Sydney Architecture Images- Glebe

St. Scholastica’s College (former Toxteth Park George Allen Estate)

architect

John Verge

location

Avenue Road Glebe

date

1830-1900

style

Original structure Old Colonial Georgian (still visible) Second story and tower Victorian Italianate added in the 1870s. Handsome Inter-War Romanesque chapel added in the twenties.

construction

brick

type

originally House, then convent and Education
 
 
  The gateposts were moved from the original convent on Devonshire Street in 1901, demolished to make way for Central Station.
By 1828 many Glebe allotments were auctioned and while many purchasers were speculators, there were also some successful professional men who sought a convivial location upon which to build family residences on ample grounds with a fine view of the harbour. Today only two of these large Regency houses remain, Toxteth Park and Lyndhurst, both designed by John Verge. 

Toxteth Park was built for George Allen (1800-77). Originally designed by John Verge, Toxteth Park was a rectangular two-storey block with single-storey wings, a stone-flagged verandah on two sides, with the kitchen and servants' quarters behind. During extensions in 1878-81 the ground floor was renovated, but the present-day long drawing-room and bay window retain many original features.
George Allen (1800-1877) was the first solicitor to be trained in Australia. By 1831 he had acquired 96 acres (38.8 hectares) of Glebe land, which became the Toxteth Estate, and commissioned John Verge to build Toxteth Park. His son, George Wigram Allen (1824-1885) added a third story, tower and ballroom. In 1901, it was sold to the Sisters of the Good Samaritan, a Benedictine Order, who founded today’s St. Scholastica's College, a Catholic school for girls. It has 700 students in years 7-12, including 80 boarders.
George Allen (1800-1877) 
The son of a London physician who died in financial straits, George Allen was brought to Australia by his widowed mother and became the first solicitor to be trained in this country. An active Wesleyan, he established what became a successful legal firm. He married Jane Bowden in 1823 and she produced five boys and five girls who survived infancy, the most noteworthy, historically, being George Wigram Allen in 1824. By 1831 he had acquired 96 acres of Glebe land and commissioned John Verge to build Toxteth Park, the foundation stone for which was laid on 21 March 1829.
George Allen also led an active public life, serving as Mayor of Sydney (1844-45), President of the Bank of NSW (1860-66), MLC (1845-73) and Fellow of the Senate at the University of Sydney (1859-77). Today the legal firm of Allen, Allen & Hemsley still maintains a high profile in Sydney and their corporate contemporary art collection, exceeding 1,000 paintings, embraces the theme of 'art in the workplace'.
Sir George Wigram Allen (1824-85)
 

Sir George Wigram Allen

Son of Jane and the previously-named George Allen, who was articled to his father, he entered the law practice in 1847, which continued to expand as a thriving enterprise. He also inherited his father's enthusiasm for religion (helping to create the YMCA), public affairs (Member of the Legislative Council 1860-61), the University of Sydney Senate (1878-85) and business.

G.W. Allen was also involved in the incorporation of Glebe as a municipality, becoming its first Mayor in 1859, a post he held for 18 years. From 1869-82 he represented Glebe in the Legislative Assembly, was Speaker from 1875-82 and for these many services was knighted in 1884.

During that time he sponsored the reclamation of Wentworth Park and, together with Edmund Blacket and Glebe Council members, was

responsible for Glebe's water supply and gas lighting as well as the construction of new streets. The Allens, both father and son, were keen cricketers and built a private ground in what is now bounded by Glebe Point and Toxteth Roads and Mansfield and Boyce Streets. It was here that Frederick Spofforth, a great bowler who lived in Derwent Street, frequently played.

Upon his father's death in 1877 he made extensive additions to Toxteth Park, when a third storey, tower and ballroom were added. However Sir George did not live so long after his father and subsequently this stalwart Wesleyan's house, in 1901, was sold to the Sisters of the Good Samaritan, a Benedictine Order, which is today St. Scholastica's College. He had amassed a fortune of 300,000 pounds by the time of his death.

Lady Allen's charitable interests helped to establish the Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children, which until quite recently focused on the health of Sydney's children -- the hospital is now closed and the large site is developing into a new housing area to be known as the City Quarter.

Special thanks to www.glebesociety.org.au 

 

www.sydneyarchitecture.com 

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