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An architect and his clients: William Weaver in Hunter's Hill.

Almost no attention has been paid to the works of colonial architect William Weaver, a fate shared by other 'minor--architects of the 19th century. Arriving in Sydney as an experienced engineer at the age of 22 in 1851, (1) he joined Edmund Blacket in the Colonial Architect's Department and as his Clerk of Works oversaw construction of rural bridges in Maitland, Yass and Goulburn. (2) Weaver married Fanny Broughton at Yass in 1854. Her brother, John Archer Broughton, owned Garroorigang on the edge of Goulburn River and their family was one of the early pioneering clans with ties to the Humes, Throsbys, Barbers and Kennedys. (3) Other members of the Weaver family came to New South Wales, including William's brother, Richard, who lived at Murrurundi, and an uncle, Thomas Weaver, accompanied by his large family. William's cousin--Thomas's daughter, Caroline Weaver--married Samuel Terry of Box Hill. (4)

Weaver became Colonial Architect in 1854. Able to consult for private clients, two years later Weaver turned entirely to private practice in Sydney. Between 1856 and 1864 his industrial projects included the Sugar Company works on the harbour at Waverton and the boldly conceived Collingwood estate at a new railway junction near Liverpool. He designed a Turkish bath building in the Doric style in Bligh Street (5) and offices straddling the Tank Stream near Bridge Street. (6) Indications of his architectural versatility are the surviving mansions Ginahgulla, built for John Fairfax at Bellevue Hill; Burrundulla at Mudgee for George Cox; and Jervisfield at Picton for John Antill.

Weaver established his home in the Ryde-Hunter's Hill district. At Ryde his uncle, the Reverend George Edward Weaver Turner, was a well-respected Church of England clergyman and rector of St Anne's who introduced Weaver into an influential social milieu. As the nephew of one of Sydney's principal Anglicans and as a young colleague and friend of the favourite Anglican architect, Edmund Blacket, Weaver gained broad social contacts.

These Anglican connections steered him to clients within and beyond this extensive parish, such as alterations and extensions to St Mary's Church at Balmain, (7) the design of Moore College (8) at Liverpool and in May 1857 involvement in preliminary discussions regarding extensions to St Anne's at Ryde. (9) Two new mansions at the entrance to the Parramatta River by 1856 were Didier Joubert's Passy and William Wright's Drummoyne House. (10) About twelve 1850s sandstone villas within the current boundaries of Hunter's Hill display consistent Weaver-like design detail. Each owner had a social or professional association with Weaver. Almost all the villas survive--some in original form, others easily identifiable within extensions. Those discussed here were photographed and proposed for heritage listing 50 years ago by the Hunters Hill Trust (11) but no professional architect 's name was suggested.

The 1850s buildings bearing stylistic similarities and attributable to Weaver as discussed here are the 'mansion' Passy at 1 Passy Avenue and the Anglican schoolhouse/chapel, now St Mark's in Figtree Road. At the original heart of Figtree Farm are the marine villas Coorabel, Annabel Lea and a partly concealed Cliff House, all in Joubert Street near the Lane Cove River. Figtree House with its distinctive front close to the edge of the river is to the east in Reiby Road.

Three speculative marine villas, erected to the north of Madeline Street, had gardens stretching to the shores of the Lane Cove River. Now partly secluded from public view, they are Walshale at the end of Ferdinand Street; Innisfree in Ady Street; and Windermere in Ernest Street.

More conspicuous are Weaver's own house on the corner of Alexandra Street and Stanley Road, directly opposite the Town Hall; then Lyndcote at 7 Stanley Street; and Winden, a tiny cottage/schoolhouse on the corner of Stanley and Mount Streets. Dr Plomley's house Doonbah is 15 Karrelah Avenue nearby. Further to the west is the cluster of Gabriel De Milhau-owned houses, most importantly Paraza at 7 De Milhau Road and Villa Maria (now The Priory) easily viewed adjoining a wide-open space near Salter Street.

Three months after Weaver began private practice, a public meeting was called at Ryde to discuss a proposal to persuade the government to erect a bridge across the Parramatta River. (12) Isaac Shepherd, owner of Helenie at Meadowbank, acted as chairman and brothers John and Charles Blaxland and James Devlin showed support. Devlin's Willandra, 'probably a quintessential example of the two-storeyed colonial house' (13) still stands--across a concrete expressway--opposite St Anne's. It was William Weaver who proposed forming the Parramatta River Steam Navigation Company and Didier Joubert, owner of Figtree Farm, played a major hand in the initiative. Two days later, as honorary secretary, Weaver announced the provisional directors including Shepherd, John and Charles Blaxland, Didier Joubert, Major Darvall, William Foster and James Devlin and invited applications for shares. (14)

A group photograph c 1856 shows Didier Joubert and Weaver with the Reverend Turner, John and Charles Blaxland and others, confirming the local professional opportunities open to Weaver. (15) Five Blaxland family houses were built on their extensive landholdings along the Parramatta River, including Newington. The latest, John Blaxland's The Hermitage, completed at Ryde in 1842, had been designed by John Bibb. (16) However, no architect has been named for the new villas or mansions in this locality in the 1850s. Charles Blaxland's Cleves and Major Edward Darvall's Ryedale (17)--both close to the Parramatta River and St Anne's--suggest Weaver's hand.


The two clients who proved to be of the greatest benefit to Weaver in his early private career were James H. Atkinson of the Collingwood complex at Liverpool, and the French wine merchant, shipper and trader Didier Joubert of Hunter's Hill. Weaver's collaboration with Joubert altered the pattern of small farms, orchards and fishermen's cottages of the 1840s to carefully positioned ornate villas and grounds. Examination of these 1850s villas substantiates Weaver's 1860 claim that he erected 'many villas on the Parramatta River' (18) as well as challenging the enduring assumption that either Didier or his younger brother Jules Joubert acted as architect.

Scant are the vital facts concerning the upsurge of development in the late 1840s and early 1850s--an upsurge which well might be described as typically French in its temperamental suddenness. (19)

Didier Joubert has only a vague presence in colonial histories of Sydney. Joubert first arrived in Sydney from the Charente region of France in 1837. (20) His ships carried provisions to the French settlements in the South Pacific, supplying naval bases in New Caledonia as well as the Marist Father missions, following a propitious meeting in Paris in 1844 with the original superior, Father Dubreul. (21) His purchase of Mary Reiby's productive 40-acre Figtree Farm in 1847 followed successful negotiations for the nearby Thomas Stubbs' farm on behalf of the Marist Fathers, made urgent when his earlier purchase of the large Birchgrove estate for the Fathers had failed. (22)

Joubert joined a coterie of William Macarthur, Thomas Mort and Thomas Mitchell in the New South Wales Vineyard Association (23) and became one of the figureheads of Sydney's French community, particularly when Consul Louis Sentis became his tenant in Passy from 1855. (24) In view of his considerable assets, Didier would have enjoyed a position among Sydney's wealthy and influential families. Letters written by him and by Sentis were published when a controversy arose in July 1858, about a supposed kidnapping of South Sea Islanders who were taken to Mauritius on board a ship chartered by Didier Joubert. An inquiry continued until at least September that year, (25) but when the Hunter's Hill New Year's Day Regatta was held on 1 January 1859, the tricolour flew from the rooftop of Passy. In the context of sugar production trials in New Caledonia, his brother expressed the opinion that 'Mr D. N. Joubert ... is generally known to be "cool" in the extreme in all matters of business, and seldom if ever sanguine'. (26)

High on the ridge line, with new ferry access only a three-minute walk away, Passy became a local landmark mentioned frequently in the Sydney press. With its pronounced symmetry on the formal eastern front softened by external divided stairs and slender iron columns, and rear service wings detached and out of view, Passy's proportions--dining and drawing rooms measured 22 x 20 feet and a grand upper floor divided with folding doors--followed the tradition of mansion/farmhouse properties along Parramatta River. (27) The likelihood of Weaver's involvement is considerable in light of Joubert's subsequent commissions for him but also for a stylistic consistency found in Weaver's own villa (c1858) and contemporary residential works. (28)

If Passy conveys notions of a suburban ideal, the extent of Didier's financial dealings suggests a commitment to speculative development. Prior to, and following, the Ryde 1856 meeting, he took three mortgages of the 30-acre Passy estate (purchased at more than 1000 [pounds sterling]) to a total of 3100 [pounds sterling] in six months. (29) In April 1855 he held a mortgage over his neighbour Etienne Bordier's four 'Swiss villas' amounting to 2900 [pounds sterling]. The Swiss villas had been the first courageous attempt at close development on the scenic peninsula once ferry access had been introduced. The properties reverted to Joubert when the villas failed to sell. His accumulated funds may have financed that mortgage, construction of Passy, improvements to the orchards and vineyard (30) or new Figtree Farm buildings.

Subdivisions, as well as speculative building, were popular with equally optimistic investors. Eugene Delange's subdivision plan near Charles Blaxland's Parramatta River holdings was advertised in May 1856 with Joubert involved in some way (31) and so was William W. Billyard's Glades Estate, also intended for 'Gentlemen's villas' with the attraction of another new ferry wharf. (32)

An early example of a Joubert speculative villa was the two-storey Walshale, an unspoiled example of a marine villa, sold to Henry Charles Brookes in 1856 for more than 1000 [pounds sterling]. (33) The first of its type, it was set into a vertical quarried wall with a plain rear entrance opening into the top floor formal rooms and wide verandahs overlooking Lane Cove. The squarish form and plan is found on Windermere with the same outlook, and of a size that typifies other local villas of the period.

The Figtree Farm houses Joubert added in 1855-56 all remained in family ownership until well into the 20th century. St Malo, his family home that was demolished for an expressway, was of uncertain date and the architect unknown. A single-storey bungalow with verandahs front and back, there was a generously proportioned formal entrance with decorative fanlight and a roof lantern--unique in Hunter's Hill. (34) Modest compared to Passy, or indeed Cleves, the Blaxland c1855 farmhouse mansion, (35) in its immediate setting among Reiby's various stone cottages, St Malo would have appeared a fine villa. Design elements, such as divided front rooms arched or with folding doors, four French doors opening onto verandahs, are consistent with other houses built after 1855.

The 1850s front of the adjacent Figtree House facing Lane Cove retains an open arched division between the formal rooms, and the pitched roof and proportions of the original Cliff Cottage--found in photographs and plans--are still visible. But Figtree Farm's most impressive surviving villa is the elegant Coorabel, (36) with its steep slate roof, unusual small central dormer, broad flagged verandahs on three sides and cast iron supports like those found on St Malo (37) and other contemporary houses. As a second sophisticated villa so close to St Malo would seem superfluous except for extended family use, it was probably built in 1856 for Joubert's brother-in-law Pierre Bonnefin, a 'Merchant, Lane Cove'. (38) A year later, being chased for a bad debt, Bonnefin claimed to live outside Australia (39) and by April 1857, as his garnishee, Didier advertised Coorabel with its 'spacious verandah and ... four attic rooms' for lease. (40) Aesthetically, the Figtree Farm houses appear confused, perhaps a deliberate variety of styles designed to appeal to investors acquiring subdivision allotments rather than an attempt at a harmonious whole.



Surely rare in the Sydney region is Annabel Lea, an almost grandiose example of worker housing cum farm building, which provided servant access from its third level to the ground floor of Coorabel. Its four bold dormers front and back set low with bargeboards are similar to Weaver's '20 cottages in groups of 5 on the estate of J. H. Atkinson ...' (41) With a plain functional and simple interior, it is the one building in suburbanised Hunter's Hill to recall a profitable scale of farming practices in the 1850s.

Inspiration for this striking design of worker housing would have come firsthand from Weaver's brother Henry, a Wiltshire architect who had 80 subscribers support his 1848 illustrated pamphlet for the promotion '... of improvement of home accommodations of the poorer population in rural areas ...' (42) Titled Hints on Cottage architecture, being a selection of designs for labourers' cottages. Singly, in Pairs, and in groups, it cites those already constructed for a client near the village of Hilmarton. The plans and philosophy are of particular interest for the influence they may have had on William Weaver's works as a whole.

With no professional records surviving from Weaver's private practice, tender notices are an essential source in locating Weaver's works, but no notices for tenders have been found for Didier Joubert's buildings. Clearly, there was labour available locally, boosted by a group of Italian and Swiss Italian migrants who arrived in 1855 and who were under the care of the Marist Fathers. (43) What seems so unlikely is that Joubert would ignore Weaver's professional skills for his buildings amid a great deal of personal contact and securing for him the commission for the Marist Fathers' mission house and a schoolhouse-chapel designed for a parcel of Figtree Farm land.

Plans were ready and tenders advertised by February 1857 for the Marist Fathers' mission house, Villa Maria, on the likely advice of Didier Joubert and Louis Sentis. (44) Villa Maria (now The Priory, in the hands of Hunter's Hill Council) utilised an existing cottage as its northern wing. Weaver supervised each stage, signed receipts and accounts recording the names of stonemasons, quantities of stone and timber and so on. As the first Australian headquarters of the French order, with productive gardens, orchards and, like Passy, a vineyard, (45) the mission house was to provide a place for recuperation. Bold purloins under the front eaves add weight to the design--like those Weaver specified for Antill's Jervisfield--but the interior of Villa Maria is plain and functional, almost barrack-like in its absence of domestic formalities. An unimposing entrance leads into a rather mean hall and staircase, with minimal decorative detail. Remarkably, that 1857 portion of the building remains substantially unchanged through decades of 20th century institutional occupancy.

Villa Maria's conservative external design must have suited the Parramatta River context. A substantial marine villa, sited at the head of Tarban Creek, its long horizontal symmetry with side wings brought well forward, may reference Macarthur's Vineyard up the river, particularly since acquiring Roman Catholic associations when Archbishop Polding purchased it for the Benedictines (renaming it Subiaco), five years before the Marist Fathers acquired their farm at Hunter's Hill. Perhaps Weaver acted in deference to Subiaco, Willandra or Newington, although his similar 1863 designs for Cox and Antill, a new generation of some of the colony's first families, suggest that their preference may well have veered towards variations of traditional 'establishment' designs like those to be found near Goulburn--Woollogorang or Glenrock at Marulan or Norwood, places known to Weaver through his many visits to his wife's family. (46)


With Helenie, Cleves, Drummoyne House and Subiaco demolished and Darvall's Ryedale moved to a rural site near Paterson in the Hunter Valley, Newington and Villa Maria are the sole reminders of the Georgian styled farmhouse mansions built close to the shore of the Parramatta River.

As construction of Villa Maria progressed, 'Friends of the Church of England at Hunters Hill' (47) met to discuss a proposed chapel and schoolhouse that was to be built on a quarter acre of Figtree Farm. Joubert instructed that the land be held by trustees Weaver, William Wright and Henry Brookes, (48) thus providing a religious and educational facility essential to a growing suburb. A published list of subscribers, comprising a local who's who of property owners and investors, included a generous William Wright, giving 25 [pounds sterling], Weaver and Dr Francis Campbell 10 [pounds sterling] each, with smaller donations from de Milhau, D. Davis, A. Foss, A. Huntley, Dr Plomley, Mrs Plomley, Bellingham, Henry C. Brookes, W. W. Billyard and Edye Manning (who would become owner of Passy). (49)

For a while Weaver played a prominent role in parish affairs. He spoke to members along with the Reverend Turner, Charles Blaxland and James Devlin in discussions regarding a church constitution, and the same month when the Hon J. B. Darvall, the local member, held a dinner in his electorate--'in a large tent with a band performing operatic morceaux' (50)--Weaver acted as vice-chairman for the occasion. Among subscribers for extensions to St. Anne's was Weaver, his wife, young son and sisters-in-law, 11 members of the Blaxland families and no less than 15 named Devlin. Construction began in January 1861 and by November 'all the work including the tower' was complete. (51) A discreet avoidance of Weaver's name is apparent in reports.

The social and client contacts of Weaver bloomed when be joined the committee of the new Union Club in 1857 with the Hon James Macarthur as president and John Fairfax and Edye Manning as fellow committee members. (52) Weaver's largest city project to date--the Oriental Bank with tall Ionic columns fronting Pitt Street--was completed, and three 'first class houses in South William Street, Woolloomooloo' (53) and the Craigend Terraces for Sir Thomas Mitchell's widow were among his numerous commitments, when Weaver announced a partnership with his younger departmental colleague, William Kemp. (54) A likely benefit was their design for Ginahgulla at Bellevue Hill for John Fairfax--so unlike any other Weaver work.

William Kemp's elder brother Charles had been Fairfax's partner in The Sydney Morning Herald. In 1859, when Weaver and Kemp were appointed architects for the Sailors Home on the western side of Circular Quay, the selection committee was John Fairfax, Charles Kemp, J. B. Darvall and Louis Sentis, emphasising the influence of friends and associates once again. The building design utilised Norman windows similar to those Weaver chose for Moore College.

As Joubert advertised building sites on his Birchgrove Estate, (55) Weaver selected land halfway between Passy and Figtree Farm on which to build his own family villa. Described 50 years ago as 'a gem among 1850s bungalows', (56) Weaver's own description was:
   A commodious and delightfully situated Stone built Marine Villa
   Residence ... immediately opposite the mansion and grounds of
   William Wright, Esq ... of cut stone, with slated roof, contains a
   spacious verandah on three sides, nine feet in width, hall drawing
   room 18.6 x 16, dining room 18 x 16 ... for massiveness of
   structure, finish, and general convenience [it] will bear
   favourable comparison with the many villas that gentleman has
   erected on the Parramatta River, or elsewhere. (57)

Opposite the present Town Hall, Weaver's villa sits high above the Parramatta River, if strangely close to the main road, perhaps to be professionally conspicuous, with a path and carriageway leading to the front rooms of the house. (58) A small gabled extension on the northern side is the only structural alteration. A major extension to Varroville at Minto (59) was also under construction, a villa/farmhouse variation that makes an important addition to Weaver's repertoire. A greater presence in Hunter's Hill prompted the appearance of new villas on allotments along a track to his property from the south and which became Stanley Road, 'lined by stone walls that ... curve in that amphitheatre way about a bay'. (60) Charles Jeanneret, an active Anglican, owned the adjoining land from around 1856 and built Lyndcote, advertising it for lease in August 1859. (61)


It was on a portion of Wright's land that Dr Plomley's Doonbah (62) had been built (c1855) with front and side elevations similar to Lyndcote and Figtree Farm's Cliff Cottage, but the Wright-owned villa on the corner of Stanley Road and Mount (then Drummoyne) Street is of particular interest, partly for its total lack of alteration or addition. A cottage in scale, the detail and design echo those of other Hunter's Hill 'villas' so strongly as to suggest Weaver as architect. This diminutive version has the same symmetry, four French doors, two formal front rooms, flagged stone verandah with the iron uprights and chimney capping found on Coorabel, St Malo, Weaver's house and Lyndcote, and an attic bedroom and the simple rear entrance also retained at the Weaver house. Built purposely to provide accommodation for pupils attending the schoolhouse and leased by Wright to Mrs Clapham, Ventnor Cottage--now Winden--offered 'Parents and Guardians ... a few vacancies for Resident Pupils'. (63) Much later, William Wright donated a large area of land on the western side of Stanley Road for the existing primary school, which opened in 1870. (64)

Among another group of cottages to the west at Tarban Creek is Paraza, a villa belonging to Gabriel de Milhau, a friend and associate of Etienne Bordier. (65) possibly the 10-room house he was occupying when he attempted to sell in 1863. (66) The wide verandahs and dormers set high into the roof line are similar to those found on Drummoyne House, a likely inspiration. De Milhau, who became Mayor of Hunter's Hill in 1862, also owned land adjoining Weaver's to the east, and has been wrongly credited with building the Weaver house. Attribution to the Manning family also proved incorrect when documentation of Weaver's ownership was confirmed. (67)

At the same time as new villas appeared on Stanley Road the Joubert subdivision was released in 1859. (68) Weaver had assisted James H. Atkinson to promote his Collingwood investments with an agricultural show, a race meeting and an Easter ball. (69) Now publicity appeared for events at Hunter's Hill. A New Year's Day Regatta was organised in 1858 near the ferry wharf, with Passy and the four Swiss villas in view. Invited guests were Sir Alfred Stephen, Mr Justice Therry, Sir Daniel Cooper, Charles Kemp and Hon S. A. Donaldson (a founding member of the Union Club who built and briefly owned a house shown on the Joubert's subdivision plan), (70) their presence noted in a glowing report of the day's pleasures. (71)

If the July 1856 Ryde meeting proposing a bridge be built across Parramatta River had served as a catalyst for local investors, with Weaver and Joubert as leading lights, the presence of politicians and lawyers at the regatta could assist the initial determined efforts by the local population to meet a week later 'for the purpose of considering as to the desirability of applying to be incorporated under the Municipal Act ...' (72) Soon afterwards Isaac Shepherd sent a petition with 54 signatures. Other petitions followed until, in July 1860, one in Didier Joubert's handwriting proved successful and the municipality was proclaimed in January 1861 (73). William Weaver was appointed assessor and the first Hunter's Hill Council Rate Book is in his handwriting. (74)

By 1860 newspaper reports warned of declining property values, emphasising the risks in suburban speculation and developments. At Hunter's Hill, only William Wright appears to have escaped unscathed. The Sydney Morning Herald on 22 May 1861 had this advertisement: 'Hunters Hill, Marine Villas, four, five, nine, and twelve rooms, with gardens and grounds for SALE or to be LET ... Jules Joubert.'

Acting on behalf of many owners in this case, Jules Joubert has been described as a 'publicist [who] as a result has received much of the credit for transforming Hunter's Hill in the 1850s and 1860s into a suburb of villas ...' (75) His first land sales from the Joubert Subdivision did not occur until December 1859, small allotments to tradesmen in and around Madeleine Street, which resulted in a cluster of sandstone cottages that formed the first village centre.

Didier Joubert had already sold Innisfree to Henry Brown from that subdivision, while Jules is known to have briefly occupied Windermere (76) and was owner of The Haven, according to his 1866 insolvency papers. This is the only early Hunter's Hill villa whose extensive gardens behind high stone walls have avoided subdivision. The distinctive symmetrical front has changed and its rear entrance formalised, as shown in 19th century photographs of the eastern side view with lattice decoration along the verandahs and the planting and paths of that section of garden.

Soon, the most committed of all the investors, faced difficulties--'For a month Mr D. N. Joubert has been in Sydney. He is trying to sell all his properties except those at Lane Cove ...' (77) In 1862 his Birchgrove Estate was mortgaged for 6850 [pounds sterling], along with eight other holdings, including at Hunter's Hill, Willoughby, and St Leonards, to a total of almost 11,000 [pounds sterling]. (78) Few villas were constructed after 1860, bringing to a halt the collaborative ambitions of Didier Joubert and William Weaver.

The last of the villas before the grander, prominently sited Victorian examples of the 1870s utterly changed the appearance of Hunter's Hill was Jules Joubert's own Moocooboolah (1863) around which he developed an exceptional garden. (79) No Weaver features are obvious and it is quite likely of his own design, giving at least some credence to the sweeping claims made in Joubert's autobiographic Shavings & Scrapes. (80) A boastful and colourful account, an after-dinner talk delivered in distant Dunedin, New Zealand, 10 years after his fall from grace during the 1879-80 International Exhibition in Sydney, this bittersweet recollection overlooks his numerous bankruptcies, his brother Didier or the financial rescues provided.

The Weaver and Kemp partnership lasted four successful years. (81) As an acknowledged authority on railway construction, in January 1859 Weaver attended a meeting for the formation of the Newcastle Wallsend Coal Company, with Charles Kemp in the chair; and by 1860 Weaver and Kemp were engineers for a branch line at the Waratah Coal Company. (82)

Many of the Weaver-Joubert friendships and alliances continued. As tenants in 1863-64 at Mort's Chambers, 177 Pitt Street, we find The Waratah Coal Company (secretary D. N. Joubert), Edmund Blacket, William Weaver, architect and engineer, William E. Kemp, architect and surveyor, along with Alfred Huntley, (83) a friend and fellow engineer with whom Weaver entered into a financial agreement prior to the sale of his house.

Many of the landholders who resolved in 1856 to have a bridge erected across Parramatta River, to be financed by selling parts of the Field of Mars Common, remained resolute backers of the bridge. An 1863 deputation was led by Didier Joubert and included William Wright. (84) In 1867 John Blaxland was chairman, accompanied by De Milhau, Joubert, Huntley and Jeanneret. (85) It was Charles Jeanneret who would become the principal speculator of new houses of the 1870s.

The rural mansions Burrundulla and Jervisfield were Weaver's final and most admired examples of domestic architecture which may now be considered in conjunction with Villa Maria, his own villa and those attributable to him on the Parramatta River and in Hunter's Hill. As Jervisfield neared completion and Burrundulla was in the early stages of construction, Weaver's personal life was unravelling and in 1864 he left for Auckland to take up the position of Chief Engineer.

In 1868 William Weaver died alone in a hotel room in Geelong. His grave has only recently acquired a plaque. (86)

Member RAHS


(1) Minutes of Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers: Vol xxxi, Session 1870-71, Part I, London 1871, p. 235. Weaver was elected an associate on 21 January 1851.

(2) Morton Herman, The Blackets, An Era of Australian Architecture, Angus & Robertson, 1977, p. 37;. Roslyn Maguire, 'Introducing Mr William Weaver, Architect and Engineer', Heritage Australia, Journal of the Australian Council of National Trusts, Winter 1984, p. 46-48.

(3) Goulburn Herald, 23 December 1854. Subdivision into farms 'of various sizes'; Margaret Carty, William Broughton and the Kennedy Connection, author published, 1987, p. 75.

(4) Information from the research of Penny Nicol.

(5) The Sydney Morning Herald, 21 July 1860, p. 8.

(6) SMH, 21 March 1863, p. 5; for Rowley, Holdsworth and Garrick, built on piles 40 feet high.

(7) SMH, 20 November 1856, p. 1.

(8) SMH, 5 November 1856, p. 1.

(9) SMH, 7 May 1857, p. 4; Weaver showed plans he had prepared for St John's at Mudgee.

(10) SMH, 16 August 1856, p. 1; tender notice for plasterers; Colleen Morris, Lost gardens of Sydney, Historic Houses Trust of New South Wales, 2008, pp. 72-81.

(11) Hunter's Hill Trust, Town Planning, and Proposed Historic Districts in Hunter's Hill, 1970. Part 1 maps locate early buildings and Part II (1969) has photographs 'to provide clear evidence of the special importance of Hunter's Hill'. Hunters's Hill Trust, Heritage of Hunter's Hill, 1982, contains photographs of each villa and most will be found among the Douglass Baglin collection, State Library of New South Wales.

(12) SMH, 5 July 1856, p. 3.

(13) James Broadbent, The Australian Colonial House, Hordern House, Sydney, 1997, p. 321.

(14) SMH, 22 July 1856, p. 5.

(15) Copies in National Library Collection, State Library of New South Wales. Revd Turner, Didier Joubert, William Weaver and John and Charles Blaxland are named consistently; Charles Moore and a Mr Bettington or Pennington are variously named.

(16) Pauline Curby, The Hermitage Memories of the 1930s, Oral History Project--Publication No. 2, Ryde City Council, 1998, p. 2

(17) Kevin Shaw (ed), Historic Ryde, A guide to some significant heritage sites in the City of Ryde, Ryde District Historical Society, 2002, p. 101. Ryedale was moved under supervision of Morton Herman, a copy of plans, and photographs of Cleves are in Ryde Library, Local Studies Collection.

(18) SMH, 25 September 1860, p. 7.

(19) Isadore Brodsky, Hunter's Hill 1861-1961, Jukes, Sydney, 1961, p. 17.

(20) Army P. L. Stuer, The French in Australia, Immigration monograph series 2, Department of Demography, Institute of Advanced Studies, The Australian National University, Canberra, 1982, p. 55.

(21) John Hosie, Challenge--The Marists in Colonial Australia, Allen & Unwin, Sydney, 1987, p. 34.

(22) Diana Drake, 'Thomas Stubbs, Australia's First Returned Soldier, Native born Composer & well known Auctioneer', Descent, Volume 31, Part 4, December 2001, pp. 180-188; Hosie, Challenge, p. 54.

(23) SMH, 11 January 1851; Alan Barnard, Visions and Profits, Studies in the Business Career of T. S. Mort, Melbourne University Press, 1961, p. 41.

(24) SMH, 20 December 1855, p. 8. Advertisement for Swiss Villas notes Sentis's occupancy.

(25) SMH, 10 July 1858, p. 6; SMH, 6 September 1858, p. 2.

(26) SMH, Letter to the Editor, 18 June 1861.

(27) Broadbent, The Australian Colonial House, pp. 347-48.

(28) The author thanks Clive Lucas for visiting some of these buildings and discussing stylistic similarities.

(29) Registrar-General's Department, Old Systems Titles, see Vendor's Index, e.g. Book 36 No. 456, 1 March 1855.

(30) SMH, 14 January 1860, p. 12. Gardens are seven acres with 1500 vines.

(31) James Jarvis, 'Settlement in the Parish of Hunter's Hill (Part 1)', Royal Australian Historical Society Journal and Proceedings, vol 46, part 4, 1960, p. 198.

(32) SMH, 21 October 1856, p. 7.

(33) Registrar-General's Department, Old Systems Title Book 54, No 370, 4 November 1856.

(34) A glass negative c.1920 shows original iron verandah posts, Collection of Hunter's Hill Historical Society Museum. J. M. C. Boult, The Development and Progress of Hunter's Hill 1794-1938, Hunter's Hill Council, 1938, p. 10, illustration of entrance. Photographs of St Malo, Department of Main Roads.

(35) Photographs in Ryde Library, Local Studies Collection.

(36) G. Nesta Griffiths, Some Houses and People of New South Wales, Ure Smith, Sydney, 1949, pp. 183-88.

(37) Photograph Collection of Hunter's Hill Historical Society.

(38) RGD, OST, Book 44, No. 310, July 1856.

(39) SMH, 28 April 1857, p. 8; Notice of Supreme Court of New South Wales, between Jean Gustave Renateau plaintiff and Peter Bonnefin, defendant.

(40) SMH, 23 May 1857, p. 10.

(41) Christopher Keating, On the Frontier, A Social History of Liverpool, Hale & Iremonger, 1996, p. 77, illustration. SMH, 25 July 1856, p. 1.

(42) Henry Weaver, Hints on Cottage Architecture, Being a Selection of Designs for Labourers' Cottages. Singly, in Pairs, and in Groups, with plans, elevations and estimates, Joseph Hollway, Bath, 1848, preface.

(43) Roslyn Maguire, 'The Italians of Hunter's Hill', Hunter's Hill Trust Journal, vol. XI, no. 3, November 1982.

(44) John Hosie, 'The Priory', Hunters Hill Trust Journal, vol. XII, no. 3, November 1983 and Roslyn Maguire, 'The Priory and its Architect', Hunter's Hill Trust Journal, August 1992.

(45) Rocher to Poupinel, Letter 27 February 1858, 'Last week we had the vine harvest, and made the wine ... 4 barrels is all there will be but it will be good.' Villa Maria Archives, Hunter's Hill.

(46) Broadbent, The Australian Colonial House, pp. 239-40 and pp. 347-48; Rachel Roxborough, Early Colonial Houses in New South Wales, Landsdowne, 1974; chapters on each of the houses and on Weaver's Burrundulla.

(47) SMH, 16 July 1857, p. 1.

(48) RGD, OST, Book 56, No. 172, 9 February 1858.

(49) The Church of England Chronicle, 1 January 1858, p. 16.

(50) SMH, 7 August 1857, p. 5.

(51) The Church of England Chronicle, 1 March 1858, pp. 45-46; Philip Geeves, A Place of Pioneers--The Centenary History of the Municipality of Ryde, Ryde Municipal Council, 1970, p. 98.

(52) Arthur Dowling, Notes on the Genesis and Progress of The Union Club Sydney, Royal Australian Historical Society 1924, p. 2.

(53) SMH, 6 January 1857, p. 8.

(54) SMH, 2 May 1857, p. 1.

(55) Pamela Jeffery, 'Birchgrove 1796-1985, The Suburbanization of the "Birch Grove Estate"', Leichhardt Historical Journal, no. 15, 1986, pp. 10-11.

(56) David Saunders, 'Hunter's Hill', in Historic Places of Australia, Australian Council of National Trusts, 1978, p. 290.

(57) SMH, 25 September 1860, p. 7.

(58) Album, Manning papers photograph and sketch PXA 602 no. 16 and no. 18, 'B. Buchanan's house', Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW. See also photograph, Newsletter, Royal Australian Historical Society, August 1985, p. 5.

(59) SMH, 27 April 1858, p. 1, tender for laying foundations.

(60) Saunders, p. 290.

(61) See Registrar-General's Department, Primary Application No. 1857, affidavit of C. E. Jeanneret, 20 October 1877--'I took possession of this land in 1856 or 1857 ... I cleared it for the purposes of building.'; SMH, 30 August 1859, p. 8; RGD, OST, Book 64, No. 798.

(62) 'Dr Plomley's House', photograph, glass negative, Collection of Hunter's Hill Historical Society.

(63) SMH, 5 March 1859, p. 1.

(64) Hunter's Hill Trust, Heritage of Hunter's Hill, 1982, p. 62.

(65) Kenneth Dutton, (trans. ed.), A Swiss Settler in Australia, The Diary of Etienne Bordier 1849-1851, Auchmauty Library publication no. 6, University of Newcastle, 1987, p. ix.

(66) SMH, 9 March 1863, p. 1.

(67) Hunter's Hill Trust, Heritage of Hunter's Hill, p. 63. In a later, revised edition, Weaver's ownership is noted but with an incorrect date.

(68) 'Joubert's Subdivision', c.1859, see Plan of Allotments situate at Hunter's Hill, with March 1864 annotation, Amicus no 7971041, at

(69) SMH, 14 April 1857, p. 1.

(70) SMH, 18 January, 1858, p. 6--'house in course of erection for the Hon S. A. Donaldson'--a timber house, it may have been a 'Swiss villa' like those in Ferry Street; RGD, OST, Book 53, No. 408, 8 September 1857.

(71) SMH, 3 January 1859, p. 5.

(72) SMH, 30 December 1858, p. 1.

(73) Brodsky, Hunter's Hill, pp. 20-23.

(74) Collection of Hunter's Hill Historical Society.

(75) Hunter's Hill Trust, Heritage of Hunter's Hill, 1982, p. 3.

(76) Hunter's Hill Trust, p. 9 and p. 85.

(77) Rocher to Poupinel, Letter, 20 September 1862; Villa Maria Archives Hunter's Hill.

(78) RGD, OST, Book 81, No. 644.

(79) Morris, Lost Gardens of Sydney, pp. 102-105.

(80) Jules Joubert, Shavings and Scrapes from Many Parts, Wilkie, Dunedin, 1890.

(81) SMH, 5 March 1861, p. 8.

(82) M. H. Ellis, A Saga of Coal, Angus & Robertson, Sydney, 1969, p. 56: SMH, 1 April 1861, p. 2; SMH, 27 January 1859, p. 7; SMH, 21 September 1860, p. 7.

(83) Hunter's Hill Trust, Heritage of Hunter's Hill, p. 50, 'Huntley's Point House'. RGD, OST, Book 69, No. 385, 9 October 1860, conveyance between William Weaver and A. R. Huntley.

(84) SMH, 17 July 1863, p. 7.

(85) SMH, 26 June 1867, p. 5.

(86) Thanks to Peter Alsop and the Geelong Historical Society.
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Author:Maguire, Roslyn
Publication:Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society
Article Type:Biography
Geographic Code:8AUST
Date:Jun 1, 2011
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