In 1874 Charles Edward Jeanneret bought 11 acres of land from Ambrose Foss and by 1875 the Jeanneret family (with nine of their eleven children already born) moved here to Wybalena where they lived for twenty years. The house was named after the Aboriginal settlement on Flinders Island where Jeanneret’s father had been posted. The Jeannerets had lived in several houses, Sommerville and Henley Cottage, had built and lived in Lyndcote and Fernbank (now Cambridge) and once here they continued to build.
In 1876 Jeanneret purchased the Parramatta River Ferry Company, which he had been managing since 1869, from Edye Manning of Passy and the eldest Jeanneret sons later took over the enterprise and lived in houses built nearby. In 1878 Wybalena was described as nine rooms, and the following year as fourteen. By 1884 it was a sixteen room stone house with two pavilions and a summer-house in 25 acres of land. In 1886 Jeanneret was elected alderman to Sydney City Council and, in 1887, elected to the Legislative Assembly. He had been alderman and Mayor on Hunters Hill Council previously and was Mayor again in 1890.
In August 1898, Jeanneret died at his sons’ property Wyralla and was buried in the Field of Mars Cemetery. Wybalena had been mortgaged and in 1899 was transferred from the Bank of NSW to Thomas Buckland. Mrs Jeanneret moved to one of the Woolwich Road houses, calling it Wybalena also and in a curious turn of direction, the Jeanneret Avenue house was called Wybalena West.
During most of Sir Thomas Buckland’s ownership, this was the home of the Stoltenhoff family who were related to the Windeyers. Arundel Orchard, director of the Sydney Conservatorium, lived here making the house a centre of musical activity. Except for a short period during the Depression years (1930-1932) Wybalena was left empty and gradually fell into disrepair. In 1940 it was restored by the new owners and in 1967 was purchased by the University of Sydney as a residence for the Vice Chancellor, Sir Bruce Williams. His wife Roma took an interest in the history of the house, publishing a pamphlet about it in 1975. The University sold the house in 1982 and it is again a private residence.