House | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage



Item details

Name of item: House
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Residential buildings (private)
Category: House
Primary address: 60 Palmer Street, Balmain, NSW 2041
County: Cumberland
Local govt. area: Leichhardt
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
60 Palmer StreetBalmainLeichhardt CumberlandPrimary Address

Statement of significance:

No. 60 Palmer Street is of local historic and aesthetic significance as a good representative example of a Victorian period weatherboard detached dwelling constructed between the 1860s and 1880s. Despite some modification and additions at the rear, the building significantly retains a sense of its early form and fabric including stone walls and base, timber weatherboard facades, roof form and chimney, access steps and open verandah. The building is constructed close to the street frontage and is one of a number of historic houses in this section of the street and makes a positive contribution to the Palmer 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.

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 Select Library & Local History to get to the Library online catalogue and keyword search "Balmain Map" and/or "Palmer Street" for results.
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.


Physical description: Single storey weatherboard dwelling on stone base with double hipped roof clad in corrugated steel and face brick chimney. The chimney has an exposed stone base that is flush with the northern facade. An open verandah with timber floor extends across the front façade and wraps around the north western corner of the building. The house is elevated well above street level. The verandah is constructed to the street frontage and sits on a high face stone ashlar, rubble and rock base. The verandah has simple timber balustrade and posts. The main roof changes pitch and extends over the verandah. The front façade has a central timber and glass panelled door with toplight over framed by two timber framed, multi-paned double hung windows. Stone and concrete steps extend up to the verandah and northern setback. A two storey rear wing with hipped roof extends from the rear of the building.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
In fair condition. Some patching and repairs to the stone wall are evident. The weatherboards are soiled and require some repair.
Modifications and dates: 1988: Demolish laundry, erect bathroom/laundry (87/727)
2011 - Alts and adds to existing house (D/2011/33)
Further information: The stone wall continues along the side, southern boundary. The southern façade appears to kink slightly. It would appear that the chimney on the northern façade has been reconstructed at some stage with brick section added over earlier stone base.
Current use: Residential
Former use: Residential


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.
The early sales proceeded however, further subdivision was suspended in 1841 due to difficulties associated with Gilchrist’s will, but was resumed in 1852 when Surveyor Langley divided the remaining land into 46 and later 47 sections. Langley used existing routes such as Darling Street and other tracks such as Beattie and Mullens Streets, which followed the local topography and contours, to delineate the parcels. The sections were purchased over the next 30 years by wealthy investors, local speculators and builders.
The site is part of Section 5 of the 1852 subdivision. In 1860 Balmain architect James McDonald was appointed town clerk and over the next eight years constructed a number of major streets in the area including Palmer Street. It is assumed that the subdivision, including formation of Little Stephen Street and surrounding development occurred from this time.
It is not clear when the house was constructed, however, a Sydney Water plan of the area (Balmain Sheet No. 32) dated 1888 and revised in the 1890s shows the building constructed close to the Palmer Street frontage of the site and constructed to the southern site boundary. A verandah is shown across the front, western façade. The site extends back to Little Stephen Street. What appears to be a cut is also visible across the mid section of the site. The eastern section of the site is vacant.
Since that time it would appear some additions have been constructed at the rear of the building.

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. Growth of Balmain-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The site and building is of local historic significance as part of an early subdivision and Victorian period of development in the local area constructed between the 1860s and 1880s.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
The site is associated with a number of local land speculators and owners.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The building is of local aesthetic significance as an example of a Victorian period weatherboard dwelling initially constructed prior to the late 1880s. Despite some modification and additions at the rear, the building significantly retains a sense of its early form and fabric including stone walls and base, timber weatherboard facades, roof form and chimney, access steps and open verandah. The building is constructed close to the street frontage and makes a positive contribution to the Palmer Street streetscape.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
The stone wall and base is of some technological significance and probably constructed of stone quarried in the immediate area. the natural rock base also indicates the early character and topography of the area.
SHR Criteria g)
The building is a representative example of a Victorian period weatherboard dwelling constructed prior to the late 1880s.
Integrity/Intactness: 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 scale, character and details of the building including timber weatherboard façades and stone base, roof form and chimney, steps and open verandah and simple pattern of openings be retained and conserved; - no new openings should be made to primary facades; - the stone base and wall along the street frontage should be retained and conserved. The face stone should remain face stone and not be painted; - the front verandah should remain open; - any further additions should be restricted to the rear of the building and should not detract from the original character and scale of the building or its relationship to the street and adjacent items.


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental Plan I27923 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: 1940293

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