Brett Whiteley House and Visual Curtilage | NSW Environment & Heritage

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Brett Whiteley House and Visual Curtilage

Item details

Name of item: Brett Whiteley House and Visual Curtilage
Other name/s: Lochgyle
Type of item: Landscape
Group/Collection: Landscape - Cultural
Category: Other - Landscape - Cultural
Location: Lat: 151.20854388779 Long: 33.8439048211505
Primary address: 1 Walker Street, Lavender Bay, NSW 2060
Parish: Willoughby
County: Cumberland
Local govt. area: North Sydney
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Metropolitan
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
PART LOT100 DP1103512
CROWN LAND11 DP1165235
CROWN LAND7325 DP1165248
CROWN LAND7326 DP1165248
LOT1 DP1220077
PART LOT2 DP1220077
LOT31 DP12668
LOT1 DP175422
PART LOT62 DP3756
PART LOT1187 DP48335
LOT1 DP599474
LOT1136 DP752067
PART LOT1 DP868707
PART LOT123 DP870371
PART LOT1 DP917865
LOT1 DP931832
CROWN LAND1 DP931990
CROWN LAND2 DP931990
CROWN LAND3 DP931990
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
1 Walker StreetLavender BayNorth SydneyWilloughbyCumberlandPrimary Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
 General 

Statement of significance:

Brett Whiteley's House and Visual Curtilage, at 1 Walker Street, Lavender Bay is of state significance for its historic association with internationally and nationally acclaimed Australian artist Brett Whiteley AO. As well as being his family home and studio, the house, its setting and views inspired a substantial body of award winning and influential works of art including paintings, works on paper and installations. The awards included two Archibald Prizes, three Wynne Prizes, and two Sir John Sulman Prizes, some of which were painted at Walker Street. The Walker Street house was personalised to create the Whiteley home and studio and provides physical evidence of the life and work of the late artist.

The house, its setting and the views is of state significance as the inspiration for the considerable body of Brett Whiteley's art undertaken here. The interiors and the setting/views are the subject of many of Whiteley's Lavender Bay works. The interior aspects and the exterior views/setting were often juxtaposed in his paintings expressing his creative genius and the significance of Lavender Bay as a subject.

The house and its setting has social significance at a state level as the former home and studio of the artist Brett Whiteley, being regularly visited by art appreciation groups. Wendy Whiteley's garden on railway land has associational and social significance at the state level as a memorial place because the ashes of Brett Whiteley and Arkie Whiteley (their daughter) are buried there.

The house with its harbour views reveal more information about Brett Whiteley's life and art, the genesis of his paintings and to assist in the ongoing discussion and assessment of his contribution to Australian art.

As the place where he spent most of his artistic life in Australia, Brett Whiteley's house provides a rare insight into the workings of one of Australia's prominent artists.
Date significance updated: 04 Oct 17
Note: The State Heritage Inventory provides information about heritage items listed by local and State government agencies. The State Heritage Inventory is continually being updated by local and State agencies as new information becomes available. Read the OEH copyright and disclaimer.

Description

Designer/Maker: Not known (NSC 2005)
Builder/Maker: Henry Green
Construction years: 1905-1905
Physical description: No.1 Walker Street
The house known as No.1 Walker Street is at the lower south western end of the group of five Federation style houses overlooking Clark Park and Lavender Bay. The house is two storey with painted brick walls and contemporary alterations. The building was formerly converted to two flats circa 1929.

After the Whiteleys purchased the house in 1974, it was altered and reinstated to a single dwelling. A tower addition was added, enclosed verandas were opened up, a new side entrance and south entrance created and new windows added on the west and south elevations. The tower has a terracotta tiled conical roof with strip windows up the southern side. The attic tower has windows on all sides and the adjacent gable end has been glazed for the Attic bedroom. The western side of the roof has large skylights. A timber stair with tree branches for railings, leads from the Walker Street steps to the first floor. The west elevation has been modified and has a set of windows along the first floor level. The white washed sitting room has panoramic views of Sydney Harbour with views of Lavender Bay Jetty and the surrounding bay. This view - including interior scenes and exterior scenery - was to be the subject of many of Whiteley's iconic paintings. The downstairs space was converted into Brett Whiteley's studio. Some internal walls have been removed to allow Whiteley to work in the sitting room level as well as the studio level. On the sitting room level walls have been opened up with arches making the level open plan and linking it to the tower. (North Sydney Council 2005 & 2014).

Settings and Views
A significant component of the setting of the house is the vegetated slope down to Lavender Bay and Sydney Harbour. The setting includes railway land and parklands including Clark Park, a section of Quibaree Park, Lavender Bay foreshore and Lavender Bay waters. The house is separated from the harbour by railway sidings and a brick viaduct, parkland, foreshore reserve and a garden created by Wendy Whiteley on unused railway land from 1992. The garden, now known as Wendy Whiteley's Secret Garden is leased from RailCorp by North Sydney Council.

The house enjoys extensive views over a canopy of trees and glimpses of railway infrastructure to the waterscape of Lavender Bay. The foreground includes a mature Moreton Bay Fig (Ficus macrophylla), and fig trees along Walker Street Reserve. Prominent palms (Phoenix canriensis) in Clark Park frame the views to the left and Washingtonia (or Californian desert fan) palms (Washingtonia robusta) close to the Lavender Bay ferry wharf provide a focal point. The views include the brick viaduct, rail lines, Lavender Bay ferry wharf, which were included in in numerous of Brett Whiteley's smaller, though no less engaging, works including drawings and prints. The larger view incorporates iconic Sydney landmarks: Luna Park, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Sydney Opera House, the Walsh Bay piers and Lavender Bay waterscape all of which featured in many of Whiteley's works.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
The house is in excellent condition and continues to be the home of Wendy Whiteley. The setting is intact as it was when Brett Whiteley created his notable Lavender Bay works though the Moreton Bay fig tree at the front has now become a large tree framing views of the harbour from the house and Wendy's garden now obscures most views to the railway siding. Nevertheless, there exists a readily appreciable viewshed projecting out from the southern openings of the house and tower at 1 Walker Street.
Date condition updated:17 Jul 17
Modifications and dates: c 1929 Converted to two flats
1974 Modifications by Brett and Wendy Whiteley include: Tower and attic level, internal walls removed and planning opened up; enclosed verandas re-opened, enlargement and enclosure of the southern verandas and creation of studio space, new windows, floor boards and entries.
1978 Dressing room and bathroom on the first floor adjacent to the kitchen.
1999 Ground floor studio made more accessible, reorganisation of the laundry and enlargement of the kitchen.
2008 Dormer window on southern roof plane, stairs in now replaced with a lift.
1992 Wendy Whiteley commenced restoration of the adjoining RailCorp land into a garden.
2014 North Sydney Council leases the land from RailCorp and names it "Wendy Whiteley's Secret Garden".
Current use: Residence, Recreation areas, Sydney Trains use of RailCorp land
Former use: Aboriginal land, timber getting, Residence and studio, Recreation areas, Sydney Trains use of RailCorp land,

History

Historical notes: When the First Fleet arrived in Sydney Cove in 1788, the North Shore of Sydney was inhabited by two Aboriginal Bands or Clans, the Cammeraygal and Wallumedegal, who were part of the larger Kuringgai Tribe. (North Sydney's Aboriginal Past, North Sydney Heritage Centre)

The Whiteley House is located on the 50 acres that was granted to James Milson between 1821 and 1825. Milson provided fresh water and ballast for passing ships as well as grazing cattle and producing milk. After a fire in 1826 he built a large two storey home called Brisbane House and another called Grantham. Both have since been demolished. (Dictionary of Sydney)

The house location overlooks Lavender Bay which was once known as Hulk Bay. This name may originate from the presence of the convict prison hulk which was once moored in the Bay to provide accommodation for convicts.

Lavender Bay, and later, suburb was named after George Lavender. He was an officer in charge of the ship called "Phoenix" that housed convicts moored in this bay. He married Billy Blue's daughter, Susannah, and eventually made this district his home (North Sydney City Council website, Lavender Bay Precinct, Highlights).

The land upon which the Whiteley House stands was purchased from the Milson family by speculative builder Henry Green in 1905. The house is one of a group of five Federation style houses built on a triangular shaped allotment created by the formation of Walker Street, Lavender Street and foreshore land proclaimed as a public recreational bathing reserve in 1868. Green sold the house to Abraham Wallace Taylor, storekeeper, in 1908. After Taylor's death in 1929 Sarah Taylor took in lodgers and it is possible that the conversion to two flats occurred at this time. Brett Whiteley, Wendy Whiteley and their young daughter Arkie moved into the house in 1969 when they returned from a lengthy time overseas. In 1974 the Whiteleys purchased the whole property and worked with architect Tony Edye who helped return the building to a single dwelling making the most of the views and providing a studio space. (North Sydney Council (NSC) Nomination form)

Life of Brett Whiteley
Brett Whiteley was born in Sydney in 1939 and grew up at Longueville a harbour side suburb in North Sydney. He was sent to boarding school at Scots College Bathurst and was awarded first prize in the Young Painters' section of the Bathurst Show. He attended Scots College Sydney briefly in 1954-55 before leaving school in 1956. After leaving school he took night classes in drawing at the Julian Ashton Art School in Sydney while holding down a job at an advertising agency. In 1960, aged 21, Whiteley left Australia on a Travelling Art Scholarship (judged by Sir Russell Drysdale at the Art Gallery of New South Wales), and by 1961 had settled in London where his work was shown at the Whitechapel and Marlborough galleries. In London, he produced a series of abstractions, one of which (Untitled red painting) was bought by the Tate Gallery, making Whiteley the youngest artist to enter the collection of Tate Modern (Britton 2016).

In London, he met many other painters, including fellow Australians, Arthur Boyd and John Passmore. In 1962 he won second prize in the Biennale de Paris (International Biennale for Young Artists) and had his first solo exhibition. He married Wendy Julius the same year. In 1967 he was awarded a scholarship by the Harkness Fellowship which enabled him to live and work in New York for 18 months. From there he and his family stayed in Fiji before returning to Sydney in 1969. (http://australia.gov.au/about-australia/australian-story/brett-whiteley)

After visiting a friend who lived in the house at 1 Walker Street, Brett and Wendy Whiteley and their daughter Arkie moved there in 1969 and then bought the property in 1974. The lower level became Brett Whiteley's first studio in Sydney. In an interview with the Sydney morning Herald in 2012 Wendy Whiteley described how they came to stay at Lavender Bay: "We kind of fell in love with the bay and Arkie was sick of being shunted around,'' she says. ''She was just about to be five and she wanted to go to a school where she wouldn't be dragged out of six months later. It became the central focus, which we'd never really had before. We were gypsies.'' (Interview with Wendy Whiteley by Andrew Taylor, SMH April 29 2012)

Whiteley was one of a collective of writers, musicians, artists and performers that lived, worked, performed and exhibited at the Yellow House at 59 Macleay St, Potts Point from 1970 to 1972. It was established by the artist Martin Sharp in 1970 and inspired by Van Gogh's Yellow House in Arles, France. Young artists that participated included George Gittoes, Peter Weir, Jim Sharman and Whiteley. It is one of the few remnant buildings associated with the artists' quarter of Potts Point and Kings Cross and the Bohemian period that lasted from the 1930s through to the 1970s. (NSC 2014)

Between 1971 and 1975 Whiteley worked in the sitting room of the house at 1 Walker Street and undertook his larger works at a studio at the Old Gas Works in Waverton. After the house renovations, he could work from his Lavender Bay studio in Walker Street.

While living and working at Lavender Bay, Whiteley produced a series of major paintings. Many of these successively won Australia's most prestigious art prizes (Britton 2016). Some of these works include the Archibald Prize winning 'Self portrait in the studio' 1976, Sir John Sulman Prize winning 'Interior with time past' 1976 and Wynne Prize for 'The jacaranda tree' (on Sydney Harbour) 1977. (NSC 2005, NSC 2014).

In 1975 he was awarded the Sir William Anglis Memorial Art Prize, Melbourne. In 1978 he was again awarded the Archibald Prize for 'Art, life and the other thing' (1978) and the Sir John Sulman Prize for 'The yellow nude' (1978). He also won the Wynne Prize for 'Summer at Carcoar' (1978). Whiteley's trifecta (Archibald, Wynne and Sulman) of 1978 continues to be unique in Australian art history. He won the Wynne Prize in 1984 for 'The South Coast after rain' (Britton 2016).

Brett Whiteley spent 3 months in Bali with his dying friend and artist Noel Elenberg in 1980 and in 1981 rented a studio at Reiby Place in Circular Quay. Over the next two years he travelled to Europe and to Central Australia. In 1985 Whiteley bought an old T-shirt factory in Raper Street Surry Hills, which he converted into a studio. Whiteley used the Raper Street Studio, which has become a permanent museum studio/gallery. He lived there from 1987 and moved there permanently following his divorce from Wendy in 1989 and travelled extensively.

In 1991, Brett Whiteley was awarded an Order of Australia (General Division). He died in Thirroul, New South Wales in 1992.

Residence at No. 1 Walker Street
The house at No.1 Walker Street is at the lower south western end of the group of five Federation style houses overlooking Clark Park and Lavender Bay. The building was converted to two flats circa 1929. The Whiteley's purchased it in 1974 and reinstated it as a single dwelling, with an eclectic set of features. A tower addition was added, enclosed verandas were opened up, a new side entrance and south entrance created and new windows on the west and south elevations. The white washed sitting room has panoramic views of Sydney Harbour with views of Lavender Bay Jetty and the surrounding bay. This view - including interiors and exterior scenery - was to be the subject of many of Whiteley's iconic paintings. The downstairs space was converted into Brett Whiteley's studio. Some internal walls have been removed to allow Whiteley to work in the sitting room level as well as the studio level. (North Sydney Council 2005 & 2014).

Lavender Bay and Whiteley's Art
The body of work undertaken by Brett Whiteley at Lavender Bay between 1974 to 1981 is considered some of his best and is perhaps that for which he is best known to the general public. The house and its environs are a rare representation of Brett Whiteley's life and work. The immediate setting of 1 Walker Street assists in the understanding of his enormous creative output; the birds, the trees, the harbour and its icons. The house and its viewshed are an important link to his most awarded and most popular works. Architectural details and spaces of the house feature in many of his works as do features of the outdoors, including his Archibald Prize winning work 'Self portrait in the studio' 1976, Sir John Sulman Prize winning work 'Interior with time past' 1976 and Wynne Prize for 'The jacaranda tree' (On Sydney Harbour) 1977. (NSC 2005, NSC 2014)

Whiteley's Lavender Bay phase constituted a substantial and highly significant part of his artistic career and this is well attested by both the prolific output and the successive years of critical acclaim that his works of this period attracted - not least the impressive list of major prizes won during the 1970s. Wendy Whiteley summed it up in her submission to the SHR listing proposal in 2015 that "through his art, the view from the house at Lavender Bay has become an indelible part of the story of Australian art" (Britton 2016). In the words of Brett Whiteley: he expresses the importance of Lavender Bay within his life's body of works: "...two-thirds of Braque's work is table tops, there's Morandi's bottles, Lloyd Rees's hills... My repeating theme - a subject I will always go back to until I die - Lavender Bay" (from McGrath, 1992 quoted in Britton, 2016).

Lavender Bay: Key recurring themes and important views from 1 Walker Street
Lavender Bay scenery from 1 Walker Street has been depicted by Whiteley in numerous works: paintings, drawings, etchings, silkscreen prints, onto objects such as vases, plates and pots. Within these works there is understandably much variation in the permutations of particular elements Whiteley chose to include. Sometimes the Harbour Bridge appears, or the Opera House or there are glimpses of built environment across Milson's Point or, rarely even Harry Seidler's Blues Point tower (Britton 2016).

Across the many works featuring Lavender Bay, these key elements are all present with their spatial order rearranged according to poetic and compositional priorities. Some of these key scenic elements that form part of the viewshed include the bay and harbour waterscape; the Lavender Bay shorelines; the group of three Washingtonia robusta palms at the foreshore; Lavender Bay ferry wharf; moored yachts; vegetated foreshore, Fig Trees and Canary Island palms (Britton 2016). Often the foreground to many of his major works included the interiors of his residence at 1 Walker Street. In some works, he emphasised the interiors of his residence, with glimpses of the key scenic elements, subtly in the background ('Self portrait in the studio' 1976, 'Interior with time past' 1976, 'The Cat' 1980, 'The window, Lavender Bay' 1980, 'Interior with bull-bull egg sculpture' 1980 for example) or illustrated the scenic harbour with elements of his interior in the foreground ('The Balcony 2' 1975, 'Feeding the doves' 1979 for example).

In addition, the brick viaduct at the end of Walker Street reserve and Quibaree Park, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, parts of Circular Quay and Luna Park are all occasionally featured. Whiteley has included the rail lines along Lavender foreshore in some of his works. A number of prominent trees and distinct vegetation are also included in his art which highlights the importance of these vegetated areas.

The following provides a brief list of the recurring theme and elements featured in some of his paintings- this list is not exhaustive by any account, rather it is provided as examples that illustrate his works portraying the harbour:

- the bay and harbour waterscape: vast area of water as a colour field dominates some major works as the 'Big Orange' 1974, 'The Balcony 2' 1975, 'The jacaranda tree (on Sydney Harbour)' 1977, 'Lavender Bay with palms' 1974, 'Sydney Harbour in the rain' 1976-77,'Grey Harbour' 1978 for example.
- the Lavender Bay shorelines: either or both of the extended Lavender Bay shorelines are used to frame his works: 'The balcony 2' 1975, The jacaranda tree (on Sydney Harbour)' 1977, for example.
- the groups of three Washingtonia robusta palms: examples include 'Lavender Bay in the rain' 1981, 'Sydney Harbour by night' 1981, 'Lavender Bay at dusk' 1984, 'Big orange' 1974 for example.
- Lavender Bay ferry wharf: 'Grey Harbour' 1978, 'Sydney Harbour by night' 1981 for example.
- moored yachts: many works that feature the harbour and Lavender Bay include various renditions of the yachts for example.
- vegetated foreshore: 'Clark Gardens' 1978, 'The turquoise prince' 1979, 'The split second summer began' 1979, for example.
- Fig tree: 'Moreton Bay fig' 1975, 'Moreton Bay fig' 1979 (etching), for example.
- Canary Island palms: 'Clark Gardens' 1978, 'The turquoise prince' 1979, 'The split second summer began' 1979, for example.
Brick viaduct: 'The split second summer began' 1979, 'Sketchbook pages (BWS 1063 pages 35 verso & 36 1975+)'

Wendy's Secret Garden
When the Whiteleys first moved into Lavender Bay, they considered the fig tree on the railway land in front of their house as an extension of their outdoor environment. The fig tree was drawn and painted by Brett Whiteley in numerous sensually anthropomorphised versions. A sculpture by Joel Elenberg titled 'Head' was placed by Brett and Joel under this tree. The original marble sculpture was later replaced with a bronze cast as people began to graffiti the original.

Following Brett Whiteley's untimely death in 1992, Wendy Whiteley started clearing the land below the fig tree on part of the unused railway land at the foot of her house. Over the years, with help larger areas were added, transforming the unused railway land into an intimately landscaped guerrilla garden. (Hawley 2015)

A number of sculptures were added to the garden by Wendy Whiteley. Some rail artefacts, found while clearing the land were incorporated into the landscaping, all of these features are documented in detail in the publication on the garden titled 'Wendy Whiteley and the Secret Garden' by Janet Hawley in 2015. The website for Wendy Whiteley's Secret Garden provides further details about the garden, its history, map and artefacts on display.

The garden on RailCorp land is now secured by a 30-year lease. The land incorporating Wendy Whiteley's Secret Garden is now subdivided from the rest of the RailCorp land. RailCorp can revoke the lease for essential Railway purposes only and/or to perform any of its duties and functions under the Railway legislation (NSC report, 14 June 2016).

Since the publication of the book 'Wendy Whiteley and the Secret Garden' by Janet Hawley in 2015, the announcement of the lease by the then Premier Mike Baird in 2016 and its listing on popular tourism sites, the garden has gained popularity. Visitor's books maintained by Wendy Whiteley at the garden are an evidence of the increasing visitation to the garden.

In March 2017, Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced the creation of a trust fund to further secure the future of Wendy Whiteley's garden. The trust fund, yet to be established, includes a government contribution of $30,000.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Topography: How did the environment, topography and the River influence early settlement? Is there a strong relationship-Peopling the Continent Contact
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Cultural: Natural landscapes valued by humans-
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Cultural - Coasts and coastal features supporting human activities-
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Changing the environment-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Developing local, regional and national economies-National Theme 3
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Sydney and Australian Landmark-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Landscapes and parklands of distinctive styles-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Landscapes of scenic beauty-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Landscapes of passive recreation-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Landscapes of urban amenity-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Landscapes demonstrating styles in landscape design-
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. Adapted heritage building or structure-
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. Federation era residence-
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. A Picturesque Residential Suburb-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal 1820s-1850s land grants-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Granting Crown lands for private farming-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Changing land uses - from rural to suburban-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Resuming private lands for public purposes-
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 Subdivision of urban estates-
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 20th century Suburban Developments-
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 20th Century infrastructure-
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 A Picturesque Residential District-
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 Artists settlement and networks-
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 Developing suburbia-
7. Governing-Governing Government and Administration-Activities associated with the governance of local areas, regions, the State and the nation, and the administration of public programs - includes both principled and corrupt activities. State government-
7. Governing-Governing Government and Administration-Activities associated with the governance of local areas, regions, the State and the nation, and the administration of public programs - includes both principled and corrupt activities. Developing roles for government - administration of land-
7. Governing-Governing Government and Administration-Activities associated with the governance of local areas, regions, the State and the nation, and the administration of public programs - includes both principled and corrupt activities. Developing roles for government - conserving cultural and natural heritage-
7. Governing-Governing Government and Administration-Activities associated with the governance of local areas, regions, the State and the nation, and the administration of public programs - includes both principled and corrupt activities. Developing roles for government - parks and open spaces-
7. Governing-Governing Government and Administration-Activities associated with the governance of local areas, regions, the State and the nation, and the administration of public programs - includes both principled and corrupt activities. Developing roles for government - building and administering rail networks-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Building in response to natural landscape features.-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Landscaping - 20th century interwar-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Artists, bohemians and intellectuals squat or gathering point-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Landscaping - artists gardens-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Landscaping - artists gardens-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Vernacular structures and building techniques-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Landscaping - Federation period-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Creating works of art-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Creating works of art-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Parks and public gardens-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Capturing iconic landscapes in art-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Domestic life-Activities associated with creating, maintaining, living in and working around houses and institutions. Ways of life 1900-1950-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Domestic life-Activities associated with creating, maintaining, living in and working around houses and institutions. Ways of life 1950-2000-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Domestic life-Activities associated with creating, maintaining, living in and working around houses and institutions. Ornamental Garden-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Domestic life-Activities associated with creating, maintaining, living in and working around houses and institutions. Living and working at home-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Domestic life-Activities associated with creating, maintaining, living in and working around houses and institutions. Living in, adapting and renovating homes for changing conditions-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Gardening-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Going to the park-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Gathering at landmark places to socialise-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Enjoying public parks and gardens-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Visiting lookouts and places of natural beauty-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Brett Whiteley, artist-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Wendy Whiteley, artist and muse-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Brett Whiteley's house and visual curtilage at 1 Walker Street (house and studio) and its setting within parklands adjacent to Sydney Harbour is of state heritage significance for the outstanding body of work it inspired in one of Australia's finest artists during several decades of the mid-20th century. The place is particularly associated with a number of prize-winning paintings (Archibald, Sulman and Wynne) by Brett Whiteley during the 1970s.

1 Walker Street, together with the other four houses built in 1908 form a townscape row for developer and alderman Henry Green, are of local heritage significance as it interprets part of the form of the early beach head at Lavender Bay before the 1890s landfill and Clark Park adjacent to 1 Walker Street is also locally significant as it incorporates the 1866 public reserve that enveloped the early Lavender Bay beach head.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
Brett Whiteley's house and visual curtilage is of state heritage significance for its historic association with nationally and internationally renowned Australian artist Brett Whiteley AO. The studio and home was an environment which provided inspiration that lead to award winning and influential works of art. Whiteley was awarded two Archibald Prizes, three Wynne Prizes and two Sir John Sulman Prizes, including all three prizes in 1978-a feat that remains unique in Australian art history. Of these major works, most were painted at Walker Street and took in some aspect of the house interiors and/or its environs.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Brett Whiteley's house and visual curtilage at 1 Walker Street is of state significance as the inspiration for the considerable body of work undertaken during Whiteley's 'Lavender Bay phase'. In his own words, he described Lavender Bay as... "my repeating theme - a subject I will always go back to until I die". The house and the immediate setting assists in the understanding of his enormous creative output; the birds, the trees, the harbour and its icons. The house and its views over Lavender Bay are an important link to his most awarded and popular works.

The interiors and the contents of the house are the subject of many of Whiteley's Lavender Bay works. The interior aspects are often the foreground of the larger Lavender Bay landscapes or in some instances, the Lavender Bay landscape features subtly in the background of the rich internal spaces. The sitting room and studio at the lower level from where Brett Whiteley painted are interior spaces that demonstrate the achievements of Brett Whiteley. The interior arrangements reflect the current occupant's requirements and they do not necessarily reflect the particular arrangements featured in Whiteley's works. Minor modifications have been made to the interiors of the house, however, the space retains its integrity as the place where Whiteley lived and worked.

The view from the house including railway land, parklands, Lavender Bay foreshore and the Lavender bay waters provided a rich palette for the paintings and artwork created by Brett Whiteley during his most productive 'Lavender Bay phase'. The house and setting and the views from the house are demonstrative of the inspiration it provided for the creative genius of Brett Whiteley.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The house at 1 Walker Street has social significance at a state level as the former home and studio of artist Brett Whiteley, regularly visited by art appreciation groups and art appreciation tours are conducted for Art Society of NSW and Friends of the Whiteley Studio.

Community consultation has not been undertaken to assess the social value associated with the house, however, it is highly likely that the house at No.1 Walker Street is valued for its association with Brett Whiteley by the art community and general public.

Wendy Whiteley's unique 'guerrilla' garden is gaining popularity and increased visitation contributing to a communal 'sense of place'. The locally significant garden, also functions as an important memorial space for the remains of Brett Whiteley and their daughter, Arkie Whiteley contributing further to a potential social value.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
Brett Whiteley's house and visual curtilage at 1 Walker Street is of state significance for research potential as it is likely to reveal more information about Brett Whiteley's life and art, to reveal more about the genesis of his paintings and to assist in the ongoing discussion and assessment of his contribution to Australian art.

Part of the achievement of Brett Whiteley's 'Lavender Bay' works lies in his imaginative vision of Sydney Harbour, his unique use of colour and the idiosyncratic view from his living room making Brett Whiteley's House and Visual Curtilage of significance for the evolving understanding of the Australian landscape and in particular Sydney Harbour as a national icon. The interior contents and the external environs of the house at 1 Walker Street is of state significance for research potential.

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SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
Brett Whiteley's house and visual curtilage at 1 Walker Street is of state heritage significance as the one place where he spent most of his artistic life in Australia. As the principal vantage point for virtually all of the celebrated Lavender Bay works, Brett Whiteley's house and visual curtilage is unique. Many of his most awarded paintings were undertaken at the house with the interiors and its waterscape and landscape environs featuring prominently in many of his major works.
Integrity/Intactness: As a highly personalised harbourside residence of a celebrity artist and his family and continues in the ownership of the family, the house is highly intact in the context of the modified built form occupied by Brett Whiteley between 1969 and 1989. All the major spaces and architectural features, such as the studio, conical tower and glazed southern elevation remain. (NSC 2014). The fig tree in front of the house is now overgrown providing a filtered harbour view, however, the features painted by Brett Whiteley are still able to be appreciated.
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:

Recommendations

Management CategoryDescriptionDate Updated
Recommended ManagementProduce a Conservation Management Plan (CMP) 
Recommended ManagementPrepare a maintenance schedule or guidelines 
Recommended ManagementCarry out interpretation, promotion and/or education 

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
57(2)Exemption to allow workStandard Exemptions SCHEDULE OF STANDARD EXEMPTIONS
HERITAGE ACT 1977
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.

FRANK SARTOR
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
57(2)Exemption to allow workHeritage Act - Site Specific Exemptions HERITAGE ACT 1977

ORDER UNDER SECTION 57(2) TO GRANT SITE SPECIFIC EXEMPTIONS FROM APPROVAL

Brett Whiteley House and Visual Curtilage

SHR No. 01949

I, the Minister for Heritage, on the recommendation of the Heritage Council of New South Wales, in pursuance of section 57(2) of the Heritage Act 1977, do, by this my order, grant an exemption from section 57(1) of that Act in respect of the engaging in or carrying out of any activities described in Schedule C by the owners, or lessee of the land described in Schedule B on the item described in Schedule A.


The Hon Gabrielle Upton MP
Minister for Heritage
Sydney, 23rd Day of March 2018


SCHEDULE A
The item known as Brett Whiteley House and Visual Curtilage, situated on the land described in Schedule B.

SCHEDULE B
All those pieces or parcels of land known as Lot 1 DP 931832, Crown Lot 1 DP 931990, Crown Lot 2 DP 931990, Crown Lot 3 DP 931990, Crown Lot 7325 DP 1165248, Crown Lot 7326 DP 1165248, Part Lot 1 DP 917865, Part Lot 62 DP 3756, Part Lot 123 DP 870371, Lot 1 DP 1220077, Part Lot 2 DP 1220077, Part Lot 100 DP 1103512, Part Lot 1187 DP 48335, Lot 1136 DP 752067, Lot 1 DP 175422, Part Lot 1 DP 868707, Lot 31 DP 12668, Crown Lot 11 DP 1165235 and Lot 1 DP 599474 in Parish of Willoughby, County of Cumberland shown on the plan catalogued HC 2621 in the office of the Heritage Council of New South Wales.


SCHEDULE C

Part A Exemptions 1-2

1. All Standard Exemptions

2. Rail Activities Standard Exemptions
Works and activities in accordance with an order under Section 57(2) to Grant Agency-Specific Exemptions from approval for NSW Transport - RailCorp

Part B Exemptions 3 - Sydney Trains/RailCorp
Exemption 3 to be administered by Sydney Trains heritage team.

3. Infrastructure
On operational RailCorp land, development, works and activities undertaken by Sydney Trains in accordance with the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 and State Environmental Planning Policy (Infrastructure) 2007.

- Exemption is granted regarding compliance with Clause 1.16 and Clause 1.17 of State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008
- Exemption is granted regarding compliance with Clause 20 of the State Environmental Planning Policy (Infrastructure) 2007.

Part C Exemptions 4 to 17 - North Sydney Council
These site-specific exemptions only apply where the General Manager North Sydney City Council is satisfied that
the proposal is consistent with the following Plans:
- Neighbourhood Parks Plan of Management (includes Clark Park and the Walker Street Road Reserve)
- Foreshore Parks & Reserves Plan of Management (includes Quibaree Park and the Lavender Bay Foreshore)
- Licence 05-11-667 between Rail Corporation New South Wales to North Sydney City Council

The term 'Plans' refers to the above documents.
References to General Manager North Sydney City Council should be read as including any appropriately appointed delegate.

4. General maintenance and repair.
(i) Suppression of fire in vegetation.
(ii) Tree surgery or tree removal where considered necessary for the health of a tree, or the safety of the public or staff, provided a concurrent proposal for a replacement species is submitted.
(iii) Pruning of less than 30 % of the canopy of trees within a 2-year period as recommended by a qualified arborist and approved by Council's Tree Management Officer for the tree's health or public safety reasons.
(iv) Routine horticultural maintenance, including lawn mowing, cultivation and pruning.
(v) Repair and renewal of damage caused by erosion and implementation of erosion control measures.
(vi) Maintenance, repair, renewal and resurfacing of existing roads, paths, fences and gates.
(vii) Maintenance, renewal and repair of any building, structure, monument or work, including temporary relocation for conservation or protection.
(viii) Maintenance and renewal to boat slips, jetties and boardwalks.
(ix) Maintenance and renewal works to seawalls.

5. Maintenance of services and utilities.
(i) Maintenance and repair of services and public utilities including communications, gas, electricity, water supply, waste disposal, sewerage, irrigation and drainage.
(ii) Upgrade of services and public utilities where the Council is satisfied that the activity will not materially affect the heritage significance of the item as a whole or the area in which they are to be undertaken.
(iii) Maintenance and upgrade works to buildings undertaken to improve life safety and/or the suppression of fire which in the opinion of the General Manager North Sydney City Council do not impact on the heritage significance of the building or work.
(iv) Installation, maintenance and removal of waste bins to implement Council's waste management policies.
(v) Extension of irrigation systems as necessary to areas currently without this infrastructure.

6. Alteration of roads, pathways, boating facilities, jetties and fences.
(i) Closure, removal or alteration of roads, jetties, boardwalks, boat slips and pathways.
(ii) Repair, removal and installation of fences to implement the Council's policies.
(iii) Parking management measures to implement the Council's parking policies.
(iv) Minor works to improve public access to the parklands or waterway, provide disabled access and to eliminate or reduce risks to public safety.
(v) Maintenance and minor works to existing seawalls.

7. Management of lawns, garden beds, hard landscaping and living collections.
(i) Removal, construction or alteration of garden beds, hard landscaping and plantings in accordance with the Plans and where the General Manager North Sydney City Council is satisfied that the activity will not materially affect the heritage significance of the item as a whole or the area in which they are to be undertaken.
(iii) Alteration of recreational facilities within the areas currently used for such activities to meet changing needs and demands.
(iv) Routine horticultural curation, including development and management of horticultural displays.

8. Management of interpretive, information and directional signage.
Installation, removal, upgrade and/or alteration of interpretative, information and directional signage and labels in accordance with the Plans and the signage policies adopted by North Sydney City Council and/or the North Sydney City Council Traffic Committee.

9. Management of artworks, statues and monuments.
(i) Installation of artworks, statues and monuments for short-term or long-term exhibitions or events.
(ii) Installation, relocation and removal of artworks, statues and monuments.
(iii) Minor maintenance and minor repair of any artwork, monument, pool, fountain or work where the General Manager North Sydney City Council is satisfied that the works will not materially affect the heritage significance of the item or area in which they are to be undertaken.

10. Management of furniture and fixtures.
Installation, upgrade, relocation, removal and/or maintenance of park furniture, light poles, bollards and fixtures where the General Manager North Sydney City Council is satisfied that the proposal is consistent with the Plans and will not materially affect the heritage significance of the item as a whole or any buildings or area in which they are to be undertaken.

11. Management of temporary events.
Temporary use of an area, temporary road closures and the installation of temporary buildings, structures, fencing, facilities, exhibitions, artworks, crowd control barriers, stages, lighting, sound and public-address equipment and signage for a period not exceeding six months where the General Manager North Sydney City Council is satisfied that the activity will not materially affect the heritage significance of the item as a whole or the area in which they are to be undertaken.

12. Alterations to buildings and/or works.
(i) Repairs, upgrades or alterations to buildings and/or works (including alterations to provide disabled access) which do not increase the area of a building by more than 10% and where the General Manager North Sydney City Council is satisfied that the activity will not materially affect the heritage significance of the item as a whole or the area in which they are to be undertaken.

13. Capital Works Programme.
Activities related to Council's Capital Works Program where in accordance with the Plans and where the General Manager North Sydney City Council is satisfied that the activity will not materially affect the heritage significance of the item as a whole or the area in which they are to be undertaken.

14. Existing approved development.
All works and activities in accordance with a current and valid development consent in force at the date of gazettal for listing on the NSW State Heritage Register.

15. Alterations to 1 Walker Street (private residence).
All works and activities for alterations and additions that do not impact on the identified heritage values of the house and the significant views to and from the residence.

16. Change of Use to 1 Walker Street (private residence).
The change of use of a building or an item located at 1 Walker St, Lavender Bay where the General Manager North Sydney City Council is satisfied that the use will not materially affect the heritage significance of the item or the SHR listed area.

17. Conservation Management Plan.
Any activities, works, events and uses identified as exempt in a Conservation Management Plan endorsed by the Heritage Council of NSW.

Part D Exemptions 18 to 25 - Roads and Maritime Services (RMS)
18. Swing Moorings
Works and activities associated with the day to day operation and maintenance of the swing moorings affected by the SHR curtilage including equipment and fixture upgrades, maintenance as well as removal, relocation, installation and/or maintenance of the swing moorings which will not impact any relics or shipwrecks as defined under the NSW Heritage Act 1977 or the Historic Shipwrecks Act 1976.

19. Maintenance of Seawall & Jetties
Works associated with the day to day operation and maintenance of the seawall and jetties including equipment, fixture and infrastructure upgrades, maintenance as well as the removal, installation and/or maintenance which will not impact any relics or shipwrecks as defined under the NSW Heritage Act 1977 or the Historic Shipwrecks Act 1976.

20 Navigation Activities
Works and activities undertaken by Roads and Maritime Services in fulfilling their navigational authority role within the area affected by the SHR curtilage, including: the installation of new navigational aids, signage and equipment; upgrading, maintaining or removing existing navigational aids, signage & equipment which will not impact any relics or shipwrecks as defined under the NSW Heritage Act 1977 or the Historic Shipwrecks Act 1976.

21. Emergency Works
Emergency works and activities undertaken by Roads and Maritime Services in fulfilling their navigational authority role within the SHR curtilage.

22 Infrastructure
Development, works and activities undertaken by Roads and Maritime Services in accordance with the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 which will not impact any relics or shipwrecks as defined under the NSW Heritage Act 1977 or the Historic Shipwrecks Act 1976.

23. Maritime Safety
Carrying out activities approved under the Marine Safety Act 1998 within the SHR curtilage which will not impact any relics or shipwrecks as defined under the NSW Heritage Act 1977 or the Historic Shipwrecks Act 1976.

24. Subdivision
Subdivision of land owned by Roads and Maritime Services within the State Heritage Register curtilage.

25. Management of temporary events
Temporary use, temporary road closures and the installation of temporary buildings, structures, fencing, facilities, exhibitions, artworks, crowd control barriers, stages, lighting, sound and public-address equipment, pontoons and signage for a period not exceeding 6 months where that activity will not materially affect the heritage significance of the item as a whole or the area in which they are to be undertaken.
Mar 23 2018

PDF Standard exemptions for works requiring Heritage Council approval

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0194923 Mar 18 351830

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Review of the SHR Visual Curtilage & Listing Assessment2016 Britton, Geoffrey  Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Written 2009Dictionary of Sydney View detail
WrittenAndrew Taylor,2012Interview with Wendy Whiteley View detail
VideoAustralian Broadcasting Corporation2015Australian Story - Wendy's Way View detail
VideoAustralian Government2007Australian Story - Brett Whiteley View detail
WrittenDesign Plus Consultancy for North Sydney Council (NSC2005)2005State Heritage Inventory for State Heritage Register nomination
WrittenJanet Hawley2015Wendy Whiteley and the Secret Garden
WrittenNorth Sydney Council (NSC)20141 Walker Street Lavender Bay. Nomination for listing on the SHR
WrittenNorth Sydney Heritage Centre North Sydney History Walk: The Art of Lavender Bay View detail
WrittenUnknown The life and times of Brett Whiteley View detail

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

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(Click on thumbnail for full size image and image details)

Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Heritage Office
Database number: 5056472
File number: H05/00144, EF14/6606


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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