Historical information

'The land on which 'Swinton'was later built was first purchased by John Bakewell in 1851 and later sold to Edmund Laskey Splatt in 1858. Splatt was a member of the first provisional committee of the National Bank of Australia in Melbourne and built the first house on the land naming it 'Laskey Villa'. By 1863 the house was occupied by Herbert Henty. The Johnson family connection with the property began with the marriage in 1858 of Annabella Johnson to David Syme, owner of the Áge' newspaper and owner of the adjacent property 'Blytheswood'. Annabella's brother, Francis Johnson, bought the villa in 1876 and renamed it 'Swinton' after his birthplace in Yorkshire. The property was later owned by the artistic Colquhoun family. The house is one of the earliest examples of the Italianate style in Victoria - the outstanding element being the tower with its cantilevered walkway and heavily bracketed pryamidal tower.'
Source: Victorian Heritage Register


This work forms part of the collection assembled by the historian Dorothy Rogers, that was donated to the Kew Historical Society by her son John Rogers in 2015. The manuscripts, photographs, maps, and documents were sourced by her from both family and local collections or produced as references for her print publications. Many were directly used by Rogers in writing ‘Lovely Old Homes of Kew’ (1961) and 'A History of Kew' (1973), or the numerous articles on local history that she produced for suburban newspapers. Most of the photographs in the collection include detailed annotations in her hand. The Rogers Collection provides a comprehensive insight into the working habits of a historian in the 1960s and 1970s. Together it forms the largest privately-donated collection within the archives of the Kew Historical Society

Physical description

Swinton in Kew and its tower. This side of the house faces the Yarra River.