stories, photos, anecdotes….. sharing the past
This famous building has an interesting history and the origin of the name has fascinated many residents of the Parkes Shire. Rosedurnate in Parkes has been a stately family home, private hospital and now is an aged care facility run by the Salvation Army. Its recent and more distant history is fascinating and adds to the many personal stories throughout the region – most likely every resident in Parkes shire would know someone who has been in Rosedurnate at some time or other.
The original Rosedurnate house was built by Andrew Stewart. Andrew Stewart was well known as Mayor of Parkes during First World War. He was born in Cloughmills, near Ballymena in County Antrim, Northern Ireland on March 5th 1864. There is a Stewart home that was built there which came to be called Rosedurnate. This originated from a long-running feud between the Stewart and Ross clans. After suffering at the hands of the Ross clan, who laid many Stewart dwellings to waste, the Stewarts decided to build a strong and secure structure that the “Ross dare not” attack. According to Andrew Stewart’s grandson, Parkes resident Warwick Tom, the correct pronunciation is Rose-dur-NOT (rhyming with ‘turn it’) as opposed to the more common and mutilated mispronunciation of Rose-dur-NATE (rhyming with ‘terminate’).
Andrew Stewart built his home around 1908. The land was bought from Mr Coleman and situated on Orange Street. The only building on the land at that time was a roofless concrete room under which was a cellar about 15 feet deep. There were problems with water seepage after Rosedurnate was built on top of this. The builder was Mr Bligh and the painter Mr Will Miller, who were both paid in golden sovereigns as they had fulfilled their promise to have work completed before Christmas. W H Bligh was a renowned builder of the time, completing works on the Peak Hill Post Office, the Parkes Dairy Co creamery on Goobang Creek, buildings for Parkes Hospital and the Parkes Fire Brigade (The Western Champion Friday 28 October 1898, page 6; Friday 11 January 1901, page 8; Friday 12 July 1907, page 16; Friday 25 December 1908, page 14)
In 1929 Andrew Stewart sold Rosedurnate and moved to Tarcutta, near Wagga Wagga. He sold Rosedurnate to Sister Amos who opened a private hospital. From Sister Amos to Sister Judd in 1937 and then to three familiar names to current residents of the Parkes Shire – Sisters Johnson, Tyrrell and Newbigging. Sister Newbigging later sold her share to Sister Tyrrell. In 1949 Rosedurnate changed hands again, with Sister Vivian and Mrs West continuing the private hospital. Sister Tyrrell returned and even remained for two years while Rosedurnate was owned by The Salvation Army.
In 1967 The Salvation Army purchased Rosedurnate and changed it from a private hospital to an aged care facility. Thus many people have spent their twilight years in Rosedurnate which was also where they were born or had their tonsils out! Massive expansion of the aged accommodation has taken place under The Salvation Army (Tindall, R. (ed) Parkes: One Hundred Years of Local Government. Netley, SA: Griffin Press Limited, 1982. Print)
The original Rosedurnate House in Ballymena, Northern Ireland. Andrew Stewart built his house in Parkes and named it after the family home. Photograph by Warwick Tom (used with permission)
Rosedurnate Private Hospital listed in the promotional booklet The City of Tomorrow in the district of to-day [sic]. Published by Cyril A. Kelly and John Sweeney in April, 1946. Page 19. This booklet is available for browsing in Parkes Shire Library’s Local and Family History room.
Photograph of the modern Rosedurnate. Photograph by Dan Fredericks (Parkes Shire Library) taken on February 3rd, 2016
Parkes Shire Library would like to thank the following for the cooperation and assistance in compiling this post: Warwick Tom; Joan Pack and The Salvation Army Heritage Preservation Centre Australia; Chaplain Rosemary Richardson and the staff and residents of Rosedurnate Aged Care Plus Centre. If you have stories or memories that happened at Rosedurnate or in relation to the Stewart family, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org so that they can be shared. Alternatively you may leave comments on this page.