Villa - Ferndale, including interiors | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


Villa - Ferndale, including interiors

Item details

Name of item: Villa - Ferndale, including interiors
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Residential buildings (private)
Category: Cottage
Primary address: 1 Samuel Kent Lane, Newtown, NSW 2042
Local govt. area: Marrickville
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
1 Samuel Kent LaneNewtownMarrickville  Primary Address

Statement of significance:

"Ferndale" was built in 1868-1869. It is of historical significance as a rare mid-Victorian villa in the Newtown area, built for the Coates family. The original grounds of "Ferndale" were subdivided in 1886 by the Excelsior Land and Investment Company as the "Ferndale Estate", and the "Ferndale" house is a rare survivor of the earlier period of subdivision. "Ferndale" is of aesthetic significance as a mid-Victorian period villa with Victorian Regency style touches. "Ferndale" is locally rare as an extant villa from the mid-19th century period of subdivision of Newtown.
Date significance updated: 29 Sep 15
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 rendered brick freestanding villa with a hipped corrugated steel roof with a central secondary hipped roofed projecting bay on the southern side (facing towards Camden Street, indicating the house was originally built to face Camden Street), flanked by concave curved corrugated steel-roofed verandahs on turned timber posts. There is a gabled corrugated steel roofed portico facing Samuel Kent Lane to the east. The projecting bay on the southern side features timber-framed arched windows. This may have originally been an entry point to the house.
The house features glazed timber french doors with fanlights, timber-framed double hung windows, and an ornate portico with triangular pediment and Victorian Regency style rectangular timber posts with simple capitals, in front of the entrance facing Samuel Kent Lane. This portico also features cast iron freize brackets (a late 19th century addition). To the northern side of the house (the original rear portion of the house) is a skillion roofed addition. The front boundary to Samuel Kent Lane features modern metal driveway gates, and a modern cyclone mesh fence on a low brick base.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Date condition updated:16 Jun 09
Modifications and dates: Skillion roofed addition on north side, modern front fence, turned timber verandah posts on southern side appear to be c. 1910. Subivision of the site has been undertaken, and a modern single storey house with attic occupies the Camden Street frontage of the former driveway to the property (note: this was the driveway at least since 1943, see historic 1943 aerial photos on the NSW Lands Dept. Sixviewer website).
Further information: Draft
Current use: Residential


Historical notes: The original owners of the land within the Marrickville Council area were the Cadigal and Wangal clans of the coastal Eora people. They spoke Eora, which may have been a dialect of the Dharug (Darug) language, though sources differ on this point. With the establishment of the penal colony at Sydney Cove in 1788 the dispossession of the original inhabitants was begun. In 1789 a smallpox plague decimated the Aboriginal population, though descendants of the Cadigal and Wangal people still reside within the Sydney metropolitan area.
On 8 January 1794 Paul Page, William Jenkins and James Jenkins were each granted 30 acres in the area south of what is now Enmore Road. By 1835 portions of Page and Jenkins’ grant were owned by Captain Sylvester Browne (best known as the father of novelist T.A. Browne, "Rolf Boldrewood") and John Verge designed a house that looked out to Botany Bay. Browne moved to Victoria and in June 1838 the villa, called "Enmore House", was advertised for lease. In June 1840 the entire estate, by now 40 acres, was advertised for sale. The purchaser appears to have been Isaac Simmons.
Simmons subdivided part of the property as the "Beautiful Village of Enmore" in about 1841. This stretched from Juliet Street to Simmons Street. In the vicinity of what is now Metropolitan Road was "Enmore House" itself, which retained 9 acres of grounds. In August 1841 Jacob Josephson (an emancipist who had been transported in 1818) bought "Enmore House" and its grounds from Simmons. On Jacob Josephson’s death in 1845, his son Joshua Josephson, a businessman, politician and later solicitor-general and judge inherited the house.
In the early 1840s Robert Bourne (originally a missionary and later businessman) purchased part of Jenkin’s grant. He built "Camden Villa", a substantial two-storey house, named after the London Missionary Society ship "Camden". The property was later purchased by Thomas Holt. "Camden Villa" was sold in 1863 to the Congregational Church. It then became Camden College, but mounting debts forced the further subdivision of the grounds in 1876. When sold in September 1888, three acres was all that was left of the grounds. The purchasers, the Mutual Provident Land Investing & Building Society Limited, subdivided and sold the remainder at auction in December 1888 and Camden College was demolished.
By 1841 a portion of William Jenkins’ grant was owned by Thomas Burdekin and William Montague Manning, both prominent merchants in Sydney. In 1861 Matthew John Duncan ran "Henbury Dairy" in Campbell Street. It is possible that this is the same block. It is likely that in 1866 this was a block of three acres being used as a dairy farm by Daniel Doyle. The block fronted Campbell (later Camden) Street and was bounded by the Enmore Village subdivision on the west and north and by Camden College to the east. Michael O’Regan was running this dairy in 1867 and 1868.
In about 1868 mercantile clerk William Coates becomes the registered owner of the property. A combination of oral history and documentary evidence suggests Jane Coates, widow of William Coates, publican, of the corner of Pitt and Liverpool Sts, built "Fernadale" in 1869 for herself and her children. Jane Coates appears in "Women of Pitt Street 1858" as the landlady of the Staffordshire Arms and the name "Ferndale" appears to be a reference to a locality near her home county of Monaghan Ireland. The house was first registered to her eldest son William Coates Jr, a mercantile clerk. In 1869 William Coates wrote to Newtown Council complaining about the drainage from Simmons Street onto his property and it was reported in July 1870 "that the improvements made by Mr Coates will prevent a similar disaster to that complained of by Mrs King." (Newtown Council Minutes, 5 July 1870). His widowed mother Jane also lived at Ferndale with her other children and upon the early death of her first son William in 1872, his brother John became the registered owner. Upon John's marriage in 1880, his youngest brother James became the registered owner until its subdivision in 1889. Some sources suggest that "Ferndale" may be a lodge associated with "Camden Villa". This is certainly possible, but the available evidence suggests otherwise. The house "Ferndale" does not appear on "Reuss & Browne's map of the subdivisions in and about Sydney and environs" (NLA Map F 108), dating from 1857, though this does not conclusively prove that the house was not extant at this time. Additionally, the annual value of Coates’ property jumped from £36 to £90 between 1869 and 1870, indicating that a major improvement to the property was made at this time Information on the Coates family history was updated in 2015 after consultation with Heather Walsh, a decendent of John Coates. More information on the Coates family is available in Council's Arcives.
In 1886 the Excelsior Land and Investment Company subdivided the grounds of "Ferndale" as the "Ferndale Estate". "Ferndale" was left with a driveway to Camden Street and was leased to William Montgomery. By 1894 Mrs M. Giles was the owner, with Richards and Hunter by 1909.
Mrs Emily Akers was owner from at least 1920 until at least 1932, whilst Mrs Lillian A. Richards was owner in 1948. By 1971 bus driver Alfred Smith was the owner. A public dispute arose in 2003 when the driveway from "Ferndale" to Camden Street was subdivided and sold and a new house built on the former driveway facing Camden Street in 2006-2007.

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]
"Ferndale" built in 1868 - 1869 is of historical significance as a rare mid-Victorian villa in the Newtown area, built for the Coates family. The original grounds of "Ferndale" were subdivided in 1886 by the Excelsior Land and Investment Company as the "Ferndale Estate", and the "Ferndale" house is a rare survivor of the earlier period of subdivision.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
"Ferndale" is of aesthetic significance as a mid-Victorian period villa with Victorian Regency style touches.
SHR Criteria f)
"Ferndale" is locally rare as an extant villa from the mid-19th century period of subdivision of Newtown.
SHR Criteria g)
"Ferndale" is a representative mid-Victorian period villa.
Integrity/Intactness: The building is relatively intact and retains its integrity.
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:

The building shall be retained and conserved. A Conservation Management Plan is required to accompany any development application for major works to the building. There shall be no alterations to the eastern and southern facades of the building other than repairs or reinstatement of original features, based on historical evidence. The principal room layout and planning configuration as well as significant internal original features including ceilings, cornices, joinery, flooring and fireplaces should be retained and conserved where present. Any additions and alterations should be confined to the rear (western and northern facades) in areas of less significance, should not be visually prominent or overwhelm the existing building, and shall be in accordance with the relevant planning controls.


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental PlanMarrickville LEP 2011I16712 Dec 11 2011/645 
Within a conservation area on an LEPwithin draft cons. area Marrickville LEP 2001    
Heritage study     

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Marrickville Heritage Study19860.08Fox and Associates  No
Marrickville Heritage Study Review19972030210Tropman & Tropman Architects1997-1999 Yes
Review of Potential Heritage Items for Marrickville Council2009 Paul Davies Pty Ltd  Yes
Review of Potential Heritage Items for Marrickville Council2009 Paul Davies Pty Ltd  Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Writtenvarious reports on file at NSW Heritage Office2003 

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: 2030210
File number: 0.08

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