Proudly overlooking a corner of Darling Point Rd for more than 130 years, Cloncorrick is a home recognised for its distinctive style and grand proportions.
George Bowen Simpson
Cloncorrick was built for Sir George Bowen Simpson, a noted politician and judge in Victorian Sydney.
Born in 1838, Simpson grew up at Oatlands House, the elegant family home built by his father near Parramatta. After finishing his education at The Kings School and the University of Sydney, George was admitted to the Bar in November 1858. Less than 10 years later he was a district court judge. However, unhappy with the pay rate for judges, he resigned after a few years and became a crown prosecutor instead.
In October 1861, Simpson married Martha Cobcroft and the couple had two children. But it wasn’t until 1884 that the family would move into their grand new family home, Cloncorrick.
Completed in 1884, Cloncorrick was constructed on a scale befitting its owner’s growing status in the community. Indeed, in 1885, Simpson was appointed Legislative Council government representative and attorney-general. A year later he became Queen’s Counsel, and in 1888 he became attorney-general for Sir Henry Parkes’ government.
John Horbury Hunt was the man Simpson chose to design Cloncorrick. Trained in the US, the Canadian-born Hunt was one of the most radical and, some said, eccentric architects, working in Sydney at the time. He was known to have a very short temper (his Sydney Morning Herald obituary noted he had a “strong personality”) but was an avid animal lover and served as vice-president of the Animals Protection Society.
Some of Hunt’s other designs include Cranbrook at Rose Bay (now part of Cranbrook School), Trevenna and Booloominbah in Armidale, and Cloncorrick’s neighbour, The Annery, in Marathon Rd.
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A characteristic building
Cloncorrick was named in honour of Cloncorrick Castle in County Leitrim, Ireland, the home of George Simpson’s grandfather.
The distinctive three-storey red-brick residence was built in the style known as Free Gothic. Its slate tiles and steeply pitched gabled roofs lend character to the building’s exterior, while large, arched windows allow light to flood inside.
Hunt included wide return verandahs in his design, to take full advantage of the harbour and neighbourhood views. The original four-bedroom home also enjoyed a wide entrance hall, dining room, drawing room and smoking room, along with numerous service rooms and a coal cellar. Leadlight feature windows added further charm to the home.
Cloncorrick through the years
George Simpson was knighted for his career achievements in 1909 and just a few years later, in 1915, he died. His wife, Martha, continued to live at Cloncorrick until her own death in 1933, and the Simpsons’ grandson, Julian, inherited the mansion. For although George and Martha had children, both had sadly died before their parents.
Through the years, Cloncorrick was bought and sold a number of times and was eventually divided into four strata apartments.
Today, each of the beautiful apartments features impressively sized rooms, detailed joinery, Gothic archways and gracious period details that ensure the mansion’s original grandeur lives on.
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