1930s photo of Hotham House which could be replaced by a parking lot

This is an early photo of Hotham House – the building proposed for demolition to make way for a car park for President Private Hospital at Kirrawee.

The house stood on a hill, a grand residence in those days, in the middle of a thriving chicken and duck farm.

Dances and parties were held in the ballroom, while the grounds featured manicured gardens and tennis courts.

Larry Humphrey, whose family has a strong connection to the property, provided the photo, commissioned by his grandfather in the 1930s, after the Leader revealed the controversial demolition plans on Wednesday.

Mr Humphrey said he was “horrified” by the proposal, which reminded him of the words from the 1960s Joni Mitchell song, Big Yellow Taxi – They paved paradise / And put up a parking lot.

“My paternal grand-father Alf Humphrey was the carpenter, who worked with his builder brother-in-law Sid Zealey to construct the house and surrounding fowl yards and buildings about 1915,” he said.

[Sutherland Shire Historical Society research found the house was built in 1912 and the ballroom added a year later.]

“In 1928, my maternal grand-father Frederick Thomas Turner purchased the property and, during the next 21 years, built up the chicken and duck hatchery to become the largest in the country.

“The house and facilities, such as tennis courts, was the centre for local community functions during the time it was owned by the both the original owner Tidesley and my grandfather.

”Tidesley was something of a socialite, and there were lots of grand dances and balls, and my grandfather continued the practice.

“During the depression years, the poultry farm provided much employment for persons in difficult times and it deserves a better future than being demolished for a car park.

“It is one of the few remaining buildings of that architectural style from that era in the shire.”

Mr Humphrey said he was born just before his grandfather sold the property.

”My mother and my brother, who is eight years older than me, lived in the house for four years while my father was away at the war,” he said.

“She used to tell us stories about living there.”

Mr Humphrey also provided some interior photos of the building, which were taken a few years ago by his wife while she was visiting President Private Hospital.

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