Semi-detached house | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

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Semi-detached house

Item details

Name of item: Semi-detached house
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Residential buildings (private)
Category: Semi-Detached House
Primary address: 26 Darling Street, Balmain East, NSW 2041
County: Cumberland
Local govt. area: Inner West
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
26 Darling StreetBalmain EastInner West CumberlandPrimary Address

Statement of significance:

No. 26 Darling Street is of local historic and aesthetic significance as a good representative example of a stone semi-detached dwelling constructed in c. 1840. Despite additions to the rear, the building retains its original form and character and details including roof and distinctive dormers and front verandah. With No. 28 it is possibly the earliest extant pair of houses in Balmain which are part of a group of sandstone buildings which make a positive contribution to this section of Darling 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.
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: Henry Davy
Construction years: 1840-
Physical description: Single storey face stone semi-detached dwelling with main hipped roof clad in corrugated steel with stone chimney and dropped gabled dormers on the front and eastern facades. The front façade features an open verandah with stone flagged floor and hipped roof clad in corrugated steel supported on simple timber posts. A timber partition divides the verandah which continues across the front of No. 28. The house is elevated above street level with basement and low windows visible along the north eastern façade. The building has timber framed multi-paned double hung windows with projecting stone sills and timber panelled entry door. The building is setback from the street frontage which features a timber square picket fence on sandstone base with garden bed and ornamental plantings including a frangipani located between. A concrete driveway extends along the eastern boundary. A flat roofed addition and modern pavilion also with attic windows and pitched roof are located at the rear of the building and surround an open courtyard.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
The building appears to be in sound and good condition. Some repointing of mortar joints and replacement of stone appears to have been undertaken.
Modifications and dates: 1978: Carport - side (16868).
1981: Alterations and additions (19227).
2003: Alteration and two storey additions to an existing dwelling (D/2003/147).
2008: Alterations and two storey additions to an existing dwelling (CC/2008/108, CC/2008/166).
Further information: The stone facades appear to have been painted at some stage. The paint finish is now removed and some repairs and works to the stone is evident. The dormer fabric and roof cladding appear to have been renewed. Views to the buildings are obscured by ornamental and street trees.
Current use: Residential
Former use: Residential


Historical notes: This area comprises the earliest land to be subdivided and developed in Balmain. 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 were auctioned for sale by Parbury on behalf of the absentee landowner, Gilchrist.
The site is part of Lots 5 and 6 purchased by George William Paul who subsequently commissioned Armstrong to re-subdivide the two large allotments into 14 smaller parcels bounded by Darling and Weston Streets and the water frontage. In c. 1840 part of Lot 7 of Paul’s subdivision was purchased by Henry Davy an auctioneer and speculator who constructed the pair of houses from his time (c. 1840). In keeping with the rule of providing the minimum of building with maximum rent returns he constructed the pair with sleeping quarters accommodated within the roof space achieved by raising the eaves and providing steeply pitched roof and dormers. Davy appears to have also constructed two houses in Paul Street (Nos. 7 and 13) following this pair in Darling Street.

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 historical significance as part of the one of the earliest subdivisions in the area. The building with No. 28 is possibly one of the earliest pair of houses constructed in Balmain.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
The building is associated with auctioneer and local land speculator Henry Davy who also constructed other dwellings in the area.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The building is of aesthetic significance as a good and intact example of stone semi detached dwelling constructed in c. 1840. Despite additions to the rear and replacement of some fabric the building retains its fundamental features, scale and form including roof, dormers and front verandah and relationship with No. 28. It is part of a group of sandstone buildings which make a positive contribution to this section of Darling Street.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
The building has the ability to reveal construction methods and techniques and philosophies of the 1840s.
SHR Criteria g)
The building is a representative example of a semi-detached stone building constructed in the c. 1840s.
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 and form of the building including pitched roof, dormers and separate, open vernadah be retained; - the stone facades remain unpainted and face stone; - no new openings should occur in the roof and stone facades; - any adaptation and additions should be restricted to the rear and should not impact on the form of the building and relationship with No. 28. The pebble or a permeable finish along the base of the eastern façade should be retained to prevent damp at the base of the wall.


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental PlanLeichhardt Local Environmental Plan 2013I37323 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 Reynolds1982Peacock, Weston, Pearson and Paul. How "suburbanisation" began in Balmain

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: 1940392

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