Mt Alverna (Friary & Retreat House) | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

Culture and heritage


Mt Alverna (Friary & Retreat House)

Item details

Name of item: Mt Alverna (Friary & Retreat House)
Other name/s: Greystanes
Type of item: Complex / Group
Group/Collection: Residential buildings (private)
Category: House
Primary address: 49-51 Burns Road, Wahroonga, NSW 2076
Local govt. area: Ku-Ring-Gai
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
49-51 Burns RoadWahroongaKu-Ring-Gai  Primary Address

Statement of significance:

Reasons for listing ; cultural, social, architectural, group value, landmark value. The friary and garden is of state significance and the retreat house is of municipal significance. Note: Important garden, avenues, mature trees, fences.
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: 1895-
Physical description: The house is unusual in being constrcted completely of rockface sandstone originally with a slate roof without terra cotta details. The dominant return verandah features semi-circular arches on the ground floor and simple timber balustrading on the upper floor, terminating in a strong octagonal bay overlapping a blank gable end. The house is set in extensive landscaped grounds featuring much of the original plantings. Note: The friary was built in the period 1901-1920 and the retreat was built in the period 1961-1986.
Modifications and dates: Altered or extended sympathetically. All unecessary detailing has bee eliminated and architectural effect has been created by the use of bold forms and strong modelling. The retreat house was demolished August 1987.


Historical notes: 'Mount Alverna' formerly 'Greystanes' is a remarkable survivor of the semi rural estates which existed in Turramurra and Wahroonga following the release of land for subdivision after the annoucement of the Milsons Point Railway Station in the 1880s. As such it represents a significant way of life of the upper middle class in the Federation era and is a particularly fine example of architectural idiom which expresses the change from High Victorian style to developing Australian 'Federation' style. Built as 'Greystanes' ( c.1895) for Dr Francis Antill Pockley. Land was part of Vanceville Estate, portion of the Big Island Estate which was part of 2000 acres of virgin forest, originally leased and occupied by Thomas Hyndes. The house is said to have had an organ in the hall, and a billiard room. A lift was installed in Pockley's later years. The grounds are said to have been planted with bulbs amongst the grass, and a tree from each country Pockley visited. There was also a fountain , said to have been made by Pockley himself. Historical period: 1901-1920 ?.


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental Plan  04 Nov 89   
Heritage study     

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Ku-ring-gai Heritage Study198703:031Robert Moore, Penelope Pike and Helen ProudfootSB Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Written  "Our Beautiful Homes", Ku-ring-gai Municipal Library Files, National Trust Research Group.

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: 1880036

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.