Monday, April 21, 2008


"Lydham Hall" 1860
18 Lydham Avenue, Bexley 2207

Lydham Hall is a free stone family home built in 1860 of materials quarried locally by Swedish stone mason, Sven Bengton, for wealthy master butcher, Joseph Davis. It is one of the few remaining domestic buildings erected in Sydney during the period of the gold rushes and represents an exellent example of the transition from the simple Georgian style of architecture to a more elaborate Victorian style.

It stands on the highest point of land between the Cook's and George's Rivers where it commands extensive views over Botany Bay. This house is an outstanding early pioneer home, which has been restored faithfully to that early period. It is currently owned by Rockdale City Council and is managed by the St George Historical Society.

At one time it was the residence of David Stead, internationally known fisheries expert and naturalist who gave the suburb of Banksia its name. It was also the childhood home of the distinguished authoress, Christina Stead.
The building is on Rockdale City Councils heritage list and is open on weekends for viewing , times etc are available from Rockdale Council. It is worth a look especially when the roses in the rear garden are in bloom.
The building has been well maintained by the council, but it could do with a properly prepared conservation plan and a more appropriate front fence put in place more in keeping with the style and age of the building. Along with Tempe House this building is one of our cities most important links with our past.

1 comment:

Moiy said...

Hi there, I agree with the comment about the front fence lol, considering I was born and raised there from 1960 to 1968..yes im offspring of George James Long..the youngest ever anzac..he was 14yrs 9mths when he went to grandfather...he was the actual owner that sold it to Rockdale Council / Historical Society for the exhorbitant sum of $25, huh. Yes the front fence was offwhite sort of mud/lime render about the same height of the current red brick and on top was horizontal flat planks and posts off white. The huge palm to the left of the driveway was an official landmark for the Cobb and Co overland stage coaches and the early days of aviation before radar and even radio communications for pilots to locate Mascot Airport. Joseph Davis was in fact probably the biggest ever sheep grazier in the Botany Bay area..owning all the land from Herbert to Villiers St and Forest Road down to Rockdale Station. I saw many an aviation milestone from the rear upstairs window..the tunnel being built..the runway into the bay being built bit by bit..the first ever concord landing in Aus..and the first of the 707 727 jets takeoff and land etc..all from this huge old brass telescope...too heavy for me to lift onto the windowsill myself. The backyard was always sprawling with the most huge colourful butterflies...basically all of which became extinct with the early introduction of crop spraying. Wonderful insects abounded too..basically extinct too. It was a kids heaven. What a house...what an upbringing..wish it was still mine. Thank you for listening.