Charing Cross

This was the original village of Waverley and even today it manages to retain that village atmosphere. Bush and scrubland, paddocks and stables, horse-omnibus, steam and electric trams, were part of its history. Your walk will take you to the following places of interest.

  1. Charing Cross Hotel, Victoria Street (west), this 1935 building replaced the old inn which was built by William Newland in 1857. On the opposite corner of Victoria Street stood the village pump providing fresh water from an underground spring. The first Waverley branch of the Bank of N.S.W used the corner building.
  2. 13 Victoria Street, Fewings Joinery, the oldest joinery in Sydney, began on this site in 1916. 11 Victoria Street, two storey Victorian Georgian style sandstone house built c. 1862 is one of the oldest and best preserved in Charing Cross. From the corner of Henry and John Streets there is a fine panoramic view across Queens Park, the Water Reserve, and the Sydney skyline. 2 John Street is a Victorian brick cottage of architectural interest. 125-127 Carrington Road are an outstanding pair of 19th Century weatherboard cottages.
  3. 105 Carrington Road, "Evansdale", built by William Evans 1870's, is a good example of a Victorian terrace. The, now rare, carriageway is of particular note. It led to a carriage house at the rear for the housing of equipage and horses.
  4. A detour west along Bronte Road brings you to Waverley Public School, the oldest public school in Waverley, established 1878. The present school building dates from 1924. Next door is the Waverley Police Station, established on the site in 1879. The present Station and Courthouse were built in the 1970's.
  5. The former post office, built in 1923, is an important element of the streetscape at the Charing Cross intersection.
  6. Along Carrington Road are important community facilities. St. Charles' Boys School was built in 1902, however, there has been a school in this site since 1854. St. Clare's College for girls was purchased by the Poor Clare’s in 1885. The foundation stone for the chapel of Our Lady of the Angels was laid in 1917.
  7. The Waverley War Memorial Hospital incorporates four family homes built by the Hon. Ebenezer Vickery, M.L.C. "Edina", "Banksia", "Ellerslie" and "Wytchazel". The buildings were provided for a hospital by the Vickery family in 1919.
  8. 60-68 Carrington Road was the Waverley Fire Station 1915-1940's, then a function and reception business, and is now strata units.
  9. Victoria Street (east) - Grahame Memorial Uniting Church, 1897, and church hall 1885, are of important historic and social significance. Inside the church is a plaque to Peter Dodds McCormick, a church elder and composer of Australia's National Anthem, "Advance Australia Fair". 74 Victoria Street, "Dalrye", is a magnificent villa c. 1891 in Italianate style, recalling a graceful era of handsome mansions complimented by pleasant gardens. 76 Victoria Street, is a fully reconstructed Victorian house with double verandah in cast-iron, "Paddington lace".
  10. Mary Immaculate Roman Catholic Church, 1913, the beautiful interior was specially designed to display paintings and other decorations. Beside the church a new modern building replaces the old Friary. Bronte Road has always been the commercial heart of Charing Cross and is lined by mostly Victorian era shops and residences. They are best viewed from the opposite side of the road. The following are a few highlights:
  11. The present Robin Hood Hotel, on the corner of Bronte and Carrington Roads, replaced the old inn of the same name built in the 1880's. 245-263 Bronte Road, Head's buildings dated 1887, is a particularly well-preserved commercial property.
  12. A short detour down Judges Lane is a pair of weatherboard workman's cottages. The survival of these modest homes is unexpected, adding social value to the area. 254 Bronte Road, a two storey sandstone, believed to be the oldest in the area. 282 Bronte Road, a modern building replaces "Minnamurra" c. 1894, and the coffee shop occupies a restored stone cottage. The Commonwealth Bank occupied the corner site at Albion Street from 1921-2021, undergoing numerous alterations and extensions over the years.
  13. 340 Bronte Road was the site of John Bunyan's stables for his omnibus horses. In 1910 he built an open-air picture show which became the Bronte Picture Palace, converted to talking pictures. Hoyts Theatres were the last operators and in 1957 the site became a petrol station and then an equipment hire business. 348 Bronte Road, 1883, was the family home of Henry A. Lyons from 1887-1923. Two storey gentleman's residence renovated and restored in 1990. 4-22 High Street, "Glenrock Terrace", oldest terrace for working families built in Waverley by Ebenezer Vickery 1866, for the employees of his tannery. An instant reminder of the past is the bright red Victorian letter box at the corner of Bronte Road and Albion Street. 1 Albion Street, has operated many businesses including a bicycle shop, florist, tobacconist, newsagency, and an antique shop. The upper balcony was added in the late 1990s and is a good example of restoration in Charing Cross. 24 Albion Street, "St John's", built 1891 and used as a doctor's residence and surgery, until sold in 1957 to St Catherine's School as classrooms and residential accommodation. A very attractive building with its red brick walls, white windows and louvered shutters.
  14. St Catherine's School, originally known as Clergy Daughter's School and the oldest existing girls' school in Australia, opened on March 5, 1856. One of their most prominent students was Dame Joan Sutherland. An underground sandstone water tank of the 1860's is marked by a plaque in Macpherson Street, between Albion Street and Carrington Road. A reminder of life in the mid-19th Century which keeps us in touch with our Waverley roots.

Compiled by Waverley Library from sources in the local History Collection for Local Government Week 1998