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Looking east: Darling Point and beyond

A look at the lifestyles, attitudes and activities of the people who settled in Darling Point.

Thomas Smart, Smith and Mitchell

Thomas Ware Smart

Thomas Ware Smart (1810–1881) was a prominent politician and man of business. 

He was born in Sydney, the son of a convict bootmaker, Thomas Smart. Thomas Ware Smart married Mary Anne (nee Kenyon) in 1842, and ran several successful businesses, from auctioneering to real estate agent, banking and flour milling. He was appointed a magistrate in 1845. Smart was founding director of several companies, Colonial Treasurer, and Secretary for Public Works, 1863–1866. He was also a friend and business associate of Darling Point resident Thomas Sutcliffe Mort.

Thomas Ware Smart... ca. 1857-1858

His own Darling Point mansion was a regency style villa called Mona. It was built on fifteen acres originally granted to James Dunlop, the Government Astronomer, in 1835. Smart opened Mona's impressive picture gallery to the public in 1861.

> View the Library's catalogue record for a Catalogue raisonne of the celebrated Mona Collection of pictures, 1884

Smart was committed to the Church and worked in several capacities for St. Mark's Church, Darling Point.  On Sundays, he even opened his garden as a right-of-way for parishioners on their way to church.

Darling Point in the early days was still a rugged landscape and particularly dark at night. The Darling Point Road frontage of Smart's Mona estate was enclosed by a rough fence and overgrown lantana bushes. A favourite spot of thieves, it was reportedly unsafe for pedestrians after dark, unless armed. On one occasion Sir Thomas Mitchell, who had been dining at Victoria Barracks, was on his way home to his home, Carthona, in an open carriage when he was robbed of his boots, cash and a watch chain. Mitchell is said to have built a stone cottage at the corner of Yarranabee Road for the use of the police (shown in foreground of the image below).


Thomas Whistler Smith

Thomas Whistler Smith (1824–1859) was a businessman and banker. He was born in England to merchant Thomas Smith and his wife Penelope and the family moved to Sydney in 1830. In 1835, Thomas Smith Senior purchased land in Darling Point, building a single-storey cottage, Glenrock, on the site of the present Ascham School at Edgecliff. 

Thomas Whistler Smith

After his father's death in 1842, Thomas Whistler Smith took over the successful family importing business and built a house for his mother known as Dower House in the grounds of Glenrock. In 1847 he married Sarah Maria Street and they lived at Ecclesbourne, Darling Point, until 1850 when he moved back to Glenrock. The Smiths were prominent Darling Point residents - Thomas was one of the first wardens of St Mark's Church and he patronised artists such as Conrad Martens and George Edwards Peacock who painted his house and surrounding views. Smith also directed several companies including the Commercial Banking Co. of Sydney, and was a member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly from 1857–1859.

In 1859, Thomas Whistler Smith went with his family to London to open and manage the first London office of the Commercial Banking Co. While there, he caught diphtheria and died. He was thirty-five years old. 


Sir Thomas Mitchell

Sir Thomas Livingstone Mitchell (1792–1855), Surveyor-General, was one of Darling Point's most distinguished residents. Born in Scotland, he served as a volunteer in the Peninsular War, where he was engaged in topographical intelligence. He was promoted to Major in 1826 and appointed Surveyor-General of New South Wales in 1828. Between 1831 and 1846 he made four exploring expeditions into the interior of Australia, publishing several accounts of his explorations. He was knighted in 1839.

[Sir Thomas Livingstone Mitchell], c. 1830s (Framed)

Mitchell built his home, Carthona, on the water's edge of Darling Point in 1841. The name 'Carthona' is derived from a Spanish phrase meaning 'meeting of the waves'. Gothic in design, Mitchell modelled the house on one in Lake Windemere, England. It was, from the outset, a special home for the Mitchell family, Mitchell himself having carved some of the ornamental stonework and many of the keystones of windows and doors. The house had a fine cedar staircases, lofty ceilings and glorious views to the Harbour. It was in his beloved house that he died on 5 October 1855.

Mitchell's family enjoyed a privileged upbringing, growing up in Darling Point. His youngest daughter Blanche Mitchell kept childhood diaries and notebooks in which she recorded her daily activities and busy social life, giving us a lively picture of what life was like for a girl in fashionable society at the time. Following Mitchell's death in 1855, the family moved to Craigend Terrace, Woolloomooloo. While they were forced to live in reduced circumstances, they maintained their close links to Darling Point society.


Made possible through a partnership with Belinda Hutchinson AM & Roger Massy-Greene