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Dunmore House
Pendle Hill


A Short History


Dunmore House, Pendle Hill, stands on land originally granted to D’Arcy Wentworth in 1819. The land stayed in the hands of the Wentworth family until late 1882 when Fitzwilliam Wentworth, the then owner, subdivided and sold the land in January of 1883. William McMillan (later Sir William McMillan) was to purchase   some of this subdivision and build a country home for his growing family.

William McMillan was originally from Ireland and came to Melbourne in 1869 where he met and married Ada Charlotte Graham in 1878. They moved to Sydney the same year and McMillan, in addition to his business interests, joined the Sydney School of Arts Debating Club where he met budding politicians (Sir) George Reid and (Sir) Edmund Barton.

Having purchased property from Wentworth he set about building a substantial new home in 1885, which he named Dunmore House.

During the 1880’s due to his business interests McMillan became recognized as an authority on commercial matters and agreed to stand for East Sydney at the general election of 1887, which he won easily. He served as Treasurer in the fifth Parkes administration and under the tutelage of Henry Parkes, became a keen Federationist and was elected to chair the finance committee at the 1897 Australasian Federal Convention. In 1901 he was appointed KCMG (Knight Commander of the Order of St. Michael and St. George), primarily in recognition of this work.  

Sir William McMillan died in 1926 at the age of 76 years.

In 1912 MacMillan sold Dunmore House to Percival Edgar Thompson of Gosford, who had inherited quite a large estate from his father who had been a board member of David Jones Limited. Percival Thompson also became a member of the board of David Jones and in 1917 leased Dunmore House to George Alan Bond, who was to become the founder of the Bonds Clothing Company.

Bond was born in 1876 in Louisville, Kentucky, United States of America, and arrived in Sydney in 1906, followed by his wife Jeanette. He was naturalised in 1922.

Bond began business in Sydney as an importer of hosiery and underwear, but with the outbreak of World War I and the consequent import shortage, he began manufacturing hosiery himself in Redfern. The business flourished and in 1920 he purchased Dunmore House from Percival Thompson. He then established a spinning mill in the expansive grounds of Dunmore House.  The business was very successful until the depression hit and the company was forced into liquidation. The business continued to trade until 1930 when it was sold to a new group, Bond’s Industries Ltd which ultimately flourished. Bond lost his fortune and reputation in the crash of his company and was declared bankrupt in 1931. He then worked for his wife Jeanette in a small hosiery firm she had founded in 1928 at Summer Hill.

George Alan Bond died in 1950 at Ashfield.

In 1935 The Churches of Christ Co-Operative Society Ltd purchased the house with a view to using Dunmore House for dormitory style accommodation for up to 25 boys aged 7 – 15 years. The use of the house continued in this way until the 1970’s when its use changed to accommodate both male and female teenagers.

In 1986 an Interim Heritage Order was placed on the building while extensive research was undertaken to ascertain the building’s significance.

During this time the Christian Community School leased the building as its National Office, using most of the rooms as administrative offices.

The Churches of Christ resumed occupation of the house in the 1990’s with the intention of using it as the administration office for their Community Care – Aged Care and Welfare Offices.

A retirement village now surrounds Dunmore House, with the house sitting high on a hill overlooking what was once its expansive grounds, a prime example of late 19th century architecture for wealthy Sydney businessmen, looking to build a country residence in rural western Sydney.

Dunmore House
Photos Courtesy D. Warwick

Dunmore House
Photo Courtesy D. Warwick


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