Terrace Houses | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

About us

Terrace Houses

Item details

Name of item: Terrace Houses
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Residential buildings (private)
Category: Terrace
Primary address: 15 Cove Street, Birchgrove, NSW 2041
County: Cumberland
Local govt. area: Leichhardt
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
15 Cove StreetBirchgroveLeichhardt CumberlandPrimary Address

Statement of significance:

No. 15 Cove Street, Birchgrove has historic and aesthetic significance as part of a fairly intact example of a c. 1902, free standing residential terrace constructed in the Federation style with some Federation Queen Anne style detailing. It has lost some integrity due to the painted brickwork. The row was constucted at the end of a period of substantial growth on the edge of the Snails Bay precinct and forms an end to the vista of the approaching street.

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.

Council's Library Service has identified photos and/or subdivision plans relating to this item which may be viewed online through the council website at http://www.leichhardt.nsw.gov.au/ Select Library & Local History to get to the Library online catalogue and keyword search "Balmain Map" for results.
Date significance updated: 10 Jan 11
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: Architect, Mark Cooper Day
Builder/Maker: G. Brewer
Physical description: Nos. 5-15 Cove Street is a row of six twostorey residential terraces. The roof of the terraces is clad in terracotta tiles with a decorative tiled ridge and divided into two terraces x three with tall rendered brick party walls and chimneys between the gable ends.

The front facade is constructed of painted brickwork. Tiled steps lead to the front entry level which is located half a floor below street level. A small open tiled verandah leads to a front door which is at right angles to the street. There is a small highlight window facing the street and a set of three timber frame double hung windows with flat arch over. The first floor level has a painted façade with central French doors with highlight over, an arched window in the side wall and a narrow balcony with timber balustrade and brackets. The roof continues over the balcony and is supported by the end party walls. Two turned timber posts support a small central flying gable with timber detailing.

To the rear of each terrace, and running at right angles to it, is a two storey painted brick wing with tied roof. This wing is narrower than the site providing a side passage.

A slatted timber fence and gate on rendered brick base is located on the front boundary. The terrace front is located about one metre back from the front boundary with a small open verandah. The party walls extend to the front boundary at ground floor level.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Very Good.

The walls have been painted.
Front small entry window has been replaced.
Fence and gate have been replaced.
Date condition updated:10 Jan 11
Modifications and dates: 1971: Re-location bathroom and laundry (10508).
2010: Alterations and additions to an existing dwelling (D/2010/344).
Current use: Residential
Former use: Residential


Historical notes: The Birchgrove area, including the area now occupied by the Park and land around Snails Bay to Long Nose Point, an area of 30 acres, was originally granted to George Whitfield of the NSW Corps in 1796. He named his grant “Whitfields Farm”.

Whitfield’s grant also known as “Whitfield’s Farm” was acquired by Lieutenant John Birch in 1810 who built Birch Grove House, the first house on the Balmain peninsula (at 67 Louisa Road, demolished 1967). Birch left the colony in 1814 and sold the house to Rowland Walpole Loane. Loane tried to subdivide Birchgrove unsuccessfully in 1833. The area was difficult to access and the ferry system was not started until 1836. The odours from the mudflats around the bay may have also contributed to the lack of interest. Loane sold the house in 1838. A series of owners and tenants followed, but the house remained the only building on the recalculated 34 acres for a couple of decades more.

In 1860 the estate was purchased by Didier Joubert of Hunters Hill and the Parramatta Ferry Service. He commissioned Surveyor Brownrigg to subdivide the land. Ten villa allotments were created at this time, and despite the later small re-subdivisions, Brownrigg’s layout provides the backbone of the area today. The street names were derived from family members including Joubert’s wife (Louisa), children (Numa and Rose) and nephew (Ferdinand) with boundaries defined by (Iron) Cove Road and (Birch) Grove Road. Birch Grove House remained undisturbed. Louisa Road followed the ridge and the prominent bend in the road is a result of this. The 1860 sale was premature and within 6 years only 7 allotments had been sold. Joubert’s Bank sold Birch Grove House and all the remaining land in December 1862.

In October 1871 Anne McKinnon, spinster, of Sydney and Catherine, wife of James Tweedie Inglis, esquire, of Sydney, bought lot 2 of Section 1 of Jourbert's 1860 Subdivision. Lot 2 had two weatherboard houses close up to Cove Street by 1887. These houses were demolished to make way for first half of the terrace of six two storey brick houses (5-15 Cove Street) built in 1902 for Edward Turner as an investment. Sydney architect, Mark Cooper Day designed the Federation style terraces and they were built by G. Brewer of Marrickville. Lots 3 and 4 of Section 1 were bought by Thomas Robrert Allt, the Sydney wine merchant, in September 1968. Lot 3 had three stone houses called Ferdinand Terrace in 1878. These houses were demolished to make way for the second half of Turner's terrace of six houses (5-15 Cove Street) built in 1902. The rear of the terraces had a service lane for night- soil removal connected to Sardinia Place.

A Sydney Water plan (Municipality of Balmain Sheet No. 3/4) dating from the 1880s shows the original two terraces plus three terraces (shown as Ferdinand Terrace) constructed along Cove Street. These buildings were demolished and six terraces built in 1902. (5-15 Cove Street).

Since the 1970s there have been some alterations and additions.

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 site is of local historical significance as part of an early subdivision and the building is part of the Federation period of development in the local area, constructed in 1902
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
The site is associated with a number of land speculators.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The building is of aesthetic significance as a Federation period residential terrace constructed in 1902. Despite some modifications and rear additions, the building retains its overall scale, form, character and details including, tiled roof, flying gable, verandah and balcony, although it has lost some integrity due to the painted facade. The building is part of a group (Nos. 5-15 Cove Street) which make a positive contribution to the Cove Street streetscape.
SHR Criteria g)
The building is a representative example of a Federation style terrace building constructed in 1902.
Integrity/Intactness: Medium-high
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 two storey scale, character and details of the building particularly the tiled roof, party walls and chimney, open verandah and balcony and flying gable be retained and conserved; - any replacement and repairs should be undertaken to match the existing details; - no new openings should be made to the front façade. - any further alterations and additions should be restricted to the rear of the building and site and should not detract from the existing form, character and scale of No. 15 and the group (Nos. 5-15) as it presents to the street.


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental Plan I53423 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
WrittenPeter Reynolds1986Leichhardt Historical Journal No. 15

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

rez rez 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: 1940188

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.