|Historical notes: ||The Ryde area was highly suitable for farming and orchards, and early grants to marines were given to encourage agriculture. In 1792 land in the area was granted to 8 marines; two of the grants were in the modern area of Ryde. Isaac Archer and John Colethread each received 80 acres of land on the site of the present Ryde-Parramatta Golf Links, now in West Ryde. Later in 1792, in the Eastern Farms area, 12 grants, most of them about 30 acres, were made to convicts. Much later these farms were bought by John Macarthur, Gregory Blaxland and the Reverend Samuel Marsden. The district remained an important orchard area throughout the 19th century. (Pollen, 1996)
1794-1806 emancipated convict James Stewart owned this 30 acre grant, (the area) named "New Farm" - it was now 1/12 of the original grants made at 'Kissing Point' as the area was then known. He built a small three room cottage of sandstock bricks. (Leary, 1976, 113). In 1798 farmers at Kissing Point registered complaints to Governor Hunter about poor control exercised over the receipt of grain at the public stores in Sydney. One of these farmers was James Stewart. Stewart died in 1806 and the estate was auctioned, including 'a good dwelling house' and effects (Burritt, 1980, 21-22).
1809-33 James Shepherd owned New Farm's 30 acres (ibid, 22).
In 1810 the property was taken over by James Shepherd, who completed the central section by building a six-room sandstone house around the original three-room cottage.
1822 Thomas Bowden, the colony's first professional school teacher, added the west wing and in 1840 the east wing was added. It is of rubble sandstone. (Leary, 1976 notes that in 1820 Thomas Bowden, the colony's second school master, added 3 rooms and attics in front of the cottage. In 1825 the west wing was added (part has since been demolished) and Bowden started the first Boarding School in the colony here. (Leary, 1976, 113).
In 1830 40 rods of New Farm were sold by James Shepherd (son of James Shepherd who bought the farm in 1809), on the south-east boundary of the original 30 acre grant (Burritt, 1980, 22).
1833-1876 Isaac Shepherd (son of James) 'leased and released' New Farm (in 1833). Shepherd was noted as being 'at Kissing Point, Parramatta' in 1834-36 (Burritt, 1980, 22). 1860s-70s Thomas Kendall Bowden and his wife Mary Elizabeth (nee Shepherd) occupied Addington.
The first phase of building (Area 1 north and south wings) is attributed to the period 1833-1876. The 1846 mortgage provides evidence which is critical for this interpretation. It is the earliest documentary evidence that relates to standing structures on the site. Also it specifies that after the transaction of 1833 a residence was erected for Isaac Shepherd on the site. Neither archaeological nor architectural evidence can conclusively indicate any earlier date for this construction. The map of 1841 records this first phase of building. Hence on the evidence available it is possible to narrow the dating of this phase to the 1833-41 period (Burritt, 1980, 18).
An 1841 map of Ryde bearing the name James Shepherd on the land originally granted to James Stewart shows an 'L'-shaped house on the site of the existing Addington House. In 1842 Isaac Shepherd and his wife sold part of New Farm, on the south-west of Stewart's original 30 acre grant, by the road from Sydney to Parramatta (Burritt, 1980, 23). In 1846 New Farm was included in the property listed by Isaac Shepherd for mortgage. One acre of the original 30 acre grant has already been sold and the 'residence of Mr. I. Shepherd' has been built on the remaining 29 acres (Burritt, 1980, 24).
1850 the east wing (3 rooms) was added (one has since been demolished) using old bricks of Stewart's cottage which were so soft that they crumble when touched - these were preserved by a veneer of harder brickwork and numerous coats of paint on the interior (Leary, 1976, 113).
In 1875 a Sydney solicitor Thomas Kendall Bowden, son-in-law of Isaac Shepherd, was noted as living at Addington (Burritt, 1980, 24).
1876-1896 Farm was left in trust jointly to Isaac Shepherd's son Isaac James Shepherd and his daughter Mary Elizabeth Bowden (nee Shepherd), her husband Thomas Kendall Bowden and their children. The Bowdens had the option of becoming the tenants or landlords of Addington (Burritt, 1980, 24).
c1880 for a short time Addington was home to Sir Henry Parkes, NSW Premier and 'Father of Federation'. It was later home to the Benson family - well known in the Ryde district (Leary, 1976, 113).
1882 John F. Loxton, surveyor 'Addington' occupied it.
1889 A.W.Sutton occupied 'Addington'
1891-3 A.G.Walker, squatter occupied Addington
1894-5 Thomas K. Bowden occupied Addington. (died 1897).
In 1895 William Henry Flavelle and Alexander Reith Troup and others became trustees of Addington for the creditors of Mary Elizabeth Bowden (Burritt, 1980, 24).
1896-1908 owned by Mabel Genevieve Bowden and Florence Edith Bowden (daughters of Mary Elizabeth Bowden). Mabel and Florence had reclaimed ownership of Addington for the Bowden family in 1896 (Burritt, 1980, 25).
- W.C.Burton 1896-7;
- M.Montgomery 1898-9; W.
- Boyce Allen 1900-1;
- Thomas C.Read 1904;
- John W.Pickworth 1905-6;
- Joseph Payer 1907;
- Richard H.Owen 1908;
- Hugh McManamey 1910-11
In 1909 the property was brought under the provisions of the Real Property Act of 1900, valued at 1610 pounds and was rented out (Burritt, 1980, 25).
1908-1919 owned by Edith Harriette Rogers (house and 1 acre of land). The rest of the land (30 acres and 25 perches: Burritt, 1980, 25) was purchased by Edith Harriette Rogers in 1911. Occupied by R.H. Owen 1908 and H.McManamey 1910-11 as above.
In 1913 the property was surrendered for consolitation and then division into a number of separate lots. Addington Houe (1 rod 16.25 perches) became lots 23 and 24 and was rented (Burritt, 1980, 26).
1919 Lots 23 & 24 of Addington estate (Addington: house only) was bought by Sydney Albert Benson. The Benson family were well known in the Ryde district and that they still owned Addington in 1979.
In 1950 Sydney Robert Benson and Norman Christopher Willis became joint tenants and newly-registered owners. In 1952 it was transferred to Lillian Mary Benson (Burritt, 1980, 27).
A private trust was formed with the aim of buying Addington, restoring it for use as a historic home and museum. (Leary, 1976, 113). In 1970 the property was purchased for $25,000 by The Addington Trust (Annable, R., in Stocks, R., 1988; Burritt, 1980, 27).
In 1975 archaeological testing was done to try to confirm the earliest phases of Addington's development. Some documentary evidence suggested that some part of the residence may have commenced as early as 1794. IF found to be the case, Addington would be classified as one of the earliest houses in the colony and the earliest house in the Ryde area (Burritt, 3). Between 23-24 August a test trench was dug by Maureen Byrne to test how the brick and sandstone structure related to the brick structure. The submerged north wall of Area 4, an uncovered clay packed 'feeder' drain leading to an underground water storage tank c.4m distant, a four-sided stone-built drain running between a drip stone at the Area 4's north-eastern corner predating the north and east walls of the stone and brick structure. THe foundations in this corner were shown to be random rubble and there was an abuttal between east and north walls (Burritt, 1980, 10). Another trench was excavated in the southwest corner of Area 1 to test the relationship between the common wall (Areas 4 and 1) and west wall of Area 1. No evidence of a former floor level were found. A third test trench was dug inside the north wing of Area 1 where Areas 1, 2 and 5 converge to test the relationship between foundation stones in the west and south walls of the north wing, thus the phasing of the north and south wings' construction. This confirmed that Area 2 is later than Area 1 (north wing). Inspection of Area 2 pre-excavation revealed a coursed random rubble stone building differing from the building on Area 1 (south wing) in terms of method of construction, materials used and level of the main floor. Thus archaeological evidence gave some additional supportive information for this interpretation of the phasing (ibid, 13).