Property Details

Property ID: 53


Address and Location
Street Address:
2-4 Carrington Avenue (View Details)
Suburb/Postcode: Strathfield  2135
City: Sydney
State: NSW
Country: Australia

Council/LGA and Zoning
Council/LGA: Strathfield

Property Details
Category: House
Built: c. 1888
Ellis and Slatyer
Robert Wall
Architectual Type: Victorian
Demolished: No 

- Local Heritage Item

A grand two-storey late Victorian mansion featuring a hipped roof of tiles (originally slate) and numerous decorative chimneys. The most distinctive features of the mansion are it's large projecting rectangular window bay located at the front and center of the house and two-storey wrap around verandahs.

The primary window bay projects forward over the main entrance of the house which includes a grand arched porch entrance with tessellated tiles and white marble steps. This entrance is somewhat unusual (rarely seen with other period homes) in that it was designed to allow the owners to enter/alight from their mode of transport, orignally being horse and carriage, while remaining protected from the elements of weather. Two decorative two-storey verandahs extend from teh main projecting bay at the front and return around each side of the house terminating at smaller side projecting window bays. The verandahs feature white marble edging and tessellated tiles. The northern side of the house facing Carrington Avenue features large arched casement windows and a large arched porch entrance over which is a balcony with decorative stucco columns and balustrading.

The chimneys, primary window bay and verandahs feature some distinctive styling and design seen in other homes designed by the architects Ellis and Slatyer. This includes the borders/panelling and bracketed mouldings in the chimneys, the highly decorative facade with narrow windows with rounded heads and the style of the cast iron columns, frieze and fretwork brackets in the verandahs. Two other houses profiled on this site, the Victorian villas 'Merioola' and 'Malua', although built on a smaller scale, feature similar styling.

'Glen Luna' is a fine example of the large, grand mansion built along the vast stretches of the Boulevarde by Sydney's wealthy businessmen in the late 1800's, few of which now remain. The conversion of the mansion into apartments was done in a sympathetic manner and as a result, most of the original features of the mansion have remained intact. It's arguable that the conversion of the mansion into apartments probably saved it from demolition at some point as a number of the large homes along and near the Boulevarde, including 'Strathfield House' and 'Woodside' were demolished to make way for subdivision and construction of smaller cottages in the early to mid 20th century.

As it stands today, 'Glen Luna' serves as a fine example of the sympathetic re-use/ adaptation of a historic building.

Historical Notes
'Glen Luna' was built as the family residence of Dr. George James Sly [1847 - 1934], a prominent Sydney solicitor and a founder of the firm Sly and Russell, solicitors.[1][2]

Early History

Born in Pitt Street in 1847, George Sly was the second of three sons of Joseph Sly [1802 - 1887], a cabinet maker who conducted business in the city as a furniture manufacturer and warehouseman in Pitt Street.[3] Joseph Sly's wife Jane Sly passed away on January 18, 1852 at the young age of 34 while George and his two brothers Richard and Joseph were still very young.[4] In 1860 Joseph Sly placed his extensive furniture warehouse on the market for sale[5] and a year later commenced business as a pawnbroker in Bridge Street.[6] Joseph Sly continued this business up until the time of his death on June 10, 1887 at the age of 85 years.[7]

George James Sly

George Sly graduated from the University of Sydney attaining the degrees of B.A., M.A., LL.B and LL.D and prior to his admission as an attorney and solicitor of the Supreme Court of NSW, he served under articles of clerkship to the solicitor Robert Henry Mariner Forster. Sly was was formally admitted as a solicitor in December 1868[8] and had a long and brilliant career which lasted for six decades. His brothers Richard Meares Sly and Joseph David Sly also graduated from the University of Sydney and entered the legal profession. Joseph, like his brother was a solicitor, while Richard became a barrister-at-law, who later served as a Judge of the Supreme Court of New South Wales. Richard resided close to George at his residence 'Wirringulla' in Jersey Road.

While initially beginning practice privately, George Sly formed several partnerships throughout his career. In 1874 he formed a partnership with Staunton Spain (formerly of Roxburgh, Slade and Spain), establishing the firm Spain and Sly.[9] Herbert Salwey was brought into the partnership in 1880, forming Spain, Sly and Salwey. Sly withdrew from the partnership in 1881[10] and continued practice privately until he formed a partnership with William Hamilton in 1889, establishing the firm Sly and Hamilton. In 1892 Sly and Hamilton brought Harry Ambrose Russell into their partnership, forming Sly, Hamilton and Russell. Harry Russell had previously served under both men prior to his formal admission as a solicitor of the Supreme Court in March 1892.[11] The firm Sly and Russell was formed following William Hamilton's withdrawal from the partnership in 1894.[12] Sly and Russell enjoyed a long and successful partnership and the firm still existed well after Sly's retirement in 1928.

Throughout his distinguished career George Sly received numerous notable appointments. He was appointed as a commissioner of both the Supreme Court of NSW and the Supreme Court of New Zealand in 1873[13] and 1879[14] respectively. In 1877 the judges of the Supreme Court of NSW appointed Sly (among other attorneys and solicitors) to the board of examiners, in order to assess the fitness of people intending to apply for admission as attorneys and solicitors of the Supreme Court.[15] George Sly also served as a director of numerous companies, some of which included the Australian Bank of Commerce, the Sydney Agency and Finance Company Ltd,[16] the Coogee Palace Aquarium Company Ltd and as both director and solicitor of the firm J. and J. Hayes, Ltd, millers and grain merchants of Goulburn and Albury.[17] Sly also served as president of the St. Leonards, St. Paul's and Redfern Literary Associations.[18]

Move to Strathfield

George Sly moved to Strathfield by the early 1880's at a time when the suburb was still known as Redmyre. Prior to the construction of 'Glen Luna' Sly resided at a house known as 'Eldon' with his wife Florence Younger, whom he married on July 9, 1884.[19] The couple's first child Eric George Sly was born at 'Eldon' on June 11, 1885[20] but passed away on July 11 at the age of only 7 weeks.[21]

Purchase of Land (1885)

George Sly purchased several allotments from the 1885 subdivision of a 10 acre portion of the original 570 acre Redmire Estate known as Wynne's Paddock, the property of Richard Wynne, the first Mayor of Burwood (1874). The land was subdivided into 38 allotments with 8 fronting the Boulevarde and 30 fronting the newly created Carrington Avenue.[22] The allotments, which were mostly 50ft x 200ft in size, were auctioned on October 10, 1885. Sly acquired numerous allotments to form one large corner block of land for his new mansion. See the following reference (23) for map showing Wynne's Paddock in relation to Wood Green Estate c. 1880.[23]

Construction of 'Glen Luna' (1888)

'Glen Luna' was built in 1888 to the design of the architects Ellis and Slatyer. Tenders were released early in January 1888:- "TO BUILDERS. TENDERS are invited for the Erection and Completion and Completion of a First-class Family Residence, including Entrance Gates, Piers, Fencing, Stables, and Outbuildings, &c.. at Strathfield. The work may be tendered for as under:- 1. For Excavation. Masonry, and Bricklaying. 2. For all the Finishing Trades, &c. 3. The whole of the works in one sum". The tenders closed on January 20, 1888.[24] While the tenders don't mention for whom the house is being built for, based on it's architecture it is clear that the mansion was designed by this firm of architects. The architect Charles Henry Slatyer was a prominent resident of the Strathfield Municipality and designed some of the finest homes in the Strathfield area during the late 19th and early 20th century. In 1897 Slatyer, then partnered with Thomas Cosh, designed the large villa 'Halsbury' in Albyn Road for George Sly who used it an an investment/rental property. Slatyer also designed the additions that were made to 'Glen Luna' in 1898. It is also interesting to note that Slatyer and Sly were well acquainted with each other. On two occasions George Sly represented Charles Slatyer in court, the first being in 1888[25] and the second in 1900, where Sly fought in defence of the firm Slatyer and Cosh in a legal dispute with a former client of that firm.[26][27]

The contract for the construction of 'Glen Luna' was awarded to Robert Wall, a renowned master builder. Construction commenced in February 1888 and the numerous tenders released throughout the year serve as a good guide of the progress of construction. The first tender was released on February 3, 1888 by Mr. R. W. Newtown, likely a sub-contractor:- "TENDERS for about 200,000 Bricks, delivered corner Carrington-avenue and Boulevard, Strathfield. Samples and prices delivered on job Saturday, not later than 12 o'clock".[28] Two further tenders were released in April and May, respectively:- "TENDERS, Painters and Balcony Fitters - TENDERS are invited for the above Works for Large Residence. Plans to be seen at the job, corner of Carrington-avenue and Boulevard, Strathfield"[29] and "SLATERS - TENDERS wanted, labour and materials. Apply job, cor. Boulevard and Carrington, Avenue, Strathfield".[30] Another tender was released in September:- "TO Tilelayers - Tenders wanted for large quantity Tiling. Apply R. Wall, contractor, Boulevard, Strathfield".[31] A final tender was released in October:- "MASONS - Wanted, CUTTERS and one able to fix. Dr. Sly's, Boulevard, Strathfield".[32] Construction of the mansion was completed by the end of the year.

Contractor Robert Wall

Robert Wall [1839 - 1927] was responsible for the construction of some of Sydney's most prominent buildings throughout the late 1800's and early 1900's. He was one of Sydney's greatest Master Builders and founder of the well-known building family firm of Robert Wall and Sons. According to his obituary in the June 22, 1927 edition of the Sydney Morning Herald, it is noted that Wall's career as a builder in Sydney began with his contract for the construction of 'Glen Luna' for George Sly. In subsequent years Robert Wall's sons joined him in business and it was eventually turned into limited liability company in 1905. Some of the notable contracts carried by Robert Wall included the construction of the overhead bridge at Homebush Railway Station in 1888 (with R. Tulloch and Co) and the steel roofs, engine and boiler houses at Cockatoo island. In 1891 Robert Wall once again collaborated with the architect Charles Slatyer and built the Presbyterian Manse at Ashfield. His firm Robert Wall and Sons also built the skyscraper Culwulla Chambers in the city, the Goulburn Technical College and many business premises throughout the city.[33]

Legal Dispute over contract

Robert Wall's contract for the construction of 'Glen Luna' did not go entirely smoothly. In 1889 Robert Wall was sued by William G. Williams, a timber merchant, who was attempting to recover 200 pounds from Wall for goods sold and work done. Complications arose when Robert Wall made a sub-contract with Hornby and Hudson for carpentry and joinery work for the sum of 1005 pounds. In this case Williams supplied Hornby and Hudson with materials but they became insolvent and although judgement was signed against Hornby and Hudson for the amount of 200 pounds, due to provisions in the Contractor's Debts Acts when Hornby and Hudson failed to carry out the work Wall was notified that any money due by him to Hornby and Hudson, on account of the erection of the building, were to be paid to Williams for his materials supplied. The following reference contains more details on this case.[34]

Connecting Carrington Avenue with Vernon Street (1889)

In the year following the construction of 'Glen Luna', it was noted in a May 1889 Strathfield Council meeting that George Sly expressed his willingness to contribute a portion of money towards the expense incurred by the purchase land necessary for the extension of Carrington Avenue, in order to connect it with Vernon Street, provided such contribution be made on the basis of per foot frontage.[35] John Spencer Brunton, the owner of the mansion 'Brunyarra' (opposite corner Carrington Ave and Boulevard) also expressed his willingness to contribute towards the purchase of the land.[36]

Ownership by George Sly (1888 - 1924)

George Sly and family occupied 'Glen Luna' for over 30 years. During that time a number of children were born at the residence to Mr. and Mrs. Sly. The couple had two sons, one born in 1889[37] and the other in 1890[38] and two daughters, one born in 1892[39] and another in 1896.[40] The 1898 extensions[41] to the mansion were evidently made to suit the needs of the growing family. The house was also the site of numerous lavish parties and celebrations which included a large social "at home" party hosted by Mr. and Mrs. Sly on July 31, 1901 which was attended by over 100 guests.[42] Following the marriage of their daughter Esme Florence Sly to Harold Hastings White on February 20, 1909 at St. Anne's Church at Strathfield, guests made their way to the lavishly decorated 'Glen Luna' to celebrate the marriage.[43]

It also appears that a number of George Sly's married children also resided at the mansion. On March 8, 1912 a daughter was born at 'Glen Luna' to Esme Florence Sly (Mrs. Hastings White)[44] and a son was also born at the residence to Mr. and Mrs. George Lynell Sly (son of George Sly) on January 13, 1920.[45] Hazel Sly, one of George Sly's youngest daughters was married on March 4, 1922.[46]

Sale of property (1924)

In 1924 George Sly placed 'Glen Luna' on the market for sale in consequence of having moved to reside at Darling Point. Due to the size of the house and land the ads for the sale of the property encouraged it's suitability for institutional, hospital or scholastic uses. The ads noted that the land was 1 acre and 22 perches in extent with a 165ft frontage to the Boulevarde and a 300ft depth along Carrington Avenue.[47]

Conversion of mansion to apartments and subdivision of land (1927)

By 1927 the new owners of 'Glen Luna' subdivided the property and reduced it's land size to 1 rood and 36 perches, with a 128ft frontage to Carrington Avenue and 165ft depth. In the process of subdivision the mansion lost it's frontage to the Boulevarde. During that same year, the mansion itself was converted into 10 residential flats each with with 2 to 5 rooms. Following the conversion into apartments, the property was placed on the market for sale in November 1927 by order of the mortgagee.[48]

Over the years the various flats which now make up the mansion were either leased or sold and the ads at times referred to the mansion by name as "Glen Luna Flats".

  1. (May 4, 1934). "Dr. G. J. Sly". Sydney Morning Herald
  2. (Jan 18, 1851). "Advertising". Sydney Morning Herald
  3. (Jan 19, 1852). "Family Notices". Sydney Morning Herald
  4. (Nov 17, 1860). "Advertising". Sydney Morning Herald
  5. (Aug 22, 1864). "Advertising". Sydney Morning Herald
  6. (Jun 17, 1887). "Family Notices". Sydney Morning Herald
  7. (Dec 18, 1868). "Advertising". Sydney Morning Herald
  8. (Jan 1, 1874). "Advertising". Sydney Morning Herald
  9. (July 1, 1881). "Advertising". Sydney Morning Herald
  10. (Mar 4, 1892). "Advertising". Sydney Morning Herald
  11. (Oct 1, 1894). "Advertising". Sydney Morning Herald
  12. (July 8, 1873). "The Sydney Morning Herald. Tuesday, July 8, 1873". Sydney Morning Herald
  13. (Mar 13, 1879). "News of the Day". Sydney Morning Herald
  14. (Mar 17, 1877). "Advertising". Sydney Morning Herald
  15. (Dec 17, 1888). "Advertising". Sydney Morning Herald
  16. (Sep 29, 1888). "Advertising". Sydney Morning Herald
  17. (July 28, 1875). "The Sydney Morning Herald. Wednesday, July 28, 1875". Sydney Morning Herald
  18. (July 16, 1884). "Family Notices". Sydney Morning Herald
  19. (Jun 17, 1885). "Family Notices". Sydney Morning Herald
  20. (Aug 1, 1885). "Family Notices". Sydney Morning Herald
  21. (Sep 30, 1885). "Advertising". Sydney Morning Herald
  22. (Jan 5, 1888). "Advertising". Sydney Morning Herald
  23. (Jun 27, 1888). "District Court". Sydney Morning Herald
  24. (Sep 7, 1900). "A Woolwich Case". Sydney Morning Herald
  25. (Sep 15, 1900). "No. 2 Jury Court". Sydney Morning Herald
  26. (Feb 3, 1888). "Advertising". Sydney Morning Herald
  27. (Apr 11, 1888). "Advertising". Sydney Morning Herald
  28. (May 19, 1888). "Advertising". Sydney Morning Herald
  29. (Sep 5, 1888). "Advertising". Sydney Morning Herald
  30. (Oct 25, 1888). "Advertising". Sydney Morning Herald
  31. (Sep 7, 1889). "Law Report". Sydney Morning Herald
  32. (May 17, 1889). "Strathfield". Sydney Morning Herald
  33. (July 25, 1889). "Strathfield". Sydney Morning Herald
  34. (Feb 14, 1889). "Family Notices". Sydney Morning Herald
  35. (Apr 28, 1890). "Family Notices". Sydney Morning Herald
  36. (Jun 4, 1892). "Family Notices". Sydney Morning Herald
  37. (July 11, 1896). "Family Notices". Sydney Morning Herald
  38. (Jan 25, 1898). "Advertising". Sydney Morning Herald
  39. (Aug 3, 1901). "SOCIAL". Sydney Morning Herald
  40. (Feb 27, 1909). "SOCIAL". Sydney Morning Herald
  41. (Mar 25, 1912). "Family Notices". Sydney Morning Herald
  42. (Jan 20, 1920). "Family Notices". Sydney Morning Herald
  43. (May 3, 1922). "Family Notices". Sydney Morning Herald
  44. (July 12, 1924). "Advertising". Sydney Morning Herald
  45. (Nov 19, 1927). "Advertising". Sydney Morning Herald

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