Lake Macquarie History

Henry Ferdinand Halloran (1869-1953)

Henry Halloran was born in August 1869 at Glebe in Sydney. His father Edward Halloran was an architect and his maternal grandfather Ferdinand Hamilton Reuss was a well known civil engineer and surveyor who worked as an architect and builder in Sydney during the 1870s and 1880s. Edward Halloran and Ferdinand Reuss were business partners, and no doubt played a part in Henry's future career as a property developer.

photo: henry ferdinand halloran

Halloran became a licensed surveyor, valuer and conveyancer, and by 1897 had set up in Sydney as Henry F. Halloran & Co., specialising in land and property dealings. Known for his American style high pressure salesmanship, colourful brochures and over the top advertising, he was the first to produce artistically styled estate layout plans. These were quickly adopted by other land developers.

The company prided itself in offering every professional service needed - from acquiring land to surveying, developing and selling it - another radical idea which departed from traditional real estate practice.

The showmanship and flair exuded as a salesman did not mean he was not a consumate professional in his field, as evidenced by his involvement in his industry's professional bodies. Henry was

  • a vice president of the Town Planning Association of NSW, a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors in London
  • a member of the American Institute of Planners
  • a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts
  • a fellow of the Institution of Surveyors, New South Wales

His passion for local history ensured his memberbership of the Royal Society and the Royal Australian Historical Society.

Halloran embarked on a number of ambitious plans, focusing on Canberra and Queanbeyan, Port Stephens, Jervis Bay, the Blue Mountains, the Central Coast and Lake Macquarie. Most of the Halloran developments were coastal. Many of his more ambitious plans never really eventuated as they coincided with the Great Depression. His business survived two world wars and two major economic dislocations: the boom of the 1880s when speculation in land was rampant followed by the depressed 1890s, and the land boom of the 1920s followed by the economic collapse of the 1930s.

Halloran travelled to town planning conferences in Europe in 1923 and 1924. He set up a London office of Henry F Halloran and Co. in June 1923, becoming the first Australian agent to do so.

Realty Realizations Ltd. was established by Henry Halloran in the 1930's, and is still trading under that name and headed by a Halloran descendant today.

Lake Macquarie

Halloran's Lake Macquarie holdings were scattered round the northern and western sides of the lake. Notable developments were:


'Brightwaters Estate' (DP 7316) was subdivided by Henry F. Halloran and declared in August 1913. This was known as Brightwaters No 1, and was between Kallaroo Road and Mulubina Road. Brightwaters No 2 (DP 8055), was surveyed by Halloran and declared for subdivision on 31/1/1914.


In 1916, Portion 40A of Minter and Simpson's land grant was subdivided by Henry F. Halloran as the 'Valentine Estate' (DP 10822), the first use of the name. This was the section between Tallawalla Road in the north, the waterfront to the west and Allambee Place and Werona Crescent to the south, containing what is today the shopping centre and school.

photo: eleebana point estate


On 19 July 1918 part of Thomas Adam's Portion 42 was subdivided by Henry F. Halloran as 'Eleebana Point Estate' (DP 10798). This covered Paroo Avenue, Pannamena Crescent, Birubi Close and Toonibal Avenue. Twenty years later, in 1938, Wyee Ltd, (a Henry F. Halloran company) subdivided the remainder of Portion 42 including the top of the hill.

photo: rathmines edendale estate plan


The oldest existing Halloran subdivision at Rathmines is DP 10176, declared on 6/5/1920 and encompassing Rosemary Row and Cheapside, Northview, Overhill and Bayswater Streets. A second subdivision DP 11537, was declared on 1/12/1920. It encompassed Bristol Way, Fishing Point Road, Knebworth Grove, Sunlight Parade, Rosemary Row, Rathmines Circus, Somersham Avenue and Secret Corner Road.

Arcadia Vale

Henry F. Halloran subdivided the old Brooks and Osborn estates as Arcadia and Buttaba Hills in 1922. It was a typical Halloran plan of curving streets and many small parks, influenced by the English "Garden City" movement and Burley Griffin's Canberra plans. This was DP 12507 and was declared on 23/10/1922. The Estate consisted of Ilford Ave, Dartford Rd, Newark St, Arcadia St, Sherwood St, Brighton St, Eastcote Ave, Lemington Pkw, Todmorden St and Wrexham Circlet. The waterfront was divided into boatshed sites and these sold first. Joseph Kirk of Cessnock bought the first at the end of Ilford Avenue. As the other lots did not sell as readily, a bonus was added: either a boatshed site or a second lot on the hill went free with every lot sold.


The English 'Garden City' movement influenced Henry F Halloran when he designed and named the estate Balmoral in 1920.

Grand schemes for Port Stephens

"One of Henry's proclaimed aims was to improve upon cities that had growth without planning. The upshot was to be planning of a sort without growth... a [vision of a] 'dream city' is one thing, urban growth is another." (1)

In May 1918 Stroud Council approved a plan for a city on the northern shores of Port Stephens. The designer was Walter Burley Griffin and the developer was to be Henry Halloran's Realty Realizations Company. This new town - Port Stephens City - would become the "future New York of Australia" according to Griffin.

At the same time, Halloran was planning another 'dream city' on the oposite shore of Port Stephens - Tanilba Bay. A promotional booklet issued by Halloran in the 1930s, described Tanilba as being "blessed by sunshine and caressed by soft breezes, cosmopolitan society will find in Tanilba natural attractions of climate and situation unrivalled in any resort anywhere" and "the most advantageous resort in a state inevitably destined to vast increases in wealth and population".

Neither of these grand plans eventuated, but the stone walls, Centenary Gates and other masonry around the town of Tanilba Bay are a legacy of this dream.


photo: halloran letterhead

Henry Halloran had a colourful colonial ancestry. His great great grandfather Laurence Hynes Halloran was a convict, poet, journalist, pioneer educator and convicted bigamist.

His grandfather Henry Halloran was was a public servant and published poet, whose first wife Elizabeth was the daughter of colonial ship owner and merchant Joseph Underwood, and second wife Julia Guerin was a well known feminist and activist.

Henry Halloran died unexpectedly in October 1953. Typical of such a hard working individual, the 84 year old passed away on a bus on his way to work.

Henry Halloran died unexpectedly in October 1953. Typical of such a hard working individual, the 84 year old passed away on a bus on his way to work.


Halloran, Laurence 1992, An Imaginative speculator, Henry F. Halloran, 1869-1953, realtor : some published material gathered from sources other than country newspapers, Rev. ed, L. Halloran, Sydney
Nilson, Laurie & Leis, Susan & Noble, Rodney & Lake Macquarie (N.S.W.). Council 1985, Lake Macquarie : past and present, Lake Macquarie City Council, [Boolaroo, N.S.W.]
Monument Australia. 2010. Tanilba Bay Centenary Gates. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 30 August 2018].
John Atchison, 'Halloran, Henry Ferdinand (1869–1953)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1983, accessed online 30 August 2018.

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