Henson Park Hotel, including interiors | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

Culture and heritage


Henson Park Hotel, including interiors

Item details

Name of item: Henson Park Hotel, including interiors
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Commercial
Category: Hotel
Primary address: 91 Illawarra Road, Marrrickville, NSW 2204
Local govt. area: Marrickville
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
91 Illawarra RoadMarrrickvilleMarrickville  Primary Address
Chapel StreetMarrrickvilleMarrickville  Alternate Address

Statement of significance:

The Henson Park Hotel is of historical significance for the site having a continuity of hotel use since the 1860s, and for its intact 1935 Interwar period hotel building, designed by Sidney Warden Tooth & Co architect. The Henson Park Hotel is of aesthetic significance as an architect-designed blend of the Inter war Functionalist and Inter War Art Deco styles, which is very intact, including ground floor tiling. The hotel is of social significance as a local place of recreation since the 1860s.
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: Sidney Warden, Architect for Tooth & Co.
Physical description: This two storey building, which is an interesting blend of Inter war Functionalist and Inter war Art Deco styles, is constructed of brick with an awning to the ground floor. The walls of the ground floor retain their original decorative tiling. The roof is tiled. The first floor of the building has a verandah set underneath the roofline supported by columns with enclosed areas on either side. There is ornate detaining above the lintel and below the sills of the windows of the first floor. The hotel has a parapet roof above the windows and a pitched roof above the inset verandah.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Good physical condition and very intact.
Date condition updated:10 Feb 09
Modifications and dates: There are additions to the rear and the side of the building. There is also new signage to the building. Internal modifications have been carried out.
Current use: Hotel


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.
Thomas Moore was a boatbuilder and landholder, who arrived in 1796. He was granted 1170 acres in Petersham, which he extended by purchase to 1920 acres by 1807. Dr Robert Wardell, who had arrived in 1824, purchased Moore’s holdings in the late 1820s and by the time of his death owned about 2500 acres, which was known as the "Petersham Estate". Wardell’s house, "Sara Dell" stood near Parramatta Road, on a site now occupied by Fort Street High School, though most of the "Petersham Estate" was south of Stanmore and New Canterbury Roads, stretching to the Cooks River. Dr Wardell was murdered in 1834 and his estate was divided amongst his relatives. Subdivision of the Petersham Estate was begun in 1848.
A portion of the Petersham estate was subdivided as the "Sydenham Estate" in anticipation of the opening of the Sydney to Parramatta railway and advertised for sale, with an auction on 9 October 1854. The area immediately to the south of the "Sydenham Estate", south of Stanmore Road, was subdivided in 1854 as the "Norwood Estate", Stretching from Albert Street to Livingstone Road, and south to Addison Road, it enjoyed views to Botany Bay and was advertised as suitable for villas, cottages and business premises. South of Addison Road was the Norwood Dairy, which was gradually subdivided from the 1880s onwards. The "Marrickville Estate" was subdivided in 1855, centred around the intersection of Illawarra Road and Chapel Street.
By the early 1860s a hotel had been built on the southern corner of Chapel Street and Illawarra Road. Originally the Marrick Hotel, it was known as the Town Hall Hotel from 1880, taking its name from the nearby Marrickville Town Hall, which had opened in 1878. The opposite corner was a market garden, probably owned by R.W. Clapham and run by William Jones.
By the 1870s Marrickville was a patchwork of villas, market gardens, dairies, brickworks and the small commercial centre on Illawarra Road, where the first Marrickville Town Hall was built. The building of a tramway from Marrickville to Dulwich Hill via Marrickville Road in 1889 encouraged suburban subdivisions and with the opening of the Wardell Road (now Dulwich Hill) and Marrickville railway stations on the Belmore Line in 1895 and the electrification of the tram line in 1900, this trend accelerated. With the improvements to transport, the commercial centre of Marrickville moved from Illawarra Road to Marrickville Road.
An unknown architect drew plans for extensive additions to the Town Hall Hotel (un-named in the drawing), dated 8 June 1891. (AO Plan 62850) By about 1896 the hotel was in the ownership of R. Thompson, who sold it to Tooth and Co. in about 1906, when the licensee was R. Jones. About 1920 Harry Thorpe became licensee. Thorpe had close associations with hotels in the area as his father had been licensee of the Gladstone Hotel in Dulwich Hill. Minor alterations increasing the size of the public bar of the Town Hall Hotel were drafted by the Architects Office, Kent Brewery, Sydney 7 February 1921 and approved 29 July 1921, (AO Plan 71202).
Harry Thorpe was still licensee in 1935 when a new hotel was planned. It was designed by Sidney Warden, with plans approved by Marrickville Council on 28 May 1935 and by the Licensing Court on 29 May 1935. It featured a large public bar taking up most of the Illawarra Road frontage (AO Plans 71203-71205). The old hotel, which probably dated back to ca. 1880, was demolished and a new building erected on the site.
A new Marrickville Town Hall had been built in Marrickville Road, opening in 1922, rendering the old hotel’s name obsolete. Before reopening in 1936 the name was changed to the Henson Park Hotel, inspired by the building of Henson Park nearby on the site of the Standsure Brick Works. Henson Park opened in 1937 and was used as a cycling venue for the 1938 Empire Games.
"Brightness is one of the great features of the new building and materials have been used to aid cleanliness Special attention has been paid to lighting, which has been concealed. Before this system was used by Mr Warden he had tests made in order to ascertain if the effect would be as anticipated. The public bar is particularly roomy and well-ventilated."
Mr Bentley, manager of Tooth & Company visited and said the hotel was "a credit to all concerned. All modern ideas had been incorporated and all must have been impressed by the splendid taste shown in the selection of colours of the various rooms." (U.L.V.A. Review, 15 June 1936, p. 14-15).

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Commerce-Activities relating to buying, selling and exchanging goods and services (none)-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation (none)-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Of historical significance for the site having a continuity of hotel use since the 1860s, and for its intact 1935 Interwar period hotel building, designed by Sidney Warden Tooth & Co architect.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Of aesthetic significance as an architect-designed blend of the Inter war Functionalist and Inter War Art Deco styles, which is very intact, including ground floor tiling.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
Of social significance as a local place of recreation since the 1860s.
Integrity/Intactness: The Henson Park Hotel is externally 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 Heritage Impact Statement or a Conservation Management Plan, may be required to accompany any development application for major works to the building. There shall be no alterations to the façade of the building other than repairs or reinstatement of original features. 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. Any additions and alterations should be confined to the rear 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 2011I9312 Dec 11 2011/645 
Heritage study     

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Marrickville Heritage Study Review19972030334Tropman & Tropman Architects1997-1999 Yes
Review of Potential Heritage Items for Marrickville Council2009 Paul Davies Pty Ltd  Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Written 1936Building, 13 July 1936
Written 1936Decoration and Glass, July 1936
Written 1936ULVA Review, 15 June 1936
Written 1936Decoration and Glass, April 1936

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: 2030334

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