Birchgrove, lying next to Balmain, was named after Birchgrove House which was built by Lieutenant John Birch around 1812. Birch was paymaster of the 73rd regiment, and is recorded as having added Grove to his surname when naming the house as there was a large number of orange trees growing on the site.
The original Birchgrove House was constructed of stone which was probably quarried on the estate, its roof made from shingles split from casuarinas. In 1827 Birch Grove was described in the Sydney press as having a garden of about three acres containing some 500 fruit trees.
John Birch did not hold onto the property for long, selling the entire estate, including the land grant, to merchant Rowland Loane in 1814. After this time, the estate changed hands several times and in 1854 it was purchased by Didier Numa Joubert, who had arrived in the colony from France several years earlier. Joubert never took up residence at the property, leasing it instead to William Salmon Deloitte. Following Deloitte's departure in 1856 Joubert laid the foundations for Birchgrove as we know it today by commencing the first residential subdivision - today's street pattern in Birchgrove was largely generated from what was proposed in his 1860 plan, with streets, such as Louisa and Numa, named after members of the Joubert family.
By 1862 Joubert had surrendered his remaining interest in the estate with the Bank of New South Wales taking control. However by 1878 82 lots of the original subdivision were still unsold. In that year three businessmen - McLean, McGregor and Threlkeld bought the remaining lots of the estate and commissioned architect Ferdinand Reuss to draw up a new plan for subdivision and sale. Reuss's plan would see the roads that were laid out in the 1860 plan remain and additional land was carved off the grounds of Birch Grove House in 1886.By 1902 the reclamation of the Snails Bay mud flats was almost complete, resulting in the development of Birchgrove Oval and recreation grounds. Some twenty years later the park was catering to tennis players and sports spectators with the building of tennis courts and a pavilion.
In 1967 a significant piece of the suburbs heritage was LOST.html when Birchgrove House was demolished to make way for home units. Since the 1970s Birchgrove's position on a peninsula with dress-circle harbour and city skyline views has resulted in property prices in the area becoming some of Sydney's most expensive.
Finding out about: Birchgrove a brief selection of resources
Davidson, Bonnie.1994. Streets, Lanes and Places Balmain, Birchgrove and Rozelle, 1836 - 1994.
Lawrence, Joan, 1995. A Pictorial History of Balmain to Glebe.
Leichhardt Historical Journal
Solling, Max and Peter Reynolds, 1997. Leichhardt: On the Margins of the City. A Social History Of Leichhardt and the Former Municipalities of Annandale, Balmain and Glebe.
Thorp, Wendy for Leichhardt Municipal Council, 1990. Leichhardt Municipality Heritage Study.