Victorian Rustic Gothic Villa - Brook Lodge, including interiors | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

Culture and heritage


Victorian Rustic Gothic Villa - Brook Lodge, including interiors

Item details

Name of item: Victorian Rustic Gothic Villa - Brook Lodge, including interiors
Other name/s: Brook cottage
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Residential buildings (private)
Category: Villa
Primary address: 174 Denison Road (part), Dulwich Hill, NSW 2203
Local govt. area: Marrickville
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
174 Denison Road (part)Dulwich HillMarrickville  Primary Address

Statement of significance:

The house is of historical significance as the 1878 house of a Newtown retailer Alfred Davis and his family, evidencing the development of the area in the late 19th century for the houses of wealthy businessmen. Of aesthetic significance as a representative example of a Victorian Rustic Gothic style villa.
Date significance updated: 21 Dec 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: Freestanding Victorian Rustic Gothic style house now divided into 8 units, on a large lot. The house has rendered brick walls, and is one storey with attic rooms, featuring a jerkin head gabled slate roof with three gabled dormer windows facing the street which feature timber fretwork bargeboards, rendered brick walls, and timber framed windows. The two dormer windows to the upper floor have arched windows and ornate timber bargeboards and there are also ornate timber bargeboards to the gables at the ends of the house.
Additions to the front of the house encompass most of the area originally occupied by a front verandah, with the central front entry door now in a recessed porch between two additions. The front door is a timber-panelled door with a semi-circular fanlight above and sidelights. The front additions to the house feature Federation period leadlight casement windows with semi-circular arched fanlights. There is also a single storey addition to the side of the house.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Date condition updated:21 Nov 13
Modifications and dates: Lean-to addition to the side of the house at the front, and additions encompassing the original front verandah area. The house appears to be a boarding house divided into units.
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.
The area around Long Cove Creek became a patchwork of small land grants in the 1790s. Grantees in the area included Michael Griffin, William Adams, John Hammon, James Bloodworth and Thomas Bolton. Most were granted 25 acres, though George Gambling, an emancipist, was granted 40 acres in 1809 and Bloodworth’s holdings were eventually extended to 70 acres. Most of these grants appear to have been acquired by Captain John Piper and then sold to Dr Robert Wardell. Wardell arrived in Sydney in 1824 and purchased much land in the area and by the time of his death in 1834 owned about 2500 acres, 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.
Joshua Frey Josephson purchased a section of the Petersham Estate after the death of Dr Wardell, probably in the early 1840s. Joshua Josephson was the son of Jacob Josephson and inherited Enmore House after his father’s death in 1845. Joshua Josephson named his property Lewisham, but appears never to have resided there, living instead at Enmore House.
When the railway came through in 1855 it sparked a flurry of land subdivision including the "Virginia Water"estate, which was subdivided by 1857. The estate was named in honour of Virginia Water in Windsor Great Park, Surrey, England, presumably because of its location adjacent to Long Cove Creek. It appears that the estate was a failure, with few blocks being sold. By the 1870s most of the estate west of Denison Road, between Piggott Street and Eltham Street was occupied by Alfred Davis, carcase butcher of Camperdown Road, Newtown. It is believed that Davis ran a piggery on the property.
About 1878 Alfred Davis built a house on Denison Road that he named"Brook Lodge" and the family moved from Newtown. The "Virginia Water" estate was offered for sale again in 1882, spurred by the opening of Summer Hill railway station in 1879. The estate was separated from the Davis property by the newly formed Davis Street. Alfred died in 1885 and the property was inherited by his wife Matilda.
Matilda Davis died in 1910 at the age of 88. The property was divided into two portions and sold. The north-western part was sold to NSW Railways as part of the Metropolitan Goods railway line project. Only a small section was needed for the railway and the remainder was dedicated as Hoskins Park on 6 January 1915. The block containing "Brook Lodge" was purchased by William George Mitchell, builder, who subdivided the grounds into 16 blocks. Mitchell moved from his house "Claremont", Livingstone Road, Marrickville to "Brook Cottage" and built cottages on the 15 blocks.
In late 1917 or early 1918 Mitchell sold "Brook Cottage" to Alfred and Reginald Hook, printer and engineer respectively. In 1920 they sold it to George Parkin. Parkin was still the owner in 1925. By this time the Metropolitan Goods railway line was operating, having opened in 1922.

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 house is of historical significance as the 1878 house of a Newtown retailer Alfred Davis and his family, evidencing the development of the area in the late 19th century for the houses of wealthy businessmen.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Of aesthetic significance as a representative example of a Victorian Rustic Gothic style villa.
SHR Criteria g)
A representative example of the Victorian Rustic Gothic style.
Integrity/Intactness: The building is relatively intact but has lost some degree of its integrity through the enclosure of the verandah.
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 where present. 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. Encourage removal of additions to front and restore open front verandah.


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental PlanMarrickville LEP 2011I1112 Dec 11 2011/645 
Heritage study     

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Marrickville Heritage Study Review19972030341Tropman & Tropman Architects1997-1999 Yes
Review of Potential Heritage Items for Marrickville Council2009 Paul Davies Pty Ltd  Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Written  Petersham Rates Books 1875-1920; Petersham Valuation books 1878-1879

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: 2030341

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