Discover the History Behind Dee Why’s ‘Pacific Lodge’

The historic ‘Pacific Lodge’ on Fisher Road was built as a Home of Rest for the Salvation Army officers and was entered into the heritage list for its association with Elizabeth Jenkins, whose family once owned all of the foreshore lands from Mona Vale to Dee Why.

The Salvation Army Home of Rest, later known as Pacific Lodge, was originally built in 1892 for officers in need of a place to recuperate and later turned into an aged care centre. The historic building, which has turned 130 years old, traces its roots to the Jenkins family who at the time was the largest landholder on the northern beaches.

James Jenkins: From convict to the largest landholder  

Brothers James and William Jenkins arrived in Sydney in 1802 aboard the Coromandel. They were convicts serving the remaining two years of their seven-year sentence for allegedly stealing sheep when they transferred to the colony.

It didn’t take long and James was able to acquire land and was farming at Ryde before joining his brother in farming another land. They later traded farming for boat building at Darling Harbour.

Seven years after the death of his brother, James, who was already married at the time, was granted 20 hectares of land at Roseville and returned to farming. Their land holding expanded with 81 hectares of land from North Narrabeen to Mona Vale which were bequeathed to his eldest daughter, Elizabeth.

Soon after, James will acquire further blocks of land that by 1825 the family already owns all of the foreshore lands between the present-day Mona Vale Hospital to Pacific Parade at the southern part of Dee Why Beach.

Elizabeth Jenkins and her ties with the Salvation Army

Following James Jenkins’ death in 1835, Elizabeth took over the decision-making duties concerning the family’s landholdings.

In 1885, Elizabeth Jenkins, who was an ardent supporter of the Salvation Army and its work, donated the organisation about 12 hectares of land located at Pipeclay Point, Narrabeen Lagoon and an additional 17 hectares at Dee Why between 1890 and 1892.

The organisation decided to build a retreat house for officers to rest and recuperate, which Elizabeth supported by donating £400 to help with the construction of the Salvation Army Home of Rest. 

“Substantial elevated single storey building of rendered masonry. Corrugated iron hipped roof with tall rendered chimneys. Verandah on 3 sides with cast iron balustrade, columns & valence. Balustrade panels specially made with the letters “SAHR”. Sympathetic refurbishment works have been undertaken. Restored verandah includes original cast iron balustrade panels. Adapted for use as administration offices for “Pacific Lodge” – State Heritage Inventory – Environment NSW citation reads.

An industrial farm was later built near the Home of Rest in the mid-1890s but was closed several years later and the land where the facility once stood was sold.

After Elizabeth died in 1900, all her property was transferred to the Salvation Army, further expanding the organisation’s landholdings. The Salvation Army then established a two-storey facility for the treatment of ‘inebriates’ which operated until 1939 when Salvos built the Pacific Lodge Mens Eventide Home.

The Salvation Army sold the 1.6-ha property in 2016 to Rose Property and built a new 50-bed facility for its elderly residents in Collaroy.

In 2019, a proposal to build three buildings of up to seven storeys high at the site was given the green light. The 130-year-old building will be retained for adaptive reuse, subject to a future development application.