Millers Point Conservation Area | NSW Environment & Heritage

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Heritage

Millers Point Conservation Area

Item details

Name of item: Millers Point Conservation Area
Type of item: Conservation Area
Group/Collection: Urban Area
Category: Townscape
Location: Lat: -33.857833 Long: - 151.204501
Primary address: , Millers Point, NSW 2000
Parish: St Philip
County: Cumberland
Local govt. area: Sydney
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Metropolitan
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
 Millers PointSydneySt PhilipCumberlandPrimary Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Department of HousingState Government20 Jan 99

Statement of significance:

Millers Point Conservation Area is an intact residential and maritime precinct of outstanding State and national significance. It contains buildings and civic spaces dating from the 1830s and is an important example of nineteenth and early twentieth century adaptation of the landscape. The precinct has changed little since the 1930s.
Date significance updated: 29 Oct 01
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

Physical description: An integrated port town developed between the 1810s and the 1930s and little changed since then; considered remarkable for its completeness and intactness. Its components include deep-sea wharves and associated infrastructure, bond and free stores, roadways and accessways, public housing built for port workers, former private merchant housing, hotels and shops, schools, churches, post office and community facilities.

This is the Department of Housing's Conservation Area only and only applies to Department of Housing property. Because of this, the Department's Conservation Area is not contiguous.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Good
Date condition updated:17 Sep 97
Further information: All individual listings for Millers Point are an integral part of the whole precinct and are of the same level of State significance as the precinct. The area is generally in State Government ownership and most individual items are identified in s170 registers of owning authorities (mainly Department of Housing). All items sold to private ownership are protected by SHR listings; however, recent practice has been to retain State ownership and sell leasehold only. The Millers Point Conservation Area as defined in the City of Sydney LEP 1992 does not include the Walsh Bay precinct which is covered by an REP. However, as a heritage item, Millers Point and Walsh Bay are integral. For more detailed information on Walsh Bay see the entry for the Walsh Bay Wharves ('Wharves 1 to 9 & buildings & bridges etc.'). Millers Point area endorsed as an item of State and national significance by the Heritage Council on 15 December 1988.
Current use: Predominantly public housing, community facilities and residual port activities.
Former use: Housing, commercial and port

History

Historical notes: The area to the northwest of the City of Sydney was first settled in the early nineteenth century. It has a long history as a port with housing and other community facilities developed in association. The Area shows a cross-section of Australian urban development from 1810s to 1930s. It was resumed by government in 1900s and developed as a 'company town' by the port authorities.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
2. Peopling-Peopling the continent Ethnic influences-Activities associated with common cultural traditions and peoples of shared descent, and with exchanges between such traditions and peoples. (none)-
2. Peopling-Peopling the continent Migration-Activities and processes associated with the resettling of people from one place to another (international, interstate, intrastate) and the impacts of such movements (none)-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Commerce-Activities relating to buying, selling and exchanging goods and services (none)-
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 (none)-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Events-Activities and processes that mark the consequences of natural and cultural occurences (none)-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Fishing-Activities associated with gathering, producing, distributing, and consuming resources from aquatic environments useful to humans. (none)-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Industry-Activities associated with the manufacture, production and distribution of goods (none)-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Technology-Activities and processes associated with the knowledge or use of mechanical arts and applied sciences (none)-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Transport-Activities associated with the moving of people and goods from one place to another, and systems for the provision of such movements (none)-
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)-
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 (none)-
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)-
5. Working-Working Labour-Activities associated with work practises and organised and unorganised labour (none)-
6. Educating-Educating Education-Activities associated with teaching and learning by children and adults, formally and informally. (none)-
7. Governing-Governing Defence-Activities associated with defending places from hostile takeover and occupation (none)-
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. (none)-
7. Governing-Governing Welfare-Activities and process associated with the provision of social services by the state or philanthropic organisations (none)-
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. (none)-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Religion-Activities associated with particular systems of faith and worship (none)-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Social institutions-Activities and organisational arrangements for the provision of social activities (none)-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups (none)-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Significant in the evolution and pattern of the history of New South Wales.

1.1 Miller's Point provides a geographically encapsulated portrayal of the evolution of Australian urban life prior to the mid twentieth century.

1.2 It demonstrates a complex layering of activities and events, ranging from early colonial merchant and official enterprise to twentieth century corporate port town and setting for social planning.

1.3 Its demonstrative capacity is heightened by the completeness and originality of its fabric which represents particularly strongly every decade between 1820 and 1930 and by the experiences and memory of its long term community.

1.4 Its public housing and its development into a Government corporate town were probably the first such developments in Australia (apart from first settlement) and may be of international significance.

1.5 It features virtually intact residential areas, port and stevedoring works created by the Sydney Harbour Trust, 1900 1930, in response to the Sydney plague and the requirements of maritime trade at that time.

1.6 Its associations include personalities encompassing a wide spectrum of New South Wales society:

.early millers such as John Leighton, the original `Jack the Miller';

.colonial merchant class, represented by the Campbell family of Bligh House, 43 Lower Fort Street;

.later merchant class who invested in major warehouses (Towns and Parbury);

.prominent Sydney citizens of the mid nineteenth century such as John Fairfax of the Sydney Morning Herald who enjoyed the proximity to the town. (The relatively modest scale of the houses at Miller's Point, and the relative importance of its pre 1870 inhabitants reflects the economic circumstances and the aspirations of the citizens of the town of Sydney);

.1880s property investors who built substantial rows of terrace houses of which 1 19 Lower Fort Street is the finest in Miller's Point, and the grandest surviving terrace in New South Wales;

.publicans, as key civic figures, for example, the Armstrong family of the Palisade Hotel;

.the Irish community, as a major social group, the men generally employed as waterside workers;

.nineteenth century street life : urchins, larrikins and prostitutes, colouring the otherwise respectable nature of the district pre 1900;

.significant architects and their work:

H. Ginn & E. Blacket : Holy Trinity Church;

W. L. Vernon : Post Office;

A. Dawson : Observatory;

J. Watts and M. Lewis : Fort Street School (also H. Robertson);

M. Lewis : Richmond Villa, Kent Street (moved from Domain c.1975);

J. Verge : 39 41 Lower Fort Street;

G. McRae : 1910s workers' housing;

V. Parkes : proposals c.1910 to Sydney Redevelopment Advisory Board for new hygienic tenaments between Argyle Place and Windmill Street;

W. Wardell : Grafton Bond Store,

.significant engineers and their work:

H.D. Walsh : Walsh Bay Port structures and works;

N. Selfe : advice on new wharf facilities c.1910,

. significant maritime figures: John Irving (boat builder), James Munn (ship builder), John Cuthbert (Cuthbert's Patent Slip);

.members of the Sydney Harbour Trust Board;

.artists, and the discovery of the pictorial qualities of Australia including urban squalor, waterfront incident and the harbour bridge:

Prout and Rae 1840s in Sydney Illustrated;

S. Elyard 1860s;

Lindsay family c.1900;

W. Hardy Wilson c.1910;

Cazneaux c.1920;

Dorrit Black c.1930.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Significant in possessing, or contributing to, creative or technical accomplishment in New South Wales.

2.1 It demonstrates technical and creative excellence of the period 1820 1930, including wharfage, warehousing, civic facilities and landscaping, the observatory, hotels, public housing and its support facilities, colonial housing and the Garrison Church buildings.

2.2 It documents the workings of a technologically advanced early twentieth century shipping port, developed specifically to accommodate new mechanised transportation technology (engine driven vessels and motor lorries), and strongly retains and demonstrates the physical character of a port.

2.3 It demonstrates characteristic dramatic harbourside topography, human modified and utilised in strata for relevant functions (Observatory, fortifications, elevated housing for the colonial gentry, multi level warehousing/wharfage and deepwater berthing).

2.4 It is unified as an area in materials, form and scale and is clearly defined by the Harbour Bridge and Bradfield Highway, Walsh Bay and Darling Harbour.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
Significant through associations with a community in New South Wales for social, cultural or spiritual reasons.

3.1 It is occupied in part by descendants of its earlier communities and retains a strong community spirit.

3.2 It demonstrates, with relatively minor change to its physical character and the social composition of its population, the life of inner Sydney in the early twentieth century.

3.3 Following its resumption in 1900 it became the setting for a pioneer programme of public housing and social improvement, demonstrated by development of a company port town by the Sydney Harbour Trust. This encompassed construction of purpose designed workers' housing and support services and improvement of existing buildings and services.

3.4 It remains predominantly a public housing area and retains the presence and activity of the port authority.

3.5 It retains largely working evidence of early social improvement through education (Lance Kindergarten, St. Brigid's school and the Fort Street schools).

3.6 It contains institutions strongly associated with the religious life of the community:

.Holy Trinity Church, the church of the Anglican establishment and the military garrison;

.St. Brigid's church and school, the oldest extant Catholic establishment in Australia and a focal point of the local Irish working class community.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
Significant for the potential to yield information contributing to an understanding of the history of New South Wales.

4.1 Its long term residents provide a rich resource of oral evidence contributing to an understanding of the history of the place and the Sydney waterfront.

4.2 Its layered fabric, both in terms of structures and archaeology, has had relatively little disturbance since intervention by the Sydney Harbour Trust and has the potential to provide valuable evidence about the place and its community.
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
Significant in possessing rare, endangered or uncommon aspects of the history of New South Wales.

6.1 Its unity, authenticity of fabric and community, and complexity of significant activities and events make it probably the rarest and most significant historic urban place in Australia.

6.2 Its Walsh Bay wharves and associated port structures are unique in Australia and, when associated with the whole port-town, may be of international significance.

6.3 It contains rare examples of early colonial architecture, of which the Sydney Observatory may be unique.
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
Significant in demonstrating the characteristics of a class of cultural places or environments in New South Wales.

7.1 It contains good examples demonstrating the evolution of domestic and commercial buidings in Australia, including a comprehensive illustration of Australian terrace-house development, from "the Ark" (1820s) to Edwardian terraces (1910s).

7.2 Its individual components illustrate in detail the various characteristics and phases of development of the place.
Integrity/Intactness: A complete government port town remarkable for its intactness. Very good condition.
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:

Conservation Policy and State control

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
57(2)Exemption to allow workHeritage Act - Site Specific Exemptions HERITAGE ACT 1977
Order Under Section 57 (2)

I, the Minister for Planning, 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 the said Act in respect of the engaging in or carrying out of any activities described in Schedule C by the owner, mortgagee or lessee of the land described in Schedule B on the item described in Schedule A.

Dated: Sydney, 5th March 2002.
ANDREW REFSHAUGE, M.P.,
Minister for Planning

SCHEDULE A
The area known as Millers Point Conservation Area, Millers Point.

SCHEDULE B
The area being land in Millers Point in the ownership of the New South Wales Department of Housing as listed in the State Heritage Register, Listing No. 884.

SCHEDULE C
1. Installation of fire services in accordance with statutory requirements and to the satisfaction of the Heritage Council's Fire Services Advisory Panel;
2. Installation of temporary reversible cooking facilities;
3. Excavation for services and maintenance in areas not designated as archaeologically significant in the Rocks and Millers Point Archaeological Management Plan, subject to a watching brief; and
4. Repainting in a previous colour scheme, as determined by paint scrapings, all work being subject to assessment by an independent heritage consultant.
Mar 18 2002
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)

Millers Point & Dawes Point Village Precinct, SHR No. 01682
Millers Point Conservation Area, SHR No. 00884


I, the Minister for Planning, 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 the said Act in respect of the engaging in or carrying out of any activities described in Schedule C by the owner of the land described in Schedule B on the item described in Schedule A.

The Hon. Kristina Keneally MP
Minister for Planning


Sydney, 9th Day of April 2009

SCHEDULE A
The items known as the Millers Point & Dawes Point Village Precinct and Millers Point Conservation Area, situated on the land described in Schedule “B”.

SCHEDULE B
All those pieces or parcels of land as shown on the plans catalogued HC 1921 and HC 2282 in the office of the Heritage Council of New South Wales.

SCHEDULE C
All works, in accordance with the ‘Millers Point Vegetation Assessment’ (2005) for the Department of Housing properties, prepared by the Government Architect’s Office.
Apr 24 2009
57(2)Exemption to allow workHeritage Act - Site Specific Exemptions HERITAGE ACT 1977

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

Millers Point Conservation Area
Millers Point (SHR No. 884)

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 described in Schedule B on the item described in Schedule A.

The Hon Robyn Parker, MP
Minister for Heritage

Sydney, 17th Day of December 2012

SCHEDULE A

The item known as Millers Point Conservation Area, situated on the land described in Schedule B.

SCHEDULE B

All those pieces or parcels of land as shown on the plans catalogued HC 1921 and HC 2282 in the office of the Heritage Council of New South Wales.

SCHEDULE C

All works and activities that, in the opinion of the relevant local government authority approval body, do not materially affect the significance of the item, according to the definition and explanations of ‘material affectation’ in the NSW Local Government Heritage Guidelines published by the NSW Heritage Office 2002, pages 25-30.

This Exemption does not apply to works affecting historical archaeological ‘relics’ within the meaning of the NSW Heritage Act, 1977. Works which affect ‘relics’ must still be submitted for approval by the Heritage Council of NSW or its Delegate.
Jan 18 2013

PDF Standard exemptions for works requiring Heritage Council approval

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0088402 Apr 99 271546
Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage register     
Local Environmental PlanCSH LEP 4 07 Apr 00   
Within a conservation area on an LEP     
Archaeological zoning plan     
Within a National Trust conservation area     
Register of the National Estate     

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Department of Housing s170 Register1998 Brooks & Associates  Yes
Millers Point Conservation Policy1989 Kate Blackmore Associates  No

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenA Prescott1995Statement of Significance for the Heritage Council
WrittenFitzgerald, S and Keating, C1991Millers Point
WrittenGodden Mackay Logan2007Conservation management guidelines for Housing NSW properties in Millers Point
WrittenHoward Tanner and Associates1987Millers Point
WrittenNSW Government Architect's Office, Heritage Group (Verena Ong)2005Millers Point vegetation assessment, Department of Housing. [Variant title:Millers Point vegetation assessment, Department of Housing properties]

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: 5001049
File number: S90/03340; 10/03465


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