Cliftoria is over 150 years old!!

Last weekend I attended a talk at the local library about the “Local Studies Photo Collection”, which is part of the Family History Month events. I discovered that while there are 1,300+ digital images there are also 14,114 pictures archivally stored in the library stacks. It is possible to view items by filling in a form. After the talk I did so asking for any images they might have of Cliftoria. Yesterday I received notice that they don’t have any. They did have a few of the Argyle Brewery in the 1990s before it was demolished. The brewery was located next door so it is possible to glimpse a couple of Cliftoria’s chimneys in the background and I foreshadow that I’ll do a post on the brewery another time.

While that was disappointing, I had been browsing the local history shelves, not for the first time, and noticed a book which contained an index of the old documents that had been donated to the library by the solicitors Betts and Son. Idly I flipped through it to discover that there was a list of about a dozen documents for Kennedy’s and in particular four documents for a Daniel Kennedy who, as we all know, was the builder of Cliftoria. I filled out a second form for access to those documents to see if they might be useful. Yesterday I got to look at them. Amazingly one turns out to be for the conveyancing of the block of land that Cliftoria sits on.

Daniel Kennedy paid £15 to John Hadwick on 10 May 1858. It was for allotment 8 of Section 15 in the City of Goulburn on the south-west side of Clifford Street. This defines the earliest possible date for Cliftoria.

Daniel Kenedy Conveyance 1

The Local Studies Officer, Fran O’Flynn, who had given the talk last week, had processed my forms and added an 1869 Goulburn City rate book index to the photos and solicitor documents. This is awesome news because it proves that Cliftoria was built sometime in the 1860s. Our previous best information had been from a history book that said Cliftoria had been built sometime in the 1870s. Now we know the earliest possible construction date would be in 1858 after the land was purchased and the latest date it could have been built would be in 1868 because the rates paid for 1869 were obviously for a full year.

Therefore, Cliftoria is now proven to be over 150 years old!

This is really quite exciting and interesting information.

The rate index books were available, so I went through them all and have reproduced the information in the table below. I find it interesting how the number of listed rooms morphs over the years. Different people would have different ideas as to what constitutes a room. There were far fewer rooms in Cliftoria before its transformation into five flats in 1925. I suspect that where a kitchen is listed that is probably the studio listed as a separate building from the main building. It was quite common in the early history of Australia to build the kitchen as a separate building so if it catches fire it shouldn’t impact the main house. The studio/kitchen has four rooms so I think the time there are 17 rooms listed it would have been 13 + 4 rooms. It is also interesting to see when frontage was listed how it changed over time and became smaller as bits were sold off. The paddock and stables and sheds disappeared. Smaller cottages were built on the sold off land. The last four listings show that Daniel Kennedy was no longer the owner and occupier as it changed to Mrs D. Kennedy and then her estate before being owned by people who are no longer Kennedys but the Betts family.

Year Assessment No. Ward C (Central) or section 15 Details Rates or frontage
1869 377 C House 11 rooms, outbuildings, garden £1/10/-
1870 377 C House 11 rooms, outbuildings, garden £1/10/-
1871 377 C Dwelling House 11 rooms £1/10/-
1872 383 C House 10 rooms, stable, etc £1/5/-
1873 397 C House 10 rooms £1/5/-
1874 422 C House, stable, shed, paddock £1/5/2 ½
1877 449 C House 12 rooms (Clifford/Faithfull)
1878 461 15 12 rooms, stable, sheds, paddock
1879 496 15 12 rooms, paddock (Clifford/Faithfull)
1880 532 15 13 rooms, kitchen, etc (Clifford/Faithfull)
1881 538 15 13 rooms, kitchen, etc (Clifford/Faithfull)
1882 538 15 13 rooms, kitchen, paddock £3/7/6
1883 631 15 17 rooms, stable (Clifford/Faithfull) £4/10/-
1884 636 C 13 rooms (Clifford/Faithfull)
1885 636 13 rooms (Clifford/Faithfull)
1890 402 C House and land, Daniel’s trade was listed as Gentleman 123’
1900 426/7 15 Land/dwelling Owner Occupier Mrs D. Kennedy 217’
1906-07 426/7 Occupier Miss Alice Kennedy, owner Estate of Mrs D. Kennedy 217’
1931 1385 15 Barrister at law, Selwyn Frederick Betts, Flats, No 128 Clifford St 58’3”x165’
1941 1426 15 Lot 9A Peter S. Betts, 128 Clifford St, Flats 58’x165’

Fig 1. Daniel Kennedy, Clifford Street, Surviving Rates Index Books at Goulburn Library


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