Cedar House | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

Culture and heritage


Cedar House

Item details

Name of item: Cedar House
Other name/s: Cedarholme
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Residential buildings (private)
Category: Bungalow
Primary address: 140 Dalley Street, Mullumbimby, NSW 2482
Local govt. area: Byron
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
140 Dalley StreetMullumbimbyByron  Primary Address

Statement of significance:

The building is significant to the precinct. It is an important example of a grand Edwardian weatherboard house with corrugated iron roof and is a showpiece of Mullumbimby. The house is open to the public. The design shows evidence of an extremely well appointed residence of its period.

It is listed with the National Trust.
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.


Designer/Maker: Harris & Hughes
Builder/Maker: Harris & Hughes
Construction years: 1919-1919
Physical description: A large weatherboard residence with low-pitched gable roofs clad in corrugated iron with ventilating timber gable ends. The house has two large verandahs on the street facades and an unusual hexagonal bay and turret on the front corner living room. The side entry on North side has an interesting porte-cochere and fernery. Inside it has exceptional timber joinery with strong art nouveau influence, and magnificent original leadlight windows. Internal joinery and finishes show strong bungalow style influence with comfortably proportioned rooms with high ceilings. The house is surrounded by a mature landscaped garden and has an attached garage.

The lych gate stands on the entrance path without the fence, which has been removed.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Modifications and dates: A rear room was added in the 1920's using linings salvaged from the captain's cabin of the ship Wollongbar , which was driven aground on Byron beach in May 1921.
Current use: Antique Business and private residence
Former use: Private residence


Historical notes: The town of Mullumbimby is built substantially on a reserve of one square mile that was created in 1872 as a site for a village at the confluence of the Brunswick River and Mullumbimby Creek. The village was proclaimed in 1887 and the first land sales in the village occurred in the following year. The first signs of commerce appeared in the village in the late 1880s. However the impetus for growth occurred in 1894 when the Tweed Railway was built and a station was constructed on the eastern side of the village. The town developed on both sides of the railway although most commercial activities and the preponderance of housing was built in the area bounded by the railway on the east and the Brunswick River and Mullumbimby Creek on the north, west and south.

In 1908 Mullumbimby was incorporated as an area Local Government. The population of the town was then 907 people.

There seems to be some confusion about when this house was built. The present owners believe it was built in 1908 because lining boards removed during restoration work had that date and a name on them. However, Back family members or connections and family records suggest it was built around 1919 - 1920. Wally Holmes, cousin of W A Back (who built the house), advises 1915. The family history held at the Brunswick Valley Historical Society states:
'Back in Mullumbimby where the family lived, Dad decided towards the end of the war (WWI) that instead of renting a house, he may as well build one. No doubt he had this in mind for a long time because he had accumulated a large amount of red cedar timber, boards and other sizes, all seasoned X. My parents called the new home Cedarholm X. All the doors, cupboards etc were made of cedar and between the lounge-dining room as a sort of divider, were two cedar columns one each side from floor to ceiling. There were a lot of leadlights in windows and a tiled front verandah. A later addition, a breakfast room, was built of oak panelling from the SS Wollongbar, which was driven ashore in Byron Bay in May 1921.

The house was sold to a Dr D D Gibson in 1923 when the original owners travelled overseas.

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)-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The house is an unusual item of local design and construction incorporating a large quantity of cedar that was hoarded by the owner and builder for the purpose.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
Is connected with the Back family and a long time local General Practitioner, Dr D D Gibson.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Stylistically, the building is a Californian bungalow and an unusually early example of the style. It is a showpiece of Mullumbimby, on a prominent intersection at the northern entrance to the town. The octagonal bellcast copper roof at the verandah corner is a small eastern influence in the design.
Integrity/Intactness: Moderate
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:

Recommend listing as an item of local heritage significance Restore Edwardian colour scheme and erect period timber fencing


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental Plan  17 Mar 88   
Local Environmental PlanByron LEP 2014I14021 Jul 14   
Heritage study     

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Byron Shire Community Based Heritage Study20059.118Donald Ellsmore and Ian FoxJeff Garratt Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenRobin Gray2005Research notes: From the records of Brunswick Valley Historical Society

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

(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: 1260186

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