The Cheong House was designed in 1922 by Walter Burley Griffin (1876-1937). It is one of a series of Griffin-designed houses at The Parapet, Castlecrag, built for investors in the Greater Sydney Development Association (GSDA) to serve as a model for intended suburban development. Griffin had established the GSDA in 1919, producing a prospectus which offered shareholders a free block of land if they built a house, and the Cheong house takes its name from a GSDA shareholder, Reverend Cheok Hong Cheong who financed the building of the house in 1922. Cheong was a minister of the Presbyterian Church, a leader of the Chinese community in Australia, and a life-long opponent of the White Australia Policy. Like other shareholders’ houses, the Cheong house was rented for many years.
In the early 1940s the house was purchased by German immigrants Manfred and Friedel Souhami who had arrived stateless in Sydney in 1939 with their young daughter, bringing with them some remarkable pieces of Bauhaus furniture. The Souhamis commissioned architects Hugh & Eva Buhrich to make changes to the house: a suntrap and laundry wing was added in 1946 and then a flat roofed garage in 1950. The house remained in Souhami family ownership until late 1996 and was photographed prior to sale. The Cheong house is listed as an item of local significance within the Griffin Conservation Area in Wiilloughby Council’s Local Environmental Plan.
Wanda Spathopoulos, The Crag : Castlecrag, 1924-1938, Blackheath, Brandl & Schlesinger, 2007
Meredith Walker, Adrienne Kabos, James Weirick, Building for nature: Walter Burley Griffin and Castlecrag, Castlecrag, Walter Burley Griffin Society, 1994
Anne Watson, ed., Visionaries in suburbia: Griffin houses in the Sydney landscape, Castlecrag, NSW, Walter Burley Griffin Society Incorporated, 2015