St. Francis Xaviers Parish Centre | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

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St. Francis Xaviers Parish Centre

Item details

Name of item: St. Francis Xaviers Parish Centre
Other name/s: 'Wangan'
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Religion
Category: Religious housing
Primary address: 20 Mackenzie Street, Lavender Bay, NSW 2060
Local govt. area: North Sydney
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
20 Mackenzie StreetLavender BayNorth Sydney  Primary Address

Statement of significance:

Associated with adjacent Catholic Church and previously to prominent Sydney families. A fine example of a mid-nineteenth century Victorian Gothic house. Despite poor stylistic treatment, it maintains a strong presence in its streetscape and in the locality. The interior room configuration and decorative features are also of significance. The remnant garden is important to the setting and curtilage of teh building although highly modified. There are significant tree plantings including various Moreton Bay Figs and Camphor Laurel.

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.
Date significance updated: 29 Apr 14
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.


Construction years: 1869-1874
Physical description: This building is designed in the Victorian Rustic Gothic style.

Two storey stone house with steep-pitched gable roof with decorative barge boards to the gable ends. Features include a massive cantilevered first floor stone balcony and large pointed relieving arches to the main wall area. Further interest is given by dressed quoins, window surrounds and cast iron balustrading. The roofing material has been altered with crude galvanised iron covering to the verandah and Marseilles pattern tiles to the main roof. The southern and eastern elevations of the building have verandahs with flooring of tessellated tiles. The galvanised roof on the verndah is not original and was originally striped. The verandah has grille columns as well as cast iron balustrades. The two storey arch on MacKenzie St was originally an open portico and has since been infilled with glazing and stonework. There is a 1970s flat roofed addition at the western end of the building with an external steel stair.

The interior room configuration is still evident.. The main entry hall is visually dominated by the original timber staircase with decorative newel posts and turned balusters. The original joinery exists and is either painted or with original finishes. Doors are four-panelled with glazed fanlights above. The front portion of the building retains pressed metal ceilings with ceiling roses and moulded cornices. Other rooms have their ceilings replaced. There is a marble fireplace in the south east room to the front.

The original garden has been lost due to subdivision, development and unsympathetic paving.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
A 1970s addition at the western end. Infill of the arched portico. Modification of the original curtilage by subdivision and develeopment.
Date condition updated:29 Apr 14
Modifications and dates: An unsympathetic modern flat-roofed brick addition has been abutted to the western elevation of the building.

Original stained glass has been replaced in the 1970s.

Original garden setting has been lost and replaced with bitumen/asphalt carpark.
Current use: Parish Centre
Former use: Presbytery. Private dwelling


Historical notes: Built for the Dangar family circa 1870 and known as 'Wangan', this house was purchased by a Mrs MacKenzie (giving the street its name) and was occupied by her daughter and son-in-law, Mr E.J. Smith, the Deputy Stamp Commissioner. It was later sold to the Catholic Church in 1913.

It was originally a small stone cottage. The dwelling then went through three stages of development between 1869 and 1876. The original dwelling is evident with a new addition in Holtermann's panorama. The second and third phases of development shown in later photographs may have occurred in close succession however, in 1874 and 1879, incorporating the fitrst addition and changing the roof structure. The c1900 photograph of the building shows a completed building as seen today.

The site on the corner of the MacKenzie and Walker Streets, recently redeveloped for townhouses, was the original garden of the house. The 1890s waterboard block plans show a carriage drive across this site leading to the house.

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)-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Religion-Activities associated with particular systems of faith and worship (none)-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Associative Regional. Representative Local.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Associative Local. Representative Local.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
Associative Regional. Representative Local.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
Associative Local. Representative Local.
SHR Criteria g)
This item is assessed as historically representative regionally. This item is assessed as aesthetically representative regionally. This item is assessed as socially representative regionally.
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 PlanNorth Sydney Local Environmental Plan 2013I035102 Aug 13   
Within a conservation area on an LEP     

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
North Sydney Heritage Study Review19930304Tony Brassil, Robert Irving, Chris Pratten, Conybeare MorrisonTB May 1992 Yes
Heritage and Cultural Resources Study1998 Paul Davies  Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenCity Plan Heritage2014St Francis Xavier's Presbytery 20 Mackenzie St, Lavender Bay Due Diligence Asses

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: 2180304

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.

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