Chatsworth Island Engineer's Residence | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

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Chatsworth Island Engineer's Residence

Item details

Name of item: Chatsworth Island Engineer's Residence
Other name/s: Sommerville
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Residential buildings (private)
Category: House
Primary address: 37 Chatsworth Road, Chatsworth Island, NSW 2469
Parish: Harwood
County: Clarence
Local govt. area: Clarence Valley


The curtilage is the property boundary.
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
37 Chatsworth RoadChatsworth IslandClarence ValleyHarwoodClarencePrimary Address

Statement of significance:

The former engineer's residence is historically significant for its association with the sugar industry on the Clarence and the Chatsworth Sugar Mill in particular. Given the importance of the sugar industry to the economic development of the north coast of NSW this early evidence of the industry is likely to have state significance. It is also one of the oldest residence in the village of Chatsworth, contributes to the Chatsworth road streetscape and identifies the site of the former mill.
Date significance updated: 02 Feb 06
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: Rectangular brick cottage with deep encircling verandah contained under a galvanised iron hipped roof of unusually large size. Deep valance to verandahs procedures verandah of very low height and with corners in-filled creates a cosy and shady space. Verandah posts half height in brick with timber posts over an Edwardian style brackets. Twelve pane windows to verandah with splayed rendered sills.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Date condition updated:25 Oct 05
Further information: A house of unusual architectural simplicity and well controlled proportions dominated by large roof. Because of its great historically importance this house should follow a regular maintenance program.
Current use: Residence
Former use: Residence


Historical notes: This is possibly the oldest residence in the village of Chatsworth. It was erected as the residence for the Engineer/Manager of the Chatsworth Sugar Mill c1870 -1880. The story of the sugar industry at Chatsworth Island is linked to Edward Knox and the CSR Company. In the late 1860s and early 1870s many sugar mills were built at Port Macquarie and along the neighbouring river valleys but most of these mills failed because of frost, this included the CSRs Darkwater Mill at Kempsey. CSR then built two mills further north on the Clarence River at Southgate and on Chatsworth Island. Both commenced crushing in 1870. However the Chatsworth Mill closed in 1887 and parts were sent to the new Harwood Mill. The engineers residence was probably sold by the CSR at the same time the mill closed. The house is now in private hands.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Agriculture-Activities relating to the cultivation and rearing of plant and animal species, usually for commercial purposes, can include aquaculture Sugar-
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]
This residence is historically significant for is association with the sugar industry on the Clarence, particularly the Chatsworth Sugar Mill. Given the importance of the sugar industry to the economic development of the north coast of NSW this early evidence of the industry is likely to have state significance.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
It makes a contribution to the Chatsworth road streetscape.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
The house locates the site of the former mill and the associated grounds are likely to have archaeological potential.
Integrity/Intactness: Intact
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.


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental Plan  11 May 01 812495
Heritage study     

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Maclean Shire Heritage Study19898T. Shellshear  No

References, internet links & images


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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Local Government
Database number: 1990186

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