Sydney Architecture Images- Western Suburbs

The Priory


Weaver and Kemp. 


Gladesville Hospital, Gladesville. 




Victorian Regency


A conservative Palladian arrangement. 


The Priory

The History

In 1835 Thomas Stubbs purchased 2 allotments of land at Tarban Creek and proceeded to build a single storey farmhouse. Stubbs, his wife, two servants and a garden resided at ‘Longwood’ until 1847.

In 1847 Thomas Stubbs sold the house he had built at the head of Tarban Creek, the outbuildings and farm included, to the French religious order The Society of Mary (Marist Fathers), which would become their first base in Australia. The farm, buildings and gardens provided rest and recuperation for their South Pacific missionaries. The Marist Fathers extended Stubb’s original sandstone farmhouse under the architect William Weaver and named the site ‘Villa Maria’.

In 1864 the Marist Fathers moved their order to the other side of Tarban Creek and transferred the title ‘Villa Maria’ to their new home. Thomas Salter purchased the original building, built on a gothic style and renamed it ‘The Priory’. Under Salter’s tenure the site included a shed, latrines, out house, tennis court, stables, poultry yard, cultivation paddock and coach houses.

The Priory then became a building of institutional, medical and social historic importance following its 1888 inclusion - lasting for over a century - into Gladesville Hospital, the earliest psychiatric hospital on the Australian mainland. The surrounding land was farmed by patients for the production of fruit and vegetables for hospital use, and in WWII an air raid shelter for patients and staff was cut into the terrace.

CURRENTLY the financial responsibility of restoring and refurbishing The Priory rests with Hunter’s Hill Council and its community. With your help we can restore it to its former glory.

The Vision

The vision for The Priory is an integrated and multipurpose cultural facility that incorporates both community and corporate activities. The Priory will be a combination of art, craft, historical asnd meeting capabilities in conjunction with a place for social gatherings with fine food, wine and coffee.

In 2006 the Hunters Hill Cultural Plan was completed. The Plan highlighted the need for a community facility that would incorporate artistic pursuits. When care control and management of The Priory was granted to Hunter's Hill Council, Council went one step further and undertook the Hunters Hill Cultural Precinct Plan. This document gave further clarity to the potential use of The Priory and was completed following consultation with the local community.

The main outcome of the Cultural Precinct Plan was to provide Hunters Hill with a cultural centre that would combine the following:

Art gallery/exhibition space
A base for heritage walks
An outdoor space for activities such as open gardens/weddings
A lecture, talk or professional speaking series
Community meeting facilities
Commercial component, eg cafe/tea room.