The original Ranelagh building was built by Andrew Lenehan in the early 1850s at the southern end of Darling Point Road.
The original house was built of stone and comprised three stories, the upper two featuring broad cast iron balconies on three sides. In order to break up the square uniform appearance that these balconies created, a false porch was built into the front facade of the main entrance.
Andrew Lenehan remained at Ranelagh, which he named after a Dublin suburb, until 1864 when the house was occupied by company director and Parliamentarian, John Frazer.
Ranelagh in 1958
Frazer was born at Dromore in County Down, Ireland in 1812 and arrived in Sydney in 1843. In 1847 he established a wholesale grocery business, John Frazer & Co. By the time he retired in 1869, John Frazer & Co., was one of the largest mercantile houses in Sydney. During the 1860s, Frazer involved himself successfully in land speculation and was a man noted for his philanthropy. In 1874 he entered NSW Parliament as an MLC and remained a member until his death in 1884. The last twenty years of Frazer’s life were spent at Ranelagh.
Frazer and the members of his family were incarcerated in a sandstone mausoleum in Rookwood Cemetery. It was built in 1894 along the lines specified by Frazer before his death. The doors bear the initials of him and his wife: JF and EF.
During the early 1880s Ranelagh was occupied by another successful businessman, the financier and company director, James Ewan, a director and later Chairman of both the Australasian Steam Navigation Company and the United Insurance Company. He was also John Frazer’s brother-in-law and, from 1869, a partner in John Frazer and Co.
Ewan, although never entering Parliament was described as an ardent politician and was prominent in the public life of Sydney, serving as a magistrate, a member of the Benevolent Society and a director of Sydney Hospital.
Julian Emanuel Salomons
Politics and politicians played an important part in the life of Ranelagh. In 1885 Ranelagh became the home of Julian Emanuel Salomons. Salomons, one of Sydney’s most distinguished barristers, had served briefly in Parliament between 1870-71. In 1881 he was made a QC and in 1886 he was gazetted Chief Justice of NSW, however, he resigned his position before being sworn in. The next year he re-entered Parliament and remained there until his death in 1899, after serving twice as the Vice-President of the Executive Council. A prominent leader of Sydney’s Jewish Community, Salomons was knighted in 1891.
Julian Emanuel Salomons
End of an Era
The departure of Salomons from the house in the late 1880s brought to a close Ranelagh’s golden age. By the turn of the century it had been converted into a boarding house under the ownership of a Mrs Barnett, and in 1934 it was being advertised as a smart guest house boasting modern appointments, hot and cold running water to all bedrooms and a tennis court, all from 10/6 per day.
Ranelagh remained a guest house until at least the end of the 1950s but its age and the every-increasing need for land for home unit development meant that it had finally run out of time.
In 1967 a block of apartments bearing the name Ranelagh was erected and upon completion was reported in the Sunday Telegraph, December 14, 1969, as the tallest residential unit building in Australia with the $2.5 million view towering 400 feet above sea level and 280 feet above the road.
On the 27th May 1970, the Ranelagh tower was registered as Strata Plan 4680.
3-17 Darling Point Road
Darling Point NSW 2027
Tel: (02) 9328 1312