|Historical notes: ||The land Careel House was built on was originally part of the block of land granted to Father John Therry in 1833, whose land stretched from Whale Beach to Newport and Pittwater to the Tasman Sea. It was unoccupied until early 1900s and when first offered for sale by the Barrenjoey Land Company it did not sell. It was then subdivided and gradually since 1912 it was sold out in small blocks.
The dwelling was built in 1931 for Major & Mrs C. R. Grieve O.B.E. Designed by Alexander Stewart Jolly, it was originally built as a weekender of stone quarried on the site. During WWII it was also used as a look out point.
Alexander Stewart Jolly (1887-1957) (Biography by Australian Institute of Architects)
Jolly was born on a property near Lismore to a family of Scots timber craftsmen. Upon leaving school Jolly went into the family business, where he learned the skilled joinery techniques that are evident in his work. In 1908 he went to Sydney to work in the office of Wardell and Denning. After two years he returned and began to practise as an architect, and in 1912 he went into practice on his own. The first real sign of his unconventional architectural path was a house 'Livoni' (1918) at Balmoral. His American client wanted a backwoods hunting lodge. Jolly gave him a very unusual house: a picturesque and asymmetrical arrangement of boulder walls, rough-cast panels and shingles, with structural carpentry expressed to whimsical effect.
In the early 1920s his health deteriorated and he had to give up architecture. He joined the estate agent A.E. Dalwood in land speculation on the Palm Beach peninsula, often living on a subdivision, in a tent or cabin, until the land was sold. His imagination was free to follow its own direction, to study the twisted shapes of native timbers and rocky outcrops and, eventually, to bring forth the strange configurations that represent the last phase of his work, between 1930 and 1936. For the cabins or holiday houses on the land, Jolly used unworked stones to make craggy, irregular walls, fireplaces and chimneys; logs and branches with their bark for structural members and infill; sawn blocks of wood for flooring. These buildings were not improvised but carefully and meticulously designed and drawn.
In 1929 construction of ‘Loggan Rock’, 111 Whale Beach Road Whale Beach commenced, on the site adjacent to ‘Careel House’. In 1932, the year after Jolly designed ‘Careel House’ for the Grieves, Dr Dangar Burne bought the adjoining Lots 179 and 180 from Therry’s 1837 land grant. However, on that site Jolly had been building a log and rock cabin with and for his friend the film censor Lieutenant Colonel Lionel Hurley. With his Avalon dwellings, Jolly combined the roles of salesman, facilitator, architect, builder and friend.
In 1932 Jolly self published Adrift at Sea A Boy’s Book of Adventure and an allegorical, semiautobiographical children’s book, The Spirit of the Bush, sharing with readers his love of landscape and how Avalon restored his life.
With the Depression, land sales and building went into decline, but when the Depression eased he returned to land speculation, this time on the south coast. He did no more architectural work, and died at his Wollstonecraft home in 1957.