K139 : Swiss Cottage | NSW Environment & Heritage

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Heritage

K139 : Swiss Cottage

Item details

Name of item: K139 : Swiss Cottage
Other name/s: Rubyston; Pine Court; Lurline Cottage
Primary address: 132 Lurline Street, Katoomba, NSW 2780
Local govt. area: Blue Mountains
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
132 Lurline StreetKatoombaBlue Mountains   Primary Address
Warwick StreetKatoombaBlue Mountains   Alternate Address

Statement of significance:

Criterion (a): Cultural and Natural History
The Swiss Cottage is typical of many larger residences in Katoomba in being used as a guesthouse. Its history of use for hospitality continues to the present day with the current evolution as a high quality restaurant. It is an exceptionally early guesthouse in south Katoomba: the only guesthouse which is older and retains original features is Balmoral House, 194-9 Bathurst Road (K 023).

Criterion (b): Persons
The former St Hilda's Church Hall, now integrated into the Swiss Cottage, has links to the Anglican community of Katoomba.

Criterion (c): Aesthetic
The Swiss Cottage is a fine federation Queen Anne house retaining much of its original detail and joinery. The surviving garden layout is important in providing a setting for the former guesthouse.

The former St Hilda's Church Hall, relocated to form part of the building, has importance as a simple early church hall whose original purpose can still be interpreted in its present location.

Criterion (d): Community
As well as being important in its use as a guesthouse, the Swiss Cottage has importance for the association of its dining room, originally the first St Hilda's Church Hall, with the Anglican community of Katoomba.

Cirterion (f): Rarity
The surviving former St Hilda's Church Hall, added to this building in the 1930s, has interest as the only surviving timber church building in Katoomba.

Criterion (g): Representativeness
The Swiss Cottage is a good and intact example of Federation Queen Anne domestic architecture. The dining room (former St Hilda's church) is characteristic of the early churches in the Blue Mountains villages, simple buildings lined with timber and clad with weatherboards, providing an important and pleasant place for worship.
Date significance updated: 20 Jun 01
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

Construction years: 1898-1898
Physical description: The Swiss Cottage is a fine federation Queen Anne style residence set within large grounds on a prominent corner location. The house has a hipped terracotta tile roof with projecting gabled wings on the north and west street frontages. A verandah, broken back to the main roof, wraps around the northwest corner. Another verandah is on the south side of the building. A hipped roof wing (with corrugated steel sheeting) in the northeast corner was the hall behind the first St Hilda's Church in Katoomba and was relocated to the site to form a dining room for a former guesthouse. The house has three fine corbelled brick chimneys with terracotta pots.

The walls are clad in rusticated weatherboards.

The main verandah has turned timber posts, a frieze of turned timber and turned timber frieze boards. The rafters are exposed. The gables feature curved timber fretwork in the panels between the finial and collar tie.

The windows to the verandah are double hung with multipane top sashes. The west gable has a set of three double hung windows, the north gable has casements with 4 pane toplights. Two over two pane double hung windows open from the northeast dining room (former chapel).

The south verandah has been infilled at an early stage with a combination of multipane and single pane sashes and a rusticated weatherboard spandrel.

The dining room (former chapel) is lined with beaded timber boards, except at the south wall where the wall is plastered, keeping the character of the former church intact.

The garden features its original curved drive from the corner of Warwick and Lurline Streets and has a row of cypresses on the north side. Tree plantings of footpath of Warwick Street are believed to be associated with the house.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Good
Date condition updated:20 Jun 01
Modifications and dates: Verandah on north side of northeast wing.
Verandah and toilet addition on east side.
Further information: The dining-room of the restaurant is the nineteenth-century wooden hall of the first St Hilda’s Anglican church in Katoomba Street, re-erected at 132 Lurline Street around 1935.
Current use: Restaurant; Guesthousse
Former use: Guesthouse; Restaurant; Private School

History

Historical notes: H.A. Bundy was the proprietor of two early refreshment rooms in Katoomba, one in Bathurst Road which he soon gave up, the other leased from Harry Goyder at 9 Katoomba Street, above the Carrington, which Bundy retained until 1913 (Rate Books; Silvey 68).

Bundy’s property at 132 Lurline Street was called Rubyston, built in 1898 (sign on house). He used it as a furnished letting house, complete with piano (Goyder c.1908). A charming photograph of the house and garden in the Bundy period, featuring the proprietor, his family and/or staff survives in the house today.

Rubyston was sold to Mrs Clara Sinclair of Katoomba Street around 1911-2 and then to a local businessman, Samuel Bembrick, about 1914 (Rate Books). If the rumour reported by Gwen Silvey is correct, that a small private school was opened in Rubyston after Bundy left, it is likely that this happened during the short occupancy of Mrs Sinclair (Silvey 68).

The rate books are silent on Rubyston from 1920 to 1925, but Mrs Martha Harris ran it as a guesthouse from 1921 until in 1932 she and her two daughters purchased Derryvale, an existing guesthouse two doors away at 136 Lurline Street: she then renamed Derryvale Rubystone (Silvey 68, 103; Hotel, Guest-House and Tourist Guide 1931, 77,85). Mrs Harris cannot have owned the original Rubyston, no.132, for by 1926, when rate records are again available, the owner was Mrs Maria Gilhooley, who clearly employed Mrs Harris as manager of the guesthouse (Rate Books).

Maria Gilhooley had been born Maria Agnes Therese MacShane in 1871 and married William Gilhooley in 1911. Maria’s elder, unmarried sister, Mary Elizabeth MacShane, had owned Derryvale guesthouse at 136 Lurline Street since 1911, the same date at which her married sister Maria bought the land adjacent at no.134 (Births, Deaths & Marriages web-site). Maria built a house called Nusa on no.134 in 1914 and the two sisters owned the adjoining properties, nos 134 and 136, until 1932 (Rate Books).

In the middle of this period Maria Gilhooley bought no.132 and ran both 132 and 134 as guesthouses, with a manager in each, while her sister ran Derryvale at no.136 initially by herself (Rate Books; Silvey 68,103,115). Maria Gilhooley from at least 1923 was resident in Epping, living in another house called Nusa, and she died there in 1929. Two years before her death, Maria had sold Rubyston, no.132, to Mrs Annie Lewis, who lived in Manly and presumably retained Mrs Harris as the manager of the Katoomba guesthouse (Rate Books).

In 1931 Mrs Boyle acquired no.132, continued to run it as a guesthouse, but renamed it Pine Court, while Mrs Harris took herself and the former name of no.132 off to the former Derryvale at no.136 (Silvey 116).



During the Boyle period, in the mid 1930s, a new dining room for the guesthouse was dramatically created by the re-erection on the north-east corner of Pine Court of the wooden hall from St Hilda’s Anglican church. The first St Hilda’s had been built in Katoomba Street in 1885 in weatherboard (Old Leura and Katoomba 127). The wooden hall behind the church was erected in the later nineteenth century and when the present church was being built on the site of the first in 1914, the hall was used as a temporary place of worship: in no.132 there is a photograph of the interior of the hall furnished as a church, clearly taken in 1914. When the hall was finally made redundant in the mid 1930s, it was dismantled and brought to 132 Lurline Street where it was lovingly reassembled and made into a successful dining-room with the insertion of a dividing wall (Silvey 68).

Soon afterwards Mrs Boyle sold Pine Court to a retired grazier and former guesthouse proprietor, Thomas Thompson and his wife, who managed it as a guesthouse as well as a family home (Silvey 68-9). After Mrs Thompson’s death, the house remained in demand for holiday accommodation, but after Mr Thompon went to a nursing-home in Katoomba the property deteriorated. It was finally revived in the late 1980s by Matthew Jones who opened the old church-hall annexe as the Lurline Cottage Tearoom.

In the 1990s the property was bought by the present owners, Monique and Roland Rummer, who have created the Swiss Cottage Restaurant, specialising in rostis and fondues, in the old church-hall and offer modern overnight accommodation adjacent to the Victorian house.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
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)-
6. Educating-Educating Education-Activities associated with teaching and learning by children and adults, formally and informally. (none)-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation (none)-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Religion-Activities associated with particular systems of faith and worship (none)-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The Swiss Cottage is typical of many larger residences in Katoomba in being used as a guesthouse. Its history of use for hospitality continues to the present day with the current evolution as a high quality restaurant. It is an exceptionally early guesthouse in south Katoomba: the only guesthouse which is older and retains original features is Balmoral House, 194-9 Bathurst Road (K 023). The former St Hilda's Church Hall, now integrated into the Swiss Cottage, has links to the Anglican community of Katoomba.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The Swiss Cottage is a fine federation Queen Anne house retaining much of its original detail and joinery. The surviving garden layout is important in providing a setting for the former guesthouse.

The former St Hilda's Church Hall, relocated to form part of the building, has importance as a simple early church hall whose original purpose can still be interpreted in its present location.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
As well as being important in its use as a guesthouse, the Swiss Cottage has importance for the association of its dining room, originally the first St Hilda's Church, with the Anglican community of Katoomba.
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
The surviving former St Hilda's Church hall, added to this building in the 1930s, has interest as the only surviving timber church building in Katoomba.
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
The surviving former St Hilda's Church, added to this building in the 1930s, has interest as the only surviving timber church building in Katoomba.
Integrity/Intactness: High
Assessment criteria: Items are assessed against the PDF State Heritage Register (SHR) Criteria to determine the level of significance. Refer to the Listings below for the level of statutory protection.

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental PlanLEP2005K13907 Oct 05 122 
Heritage study K139   

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Heritage Review Katoomba Leura2001K139Jack, Hubert, Morris, LavelleRIJ; PH Yes
Technical Audit BM Heritage Register2008K139Blue Mountains City CouncilCity Planning Branch No

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Written  Births, Deaths and Marriages Website sub Gilhooley and MacShane
Written  Katoomba Rate Books
WrittenGoyder Bros1908Furnished Cottages To Let, circa
WrittenGwen Silvey1996Happy Days: Blue Mountains Guesthouses Remembered
WrittenNew South Wales Government Tourist Bureau1931Hotel, Guest-House and Tourist Guide in New South Wales
WrittenRotary Club of Katoomba1982Old Leura and Katoomba
WrittenSoper Bros1926Furnished Cottage Catalogue, circa

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

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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Local Government
Database number: 1170483


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