The Prospect Heritage Trust Inc.

Greystanes House

© Prospect Heritage Trust Inc.

Nelson Simmons Lawson was born on 26 May 1806, during his parents return voyage from Norfolk Island, on the Lady Nelson, which was captained by Captain Simmons.  He was sent to England to be educated and on 7 January1836, married Honoria Mary Dickinson.

c1810 William Lawson purchased the 75-acre farm that had been granted to Lt William Cummings on 12 November 1799. On 10 November 1836, Lawson conveyed the property to his son Nelson, who soon after commenced to build Grey Stanes.  Nelson died on 3 February 1849 and his widow (second wife, Sarah Ann, nee Kirk), in February 1854 married Jeremiah Frederick Downes. The Downes stayed at Grey Stanes until 1859, when they moved to Brownlow Hill, Camden, as managers and later as owners.


From 4 January 1860 to 10 October 1865 Grey Stanes was owned by Nelson’s brother William, and later by his widow, Caroline.


On 4 September 1868, it was purchased by Walter Lamb, later of Woodstock, Rooty Hill and founder of the fruit canning industry at Plumpton.

Fitzwilliam Wentworth, son of William Charles Wentworth, purchased it on 21 December 1875. It is believed that he extended it to its final form.

The next owner, from 19 July 1881, was John Wetherill, after whose family the suburb of Wetherill Park was named.

On 15 May 1884, Arthur Frederick Smart of Mona, Darling Point bought Grey Stanes, which at this stage still occupied the original 75 acres. Smart purchased surrounding properties, expanding it to 454 acres. It is presumed that he built the gate lodge and gates on Greystanes Road. Mrs Augusta Alice Smart was a daughter of George Edward Nicholas Weston and Blanche (nee Johnston) of Horsley.

On 10 November 1898 the property passed to Major Philip Charley, who was only interested in its quarrying potential. For a period in the 1920s, Dr Stewart McKay leased it.

During World War 11 the Australian and American Armed Forces used the property and it is believed that the house was vandalised beyond repair when its owners, Blue Metal Industries, resumed control in 1946. The house was demolished soon after.

The house name was spelled as two words, derived from ‘Grey’ being the colour and ‘Stanes’ being the Scottish word for stones. The many outcrops of basalt visible in the area in earlier days prompted this.


Source: R. Brown, Early History of Prospect, The Prospect Trust, Prospect, 1990

From the Outside of Greystanes House - Courtesy of the Cazneux Family

Top & Above Inside the stately Greystanes House showing the wealth of the owners