Canarys Road

From Canterbury Commons
Jump to: navigation, search

This was once a farm called "Rose Cottage", now the site of Beverly Hills railway station. It was owned between 1857 and 1870 by a man called Michael McKinnery, who could not read or write and so wasn't able to check the spelling of his name on official documents. Some clerks, unable to understand his Tipperary accent, spelled his name "McKenirey", then "Kennery" or "Kanarey" - from this, it is a very short jump to the present name for the road to McKinnery's farm.

In 1857 Michael Kennery, an emigrant from Tipperary, bought 40 acres (16.2 ha) of land on Wolli Creek; Edward Flaherty's grant, which had en occupied by George D'Arcy. In all official documents, the new owner's name was spelt "Kanarey" , and the road to his farm thus became Kanarey's Road. This track led from Canterbury Road, diagonally across a subdivided grant to the south east, then turned south between grants until it reached the farm - just about where Beverly Hills railway station is today The old farm boundaries are marked approximately by today's Morgan Street, Ponyara Road, King Georges Road, and a parallel line cutting across the first bend in Tooronga Terrace.

A description of the farm and farmhouse, Rose Cottage, appears in an advertisement of 20th February 1863:

"About two miles (3.22 km) from the Village of Canterbury, and half a mile (0.8 km) from West's Public House (The Traveler’s Home)..Mr M. Kanarey... The land is all enclosed, and, with the exception of a few acres (few ha), quite clear and ready for agricultural purposes, and about one acre and a half (0.607 ha) under choice fruit/trees. The other improvements comprise a comfortable well-finished dwelling house containing six rooms, detached kitchen, shed, stable, fowl house, piggery &c., and abundance of water."

Michael Kennery or Kanarey's name didn't stay with those two variations: his mortgage of 1870 calls him Michael McKinnery, so he probably wouldn't be the slightest bit surprised to find that part of his road is now officially called "Canary's Road”.


"Historic Sites of Canterbury", Canterbury and District Historical Society (n.d.).

"A Question of Spelling" (1981). Canterbury & District Historical Society Journal Series 2, No. 11, p 19.