| ||'Boronia' is an excellent example of a substantial villa in the Victorian Filigree style on a site of ample frontage. The handsome symmetry of the house is complemented by the open garden and the stone and iron front fence. The building and its setting are in excellent condition.
Boronia has local significance as a landmark building set within a large and well-landscaped garden on Military Road, and as it is a fine example of a late Victorian villa. The place is significant as an example of the second phase of Victorian development that took place along the Mosman ridge, which was characterised by affluent and successful business people purchasing large allotments along newly opened roads, and constructing grand residences away from the Sydney CBD. Due to the long term ownership of the place by the Godwin family, followed by the Council and the resulting lack of development, the place is
significant for its ability to reveal the original 1855 Crown Grant to Vinzenz Zahel and subsequent purchase and subdivision by John and James Kearey in 1885.
The place is significant for its association with Zahel, the Kearey brothers, and the Godwin family, who were prominent people in the Mosman area. The place has some significance for the attributed associations with prominent architects Sheerin & Hennessy, although this is not confirmed, and Richard Hayes Harnett, a wealthy land owner and speculator in Mosman. The
site contains a plaque and commemorative Magnolia Soulangiana that was planted in memory of Nella Mary Kelly, a founding member of the Sydney Harbour and Pacific Garden Clubs. Although altered, the Victorian character of the building is largely intact especially externally, evident in the formal symmetrical composition of the building, the expressed entry, slate roof, prominent front door and highlights with coloured glass, timber French doors, and, the cast iron columns and verandah decoration. The garden setting of the building and the stone and cast iron front fence, are complementary to the aesthetic significance of the building, and the carriage loop is a locally rare remnant of a Victorian custom. The construction of Boronia as a pair with Telopea is also rare for Victorian villa development.
Boronia is locally significant for its use as the Mosman Library from 1952 to 1979, and is significant for its association with the Mosman Library and Council Staff who in 1945 were the first local council in NSW to adopt the new Library Act and the second council to provide a free community library service. The purchase of the place by Council is also significant as a heritage building with an intended public use as a cultural building and public gardens close to public transport and the Spit Junction Town Centre.
Boronia is held in high esteem by the Mosman community and has local significance for its strong social associations with Community groups who have continued to advocate the
conservation and retention of the place for public use. The activism has been a catalyst for other community action in the area and other places. The use of the place is significant as a public building and park which has been the site of many community celebrations and events which mark the phases of life.
Due to public access, the place has some technical significance for potential interpretation and education about the historical context of the building, construction methods, style and design of the place.
Though individual aspects of Boronia’s significance are at a local level the wide range of values, particularly its social significance, leads to it being assessed overall as being of state significance.