Bh155 : Oakdene | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

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Bh155 : Oakdene

Item details

Name of item: Bh155 : Oakdene
Other name/s: Oakdene, Oakdene Grammar School, Oakdene Flats
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Residential buildings (private)
Category: Bungalow
Primary address: 52 Govetts Leap Road, Blackheath, NSW 2785
Parish: Blackheath
County: Cook
Local govt. area: Blue Mountains
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
52 Govetts Leap RoadBlackheathBlue Mountains BlackheathCookPrimary Address

Statement of significance:

52 Govetts Leap Road has significance because of its associations with prominent and influential local merchants Peter Sutton and Charley Wadson and their families, and with the short lived Oakdene Grammar School. It is a relatively good and intact example of a Federation Bungalow style dwelling and one of a row of relatively intact single storey timber Federation era dwellings in this part of Blackheath which combine to make up an important streetscape.
Date significance updated: 05 Dec 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.


Physical description: 52 Govetts Leap Road is a substantial single storey Federation era bungalow. It has a hipped roof that has a broken backed configuration over the verandah on the southern (front) side of the building and is gabled over the projecting room at the western end of the southern side. The walls are lined externally with rusticated timber weather boards, while the gable is embellished by wide timber battens. The roof is covered with corrugated iron which is relatively recent. Four sets of doors open onto the verandah, including a glazed and panelled door, a solid four panelled door and two pairs of french doors. The verandah roof is supported of solid timber posts and a length of timber balustrading has been introduced in the recent past. Windows are generally double hung timber framed sashes, except the two windows in the projecting room at the front of the house, which appear to have been modified into fixed single pane sashes with decorative glazed panels over. These are shaded by a bracketted canopy.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
The building is in good condition, but has been modified to some extent in the recent past.
Date condition updated:05 Dec 01
Former use: Residence, school, flats


Historical notes: In 1905 widow Elizabeth Waring, who lived in Annandale, widow, purchased Lot 4 Section 2 DP 2904 from Thomas Bloodworth. The land became legally hers on 5 November 1905. In July 1909 she sold the land to Linda Payne Price, who was the wife of Ron James Payne Price (described as a gentleman of Blackheath) and who mortgaged it back to Elizabeth Waring. Evidently a dwelling was erected on the land, for in April 1910 it was leased to sisters Gertrude and Mabel Barnes, who already lived in Blackheath. The house became known as "Oakdene". Three years later, in March 1913, Linda Payne Price sold the property to Ethel Neate, the wife of estate agent Herbert Neate. Ethel Neate owned it for about ten years before selling it to local storekeeper Peter Sutton, in December 1923. (LTO 1648-131)

Peter Sutton (1891-1970) was born in Redfern. In 1910 his family moved to Blackheath on account of the ill health of one of his brothers, and he established a newsagency near the Post Office. Sutton was an alderman on the Blackheath Municipal Council between 1923 and 1926, between 1932 and 1935, then from1938 until its amalgamation with the City of Blue Mountains in October 1947. He played an important part in the construction of the swimming pool in Blackheath Memorial Park and the establishment of the Blackheath Bowling Club during the 1930s (Historic Blackheath). Sutton and his family lived in "Oakdene" for about ten years, then between 1933 and 1936 it became the home of the Oakdene Grammar School.
"Oakdene" was sold to Charley Arthur Wadson by Donald Hughes Watley, Sutton's mortgagee who held the power of sale, in January 1940 (LTO 1648-131)

Charley Wadson (1905-1972) was born in Perth and went to Blackheath in 1912 when his mother established the Moray Private Hospital. He trained as a carpenter and joiner and traded as a building contractor between 1928 and 1932. He returned to the Blue Mountains during the depression and, because there was no opportunity for building work at the time established a mercery business in February 1932 in Govetts Leap Road. After marrying Millicent Warren on 10 July 1937, the couple moved to Blackheath and took up residence above Moran and Cato’s shop on the corner of Wentworth Street and Govetts Leap Road. Wadson was the local Scoutmaster during the 1920s and early 1930s, an alderman on the Blackheath Council between 1941 and 1944, and served on the Blackheath Volunteer Fire Brigade between 1933 and 1944.

Wadson amalgamated the land on which "Oakdene" stood and the adjoining allotment (Lots 4-5 Section 2 Deposited Plan 2904) onto one title (5738-226) and took out a succession of mortgages over the property with the Blue Mountains Starr Bowkett Building Co-operative Society - Wadson took an active part in the Society from the early 1930s onwards and was chairman of its Board of Directors for a number of years. As well, his wife Millicent was the local agent for the Society. After Charley Wadson died in 1972 "Oakdene" was inherited by two of his daughters, Lynette Wadson of Narwee and Fay Smith of Blaxland. Millicent Wadson moved into "Oakdene" and lived there until 1980. (Blue Mountains Gazette, 7 October 1992; LTO 5738-2266; Yeaman).

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
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)-
6. Educating-Educating Education-Activities associated with teaching and learning by children and adults, formally and informally. (none)-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
52 Govetts Leap Road has associations with significant individuals of the twentieth century, including Peter Sutton and Charley Wadson, both of whom were prominent in local business and social matters, and whose families both occupied the house at some time.
The building has some historical associations with the short lived Oakdene Grammar School, which operated out of it for part of the 1930s.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The building is a relatively good example of a Federation Bungalow style dwelling and one of a row of single storey timber Federation era dwellings in this section of Govetts Leap Road. It makes an important contribution to the streetscape.
SHR Criteria g)
The building is representative of the more substantial timber dwellings erected in Blackheath
Integrity/Intactness: The building has retained a relatively large amount of early external fabric, although parts of it have been modified.
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.


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental PlanLocal Environmental Plan2005BH15507 Oct 05 122 
Heritage study BH155   

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Technical Audit BM Heritage Register2008BH155Blue Mountains City CouncilCity Planning Branch No

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Written 1992Blue Mountains Gazette, 7 October 1992
Written 1947Certificate of Title, Register Book Volume 5738 Folio 226
Written 1905Certificate of Title, Register Book Volume 1648 Folio 131
WrittenJohn Yeaman and others1976Historic Blackheath

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: 1172014

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