The Star Amphitheatre, 6 Wyargine Street, Mosman (Balmoral)

The Amphitheatre was built in 1923 and 1924 for the Order of the Star in the East, an offshoot of the Theosophical Society. Theosophists seek to find God and achieve universal goodwill by spiritual ecstasy, direct intuition or special individual relations.

The Theosophist Dr Mary Rocke purchased the site, which had a superb view of Sydney Harbour’s North Head and was above Edwards Beach’s northern end. The architects were J.E. Justelius & Son and the builder was John Jamieson. An estimated cost of 7000 Pounds for the land and building blew out to about 20,000 Pounds. The building was in the Grecian Doric style. It was partly cut into the sandstone rock and was partly constructed of white painted concrete. It seated 2000 people with room for an additional 1000 to stand. It included a stage, a chapel, a tearoom, a meeting hall and a library. A Theosophical Society publication described the building as ‘a symbol in stone of what our daily lives should be …simple, pure, clean, dignified’.

The Order intended to use the Amphitheatre for the ‘new world teacher’, Jiddu Krishnamurti, to address his audience. He only, though, did so once and subsequently rejected his role. The Order was dissolved in 1929.

The Amphitheatre was sold in 1931 to George Humphrey or George Humphrey Bishop (sources differ), who organised vaudeville and other live performances there as well as putting a mini-golf course on the roof. The Catholic Church purchased the building in 1936, after which it fell into disrepair.

Urban Cooperative Multi Home Units No. 3 demolished the Amphitheatre in 1951, replacing it with a large red brick block of 30 flats called Stancliff. ‘In the end’, the historian Jill Roe later wrote, ‘ suburbanisation conquered all’. Stancliff was still standing in 2014.


David Carment, visit to site, 12 October 2014.

Jill Roe, ‘Three Visions of Sydney Heads from Balmoral Beach’, in Jill Roe (Ed), Twentieth Century Sydney: Studies in Urban & Social History, Hale & Iremonger, Sydney, 1980, pp 89-104.

Gavin Souter, Mosman: A History, Melbourne University Press, Carlton, 1994, pp 171-172.

Gavin Souter, Times & Tides: A Middle Harbour Memoir, Simon & Schuster, Sydney, 2004, pp 199-207.

The Star Amphitheatre Balmoral, Local Studies Service, Mosman Library, Mosman, no publication date.


The amphitheatre, Balmoral Beach, 1920s (Mosman Library)


The amphitheatre site viewed from Rocky Point, 2014 (David Carment)

David Carment

Edwards Beach Shark Net, Mosman (Balmoral)

The shark net was a response to fatal shark attacks on swimmers in Middle Harbour during the early twentieth century. Members of the community urged Mosman Council to provide shark protection measures at Edwards Beach, a popular place for swimming. Some people, though, opposed such measures on aesthetic, hygienic and pragmatic grounds.

After much debate, the steel net enclosure was erected in 1935. It was suspended between steel cables that extended from anchor posts on Rocky Point (often known as ‘The Island’) to a steel tripod tower on a small rocky outcrop at Edwards Beach’s northern end. The net was taken down at the end of each summer.

In 1955 a shark killed a boy who was checking a lobster pot not far outside the net off Wy-ar-gine Point.

Mosman Council removed the net in 2008 on the grounds that it was very costly to maintain and there had been no shark attacks in the vicinity since 1955. There were widespread protests against the decision that highlighted the net’s heritage significance and the protection it still provided for swimmers.

All that remained of the net in 2014 were the anchor posts and a segment of the steel cables at Rocky Point, and two concrete foundation blocks that supported the tripod tower close to the beach. There was also an interpretation sign on Rocky Point.


David Carment, visit to site, 12 October 2014.

Historic Guide to Balmoral, Mosman Historical Society, Mosman, 2010.

Mosman Daily, 25 October 2007.

Gavin Souter, Mosman: A History, Melbourne University Press, Carlton, 1994, pp 204-208.

EB 1950 copy

Edwards Beach, c 1950 (Mosman Library)


Net remains and interpretation sign, Rocky Point, 2014 (David Carment)

David Carment

Beau Sejour, 182 Raglan Street, Mosman

Beau Sejour was built in 1938 on the site of a previous substantial house, Pozieres, owned by French wool merchant Charles Boggio. When Boggio returned to France in 1924, the house passed to his daughter Adele and son-in-law Georges Parmentier, also a woolbroker.

In 1938 the Parmentiers commissioned Mosman architect Adrian Ashton to design a new home for the site, in a modern ‘ocean liner’ style. The plan shows a home of two storeys, with entry through a porch flanked by rounded columns on either side with ‘Beau Sejour’ above. These columns served a practical as well as a decorative function, having water pipes and other utilities hidden within. The entry led to a large foyer and circular stairwell decorated with statues and other artworks, with a grand semi-circular marble staircase leading to the upper level. A wall of glass bricks ensured light poured into this area. The adjacent lounge, dining, smoking and sun rooms were surrounded outside by flagstone paths and a terrace with built-in flower boxes.

Upstairs were four bedrooms and a bathroom, the main bedroom having a separate adjoining bathroom, dressing room and sun deck.

A separate service area on the ground floor included the kitchen, laundry, delivery entrance, storage rooms and a small, self-contained flat for a maid. The basement below the maid’s quarters contained a tool room, a fuel stove for heating, and a cellar with a meat safe. The garage and rear entrance faced Shadforth Street at the back of the property.

Family members recall mature gardens, lawns where family parties were held, and a tennis court.

Descendants of the Parmentiers lived in Beau Sejour until the early 1960s. In 1964, a new owner’s application to Mosman Council to use the house as a nursing home was rejected. It was soon sold again, this time to builder Earle Cameron P/L who, in 1966, made an application to build an eight storey block of units. This was approved and the house was demolished. By July 1967 units in this block, also named Beau Sejour, were being advertised for sale.


Mosman Library – BA 38/216 (plan for 182 Raglan Street).

Mosman Library – BA/DA correspondence, 1964.

Marc Parmentier, Parmentier family reminiscences.


(Marc Parmentier)


Beau Sejour units, June 2015 (Phillipa Morris)

Phillipa Morris

Clifton Gardens Swimming Pool, Mosman (Clifton Gardens)

By 1906, daylight mixed bathing had been legalised in New South Wales, so Sydney Ferries Ltd decided to build an ocean swimming baths at their newly acquired Clifton Gardens pleasure grounds. The baths were designed by Sydney architect Rutledge Louat. Opened in December 1906 for the North Sydney Swimming Club’s annual carnival, the structure was of a unique circular design, covering an area of 30,000 square feet. A 12 feet wide promenade encircled the pool, with a boardwalk and racing platforms on a lower level for bathers. A large two storey attached bathing pavilion provided space for 200 dressing rooms, a grandstand to seat 3000 spectators, refreshment rooms and other conveniences. A diving tower rising 50 feet above high-water mark had separate platforms at 10 foot intervals, and other entertainments such as marble chutes, revolving casks, giant strides etc were provided. The swimming baths and picnic grounds were extremely popular with the public, being easily accessible by ferry from Circular Quay. Company and charity picnics also brought large crowds.

In July 1933 Sydney Ferries Ltd applied to Mosman Council to make improvements to facilities at Clifton Gardens, including the swimming pool. As a result, by 1934 the pool had been considerably enlarged by opening one side of the circular structure, thus combining the baths and the adjacent wire protected beach bathing enclosure to form one continuous swimming area. This was now over 300 feet in length by 200 feet wide, equipped with springboards and pontoons and surrounded by a promenade, together with a fine sandy beach.

During the 1940s the area became less popular due to competition from the ocean beaches, now more easily accessible by cars and public transport. By 1949 the Clifton Gardens baths were owned by the Maritime Services Board, and leased back to Sydney Ferries Ltd until 1952. Portions of the upper floor of the bathing pavilion were used as staff quarters for the nearby hotel, or leased as residential flats. By the 1950s the structure was in poor condition, and in October 1956 Mosman Council invited tenders for the demolition of the two-storey weatherboard bathing pavilion, the dressing sheds and accommodation, and the remaining semi-circular portion of the adjoining swimming baths. However, days before tenders closed, these buildings were destroyed by fire, leaving only the pile foundations in the water. Following removal of the remains, Mosman Council approved, in December 1957, the construction of a fully shark proof swimming enclosure which was completed in January 1958 at a cost of 3,500 Pounds. Apart from some repairs, realignment and a new jetty, the enclosure remains much the same today.


Australian Women’s Weekly, 13 October 1934 (Trove).

Mosman Council building records held at Mosman Library.

Mosman Daily, 17 January 1958.

Mosman, Neutral Bay and Middle Harbour Resident, 15 December 1906.


Clifton Gardens Pool, 1909 (Mosman Library)


Clifton Gardens Pool, 2015 (Phillipa Morris)

Phillipa Morris

26 Iluka Road, Mosman (Clifton Gardens)

The prominent Sydney architect Bertrand James Waterhouse designed the house in 1935. It was built during the same year on what was previously a bush block.

The first owner was Malcolm MacKinnon, the Principal of Sydney Technical High School, who lived in the house with his wife. David Maxwell (known as Max) Carment, a chartered accountant and company director, purchased it for 10500 Pounds in 1951. He lived there with his family until selling it in 1973 to a Mr Gordon, who also used it as a family home. There were other owners until the house was demolished to make way for a new residence in 2007. It appeared to be in good condition at the time of its demolition. Demolition also involved almost complete destruction of the garden and levelling of most of the site.

The house was a split level brick bungalow on the side of a steep hill sloping towards Taylors Bay. It originally had 16 rooms of greatly varying sizes, three fireplaces, a bush house, terraced garden beds and sweeping harbour views. There were more than 50 steps from the house to the road. The Carments added a garage, insect screens on all windows to deal with the huge numbers of mosquitoes that bred in the nearby bush, three more rooms in what were originally the downstairs workshop and storage areas, a front deck, a swimming pool, and an inclinator lift from near the house to the garage. Flat stone terraces replaced the back and front lawns. Later owners changed the configuration of some rooms.

In 1951 there was a house next door at 24 Iluka Road. There were five vacant bush blocks between 26 Iluka Road and its next door neighbour on the other side. All these blocks were built on during the 1950s and 1960s. By 2014 many of Iluka Road’s original residences had been demolished and replaced. Their new, usually smaller, gardens were dominated by hedges and lawns with far fewer flowers than the old gardens.


D. M. Carment, Recollections, published by the author, Mosman, no date [2000],, accessed 3 April 2014.

David Carment (former resident of 26 Iluka Road), memories.

Mosman Council DA Tracker, Application Search for 26 Iluka Road,, accessed 3 April 2014.

Mosman Daily, 3 June 1999.

Bertrand James Waterhouse, Zeny Edwards, Michael Waterhouse, Jillian Ryder & Tony Geddes, From Nutcote to Elwatan: The Art and Architecture of B. J. Waterhouse, Mosman Art Gallery, Mosman, 2004.

26 Iluka 1951

(Max Carment, 1951)

26 Iluka Road

(Mosman Daily, 3 June 1999)

26 Iluka

(David Carment, 2015)

David Carment

Myarock, 5 Kirkoswald Avenue, Mosman

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.

Following a new owner’s purchase of the house, 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.


5 Kirkoswald Avenue, Mosman, NSW – Property Sold Price,, accessed 27 March 2014.

Carol Cantrell, ‘Finckh, Alfred Edmund (1866-1961)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published in hardcopy 1996, accessed online 28 March 2014.

David Carment, personal communications with Kirkoswald Avenue residents since 1983.

Mosman Council DA Tracker,, 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)

5 Kirkoswald

(David Carment, 2015)

David Carment

Scout and Guide Hall, 10 Markham Close, Mosman

Image(W. Harding, 1982, Mosman Library)

In 1914 Miss Leila Logan established Lillingstone School in her house at 57 Muston Street, Mosman. There was a timber school hall in the back garden. The 1st Mosman Guides (the first such group in Australia) were in 1923 given a portion of Rawson Park for their outdoor activities. To celebrate they planted two palms close to Middle Head Road. The Guides continued to meet at Lillingstone School Hall, until 1933 when they set up their own clubrooms at 14 Bond Street. At this time 2nd Mosman Scouts took over the land at Middle Head.

The Lillingstone School closed in 1933 and the following year the hall was sold to 2nd Mosman Scouts and relocated to their clubhouse at Middle Head. Later taken over by 5th Mosman Scouts, the clubhouse was for many years the headquarters of the scouts, cubs and rovers, plus 1st Cremorne Guides (later named 1st Middle Head Guides) and two Brownie packs. The hall was altered several times during this period.

By 2005 the hall had been abandoned by the scouts and guides and the building was neglected, vandalised and dilapidated.

Image(Pam Lofthouse, 2005)

The clubhouse was demolished in January 2006 as part of the redevelopment of the Markham Close housing estate. One of the palms planted by the guides is still visible in the Middle Head Road front garden of the new house built on the site.


Pam Lofthouse, Historical Research Report, 10 Markham Close Mosman, 2005 and supplementary report, 2006. Both are in the Mosman Library.

Pam Lofthouse

32 Iluka Road, Mosman (Clifton Gardens)

(Exact dates will be included once further research is undertaken.)

The house was built on a bush block in approximately 1953 for a Mr and Mrs Christie.

For many years from the mid 1950s it was the home of Ronald (known as Stock) Stockwell, a Unilever executive, and his family. A keen gardener, he was also an expert handyman and carefully maintained the property. Stockwell died in 2007. Mosman Council approved demolition of the house and erection of a new one in the same year.

The house included an internal staircase and a laundry and a workshop in the basement. Downstairs there were a kitchen, dining room, living room, study, hallway and toilet. Upstairs were a hallway, three bedrooms, a bathroom and a sun room. The section of the garden overlooking the harbour was often used for barbecues. Rooms on the harbour side had superb views. The design was quite typical of residences erected in affluent Australian suburbs during the 1950s. The house was easily seen from the street, unlike the one that replaced it, which was mostly well hidden except for its large garage.


David Carment (a frequent visitor to 32 Iluka Road), memories.

Mosman Council DA Tracker,, accessed 27 March 2014.


(Pam Lofthouse, 2007)

32 Iluka

(David Carment, 2015)

David Carment

The Rangers, Mosman

‘Built in 1844 by John Frederick Hilly, architect, for Oswald Bloxsome, the house was purchased by a syndicate in 1885 and its grounds partially subdivided. The house, located near Spofforth Street between Rangers Avenue and Brierly Street survived until 1912’ [now known to be 1914] ‘when, despite protests by the local community, it was demolished for further residential subdivision’.


Joy Hughes (ed), Demolished Houses of Sydney, Historic Houses Trust of New South Wales, Glebe, 1999, p 120.


(Mosman Library)