Buried beneath this tower-dominated Victorian mansion is Glebe Cottage built in 1832 by James Brown who was assigned convict labour. Comprising five rooms plus servants’ quarters, the “genteel building” was set on six acres with fresh water and fruit trees.

Ships’ flags flew at half-mast following the Customs House official’s death in 1836 shortly after his wife’s passing, orphaning six young children. Insured for £500 and a worshipper at the Independent Chapel, Brown had made Toxteth Park’s George Allen an executor of his will. Allen arranged the auction of Glebe Cottage’s furniture, contents, horse, phaeton and cart, and its rental.

First tenant was solicitor Edward Dormer O’Reilly who had vacated by 1847. Merchant Walter Scott lived at Rosebank Cottage (where he kept Newfoundlands and a cow – milking was one of the cook’s duties) for at least 20 years before moving to Derwent Street in 1881.

It is likely that Rosebank was transformed into a ninebedroom edifice during the 1882-94 ownership of wealthy fellmonger John Henry Geddes. Pawnbroker Isaac Lewis Isaacs died at Rosebank in 1895, leaving his widow and daughters well off. In 1899 the Rosebank Estate was subdivided and put up for auction.

In 1903 the Sydney Female Refuge for “fallen and intemperate women” moved from Pitt Street to Rosebank. After 1927 the building operated as the Rosebank Refuge for Elderly Ladies, Hammonds Private Hotel, the Victoria Alice Lamkin Welfare Centre and the Glebe Home for Aged Men. It was a Community Health Centre before undergoing restoration as private accommodation.

Rosebank was progressively hemmed in as the land around was subdivided. Major incursions were made by the Hereford Cottages, built by 1875, and shops and a cinema fronting Glebe Point Road in the 1930s.