146 Kurraba Rd, Neutral Bay
'Hollowforth' was Edward Jeaffreson Jackson’s grandest private commission in North Sydney and possibly the largest house he designed anywhere in Sydney.
It was completed in 1893 for the English-born Edward Threlfall, Professor of Physics at the University of Sydney. Jackson may have had assistance from the young architect SG Thorp who, around 1912, was made a partner with James Peddle in the firm that would become Peddle, Thorp and Walker. In the 1920s Thorp built a home for himself, 'The Cobbles' in nearby Shellcove Road.
Until the first decade of the decade of the 20th century, much of Neutral Bay was owned by John Cooper. 'Hollowforth', like many other houses, was built on land leased from Cooper rather than bought from him. Long-term lessees felt secure enough to commission substantial homes on land they did not own. As was often the case in a society made up of so many immigrants, the house was named after a place of significance for its owner; in this case the English village Hollowforth in which Threlfall was born. In this way place names as well as culturally based design were transplanted to the 'new world'. The Professor lived in his house until 1898. He retained the lease to the land, and probably ownership of the house, for four years after returning to England. The department store owner Arthur Way acquired the lease in 1908 and bought the freehold title to the land from Cooper in 1912/13.
The social standing of 'Hollowforth's' owners was indicative of the prestigious character of Neutral Bay in the late 1800s. So, too, was the size of the house. It was a 13 room dwelling at a time when four room cottages were not uncommon for working families.
The design is Federation-era Arts and Crafts, an important part of the broader English Revival/Federation movement in Sydney architecture. It makes full use of different materials and finishes in a manner characteristic of Arts and Crafts architecture which typically celebrated the skill of the artisan. The use of timber shingles possibly indicates the influence of the Sydney-based architect John Horbury Hunt who was instrumental in introducing this design element to Sydney from his native North America. Wall hung timber shingles became commonplace on Sydney homes, grand and small, built before 1920. 'Hollowforth' retains its views of the Harbour but the gardens and tennis court were subdivided in the post-war years.