Sometimes heritage is lost through neglect. Sometimes it’s not been valued enough. Brookleigh House at 86 Illawarra Road was lost through an act of vandalism.
The mansion, built in 1886, was home to Theodore Anthony Clark, brother of retailer Henry Marcus Clark. It was one of few Victorian villas left in the area. While ostentatious in size, it was remarkably restrained inside. It had a large hall and a broad staircase leading to the upper floors. Set back from the road on a large piece of land, the front of the home was enhanced by two palm trees, which were also bulldozed.
On Saturday 13th June 1987, Leo Tsekos, in total disregard to the Heritage Act began to demolish historic Brockleigh Mansion. He was half way through the demolition when stopped by police. He stated to them that he would not proceed any further. However the demolition was completed at about 6am the following Monday (15th June) by a contractor who was most likely unaware that Tsekos had not given the appropriate notice to the Heritage Council.
The case appeared before the Legislative Council where it was made known each defendant would be charged in front the Land & Environment Court with demolishing the building, and aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring the demolition.
NSW Parliament Hansard Record
Cashman, R & Meader, C (1990). Marrickville Rural Outpost to Inner City. Petersham: Hale & Iremonger Pty Ltd. 37-38.