Group of Victorian Villas and Stables - Zanobi, including interiors | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

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Group of Victorian Villas and Stables - Zanobi, including interiors

Item details

Name of item: Group of Victorian Villas and Stables - Zanobi, including interiors
Other name/s: Victorian villas and stables; Zanobi and stables and neighbouring villas
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Residential buildings (private)
Category: Villa
Primary address: 21-25 Palace Street (odd numbers only), Petersham, NSW 2049
Local govt. area: Inner West
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
21-25 Palace Street (odd numbers only)PetershamInner West  Primary Address
Croydon StreetPetershamInner West  Alternate Address

Statement of significance:

This is a row of three freestanding Italianate villas and is an excellent example of the villas built in this precinct during the 1880s. The relationship of Zanobi to the other buildings with similar detailing (one builder) and the retention of its stables makes it of particular importance.

Statement of Significance for 'Tasma', 25 Palace St, Petersham
No. 25 Palace Street Petersham, also known as Tasma, has local significance as a substantially intact c.1885 Victorian Italianate Style villa. The villa was constructed at a time when the population of Petersham Municipality was beginning to expand. It is typical of the type, style and standard of housing constructed for gentlemen and professional men and their families along the high ridges of the Parramatta Railway line during the I 870s and I 880s. The villa has aesthetic significance for its ability to demonstrate the key characteristics of the Victorian Italianate Style. As one of a group of three villas of a similar size, style and construction date, most likely constructed by local builders David Williams and John Blamire, it makes a strong contribution to the streetscape.
Date significance updated: 12 Jan 12
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: Not known
Builder/Maker: David Williams and John Blamire
Physical description: A substantial late Victorian Italianate villa with gothic detailed gable and elaborate barge boards. Adjacent are two villas similar in style only smaller. The facades have elaborate rendered detailing, with cast iron detailing to the verandah. The palisade fences sit upon low sandstone walls. Brick stables remain behind No. 21.

Description of 'Tasma', 25 Palace Street
No. 25 Palace Street is a two storey, triple fronted, rendered dwelling with a hipped and tiled roof. The walls are scribed to imitate Ashlar stone work. Tall, rendered and stucco ornamented chimneys are located on the northern side. The front, western, elevation is asymmetrical. The northern most side lies under a wide projecting gable with narrow timber bargeboards to the gable and a timber finial to the apex. Within this projection is a wide two storey bay with a separate tiled roof and bracketed eaves. The bay is three sided and has large arched double hung timber windows with deep rendered sills on stucco corbels and a label mould above. The second and third sections of the elevation are stepped inwards and are narrow. They are protected by a two storey return verandah with elaborate cast iron ornamentation. The ground floor of the verandah is of modern sandstone flagging; the first floor of timber. The roofs are lined with timber lining boards. The front door is a timber with Art Nouveau Style leadlight panels, an etched ruby glass fanlight (with the name Tasma) and side lights. Directly above the front door at first floor level is a pair of timber french doors.

Beyond the return verandah, windows are straight top and, with the exception of a label mould, lack the elaborate stucco work of the front elevation. The original timber windows have been replaced with aluminium framed sliding windows. The northern elevation is largely concealed by the proximity of the neighbouring villa.

A two storey wing with a low hipped tile roof adjoins the main section of the villa to the rear, on the southern side. This section is similarly rendered and scribed to imitate Ashlar blocks. At first floor level there is a shallow gable. To the north side is a single storey skillion addition, containing a laundry. To the south side there is a stone and timber lattice panel enclosure, similarly with a skillion roof . An enclosed verandah opening from the main part of the villa at first floor level is largely concealed by this roof form.

The narrow entrance hallway runs from the front door to the rear of the main part of the villa. This hallway is divided into two by an arch with decorative plaster work. The northern side of the ground floor is occupied by two large rooms with access through four panel timber doors from the hallway. The two rooms are connected by large timber folding doors. The front, western most room, has a marble fireplace surround with cast iron coal grate. The fire place surround has been removed from the second room.

The rear section of the ground floor comprises a variety of rooms, including two kitchens and a laundry. The cornice profile in these areas is modern.

The Garage and Office to the Rear
The garage/office building is a single storey rendered building with a flat metal deck roof. The southern half of the building is occupied with garaging accessed through two roller doors. The south garage entrance aligns with the driveway and opens onto a carport. The northern half is occupied by office space. Two windows and doors (at different levels) characterise the western elevation. The addition of the office/garage building along the eastern boundary has reduced the open space around the villa. Together with the hard landscaping, there is little understanding of the garden setting that this villa would once have possessed. The impact of this building on the villa is reduced by the low level of intactness displayed by the rear elevation.

Streetscape Assessment
Palace Street runs in a north-south direction from Parramatta Road towards the railway line. The street is wide and rises and falls to follow the terrain. Street planting is random; there are mature native trees to the front of the group Nos. 21, 23 and 25 Palace Street. Palace Street is characterised by one and two storey terrace and free standing residences. The majority of these buildings date from the mid to late nineteenth century, with some modern infill development.

No. 25 Palace Street lies on the eastern side of the street. This section of the street falls steadily towards the south and the railway line. The immediate neighbours on the northern side are two, two storey, hipped roof, free standing villas contemporary to and similar in scale and style to the subject property. The three villas share a common set back; Nos. 23 and 25 share a narrow side set back. The render has been largely been removed from No. 23 to expose sandstone brickwork.

The immediate neighbour to the south is a single storey building containing two semi-detached brick and painted brick dwellings of the late nineteenth to early twentieth century period. No. 29 Palace Street has been altered, reducing the unity of the pair. The most dominant element of this building is the hipped and gabled tile roof and tall rough cast and brick detailed chimneys. No. 27 Palace Street presents a face brick side elevation to No. 25. The two properties are separated by a high, solid steel fence and by the driveway of No. 25.

Immediately opposite the subject property are the playing fields and tennis courts of Fort Street High School and the two storey Victorian terrace row on the corner of Palace Street and Andreas Street. To the rear is a narrow reserve and the side elevations and rear yards of two storey terraces addressing Croydon Street.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:

Integrity of 'Tasma', 25 Palace Street
As it presents to Palace Street, the villa has a moderate to high degree of integrity. The basic form of the main body of the original villa is clear. The front, western elevation, displays a high degree of integrity. Original finishes such as the elaborate stucco mouldings and cast iron lace work, are intact. Alterations to this elevation include:
- The original roof would have been of slate.
- The original front door has been replaced or modified to incorporate Art Nouveau Style leadlight characteristic of the period c.1890-1919.
- The front stairs, paving and ground floor of the verandah, are modem in detail.
- The front gable may originally have had decorative timber barge boards, given the high level of detailing evident elsewhere.
- The addition of metal security grills to the windows and front doors.

Internally, the main section of the villa displays a high degree of integrity. The original floor plan is clear and there is a high percentage of original fabric. This fabric is indicative of the Victorian period. Some of the plaster ceilings maybe reproductions and date from a later period.

Like many buildings of its age, No. 25 Palace Street has undergone additions and alterations to the rear. The footprint of the building provided by the c. 1890 survey plan, indicates that part of the existing rear wing most likely dates from the time that the villa was built. The rear wing of a villa provided the service areas of a dwelling. They were seldom finished to the same standard as the main part of the dwelling and were often updated as circumstances required. Much of the rear section of No. 25 Palace Street appears to date from the alterations of the 1960s, with later renovations. The multiple kitchens relate to its use as a boarding house or residential flats. This evidence of a change in use is not, however, exceptional and was a process repeated in large Victorian villas throughout the inner and near city suburbs from the interwar period onwards. None of this part of the building is rare or exceptional. The eastern facing, first floor verandah has been enclosed and is no longer visible from the rear yard; the original balustrade has been lost.

Alterations have also occurred to the eastern (rear) end of the southern elevation. This elevation is visible as the site is approached from the south. The replacement of windows along the southern elevation with aluminium windows has had a negative impact. The window sizes, layout relative to each other and sill details are atypical for a Victoria villa. Given that these openings are not likely to be original, the stucco moulding would likewise be a later addition. Secondary elevations, particularly towards the rear, were commonly left unornamented. The lower part of the rear chimney (and the chimney itself) has clearly been removed.
Date condition updated:18 Jun 99
Modifications and dates: No. 25 has been rendered in rough cast and has an enclosed verandah. No.s 23 and 25 have tiled roofs. The stables have been recently fitted with roller doors. Additions to rear and minor modifications.
Current use: Residences
Former use: Residences and stables


Historical notes: The villas were built as part of the redevelopment of this area from large villa allotments to suburban allotments during the 1870's - 80's.

History of 'Tasma', 25 Palace St, Petersham
The property comprises Lots 11 and 12which were transferred from the Wardell Estate to David Williams and John Blamire on 25 January, 1884. Williams and Blamire are both described by title deeds as Petersham builders. A number of mortgages were subsequently listed against the title. Williams and Blamire further subdivided the two allotments and began selling individual lots in September 1884. The first lot sold was Lot 3, the subject property. Lot 3, comprising 19 perches, was conveyed to Herbert Clinch on 9 September, 1884.

The reserve for a laneway from Croydon Street provides rear lane access for all the properties and was required for the removal of night soil.

The first listing for the subject property in John Sands Suburban Directory occurs in 1886. The listing is for the owner Herbert Clinch and the villa’s name is given as Tasma. Herbert Clinch had been listed by earlier Directories as residing in Palace Street at Zanobi, the villa now No. 21 Palace Street.
Interestingly, the builder, J. Blamire is listed as a house and land agent in Palace Street, beyond the railway tine, in this year.
The two villas to either side of No. 25 Petersham Street appear in Sands Directory at around the same time. This, combined with physical examination, suggests that the three villas, now Nos. 21, 23 and 25 Palace Street, were constructed by Blamire and Williams. The three properties share common details and a front fence; Nos. 23 and 25 Palace Street have a common footprint.

The above information from Sands Directoiy indicates a construction date for the villa now No. 25 Palace Street of 1885 or in the immediately preceding years. This places the villa firmly within the pattern of villa residences that appeared along the high ridges of the Parramatta line during the mid to late Victorian period.

At the time that Tasma was constructed, Palace Street was a prestigious address. Nearby lot 1, site of the villa Zanobi, had been sold to Percy Hordern, of the retailing Anthony Hordern family, in February 1885. Hordern was later alderman and Mayor of Petersham Council. A second prominent resident of Palace Street during the 1880s was G.W. Griffin, American Consul from 1884 to 1891.

The Sands Directory listing for 1886 indicates that Mrs. B. Clinch was in residence at Tasma in this year. Two years later, on 21 April, 1888, the property was transferred to Agnes Jasmine Murray, a Stanmore widow, and Robert John Murrary. Following Agnes’ death, Robert became the sole owner (registered 1903). An interest in the property was transferred to Percy William Murrary, Esquire, of Canley Vale in 1902. The Murrarys do not appear to have occupied the villa. The Sands Directories listing for 1888 to 1890 is for Mrs. Mary Hamilton, from 1891-1 892 for Thomas J. Chariton, in 1893, Mrs. C. Richardson and from 1894-1903 F. Clark.

The first available footprint for buildings in Palace Street dates from around this time. This survey plan was produced by the NSW Lands Department in 1890 and was most likely carried out in relation to the provision of sewerage and water supply.

The three villas Nos. 21, 23 and 25 Palace Street are clearly visible. Nos. 23 and 25 have an identical footprint. This form- the asymmetrical body of the villa with attached rear wing- is common to buildings of this size and period. The attached wing provided the necessary service areas. To the rear of the yards can be seen the outhouse, with immediate access to the night soil lane. The neighbouring semis, Nos. 27 and 29 Palace Street, have not yet been constructed.

On 8 September, 1902, the property was conveyed to Sydney auctioneer John Ewing. John Ewing is listed in Sands Directories at the subject property from 1904 to 1911.

The property was conveyed to Mary Maddison, wife of Petersham contractor George Maddison, on 23 November, 1910. It would again appear to have been tenanted, with Sands Directories listing the following occupants for the period to 1932-3, the year when the Directory was last published:
1912-1914: Henry Roberts.
1915-1917: Ernest Boyne.
1918-1 927: John McEncroe.
1928-1932/3: Mrs. M. Jones.

By this time, Petersham Municipality could boast a population of around 32,000 people within 5,388 private dwellings.

Change in Petersham and the Use of the Villa as a Boarding House

In May 1959, the propnetors of the subject property were registered as being Edith Maddison (of Petersham, spinster) and Francis Alice Dwyer, a Petersham widow.39 The property was conveyed soon after, on 24 August, 1959, to Paddington Real Estate Agent, Richard Joseph De Bono and his wife, Therese, as joint tenants.

The wider area of Petersham had undergone significant changes during the long period when the Maddison’s had owned No. 25 Palace Street. The municipality had been subsumed during this period, becoming part of the Municipality of Marrickville (1949). While Petersham itself had remained largely residential in character, the small scale industries that had been established in nearby Marrickville as the municipality continued to grow. These industries, combined with the advent of the Garden Suburb movement, resulted in an exodus of those with means out of the older city suburbs. Petersham gradually develop a lower socio-economic base. Some of the formerly grand villas and mansions were converted into institutions, residential flats and boarding houses. No. 25 Palace Street formed part of this pattern.

On 29 June, 1961, No. 25 Palace Street was conveyed to Kurrajong orchardist Gordon Lennox Commens and his wife, Shirley Anne, as joint tenants.41 Council records indicate an application for use as a boarding house and for alterations to the value of £1,200 in this year.

On 20 February, 1973, No. 25 Palace Street was conveyed to chef John Ross McBurnie Ewen and Lorraine Jean Cross, both of Kingsgrove, as joint tenants.43 The property was conveyed to Petersham plasterer Manuel Dias De Carvalho and his wife, Arminda De Jesus Des Santos De Carvalho, as joint tenants, on 18 January, 1974.” Council records indicate several applications to Council reIatin to a 1987 Building Application for a garage, store and laundry to the rear. There is an existing garage and store (office) building to the rear of the villa and a laundry attached to the villa.

Following his wife’s death in November 1990, Manuel became the sole owner, reqistered November 1994. Manuel was occupying the house at this time. The property was transferred to the current owner, Trina Maria Edwards on 4 June, 2005.

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]

Tasma, No. 25 Palace Street, Petersham, has historic significance for its ability to demonstrate the high status enjoyed by the suburb during the late Victorian period. The large free standing villa on the site was built, c.1885, at a time when the elevated areas of Petersham along the Parramatta Railway line were a favoured location for professional gentleman who were possessed of the means to benefit from the suburban villa lifestyle and yet need to be within easy reach of their place of work, usually inner Sydney. As indicated by the owners of Nos. 21, 23 and 25 Palace Street during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, this section of Palace Street was a prestigious address. The subsequent history of the villa continued to mirror that of the surrounding area. The population growth of the late nineteenth century ultimately reduced the desirability of Petersham as a place to live. As were many buildings of its size, the villa was later divided into multiple dwellings as the social status of the area changed.

Tasma, No. 25 Palace Street, Petersham, is not considered to be significant under this criterion. A Sands Directory Search and a title search has not indicated ownership or occupation by anyone of more than ordinary importance. Further research outside the scope of this report would be required to determine if the one time owners of the land and the likely builders of the villa, Williams and Belmaire, were persons of local interest.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]

Tasma, No. 25 Palace Street, Petersham, has aesthetic and technical significance as an example of a two storey Victorian ltalianate Villa. The front section of the villa is substantially intact and displays many of attributes of a villa of its size, style and date, including an asymmetrical front elevation, a multi-faced bay and arched windows, combined with extensive use of cast iron and stucco ornamentation. Its high level of intactness and location as part of a group of villas of a similar date, size and style reinforces the significant contribution that No. 25 Palace Street makes to the streetscape.

No. 25 Palace Street, Petersham makes a significant contribution to the streetscape. This is derived from the high degree of intactness (when seen from the street), from its Victorian Italianate detailing, and from the fact that it is one of three similarly sized and detailed buildings in a row. Located on a rising section of Palace Street, opposite the open playing fields of Fort Street High School, these villas are prominent elements within the streetscape. The most significant view corridor towards the villa is obtained from directly in front. No. 25 is largely concealed by Nos. 21 and 23 as it is approached from the north. The view corridor towards the three villas as a group, however, is of significance. The villa has a greater degree of visibility when approached from the south.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
Tasma, No. 25 Palace Street, Petersham, is listed as a local heritage item and is located within a Draft Heritage Conservation Area, indicators that it is of significance to the local community and historical/architectural interest groups.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
Tasma, No. 25 Palace Street, Petersham, has significance under this criterion for the reasons cited under Criterion (a) and (c), that is, its potential to provide information on the type, style and standard of inner suburban housing occupied by the Sydney gentleman (and his family) during the late nineteenth century and as an example of the Victorian Italianate Style.
SHR Criteria f)
Tasma, No. 25 Palace Street, Petersham, is not considered to be significant under this criterion. It is one of a number of villas of this size and date to be found within the fashionable Sydney suburbs of the late nineteenth century. Its significance is well recognised by existing heritage listings.
SHR Criteria g)

Tasma, No. 25 Palace Street, Petersham, has significance under this criterion for its ability to demonstrate the villa residence of the Sydney professional gentleman and his family in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, to demonstrate a particular pattern of development along the ridges of the Parramatta railway line at a time of rapid growth within the area and to demonstrate the principal attributes of the Victorian Italianate Style.
Integrity/Intactness: All are relatively intact. No 21 retains its integrity while No. 23 retains much of its integrity and No. 25 has lost integrity due to unsympathetic security additions and rough cast detailing.
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:

General maintenance to Nos 21 and 23. Conservation works to No. 25


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental PlanMarrickville Local Environmental Plan 2001 18 May 01 86 
Local Environmental PlanMarrickville Local Environmental Plan 2011I20712 Dec 11 2011/645 
Within a conservation area on an LEPMarrickville Local Environmental Plan 2001    
Heritage study     

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Marrickville Heritage Study19861.17Fox and AssociatesNovember 1984 No
Marrickville Heritage Study Review19972030013Tropman & Tropman Architects1997-1999 Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenWeir and Phillips2005Heritage Report, Tasma, 25 Palace St, Petersham (December)

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: 2030013
File number: 1.17

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