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Killarney Castle, 3 Glenview Street, Gordon, was built over the period 1905 to 1918 by the original owner and builder Thomas Edward Taylor, who immigrated to Australia from Ireland in the 1880s. Taylor chose the site as it reminded him of the lakes of Killarney in County Kerry, in the south-west of Ireland.
Taylor purchased the land from a Mr Roberts who had received it as a land grant from the government in 1856. Taylor subsequently donated a portion of the property to the local council to be used for parkland, now known as Richmond Park. Taylor Street, which adjoins Glenview Street, was named after him.
Taylor was a graduate of Cambridge University, and New South Wales Department of Lands records list his occupation as auctioneer. He was also managing director of Mt Lyell Mine in Tasmania and later of Blue Metal Quarries on the south coast of New South Wales.
An Irish castle
Taylor designed his house to reflect an Irish castle – a three-storey building constructed of stone hand-hewn on site. Featuring battlements and a slate roof, the building sits in its own quarry. The bridge to the second level gives an impression of a moat. Originally it was surrounded by two acres of landscaped gardens including a small orchard.
Individually cut stone deemed unsuitable for the house was used to construct dry stone walls and walkways throughout the property.
The district air raid shelter still exists below the castle. This was administered during World War II by WJR Bright of Gordon, in his capacity as the district air raid warden. During its construction the team of tradesmen handpicked by Taylor lived in a small stone dwelling at 4 Glenview Street.
Killarney Castle was completed and opened, in conjunction with the suspension bridge across the valley, by Governor and Lady Davidson on 18 August 1918. A champagne banquet was held in the entertainment rooms of the castle to mark the opening.
Taylor loses his castle
Taylor became insolvent and eventually the castle was sold by the Australian Mutual Provident Society in May 1939 to Alexander Reid Cant. The castle was then sold to Agnes Christina Christiansen in 1940 and again in 1944 to the Gastineau-Hills family who lived in the home for 25 years. The house remained substantially intact until it was sold in 1969 to the Cave family who subsequently subdivided the land.
In 1969 Ku-ring-gai council purchased the rear portion of the property and kept it as a natural bush reserve. The reserve now surrounds three sides of the building.
The house was sold once more in 2000 and remains privately owned.
H Tanner and S Clarke, 'National Trust Classification Report', November 1983
Peter Robinson Associates, 'Killarney Castle Glenview Street, Gordon', the author, Rozelle, c2001