House | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

Culture and heritage



Item details

Name of item: House
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Residential buildings (private)
Category: Other - Residential Buildings (private)
Primary address: 9 Adolphus Street, Balmain, NSW 2041
County: Cumberland
Local govt. area: Leichhardt
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
9 Adolphus StreetBalmainLeichhardt CumberlandPrimary Address

Statement of significance:

No. 9 Adolphus Street is of local historic and aesthetic significance as a typical dwelling constructed in c. 1860. Despite some changes the building retains its original form and character and makes a positive contribution to the Adolphus Street streetscape.

Note: This inventory sheet is not intended to be a definitive study of the heritage item, therefore information may not be accurate and complete. The information should be regarded as a general guide. Further research is always recommended as part of the preparation of development proposals for heritage items.
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.


Builder/Maker: Thomas Cohen
Physical description: Single storey rendered dwelling with hipped roof clad in terracotta tiles. The eastern roof slope changes pitch and continues over an open verandah which extends across the front of the building. The verandah has modern stone floor finish and is enclosed at each end. The front façade has a timber panelled entry door with toplight over framed by timber casement windows with projecting stone sills. The building is elevated above street level and set back from the street frontage which features a modern stone fence/ retaining wall with some planting located between. Concrete pavers and a path extend along the southern side of the house. A painted brick, skillion roofed section is attached to the north western corner of the house. A smaller skillion roofed section is also attached to the south western corner of the main building. A high fence separates the house and associated site from the rear which extends to Waite Avenue. Two face and painted brick structures containing four units occupy the western portion of the site. An open sealed area surrounds the two structures which are accessed from and address Waite Avenue.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
In good condition.
Modifications and dates: 1965: Conversion house and factory into (5) flats (6652).
1990: Alterations at rear (90/179).
1997: Convert existing store room to self contained dwelling (96/272, DA/153/1996).
2005: Part of building to front dwelling. Remedial works to external walls including rendering,refubishment of windows, gutters, roof,removal of internal flooring and ceiling,rerendering of internal walls, removal of kitchen and bathroom and extention of sunroom. (BC/190/2005).
Further information: The rear of the site is also known as No. 2C Waite Avenue.
Current use: Residential
Former use: Residential, House and factory


Historical notes: Surgeon William Balmain was granted 550 acres and most of the area now encompassing Balmain in 1800. In 1801 the entire grant was transferred to fellow surgeon John Gilchrist. Gilchrist never actually lived in NSW and advertised the land for sale in 1823. However, the sale was not a success. He gave power of attorney to his Sydney-based agent and merchant, Frank Parbury, who commissioned Surveyor John Armstrong to subdivide part of the land. In 1836 22, 2-4 acres lots mostly about Balmain East were auctioned for sale by Parbury on behalf of the absentee landowner, Gilchrist.
Four lots containing about 38 acres were sold by Gilchrist at the second major sale of the Balmain Estate in August 1837. Included in this land was a 33 foot wide road, later named Adolphus Street. Robert Blake, Sheriff of NSW purchased Lot 1, the area roughly to the east of Adolphus Street to Cameron’s Cove. The remaining 30 acres, Lots 2-4 were purchased by Thomas Hyndes. Hyndes mortgaged Lots 2-4 in early 1840 to John Terry Hughes who in the same year mortgaged it to Adolphus William Young. Young subsequently acquired the land, subdivided and began to sell the various allotments from the late 1840s.
Thomas Cohen, a Balmain builder purchased Lot 15 from Young in 1859. In c. 1860 he built two small brick single storey attached houses on the site which he let. Following his death his wife continued to let the houses until 1886. In 1885-1887 a Mrs Blackwell rented the two houses as one and named it “Leah Cottage”. It would appear that a second entry door on the front façade was infilled around this time. The house continued to be let by various owners until 1903 when it was sold and occupied by Captain Christian Langker. The property has been transferred a number of times since and continues to be used as a single residence. It is not clear when the structures at the rear of the site were constructed, however, it would appear that they were used as a factory prior to 1965. Council records indicate that an application was submitted in January 1965 for the conversion of the house and factory into five flats. This application was approved and associated works completed in 1967.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Industry-Activities associated with the manufacture, production and distribution of goods Growth of Balmain-
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. Growth of Balmain-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The site and main dwelling are of local historic significance as part of an early subdivision and residential development constructed in c. 1860. The buildings at the rear of the site, addressing Waite Avenue are of no particular historical significance.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The main building is of local aesthetic significance a representative example of a single storey Victorian dwelling. Despite alteration and modification of the building (it was initially constructed as two small brick houses and later converted into a single dwelling) the building retains a sense of its early scale and form and makes a positive contribution to the Adolphus Street streetscape. The buildings to the rear are of no particular aesthetic significance.
SHR Criteria g)
The building is a representative example of rendered brick Victorian period dwelling constructed in c. 1860.
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:

It is recommended that: - the existing single storey scale and character of the building including rendered facades, roof form, open front verandah and simple pattern of openings should be retained and conserved; - reinstatement of the original door on the Adolphus Street façade may be considered; - timber and rendered surfaces should continue to be painted in appropriate colours; - any additions should be restricted to the rear of the building and site. Alterations and replacement of the brick structures in the rear, western portion of the site should be carefully considered to ensure no adverse heritage impacts on the front building particular retain an appropriate scale, and adjacent heritage items.


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental Plan I9723 Dec 13   

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Leichhardt Municipality Heritage Study1990 McDonald McPhee Pty Ltd (Craig Burton, Wendy Thorp)  Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenMax Solling and Peter Reynolds1997Leichhardt: On the Margins of the City

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: 1940101

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.

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