History of the land

Research into the ownership of the land yields information of how it contributes to an understanding of NSW’s cultural history particularly in relation to the move from nomadic lifestyle, pastoral uses, industry and finally residential.

Pre 1978, nomadic lifestyle

The land of Ashfield Municipality was originally home to the Aboriginal “Wangal people” of Eora Nation. During this time the higher ground was heavily wooded with tall eucalypts and a variety of swampy trees along the lower ground areas of Iron Cove Creek. It is reasonable to suggest that the site was desirable for hunting and gathering purposes of this community based on the land surrounding a minor tributary that feeds into Iron Cove creek. Which has since been altered from its original state.

1794-1903 pastoral use

1883 Map of Ashfield Municipality
1883 Map of Ashfield Municipality

The once fertile land of which Lapish Avenue now stands on was first documented as a Crown Land Grant to Lieutenant John Piper in 1794 which determined its future, becoming commonly known as Piper’s farm. By 1820 the land was then incorporated into Robert Campbell’s Canterbury Park Estate. For a considerable period the land was used for farming purposes. This is still evident in the hoof hardened clay based soil that can be found in the garden of the property today.

It remained under this use until the estate was subdivided in 1880 and sold to John Jeffreys of Sandleford Lodge Salisbury in England Esquire on the 6th of May. This is a notable example of migration to Australia from Britain that commonly occurred in the early 1800s.
It was sold then in quick succession, on 27th of November 1880 as a combined larger block of land that distanced the land between Liverpool Road and Norton Street to Robert Culbert who had lived in Ashfield prior and was actively involved in The Presbyterian Church community. Robert Culbert, upon passing away in 1987, made the executor of his estate his daughter Mary Ann Culbert. Mary ann was too young to take ownership of the property, her mother Mrs Culbert looked after the property, of which the residence, located at 39 Norton Street (now also a similarly designed Art Deco semi, as evidence by her applying for curbing and guttering works to the main home to the council in 1888. Evidence of Little King Street itself first appears when it is mentioned as a proposed tram stop in 1893.

1900-1940 industrial use

1903 Sub division of land behind Lapish Avenue
1903 Sub division of land behind Lapish Avenue

In 1903 the same block of land is offered as 5 separate building allotments that will separate the then referred to block of land called Alison’s property, but the block of land on the eastern side of Little King Street is kept. Mary Ann Culbert then appears on the deeds 28th of January 1905. Twenty five years old and married, the property’s title deeds in her name, now show the future street on which 4 Lapish Street is to be located on, a narrow street named Little King Road. When she passes in October 1923 the land lies waiting until its current future was dictated by the deposited Plan 19412 of RM Bowcock.

Thus the land on which the semi that stands at 4 Lapish Avenue is an important early remnant of past development within the notable Ashfield historical area. From rural landscapes to a modern metropolitan town the site reflects the historical pattern of development for the local area, the changing make-up of the site reflecting the changing nature and historical development that led to the diverse community with a long history that we now know as the Municipality of Ashfield.