“Since the beginning we have aimed at retaining the spaciousness of the setting while developing gardens that provided interesting vistas, attractive to paint”, said Vivien. “This is really a very simple cottage internally with a grand presence, sitting centrally on a double block”. At the front entrance, two large camphor laurel trees offer shade from the searing summer heat to the gardens, as well as providing relief to passersby. “Lonsdale” has only had six owners in 128 years. The first owners (Hobden family) used it as a town house when coming off their property at Jerry’s Plains. Early photos show the building was built up to street level and therefore above flood level, at the time of construction in 1890. Fronting onto Dangar road, which leads up to the hospital, “”Lonsdale” is a major contributor the ambience of this premier, leafy, select area. The hospital, built in 1913 brought to the area an infrastructure of a wide tree lined street, a reliable water supply for establishing gardens and good electrical street lighting.
From the 1900s to the 1950s “Lonsdale’s” land holdings were far more extensive than today with an orchard behind and a tennis court to the side. Part of the original rose and wisteria covered walkway through to the tennis court remains today, with an impressive wisteria base and a canopy providing summer shade and spring colour for the present carport and garden shed.