Benson's Quarry House - Weatherboard Cottage, including interiors | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

Culture and heritage


Benson's Quarry House - Weatherboard Cottage, including interiors

Item details

Name of item: Benson's Quarry House - Weatherboard Cottage, including interiors
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Residential buildings (private)
Category: Cottage
Primary address: 11 Hilltop Avenue, Marrickville, NSW 2204
Local govt. area: Marrickville
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
11 Hilltop AvenueMarrickvilleMarrickville  Primary Address

Statement of significance:

11 Hilltop Avenue is of historical significance as the house associated with Benson's quarry which operated on adjacent land also owned by James Benson. James Benson and his family built the house in 1896 and occupied it until at least 1932 (at which time Mrs Benson was the occupant), throughout the time during which Benson's Quarry was operating. The sandstone foundations of this weatherboard house and remnant sandstone steps evidence this association with Benson's Quarry. Of aesthetic significance as a simple transitional late Victorian/Federation period weatherboard cottage, representative of this period. Rare as an extant building associated with a quarry operating in Marrickville in the late 19th to early 20th century.
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.


Physical description: A modest single storey freestanding weatherboard cottage built on a sandstone base, now accessed via a pedestrian pathway south of No. 9 Hilltop Avenue. The house is located on a high point on the cliff edge and its location and orientation maximises views south over the Cooks River. The site of the house is a battleaxe shape, with a drive leading down to Illawarra Road. The house is fenced with a cyclone wire mesh fence.
The house has a hipped corrugated steel roof and originally had a bullnose corrugated steel roofed verandah that wrapped around the front and side, supported by turned timber posts. The verandah is now missing, however at least one of the turned timber verandah posts is lying in the front yard. The façade is symmetrical with a central timber 5-panelled entry door with leadlight to the upper 3 panels. Windows are timber framed double-hung . There are remnants of sandstone steps to the side of the cottage and the cottage itself has a sandstone base. There is a lean-to weattherboard section to the rear (north) side of the cottage.
A satellite view shows a corrugated steel roofed shed at the northeastern corner of the property (not viewed on site). .
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Poor - the cottage appears vacant, weatherboards have fallen off in a number of places and are partially unsecured in other places on the walls. The guttering is rusty. The front verandah is missing.
Date condition updated:03 Dec 08
Modifications and dates: Minor modifications
Current use: Residence


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 land that 9 Hilltop Avenue stands on was part of 700 acres originally granted in 1803 to Thomas Moore. Thomas Moore was a boatbuilder and landholder, who arrived in 1796. Moore was granted 470 acres in Petersham in 1799. He extended his holdings 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.
By the 1870s Marrickville was a patchwork of villas, market gardens, dairies, brickworks and a small commercial centre on Illawarra Road. 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 Railway Station (now Dulwich Hill) on the Belmore Line in 1895, this trend accelerated.
A large portion of the Petersham Estate adjacent to the Cooks River was subdivided as the "Riverside Estate" in the early 1880s. By 1885 Godwin owned Lots 27-28 and William Coleman owned Lots 30-33 of Section 1 of the estate. These were immediately adjacent to the holdings of A. Schwebel, where a quarry was being run by George Schwebel. By 1893 James A. Benson was running a quarry on Lots 27-28 and 31, which he had purchased by 1895 (probably 1893). By 1896 Benson had built a cottage on the site. A number of quarries operated nearby, several in the ownership of the Schwebel family, whilst Webster Brothers owned several quarries on the other side of Illawarra Road.
John Bryant, who lived above the quarries had purchased a narrow strip of land running down to Illawarra Road, between the quarries owned by George Schwebel and Benson and this land was never quarried. Benson’s quarry ceased to operate between 1901 and 1905 and in 1908 the property was transferred to Elizabeth Benson, James Benson’s wife. About 1916 Elizabeth Benson subdivided the quarry and sold about 10 blocks on the Illawarra Road frontage of the old quarry, while retaining a narrow strip of land to Illawarra Road for the cottage.
In 1932 Mrs Benson was still living in the cottage, though by this time the access was via Wallace Street. At some time after 1949 the portion of the block fronting Wallace Street was subdivided and access is now from Hilltop Crescent.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Mining-Activities associated with the identification, extraction, processing and distribution of mineral ores, precious stones and other such inorganic substances. (none)-
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]
Of historical significance as the house associated with James Benson's quarry which operated on adjacent land. James Benson and his family built the house in 1896 and occupied it until at least 1932 (at which times Mrs Benson was the occupant).
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Of aesthetic significance as a simple transitional late Victorian/Federation period weatherboard cottage.
SHR Criteria f)
Rare as an extant building associated with a quarry operating in Marrickville in the late 19th to early 20th century.
SHR Criteria g)
Representative of simple cottages of the late 19th century (1896) with transitional Federation period features (such as turned timber verandah posts).
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 requires urgent conservation work, including repairs to walls, roof, and reinstatement of the missing front verandah. A Conservation Management Plan is recommended to accompany any development application for conservation or 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.


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental PlanMarrickville LEP 2011I8812 Dec 11 2011/645 
Heritage study     

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Marrickville Heritage Study Review19972030352Tropman & Tropman Architects1997-1999 Yes
Review of Potential Heritage Items for Marrickville Council2009 Paul Davies Pty Ltd  Yes

References, internet links & images


Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

rez rez rez rez rez rez
rez rez rez
(Click on thumbnail for full size image and image details)

Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Local Government
Database number: 2030352

Every effort has been made to ensure that information contained in the State Heritage Inventory is correct. If you find any errors or omissions please send your comments to the Database Manager.

All information and pictures on this page are the copyright of the Heritage Division or respective copyright owners.