Henry Halloran and His Enduring Legacy to the People of Port Stephens
Henry Ferdinand Halloran
In summary, he was a realtor, a surveyor, a valuer, an auctioneer, a town planner, a conveyancer, and a local government engineer with a penchant for poetry, history and waterways. An amazing man.
Henry Hallorans Development as Realtor
Henry’s grandfather was Henry Halloran a well-known Colonial public servant and sometimes poet, a good friend of Henry Kendall and Sir Henry Parkes. By coincidence, it was his grandfather Henry who signed the original Crown Grant in 1831 of Tanilba to Lieutenant William Caswell.
Henry’s working life began in 1886 when he became a pupil surveyor to Arthur Stephen of Blue Gum Flat near Ourimbah on the Central Coast. After gaining his license, Henry went into partnership with Arthur. Henry now a qualified surveyor, decided to make property development his career it seemed that he had a great flare for selling real estate.
By 1886, he had established his own company, Henry F Halloran & Company and was now a sworn valuer and conveyancer. In 1905 he opened and office in Sydney and began his career of property development, subdividing and selling several estates in Sydney, Seaforth and Warriwood (1906), Burranbeer Bay near Cronulla (1907) then bought land further south at Stanwell Park (1907), Stanwell Tops, Bald Hill and Helensburgh.
He then focussed on acquiring land on the central coast at Avoca (1908), North Avoca and Terrigal. At the same time, he was also subdividing an estate at Lithgow.
Between 1915 and 1924, he planned a series of ambitious subdivisions at Jervis Bay, Pacific City, St Vincent City, Orient Point, Jervis Bay City, Wandandian and Culburra.
Henry’s next grand venture was a series of subdivisions near Queanbeyan and Canberra Freeholds Estate which included Letchworth in 1925 and Environa in 1926. Henry also had subdivisions at Brightwaters, Lake Macquarie, Eleebana and Rathmines.
Henry Halloran in Port Stephens
By 1913, Henry had a presence in Port Stephens, developing the Ferodale Estate and establishing a sales office Realty Realizations Ltd at Raymond Terrace. Many of the low-lying swampy blocks and the Ferodale School were later resumed by the State Government and now lie beneath Grahamstown Dam.
Henry didn’t always own the land that he developed, and such was the case at the Salamander Estate which he designed and sold in 1916 for Henry Wilson of Mosman in Sydney. As a selling point, he described the estate as the “nearest land to the Naval Base at Salamander Bay”.
Henry’s most notorious development was the Port Stephens City in 1918, planned by his friend Walter Burley Griffin, with the proposed railway and Australian Navy submarines. The imminent development of Port Stephens into an important and thriving regional centre seemed assured at that time.
There are certainly marked parallels between the Pacific City proposal at Jervis Bay and the Port Stephens City. Both were solely reliant on the port development going ahead and the completion of a railway line so both estates were ultimately a failure.
Tanilba Bay Subdivision
In 1918, the Tanilba Bay Estate was surveyed, Henry’s company was selling the estate but did not own the land. The estate was basically a Garden City development with a curvilinear symmetrical layout with both curved and straight streets, with sites also set aside for a town hall, courthouse, church, banks, post office, a small hospital, a theatre, schools, police and fire stations and a hotel.
Most of the streets in this estate owe their names to the patriotic fervor of the post-World War 1 era. Henry was convinced that the area was set to boom, all it lacked was a reasonable road access and ferry terminus.
In 1919, the Mallabula Estate was surveyed but sales were slow during the Great Depression and a great proportion of blocks, where a creek had been filled in, were closed off.
The plan for Mallabula included a curvilinear symmetrical layout on the flatter areas and contour-controlled layout around Panorama Lookout.
Tanilba House Estate
1920 was a busy year for Henry. He submitted plans for his second subdivision at Tanilba Bay which he named Tanilba House Estate. He had purchased the land, including the convict-built Tanilba House, from Walter Clift.
In 1920 Henry also submitted plans for a proposed subdivision at Karah, which had initially been James Callaghan’s Estate which he named Karah Estate.