Mayfield - Federation style dwelling | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

Culture and heritage


Mayfield - Federation style dwelling

Item details

Name of item: Mayfield - Federation style dwelling
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Residential buildings (private)
Category: House
Primary address: 281 Morrison Road, Ryde, NSW 2112
Parish: Hunters Hill
County: Cumberland
Local govt. area: Ryde
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
281 Morrison RoadRydeRydeHunters HillCumberlandPrimary Address

Statement of significance:

The house "Mayfield" is of historical significance as a house built in 1907/08 for Samuel Hearn and his wife Angelina Maria Hearn. The house remained in the ownership of the same family up to the mid 20th century, and therefore has historical association with the Hearn family, The dwelling has aesthetic significance as a fine representative example of a Federation Queen Anne style dwelling.
Date significance updated: 16 Oct 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.


Construction years: 1907-1908
Physical description: A large, finely detailed single storey Federation house. The house is prominently located on a large elevated allotment opposite the northern end of Regent Street. (where Regent Street intersects with Morrison Road). The house is set in formal landscaped grounds with a brick front fence and brick paved driveways.

The house is dominated by a large hipped slate roof with terracotta ridge cappings, and four tall brick and rendered chimneys. The roof features twin gablets with rising sun patterns to the front elevation,, and a large gable to the side. The roof is clad in slate and features a pattern in shaped and coloured slates. The house is built of face brickwork. Gable ends are roughcast with a rising sun motifs. Barge boards to gablets are heavily fretted. The verandah, with wraps around the north-western side of the house, is finely detailed with paired turned timber posts, decorative brackets and valance.
Fenestration to the street elevation comprises timber casement windows with coloured glass panels and stone sills.

The internal plan consists of three rooms on both sides of a central hallway which leads to a room opening onto a rear verandah. The six main rooms are highly intact. The present kitchen is the least significant of these.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Date condition updated:25 Feb 13
Modifications and dates: The house is highly intact.
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).

In the early years of European settlement of Sydney, the Ryde area was found to be highly suitable for farming and orchards, and early colonial land grants to marines were given to encourage agriculture. In January 1792 land in the area which extended from Dundas to the Lane Cove River along the northern bank of the river, was granted to eight marines. The area was named by Governor Phillip the “Field of Mars”, Mars being the ancient Roman God of war, named to reflect the military associations of the land grantees. Two of these land grants were made in the modern area of the suburb of Ryde. Isaac Archer and John Colethread each received 80 acres of land on the site of the present Ryde-Parramatta Golf Links (now in West Ryde).

These grants were followed soon after by grants to ten emancipated convicts in February 1792, the land being further to the east of the marine’s grants, in the area now central to Ryde. Most of the grants were small, from 30 to 100 acres. This area was called Eastern Farms or the Eastern Boundary. By 1794 the name Eastern Farms had given way to Kissing Point, a name believed to have originated from the way in which heavily laden boats passing up the Parramatta River bumped or ‘kissed’ the rocky outcrop which extends into the river at today’s Kissing Point. Further grants were issued in 1794 and 1795, gradually occupying most of the foreshores between Meadowbank and Gladesville. Some of the grants were at North Brush, north of the Field of Mars settlement, in the area of Brush Farm and Eastwood.

Much later these were bought by John Macarthur, Gregory Blaxland and the Reverend Samuel Marsden. The district remained an important orcharding area throughout the 19th century.

The land on which Ryde House (now Willandra) was built was part of the emancipist John Small's 1794 grant and was acquired by James Devlin in 1828 from Thomas Small, James' step-father. James Devlin (1808-1875) was born in NSW, the son of Irish exile Arthur Devlin and his colonial-born wife Priscilla Squire. Devlin was originally a wheelwright, and later became a successful developer and contractor. James Devlin was a warden of St Anne's Church, Ryde and also a trustee for many years, and a Trustee of the Field of Mars Common, Devlin was instrumental in advocating for the proclamation of Ryde as a municipality and was one of the first Ryde aldermen in 1871. Devlin's Creek and Devlin Street are named after James Devlin. (Pollen, 1996).

About 1840 the name Ryde began to be used in the locality, with Devlin's 1841 subdivision being the earliest documented use of this name. Megan Martin has shown that the names Ryde and Turner Street were both chosen by James Devlin to honour the new Anglican Minister, Rev. George Turner, whose wife was a native of the English Ryde. Devlin and his neighbour, James Shepherd, had some 40 lots surveyed in a subdivision they named the Village of Ryde, with Devlin's 'East Ryde' facing St. Anne's Church and Shepherd's 'West Ryde' facing the road to Parramatta.

Devlin designed and began building the house now known as "Willandra" in 1841 on the old Small's farm and the Devlin family moved into the house in 1845. At that time it was called Ryde House.

Thomas Cox of the City of Sydney, gentleman, is listed as the owner of 7 acres 2 roods 12 perches of land on 9 June, 1883: bounded on the south by Morrison Road, on the west by ‘Mrs. Barlow’; on the east by ‘Sir J G Innes’; on the north by ‘Foucher’. [vol 650 fol 9].

In 1891 the property was transferred (application by transmission) to Thomas Cox, gentleman, of Paddington. [vol 650 fol 9].

On 6 May, 1907 part of the property was transferred to Samuel Abraham Hearn of Leichhardt, gentleman, and a new certificate of title was issued: vol 1797 fol 13 dated 29 July, 1907. This land consisted of 3 acres 1 rood and 32 and ¾ perches.

Sands' Sydney Directories first lists Samuel Hearn as resident in Morrison Road in 1911 and the house is first named as Mayfield in Sands' Directory of 1914 but Samuel Hearn and his wife Angelina Maria Hearn are listed in Morrison Road in the Commonwealth Electoral Rolls for 1909. This evidence points to the house "Mayfield" having been constructed for Samuel Hearn and his family sometime between his purchase of the land in May 1907 and the end of 1908.

Samuel died on 6 January, 1916 at ‘Mayfield’, aged 69 (SMH 7 Jan, 1916). The property was transferred (application by transmission) to Angelina Maria Hearn of Ryde, widow and Antony William Elderton Weaver of Sydney, solicitor, in July, 1918 [vol 1797 fol 13]. His widow Angelina subdivided and sold part of the property in 1919, retaining a portion of 3 roods 12Ø perches around the house where she continued to live.

On 27 June, 1919 (1 acre 1 rood 10 ¾ perches) was transferred to William Moss, butcher of Ryde [vol 1797 fol 13; new CT 3019 fol 247].

The residue, after this transfer described in vol 3019 fol 248 which contained ‘Mayfield’, now consisted of 2 acres and 22 perches.

Lot B, which was the northern part of the property, was transferred to Hugh Rose (1 acre 1 rood 9 ½ perches) on 12 August, 1926. [in vol 3019 fol 248; new CT 3919 fol 223]

A new certificate of title was issued for the residue vol 3920 fol 41, dated 6 October, 1926. This land, still owned by Hearn and Weaver and on which the house ‘Mayfield’ stood, consisted of 3 roods and 12 ½ perches.

When Antony William Elderton Weaver died in 1929 Angelina Hearn became the surviving joint tenant. [vol 3920 fol 41] His death notice in SMH 14 February, 1929 noted that he had died on 13 February, 1929 at his home in Manly. Angelina Hearn died on 9 August 1930 at "Mayfield" (Sydney Morning Herald, 11 August 1930).

Following Angelina Hearn's death, Mayfield became the property of her daughter, Mrs. Mary Josephine Ann McWhirter, wife of Austin Cordell McWhirter of Ryde, gas company employee (application by transmission, Fol 3920 Folio 41) Mary was Angelina and Samuel's only child. In 1947 Mary McWhirter further subdivided the property, creating the block on which Mayfield currently stands. She and her husband Austin (an employee of the gas company) continued to live in the house for a number of years.

The 1943 aerial photo of "Mayfield" and its site shows the house on a larger piece of land prior to the 1947-1948 subdivision of the land outlined below.

Mary Josephine McWhirter sub-divided the land thus:

Lot C was transferred on 5 August 1947 to Norman Agar Naylor of Dulwich Hill, clerk [vol 3920 fol 41; new CT 5859 fol 246]

Lot A was transferred to Harold John Hodgson of Petersham, salesman. [vol 3920 fol 41; new CT 5859 fol 247]

The residue, Lot B, consisting of two roods and ¼ p and containing ‘Mayfield’ was described in a new certificate of title vol 5859 fol 248, dated 16 August, 1948.

Mancesco de Giorgio of Ryde, gardener and his wife Maria Francesca de Giorgio became the owners of the property in November, 1967 [vol 5859 fol 248]

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-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The house is of historical significance as a house built in 1907/08 for Samuel Hearn and his wife Angelina Maria Hearn. The house remained in the ownership of the same family up to the mid 20th century.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
The dwelling has historical association with the Hearn family.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The dwelling has aesthetic significance as a fine example of a Federation Queen Anne style dwelling.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
The dwelling is considered to have little archeological or research potential.
SHR Criteria g)
The dwelling is a fine representative example of a Federation Queen Anne style dwelling.
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 2011I77   
Local Environmental PlanRyde LEP 2014I7702 Sep 14   
Local Environmental Plan - LapsedLEP No. 1056617 Jan 03 14351
Heritage study     

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Ryde Heritage Study198866Jonathan Falk Planning Consutants P/L Assoc with Rodney Jensen and Assoc P/L  No
Ryde SHI Review Stage 22012 Paul Davies Pty Ltd  Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Written 2012Historical Research included land title research by Angela Phippen, Ryde Library Local Studies section

Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

rez rez rez rez rez
(Click on thumbnail for full size image and image details)

Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Local Government
Database number: 2340078

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.

All information and pictures on this page are the copyright of the Heritage Division or respective copyright owners.