Harwin - Victorian style dwelling | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

Culture and heritage


Harwin - Victorian style dwelling

Item details

Name of item: Harwin - Victorian style dwelling
Other name/s: Walton, Boisfleury
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Residential buildings (private)
Category: House
Primary address: 79 Champion Road, Tennyson Point, NSW 2111
Parish: Hunters Hill
County: Cumberland
Local govt. area: Ryde
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
79 Champion RoadTennyson PointRydeHunters HillCumberlandPrimary Address

Statement of significance:

The house "Harwin" is of historical significance as one of the earliest dwellings constructed on the Tennyson Estate in 1890. The house, built by building contractor Thomas Potts as his family residence, has historical association with Thomas Potts, alderman on Ryde Municipal Council from 1891 and Mayor from February 1893 to February 1894. The dwelling has aesthetic significance as a late Victorian period dwelling with some Victorian Regency style aspects (quoining, french doors), and a rare example of a late Victorian period house in Tennyson Point.
Date significance updated: 18 Jul 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.


Builder/Maker: Thomas Potts builder
Construction years: 1890-1890
Physical description: A large single storey cottage of the late Victorian period. The house is set on a landscaped allotment with a Murraya front hedge, central path and side driveway to a rear carport. A pair of Lagerstroemia sp. planted on the nature strip frame the house.

The house is symmetrical in form and dominated by a large hipped slate roof which extends over a wrap around verandah. The roof features rendered chimneys, terracotta ridge capping and decorative coloured shaped slates forming a patterned band. The verandah is supported by timber posts adorned with decorative timber brackets supported by polychromatic face brickwork. The house has a rendered finish with decorative quoining at corners and a frieze at door head height. The central entry door is a glazed and panelled Victorian door with side and fan lights, and is flanked by pairs of French doors also with side and fan lights. A sensitive addition has been constructed to the rear of the house.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Date condition updated:18 Jul 12
Modifications and dates: The polycrhomatic brick posts and timber detaling to the verandah are later (post 1900) additions, along with the terracotta ridge capping, The 1905 photograph at Ryde Library Local Studies shows decorative cast iron ridge capping and a decorative cast iron freize to the verandah with either timber or cast iron posts.
Current use: Dwelling
Former use: Dwelling


Historical notes: AREA HISTORY
Aboriginal people inhabited the Sydney basin for thousands of years prior to the arrival of Europeans. The northern coastal area of Sydney was home to the Guringai people, western Sydney was home to the Dharug clans, and southern Sydney was inhabited by the Dharawal clans. The Guringai lived primarily along the foreshores of the harbour, and fished and hunted in the waters and hinterlands of the area. All clans harvested food from their surrounding bush. Self-sufficient and harmonious, they had no need to travel far from their lands, since the resources around them were so abundant, and trade with other tribal groups was well established. The British arrival in 1788 had a dramatic impact on all of the Sydney clans. Food resources were quickly diminished by the invaders, who had little understanding of the local environment. As a result, the Aboriginal people throughout the Sydney Basin were soon close to starvation. The Sydney clans fought back against the invaders, but the introduction of diseases from Europe and Asia, most notably smallpox, destroyed over half the population. The clearing of land for settlements and farms displaced local tribes and reduced the availability of natural food resources, leaving Aboriginal people reliant on white food and clothing. The French surgeon and pharmacist Rene Primavere Lesson, who visited Sydney in 1824, wrote: "the tribes today are reduced to fragments scattered all around Port Jackson, on the land where their ancestors lived and which they do not wish to leave." (Information taken from City of Ryde Aboriginal Site Management Report, Aboriginal Heritage Office, 2011.)

Modern day Tennyson Point was originally part of a land grant to William Raven (1756–1814). He was a master mariner and merchant who sailed to New South Wales in 1792 as captain and part owner of the Britannia. In 1795 he was granted 100 acres (40 hectares) at Eastern Farms, so named because it was east of Parramatta. In 1799 he received a further 285 acres (115 hectares) in the area, north of what is now Tennyson Point. The tip of the peninsula, Raven Point, is named in his honour.

Subsequently this land was acquired by James Squire. He had been transported on the Friendship in the First Fleet: by 1798 he was the licensed proprietor of an inn called the Malting Shovel, located on the Parramatta River. At the time of his death in 1822 he owned significant sections of modern-day Putney, in addition to Tennyson Point.

James Squire Farnell, the grandson of James Squire, inherited part of the former Squire property on the death of his father, Thomas Farnell. James became a member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly in 1866, a member of the Legislative Council from 1885 and Premier from 18 December 1877 to 20 December 1878. The Tennyson area remained virtually unused except for timber-getting until Farnell sold it in 1887. The land was subdivided and marketed in September 1887 by the Mercantile Building Land & Investment Co. Ltd. as the Tennyson Estate. The area was known colloquially as Farnell's Bush.

The Parramatta River was the focus of rowing and sculling in NSW with highly competitive races attracting many thousands of spectators along the foreshores between Henley Point and Meadowbank. The subdivision of the land at Tennyson Point capitalised on this popularity with the advertising flyers for the Tennyson Estate noting the land had "Splendid water frontages facing the Championship course Parramatta River" and the streets of the estate were named after rowing terms and personalities. The Tennyson Estate however did not immediately sell, and the land was re-marketed and more auctions held - in 1894, 1900, 1904 and 1905. The land was not fully settled until the early twentieth Century.

By the early 20th Century Gladesville and Tennyson Point were effectively developed, the residents enjoying fast commutes to the city by horse-drawn buses and later trams.

The first Gladesville bridge was replaced by the present concrete-arch bridge in 1964.

The first subdivision of the Tennyson Estate took place in 1887. The area subdivided included all of the land from Morrison's Road to Raven's Point and the vendors were the Mercantile Building, Land & Investment Company Limited. The property had been "suitably subdivided into the most desirable VILLA SITES" and a number of streets laid out: Tennyson Road, Champion Road, Deeble Street, Beach Street, Kemp Street, Bay View Street, Brett Street and Teemer Street. The promotional brochures for the October 1887 sale drew attention to the numerous attractions offered by Tennyson as a place of residence" Not the least of which is the perfect view obtainable therefrom of the last two miles and finish of the boat races, for which the Parramatta is world-famed, and destined to maintain this prestige as the premier course in the world." Bill Beach and Peter Kemp had both been Champion Scullers of the World and Champion Street took its name from the scullers' championship course.

Despite the attractions of the Estate, no sales were made in 1887. By the time a second auction took place in September 1894, several lots had been sold in Champion Road, Tennyson Road and Beach Street, but only three houses had been built. These were no. 85 Champion Road, no. 79 Champion Road and no. 139 Tennyson Road, all built c. 1890/1891.

The Champion Road houses, both of which had gardens adjoining, were described as 'cottages' in 1894. No. 79 Champion Road was built by a contractor named Thomas Potts who had previously lived in Linsley Street, Gladesville. Potts bought lots 16 & 17 of Section 2 of the Estate. He seems to have been resident in Champion Road by September 1890 when he was nominated for election as an alderman for Ryde Municipal Council. Potts withdrew his candidature on that occasion but was nominated again in February 1891 and was subsequently elected. He stood again in February 1892 and was elected for a term of three years. He became Mayor in February 1893 and remained Mayor until February 1894 when he resigned from the position "on the grounds that he would be too frequently absent from home to discharge the duties with satisfaction." Potts continued to live at 79 Champion Road until 1898 and Potts Street, Ryde is named in his honour.

Between 1899 and 1910 the house had at least three occupants and two names: the Sands' Sydney Directories list the house as "Walton" from 1899 - 1903, with W.K. Pooley living there in 1899 - 1900, J. Miles in 1901 - 1902 and Marceau Joseph Hautrive from 1903 to 1905. Hautrive, a general agent, renamed the house "Boisfleury" in 1905 and a photograph of "Boisfleury" appeared in a 1905 auction brochure for the Tennyson Estate.

In August 1910 the house was bought by an accountant named Harold Nossiter. By 1916 he had renamed the house "Harwin", combining the first syllable of his name with that of his wife, Winifred. Two sons of Harold and Winifred Nossiter were also named for the house: Richard Harwin Nossiter and John Harwin Nossiter, both baptised at St. Anne's Ryde on 15 October 1916. Richard had been born on 22 June 1910 and John on 10 January 1916. In 1989, an elderly resident of Tennyson, Mrs. T. Watts, recalled that the Nossiters "owned a private yacht which was moored in Morrison Bay". (Ryde Recorder Vol.23 No.2 1989 p.5) Harold Nossiter was very involved with boats. In 1935 he and his son Richard and another son made an around the world voyage in a yacht named the Sirius, the first Australian yacht to make such a voyage. Harold Nossiter sold the house to David BIRCH of Thirroul in 1920 and the house remained, name unchanged, in the Birch family until 1991

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 Suburban Development-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with prominent local persons-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The house is of historical significance as,one of the earliest dwellings constructed on the Tennyson Estate in 1890.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
The house at No. 79 Champion Road was built by a contractor Thomas Potts, who was resident in Champion Road by September 1890 when he was nominated for election as an alderman for Ryde Municipal Council. Potts withdrew his candidature on that occasion but was nominated again in February 1891 and was subsequently elected. He stood again in February 1892 and was elected for a term of three years. He became Mayor in February 1893 and remained Mayor until February 1894 when he resigned from the position.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The dwelling has aesthetic significance as a late Victorian period dwelling with some Victorian Regency style aspects (quoining, french doors).
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
The dwelling is considered to have little archeological or research potential.
SHR Criteria f)
The dwelling is a rare example of a late Victorian period dwelling in the Tennyson Point area.
SHR Criteria g)
The dwelling is a fine example of a late Victorian period cottage, with some Victorian Regency style aspects.
Integrity/Intactness: Dwelling is reasonably 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.

Recommended management:

DOCUMENTATION:A Heritage Impact Statement is required by Council to accompany any Development Application for non-minor work. Please consult Council staff about your proposal and the level of documentation that will be required as early as possible in the process. Note that Council has adopted planning provisions to assist in the making of minor changes that will not have any impact on the significance of properties without the need to prepare a formal application or Heritage Impact Statement. In this case Council must be consulted in writing to confirm the nature of the works. APPROACHES TO MANAGING THE HERITAGE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE PROPERTY: (Note: the detailed requirements for each property will be determined on a case-by-case basis. The following advice provides general principles that should be respected by all development.) Further subdivision of the land is discouraged. The overall form of the building should be retained and conserved and new uses should be restricted to those that are historically consistent and/or able to be accommodated within the existing fabric with minimal physical impact. All significant exterior fabric should be retained and conserved. The setting of the property should be protected from the impacts of development and significant plantings, walls, paths and other landscape elements should be retained in a manner that will not threaten the viability of significant gardens, landscapes or views. The external surfaces and materials of significant facades (generally, but not limited to, those visible from the street or a public place including the water) should be retained, and painted surfaces painted in appropriate colours. Sandstone and face brickwork should not be painted or coated. Significant door and window openings should not be enlarged or enclosed. OPPORTUNITIES FOR CHANGE: All development should respect the principle of ‘do as much as necessary but as little as possible’. In most instances, new work should not attempt to replicate historic forms. A ‘contemporary neutral’ design that sits quietly on the site, and enhances the quality of the item, will be a more sympathetic outcome than a ‘fake’ historic building. Respecting the scale and overall forms, proportions and rhythms of the historic fabric is critical. As a general principle, all major alterations and additions should NOT: - result in demolition of significant fabric - result in excessive site cover; - be visually prominent or overwhelm the existing buildings. - intrude into any views of the property from the public domain, including the water; and should be: - located behind the historic building/s on the site; - visually subservient and have minimal impact on heritage significance including that of views over the property. Single storey extensions will generally be preferred over two-storey forms unless there is a sound heritage reason to do otherwise. Attic rooms must be accommodated in the original roof form. Solid fences or high walls on street boundaries and structures - including car parking structures - forward of the front building line are strongly discouraged.


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental PlanRyde LEP 2010    
Local Environmental PlanRyde Draft LEP 2011I24   
Local Environmental PlanRyde LEP 2014I2402 Sep 14   
Local Environmental Plan - LapsedLEP No. 1058617 Jan 03 14346
Heritage study     

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Ryde Heritage Study198886Jonathan Falk Planning Consutants P/L Assoc with Rodney Jensen and Assoc P/L  No
Review of 1988 Ryde Heritage Study.2002 Hill Thalis Architecture and Urban Projects.  Yes
Ryde SHI Review Stage 22012 Paul Davies Pty Ltd  Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Written  Research by Ryde Library Local Studies
WrittenAngela Phippen2008Tennyson Point entry, Dictionary of Sydney
MapBatt Rodd & Purves1887Tennyson Estate subdivision map of 1887. National Library of Australia map-lfsp2810-y

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: 2340053

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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