Walter Renny

Painter, Oil And Colour Man

Terms served on Council

Title Council From To
Alderman City of Sydney 1863 1865
Alderman City of Sydney 1866 1870
Mayor City of Sydney 1869 1870
  • Walter Renny, painted Richard Read (Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW)
  • Mary Ann Renny, wife of Walter Renny, painted by Richard Read (Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW)
  • Strathfieldsaye the home built for Walter Renny and his family at Burwood (Courtesy Strathfield District Historical Society)
  • Walter Renny (City of Sydney Archives)

Family background

Details of Walter Renny’s birth date and place have not been determined. He may have been connected to James and Edward Rennie of Balmain. He married Mary Ann White at Balmain in 1857; no children have been identified. He spent his later years living with his sister in William Street. He died in London on 24 January 1878.

Occupation & interests

In 1858, Walter Renny, painter, had premises at 380 Brougham Street. From 1863 he was a painter and paperhanger at 170 Pitt Street. In 1867 he offered samples of imitation stained glass to Henry Parkes. In 1873 his business was described as an oil, colour, glass, and paper-hanging warehouse. The flamboyant painter advertised his decorative skills by painting blocks of blue and white on his premises near the corner of Pitt and King Streets. This establishment became famous as the Blue House and earned him the nickname of Royal Blue Renny. In 1868, Strathfieldsaye was built for him at Burwood, the name inspired by the Duke of Wellington’s English home. It was later known as Strathfield House and the name was adopted for the new Municipality of Strathfield on 2 June 1885. He is also remembered by a pair of sandstone gateposts at the Bridge Street entrance to Macquarie Place Park and two drinking fountains in Moore Park and Argyle Place.



Community activity

Renny was a member of the Sydney Lodge of Mark Master Masons No 25. He was also a champion marksman.

Local government service

Walter Renny was Alderman for Bourke Ward, 1 December 1863 to 30 November 1865 and 1 December 1866 to 30 November 1870. Renny was Mayor in 1869-70. During his mayoralty, Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, was entertained by Sydney Council at a specially erected pavilion in Hyde Park.


City of Sydney Archives: Aldermen’s Files; Photo: THC 90/011

Terri McCormack, ‘Renny, Walter’, Dictionary of Sydney, 2012,, viewed 05 December 2012

Hughes, Joy (ed) 1999, Demolished Houses of Sydney, Historic Houses Trust of NSW, Glebe

Leichhardt Historical Journal Volume 12

Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW: ML 1062-3: Richard Read

Society of Australian Genealogists: AGCI index

Strathfield District Historical Society Newsletter Vol 10 No 10 June 1988


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