Abbotsford House was built in 1877-78 for Sir Arthur Renwick (1837-1908) at a cost of £11,000. Renwick was born in Scotland and emigrated to Australia with his parents in 1841. He was a medical practitioner and businessman who served as a member of the NSW Parliament and was the first President of the NSW Medical Board.
The house was named after Abbotsford in Scotland, the home of author Sir Walter Scott. In turn Abbotsford House gave the suburb of Abbotsford its name. Montrose, Rokeby and Marmion Roads in Abbotsford are named after works by Sir Walter Scott.
In 1904 Renwick suffered heavy financial losses and he was forced to sell his property, which was subdivided and sold by auction in 1905. Peter McIntosh purchased the property in 1906 and sold it the following year to Albert Edward Grace, one of the founders of Grace Bros. In 1917 the property was sold to Nestlé.
The photograph shows Abbotsford House in 1917 when building of the Nestlé factory had just commenced.