cabin passengers aboard the Wave of Life. Alexander took up ministry of the Collins St Congregational Church, Melbourne. John moved to Sydney as pastor of the Balmain Independent Church.

JG Fraser became minister of the Woollahra Congregational Church, warden of Camden College, Newtown, and chairman of the Congregational Union of NSW. He married Ellen Armstrong, a surveyor’s daughter, in 1867. She was a member of the British and Foreign Bible Society ladies’ committee and Glebe’s Hospital for Sick Children. She accompanied her husband to public events such as the 1894 opening of Sydney University’s Women’s College. Her sister, Lucy, married (Sir) James Reading Fairfax and gave birth to seven offspring. Ellen had no children.

Arden, circa 1919, at the rear of 373 Glebe Point Rd. (Image: C of E Homes Annual Report 1919)

In January 1885, the Frasers auctioned Innellan‘s contents (rosewood piano, walnut and mahogany furniture and household effects) and sailed for London on RMS Ballaarat. Fellow cabin passengers were members of the Fairfax family and James Barnet, Colonial Architect and Glebe resident. Back in Sydney by June 1886, the Frasers settled at Garnock in Glebe Rd where John’s widowed mother died in 1894.

By the time of Fraser’s own death, he was back in the Eastern Suburbs. He was interred in Rookwood’s Independent section with his mother and wife, who died in Hobart in 1904. A window in his memory was unveiled at the Woollahra Congregational Church in 1912.

Johanna Henderson Bedwell (1842-1917)

The next known tenant of what was then renamed Caithness at 289 Glebe Rd was the discharged bankrupt widow of Crawford Robert Bedwell who had died aged 45 at Palmerston Terrace in 1886 when he was recorded as a Mason and an auctioneer. For most of his life he was a Richmond farmer. In 1867, the year of a disastrous flood, he was acquitted on a charge of killing a neighbour’s horse when a hay fork he had thrown to drive it off his property was embedded in the animal.

Johanna Martin married Bedwell at Richmond in 1865. Sixteen pregnancies followed, the last a son who died at Glebe in 1885 shortly after birth. In January 1889 an inquest was held at the Ancient Briton into the death at Caithness of Johanna’s two-year-old grandson Frederick whose clothing caught alight when he was playing with matches. Frederick’s mother Matilda Margaret, Johanna’s oldest child, died in 1893. By then Johanna Bedwell had settled at Waterview in Manly where Matilda’s other son became part of her extended family. Johanna died at Manly and was buried in the family vault at Richmond.

Robert Ellis Mawson (1854-1912)

Sir Douglas Mawson (image South Australian Museum)

During the next tenancy the house changed its numbering from 289 to 351 Glebe Rd and its name to Baroda. Robert Mawson, after migrating from Yorkshire with Margaret Ann née Moore and their young sons William and Douglas, set up as a fruit grower at Plumpton in 1884. The orchard was unproductive and in 1892 he was declared bankrupt but allowed to keep his furniture. By this time he had moved to Glebe as an accountant with a timber firm. The family lived in Palmerston Terrace and in Kennedy St, and were at Baroda by 1894. Here, Margaret Mawson took in boarders, a practice she continued at 28 Toxteth Rd after her husband sailed to New Guinea to seek his fortune, assuring his wife that their sons would win university scholarships. They did, but they were Arts scholarships which neither wanted to study. 

In 1912, a year after returning to Australia, Robert Mawson died aged 58 at Campbelltown where William had set up a medical practice. Five years later Margaret Mawson (born at Douglas on the Isle of Man) died there at the same age. The story of the Antarctic explorer Douglas Mawson and his family is told in Glebe Society Bulletins 3/2005 and 4/2012 and in People in Glebe’s History.

Agnes Gertrude Body (1861-1955)

Like Margaret Mawson, the widowed Mrs Body accommodated boarders, her preferred clientele country visitors. During her tenancy, Baroda’s numbering was fixed at 373 Glebe Rd.

Born at Morpeth the daughter of a Presbyterian minister, Agnes McEwen in 1888 married grazier’s son and sheep station manager Theodore Pearson Body at Bathurst. The couple lived at Caledonia, the headquarters of the Terramungamine and Caledonia runs near Dubbo. In 1895 Theo died of influenza, leaving his widow with three sons to support.

By 1911 Agnes Body had settled with her family at Caledonia Epping. For the next few years Baroda operated as a boarding house run by Bertha Russell, its lodgers including wool expert Alfred Bernard Francis and draper Montague Phillip Patterson. The landlady is probably the same Bertha Russell who was awarded £500 damages for a fractured hip when she stumbled alighting from a tram which had stopped on a section of Glebe Rd which was being repaired.

Herbert Walter (1869-1920) and Charlotte Worger (1874-1964)

Charlotte Worger continued the practice of letting out rooms. Her husband, an investor and speculator, had interests in gold mining, slate quarrying, motor vehicle hire, show business as manager of the Cremer-Worger Metropolitan Company of Comedians, and was licensee of the Dover Castle at Camperdown and other hotels.

In October 1916 Charlotte Worger auctioned Baroda’s contents (including a ‘practically new’ Eureka gas stove) and the family moved to Paddington where Herbert died. His widow subsequently married Robert Mitcheson.

In 1918 Baroda was one of a number of houses put up for auction by Richardson and Wrench. Major changes were made to the property when builders Hooker and Smith advertised for tender the erection of five flats, two retail outlets and three garages in 1928. C B Hill established a pharmacy in the corner shop and installed a telephone. Ten decades later, only the prefix of the original number (MW 1170) has changed.

Athol John Jurd (1915-1997)

Athol and Patricia Jurd (image supplied)

Athol Jurd took over Hill’s business after passing the NSW Pharmacy Board examinations in 1936. In 1941 he married Patricia McGowen. They had two sons and two daughters and lived at 70 Toxteth Rd before moving to Maroubra in the late 1970s. Athol was a Glebe Council alderman 1946-8.

The elder son of Leslie Giles and Kathleen Jurd, Athol was born in East Melbourne. By 1937 the family were living in Glebe with Kathleen’s widowed father John McElhone at 21 Avenue Rd, a house he had bought in 1921. A prominent member of the Catholic community, John McElhone died in 1944 and, after requiem mass at St James Church, was buried in the Catholic section of Rookwood cemetery. Kathleen Jurd inherited 21 Avenue Rd and after her death in 1964 it passed to her sons Athol and Leslie Joseph, also a pharmacist. The brothers sold the house in 1966.

Jurd’s Pharmacy was still operating in 1978. By 1981 the name had changed to the Glebe Point Pharmacy. It was not the first: Gilbert Edward Vaughan was the proprietor of Glebe Point Pharmacy, established in 1883 at 149 (later numbered 173) Glebe Rd, before he was declared bankrupt during the 1890s Depression.

Sources:;; NSW cemetery records; NSW electoral rolls; NSW Land Registry Services; NSW registry of births, deaths, marriages; NSW State Archives & Records; Sands Directories; Sydney telephone directories; Trove website.

373 Glebe Point Road today