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Russell Lea Manor*


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*Russell Lea Manor, also known as Russell Lea House, was the home of Russell Barton (1830-1916), and was situated north of Lyons Road between Sibbick Street and Lyons Road.  The suburb of Russell Lea takes its name from this grand home.

Russell Barton rose from humble beginnings to become a pastoralist, mine-owner and politician. In the late 1870s he built Russell Lea Manor on 24 hectares of land at Five Dock. The property was subdivided in 1913 to become the suburb of Russell Lea.

The painting by Val Delawarr shows Russell Lea in its heyday in the 1880s when the area was still semi-rural.

In 1918 the Department of Defence purchased Russell Lea Manor to be used as a convalescent home for soldiers returning from the First World War who suffered from shell-shock and other nervous conditions. At the request of the Department of Defence, the Red Cross operated the hospital. Generous donations were made from Red Cross branches to create a modern facility for up to 60 patients.

The hospital closed in 1923 and the building was demolished two years later.

(Source: City of Canada Bay Heritage Society)