“Inchneuk”, Parramatta, view of residence of Dr. Bowman, 1888 (Source: City of Parramatta, Parramatta Heritage Centre, Local Studies Photograph Collection, LSP00418)

Inchneuk Private Hospital, formerly at 77 George Street in Parramatta, operated from 1888 to the 1950s when it was demolished. The property was located on the southern side of George street, near the intersection of George Street and Smith Streets.

The site as the photograph above indicates was also once a hotel known as “The Babes in the Wood” which was built by wealthy Parramatta citizen Nathaniel Payten. Should you be interested in finding out more about The Babes in the Wood, see the resources below:

Inchneuk means “little nook” in Scottish. It was built and renamed when Dr. Reginald McDougall Bowman used it as his place of residence and private practice from 1887 to 1927. As this was a private hospital, it is unlikely that any medical records have survived, as there is no legislative requirement for such records to be retained permanently. No records of the interior structure of Inchneuk are held in the Library or Council archives as this was a private enterprise. However, using City of Parramatta Council’s Valuer General’s valuation books dated 1924 to 1961, the following is a breakdown of the ownership of the former property 77 and 77A George street, Parramatta. These books were published every 3-4 years.

Year Details from Council’s valuation book records
1924   Estate of Dr. Reginald Bowman (whose address at the time appears to be 469 Oxford Street, Paddington, N.S.W.) The name ‘Inchneuk’ not written in this excerpt however the word ‘Private Hospital’ is noted.
1927  Estate of Dr. Reginald Bowman. But name was crossed out indicating a change of property ownership to Miss Mary Helena Watson. Lessees listed as nurses Mary Helena Watson and Mrs M McLachlan
1929 NSW Land Registry Service Historical Land Record Viewer: volume 4390 – folio 119
1930 – 1939  Two nurses Watson and Mrs McLachlan leased the property that were operating as a private hospital now called ‘Inchneuk’
1943 – 1954 ‘Inchneuk Private Hospital’ owned by Watson and McTiernan. The title registration details given in the 1948 Valuation lists are – Volume 3731, folio 152m Resubdivision of Lots 21 and part 22, section 17. 
1957 Mary Helena Watson sold property to Mrs Dorothy Rose McTiernan. Land certificate of title deed volume 3731 – folios 152 and 153. The last recorded name of property known as ‘Inchneuk’ Private Hospital.
1961 No mention of property called Inchneuk but property owned by Mrs Dorothy Rose McTiernan and Mrs Mary Patricia Lloyd

Our Research Library also holds a vertical file on Inchneuk [VF0709 Parramatta – George Street – Inchneuk (house)] which includes newspaper print outs from the National Library of Australia’s Trove digitised historical newspaper database  (http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper). Here are some newspaper references:

  • Old Parramatta : George Street fifty years ago (1925, April 17). The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate, p. 6. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article103756441
    • article is circa 1875 and mentions the late Dr Bowman who lived at the famous public-house known as the ‘Babes in the Wood’, the proprietress which was Mrs Garvey
  • Social : [A wedding took place at the King’s School Chapel, Parramatta] (1912, July 6). The Sydney Morning Herald, p. 6. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article15345768
  • Dangerous’ shortage of maternity beds : Hospital board seeks control of ‘Inchneuk’. (1950, March 1). The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate, p. 1. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article111530603
    • article mentions the N.S.W. Hospital Commission was “advised the Inchneuk private hospital in George Street, Parramatta, was about to be closed.” “The Board requested the Commission to inspect Inchneuk and to provide funds for its conversion to a temporary public maternity hospital.”
  • Council move in campaign for new maternity hospital (1950, April 26). The Cumberland Argus, p. 1. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article110012813
  • Maternity hospital campaign. (1950, August 9). The Broadcaster, p. 2. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article144064077

From October 1958 the Lennox Hotel was reopened on the site with Tooheys. It was closed in 1984 and demolished soon after. In 1987, a six storey Coopers and Lybrand commercial building was built on the site.

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Anne Tsang, Research Assistant, Parramatta Heritage Centre, City of Parramatta 2020

References

  1. Obituary. Dr. R. Bowman. (1922, August 7). The Sydney Morning Herald, p. 7. Retrieved April 23, 2020, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article16017621 ; DEATH OF DR. R. M’D. BOWMAN. (1922, August 5). Singleton Argus (NSW : 1880 – 1954), p. 6. Retrieved April 23, 2020, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article80816247
  2. Australian National University. Open Research Library. (2016). Lennox hotel, cnr. George and Smith Streets, Parramatta : [6] Retrieved from https://openresearch-repository.anu.edu.au/handle/1885/98062
  3. Roberts, Mike. (2018, October 29). Lennox hotel, Parramatta. In Time gents : Australian pub project [website]. Retrieved from https://timegents.com/2018/10/29/lennox-hotel-parramatta/
  4. City of Parramatta Council (2020). Coopers and Lybrand building, south west corner of George and Smith Streets, Parramatta, view of front exterior of six storey commercial building, 1987. In Local Studies Photograph Collection/Local Studies Library, object number LSP00943. Retrieved from http://heritagecentre.parracity.nsw.gov.au/search.do?id=90959&db=object&page=1&view=detail