Notes'The Sydney Morning Herald' of 28 February 1905 described 'Canonbury' in some detail as 'A Palatial Residence':
"This building has been recently erected from the designs and under the superintendence of Mr. Clarence Backhouse, architect, and in working out the scheme for a complete and up-to-date residence no detail has been omitted. The drawing-room is a magnificent apartment nearly 30ft in length. The treatment is French Renaissance, with elaborately hand-carved over-doors, mantels, and overmantels. Upon one side of the room stands a large mirror framed in the beautiful carved wood of the above style. Combined with this, and forming a whole and complete design, are flower-stands and heavily upholstered seats. The ceiling is designed in the same style, as also are the dado and friezes. The general colour treatment is ivory and gold.
The main hall is 30 feet in length and 15 feet wide. Rising from this to the floor above is the main staircase, one of the principal features of the house. The whole of this work is in mahogany of a deep rich colour, and finished with carved and moulded and panelled balustrading, handrails, and newels. Upon the tops of the newels are set handsome hammered iron and copper gas standards. The walls of the hall are finished in a deep red, with Spanish pigskin dado and frieze.
Access to the billiard-room is from the hall, and all of those rooms are finished in a most artistic and quaint manner. The billiard-room fireplace is especially noticeable. It is built in red pressed bricks, with old-fashioned brick hobs and iron grate. From the mantle top to the ceiling extends the overmantel, fitted with cupboards and other conveniences necessary in such a room.
The servants' quarters occupy a separate wing. They communicate with the kitchen offices below by a separate staircase. The stables stand at the back of the main building and give accommodation for six horses and six carriages. The boathouse and bathing-house, two separate buildings, have been erected on the foreshore in front of the house, and are in every way in keeping with the rest of the work.
The whole of the work has been carried out by Messrs. Porter and Green, builders and contractors of Foveaux Street. The opalite tiling in special designs for the walls of all bathrooms, kitchen, laundry, pantries etc, has been supplied by and fixed by Mr. C. T. Cross. The Bagasse Company have supplied and fixed all of the ceilings in accordance with the architect's designs. The whole of the hammered iron and copper work, mantels, grates, range, and tilings are by Messrs. Holdsworth, Macpherson, and Co. Messrs. Lyon, Cottier, and Co. have carried out the decorative work and supplied all of the stained glass.
It is now Mr. Rickards's Intention to call for tenders for the formation of the grounds in accordance with the plans prepared by the architect. These show the grounds, more than an aero in extent, terraced to the water's edge, and finishing at the foreshore with a seawall about 400 feet in length. When the whole of the grounds have been properly laid out and the undertaking complete in all detail the cost of the scheme, including land and buildings, will be somewhere about 20,000 pounds."