Where was Ralph Snowball’s house and studio in New Lambton?
The University of Newcastle Cultural Collections site has a number of photographs captioned as Ralph Snowball’s house or studio in Clarence Rd, New Lambton.
The first thing to note is that these are all of the same building. Compare the fence and the verandah in these two photos.
The NSW Land Registry Services has a historical map that shows a property owned by R.G. Snowball on the corner of Clarence Rd and Baker St (lot 1165), and for a number of years I thought that the photographs above were of that location
Recently I realised that couldn’t be right, in particular because in one of the photos of the back of the house (on the elevated side of the block) there is clearly another house to the right. So the Snowball house in this photograph cannot have been on a corner.
Also in the Cultural Collections archive is a photo taken from near the top of Collaroy Rd, looking northwards towards Lambton colliery and township.
I was able to locate Snowball’s house in this photograph, and notice that the right wall of the Mechanics’ Institute in Lambton, the top of the Lambton Park rotunda, and the chimney of Snowball’s house were in alignment. I was then able to replicate that alignment in Google Earth by drawing a straight line using the Mechanics’ Institute and rotunda as guide points.
Using this alignment in Google Earth, I then inspected the path of that line on a 1944 aerial photograph looking for a matching building – one with an expansive front yard with steps going up to the front of the house, and with the back of the house very close to the street. There was a very good match at 19 Clarence Rd.