Academic journal article Journal of the Australian Catholic Historical Society

Secular and Religious Firsts of Haberfield

Academic journal article Journal of the Australian Catholic Historical Society

Secular and Religious Firsts of Haberfield

Article excerpt

Developed from 1901, the Sydney suburb of Haberfield is noteworthy for two historical firsts--one of a secular nature and one of a religious nature. Haberfield was Australia's first planned Garden Suburb and, in 1909, the first church in the world named after the recently beatified Joan of Arc was erected there.

The concept of a Garden Suburb had developed in Great Britain and the USA during the nineteenth century in response to the adverse social and environmental impact of the Industrial Revolution. By the mid-19th century in Britain and the USA, rows of terrace houses had been built beside the newly built factories leading to cramped and unhygienic living conditions in the major cities with poor public health facilities and much general pollution. Terrace houses stood in close proximity to factories so that factory workers could walk to their place of employment. Some public health measures were undertaken such as drainage and sewerage schemes but the basic concept of a city containing a mixture of housing and secondary industry side-by-side remained. The concept of a Garden City sought to remedy this.

In essence, planners of a Garden City sought to separate residential, industrial and commercial areas from each other. Cities were to be planned to create living conditions conducive to the good health of the workers and their families. Such schemes had been attempted by benevolent company owners such as Cadbury's estate at Bourneville (c.1879) near Birmingham and that of the Lever Brothers at Port Sunlight (c.1887) near Liverpool. However these schemes did not achieve long-term success. The term 'Garden City' was used by Alexander Stewart when naming a housing estate that he established at Hampstead on Long Island, USA, in 1869. The first Garden Suburb in Britain was developed from 1875 at Bedford Park near Turnham Green in the west of London. The theoretical basis for this town planning movement was outlined much later in 1898 when Ebenezer Howard's book Tomorrow: A Peaceful Path to Real Reform was published. In the following year the Garden City Association was formed to facilitate the implementation of a Garden City. In 1902 Howard's book was reissued under the title Garden Cities of Tomorrow. However Garden Cities were difficult to create due to their scope, complexity and cost. It was much easier to create a purely residential Garden Suburb. A Garden Suburb came to mean a planned suburb with the following characteristics:

a. A residential area free from encroachment by secondary industry but usually with a commercial area for the needs of the local residents;

b. Absence of congestion of buildings by spacing them a reasonable distance apart;

c. Provisions for parks and gardens;

d. Wide tree-lined streets;

e. Buildings designed in harmony with each other.

Suburban development in Britain's Australian colonies in the second half of the nineteenth century followed the pattern established in the Mother Country with terrace houses being built in close proximity to factories. The Sydney suburbs of Glebe, Leichhardt, Paddington and Redfern are evidence of this type of development. This pattern was followed in part of the area later known as Haberfield but then known as the Dobroyde Estate immediately to the west of Leichhardt. The Dobroyde Estate constituted 480 acres and had been so-named by Simeon Lord after he had purchased it in 1805 from Lt. Nicholas Bayly, the original owner by grant since 1803. In 1825 Simeon Lord's daughter, Sarah, married Dr. David Ramsay and, as part of the marriage settlement, the whole Estate was given to the newly-married couple. In 1860 David Ramsay died and subsequently each of his ten children received a portion of the Dobroyde Estate.

The first child to sell their portion of the Estate was Isabella Ramsay who sold her two portions in 1885. These suburban developments were advertised as the First and Second Subdivisions of the Dobroyde Estate when allotments in them were put up for sale in 1885. …

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