Roselands NSW

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SydneyNew South Wales
Population: 11,167 (2011 Census)
Postcode: 2196
LGA: City of Canterbury
State electorate: Lakemba
Federal Division: Watson
Fenwick Estate, Roselands, 1942. Photograph courtesy Hazel Fenwick.
The suburb of Roselands was originally in the then large district of Belmore. In later years, some areas of Roselands were known as Lakemba, Punchbowl and Wiley Park. During August 1993, the boundaries of the suburb we know today, were drawn and finally gazetted.

Roselands is named after the Roselands Golf Course, which was located at John Fenwick's 'Belmore House' in the 1940s. The name is probably a reference to the significant rose gardens surrounding Belmore House.

John Fenwick and 'Belmore House'

Portrait of John Fenwick. Photograph courtesy Hazel Fenwick.
About 1880 John Fenwick, co-founder of a tug business, purchased 100 acres at Belmore bounded by Canterbury Road, Canarys Road (now King Georges Road) and Bonds Road. John Fenwick first built a slab hut on this property and lived there with his family until his new home was built in 1883 - a fine mansion he called Belmore House. The house was situated near the Roselands Shopping Centre end of the road we know today as Roselands Drive.

Belmore House was built in a commanding position on the rise to Canterbury Road with expansive views over the countryside. It was a substantial two storey brick house with large high ceiling rooms, all with cedar fittings and a beautiful cedar staricase. The name "Belmore House" was carved into the front door which was also cedar.

Belmore House, built 1883, ca 1940s. Photograph courtesy Hazel Fenwick.
Belmore House became "the showpiece of the district" and was known by many people. An area on the property, known as Fenwick's Paddock, was always available for Charity Drag Picnics, Sunday School Anniversaries and Sports Meetings.

For many years the beautiful gardens surrounding the house were mainly tended by Pauline Fenwick's brother James Kaufman - Swiss by birth. The gardens were a joy to Pauline and later to her daughter-in-law Mary - particularly the magnificant Rose Garden. The Fenwicks also kept cows, pigs, fowls, horses and tended a small orchard. They did their own preserving, butter and breadmaking.

John Fenwick died at the age of 64 during January 1901 and was buried at St Saviour's Cemetery, Belmore (now Punchbowl). Belmore House remained in the family with John's son Peter and his family living there until Peter's death in 1941.

After Peter Fenwick's death, Belmore House was taken over by the Army and became headquarters for the 1st Battalion with troops camping on the property. After about one year the property was handed over to the Red Cross. Very little maintenance was done during this time and the house fell into disrepair.

Golf course

In 1943 the Estate was sold to the Honorable Stanley E. Parry C.B.E., Mayor of Canterbury from 1932-1947 and a member of the Legislative Council. He envisaged turning the Estate into a Municipal Golf Course and handed the property to Canterbury Council to grow vegetables under a contract with the Commonwealth Government, until wartime building restrictions were lifted. Meantime, he lived in Belmore House.

Canterbury Council could not agree on forming a Municipal Golf Club, so in 1944 an assemblage of people met and formed Roselands Golf Club. Sometime later he built a new home and Belmore House. Mr Parry supervised the layout of a 9 hole golf course. Belmore House was also extensively altered to become a very commodious Club House. The golf course was called Roselands in recognition of Pauline Fenwick's beautiful Rose Garden and was opened on 1 July, 1946.

Roselands Golf Course was extended to eighteen (18) holes and later a bowling club was added. Roselands Golf Course flourished for ten (10) years and as the value of the property increased, so did the rates and taxes. Mr Parry subdivided and built homes on part of the property and some of Sydney's large firms became interested in the remaining 31 acres of the estate. During 1958 Mr Parry finally accepted Grace Bros' offer.

Roselands Shopping Centre

Rain drop fountain, Roselands Shopping Centre, ca 1960s
Belmore House, then known as Roselands Golf Club, and Mr Parry's more modern home were both demolished to make way for the construction of Roselands Shopping Centre. Construction commenced on 9 June, 1964. It was the largest community centre in the southern hemisphere and was opened in 1965 at a then cost $15 million. The shopping centre was named after the Roselands golf course.

1969 Fire

At 4.30pm on 13 June 1969, a huge fire broke out on the 4th floor of the Grace Bros section of Roselands. Fire brigades from all over Sydney attended the huge blaze which caused thousands of dollars worth of damage before it was brought under control.

1977 Expansion

In 1977 an expansion proposal entailing re-zoning was put forward. There were a great many objections and it was December, 1978 before permission for the extensions was given. When these extensions were completed in 1981, Roselands celebrated its 16th birthday. In August, 1992 Roselands was officially "re-launched" following 18 months of re-furbishment. Store Manager, Peter Oliver, stated the new store was the culmination of many years of planning and a commitment by Myer/Grace Bros. to Roselands customers for twenty seven (27) years.

The district of Roselands was named after Roselands golf course, and officially became a suburb in its own right on 9 February 1987, after some years of agitation by local residents and members of parliament. It was previously part of Punchbowl, and retains the same postcode as Punchbowl: 2196.


PEEK, Nora. The Fenwick Family. In: Canterbury & District Historical Society Journal Series 2, No. 4. Last updated July, 1997

Ray Parry, personal communication, 2005.

Brian Madden, personal communication, 2005.