Origin of the name of Pursell Avenue

Posted by
Donal Carr

Pursell Avenue was named after the Pursell family who lived in a large house on the east side of the street overlooking Middle Harbour and The Spit.

The head of the household was Arch Pursell. I was friends with Robert Pursell (decd) and his older brother Francis from the early 1950’s. There were other older siblings.

Donal Carr · 26 January 2012

Your comment

I grew up with Robert & Francis Pursell. The Pursell family went to Mosman Methodist Church on Myahgah Rd (as did I). We were all members of the Youth Group at the church during the 1950’s until at least 1958 when I moved to Brisbane.

One of my best memories is of the cars Robert & Francis drove at that time; a Humber Super Snipe and a Humber Hawk. I think the Super Snipe was a convertible and we all used to pile into it after church on Sunday and head to the beach.

Their older brother was Stirling Pursell who died quite young and there was also an older sister, I seem to recall.

— Rosemary Jones · 27 January 2012, 11:37 · #

R. J. Not much wrong with your memory is there. The Super Snipe was a ‘two door drophead coupe’ . We did not have a Hawk however my uncle had one. I am pleased that you retain good memories of that time. My sister Robin was 14 years older than yours truly and there was an older brother Bryan who met an accidental death when I was about 7.

My memory is not as sharp as yours as I do not recall your name unless it was R.T. then of course I remember and suspect that I still owe you a cup of coffee! If you are R.T. then my wife Barbara, who also grew up in Mosman and attended the same church remembers you also.

Incidentally the family home still stands much as it was and recently changed hands for only the second time since Dad died.

— Francis Pursell · 5 March 2012, 15:33 · #

Hi Francis

I am a distant cousin (2nd cousin once removed). I thought you might like to know about an ancestor of yours (and mine), William Oxley. You can see info about him at the web page: www.wikitree.com/wiki/Oxley-34

He was a police officer who died as a result of an assault during his duties and there is going to be a memorial service held by Mudgee police on Saturday 29 Sept in the morning, followed by a family reunion for William descendants. You can contact me through the private messaging system at Wikitree or email me directly

Paul Bech · 15 June 2012, 14:39 · #

Hi Francis
I guess you may not remember me I lived in the house next to yours on the high side of Pursell Avenue. My name was Dianne Hobson and I remember my friend Robyn Hoskins and I went for a ride with your dad in the Humber into the city. I think that Mr Hoskins used to work for your Dad. I also remember that we used to talk to the gardener “Jack” on many occasions.

— Dianne Grey · 17 October 2014, 16:39 · #

Hi Francis,
I stumbled across this website because I am scanning old slides from the 50s and 60s, and wanted to see what changes had since occurred in Mosman. I spent two wonderful years (1959-60) in Mosman, as a student at ASOPA. I attended the Mosman Methodist Church and even sang in the choir, as did you and Robert, and possibly your friend Cliff Gentle. You were very generous in showing me the parts of Sydney you loved. I found I have a slide of the Spit Bridge taken from your garden in Pursell Avenue, and several photos of the young people then attending the church.
I subsequently worked in PNG for 13 years, married and had two children and have lived in Melbourne since 1974.

— Robin Pope · 9 November 2016, 17:13 · #

I found this website today. We bought this house from the Pursell family in 1965 and still live here. We had 5 children here and our eldest son died in an accident—-similar to the death of one of the Pursells in the “Robin May”. My wife found this place when we returned from Oxford and we have enjoyed it very much. She died here in 1997. My second wife and myself share this home now. Did Arch Pursell build this house or only add to it?

— James Biggs · 1 March 2017, 16:45 · #

Francis,I came across this link by accident. We bought this house from the Pursell family in 1965. It has been a great family home for our 5 children who grew up here and it is in a wonderful spot overlooking the Spit. Some time ago I was researching the area at the library and got some information about the Pursells, but was unable to find out if Arch Pursell built this house.There had been some additions before we purchased and we did some renovations when we first moved in.We have considered downsizing ,but it is hard to leave because of all the memories we have here.

— James Biggs AM · 3 March 2017, 13:19 · #

Sadly, we decided to sell and downsize to an apartment in Cremorne with a similar view over Middle Harbour. I do not know whether the new owner will develop the site which remains one of the best in Mosman.So many great memories over 52 years —never to be forgotten!!

— James Biggs · 4 October 2017, 13:12 · #

James it’s a long time since I looked at this site however I can confirm that Arch, my father, built the house and also the later additions. Sorry to hear you had to move but hope you like your apartment. I am the last member of the original family from No 3.

— Francis Pursell · 13 August 2018, 17:33 · #

I had not looked at the website for some time. Trying to write some memoirs for the family. Glad you told me that Arch had built the house.I had to sell as age catches up and we now have a nice apartment in Fifth Ave., Cremorne. But not the ambience of 3 Pursell! Thanks Francis.

— james biggs · 29 June 2019, 14:27 · #

Hello Francis and other Pursells

Nice to learn a little of the history of the Pursell family and their home at 1 Pursell. My father bought 3 Pursell Avenue in the 70s and lived there until his death there last month at 90. Dad and Jim Biggs were good neighbours to each other for all those years and I’ve been in touch with Jim recently to let him know of Dad’s passing. The land of 1 Pursell was originally owned by 3 Pursell and the subdivision took place in 1964. I believe Dad would have bought the house from the original owner/builder, who Jim Biggs remembers. I am sorry to say that the current owner (the house was sold twice within 2 years when Jim Biggs sold) is a cowboy developer and after much back and forth with Mosman Council and the Land & Environment Court, finally gained approval to build the monstrous, flat-roofed building currently going up at a rate of knots. He has ruined the streetscape and is building as close as humanly possible to the common boundaries with Dad’s place. We were very sorry to see Jim go and even sorrier to see what the current owner is doing to the site. That’s progress, for you!

— Catherine Flitcroft · 13 November 2020, 09:17 · #

Hello Francis and other Pursells

Nice to learn a little of the history of the Pursell family and their home at 3 Pursell Avenue. My father bought 1 Pursell Avenue in 1980 and lived there until his death at age 90 in October 2020. It was a wonderful family home, with much fun had in and around the pool especially, and we have many happy memories of those decades. Dad and Jim Biggs at 3 Pursell were good neighbours to each other for 37 years till Jim sold and moved in 2017. Naturally, I let him know of Dad’s passing and the major changes taking place at No. 3, which was sold a second time in 2019 to the current owner/builder. The land at 1 Pursell was originally owned by the Pursells at No 3. and the subdivision took place in 1964. After much back and forth with Mosman Council and the Land & Environment Court, the current owner/builder gained approval to build the large, white, flat-roofed home he will soon inhabit at 3 Pursell. We were very sorry to see Jim go and even sorrier to see what the current owner has built. That’s progress, for you!

— Catherine Flitcroft · 20 June 2021, 18:54 · #

Hi Francis. 9 years later I find your message from 2012. I was indeed R.T. and I’ll take the cup of coffee, thank you very much. I’ve lived in the US for a long while now so it will have to be a virtual cup. Please remember me to Barb. Rosemary

— Rosemary Jones · 13 December 2021, 17:57 · #