Addington House | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


Addington House

Item details

Name of item: Addington House
Other name/s: New Farm
Type of item: Complex / Group
Group/Collection: Farming and Grazing
Category: Homestead Complex
Location: Lat: -33.8144969730 Long: 151.0986018240
Primary address: 813 Victoria Road, Ryde, NSW 2112
Parish: Hunters Hill
County: Cumberland
Local govt. area: Ryde
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Metropolitan
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
LOT23 DP6883
LOT24 DP6883
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
813 Victoria RoadRydeRydeHunters HillCumberlandPrimary Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
City of RydeLocal Government16 Mar 99

Statement of significance:

An important surviving example of early Australian colonial architecture. It has important historic associations with the Ryde area and the early colony. (National Trust of NSW, 1981 (sic).

Addington is the oldest surviving building in Ryde. It has associations with the early nineteenth century settlement of Ryde and it is a rare and important example in the Ryde area of vernacular farmhouse construction of the 1830s (Criteria A.4 and B.2). It has a prominent position on the main road and its architectural character, contrasting with the predominant post World War One suburban development in the vicinity, provides clear evidence of its distinctive history and rarity value (Criterion B.2). It has archaeological potential and architectural research value (Criterion C.2). (RNE, 1991)
Date significance updated: 06 Aug 02
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.


Builder/Maker: James Stewart, James Shepherd, Thomas Bowden (different sections)
Construction years: 1794-1841
Physical description: A colonial single-storey sandstone house with a brick wing at the rear and a two room attic. The hip rooves are of slate, the main roof has a rear dormer to the attic with flashing hips over the east and west wings. East wing is of rubble sandstone.

A slate rooved verandah, supported by simple rectangular posts onto stone flags, borders the house on the eastern and southern sides. Colonial shuttered French doors open onto the verandah.
(Source: National Trust (NSW), 1981)

The façade facing Victoria Road is symmetrical with three hipped roof forms; two room attic in the central portion.
There is a straight pitched verandah to the east and south supported on simple rectangular timber posts.
Roofs are of slate with portions of restored Morewood and Rogers type iron tiles.
There is a central front door and four pairs of shuttered French doors opening onto the stone flagged verandah.
External joinery and door furniture, including six panel front door and fanlight, are generally intact, but few original internal fittings have survived.
There is a stone outbuilding at the rear and a freestanding oven (J Ward) with areas of stone paving and remains of other footings. (Source: RNE, 1991)
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
External joinery is mostly intact, stone work on main portion of house appears sound.
House is substantially waterproof.
Internally most original fittings have not survived and there is some damp.
Floors and ceilings are in fair condition where not replaced.
(Source National Trust (NSW), 1981)

External joinery and door furniture, including six panel front door and fanlight, are generally intact, but few original internal fittings have survived. (Source: RNE, 1991)

Abbreviated findings of 1988 Stocks report (stage 1 of restoration works):
-an extensive area of paving was found to the rear (north) of the house and its different stages were identified. Other paths and paved areas were observed, where possible, near the cistern, stable, driveway and front (south) of house.
- the nature of the 'stable' outbuilding to the NE of the site was investigated, and it was found to be the expected size and extent, ie: a long rectangular structure running E of the privvy. Lack of a south wall and the sandstone floor packing and paving was not anticipated. Its function is interpreted to have been a doorway or open area that continued south as a driveway.
- a trench excavated in the stable provided evidence of pre-stable surface and rubbish disposal behaviour of the mid-late 19th century - yielding useful and displayable artefacts
- areas 5-8 yeilded information on aspects of Addington's construction - structural details of the dripstones feeding water into the box drain and of the ballroom floor and cistern were revealed. The ballroom's occupation deposits are well protected below ground and the area obviously has great archaeological potential.
- the area close to the cistern was revealed to have been a refuse area in late 19-20th centuries, making it another (comparable) source of info on behaviour and lifestyles of Addington's occupants
- adjacent properties to Addington also contain evidence of the earlier farm, particularly behind no.s 809, 811 and 815 Victoria Road. Any redevelopment of these houses should be noted and appropriate action taken
- the interior of Addington is capable of providing much info about its residents and change in room functions over time. No works should be done on the house without consulting the Heritage Council of NSW, and Burra Charter.
- the fact that much of the flooring of the house is presently (1988) raised in preparation for stage 2 of the restoration makes below-floor deposits very accessible for archaeol. Investigation. (perhaps more so than ever again). However unless these deposits are investigated as part of a broad and far-reaching program it is best they should be left alone, and thus preserved for the future. An adequate research design would necessitate the excavation of all the undisturbed deposits. (continues) Whole rooms must be looked at, including those in the attic.
- the large 'foreign' objects that are found on the grounds of Addington should either be kept appropriately or given back to their previous owners (dumped). If they are to be kept, adequate procedures must be undertaken for their preservation and display, eg; the stump jump plough and mangle are rusting and need conservation.
- the sandstone and brick rubble should be assessed for value and if it cannot be used in any way on site should be dumped or sold. If used on site, a record of where it goes must be kept.
- records and finds of stage 1 archaeological project are not remaining with Council or at Addington. Written and photographic records will be kept at the Heritage Council of NSW. Artefacts have been boxed and will eventually be housed at the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (later the Powerhouse Museum). Records and artefacts of Pat Burritt's 1980 excavation are at the places described above and it is appropriate that they are put together.
- records, artefacts and memory of the members of the Addington Trust, esp. J.Rich, should be fully investigated prior to any final decision about objects on the site and the way it is to be presented to the public
- further investigation/testing of the driveway for possible construction details is recommended. Auger testing is a method that can be employed initially.
- further investigation of the outbuildings area NE of the house, especially behind #811 Victoria Road, is recommended, as is testing of areas behind #815 Victoria Road.
- ensuring that the privvy area is undisturbed until it can be excavated to fund evidence of the diet and health of residents via long-drop deposits, is recommended.
- it is recommended that an archaeologist be employed during stage 2 of the restoration project to ensure that the resource of the site is not damaged and appropriate actions are taken on discovery of useful features. The archaeologist should be part of the decision making process when the work strategy and aims of the project are considered and finalised. Such a consultant should be employed to help prepare a Conservation Plan for Addington as well as for any future plans for the site by Council. (Stocks, 1988)
Date condition updated:13 Jan 15
Modifications and dates: post 1794 / pre 1810 first three-roomed cottage built.
1810 central section rebuilt as six-room house around the original cottage.
1822 west wing added.
1840 east wing added.
(Source: National Trust (NSW, 1981)

Archaeological and documentary evidence suggests construction between 1833-41, with further additions until the 1870s.
The house was built in at least four separate stages, the brick walled rear wing being one of the earliest sections, pre-1840.
C1991 attic's rear facing dormer windows replaced
(Source: RNE, 1991)

1794 30 acres of land.
1908-1919 E.H.Rogers owns house and 1 acre of land. Rest of land (? Acres?) purchased by E.H.Rogers in 1911.
Current use: community facility
Former use: residence & farm


Historical notes: The Ryde area was highly suitable for farming and orchards, and early grants to marines were given to encourage agriculture. In 1792 land in the area was granted to 8 marines; two of the grants were in the modern area of Ryde. Isaac Archer and John Colethread each received 80 acres of land on the site of the present Ryde-Parramatta Golf Links, now in West Ryde. Later in 1792, in the Eastern Farms area, 12 grants, most of them about 30 acres, were made to convicts. Much later these farms were bought by John Macarthur, Gregory Blaxland and the Reverend Samuel Marsden. The district remained an important orchard area throughout the 19th century. (Pollen, 1996)

1794-1806 emancipated convict James Stewart owned this 30 acre grant, (the area) named "New Farm" - it was now 1/12 of the original grants made at 'Kissing Point' as the area was then known. He built a small three room cottage of sandstock bricks. (Leary, 1976, 113). In 1798 farmers at Kissing Point registered complaints to Governor Hunter about poor control exercised over the receipt of grain at the public stores in Sydney. One of these farmers was James Stewart. Stewart died in 1806 and the estate was auctioned, including 'a good dwelling house' and effects (Burritt, 1980, 21-22).

1809-33 James Shepherd owned New Farm's 30 acres (ibid, 22).

In 1810 the property was taken over by James Shepherd, who completed the central section by building a six-room sandstone house around the original three-room cottage.

1822 Thomas Bowden, the colony's first professional school teacher, added the west wing and in 1840 the east wing was added. It is of rubble sandstone. (Leary, 1976 notes that in 1820 Thomas Bowden, the colony's second school master, added 3 rooms and attics in front of the cottage. In 1825 the west wing was added (part has since been demolished) and Bowden started the first Boarding School in the colony here. (Leary, 1976, 113).

In 1830 40 rods of New Farm were sold by James Shepherd (son of James Shepherd who bought the farm in 1809), on the south-east boundary of the original 30 acre grant (Burritt, 1980, 22).

1833-1876 Isaac Shepherd (son of James) 'leased and released' New Farm (in 1833). Shepherd was noted as being 'at Kissing Point, Parramatta' in 1834-36 (Burritt, 1980, 22). 1860s-70s Thomas Kendall Bowden and his wife Mary Elizabeth (nee Shepherd) occupied Addington.

The first phase of building (Area 1 north and south wings) is attributed to the period 1833-1876. The 1846 mortgage provides evidence which is critical for this interpretation. It is the earliest documentary evidence that relates to standing structures on the site. Also it specifies that after the transaction of 1833 a residence was erected for Isaac Shepherd on the site. Neither archaeological nor architectural evidence can conclusively indicate any earlier date for this construction. The map of 1841 records this first phase of building. Hence on the evidence available it is possible to narrow the dating of this phase to the 1833-41 period (Burritt, 1980, 18).

An 1841 map of Ryde bearing the name James Shepherd on the land originally granted to James Stewart shows an 'L'-shaped house on the site of the existing Addington House. In 1842 Isaac Shepherd and his wife sold part of New Farm, on the south-west of Stewart's original 30 acre grant, by the road from Sydney to Parramatta (Burritt, 1980, 23). In 1846 New Farm was included in the property listed by Isaac Shepherd for mortgage. One acre of the original 30 acre grant has already been sold and the 'residence of Mr. I. Shepherd' has been built on the remaining 29 acres (Burritt, 1980, 24).

1850 the east wing (3 rooms) was added (one has since been demolished) using old bricks of Stewart's cottage which were so soft that they crumble when touched - these were preserved by a veneer of harder brickwork and numerous coats of paint on the interior (Leary, 1976, 113).

In 1875 a Sydney solicitor Thomas Kendall Bowden, son-in-law of Isaac Shepherd, was noted as living at Addington (Burritt, 1980, 24).

1876-1896 Farm was left in trust jointly to Isaac Shepherd's son Isaac James Shepherd and his daughter Mary Elizabeth Bowden (nee Shepherd), her husband Thomas Kendall Bowden and their children. The Bowdens had the option of becoming the tenants or landlords of Addington (Burritt, 1980, 24).

c1880 for a short time Addington was home to Sir Henry Parkes, NSW Premier and 'Father of Federation'. It was later home to the Benson family - well known in the Ryde district (Leary, 1976, 113).

1882 John F. Loxton, surveyor 'Addington' occupied it.
1889 A.W.Sutton occupied 'Addington'
1891-3 A.G.Walker, squatter occupied Addington
1894-5 Thomas K. Bowden occupied Addington. (died 1897).

In 1895 William Henry Flavelle and Alexander Reith Troup and others became trustees of Addington for the creditors of Mary Elizabeth Bowden (Burritt, 1980, 24).

1896-1908 owned by Mabel Genevieve Bowden and Florence Edith Bowden (daughters of Mary Elizabeth Bowden). Mabel and Florence had reclaimed ownership of Addington for the Bowden family in 1896 (Burritt, 1980, 25).

Occupied by:
- W.C.Burton 1896-7;
- M.Montgomery 1898-9; W.
- Boyce Allen 1900-1;
- Thomas C.Read 1904;
- John W.Pickworth 1905-6;
- Joseph Payer 1907;
- Richard H.Owen 1908;
- Hugh McManamey 1910-11

In 1909 the property was brought under the provisions of the Real Property Act of 1900, valued at 1610 pounds and was rented out (Burritt, 1980, 25).

1908-1919 owned by Edith Harriette Rogers (house and 1 acre of land). The rest of the land (30 acres and 25 perches: Burritt, 1980, 25) was purchased by Edith Harriette Rogers in 1911. Occupied by R.H. Owen 1908 and H.McManamey 1910-11 as above.

In 1913 the property was surrendered for consolitation and then division into a number of separate lots. Addington Houe (1 rod 16.25 perches) became lots 23 and 24 and was rented (Burritt, 1980, 26).

1919 Lots 23 & 24 of Addington estate (Addington: house only) was bought by Sydney Albert Benson. The Benson family were well known in the Ryde district and that they still owned Addington in 1979.

In 1950 Sydney Robert Benson and Norman Christopher Willis became joint tenants and newly-registered owners. In 1952 it was transferred to Lillian Mary Benson (Burritt, 1980, 27).

A private trust was formed with the aim of buying Addington, restoring it for use as a historic home and museum. (Leary, 1976, 113). In 1970 the property was purchased for $25,000 by The Addington Trust (Annable, R., in Stocks, R., 1988; Burritt, 1980, 27).

In 1975 archaeological testing was done to try to confirm the earliest phases of Addington's development. Some documentary evidence suggested that some part of the residence may have commenced as early as 1794. IF found to be the case, Addington would be classified as one of the earliest houses in the colony and the earliest house in the Ryde area (Burritt, 3). Between 23-24 August a test trench was dug by Maureen Byrne to test how the brick and sandstone structure related to the brick structure. The submerged north wall of Area 4, an uncovered clay packed 'feeder' drain leading to an underground water storage tank c.4m distant, a four-sided stone-built drain running between a drip stone at the Area 4's north-eastern corner predating the north and east walls of the stone and brick structure. THe foundations in this corner were shown to be random rubble and there was an abuttal between east and north walls (Burritt, 1980, 10). Another trench was excavated in the southwest corner of Area 1 to test the relationship between the common wall (Areas 4 and 1) and west wall of Area 1. No evidence of a former floor level were found. A third test trench was dug inside the north wing of Area 1 where Areas 1, 2 and 5 converge to test the relationship between foundation stones in the west and south walls of the north wing, thus the phasing of the north and south wings' construction. This confirmed that Area 2 is later than Area 1 (north wing). Inspection of Area 2 pre-excavation revealed a coursed random rubble stone building differing from the building on Area 1 (south wing) in terms of method of construction, materials used and level of the main floor. Thus archaeological evidence gave some additional supportive information for this interpretation of the phasing (ibid, 13).

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
2. Peopling-Peopling the continent Convict-Activities relating to incarceration, transport, reform, accommodation and working during the convict period in NSW (1788-1850) - does not include activities associated with the conviction of persons in NSW that are unrelated to the imperial 'convict system': use the theme of Law & Order for such activities Farming by emancipated convicts on land grants-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Agriculture-Activities relating to the cultivation and rearing of plant and animal species, usually for commercial purposes, can include aquaculture Clearing land for farming-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Agriculture-Activities relating to the cultivation and rearing of plant and animal species, usually for commercial purposes, can include aquaculture Farming by convict emancipists-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Accommodation-Activities associated with the provision of accommodation, and particular types of accommodation – does not include architectural styles – use the theme of Creative Endeavour for such activities. (none)-
5. Working-Working Labour-Activities associated with work practises and organised and unorganised labour Working independently on the land-
6. Educating-Educating Education-Activities associated with teaching and learning by children and adults, formally and informally. Private (independent) schooling-

Recommended management:


Management CategoryDescriptionDate Updated
Statutory InstrumentNominate for State Heritage Register (SHR)17 Mar 16
Statutory InstrumentNominate for State Heritage Register (SHR)17 Mar 16
Statutory InstrumentNominate for State Heritage Register (SHR)17 Mar 16
Statutory InstrumentNominate for State Heritage Register (SHR)17 Mar 16

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
57(2)Exemption to allow workStandard Exemptions SCHEDULE OF STANDARD EXEMPTIONS
Notice of Order Under Section 57 (2) of the Heritage Act 1977

I, the Minister for Planning, pursuant to subsection 57(2) of the Heritage Act 1977, on the recommendation of the Heritage Council of New South Wales, do by this Order:

1. revoke the Schedule of Exemptions to subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act made under subsection 57(2) and published in the Government Gazette on 22 February 2008; and

2. grant standard exemptions from subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act 1977, described in the Schedule attached.

Minister for Planning
Sydney, 11 July 2008

To view the schedule click on the Standard Exemptions for Works Requiring Heritage Council Approval link below.
Sep 5 2008

PDF Standard exemptions for works requiring Heritage Council approval


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0003302 Apr 99 271546
Heritage Act - Permanent Conservation Order - former 0003314 Dec 79 1786350
National Trust of Australia register  6568   
Register of the National Estate 00293614 May 91   

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
TourismAttraction Homepage2007Addington House View detail
WrittenCox, Tanner Pty Ltd.1982Addington, Victoria Road Ryde: a report on repairs and initial restoration
WrittenLeary, F & J.1976Colonial Heritage - Historic buildings of NSW
WrittenPatricia E. Burritt1980Addington House Ryde; an archaeological investigation
WrittenRobyn Stocks1988Addington Archaeological Investigation during stage 1 of restoration program for Ryde Municipal Council
WrittenRyde Historical Society1968Ryde Recorder
WrittenUniversity of New South Wales Historic Buildings Studies

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: Heritage Office
Database number: 5045155
File number: S90/00266/3

Every effort has been made to ensure that information contained in the State Heritage Inventory is correct. If you find any errors or omissions please send your comments to the Database Manager.

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