Thursday, June 9, 2011

"The Anchorage" - 44 Louisa Road, Birchgrove

Having written about the rich history of "Birch Grove House", Australia's second oldest home, in a previous blog, I thought I would talk about another home still standing in Louisa Road that sits literally across the street from where the old Birch Grove House once stood. 44 Louisa Road - The Anchorage.

Standing to be what some claim as the tallest home on the Balmain peninsula, "The Anchorage" at 44 Louisa Road, Birchgrove was built in 1896 by John Gibson. Gibson was the inaugural occupant of the home and was, according to the State Library of NSW, the chief Engineer of the Cockatoo Island Dockyard. Previously known as "Fitzroy Villa" and built in the Italianate style, The Anchorage, has a unique feature - a Widow's Walk situated at the top of the flat roof, towering over the homes of Louisa Road.

Back in the early days of Birchgrove, there used to be a coal mine situated in the spot where Birchgrove Public School now stands. This was the first coal mine in Australia and once the coal was brought to the surface, it was placed on to railed trolleys that ran to a nearby wharf and shipped away. The Widow's Walk (or Captain's Walk) at 44 Louisa Road, played an important role in providing an over watch look out for the shipping lanes to and from the coal mine, as well as, a clear line of sight to Gibson's Dockyards at Cockatoo Island.

While the original architectural plans for the home still survive at the State Library of NSW in linen and paper, the home has recently been restored to its former charm but with modern amenities. Currently up for sale with Kate Lorden of Sarah Lorden Real Estate, the home is five levels of large rooms, all with spectacular waterfront views. It has its own private jetty, pool and the Widow's Walk is perfect for entertaining or watching the boats sail by.

You are invited to view the home at its first open house this Saturday 11th June 2011 between 12.00 - 12.45pm. It is an amazing piece of Australian heritage in Birchgrove's most exclusive street.

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