Alexandra Road, Glebe
Source: With annotation by the author.

Part of the final subdivision of the Toxteth Estate, the lots in Alexandra Rd were first advertised for sale in 1904. On the western side it was builder James Howard Brown who purchased six of the 11 lots so we can assume he constructed the homes we see on those lots, apart from the more recent blocks of units at Nos 20 and 22. It is possible he also built some of the other houses in the street as well.

Born in Collingwood, Melbourne James Howard Brown (1857-1932) was the eldest son of brewer George Howard Brown and Louisa Brown. Originally from Manchester, George arrived in Melbourne in the early 1850s and married in 1855, the family then being raised at Stawell in country Victoria. What or who influenced James to become a builder is not yet known but he was attracted to Sydney and married Elizabeth (Lizzie) Martin at St Barnabas Church, Broadway on 1 February 1883.

The marriage brought two daughters and two sons, the older daughter dying as an infant in 1885. Their eldest son Frederick (1886-1936) enlisted for WW1 in October 1915 while living with his wife Delia and parents at 12 Avenue Rd. Also in the building trade Frederick was a master bricklayer so would have laid many of the bricks in Alexandra Rd. He survived WW1 but died in 1936 aged 50.

Sale notice for 16 Alexandra Rd, Glebe 1912
Sale notice for 16 Alexandra Rd. (source: Sydney Morning Herald; 24 Jan 1912)

James (1891-1982), their second son who enlisted in May 1915, was also a builder working with his father in Glebe. He too survived WW1 returning to marry and raise a family at Manly where he was a carpenter and was elected Mayor for 1952 & 1953.

Surviving daughter Annie (1888-1963) was a nurse working in Brisbane at the outbreak of WW1. During the war she worked in a number of Brisbane hospitals until she married jeweller William McKay Thomson in 1922. He was a veteran of WW1 and they continued to live in Queensland until she died in 1963. William died in 1977, aged 83.

James Howard and Lizzie lived in Glebe from the 1880s until 1918 when they left for Manly. By this time James and his sons had built over 25 houses in Glebe in Alexandra Rd, Avenue Rd, Allen St, Cook St, Edward St, Lombard St and Toxteth Rd.

In Manly the family bought a large lot which they subdivided, building three houses, with James and Lizzy living in one of them. James died in 1932 aged 75 and Lizzy in 1936 aged 86, both being buried at Rookwood.

House No Purchased Purchaser
2 March 1905 James Howard Brown, builder
4 April 1909 Mary Tarlinton, Margaret Tarlinton & Agnes Tarlinton, all of Glebe
6-10 September 1907 Joseph William Pearshouse of Glebe, merchant
12 September 1907 James Howard Brown, builder
14 December 1906 Ernest Henry Tebbutt
16-18 June 1910 James Howard Brown, builder
20 July 1905 James Howard Brown, builder
22 September 1905 James Howard Brown, builder

No 4 – Quaama

Margaret Tarlinton
Margaret Tarlinton (source:

Unmarried sisters Mary, Margaret and Agnes Tarlinton became the owners of No 4 in 1909 having one-third share each, However according to the Sands Directories the head of the household was their widowed mother, Catherine.

Catherine Mary Heffernan (1838-1920) had married William Tarlinton (1834-1899) at Broulee, just north of Moruya, on the south coast of NSW, William was the 2nd son of a south coast pioneering family.

William was one of 10 children. William and Catherine had eight children. The family had a property near the small village of Quaama, just south of Cobargo where William was a successful grazier. Aged 65 he died in Sydney in October 1899 where he had sought medical treatment for a lingering illness. His body was then taken to the south coast on a steamer for burial beside his parents at Cobargo.

After a number of the siblings had married Catherine left the south coast in 1906, to join two of her daughters in Sydney:

Mrs. William Tarlinton is about to vacate the picturesque homestead at Tarlintonvile, Quaama, and remove to Sydney, where two of her daughters have been residing for some time.1

A few years later in 1909 the lot that became No 4 was purchased, the new house being named after the village Quaama.

Agnes married Frank N Millar at Glebe in 1912 her share of No 4 being sold or transferred to Mary and Margaret in 1914. At about that time Catherine with daughters Mary and Margaret moved to Minto to live with widowed eldest daughter/sister Kate and her children. Kate had married dairyman Charles Murray at Cobargo in 1895.

Catherine fell while attending church at Campbelltown on Sunday 8 Febuary 1920, breaking her hip. Despite the efforts of the staff at Lewisham Hospital she died on 7 March. Her body was taken back for burial beside husband William at Cobargo.2

Tragically Mary was accidentially killed two weeks later in George St, Sydney, when she was crushed by a lorry.3

Margaret returned to No 4 where she lived until she died aged 73 on 2 September 1951.

No 4 was bequeathed to two of her nephews and was held by family members until 1960.4

Nos 6 – 10

Joseph William Pearshouse (1859 – 1941)

Arriving Sydney in January 1886, 26 year old commercial traveller Joseph William Pearshouse had left Birmingham, England in search of his fortune. He was also searching for a healthier place to live having spent 1884-85 in an English sanatorium for chest diseases.

Birmingham was where most of the heavy manufacturing took place for all of the British Empire, so he came with background knowledge that gave him a valuable start.

Two years later in August 1888 his carpenter father Joseph, aged 53, mother Sarah (57) and sister Bertha (19) arrived to join him, initially living at Rowntree St, Balmain.

By 1890 Joseph William had already travelled to Melbourne, Tasmania, and to England and back setting up the business that would make him that fortune.

He became the manufacturer’s agent for many staple items required in nation building, such as hand tools and the hand-shears used in the sheep industry.

From June 1897 to September 1899 Joseph travelled to Melbourne, Adelaide, Fremantle, back to Sydney, then London and return (with his sister), Fremantle again and back to Sydney.5 All of these journeys were on steam ships.

August 1900 saw him purchase a home for his parents, the newly built 29 Allen St, Glebe. Joseph later purchased other houses in Allen St – No 31 (1902), No 25 (1904) and Nos 42,44 &46 (1909).

In Alexandra Rd he purchased Nos 6,8,10 & No 9 on the eastern side. Bertha also purchased Nos 3 and 5 on the eastern side. There may have been other properties in Glebe too. He also purchased a 10 acre portion of the Waverley Park Estate near Perth.

Joseph William continued to travel to all the states in Australia and to New Zealand his business continuing to do well. He was also able to take a leisurely trip back to England in 1906 via Japan, Canada and the USA.

Although still a bachelor at 55 he did find a wife, Florence Throp of Dunedin, New Zealand, twenty years his junior, whom he met on one of his many trips across the Tasman. they married in Dunedin in April 1914.

He now had company on his travels which continued at the same pace. The two of them visited London in 1921 and 1925.

Joseph’s parents died at 29 Allen St – Sarah in 1910 and Joseph in 1917. Joseph and Florence left Glebe to establish their home in 211 Elizabeth St, Sydney – the apartment building overlooking Hyde Park. This was the new T&G Building, completed 1930, which was itself demolished in 1975.

Joseph died at their apartment on 4 March 1941, aged 81. Florence died seven years later aged 68. They didn’t have any children.

Afterwards, on 30 November 1948 the contents of the apartment and Florence’s effects were auctioned by James R Lawson. The advertisement for antiques and modern silver, valuable pictures, magnificent Chinese furniture, antiques and period furniture, and a library of valuable books took up almost a full column in the Sydney Morning Herald.6

Bertha never married. When she left her parents’ home she moved to Woollahra enjoying high society but also involving herself in charity work and promoting women’s causes. She was the honorary secretary of St John Ambulance (1901) and the National Council of Women (1918).

Like her brother, Bertha enjoyed travelling. She returned to England again in 1927-28 and 1930-32 trips that would have included Europe. Back in Sydney Bertha settled in Neutral Bay where she lived the rest of her long and eventful life.

Aged 97 Bertha died on 24 December 1966.

No 14 – Delos

Ernest Henry Tebbutt
Ernest Henry Tebbutt (looking very earnest) in about 1910. (source:

The youngest son of Quirindi shopkeeper John and grandson of London solicitor Thomas, Ernest Henry Tebbutt (1871-1938) started work as a junior draftsman in the Architect’s Branch of the Department of Public Instruction, NSW in December 1890. 7

While in this role he took an interest in architecture contemplating a career in that sphere, interestingly though, he ‘retired’ from the NSW Public Service in 1896 aged only 24.8

Born in Murrurundi on 10 July 1871 he initially grew up in the country however by 1880 the family had moved to Laurence Villa, 216 Glebe Point Rd, leaving his eldest brother John, 16 years his senior, in charge of the family business at Quirindi.

He may have retired from the Public Service nevertheless Ernest was on the move – in April 1895 he had gained entry to Sydney University9, by May 1905 at the age of 34 he had been admitted to the Bar.10

Ernest’s personal life had changed too. He married Lillian May Hutchinson on 24 May 1897 the reception being held in her parent’s house Alston at Glebe Point. (Alston was one of the nine grand terraces demolished to make way for the Anchorage apartment complex at 459 Glebe Point Rd.)

It was in December 1906 that Ernest, described as a civil servant of Annandale, purchased No 14 Alexandra Rd where he, Lillian, three sons and a daughter lived until 1910.

Leaving Glebe, the family settled in Roseville, eventually residing at 21 Shirley St.

Ernest, aged 39, had established his own firm ‘E H Tebbutt, Solicitor’ in 1910 located in Pitt St. Later as his sons also became solicitors the name changed to EH Tebbutt & Sons, a firm that still exists today.11

He and the firm became well known for their advice and expertise in Local Government and Moratorium Law.

It was on Saturday 19 February 1938, following a swim in the surf at Dee Why beach, that Ernest suffered a heart attack and died.12 He was 66.

His funeral the following Monday at the Roseville Methodist Church was attended by family and representatives of religious, social and philanthropic organisations with which Ernest was connected, and by representatives of local public bodies.13

Rodney Hammett


1 Southern Star (Bega); Sat 24 Feb 1906, p2;
2 Cobargo Chronicle; Sat 10 Apr 1920, p2 [Obituary];
3 The Sun; Sun 21 Mar 1920, p2;
4 Certificate of Title 6225-78;
5 passenger lists & newspaper reports on shipping movements;
6 Sydney Morning Herald; Sat 27 November 1948, p14;
7; NSW Government Gazette; July 1895;
8 Records show that in Apr 1897 he had been appointed to the role of field assistant in the Public Watering Places and Artesian Boring Branch of the NSW Dept of Mines in Agriculture. Such a role located somewhere in country NSW and its impact on his impending marriage must have filled Ernest’s mind with dread leading him to resign effective 30 June 1896. Source: Ancestry; NSW Public Service lists & NSW Government Gazette;
10 SMH; Fri 26 May 1905, p3 [Law Report];
11 See also;
12 The Sun; Sun 20 Feb 1938, p5 [Solicitor’s Death];
13 Sydney Morning Herald; Tue 22 Feb 1938, p8.