St Thomas’ Church Group | NSW Environment & Heritage

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Heritage

St Thomas’ Church Group

Item details

Name of item: St Thomas’ Church Group
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Religion
Category: Other - Religion
Primary address: 668 Darling Street, Rozelle, NSW 2039
County: Cumberland
Local govt. area: Leichhardt
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
668 Darling StreetRozelleLeichhardt CumberlandPrimary Address

Statement of significance:

The St Thomas Church group at No. 668 Darling Street is of local historic, aesthetic and social significance as a good and intact representative example of a late Victorian period suburban Anglican Church group constructed from 1874. The Church (1874) is a good example of a Victorian Gothic style building that retains its original modest scale, form, character and details including brick facades, bell tower and buttresses and associated rendered details, roof form, wings and pointed arched openings. The Rectory is a good and intact example of the Federation Filigree style dwelling that also retains its original scale, form, character and details including brick facades and associated brick and rendered details, corner bay, roof form and chimneys, open verandah and balcony and cast iron details and pattern of openings. Despite subdivision of part of the original site, the buildings occupy a relatively large site, near a busy and major intersection. The buildings and associated structures have undergone some additions and modifications however remain as an intact group and are enhanced by large and mature trees and open curtilage and yard. St Thomas Church is one of the major landmarks in Darling Street and with the front fence and lych gate makes a positive contribution to the streetscape.

Note: This inventory sheet is not intended to be a definitive study of the heritage item, therefore information may not be accurate and complete. The information should be regarded as a general guide. Further research is always recommended as part of the preparation of development proposals for heritage items.
Date significance updated: 28 Nov 11
Note: There are incomplete details for a number of items listed in NSW. The Heritage Division intends to develop or upgrade statements of significance and other information for these items as resources become available.

Description

Construction years: 1874-1941
Physical description: The group comprises of three main buildings which occupy the L shaped site which extends between Darling Street and Victoria Road and is bounded by a laneway extending from National Street to Prosper Street.
St Thomas’s Church faces Darling Street and is a single storey painted brick structure on rendered base with brick and rendered buttresses and steep pitched gable roof clad in corrugated steel. The front façade facing the street features simple bell tower and two long pointed arched leaded windows with rendered surround. The building is constructed on an angle. The north eastern façade has two gable roofed projections with timber details to the gable ends and pointed arched timber panelled doors with rendered surround and stone and concrete threshold. A small flat roofed vestry with single door opening is located at the north eastern corner of the building. The side facades also feature pointed arched leaded windows with rendered facades with two long openings at the rear. Another gable roofed projection extends from the southern corner of the building and abuts the child care centre located in the southern arm of the site. The Church is setback from the Darling Street frontage which has decorative stone piers and palisade gate and fence on stone base. A timber lych-gate with gabled roof clad in slates is located over the central gates and Darling Street entry to the site. A fence separates the Church from the Rectory with gate also located between the Church grounds and child care centre and hall at the rear. Asphalted paving and car parking area surrounds the building. The front and side of the Church area also features some ornamental plantings and trees.
The Child Care centre is a single storey face and painted brick structure with gable roof clad in terracotta tiles and skillion and flat roofed sections clad in corrugated steel. The building also has L shaped footprint with play areas with mature trees and planting located on both sides of the building. The building is setback from the Victoria Road frontage which has a high steel pipe and mesh fence on painted brick base/ retaining wall. The site is elevated above Victoria Street level and billboards have also been attached to the fence.
A Rectory is also located at the rear of the Church and in the north eastern section of the site. The Rectory is a two storey painted brick dwelling with rendered base, hipped roof clad in slates and brick chimneys with highly decorative rendered details and terracotta pots. The front façade faces the rear laneway and has an open verandah with cast iron posts supporting the balcony over which also has cast iron posts, lace balustrade and hipped roof clad in corrugated steel. The verandah and balcony are bounded by a hipped projection with angled faceted bay on the outer corner of the ground level. The front façade also has brick details and stringcourse, timber and glass panelled entry door with side and flat arched toplight over and timber framed double hung windows with bracketed sills and rendered lintels over. A single storey section and smaller verandah and balcony with similar details are located at the rear of the building. The building is set well back from the site boundaries which has a high timber paling and lattice fence with open yard and perimeter planting including mature plantings and large trees located along laneway which curves around the site.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
In good condition. The step on the Darling Street frontage and concrete ramp are weathered and worn. Several trees are located around the Church and contributing to leaf litter in the gutters. Some peeling and cracking of paint finishes on the Church elements, particularly the base of the building are visible. The fence and kerb along the laneway have been damaged by the tree roots.
Date condition updated:28 Nov 11
Modifications and dates: 1967: Alterations shop/ shop front (8025).
1971: Covered loading dock (10765).
1971: Relocation kitchen kindergarten (11173).
1976: Alterations kindergarten facilities (14988).
1986: Storage shed (86/83).
1992: Privacy screen, fence.
1997: Alterations and additions to church and hall. Relocation of toilets & construction of mezzanine floor & store room to church hall/ long day care centre (DA/591/1997).
1999: Addition of one outdoor toilet facility and alterations to existing internal toilet facilities at an existing child care centre ( D/1999/982, CC/2000/342)
2013 - Reconstruction of retaining wall and fence to the Prosper Lane frontage (D/2013/486)
Further information: Double glazing has been fixed to the windows on the south western façade of the Church. Vehicular entry to the Church area is via the laneway extending from National Street. Several large trees and pines are located near the laneway. A lightweight outbuilding is also located in the open yard area around the dwelling.
The Darling Street frontage is also bounded by the masonry walls of the neighbouring buildings.
Current use: Church, Rectory and Hall/ Child Care centre
Former use: Church, Rectory, School

History

Historical notes: Surgeon William Balmain was granted 550 acres and most of the area now encompassing Balmain and parts of Rozelle and Birchgrove in 1800. In 1801 the entire grant was transferred to fellow surgeon John Gilchrist. Gilchrist never actually lived in NSW and advertised the land for sale in 1823. However, the sale was not a success. He gave power of attorney to his Sydney-based agent and merchant, Frank Parbury, who commissioned Surveyor John Armstrong to subdivide part of the land. This subdivision and sale of this land took place in 1836 and commenced from the eastern end of the suburb (East Balmain) due to its proximity and convenient water access and later spread west. The early subdivision was suspended in 1841 due to difficulties associated with Gilchrist’s will, but was resumed in 1852 when Surveyor Langley divided it into 46 later 47 sections. Langley used existing routes such as Darling Street and other tracks such as Beattie and Mullens Streets, which followed the local topography and contours, to delineate the parcels. The sections were purchased over the next 30 years by wealthy investors, local speculators and builders.
The site is located in Section 12 of the 1852 subdivision.
A Sydney Water plan dated 1888 (Balmain Sheet No. 55) and revised in the 1890s shows the buildings on the site at this time. The site actually comprised the whole corner and with the Church and “Parsonage” located in the north/ north eastern section with access from Darling Street and laneway extending from National Street. A school building is also shown on the site, to the south west of the Parsonage. The School appears to have been extended and enlarged sometime between the late 1880s and mid 1890s.
Since that time part of the site at the corner of Victoria Road and Darling Street appears to have been subdivided, sold and redeveloped. The lych gate was erected on the Darling Street frontage in 1921 and from this time to 1941 the grounds were improved and new parish hall was built. The Church and Hall also appear to have been modified, extended and altered with Hall now also used as a child care facility. The original slate roof cladding to the Church has also been replaced with corrugated steel sometime since 1996.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages (none)-
6. Educating-Educating Education-Activities associated with teaching and learning by children and adults, formally and informally. (none)-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Religion-Activities associated with particular systems of faith and worship (none)-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The site and buildings are of historic significance as part of an early subdivision and late Victorian period of development with Church constructed in 1874 and Rectory following in 1882 with associated School/ Hall also initially constructed during this period. The various changes, alterations and additions to the buildings and site represent the growth and development of the local area and Anglican community.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
The site and buildings are associated with the Anglican Church and architects Edmond Blacket and Son.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The Church is of aesthetic significance as a good and highly intact example of Victorian Gothic style church that retains its original scale, form, character and details including brick facades, bell tower and buttresses and associated rendered details, roof form, wings and pointed arched openings. The Rectory is of aesthetic significance as a good and intact example of the Federation Filigree style dwelling that also retains its original scale, form, character and details including brick facades and associated brick and rendered details, corner bay, roof form and chimneys, open verandah and balcony and cast iron details and pattern of openings. Despite subdivision of part of the original site, the buildings occupy a relatively large site, near a busy and major intersection. The buildings are enhanced by large and mature trees and open curtilage and yard. St Thomas Church is one of the major landmarks in Darling Street and with the front fence and lych gate makes a positive contribution to the Darling Street streetscape.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The buildings are of social significance as an Anglican Church with associated facilities including child care centre.
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
The Church and Rectory are good, representative examples of suburban Church buildings constructed in the late Victorian period with supporting buildings dating also dating from the late Victorian through to the mid 20th century.
Integrity/Intactness: High
Assessment criteria: Items are assessed against the PDF State Heritage Register (SHR) Criteria to determine the level of significance. Refer to the Listings below for the level of statutory protection.

Recommended management:

It is recommended that: - the existing scale, form, character and details of the Church including brick facades, bell tower and buttresses and associated rendered details, roof form, wings and pointed arched openings be retained and conserved; - no new or enlargement of any openings should be undertaken to the facades of the Church; - the open area and setback of the building from the street frontage and front stone and palisade fence and lych gate should be retained and conserved; - the existing scale, form, character and details of the Rectory including brick facades and associated brick and rendered details, corner bay, roof form and chimneys, open verandah and balcony and cast iron details and pattern of openings be retained and conserved; - no new or enlargement of any openings should be undertaken to the facades of the building; - the open area and setback of the building from the lane frontages and open yard and mature trees and plantings should be retained and conserved; - any further alterations and additions should be restricted to the rear of the buildings and areas that have previously undergone some change and should not detract from the existing character and scale and presentation of the buildings to Darling Street; - further alterations to the former School/ Hall/ Child Care centre should not detract from the existing character, scale and presentation of the Church and Rectory and their curtilage.

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental Plan I74523 Dec 13   

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Leichhardt Municipality Heritage Study1990 McDonald McPhee Pty Ltd (Craig Burton, Wendy Thorp)  Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenMax Solling and Peter Reynolds1997Leichhardt: On the Margins of the City

Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Local Government
Database number: 1940795


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