History of Fairview

“Fairview” built from 1915 to 1917 is a particularly fine example of the architectural style typical of historic Subiaco and the late Gold Boom period. Its heritage significance reflects the development and settlement of a wealthy suburb close to the City and Kings Park known as ‘The Golden Triangle’ which gained a reputation in the early days as being a prestigious area marketed as ‘The Toorak of Perth’.

The Queen Anne Federation home located on a prominent elevated corner block at the top of the hill on Heytesbury Rd acts as landmark and is listed as a place of cultural heritage significance by the National Trust of Western Australia because of its high degree of integrity, authenticity and aesthetic significance characterised by a highly distinctive veranda, skewed gable corners, Art Nouveau style timber decoration and French Marseille tiled ridge capping.

"Fairview" is a rare and well-preserved example of a late gold boom period home located in Subiaco's historic Chester's estate. James Chesters, an investor from Melbourne, purchased Perth Suburban Lots 249 to 252 in October 1891 and the house is a picturesque Federation Queen Anne villa typical of the development of larger and/or more elaborate houses on amalgamated corner blocks, in the period c.1905 to 1917. The walls of the house are of tuck-pointed stretcher bond brickwork, with two rendered sting courses, one at door head height and the other at window sill height. The tiled gabled-hipped roof features terracotta ridge cresting, louvered gablets and a tall brick chimney with a rendered cap and terracotta pot. The roof line also features a prominent roof gable on the western side of the main façade, with a roughcast rendered face, vertical battens and a tall finial.

According to the City of Subiaco Rate Websites the house at 44 Heytesbury Road was constructed in 1915/16 for John Kennedy (an engineer at the Perth Iceworks), who had previously lived at 267 Rokeby Road. John and Christina Kennedy lived here until 1925, after which it became the long-term family home of John and Annie Pointon, and their children John and Doris. Occupants of the property from its time of construction until 1968 included: 1916-1925 John Kennedy (Engineer) 1926-c.1951, John William Levi Pointon (Draper and later Departmental Manager) 1926-post 1968 Doris Edna May Pointon (daughter of John and Annie Pointon).

John Kennedy was born at Kirkcaldy, Scotland, in 1861. He was apprenticed as an engineer to Ninon & Ninon, Lockett of Kirkcaldy, and was subsequently employed as an engineer with "Coat's Spinning Mills”, Paisley.

He migrated to Melbourne in 1886, and was for 40 years a refrigerating engineer. He supervised and erected plants in South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland, Tasmania, and New Zealand. He was chief engineer at the Produce Depot, Port Adelaide, and Light square works for Mr. C. A. Macdonald for five years.

He relocated from South Australia in c.1911, to take up a position as the superintendent engineer at the Western Australian Fresh Food and Ice Works, Perth.

Entries in the Western Australian Post Office Directories indicate that members of the Kennedy family then lived at 75 Thomas Street, Subiaco (c.1912-1915) before moving to a newly built house at 44 Heytesbury Road in c.1916.  They then remained here until c.1925 when John retired and they were preparing to return to South Australia.

In those days it was more expensive to transport personal goods from Perth to Adelaide than the value of those goods.

The entire contents of the Kennedy owned house including superior genuine oak suites, silk curtains, rugs and a crystal wireless set were sold by Robertson Brothers at an onsite auction at Fairview on Thursday May 28th 1925.

It is believed Kennedy had a major input into the design of the house as the front veranda square corner timber brackets are of a unique “snowflake” design to reflect his profession as an ice works engineer. Similar designs have not been seen on any other houses built during this period and were a customised one-off design.

Historic "Fairview" is named after a farm at Curramulka called ‘Fair View’, located in a small town in the Australian state of South Australia on the Yorke Peninsula overlooking the stunning Gulf of St Vincent.

This is where the grandparents of the home's second owner, John William Levi Pointon had settled. John William Levi Pointon was born at Aldinga, South Australia on February 5th 1874 and was named after his father John, his paternal grandfather William and his maternal grandfather Levi.

His grandfather William, in January 1848 as a 25-year-old married Elizabeth Middleton in Saxlingham, Norfolk in the United Kingdom.

He then met another local woman, fell in love and then to avoid family embarrassment the only recently married William Pointon fled the small rural village in August 1848 with a pregnant Sarah Waller to London.

On 6 October 1848 they set sail on the emigrant ship Trafalgar for the three-and-a-half-month voyage to the safe haven of South Australia to join his brothers, James & Jeremiah, who had emigrated there in 1847.

William’s deserted wife Elizabeth gave birth to a child of William’s, whom she called Rebecca. She would grow up in England and would never see her real father.

Nearly 50 years later in a similar twist of fate history repeated itself as the grandson of the original 1848 immigrant Norfolk couple and second owner of Fairview left Adelaide in 1895 for a new life in Western Australia’s newly found goldfields.

Farm labourer John William Levi Pointon married Ellen O’Connor in Adelaide in 1895 and his daughter Doris May Pointon was born at Glenelg on July 7th of that year. Perhaps urged on by the experiences and influence of his grandparents, John William Levi Pointon decided to abandon his wife and baby in Adelaide to seek economic opportunity in Western Australia.

With gold fever gripping the country, he sailed from Port Adelaide to Fremantle on his way to the Kalgoorlie goldfields to make his fortune.

Short of cash, he found temporary employment as a packer with Perth's leading Department store Boan's Limited on 12th July 1897. He found the job so rewarding he spent the next 40 years with the retailer ending up as Warehouse Manager and then was appointed Managing Director in October 1941.

In 1903 on August 1905 William Pointon, presumably now divorced from Ellen, married Anne Augusta Busch at St George’s Cathedral, in Perth, W.A. in a grand wedding.

Doris Edna May Pointon was born in Subiaco on December 17 1905, the first child of William and Anne Pointon followed by John ‘Jack’ Raymond Pointon on March 20th 1910.

Pointon arrived in Perth with no education or material goods leaving behind a wife and baby and 30 years later his purchase of Fairview was a powerful social message that he had now arrived in society and achieved middle-class respectability despite his lack of loyalty to his first wife.

Doris Edna May Pointon inherited the house in 1951 after the death of her father and remained in the house as a spinster.

Pioneering heritage social activist and Fairview’s third owner Polly Willis (née Cargeeg) purchased the property in 1970 after the house had been in the Pointon family for more nearly 50 years.

She had seen the inner-city revival happening in Paddington in Sydney and could see the similar potential revival of a decaying inner-city suburb like Subiaco.

As a confirmed Catholic, she was a highly regarded member of New Norcia, particularly committing herself to the restoration works and archives of the museum.

Polly was also a firm member of the Subiaco Historical Society, acting in the capacity of membership secretary alongside Richard Diggins who was the Foundation President.

An exceptionally social person, Polly was an integral facilitator of social interaction, helping to form a strong network of neighbours and always arriving immaculately dressed to events. This was perhaps one of the central components to her successful work in saving some of Subiaco’s heritage buildings and preserving its strong community spirit during the 1970s. She owned the house for nearly 40 years.

During her time, the house was featured in the book Western Towns and Buildings as an early example of the recycling of a treasured, authentic and classically elegant historic mansion located in what was then a decaying and rundown suburb to create an appropriate and pleasant lifestyle where the community was only just starting to value the heritage fabric of a residential community undergoing significant change and renewal as part of the inner city urban revival of the 1970s being driven by broader changes in social attitudes.

The original detailed lead light windows in the front entry of the house featuring red roses and violet bearded iris were designed by well-known artist Arthur Clarke of ‘Barnett Brothers’ Glass Merchants of East Perth who drew his inspiration from nature.

Stained glass window designer Clarke was active in Perth in the period and his highly prized and rare work was known for his base line visual distances, scale of floral lines, colours, geometric background and physical strength of lead work.

Features such as stained glass have been kept in recent renovations designed by award winning architect Sam Teoh.

The home is owned by international business speaker, author, consultant and company director Thomas Murrell.

In 2019 the historic outhouses at Fairview were restored with a Heritage Grant from the City of Subiaco.

The Sam Teoh architect designed 110-year-old heritage outhouse conversion at the rear of historic Fairview estate was part of Open House Perth in 2019 and attracted nearly 300 visitors.

It is described as a “unique light filled spaces and breathtaking luxury. Indoor and outdoor showers, crystal chandeliers, exposed brick, recycled jarrah barn doors, underfloor heating and antique lead lights make this a truly special tiny house heritage conversion. Polished warehouse finish concrete floors, an antique teak jali window, custom-designed furniture and steel beams make this space both unique and memorable,”.

There is an interesting story on how these utilitarian outbuildings, consisting of an old laundry, wood store and outhouse toilet got their name.

In the 1920s, John Peter Durack, who was a member of the family credited with opening up the Kimberley region of Western Australia in the late 1800's purchased the nearby “Strathmore” at 18 Chester Street.

This significant and prominent mansion built originally in 1904 for boot entrepreneur Walter David Cookes, one of the founders of the Ezywalkin Boot and Shoe Company is located a mere one-minute walk away from Fairview via the back lane that runs perpendicular between Chester and Salisbury Streets in Subiaco.

The soft sand laneway was well used and well-trodden at the time by both night soil carters and horse drawn milk vendors prior to the sewering of Subiaco in 1927.

Also known as "Roaring Jack" Durack, John formed the law firm of Dwyer Durack with Walter Dwyer in 1914 and maintained a passion for hunting throughout his life, first noted at a gathering while still a teenager.

He went on to become President of the Hunt Club of Western Australia, went hunting on Wednesdays and kept horses to ride through nearby Kings Park.

Legend has it that without approval from his wife Pleasance, whom he married in 1922, he purchased a magnificent black stallion named “Midnight”.

Too embarrassed to bring the stallion back to Strathmore, one dark moonless spring evening in 1923 he brought the horse down the back laneway and hid it in the outhouses of Fairview which had enough space for a frisky stallion and backed onto the rear laneway.

He chose Fairview because of its proximity, downhill walk and relationship with his good friend ice engineer John Kennedy, his wife Christina and their 23-year-old youngest daughter Joan Adelaide Clark Kennedy, with whom he was well connected with via local equine, social and business circles at the time.

The 1920s were a time of consolidation for Subiaco’s well educated elite and everyone knew everyone as careers were forged and families were brought up.

The story goes that on that dark night Kennedy and Durack were guided by the lighthouse at Rottnest Island which was then clearly visible from the elevated portion of the back laneway.

Midnight was housed in the outside laundry at Fairview for a week until Roaring Jack worked up the courage to tell Pleasance of his purchase.

The legend of Roaring Jack Durack, Midnight and an ice engineer continues to this day and this is how the Stallion Box at Fairview got its name.

In February 2020, rare Australian Red Cedar hand carved columns were restored by the Subiaco Men’s shed using timber for the bases reclaimed from table tops removed from the Supreme Court of Western Australia more than 70 years ago and estimated to be 130 years old.

John and Christina Kennedy

According to the City of Subiaco Rate Books the house at 44 Heytesbury Road was constructed in 1915/16 for John Kennedy.

John Kennedy, son of James and Agnes Kenney, was born at Kirkcaldy, Scotland, in 1861.  His future wife, Christina Fleming Clark, daughter of Alexander Clark and Helen Fleming, was born in the same town in 1864.

John was apprenticed as an engineer to Ninon & Ninon, Lockett of Kirkcaldy, and was subsequently employed as an engineer with Coat’s Spinning Mills, Paisley, prior to migrating to Australia in 1886.

It seems that Christina’s father may have died by 1881 when the Scotland census listed her as part of a household comprising her mother and 2 younger siblings.  At the time of the census, Christina was 16 years old and was working in a factory worker as net maker.

John migrated to Australia in 1886 and Christina would have migrated at around the same time (the latter possibly being sponsored by her father’s brother-in-law, David Conacher, who had migrated with his wife in the mid 1850s and was well established in Melbourne).

John and Christina were married in Victoria in March 1887:

KENNEDY— CLARK – On the 4th inst., at the residence of the bride’s uncle, Mr David Connacher, Ralston-street, South Yarra, by the Rev. James Ballantyne, Mr John Kennedy to Christina Fleming, eldest daughter of the late Alexander Clark of Kirkcaldy, Scotland.

They had 4 daughters, two of whom had married before they moved to 44 Heytesbury Road:

  • Christina Helen (aka Christine Helen) Kennedy was born in Footscray, Victoria, in 1888, and was a resident of that state at the time of her death in 1936.

She married Thomas Alfred Chandler (c.1875-?) at St Peters Cathedral, North Adelaide in February 1911.  Over the next 25 years, Christina and Thomas moved to various parts of Australia as part of his employment with the Union Bank and were living in Brisbane at the time of John Kennedy’s death in 1928 and in Hobart in the early 1930s.   They were divorced in 1935.

  • Constance Agnes Kennedy was born in Victoria in 1889 and was a resident of South Australia at the time of her death in 1957.

She married Rambler Norman Coward (c.1888-1918) in St Andrews Church, Perth, in March 1913 and was living in South Australia at the time of his death.  She then married Harry Rowse Hammer (c.1874-1928) and appears to have remained in South Australia for most of her life.

  • Elizabeth (‘Lena’) Kennedy was born in in Footscray, Victoria, in 1892 and was a resident of South Australia at the time of her death in 1962.

She married Alan Thornhill Hutchinson (c.1888-?) at St Mary’s Church, Perth, in September 1919 and they had moved to Adelaide by the time of the birth of their first child in 1920.

  • Joan Adelaide Clark Kennedy was born in Semaphore, South Australia, in 1900 and was a resident of that state at the time of her death in 1964.

She remained unmarried.

At the time of his death it was stated that John Kennedy had supervised and erected plants in South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland, Tasmania, and New Zealand. No information has been found to confirm which plants he may have help to construct, but he is known to have worked as the engineer at the following cold storage facilities:

  • Engineer, Port Adelaide Produce Depot and Refrigerating Chambers, SA (c.1895-1900)

This refrigerated produce store was officially opened in April 1895 and the following indicates that Kennedy was associated with this government depot from around the time of its commencement until around October 1900.

A pleasant social gathering took place at the Central Hotel, Port Adelaide, on Wednesday evening, when the employees at the Government Produce Depot assembled to bid farewell to the chief engineer, Mr. J. Kennedy, who is about to take up an appointment in the city. The manager, Mr. R. W. Skevington, presided, and about forty gentlemen were present. The health of the guest was proposed by the chairman, who presented Mr. Kennedy with a spirit stand and tablet, subscribed for by his co-workers. Mr. Kennedy, he said, had been connected with the depot since its inception, and they regretted that they were to lose his services.

  • Adelaide Ice and Cold Storage Company, Light Square (c.1901-1911)

This refrigerated produce store was developed by private enterprise and was opened in around November 1900, by which time John Kennedy had been appointed as the works engineer.

During this period Kennedy also supervised the installation of the refrigeration piping for the Ice Palace Skating Company’s Glaciarium in Adelaide (1904).

  • Western Fresh Food and Ice Works (aka Western Australian Fresh Food and Ice Works), Perth (c.1911-mid 1920s)

This business was established in 1896 when it began importing meat to WA using refrigerated chambers on cargo ships.

After moving to Western Australia members of the Kennedy family lived at 75 Thomas Street, Subiaco (c.1912-1915) before moving to the newly built house at 44 Heytesbury Road in c.1916.  They then remained here until 1925, by which time John had retired due to ill-health.

John and Christina returned to Adelaide in 1926.  John died there in October 1928 and Christina in September 1958.

(Source: John Kennedy family research by Annette Green, historian)