In Regency style with French shutters opening onto flagged verandahs, Briarbank was built in 1862 on the original Forest Lodge Estate for ironmonger Lewis Moore, the third in a family to inherit that name. His father was a Sydney alderman and his son William a solicitor after serving his articles with Glebe’s George Wigram Allen. Briarbank was Moore’s family home until 1878 when he moved to Petersham. He died in 1885 at Manly, leaving an estate of £43 000.
In 1883 the two-storey purpose-built Forest Lodge Public School opened on Briarbank’s adjacent Ross Street corner. Two years later sisters Harriott Jane and Annie Walker moved their private day and boarding girls’ school from Bathurst Street in the city to new accommodation on the heights of Forest Lodge. They lived onsite at Briarbank College, “convenient to the tram and omnibus”. Annie, the legal guardian of the children of deceased photographer Thomas Henry Boyd and the inheritor of his “New Palace of Art”, ran Briarbank College after Harriott’s death in 1890.
Briarbank was bought at auction for £1820 by the NSW Education Department in 1916 and became Forest Lodge School’s cookery annexe. It later housed a Child Welfare centre before being re-adapted as an out of school care centre.