Chinese boatshed | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

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Chinese boatshed

Item details

Name of item: Chinese boatshed
Other name/s: 3 Musgrave Street
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Residential buildings (private)
Category: Other - Residential Buildings (private)
Primary address: 3 Musgrave, Mosman, NSW 2088
Local govt. area: Mosman
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
3 MusgraveMosmanMosman  Primary Address

Statement of significance:

The boatshed is a rare surviving example of the fashion for oriental architecture often seen in follies attached to grand houses. It is rare as one of two such boatsheds on Sydney Harbour and is the earlier and possibly most intact of the two examples. The structure is on a prominent headland giving it landmark status in the Harbour. It makes an important aesthetic contribution to Sydney Harbour and demonstrates an increasingly rare element – the private boatshed – fronting the harbour and located below high water mark. It is one of the few such structures in the Mosman area and one of the finest small boatsheds on the harbour.
Date significance updated: 14 May 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: The building is of timber construction with rusticated weatherboard cladding to the lower wall section and fibro sheeting with cover battens to the upper walls. This is typical of the later Federation period where the timberwork was used to prevent wall damage. The roof is upswept simulating Chinese roof design and the building has a raised lantern section with matching roof, exposed eaves and rafters. The roof is malthoid over timber. Fenestration is simple with two windows on each side and a pair of doors leading onto a small cantilevered landing that is of recent origin. The building sits on stone piers and does not have sliprails. A stone seawall abuts the western edge, the whole structure appears to be located below high water mark and is leased from Waterways. The building appears to be in its original form and detail with possibly the double doors being a replacement set for timber framed doors.

The structure is very simple and relies on the decorative oriental design elements for its form and charm.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Good to fair, requires painting and minor works.
Date condition updated:13 Feb 08


Historical notes: The boatshed appears to be one of two on the harbour of similar design. NSW Maritime have advised that the Musgrave St boatshed was in existence in 1913 and from its appearance it was probably constructed near to that date. The other example at Point Piper (SHI) is dated to 1933 and may have been based on the design of this shed.

The SHI listing for the Point Piper example notes that the building design derived from the fashion for oriental architecture and the work of Hardy Wilson and others. This boatshed predates the Point Piper shed by 20 years but is clearly influenced in the same way by the late Victorian fashion for the East and oriental design. This makes the shed a very rare and early example of this in Sydney and in particular on the Harbour.

Little else is known about the structure however it appears to be quite intact.

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. Federation period and recreation-


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental Plan I18209 Dec 11   
Heritage study     

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Review of Proposed Pittwater Road Conservation Area and Additional Heritage Item2002 H. Abrahams  Yes
 0    No
 0    No
 0    No
 0    No

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenNSW Heritage Office SHI Data sheets

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

(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: 2061300

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