Dr Alfred Edmund Finckh (1866-1961), a prominent pathologist and fencing maitre d’armes, designed and built Myarock in 1917 as a family home. His wife was Melissa Dorcas Finckh, nee Slade. He specialised in growing Australian native plants in the spacious garden, which visitors from the Naturalists Society of New South Wales in 1933 described as possessing an ‘enveloping atmosphere of peace and beauty’ with a ‘velvety lawn’. The original house was probably part one-storey and part two-storey with a wide verandah. It had sweeping views of Sydney Harbour and the Heads.
Finckh and, after his death, his daughter Dr Dorrie Alfreda Holt owned Myarock. New owners from 1994 added an upper storey within the roof space and lattice work was removed from the verandah.
By the early twenty first century Myarock was widely regarded as one of Mosman’s most attractive homes. Both it and its garden appeared to be in excellent condition. The owners in 2011 were Patrick Allaway, the chairman of Saltbush Capital Markets, and his wife Libby Allaway.
In what the Sydney Morning Herald on 2 July 2011 described as ‘Mosman’s most intriguing recent deal’, Kimberly Simpson-Morgan, the wife of the head of the merchant bank UBS in Australia Matthew Grounds, placed a caveat on the house. She purchased it in June 2012 for $14,050,000.
A development application was submitted in late 2011 for its demolition and replacement with a new home. Myarock was then described a ‘part two, part three-storey brick and timber dwelling with a pitched slate tiled roof’ on a block of 1,680 square metres. Although Mosman Council was asked to consider assessing Myarock’s heritage significance before any decision was made, the development application was approved and demolition went ahead in 2012. Large parts of the garden, including a sandstone retaining wall below the property, were also destroyed.
5 Kirkoswald Avenue, Mosman, NSW – Property Sold Price, http://house.ksou.cn/p.php?=Mosman&sta=nsw&id=789172, accessed 27 March 2014.
Carol Cantrell, ‘Finckh, Alfred Edmund (1866-1961)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/finckh-alfred-edmund-10180/text17987, published in hardcopy 1996, accessed online 28 March 2014.
David Carment, personal communications with Kirkoswald Avenue residents since 1983.
Jonathan Chancellor | 6 December 2012 Greg Coffey gets his Balmoral residential compound for $17.8 million: Tittle Tattle, http://www.propertyobserver.com.au/finding/location/nsw/19968-ytc-friday-tattle-greg-coffey-gets-his-balmoral-compound.html, accessed 27 March 2014.
Mosman Council DA Tracker, http://portal.mosman.nsw.gov.au/Pages/XC.Track/SearchApplication.aspx?id=008.2011.00000291.001, accessed 27 March 2014.
Nature in Australia, Vol IX, 1936, p 46.
Graham Quint, National Trust of Australia (New South Wales), email to David Carment, 14 November 2011.
Sydney Morning Herald, 24 January 1920, 18 October 1923, 2 July 2011, 14 August 2012, 27 May 2015.
(David Carment, 2011)
(David Carment, 2015)