Thursday 4 December 2014


Tucked away amongst the trees at 104 Waminda Avenue, Campbelltown is a neat little State Heritage listed cottage named "Cransley". The house seems to be built around 1882, although some sources date it to 1890. John Knight, one of the first Campbelltown alderman, bought the land in 1881 and built the house, so 1882 would seem the likely year.

The cottage is constructed of sandstone with a slate roof and has an unobtrusive and well designed verandah to the one side. It has been described as a typical "Hunter's Hill" type of house.

The original occupier of the land was Michael Wholohan who received a 50 acre grant which he held from 1821 to 1844.  After his death, the land was willed to his brother Daniel followed by other family members before being sold to Benjamin Warby in 1859. It then passed through a number of hands including John Knight in 1881. In 1918, the Government purchased the Cransley Estate as a soldiers resettlement scheme and the 391 acres was divided into 44 small farms with Cransley being the manager's residence while the project got underway.

In 1921, Bill Price settled on Cransley and ran a poultry farm until World War 2. On his return from war he established a nursery and became well known in the area as a very able nurseryman. A 1949 newspaper advertisement talks about the variety of trees, shrubs and roses for sale. In 1965, Price surrendered 11 of the original 12 acres and kept one for the nursery. On his retirement he subdivided the acre and gave part of it to Campbelltown Council to be used as a park which is now known as Cransley Reserve.

On Bill Price's death in 1976, the property passed to his widow and son who then sold the property at auction to Alice Minut. Alice developed the house as a craft centre and built a pottery at the rear. In 1982, it was sold at auction and again in 1994.

The photograph above is of Cransley in 1982. Today the house is partly hidden behind well established trees. (Verlie Fowler Collection).

Written by Andrew Allen


  1. My father, John Commissaris, bought the block of land next door to Cransley House. He also brought a news agency across the road and down a bit. My father built a house on the land, 106 Waminda Ave. While his house was being built, we lived in Blair Athol, which was owned by the electrical engineering firm Crompton Parkinson at the time. My father was a chief electronics engineer after coming to Australia after the war from the Netherlands. I remember old Mrs Cransley. I used to go over next door to her house and she would give me milk and home made cookies, and show me things around the house that she made. I remember when she left. I remember when Cransley House was turned into an Arts Centre. They used to have community art / craft open days, and have people doing displays and demonstrations. I remember being fascinated by the man making things on the pottery wheel, and the lady with Hobbytex paints. Remember those? in tubes with a ball-pen like tip on the ends?
    My father eventually sold the news agency and the house, and he then bought Faulconbridge Cellars which is on the Great Western H'way in the Blue Mtns. Before we left though, I remember the day the council came and put up the sign in front of our house which read "Cransley Reserve". My sister and I, were yelling to each other. Me at the new sign in front of our house, and my sister at the iron gates of Cransley ( which were a the right hand side of Cransley House), and had "Cransley" formed in iron on them. We were yelling out the letters to each other to see if both words were the same. My father was very annoyed at all the yelling. :-)
    -Michelle Commissaris.

  2. What lovely comments Michelle! Thanks so much for sharing. Yes I do remember the Hobbytex paints- not that I ever used them!