House | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

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Item details

Name of item: House
Other name/s: Dragonfels
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Residential buildings (private)
Category: House
Primary address: 20 Iredale Avenue, Cremorne Point, NSW 2090
Parish: Willoughby
County: Cumberland
Local govt. area: North Sydney
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
20 Iredale AvenueCremorne PointNorth SydneyWilloughbyCumberlandPrimary Address

Statement of significance:

Heavily decorated house shows elements of Queen Anne influence. It is set back in a mature garden. In form and curtilage, it is characteristic of the vicinity.

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: 30 Sep 19
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: 1911-1912
Physical description: A single storey brick house with terracotta shingled gable roof which features a prominent gable with central bracketed triple casement window and decorative timber screen, gabled dormer verandah carried on timber posts and central circular dormer turret. Main floor features a rectangular projecting bay window to the gabled bay, a small decorative gable over the entrance steps and a recessed verandah with decorative timber valence, timber posts and a brick balustrade.This building is designed in the Federation Arts and Crafts style, with elements of the Queen Anne style present.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Minor Alteration
Modifications and dates: Sympathetically modified to the design of the owner, Hugh Fraser, Conservation Architect.
Current use: Private residence
Former use: Residential flats


Historical notes: The subject site was originally part of 700 acres (283 hectares) of land bought in 1816 for Alfred Thrupp as a wedding gift by his father-in-law, Captain John Piper. Piper became bankrupt in 1827 and sold all his land, including the Thrupp estate, to Daniel Cooper, a wealthy merchant and land speculator. Cooper's nephew, John Cooper, was appointed manager of the estate in 1854. In July 1879, John Cooper conveyed a 99-year lease of part of the Cooper Estate at Cremorne to Richard Hayes Harnett Senior, who then transferred it to his son, Richard Hayes Harnett Junior (who became the first Mayor of Mosman in 1893). The land was subdivided as the "Cooperville Estate" and was offered on 99-year leases from 1 July 1880.

However this section of Cremorne Point remained undeveloped until demand for land in the area was directly stimulated by the proposal to construct a tram link from Cremorne Wharf to Cremorne Junction, which commenced from 1911. On 16 February 1907 Harnett commissioned Raine & Horne to undertake the leasehold subdivision of Iredale Avenue, being promoted as the "Cremorne Heights" Estate with views overlooking Mosman Bay. This subdivision, with only minor changes undertaken at that time, forms the current Federation streetscape. Housing construction within Iredale Avenue commenced from 1910 and 1911, with the first listings appearing in the John Sands directories of 1912 and 1913. In the 1940s, the house at No. 20 Iredale Avenue was divided into two flats, involving the construction of various additions and alterations which were reversed in 1981 when it was returned to a single residence. The 1981 works involved rebuilding of the roofline, the addition of attic accommodation and various alterations to the rear of the house.

Associated as the residence of architect, author and heritage advocate, Hugh Fraser (1946-2011). Fraser worked as a heritage architect for the Heritage Council of NSW from 1978 to 1988 and was the author of "The Federation House: Australia's Own Style" (1986), which was republished twice (1991 and 2002). On his death in 2011, his obituary in The Sydney Morning Herald noted that "Hugh Fraser may not have been the father of Federation architecture but he was certainly one of its torch-bearing nephews" (SMH, 24/08/2011).

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 Subdivsion and Settlement-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Architectural Styles - The Federation Period, 1890s - c. 1915-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Hugh Fraser, architect, author and heritage advocate-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
local significance
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
Of associative significance as the former residence of author, architect and heritage advocate, Hugh Fraser.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
local significance
SHR Criteria g)
This item is assessed as historically representative locally. This item is assessed as aesthetically representative regionally. This item is assessed as socially representative locally.
Integrity/Intactness: Sympathetic
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 LEP 2013I006202 Aug 13   
Within a conservation area on an LEPCA 03 - Cremorne Conservation AreaCA0302 Aug 13   
Local Environmental Plan - Lapsed 111701 Jun 01   
Heritage study     

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
North Sydney Heritage Study Review19931117Tony Brassil, Robert Irving, Chris Pratten, Conybeare MorrisonTB September 1992 Yes
North Sydney Heritage Review2002 John Oultram  No

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenPeter Moffitt; Archie Bayvel2011Obituaries: Architect rallied for city's heritage (24/08/2011) View detail

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: 2181117

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