Azalea Cottage – 26 Rochford Street Erskineville

26 Toogood

Azalea Cottage (26 Rochford Street) is located on the eastern side of Rochford Street (known as Toogood Street prior to 1910). References to Azalea Cottage  appear in newspapers from 1882 onwards:

Toogood I

Sydney Morning Herald, Tuesday 23 May 1882

Toogood II

Sydney Morning Herald Tuesday, 4 July 1882

Toogood IIISydney Morning Herald Wednesday, 4 October 1882

Toogood IVSydney Morning Herald Thursday, 22 February 1883

The 1883 edition of the Sands Directory provides some indication of the location of Azalea Cottage on the eastern side of Toogood Street, showing J. Jennings – Painter, in residence however this pre-dates the numbering of houses in the Sands Directory:

Toogood V

In the 1884 edition of the Sands Directory J. Jennings is replaced by John Byrnes. John Byrnes is listed living in Toogood Street for 25 years until 1909. With the introduction of numbering in the Sands Directories for listings in Macdonaldtown from 1891 onwards John Byrnes is listed at number 26 Toogood Street:

Toogood Sands 1891

Confirmation that the Byrnes family were residing at Azalea Cottage comes in 1903 in an article in which Mrs Byrnes of Azalea Cottage receives a letter containing ‘savage and spiteful statements’ about her neighbours, the Huthwaites. Here follows a story of some old-school defamation by post involving the upstanding and stern-faced residents of Toogood Street. Ah, The Truth Newspaper, where would we be without its reporting of scandals, divorce, bigamy and outrage:

A Libellous Letter

Truth (Sydney) Sunday 4 October 1903

Holy horror in the house of Huthwaite indeed.

Here is an extract of the Sands Directory of 1903 placing Mr. and Mrs. John Byrnes of Azalea Cottage at 26 Toogood Street, (and William and Margaret Huthwaite next door at No. 24):

Toogood 1903

For a little more context, here is an extract of the City of Sydney Surveyor General’s Map published several years earlier in 1894 depicting the Eastern side of Toogood Street as listed above:

Toogood SG Map

1894 – City of Sydney Section Erskineville – Sheet 9

So, strongly libellous or mere vulgar abuse? What was the fate of Emma Hartley of Woollahra? Following the Tuesday appearance at the Water Police Court the Evening News, Sydney Morning Herald and Truth followed up with brevities reporting that Emma Hartley was committed for trial:


Evening News Wednesday 7 October 1903


Sydney Morning Herald. Wednesday 7 October 1903


Truth (Sydney) Sunday, 11 October 1903

On 6 November 1903 the Sydney Morning Herald and Evening News reported on the outcome of the trial (the Truth presumably having lost interest), stating that a jury had acquitted Emma Hartley and that she had been discharged:


Sydney Morning Herald Friday 6 November 1903


Evening News Friday 6 November 1903

This entry was posted in 1880-1889, 1900-1909, Rochford Street, Toogood Street, Truth Newspaper and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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