Saturday, August 10, 2013

Built Heritage - Pymble Hill

Reprint of an article by Kathie Rieth from the August 2010 KHS Newsletter

Does anyone know when the first purpose-built service station appeared in Ku-ring-gai? 

I’ve been searching off and on for the past few years and the earliest mention I can find is late 1927, when architects Ross & Rowe engaged AS Kirton to build a service station and residence on the Pacific Highway, Killara. I think this would be Killara Sales & Service Station at 544 Pacific Highway, listed in Sands from 1928. Killara Garage still operates from this address.

But - until then - where did residents go to fill up with petrol?

I have heard that some kept a supply at home, one complete with bowser. For how long was this allowed?

By the late 1930s service stations had been built in every suburb of Ku-ring-gai. Most incorporated a residence. Some have survived, others not. For many years Roseville had two: Waters now sells Subarus, the other is a branch of O’Briens Glass. Another that has retained its form, but changed its function, is on the corner of the Pacific Highway and Telegraph Road, Pymble: it appears to be in almost original condition with its drive-through intact. 

Built in late 1931, its owners were Edward McGee of Parkes, dentist and Charles Ramage of Sydney, literary secretary. And yes, I did ask Our Mr Wahroonga, Ian Ramage, whether he was related and he assured me he was not. Charles Ramage was born in Victoria and by the end of 1927 was a teacher at Knox, living at 1 Bundarra Avenue, Wahroonga with his widowed mother Mary and sister Florence. McGee, born in Parkes, lived and practised there until the early 1940s when he moved to Bondi. A third person was involved, Walter Ross of  Bannockburn Road, the applicant to council for permission to build. 

Ross was later associated with McGee in a company called Bricks & Mortar Ltd, registered in 1936, its aim “to acquire a considerable holding of rent producing property and generally deal in real estate”. Was the Pymble garage the first of their investments?

A further reference to Ramage can be found in the Sydney Morning Herald in 1953, with a notice of the winding up of The Telegraph Road Syndicate. Ross had died in 1946 and McGee in 1950. Were the three the Syndicate and is this why it was wound up? The Pymble garage certainly produced rent: from 1934 to 1936 it was leased by William Cawte, by Sydney Dwyer (1936-1939) and then James Emerson (1939-1950). A month after McGee’s death it was sold to Clement, Owen, Ivo and Bruce Wenborn. No longer a service station, for some years it has housed House

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