Katoomba, 22 Magazine Gap Road [????- ]
Does anyone have anything, any info on the house called Katoomba, located on 22 Magazine Gap Road? I really want to know about it's first owner, and who owns it right now. This house has been in my childhood neighborhood for as long as I can remember. I lived at 17 Magazine Gap Road (also seeking old neighbors) with my family from 1974 - 1989. No. 17 was owned by my family from 1968 to 1990. No. 11 is still being owned by my best friend's family and No. 21 is also being owned by my Great Uncle. I have found out a lot of history on this road through this site about the history of the houses on the Peak and through my own research of every single lot (FL), Taipan houses that I know of.
Katoomba, is the ONLY one that I could not find anything on. Despite numerous attempts and over 20 years of research - all leads to a dead end. I am so desperate, because my mother really loves that house.
Note - Katoomba, Australia - A place high up on the blue mountain in Australia.. The only thing I know is that location does somewhat resembles the place in Australia. But why in Hong Kong, and what Australian ties does this house have?
Would really appreciate it if anyone out here could help.
Here are some suggestions.
First I made a new Place for this, which is a good way to gather information about a certain building.
Then I took a look through some of the sources listed under the ' Where to find Hong Kong's history' page listed on the right of this page.
I started off with 'Old Hong Kong buildings' to check the age of the building. The 'Names of Buildings' document just says 'Pre-1945'. So it doesn't show how old it is, but we do know it was old enough to previously have a 'NNN The Peak' address, rather than 22 Magazine Gap Rd.
A check on an old map shows it was number 513. That map, estimated to be from 1938, shows it was already named Katoomba then.
Google Books is good for looking for people at old addresses. A search for "513 the peak" shows there was an R. A. Dermod Forrest living there in 1928. A search on his name finds he was a Hong Kong cadet, "(born 1893), Educated at Aberdeen University, Hong Kong Civil Service 1919; Inspector of Vernacular Schools; Immigration Officer 1940. In 1928 he'd have been 31, and doing well to have an address up on The Peak.
Another Google Books result for 1947 gives a Hong Kong Health Officer, John Macfarlane Gray living there.
A search for 513 the peak on HKGRO found a couple more entries in Juror's lists:
- 1927: Frank McDougal Courtney, Sub-Manager, The National City Bank of New York.
- 1939: Henry Charles Durrschmidt, Engineer, Standard Vacuum Oil Co.
Even these few searches show four different people living there over a twenty year period. Not much of a pattern though - two are from government, two from private industry. Maybe it was rented out?
A search on 'Old Hong Kong newspapers' didn't show anything very useful, though I see in the 1930s there were a couple of mentions of a 'Katoomba Handicap' run at the Happy Valley Racecourse. It could be worth looking to see who initiated that race, and whether it's the same person that named the house Katoomba.
Hopefully that gives some ideas for further research.
You must also have a lot of interesting photos and information from your family history, and from your research. I hope you'll be able to share some with us, as we'll be very interested to see them.