Malvern Hill Precinct | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

Culture and heritage


Malvern Hill Precinct

Item details

Name of item: Malvern Hill Precinct
Type of item: Complex / Group
Group/Collection: Residential buildings (private)
Category: Other - Residential Buildings (private)
Primary address: 1-17 & 2A-18 Fitzroy Street, Croydon, NSW 2132
Parish: Concord
County: Cumberland
Local govt. area: Burwood
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
1-17 & 2A-18 Fitzroy StreetCroydonBurwoodConcordCumberlandPrimary Address
1-53 & 2-36 Murray StreetCroydonBurwoodConcordCumberlandDuplicate Address
41, 43, 45 Brady StreetCroydonBurwoodConcordCumberlandDuplicate Address
2-26 & 1-27 Tahlee StreetCroydonBurwoodConcordCumberlandDuplicate Address
2, 3, 4 Devonshire StreetCroydonBurwoodConcordCumberlandDuplicate Address
1-31 & 2-16 David StreetCroydonBurwoodConcordCumberlandDuplicate Address
1-13 & 2-10 Lea StreetCroydonBurwoodConcordCumberlandDuplicate Address
1-29 & 2-24 Chelmsford AvenueCroydonBurwoodConcordCumberlandDuplicate Address
1-23 & 2-36 Malvern AvenueCroydonBurwoodConcordCumberlandDuplicate Address
1-19 Dickinson AvenueCroydonBurwoodConcordCumberlandDuplicate Address
1-25 Liverpool RoadCroydonBurwoodConcordCumberlandDuplicate Address
1-27 & 2-32 The StrandCroydonBurwoodConcordCumberlandDuplicate Address

Statement of significance:

The Malvern Hill Estate is of local significance because together with Appian Way, the Badminton Road to Culdees Road Conservation Area, the Wallace and Brady Streets Conservation Area, and the Mosely and Roberts Streets Conservation Area, it is a key part of what distinguishes Burwood from other parts of Sydney and containing good quality Federation housing, street planning and planting, and as an example of an early model suburb.
It is highly intact relatively large area of quality Federation and California Bungalows on substantial blocks of regular size together with an integral neighbourhood shopping centre divided by wide tree lined streets presenting cohesive but varied streetscapes.
Malvern Hill has connections with a number of important Sydney people and a number of well-known architects. The areas' particular scale and detail presents a highly desirable area for family living.
Date significance updated: 24 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.


Construction years: 1909-1920
Physical description: The Malvern Hill Estate in Croydon lies approximatelly 11 kilometres west of the Sydney Central Business District. The extent of the original estate, the same as the conservation area, covers approximatelly 23 hectares of land south-west of Croydon Railway Station.
The dominant features in the Malvern Hill Estate are the wide roads, tree lined foothpaths and cohesive streetscapes with skyline broken by Federation and Californian Bungalow style roofs, gables and chimney stacks on dwellings and an intact shopping strip.
The topography of the area is gently sloping to flat. The slope does create some variation in the views and townscape, but a "hill" in itself is not pronounced. Malvern Hill is generally a residential area with a shopping centre adjacent to Croydon Railway Station. The area is described by the National Trust of Australia (NSW) as:
"a distinctive, highly cohesive area of good quality Federation period houses and shops, street planning and planting in streets and gardens. The area is significanct as an early planned 'model suburb' and is one of the first examples of the successful application of local government development controls.


Historical notes: The Malvern Hill Estate was subdivided by the Inter-colonial Investment Land and Building Company in 1909. The Estate was developed under the provisions of the newly introduced Local Government Act, 1906. A 24.6 hectare(61 acre) site became a model suburb with wide tree lined streets, well drained building allotments. To keep a standard of building, covenants were stipulated. These included all residences to be detached houses built of stone or brick with a slate or tile roof. A formal shopping centre, The Strand was built in the Estate.The Post Office (opened 1913) was the first building in The Strand. Development continued until 1920.
The subdivisions of Malvern Hill were in these sections:
* The Stand and Malvern Avenue/Dickinson Avenue: April 1909
* Murray Avenue (between The Strand and Brady Street): May 1911
* Malvern Avenue/ Chelmsford Avenue/Lea Street/David Street: September 1909
* Murray Street (from Brady Street to Tahlee Street) and Tahlee Street: March 1912
* Fitzroy Street: September 1917

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
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 Suburban Consolidation-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
By 1915, the increasing influence of American architecture was becoming evident in domestic architecture with the introduction of the California Bungalow style. The newer California Bungalow style was characterised by low-pitched roofs with squat chimneys and wide overhang eaves, simple bold forms, dark brick and roughcast walls and massive brick or stone pylons supporting a deep porch. In the turn Art Noveau motifs appear in Bungalow fretwork, leadlights of the windows and tile patterns as abstracted plant designs. In addition, Australian symbols were sometimes found in details such as leadlight windows decipting kookaburras, waratahs, etc.
In 1909, the Sydney based surveying firm Atchinson & Schleicher were engaged to create a 61-acre ( 24.6-hectare) subdivision. The Estate was developed under the provisions of the newly introduced Local Government Act, 1906.This set standards that resulted in wide tree-lined streets and large and well-drained building allotments. The Strand shopping centre, developed between 1913 and 1920, also contributes to the Federation character of the area. It was designed as a broad and elegant shopping street and premonade leading to the residential areas.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
A feature of the Estate that contributes to its cohesive nature was that a building covenant was stipulated. All residences had to be detached houses built of brick or stone. Roofs were to be slate, shingles or terracotta tiles. No more than one dwelling per lot was allowed. The buildings other than the shops could be no closer than 20 feet (6 metres) to the street. Gas mains and sewerage were provided to every allotment. The allotments were sold by auction from 1909. By the 1920s, the residential character was established. The houses range from cottages to larger cottage-villas, to two storey houses built on double blocks. The houses were built by private owners and speculative builders. The result is a variety of house styles and sizes in Federation and California Bungalow forms.
The most significant buildings in the estate are the large and elaborate Federation and Bungalow houses in Malvern and Dickinson Avenues. Some of these have individual merit and were mostly architect designed. The small builder-designed houses are meritorious as a group due to their cohesive characte, rather than outstanding individual form. More detailed analysis of the work of architects in Malvern Hill is covered in the late Phillip Clement's study ("The Architecture of the Malvern Hill Estate" 1981).
In Federation houses, the roofs are in complex forms, with exposed rafter ends and generally asymmetrical.As specified in the building covenant, the roofs were of slate or terracotta tiles. In Bungalow houses, the roofs are lower ptched, less complex and often had exposed rafter ends. Virtually all of the original houses in Malvern Hill have verandahs. The front fences are vary between low brick, timber pickets and modern styles.
The fa├žade of the shops in The Strand, although partially altered with a new windows to some promises, is still intact above street level.
The gardens tend to be in a formal style, with strategically placed trees and shrubs. The street trees, especially those associated with the Federation period, contribute to the character of the area. Examples of the original plantings are found in Lea Street and Chelmsford Avenue.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
From the late 1800s, optimism in Australia's future was strong, culminating in the Federation of the States in 1901. There was prosperity in the building industry. Materials and tradesmen were freely available. Building technique had advanced. Unlike in the Victorian era when large commercial and government buildings were emphasised, the construction of new suburbs for the middle classes increased. A large rise in population resulted in urgent needs for housing. The spread of suburbs was assisted by the growth of public transport.
The Burwood and District Historical Society advises that:
* The Malvern Hill Estate is one of the earliest conservation areas in NSW and has been the subject of numerous studies.
* The area has connections with a number of important Sydney personages such as Sir Bertram Stevens, who lived in Malvern Avenue whilst Premier of NSW in the 1930s.
* The area contains a number of houses designed by architects such as Peddle and Thorpe, George Durrell, Donald Esplin, Kent Budden and Greenwell, Morrow and De Putron and William Kenwood.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
There are a number of future research opportunities in respect of the Malvern Hill Estate and Conservation Area, such as:
* Connections to other garden suburbs in Sydney and overseas, show how elements were varied to suit Australian and New South Wales conditions.
* How was the Garden Estate or Subdivision made "self contained"?
* The effect of covenants placed on Malvern Hill Estate properties.
* What were the particular design elements of the Estate houses that attracted the "middle class" purchasers?
* The reasons for the particular species of trees selected for the Estate.
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 PlanMalvern Hill Conservation Area001921 Jul 89 844570
Heritage study     

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Burwood Heritage study19863.46Fox & Associates Architects/Planners Sydney  No

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenBurwood Municipal Council2001Development Control Plan No.5- Malvern Hill Conservation Area
WrittenBurwood Municipal Council1983Malvern Hill Conservation Area-Environmental Study
WrittenThe National Trust1986Heritage Listing Form

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

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

Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Local Government
Database number: 1250283

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.

All information and pictures on this page are the copyright of the Heritage Division or respective copyright owners.