After architect Ferdinand Hamilton Reuss bought land within the Hereford Estate in 1864, he immediately began building a string of residences. The Hermitage, Hamilton, Alma and Reussdale faced Mon Repos and Cleveland House on either side of “the road to the ponds”.

Completed by 1868 in Victorian Gothic style, Reussdale was first occupied by Reuss’s newly-married daughter Adeline Burgess and her husband Edward Roland Halloran, later Reuss’s business partner and designer of Glebe’s Record Reign Hall. A daughter was stillborn at Reussdale while two sons survived. When the house was advertised for rental in 1877, it was stipulated that it not be let to people with small children.

The son of a Prussian Consul, Reuss was born in London and studied at German and English universities. After working in the USA as a railway engineer and unsuccessfully prospecting for gold at Ballarat, he set up as an architect and surveyor in Sydney. He speculated in land (subdividing the Cleveland Paddocks, Waterloo and the Balmain Estate) and published the largest-to-date map of Sydney and environs.

Reuss died during a heat wave in 1896 at The Hermitage, his home of 30 years. His estate was administered by his namesake son until 1925 after which everything except The Hermitage was sold to the Presbyterian Church. Alma was demolished, Hamilton became a church hall and Reussdale a manse.

By the 1960s Reussdale was in disrepair and remained so for decades despite a 1982 conservation order and its 1999 listing on the New South Wales State Heritage Register.