Smith’s Hall | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


Smith’s Hall

Item details

Name of item: Smith’s Hall
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Residential buildings (private)
Category: Other - Residential Buildings (private)
Primary address: 56 Burt Street, Rozelle, NSW 2039
County: Cumberland
Local govt. area: Leichhardt
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
56 Burt StreetRozelleLeichhardt CumberlandPrimary Address

Statement of significance:

No. 56 Burt Street is of local historic and aesthetic and social significance as a good representative example of a Federation style building used as a former dance hall constructed in 1908. The building retains its original form, character and details including rendered facades, gable roof form and parapet wall, open front first floor verandah and ground floor timber posts and pattern of openings. The building is constructed to the street frontages and makes a positive contribution to the Burt, Denison and Alfred Street streetscapes and can be seen from Easton Park.

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.
Date significance updated: 28 Nov 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.


Physical description: Large two storey rendered brick building with slayed corner and gable ended roof clad in corrugated steel. A first storey balcony wraps around the Denison Street and Burt Street facades of the building and has a sloping corrugated iron roof supported by timber posts that continue to the footpath. The ground floor posts are tall and support the timber balcony above which has a balustrade with mini-orb cladding panels with a timber rail across the top.

The ground floor Denison Street façade consists of 3 doors with toplights, one large window with 6 panes and three timber double hung arched windows. The first floor level has four glass French doors with toplights opening onto the balcony.

The Alfred Street elevation consists of a paling fence with open courtyard behind and a large two storey rendered brick gable ended roof clad in corrugated steel with separate first floor balcony facing Denison Street. The wide ground floor entry is off centre. There are three multi-pane double hung windows at first floor level with a central small timber vent above.

The Burt Street façade consists of the gabe ended section with a ground floor entry door and toplight, a small arched window and a large multi-paned window. The first floor level has central French doors with toplight over and double hung windows. The adjoining section has a parapet wall above with central arched pediment containing the words "Smiths Hall 1908". The ground floor consists of an arched entry door with toplight and multi-paned glass windows on a sandstone base on either side. The first floor level has The first floor level has a central French doors with toplight over and windows either side. The balcony extends across the whole façade supported by timber posts on the ground floor level.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Very Good.
Date condition updated:28 Apr 11
Modifications and dates: 2009 - Conversion of existing guesthouse to accommodate four (4) dwelling units. (PREDA/2009/6).
Current use: Residential guest house.
Former use: Dance hall, accommodation


Historical notes: Surgeon William Balmain was granted 550 acres and most of the area now encompassing Balmain and parts of Rozelle and Birchgrove 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. This subdivision and sale of this land took place in 1836 and commenced from the eastern end of the suburb (East Balmain) due to its proximity and convenient water access and later spread west. The early subdivision was suspended in 1841 due to difficulties associated with Gilchrist’s will, but was resumed in 1852 when Surveyor Langley divided it into 46 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 located in Lot 21 of the 1852 subdivision. Development of the area followed from the 1860s. The early ownership is not known, however, it would appear that the semis were constructed sometime between the 1860s and 1888. A Sydney Water plan (Balmain Sheet 67-68) dated 1888 and revised in the 1890s shows vacant land.

The building is located at the corners of Denison, Burt and Alfred Streets, at the top of Easton Park and was built in 1908. It was used as a dance hall anfd for guest accommodation as well. It is currently used as a guest house.

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 and building are of historic significance as part of an early subdivision and Federation period of development constructed in 1908.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The building is of aesthetic significance as a good and relatively intact example of a large Federation style building. The building retains its original form, character and details including rendered facades, roof form and parapet wall, open front first floor balconies and pattern of openings. The building is constructed to the street frontages and makes a positive contribution to the Burt, Denison and Alfred Street streetscapes and can be seen from Easton Park..
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The building has social significance as a former dance hall.
SHR Criteria g)
The building is a good representative example of a large Federation style building.
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, form, character and details of the building, particularly the rendered façades,gable roof form and parapet wall, open front first floor balconies and simple pattern of openings be retained and conserved; - no new or enlargement of any openings should be undertaken on the facades; - the front first floor balcony and ground floor posts should remain open and roof and timber elements should be conserved and repaired as required; - the rendered walls and elements that have previously been painted such as timber and iron work should continue to be painted in appropriate colours; - any further alterations and additions should be restricted to the rear of the building and site and not detract from the existing character and scale and presentation to Burt, Denison and Alfred Streets.


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental Plan I73223 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.

rez rez 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: 1940782

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.