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77 Birchgrove Road, Balmain

Heritage Impact Statement

June 2005
77 BIRCHGROVE STREET, BALMAIN HERITAGE IMPACT STATEMENT

TABLE OF CONTENTS

1.0 INTRODUCTION .................................................................................................2


1.1 BACKGROUND ..............................................................................................2
1.2 SITE LOCATION.............................................................................................2
1.3 METHODOLOGY ............................................................................................3
1.4 AUTHOR IDENTIFICATION ...............................................................................3
2.0 SITE DESCRIPTION AND CONTEXT ......................................................................4
2.1 SITE DESCRIPTION ........................................................................................4
2.2 SITE CONTEXT ...........................................................................................16
3.0 HISTORY........................................................................................................18
4.0 ASSESSMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE .......................................................................26
4.1 ASSESSMENT CRITERIA ...............................................................................26
4.2 STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE .....................................................................27
5.0 THE PROPOSAL ..............................................................................................28
6.0 HERITAGE IMPACT ASSESSMENT .....................................................................30
6.1 STATUTORY CONTROLS ..............................................................................30
6.2 LEICHHARDT LEP (2000)........................................................................30
6.3 LEICHHARDT DCP ..................................................................................32
6.4 ‘STATEMENTS OF HERITAGE IMPACT’ (NSW HERITAGE MANUAL) ...................34
7.0 CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS ............................................................37

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1.0 INTRODUCTION
1.1 BACKGROUND

City Plan Heritage has been engaged by the applicants, Ian and Kate Myles, to prepare the
following Heritage Impact Statement. The proposal is for alterations and additions to be
carried out to 77 Birchgrove Road, Balmain, in accordance with a design generated through a
Pre-DA consultation process. The proposed works relate to the rear and interior of the
existing building.

The proposal has been designed by Melocco and Moore. The subject site is located within
the local Conservation Area, and the existing dwelling is identified as a local heritage item
under the Leichhardt LEP (2000), Leichhardt DCP (2000). It is noted in the Leichhardt
Heritage Study (1989) and listed with the National Trust of Australia. It is adjacent to heritage
items:
• 75 Birchgrove Road (St Kilda)
• 79 Birchgrove Road (corner terrace)
and in close proximity to the Birchgrove Public School and other local heritage items.

1.2 SITE LOCATION


The subject site is located on the south side of Birchgrove Road, in close proximity to the
corner of Macquarie Terrace. The principal elevation of the existing dwelling is orientated
towards Birchgrove Road. It has a real property description of Lot 1, DP723365. For a more
detailed description of the site and its context, see Site Description and Context.

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Figure 1: Location of subject site.

1.3 METHODOLOGY
This Heritage Impact Statement has been prepared in accordance with the NSW Heritage
Manual ‘Statements of Heritage Impacts’ and ‘Assessing Heritage Significance’ guidelines.
The philosophy and process adopted is that guided by the Australia ICOMOS Burra Charter
1999. The subject proposal has been assessed in relation to the relevant controls and
provisions contained within the Leichhardt Local Environmental Plan (2000) and the
Leichhardt DCP (2000).

1.4 AUTHOR IDENTIFICATION


The following report has been prepared Christina Amiet (Heritage Consultant). Patricia
Young (Heritage Consultant) has reviewed and endorsed its content.

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2.0 SITE DESCRIPTION AND CONTEXT


2.1 SITE DESCRIPTION

Exterior
The subject site is occupied by a single storey, lowset residence constructed in 1889. Its main
elevation fronts onto the eastern side of Birchgrove Road. It is a Victorian Regency structure
with rustic gothic elements prominently situated on the exterior. Viewed from Birchgrove
Road, the building is a symmetrical stone and face brick residence with boxed eaves and
simple, clearly designed features and classical proportions facing the street. The building has
been segregated from the public domain using a simple iron fence with square stone gate
posts and a triangular section of concrete that precedes the structure itself. Its ground floor
verandah, above its sandstone base, has iron lacework supplemented with openwork iron
columns and corrugated concave roof. The openwork columns support timber beams across,
which appear to be in deteriorating condition. The verandah fabric itself has been replaced
with modern materials and corrugated iron. Adjoining 79 Birchgrove Road, the verandah ends
with recessed and unpainted brickwork. The symmetry of the building is interrupted to the rear
by a kitchen wing which flanks one side, adjoining the property boundary with 79 Birchgrove
Road.

The primary entrance is via a centrally located timber and glass multi-paned door with
sidelights and fanlight above, and fitted with a central doorknob and iron knocker. Over this
has been inserted a metal security door of modern fabric. On either side of the doorway is a
vertically proportioned sash window with arched head set into the unpainted brickwork. Above
each of these three elements, the brickwork is of contrasting red colouration and arched in
classical fashion. Set into the brickwork is an external light, which is not original but of
uncertain provenance. At either extent of the shingled roof is a simple chimney with single
arched cowl above. Visually the dominant element of the façade is the gothic dormer window
arrangement with decorated bargeboard at the centre of the roof. This comprises two main
vertically proportioned sliding arched windows that are flanked by secondary arches and set
within the timber bargeboard. This is paired with a bargeboard and dormer window
arrangement on the rear elevation of the building, which lacks ornamentation and is topped by
a weathervane of classical design.

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At the rear of the building the small brick kitchen wing, being part of the original structure,
forms the house into an L-shaped building. A later addition to the rear of the kitchen is the
present laundry. A rear extension has been added to the building during the twentieth century,
obliterating the original verandah, so that the original external window is now part of a rear
corridor. The extension is of weatherboard with a striped awning over the rear access door.
The weatherboard is set with large paned windows of modern fabric and style. This intersects
with the exterior wall of the kitchen on one side, and with a second phase of works on the
other, adjacent to the driveway and which likely served as an earlier laundry room, with holes
in the brickwork suggestive of such uses. This has a small set of louvres with timber frames.

The brick kitchen features a window which looks onto the rear courtyard. While the opening
and lintel appears to be original, the existing window itself seems to be a replacement. Above
the window opening the brickwork patterning is typical of the late nineteenth century period.
The kitchen has a large and simply-executed brick chimney extending from this aspect of the
roof. At its furthest extent the present-day brick laundry has been added to the structure,
being a squat and functional extension with two small louvred windows and doorway. The
newer addition is clearly distinguishable upon superficial examination of the brickwork, with
the far end wall unpainted. The paintwork and timbers around this extension and reaching
above the kitchen exterior wall indicate deterioration of the fabric, with paint flaking and
timbers rotting in a manner consistent with long-term water damage.

The rear yard itself is set with a paved courtyard fringing the building, with a concrete
driveway running along the property boundary. Along this length, the building shows signs of
alteration, with cellar spaces cut into the sandstone base of the building. Across this face of
the building is a round-headed sashed window opening set with ironwork located high upon
the elevation. Visible cracking extends from this window to the roofline. At ground floor level is
another vertically aligned window opening, with timber frames and both small and large panes
of clear glass fitted. This narrow drive leads to a small open carport at the rear of the property,
backing onto the rear boundary of the site. The remainder of the property is occupied by low-
scale shrubs and plantings.

Interior

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The interior of the building is governed by the central hallway which runs in a direct line from
front entrance through to the rear doorway leading onto the courtyard. This has been laid with
timbers, which may be at least partly or possibly fully original. The base of the walls is fitted
with large timber skirting boards throughout the extent of the hallway. This area features an
original ceiling rose that has been fitted with a suspended pendant light. The corridor is
interrupted in its flow through to the rear of the building by the original timber staircase which
leads to the upper floor and decorative mouldings relative to the arched support. At the far
end of the cottage, the corridor terminates with the original external opening, with the
brickwork above the doorway showing patterned brickwork consistent with such an
arrangement. The former threshold shows its former use through wearing down of its fabric.

The arrangement of the interior rooms is irregular, with the first four panelled timber door and
doorway leading into the main lounge and dining room space. This has been opened up from
its original two rooms to form a single open space. The ceiling features original roses fitted
with modern suspended pendant lighting. Squat pillars set into the division between the two
rooms and a change in the floor timbers are demonstrative of the former room layout. The
lounge room area, being the former front parlour, has a simple and classical marble fireplace.
The dining room is terminated at the easternmost end by a pair of white painted timber and
glass doors with transom above and a sliding sash window, once forming an exterior window
arrangement but now part of the rear corridor fabric.

Proceeding down the hallway, the second timber doorway leads to the present children’s
bedroom, which features an original marble fireplace with decorative tiling, picture rail,
ventilation grille, and original timber and window frames. The light fitting is of mid-century
provenance, suspended from the ceiling rose. Cracking of wall fabric is in evidence.

At the rear part of the original cottage is the opened-up dining room on one side, and a
bedroom on the other. The fireplace in the latter is, compared to others within the building, in
relatively poor condition, with a section of marble coming away. The rear bedroom window
marks the original exterior wall of the cottage. Within the room, substantial cracking has been
identified in one corner, relative to the ventilation grille and down one side of the room. This
part of the house has been extended, with a fibro corridor with large aluminium framed
windows extending the width of the cottage leading to a small, white tiled bathroom with
bathtub and access to the rear courtyard. At the opposite end of the corridor, situated
between the dining room and the kitchen, is an original storage cupboard or more likely
pantry, fitted with a metal mesh panelled door.

Leading off at ninety degrees from the cottage is the stone kitchen wing, which has been
subjected to alterations and upgrades at various intervals in the house’s history. The ceiling is

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of painted timbers, with an original ventilation grille inset just beneath, while the fittings are of
twentieth century but dated. The window overlooking the courtyard is not original, although
the actual opening itself is original. The stove presently occupies the former fireplace opening,
surmounted by the chimney.

The first floor is accessed via the timber and carpeted stairs. Above are two bedrooms
located off a small landing fitted with cupboards. The rooms effectively divide the front
elevation’s gothic window arrangement into halves, which is likely to have been a twentieth
century alteration rather than part of the original room layout. The rear gothic windows are
uninterrupted. The wall fabric of the abovestairs rooms are relatively poor in quality and
condition, with deterioration particularly noticeable in relation to the ceiling. Cracking, infilling
and paint flaking is in evidence on both ceilings and walls. On either exterior wall the
bedrooms have an arched timber window; in the case of one, it is situated hard up against the
adjoining building and lacks sufficient provisions for water drainage. The rooms have small
timber-framed cupboards and access points into the redundant area of the former attic space.

It is concluded that the integrity of the dwelling is high along its main Birchgrove Road
elevation. The rear of the building is intact albeit obscured by alterations and additions to the
fabric. The interior of the building retains its integrity in terms of room layout but shows signs
of interference in the fabric.

Fig.2: Front elevation of 77 Birchgrove Road, Balmain

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Fig.3 View of front verandah showing recessed brickwork, arched sash window, and showing that picks
up the pattern of the open ironwork columns.

Fig.4: View of small triangular concreted space and railings preceding the sandstone base of the
building.

Fig.5: View from rear courtyard showing thoroughfare of central hallway. Note plain gothic window
arrangement with weatherboard extension, and original kitchen wing at right.

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Fig.6: Kitchen wing, showing original window opening but replacement window

Fig.7:Laundry addition, appended to the kitchen wing.

Fig.8: View of former enclosed verandah with narrow drive between the subject building and the
adjoining property. Note weatherboard and brick enclosure of original verandah.

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Fig.9: Detail of alterations, showing poor quality brickwork, use of weatherboard, deterioration of timbers
and holes in fabric

Fig.10: View of narrow driveway, with metal-grilled openings cut into the original sandstone base of the
building.

Fig.11: View showing rear yard and carport

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Fig.12: View of main central hallway, with doors leading through to the lounge and dining rooms. The
stairwell at left lead to the upper floor.

Fig.13: view of combined main lounge and dining rooms

Fig.14: view of living room, showing pillars and changes in timber flooring that give evidence of the
former room division. Note marble fireplace at rear.

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Fig.15: Ceiling rose with modern light fitting

Fig.16: Fireplace in ground floor front children’s bedroom

Fig.17: Rear bedroom, with original fireplace and windows

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Fig.18: Dining room French doors opening through to original kitchen wing

Fig.19: Kitchen wing, with original stone walls and grille, and alterations to the fittings.

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Fig.20: View showing original mesh and timber door between the dining room and kitchen wing. Note
enclosure of fabric above the doorframe.

Fig.21 Former threshold showing wear, located at end of the central hallway.

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Fig.22: First floor landing, with bedrooms located either side of railed corridor.

Fig.23: Upper floor bedroom opening onto the landing, with service space through the small cupboard at
right.

Fig.24: View of upper level bedroom, showing bisection of gothic window. Note poor quality of wall
fabric

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2.2 SITE CONTEXT


The subject site is located on the east side of Birchgrove Road near Macquarie Terrace.
Adjacent to the property are two heritage items, situated on either side of the building.
Combined, the three buildings create a group with townscape and visual merit:
• 75 Birchgrove Road, “St Kilda”, is a single storey residence constructed in 1882 and
believed to have an association with the subject site.
• 79 Birchgrove Road is a Victorian Filigree terrace with timber balcony over the
footpath and iron lace decoration. Constructed in 1889, it functioned as a corner
shop, stationer and confectioners store at various internals.
Along the streetscape the majority of buildings are single and double storey residences,
dating predominantly from the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. A number of these
structures show evidence of significant alterations and additions to the fabric. On the opposite
side of Birchgrove Road is the public school, opened in 1885, and a series of Victorian
buildings with Italianate, Filigree and other late nineteenth century architectural features.
These are consistent with the overall characteristics of the Conservation Area.

Fig.25: View of local heritage item (79 Birchgrove Road) adjacent to subject site

Fig.26: View along Birchgrove Road showing streetscape and Birchgrove Road Public School

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Fig.27: View of 75 Birchgrove Road

Fig.28: View along Birchgrove Road

Fig.29: Properties on the west side of Birchgrove Road

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3.0 HISTORY

The subject site was part of 550 acres granted to assistant surgeon William Balmain on 26th
April, 1800 by Governor Hunter. Balmain arrived in New South Wales as a surgeon’s mate
aboard the convict transport Alexander, with the First Fleet.1 By 1796 Balmain’s services were
indispensable to the colony, also acting as magistrate, customs collector and gentleman
farmer in addition to various civic responsibilities including a member of the Orphan House
Committee. In this year he was also appointed principal surgeon, to replace John White.2 In
return for his services, Balmain was granted 426 acres of land near Parramatta, 270 acres
near Windsor, and 550 acres which later bore his name, but at the time was known as
Gilchrist Place. This was adjacent to land granted to private George Whitfield – land acquired
by John Birch and ultimately supplying the suburb name of Birchgrove.

Fig. 22: William Balmain, from the reproduction


of the portrait by Thomas Parkinson. Source:
Reynolds and Flottmann, Half a thousand Acres, p.19.

Due to Balmain’s ownership and inheritance issues, the development of the Balmain area
was negligible until the 1830s given the difficulties in transportation to and from the area. The
Birchgrove-Balmain area had begun from the mid-nineteenth century to reflect an increasingly
industrial aspect, due in large part to the activities of Thomas Sutcliffe Mort. In 1854 he
established a drydock in Waterview Street, Balmain, and later added coal sheds, engineering
shops and ship building yards.

With the gradual introduction of more commercial concerns, the character of the area
changed to a more industrialized nature.3 In the 1870s, as with many suburbs, the Balmain
area rapidly increased in population; in the ten year period 1870-1880, Balmain’s population
jumped 150 percent, as Balmain became increasingly associated with timber, engineering,
the Glebe Island abattoir and the waterfront. Those houses being erected to accommodate

1
P. Reynolds and R. Irving, Balmain in Time: A Record of an Historic Suburb and some of its Buildings,
p.5.
2
Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 1, p.51-52.
3
F Pollen, History of Sydney Suburbs, p.15.

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this burgeoning community were typically of wood, while elsewhere in suburban areas of
Sydney, domestic residences were more often of brick structures.4 Consequently, Balmain
and Birchgrove were considered “principally a working man’s suburb, but several very pretty
[marine villas are] situated near Snail’s Bay.”5

In the 1920s most new householders were ambitious to acquire a house and garden in the
outer suburbs of Sydney; the inner terrace suburbs were crowded and increasingly
considered to be in deteriorating condition. During the interwar boom period, domestic
residence relocated away from the inner city, resulting in a widespread decline in inner
Sydney populations. As with most other inner city municipalities (with the exception of
Waterloo), the Balmain/Birchgrove area suffered a nine percent loss in population between
the years 1921-1929. This relocation was exacerbated by the dominance of industry in the
vicinity, which also contributed to a stigma of Birchgrove/Balmain as a slum suburb. In
December 1936, a Housing Conditions Investigation Committee Report on Sydney slum
areas identified Balmain as one of many centres of urban decay. This, according to the report,
could be avoided by demolishing and rebuilding in according with specific guidelines.6
Birchgrove-Balmain was one of several suburbs that witnessed the phenomenon of industrial
concentration in particular suburbs. The main disadvantages of the slum suburbs were
attributed to the debilitating effects of industry, warehousing and heavy traffic, particularly
around wharves and dock structures. This last in particular applied to the Birchgrove-Balmain
vicinity at the close of World War II, when government statistics found that 10,170 workers
were employed in its local industries.

The postwar era saw a change in attitude towards these alleged slum suburbs; signs of
rejuvenation began to appear, fostered by the Cumberland Planning Scheme but abruptly
quashed when Balmain Council was forcibly amalgamated with Leichhardt Council in 1947.7
From the early 1960s, the vicinity in and around Balmain began to experience a process of
gentrification. This was exemplified by the demolition of Birch Grove House in 1967 to make
way for home units.8 By the end of the 1970s, the slum stigma was gone. This changing
perspective influenced a change in the character of Birchgrove and its surrounds.

In the 1980s, Sydney saw an extraordinary number of industrial closures. This included the
Unilever plant at Balmain in 1988, once the largest soap manufactory in the southern
hemisphere. Such closures were followed in the 1990s by mass relocation of industrial firms
away from the Balmain area’s harbourside land, such as the Caltex plant at Ballast Point. This
dismantling of the industrial aspects meant that the waterfront land was available for

4
P. Ashton, Sydney takes Shape, p.32.
5
How to Know Sydney, (1895), cited in Ashton, Sydney Takes Shape, p.45.
6
P. Spearrit, Sydney’s Century, p.70.
7
Reynolds, Balmain in Time, p.4.
8
J. Hughes, Demolished Houses of Sydney, p.97.

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redevelopment, with wharves and warehouses making way for town houses and apartment
blocks, many with waterviews.9

History of the Subject site


The subject site was part of the land originally granted to William Balmain in April 1800. On 7th
July 1801 Balmain transferred ownership of the 550 acres to John Borthwick Gilchrist for a
token sum. From the available evidence, the most common theory accounting for the name of
the property – Gilchrist Place – and its discreet sale to John Gilchrist relates to settlement of
debts incurred in illegal trade. Gilchrist, a Calcutta merchant and later scholar/professor in
Hindustani, conceivably aided Balmain in acquiring Indian goods including sugar, tea and
other basic supplies.10 These were typically resold in the New South Wales colony in spite of
a prohibition against such transactions. Hunter’s grant specified that the 550 acres was “to be
known by the name of Gilchrist’s Place, and to be held…[by] William Balmain” as grants could
not be issued to persons residing outside the colony. Balmain himself died in late 1803; his
heir to the 550 acres first advertised the first sale and subdivision of twenty-two lots of the
Balmain Estate in 1836.11 Gilchrist died in January 1841, with Trustees to oversee his will.

The conveyance from Balmain to Gilchrist was unknown to Balmain’s heirs, his de facto wife
Margaret Dawson and her three children;12 the advertisement for sale of the land, inserted in
the Sydney Morning Herald by the Trustees of Gilchrist’s estate, caused great confusion. In
addition, Gilchrist’s heirs discovered that the land was to be used “for the benefit, and
advancement, and propagation of education and learning in every part of the world.” Both the
Supreme Court of New South Wales (1842), and the High Court of Chancery, England
(1857), upheld the terms of Gilchrist’s will in spite of years to protracted appeal by his family.13

The Trustees of the Gilchrist Estate sold allotments of land for a thirty year period dating from
1852, when Thomas Mort was authorized by the Trustee to advertise seventeen lots for
sale.14 This included the subject site. Two intensive periods of sale were carried out between
1860-69, and 1870-1882, after the Trustees were effectively free to commence their work.

The property was subdivided as part of the breakup of the Balmain Estate, being carried out
under the original Lot 7 of Section 27.15 The land, together with surrounding property
extending to Curtis Street, was purchased by William Wiseman Buddle, local shipwright. The
buddle family appeared to live at what was then number 87 Birchgrove Road, close to the
subject site. As surveyed by M Lucas, the property was vacant on 14th May 1887; the Sands

9
Spearrit, Sydney’s Century, p.202.
10
P. Reynolds and P. Flottmann, Half a Thousand Acres: Balmain, a history of the land grant, p.29.
11
Reynolds and Flottmann, Half a thousand acres, p.58.
12
Australian Dictionary of Biography, p.52.
13
Reynolds and Flottmann, Half a thousand acres, pp.52-61; 63.
14
Ibid., p.65.
15
BK3022, No.453, Land and Property Information.

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Sydney Directory indicates that the subject building did not exist in that year or the following
year of 1888.

Fig.23: 1887 Survey, showing vacant land

77 Birchgrove Road was constructed in 1889 by the Buddle family as a small Victorian
Regency cottage with central Rustic Gothic elements. At the rear of the building was a small
asymmetrical kitchen wing, with the remainder of that elevation occupied by the small back
verandah. In the rear corner of the property was an outdoor w.c.

Buddle devised a will in November 1880, by which the trustees and executors were William
Alfred and John George Buddle, shipwright surveyor. The elder Buddle died on 3rd March,
1886, and his sons assumed control over the property. John George Buddle nominated his
wife Hannah and sons William Wiseman Buddle (Jnr) and Nathaniel Prestage Buddle as his
trustees for the estate, prior to his death in 1909. Following a Supreme Court judgment, the
estate was passed to Hannah and Nathaniel Buddle, who gradually sold off parts of the estate
piecemeal.

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Occupants of the subject property, known in the early phases from its 1889 as number 83 and
later 77, included:
• Reverend W. A Charlton (Church of England; St Johns) (1890-1891)
• Unoccupied (1892)
• Mrs Edridge (1893)
• Mrs Evans, stationer (c.1895)
• F. Thomas (1896-1902)
• Charles Smales (1904)
• William Towson (c.1906-1910)
• Edmund White, shipwright (1912)16

The adjacent property, being the corner terrace, was predominantly used during this period as
a stationers until 1910, and then as a grocer and confectioner’s store in 1912. The local
stationer, Mrs Evans, appears to also have been resident in the cottage for some time, as
noted during a late nineteenth/early twentieth century water board survey plan which shows
the Evans’ occupying both shop and cottage. This does not strictly conform with the available
information from the Sands Directory, but confusion may relate to the repeated changing of
house numbers along Birchgrove Road and incomplete data available during this period.

The property was extracted from the Buddle Estate and sold on 2nd June 1913 to billiard
saloon proprietor Joseph Andreoli, who took up residence in the property.17 It appeared that
at the time of Andreoli’s purchase, the building still retained its original form, with its front and
rear verandahs. Andreoli transferred rights to easements over to his neighbour at number 81
“St Kilda”, Osborne Hickey Chidgey, in that same year. Chidgey was identified in the Sands
Directory as living at No.81 at least as early as 1908 and probably dating back to the turn of
the century.

16
See Sands Sydney Directory for the above years.
17
Vol.2370 Folio 250.

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Fig.24: 77 Birchgrove Road, at time of purchase by J. Andreoli, Vol.2370 F.250.

The property was mortgaged on 8th February 1929 to orchardist Peter Clarke of St Ives,18
which may have funded a portion of the changes to the building fabric. Alterations to the
property during the early part of the twentieth century included the partial enclosure of the
rear verandah to accommodate construction of a brick addition at the rear of the building. This
appeared to be an extension used for w.c. purposes following the 1899 sewering of local
properties, with the outdoor w.c. demolished and not shown on water board survey plans.
Later additions to the property involved the full enclosure of the former verandah using
weatherboard fabric to create a sunroom, the construction of a brick extension to the rear of
the kitchen wing and the erection of a car port at the rear boundary of the property on the site
of the former w.c., completed prior to 1950.

18
No.B 780308, Vol.2370, F.250.

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Fig.25: Survey showing partial brick enclosure of verandah for w.c. Note absence of outdoor w.c. along
rear boundary line. PWD 262 1544 Water Board Survey, Sydney Water.

Enclosure of
verandah

Brick
extension to
kitchen wing

Car port at rear


boundary

Fig 26: Pre-1950 survey showing full enclosure of the rear verandah, extension to rear of
kitchen wing and construction of car port. BW 138 INSP, Sydney Water Board.

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It would appear that Andreoli died without a will in the early 1940s, and control over the
property was assumed by the Public Trustee in the interim. The mortgage on the property
was eventually discharged when the site was purchased by Balmain fish merchant Cecil
Arthur Pearce and his wife Beryl Rose, on 28th April 1952.19 At the time of purchase, Beryl
was in the position of Director of War Service Homes, as noted during the documentation for
a mortgage contracted in conjunction with the transfer. This mortgage was discharged on 20th
September 1965.

The property was sold by the Pearce family on 20th September 2003, to Kate and Ian Myles.

19
F662789, Vol. 2370, F250.

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77 BIRCHGROVE STREET, BALMAIN HERITAGE IMPACT STATEMENT

4.0 ASSESSMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE


4.1 ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
The following assessment of significance has been prepared in accordance with the
‘Assessing Heritage Significance’ guidelines from the NSW Heritage Manual.

a) an item is important in the course, or pattern, of the local area’s cultural or natural
history
The subject site is considered to be of local heritage significance through its representation of
the development of the townscape, and through its association with the adjacent structures
comprising a heritage group and establishing a landmark and visual value on the site. The
site demonstrates the subdivision pattern of the area and the break-up of the Balmain Estate
during the late nineteenth century.

b) an item has strong or special associations with the life or works of a person, or
group of persons, of importance in the local area’s cultural or natural history
The site has associations with original grantee William Balmain. The subject building is
believed to have associations with local architect J.McDonald, although this has not been
confirmed through the available information.
The subject building may have a degree of association with the Reverend William Charlton, of
St Johns Church of England, given his residence in the building in 1890-1891.

c) an item is important in demonstrating aesthetic characteristics and/or a high


degree of creative or technical achievement in the local area
The property has architectural and aesthetic significance, being a good representative
example of domestic cottage building in the Balmain area from the late nineteenth century. It
has clear Victorian Regency and gothic elements that are evident across all elevations of the
structure. Key architectural influences have been retained and the layout of the building is still
readable despite alterations and additions to the rear of the structure.

d) an item has strong or special association with a particular community or cultural


group in the local area for social, cultural or spiritual reasons
The property has social significance through its relationship with the former corner shop and
as part of a group. It has significance through its accommodation of a range of tenants from
various occupations, representative of the Balmain demographic.

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e) an item has potential to yield information that will contribute to an understanding


of the local area’s cultural or natural history
The property is not considered to have archaeological potential.

f) an item possesses uncommon, rare or endangered aspects of the local area’s


cultural or natural history
The cottage is a good surviving example of a late nineteenth century Regency style cottage,
with remnant gothic influences. Domestic residences of the period have become endangered
within the inner city, and the subject building demonstrates a high quality and comparatively
intact specimen of its form.

g) an item is important in demonstrating the principal characteristics of a class of the


local area’s
• cultural or natural places; or
• cultural or natural environments
The dwelling exemplifies the domestic architectural forms prevalent in the Balmain area in the
late nineteenth century period. It has merit for its visual contribution to the local streetscape
and for its architectural integrity.

4.2 STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE

The existing dwelling at 77 Birchgrove Road is a single storeyed brick structure with
sandstone base that makes a significant contribution to the local landscape. Constructed in
1889 and possibly associated by local architect J. MacDonald, it is of Victorian Regency
architectural style, with rustic gothic influences emerging prominently in the dormer window
and decorated bargeboard. It is a good and intact example of a late nineteenth century
cottage, representative of those in the Balmain area. The building has aesthetic and
architectural merit, and is of value both as an individual item and as part of a group of
structures.

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5.0 THE PROPOSAL

It is proposed to carry out alterations and additions to the property, relative to the interior of
the building and to the rear of the cottage. The proposed works have been designed by
Melocco and Moore, Architects. The following is a summary description only of the proposed
new works. For specific details refer to the submitted architectural plans. In summary, the
proposed works comprise:

Ground Floor Interior: General


• Retention of original room layout and window arrangements
• Retention of timber flooring and other original fabric
• Retention of original hallway and stairs, walls and thresholds.

Dining and living rooms


• In living and dining rooms, the retention of original fireplaces, mantles and hearths,
door openings and frames, and floor timbers.
• Retention of existing room layout
• Repair and make good to walls
• Demolish piers to sides of existing room opening and make good to floor
• Patch and make good existing timber floor

Bedroom 1
• Removal of fireplace mantle and hearth, with retention of chimney; sealing of fireplace
and make good to wall
• Removal of existing carpet and make good to floorboards

Bedroom 2
• Removal of fireplace mantle and hearth, with retention of chimney; sealing of fireplace
and make good to wall
• Demolition of floor and floor structure to allow for sunken study and new ensuite floor

Bath & Sunroom


• Demolition of rear bath and sunroom to create courtyard
• Demolition of sunroom end cupboard to be absorbed into kitchen

Kitchen & Laundry


• Demolish part kitchen wall; insertion of island bench
• New window to kitchen

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77 BIRCHGROVE STREET, BALMAIN HERITAGE IMPACT STATEMENT

• Demolish kitchen fireplace, with retention of chimney. Rangehood to duct out through
existing chimney
• New instantaneous gas hot water to service kitchen and laundry
• Retention of existing boundary wall
• Demolition of rear laundry structure

First Floor Interior


• Demolition of walls and make good to all ceilings to suit new works
• Demolition of landing cupboards
• Removal of existing carpet and make good for new carpet
• Demolition of existing floor to storage area under roof line
• Demolish part wall to allow for new door, and demolish roof to sunroom.
• Insertion of new interior walls for creation of three bedrooms
• Insertion of new skylights over Bedrooms 2 and 4
• Insertion of new bathroom and fittings, and window to bathroom

General Exterior
• Retention of existing façade of cottage as currently presented to Birchgrove Road
• Retention of front fence and associated piers
• Double glazing to existing front windows
• Demolition of raised concrete to front yard
• Demolition of existing driveway and drive gates. New automatic gates. Excavation of
driveway to required level
• Existing hot water unit to be recessed into driveway wall
• New a/c condenser located under bbq concealed by timber battens
• Demolition of rear courtyard retaining walls, landscaping and paved courtyard
• Demolition of existing rear car port and concrete slab.
• New timber batten fence to boundary
• Creation of new living, garage, laundry and store space behind the original cottage,
with paved covered area, and timber sunscreen over

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6.0 HERITAGE IMPACT ASSESSMENT


6.1 STATUTORY CONTROLS
The existing property at 77 Birchgrove Road is a local heritage item located within a
Conservation Area, as gazetted under the Leichhardt Local Environmental Plan (2000), and
as within the boundaries of the Birchgrove/Elkington Park Distinctive Neighbourhood, outlined
within the Development Control Plan.

6.2 LEICHHARDT LEP (2000)


The proposed works involve alterations and additions to the rear and to the interior of the
building. The building is a heritage item, and located within the vicinity of other Heritage
Items, being adjacent to 75 and 79 Birchgrove Road and in close proximity to the Birchgrove
Public School. Consideration of the LEP is therefore required. The proposal is addressed
below in relation to the relevant clauses of the LEP.

LEP (2000), CLAUSE (16) THIS PROPOSAL RELATES TO THESE MATTERS AS


FOLLOWS:

(2) Consent must not be granted for any • This heritage impact statement assesses the
development in respect of a heritage proposed works to 77 Birchgrove Road in
item unless the consent authority has compliance with LEP guidelines. It is
assessed a statement that: considered that this building, a local heritage
a) describes the significance of the item, makes a visual contribution to the
heritage item as part of the streetscape as existing. The proposed works
environmental heritage of Leichhardt, are not considered, in the opinion of City Plan
b) addresses the extent of the impact of Heritage, to compromise the heritage value or
the development on the conservation significance of the building, or to denigrate its
and heritage significance of the item in contribution to the streetscape or interfere
terms of (i) its fabric; (ii) age of the with the historical subdivision pattern. Works
building or structure; (iii) stylistic or do not affect its primary elevation, views or
horticultural features of its setting; (iv) key original elements. Demolition generally
potential for archaeology; (v) historic relates to fabric that has been added during
subdivision pattern in the vicinity; and the twentieth century and has no significance,
c) sets out any steps to be taken to with the exception of a small section of
mitigate any adverse impact of the kitchen wall and to the secondary fireplaces
proposed development on the in the ground floor bedroom. However, the
environmental heritage of Leichhardt. primary fireplaces are retained and in good
order, and the majority of the original kitchen

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LEP (2000), CLAUSE (16) THIS PROPOSAL RELATES TO THESE MATTERS AS


FOLLOWS:

wing will be retained, except for later inserted


material.
(6) Nothing in the Plan prevents consent • The proposed works continue the domestic
from being granted for the use of a use of the building and do not affect the
heritage item for any purpose, if the heritage significance of the item. Works will
consent authority is satisfied that: alleviate damage caused to the building
a) the proposed use would not adversely through successive additions during the
affect the heritage significance of the twentieth century that are of poor condition
item, and and quality, to be replaced with a sensitive
b) the proposed use will ensure the design that responds to the character of the
conservation of the heritage item, where building without compromising its heritage
it is a building, and value. The proposal will not have an adverse
c) the amenity of the area will not be affect on the amenity of the area.
adversely affected.
(7) Consent must not be granted for • The proposed works to the rear of the
development on land in the vicinity of a building do not have a negative impact on the
heritage item, unless the consent heritage item, or on views to or from the
authority has made an assessment of heritage item, or from neighbouring heritage
the effect the carrying out of that items within the Conservation Area.
development will have on the heritage
significance of the heritage item and its
setting as well as on any significant
views to and from the heritage item.
(8) Consent must not be granted for the • The proposed works to the subject building
demolition, reconstruction, adaptation or comply with guidelines for the Conservation
erections of a building, the carrying out Area, in relation to design, scale, bulk, form,
of a work, or the subdivision of land, orientation, materials, and landscaping. It is of
within a conservation area unless the small scale to fit in with the neighbourhood
consent authority has made an and is of sympathetic design and using
assessment of the extent to which the complementary materials to blend
carrying out of the development would harmoniously with the existing 1889 cottage.
affect the heritage significance of the The alterations and additions are set back
conservation area, with particular regard from the street, so that views of the cottage
to: are not overwhelmed by the new work. Fabric
a) the heritage significance of any will be light and modern and readily
building, work, relic, tree or place, distinguishable from the original, so that the
archaeological site or potential form of the cottage can be easily read.
archaeological site or aboriginal site that

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LEP (2000), CLAUSE (16) THIS PROPOSAL RELATES TO THESE MATTERS AS


FOLLOWS:

would be affected, and the contribution it


makes to the conservation area, and
b) the compatibility of the proposed
development with the conservation area,
including the size, form, scale,
orientation, siting, materials, landscaping
and details of the proposed
development.

6.3 LEICHHARDT DCP (2000)

The Leichhardt DCP (as amended, March 2003) deals with Balmain’s Conservation Areas
and identifies distinctive neighbourhoods with particular characteristics and desirable
attributes.
The Birchgrove Distinctive Neighbourhood is now a residential area with scattered corner
shops, schools and remnant maritime industry. In the decades since 1940, the variety of
housing has increased to include blocks of walkup flats, converted shops and townhouses.
This is in addition to the majority of houses, which remain much as they were originally
constructed in earlier periods of settlement.
… On the upper slopes, south of Macquarie Terrace, the housing styles include single and
double storey houses dating from the initial period of development around 1860. These
houses are generally built in the Victorian style with rendered finish and slate or iron roofing.
The front setbacks vary from 1m to 4m and many have mature trees in the front yards….
….Subdivision patterns throughout the neighbourhood are typical of the Balmain area, with
the preference for long narrow lots in the English tradition…
In the southern portion of the neighbourhood there are a variety of housing styles without the
diversity of size found in the northern portion of the neighbourhood. In the vicinity of Cardwell
and Glassop Streets there are a range of housing styles including terraces and freestanding
dwellings with the following predominant characteristics:
• Two storey in scale, front setbacks less than 2.5m,
• Open picket fences
• Mature landscaping on private land and on most streets
• Pitched or gabled roofs (although all styles of roof are in evidence to some degree)
• No driveway crossings
• Brick or render, timber and stone construction
• Timber doors and windows as well as slate, tile or iron roofs

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The following table addresses the relevant DCP Controls to the Birchgrove Neighbourhood
within the Conservation Area.

DCP (2000), CONTROLS THIS PROPOSAL RELATES TO THESE MATTERS AS


FOLLOWS:

Changes to the front facades of existing • The proposed works comply with this control,
dwellings shall be kept to a minimum with works relating to the rear of the original
with additions to the rear of dwellings cottage. The only changes to the front façade
preferred. involve window glazing, new driveway gates
and the removal of unsympathetic and
intrusive concreting that was added during
the twentieth century.
New/expanded driveway crossings shall • The proposed changes to the driveway do not
be discouraged. Driveway crossings will involve excavation of sandstone elements
only be supported where they are and will remain a single car garage and drive,
servicing single width garages and they which is consistent with the existing fabric but
do not involve excavation of sandstone carried out in a carefully designed treatment
features that incorporates the heritage needs of the
building.
New development shall maintain the use • New roof fabric relates to the rear of the
of hipped, pitched or gabled roof forms property and will not be intrusive or affect the
and designs shall be complementary to dominant roof forms of the existing original
the existing unadorned building form. cottage. The proposed works will blend with
Flat roofs may be appropriate where the the existing roof in a simple and appropriate
style of architecture is contemporary and manner. View lines within the Conservation
view lines may be affected. Area will not be affected by the proposed
works.
Building materials used shall be • Materials for the proposed works are
consistent with the existing character of considered to be sensitive to the character of
the streetscape, including rendered and the Conservation Area and its streetscape,
painted surfaces and roof materials such with new fabric distinguishable from old, but
as corrugated iron as well as timber are not visually invasive or overwhelming.
windows. The new fabric is to be clearly distinct from
the cottage fabric, and complies with the
controls for the Neighbourhood.
Retain existing stone houses and walls • The proposed works have no impact on the
and exposed rockface. stonework of the cottage, with its current
street presentation to be fully retained.

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DCP (2000), CONTROLS THIS PROPOSAL RELATES TO THESE MATTERS AS


FOLLOWS:

Development visible from the water is to • The proposed works are not visible from the
be designed to preserve the water and will not affect the conservation
conservation values of the area. When values of the area. The proposal will have no
viewed from the water a balance impact on the public domain or views to and
between built form and landscape is to from the property.
be achieved/maintained through side
setbacks and landscaping. Where
development is visible from the water
details of that view are to be submitted
with the development application.

6.4 ‘STATEMENTS OF HERITAGE IMPACT’ (NSW HERITAGE MANUAL)

The following table addresses the proposal in relation to relevant ‘questions to be answered’
in the NSW Heritage Manual ‘Statements of Heritage Impact’ guidelines relating to major
partial demolition (including internal elements) of a building or structure.

QUESTIONS TO BE ANSWERED THIS PROPOSAL RELATES TO THESE QUESTIONS AS


FOLLOWS:

Is the demolition essential for the • Demolition relates principally to the removal
heritage item to function? of later fabric added to the cottage during the
twentieth century. Demolition of the sunroom,
bathroom and laundry has no affect in
heritage terms. Small elements of original
fabric (a portion of the kitchen wall; bedroom
fireplace mantles and hearths) are to be
removed but are not considered of primary
heritage significance and integral to
understanding the cottage. The building
retains its key fireplaces and the majority of
the original kitchen fabric, with the resulting
new work expected to add amenity and
functionality to the heritage item without
negating its significance

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QUESTIONS TO BE ANSWERED THIS PROPOSAL RELATES TO THESE QUESTIONS AS


FOLLOWS:

Are important features of the item • Two fireplace mantles and hearths are
affected by the demolition (e.g. proposed for removal from the building.
fireplaces in buildings)? These are secondary fireplaces, of which one
is in deteriorating condition. The principal
marble fireplaces in the living and dining
rooms are to be retained, so that the loss of
the minor mantles and hearths are considered
acceptable. The other important features of
the heritage item are not affected by
demolition works.

Is the resolution to partially demolish • The proposed demolition has been evaluated
sympathetic to the heritage significance as contributory to the overall value of the
of the item (e.g. creating large square heritage significance of the item, through
openings in internal walls rather than removal of intrusive poor quality twentieth
removing the wall altogether)? century additions. This includes the removal
of the interior walls of the former attic space,
which is shown to be a poor quality alteration
that requires significant work to remedy.

If the partial demolition is a result of the • The proposed demolition of the laundry,
condition of the fabric, is it certain that sunroom and bathroom relate partially to the
the fabric cannot be repaired? fabric condition, but the fabric is intrusive and
has no heritage value. Repair or retention is
thus unwarranted, and a modern addition can
be added to the rear that responds to the
heritage and character of the building.

The following table addresses the proposal in relation to relevant ‘questions to be answered’
in the NSW Heritage Manual ‘Statements of Heritage Impact’ guidelines relating to major
additions to a building or structure.

QUESTIONS TO BE ANSWERED THIS PROPOSAL RELATES TO THESE QUESTIONS AS


FOLLOWS:

How is the impact of the addition on the • The additions to the building are situated to
heritage significance of the item to be the rear of the original cottage and thus
minimised? having no impact on the significance or visual
contribution of the cottage to its streetscape.
Internal alterations relate to less significant

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QUESTIONS TO BE ANSWERED THIS PROPOSAL RELATES TO THESE QUESTIONS AS


FOLLOWS:

fabric in the private rooms of the house, while


the major rooms (living, dining) retain their
essential character. Changes to the kitchen
fabric apply to the inserted window
arrangement portion of the wall only, with this
section of wall to be removed to allow for the
creation of a new courtyard providing
increased amenity. The majority of the kitchen
structure however has been retained to
continue its role.

Can the additional area be located within • The additional area cannot be located within
an existing structure? If no, why not? the existing given the restricted space
available internally. Expansion to the rear will
both follow an historic pattern of evolution of
the site, and will make use of a visually
detracting portion of the rear yard.

Will the additions tend to visually • The additions to the rear will not dominate the
dominate the heritage item? heritage item, so that it can maintain its
present contribution to Birchgrove Road and
the Conservation Area.

Are the additions sited on any known, or • The proposed additions at the rear of the
potentially significant archaeological property are not sited on any known or
deposits? If so, have alternative potential deposits.
positions for the additions been
considered?

Are the additions sympathetic to the • The proposed works are considered
heritage item? In what way (e.g. form, sympathetic in that the design has considered
proportions, design)? the individual nature of the cottage and left it
to continue its form. The new work is a neat
adaptation of the historic pattern of use to the
rear of the building and is low in scale and
well-proportioned to accommodate the
primary heritage needs of the cottage.

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7.0 CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS

In conclusion, it is considered by City Plan Heritage that the proposed works, including
demolition of added fabric to allow for the creation of an extension to the cottage at the rear of
the building, will not have a negative impact on the heritage item at 77 Birchgrove Road, nor
on its contribution and significance to the local conservation area or heritage items in the
vicinity. The proposed rear extensions and internal alterations to the cottage will have no
impact on the visual presentation of the cottage and will positively contribute to the
functionality of the dwelling without overwhelming or dominating the building. The proposal
demonstrates compliance with the existing controls regarding heritage conservation and is
therefore recommended to Council for approval.

CITY PLAN HERITAGE


June 2005

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