Keston | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

Culture and heritage



Item details

Name of item: Keston
Other name/s: ASIO
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Residential buildings (private)
Category: House
Primary address: 31 Carabella Street, Kirribilli, NSW 2061
Local govt. area: North Sydney
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
31 Carabella StreetKirribilliNorth Sydney  Primary Address

Statement of significance:

An interesting Federation house showing restrained detailing and a good addition to the Federation streetscape. It retains the waterfront and curtilage of the 'Keston' property, one the early mansions of Kirribilli Point. While in the ownership of ASIO, it was unsympathetically altered but has now been restored. The building incorporates part of the original house on this site.

Heritage Inventory sheets are often not comprehensive, and should be regarded as a general guide only. Inventory sheets are based on information available, and often do not include information on landscape significance, interiors or the social history of sites and buildings. Inventory sheets are updated by Council as further information becomes available. An inventory sheet with little information may simply indicate that there has been no building work done to the item recently: it does not mean that items are not significant. Further research is always recommended as part of preparation of development proposals for heritage items, and is necessary in preparation of Heritage Impact Assessments and Conversation Management Plans, so that the significance of heritage items can be fully assessed prior to submitting development applications.
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: o This building is designed in the Federation Arts and Crafts style.

A two storey asymmetric federation house of brick on stone foundations with a hipped slate roof. Details are simple, with stone string courses, articulated stone window surrounds, terracotta shingles to projecting bays and arched windows. Unsympathetic modifications and a heavy sunscreen enclosure to the waterfront and verandahs, carried out by ASIO, detracted from the design, but have recently been removed. There is a good gate-house of matching period design. A rendered-wall section in the south-west corner is part of the original house.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Major Alteration. Unsympathetic.
Date condition updated:19 Nov 10


Historical notes: 'Keston' was the house of Major G. Bowen from the 1850's. It appears to have been rebuilt around the turn of the century as a large Federation style house. It was taken over in the 1960's by the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation as their Sydney office and an additional building was erected on the waterfront. It has recently been renovated (1993) for residential purposes.

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)-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages (none)-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Associative Regional. Representative Regional.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Associative Local. Representative Local.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
Associative Regional. Representative Local.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
Local significance
SHR Criteria f)
Local significance
SHR Criteria g)
This item is assessed as historically representative regionally. This item is assessed as aesthetically representative locally. This item is assessed as socially representative locally.
Integrity/Intactness: Unsympathetic
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.


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental Plan I019202 Aug 13   
Within a conservation area on an LEP     

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
North Sydney Heritage Study Review19930011Tony Brassil, Robert Irving, Chris Pratten, Conybeare MorrisonTB 17/3/92 Yes
North Sydney Heritage Review2002 John Oultram  No

References, internet links & images


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: 2180011

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