Dictionary of Sydney

The Dictionary of Sydney was archived in 2021.

Mount Adelaide

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Mount Adelaide

Mount Adelaide, one of [media]the earliest residences in Darling Point and also known as Derby Lodge, was demolished in 1912. The Federation Arts and Crafts/Art Nouveau residence Babworth House occupies its site on Mount Adelaide Road, Darling Point.

The Mount Adelaide allotment

Mount Adelaide was built on William MacDonald’s 1833 allotment which he named Mount Adelaide in honour of the then English queen. The allotment was on the highest point of Darling Point’s central ridge and commanded excellent harbour views. MacDonald created an impressive garden and vineyard reputedly under the guidance of early colonial nurseryman Thomas Shepherd. [1] MacDonald subdivided his land and in 1840 twenty Mount Adelaide allotments were listed for auction by then owner Police Commissioner, Colonel Wilson. Fifteen of those allotments were purchased by Colonial Architect Mortimer Lewis and he began to build Derby Lodge. Financial difficulties forced a sale to businessman John Croft who enlarged the unfinished house and renamed it Mount Adelaide. [2]

Henry Mort and Ascham

This residence was purchased in 1858 by the prominent businessman and politician, Henry Mort MLC, whose family resided there for three relatively prosperous decades. In the 1880s he undertook extensive alterations designed by Edmund Blacket. The early 1890s depression precipitated further subdivision and resale of the Mount Adelaide Estate excluding the residence and its large garden which was leased between 1901 and 1909 to the Ascham School. In 1912, the residence was demolished by Sir Samuel Hordern, a member of the Anthony Hordern retailing family, whose family connection with Darling Point had begun in 1863. Sir Samuel then proceeded to use the Mount Adelaide site to construct his palatial residence, Babworth House, which remained in the family until 1956.


[1] Australian Heritage Database, Babworth House, http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/heritageapp/heritagesearch.aspx

[2] Babworth House Conservation Plan, vol1 Conservation Analysis and Conservation Policies,prepared for the Trustees of St Vincent's Hospital Sydney by Design 5 Architects, 16 July 1998