St Elmo | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

Culture and heritage

Heritage

St Elmo

Item details

Name of item: St Elmo
Other name/s: Victorian Style, Villa
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Residential buildings (private)
Category: Villa
Primary address: 50 Harrow Road, Bexley, NSW 2207
Parish: St George
County: Cumberland
Local govt. area: Rockdale
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
50 Harrow RoadBexleyRockdaleSt GeorgeCumberlandPrimary Address

Statement of significance:

This villa is significant in its association with Joseph Palmer, the owner, who was a senior railway official and with William Kenwood, the architect who designed it. This villa is a rare example of a house which is transitional in style between the Victorian and Federation eras, and as it has a decorative gable panel depicting a Kookaburra on a bough, which demonstrates the emerging fashion for Australian motifs at the time. It also forms part of a series of fine houses located on Harrow Road.
Date significance updated: 14 May 10
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.

Description

Designer/Maker: William Kenwood architect
Construction years: 1897-
Physical description: A two storey villa which is transitional in style between Victorian and Federation, and built of rendered brick. It has a complex gable and hip roof covered in slate with terra cotta capping detail. The veranda and balcony at the front is two storey with cast iron filigreed balcony rails and posts, and decorations cast in render. The front has a two storey bay window and timber gable end details. It also has a unique decorative panel within a gable which depicts a Kookaburra sitting on a branch and the building name St Elmo inscribed below both aligned over the front entry door.
The front fence, whilst not original, has been rendered and painted to match the building.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
The building is in good condition.
Date condition updated:26 May 10
Modifications and dates: DA-1986/250 : HOME OCCUPATION ACCOUNTANTS AND TAX AGENTS
Current use: Dwelling
Former use: Dwelling

History

Historical notes: The land on which this dwelling is built was first granted to James Chandler on the 19th October 1831 by Governor Brisbane (1300 acres). The house was built in 1897 for Joseph Palmer a senior official in the Department of Railways. The house was designed by an architect fashionable at the time, William Kenwood of Kenwood and Kerle. The business partnership of Kenwood and Kerle, architects designed the Brighton tramway, the " New Brighton Hotel " and swimming baths, as well as constructing the North Bulli ocean jetty at Saywell's mine for Thomas Saywell. William Kenwood, born at Hastings, England, settled in Sydney in 1878 and joined the partnership with Kerle in 1882, the latter having migrated from London a year earlier. Mr. Kenwood, who died in 1931 aged 74, was a prominent member of the St. George Bowling Club. Kenwood became a sole practitioner after 1896 Saywell engaged Kenwood to build 7 cottages in Harrow Road directly opposite St Elmo.
Tragedy occurred at the house on 29th October 1928 when the four occupants of the house Joseph Palmer aged 83, his daughter Jessie Palmer, daughter in law Edith Palmer and housekeeper Edith Astley were murdered as they ate their lunch. A relative, Garnet Robb, was convicted shortly after.
The lane between the house and the bowling club is called Palmer Lane.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
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)-
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 On the Urban Fringe - Villas-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
This villa, Saint Elmo (built in 1897) , is historically significant as part of the development grand villas in the urban fringe of Rockdale.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
St Elmo is significant in its association with Joseph Palmer, a senior railway official and with William Kenwood, the architect who designed it.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
St Elmo is aesthetically significant as a two storey house which is transitional between the Victorian and Federation styles, and which has a distinctive decorative gable panel depicting a Kookaburra on a bough, part of the emerging fashion for Australian motifs at the time. It forms part of a series of fine houses located on the Harrow Road.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
Does not meet this criterion.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
Does not meet this criterion.
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
St Elmo is a rare example of a building in the transitional style between the Victorian and Federation eras, and has an unusual decorative panel which depicts as Kookaburra, evidence of the emerging fashion for Australia motifs at the time.
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
Does not meet this criterion.
Integrity/Intactness: The exterior is very intact.
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.

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental PlanRockdale LEP 2011I14505 Dec 11   
Local Environmental Plan  25 Aug 00 109 
Heritage study     

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Rockdale Heritage Study1991124Meredith Walker and Terry Kass  No
Rockdale Heritage Inventory Review2010 Louise Thom  Yes

References, internet links & images

None

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: 2330018


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