Mill Hill

The area described in this Heritage Walk is bounded by York Road, Oxford and Denison Streets, Bondi Junction. It contains houses, terraces, cottages and commercial buildings of historical interest and charming architectural character.

  1. The Waverley Tram Depot, corner York Road and Oxford Street, opened in 1902 to house the new electric trams and converted to a bus depot when the trams ceased 'shooting through' to Bondi Beach and Bronte in February 1960.
  2. "Westgate", 17-19 Oxford Street, at St James Road, is a magnificent late-Victorian mansion with double verandahs decorated in wrought iron lace. It incorporates an earlier cottage from 1871 and took its present form in the 1880's when occupied by Lieutenant-Colonel Robert P. Raymond. A large, beautiful Camphor Laurel tree grows in the front garden. A walk down St James Road and into Ruthven Street reveals rows of delightful 'Victorian Gothic' terraces with 'gingerbread' barge boards and Victorian two-storey terraces decorated in 'Paddington' lace.

    These provide streetscapes of charming ambience. The astute walker will occasionally glimpse an original outhouse from the pre-indoor-plumbing era. Mill Hill Road contains numerous Victorian free-standing terraces 1883-1890, with excellent iron lace decorations. The street takes its name from the windmill operated by Henry Hough 1841-1881 on his ten acre 'Hope Farm'.

    A classic English post-mill, mechanically operated, it ground corn and other cereal products and had the distinction of being Sydney's last windmill, its wooden sails forever removed from the skyline. A late-1960's resident of Mill Hill Road was Dr Paul Scully-Power, Oceanographer and Astronaut on the Space Shuttle CHALLENGER flight of October 5, 1984. The following CHALLENGER flight exploded killing all seven Astronauts.
  3. St Barnabas Church of England, 16 Mill Hill Road, has been converted into three townhouses. Built 1902 in ecclesiastical Gothic style, the church was an impressive brick chapel with bell cradle, the first Anglican church in Bondi Junction and deconsecrated 1986. The house on the corner of Mill Hill Road and Oxford Street was used as the Rectory. On the site opposite the Rectory in Oxford Street was a Toll-gate built in 1869 to catch the traffic which was avoiding the toll at Ebley Street and Bronte Road corner. "The tollkeeper's cubicle was on the south side of the road under the lee of the hill, the road itself passing through a cutting in the sand. The gate, about 6 feet high, was operated by Billy Deacon, a well-known character in his day nicknamed 'The Professor', who often passed the time playing a mouth organ or a tin whistle."
  4. At 47 Oxford Street stands a late 19th century commercial building which retains a good facade, elaborately decorated in stucco. This site has had a checkered history having been used for baking powder manufacture, a garage, dairy and timberyard.
  5. The hotel on the corner of Oxford and Denison Streets has had many changes of name since 1886 when it converted from a boarding house: Wakely's Family Hotel, Van's Hotel, Rush's Hotel, Denison Hotel, Mill Hill Hotel. A few ghosts may linger including that of William Phillips, the hotel-keeper, who was found in his room having committed suicide by hanging in 1910.
  6. Next to the hotel at 63-69 Oxford Street, is one of the area's best surviving commercial facades. Built at the turn-of-the-century the row of four has an elaborately decorated facade with tiled panels, horseshoe arches and twisted columns. It is best observed from the footpath opposite.
  7. There are good examples of architectural styles in Denision Street, such as, "Charles Terrace", 43-55 Denision Street, a Late Victorian terrace with moulded cornices and stucco and wrought iron decoration.
  8. No. 100 Denision Street, "Glen Mervyn" built c.1895 incorporates both Federation and Victorian features. No. 164-166 is early 20th century with good timber decoration.
  9. 69 Denison Street. The site of these townhouses and apartments was originally th John MacNeil Memorial Church, built in 1905 and itself replacing an earlier church built on this site in 1888. The original facade of the church remains, but behind and inside is a modern re-development.
  10. A short detour along Ebley Street leads past Waverley Library to 54 Lawson Street, scene of the violent murder of two policeman on January 3, 1931 at the hands of crazed gunman, John Thomas Kennedy. "The stark horror of the affair at the time had no parrell in the State's Police history and stunned citizens into total disbelief that such a grim tragedy could take place."

Compiled by Waverley Library form sources in the Local History Collection for Local Government Week 1998.