Federation shop and dwelling | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


Federation shop and dwelling

Item details

Name of item: Federation shop and dwelling
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Residential buildings (private)
Category: House
Primary address: 312 Morrison Road, Putney, NSW 2112
Parish: Hunters Hill
County: Cumberland
Local govt. area: Ryde
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
312 Morrison RoadPutneyRydeHunters HillCumberlandPrimary Address

Statement of significance:

The dwelling and shop, built in 1914 during the ownership of Thomas Edward Plasto, are of historical significance as a good example of an early 20th century shop and dwelling in Putney and one of few early 20th century shops remaining in the area today. Although no longer used for commercial purposes, the shop and its associated dwelling illustrate the business operation of early 20th century local corner shops. The dwelling and shop have historical association with Thomas Edward Plasto, a successful businessman and hotelier, who built the shop and dwelling in 1914. The shop and dwelling are aesthetically significant as a Federation period shop and dwelling located on a prominent corner. A locally rare example of a corner shop and associated dwelling of this period.
Date significance updated: 30 Jan 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 Edward Plasto, businessman and hotelier.
Construction years: 1914-1914
Physical description: Shop and dwelling of the late Federation period, prominently located on a sloping site at the corner of Morrison Road and Regent Street, Putney. The shop and dwelling are attached, with the shop to the north-west of the dwelling. Both shop and dwelling are single storey as viewed from Morrison Road.

The shop is built to the street alignment and has a chamfered corner. The parapet to the shop façade conceals a skillion corrugated steel roof. The shop is constructed of common brickwork on a stone base with contrasting brick arched, window heads and sills. The Morrison Street frontage featured a large timber shop window (now blocked up) and pair of French doors with highlight. A small window addresses the corner, with another large display window and two small windows to the Regent Street facade Other fenestration comprises double hung timber sash windows. The parapet is rough cast render finish with relief panels for signage, brick quoining and windows.

The attached brick dwelling has a hipped corrugated steel roof extending over the front verandah,, set back from the Morrison Road frontage, and a cast iron lace balustrade to the front verandah. The Morrison Road façade of the dwelling features two simple timber-framed double-hung sash windows. Due to the slope of the site, the dwelling appears to be two storeys at the rear, as viewed from Regent Street.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Date condition updated:30 Jan 12
Modifications and dates: Shop window to Morrison Road blocked up.
Current use: Dwelling
Former use: Shop


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 AHO and the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council, the recognised custodians for this area, as well as members of the local Aboriginal community generally agree that the term Guringai may not be the original name for the area, tribe or language, however, given the lack of any credible alternative, it is considered to be an appropriate and convenient term to represent the area as distinct from other parts of Sydney. The clan names are in some regards less contentious for some areas. The City of Ryde Council area is commonly accepted to be Wallumedegal country (various spellings). 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).

Putney shares its early history with Ryde, as part of the Eastern Farms (located east of Parramatta), which were granted to emancipists and others in the first decade of settlement. It was of one the first areas of British settlement in the colony. The peninsula on the western side of Morrisons Bay is the heart of Putney today, and was originally part of the land granted to Nicholas Bayley in 1799. Putney’s western boundary is Church Street from the Parramatta River to Morrison Road. Morrison Road generally forms the northern boundary and borders the land grants made to ex-convicts William Careless, John Jones, John Morris, Richard Cheers and James Weavers on 3 January 1792. These were referred to as the Eastern Farms, later known as 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. By October these settlers had cleared their land and planted crops of maize.

From around 1805 to the 1840s, the farm boundaries began to change as many landholders' efforts were unsuccessful and their land was bought up by more successful farmers and wealthier settlers. In that time, the farming practices changed from the growing of cereal crops to the production of fruit, especially citrus, peaches, apricots and grapes. James Squire was originally granted land in the Eastern Farms in 1795. He arrived in the First Fleet on board "Charlotte". At the 1802 Muster, James Squire owned 118 hectares of land of which nearly 50 hectares were cleared and 11 planted with wheat and corn. By 1806, his land holding included the farms of 13 early grantees. In 1822, shortly before his death, he purchased Bayley's original grant of 47 hectares. It is on this grant that the original Putney was built.

The land was later sold to Eugene Delange who subdivided the land calling it the Village of Eugenie.
In 1856, Eugène Delange bought what had been the Bayley grant for subdivision. Delange called the subdivision the Village of Eugénie and named many of the roads after generals in Louis Napoleon III's army that won the day at Sebastopol (at least in the Francophile view of the resolution) in the Crimean War. Eugénie was the name of the wife of Napoleon III and was also reminiscent of his own given name, Eugène.

The main street was originally called Napoleon Street but this has changed to Delange Road. Others named after French marshals were Bosquet Street, changed to Phillip Street, and Canrobert Street, now Morrison Road. Only Pellisier Street remains, although that is misspelt from the original spelling of Marshal Pélissier's name. ( Alex McAndrew, Putney on Parramatta: From Struggle Town to Peninsula Paradise, the author, Epping NSW, 2003, pp 3, 4, 13-32; Gregory Blaxell, 'The generals of Putney', Northern District Times, 2 April 2008, p 21).

The estate did not sell except for a few blocks suitable as small farms. In 1878, Delange's son sold 49 hectares to Phillip Walker. Walker changed the street names from French to a more English orientation. The estate was advertised in December 1878 and finally went on sale in February 1879. (Alex McAndrew, Putney on Parramatta: From Struggle Town to Peninsula Paradise, the author, Epping NSW, 2003, p 29-32). Walker also bought some of the original Callaghan grant to enlarge the subdivision. It was probably Phillip Walker who first conjured up the name Putney for his subdivision of 1879, after a London suburb on the River Thames, site of the famous Oxford/Cambridge boat race.
(Alex McAndrew, Putney on Parramatta: From Struggle Town to Peninsula Paradise, the author, Epping NSW, 2003, Putney subdivision map, p 30).

The land on which the shop and dwelling at 312 Morrison Road Ryde stand, is part of the 30 acres granted to James Weavers, a farm labourer, on 22 February 1792 which is now enclosed by Regent, Waterview, Princes Streets and Morrison Road. James Weavers was born in 1752, and was sentenced to death at the 28 March 1787 Bury St Edmunds (Suffolk) Assizes. His sentence was reduced to transportation for life and he arrived in the colony aboard the ship 'Surprise' on 26 June 1790. James married Mary Hutchinson (1765-1850) in 1792 and they had four children: James (1792-1793), James (1794-1816), Enoch (1796-1828) and Sarah (1800-1872). James Weavers and his descendents were part of a remarkable pioneering family whose members variously survived the hardships and privations of apprehension, trial, transportation, shipwreck, 'native attack", harsh conditions, disease, infant mortality and the tragic loss of many of its members in an isolated settlement. James Weavers did well as a farmer and in 1803 he purchased a 60 acre farm (originally granted to Jane Wood, now the site of North Ryde Golf Course) and received a 100 acre grant of adjoining land in 1804. James is thought to have been killed by Aborigines on 3 April 1805 and although his burial was registered at St Philips Church, his descendents believe that he was buried on his own land. In his will, James Weavers left the 30 acres known as Weaver’s Farm to his wife Mary. From about 1805 Mary lived with Richard Porter, widower of her mother Ann who also died in 1805, and they married on 8 June 1811.

The earliest settlers to farm in the Putney district were often related by marriages and this included the Weavers, Wicks, Benson, Cox, Hicks and Heard families. Even though Mary continued to live on Weavers Farm, the original 30 acres appears to have been bought by her son-in-law Robert Wicks, a gardener, who married her daughter Sarah on 23 June 1817. Sarah worked as a midwife, spiritual advisor and business woman and was a respected member of the local community. When Robert died in 1837, Weaver’s Farm was left to Sarah on the condition that after her death, the farm was to become the property of their eldest daughter Mary Ann Wicks, wife of Aaron Sellington. According to a Land Titles document dated 15 September 1881, Mary Ann Wicks ‘intermarried’ George Charles Gordon, a gardener and later a storekeeper, in 1847. In May 1872, Mary Ann’s mother Sarah and her former husband Aaron died. Four months later, on 17 September 1872, Mary Ann Wicks also died. She left the 30 acres of Weavers Farm to her husband George Charles Gordon, Diana Woodcock (her step-daughter from her former husband) as well as Sarah Jane Searle (her daughter by George Gordon) and her husband William Searle.

Much of James Weavers' original 30 acre grant, on which the 312 Morrison Road Putney property is located, remained within the Weavers family. Although the exact date of George Charles Gordon’s death is not known, on 20 May 1881, 24 acres and 32 ½ perches of the original 30 acre grant known as Weavers Farm became the property of Mary Ann Wicks’ step-daughter Diana Allen (formerly Woodcock), her step-brothers George Wicks and Henry William Watts as well as John Edye Manning and Henry Heron.

George Wicks was the Mayor of Ryde in 1876 and he and his wife Sarah Goulding had a total of 12 children. Henry William Watts (Sarah Weavers’ son from her second marriage to William Watts) served as an alderman on Ryde Council and was Mayor from 1886 to 1887. These descendents of James Weavers were orchardists with properties bordering the Field of Mars Common in North Ryde. They were among a few men who represented the sizeable proportion of Ryde’s population who were small landholders based on family farms and who actively campaigned for a local school as well as raised money to establish local churches. Neither George or Henry, nor Diana lived on Weavers Farm and the land was sold to John Edye Manning and Henry Heron, a solicitor, for £2267.10. When they sought to bring the land under the provisions of the Real Property Act (20 Victoria No. 9) on15 September 1881, the land was ‘unoccupied’ and no longer associated with the Weavers family or their descendents.

The original 30 acres of Weavers Farm were subdivided a number of times from 1881. Henry Heron who was married to the well known writer and journalist Emily Matilda Manning, and had been suffering from financial difficulties in the 1880s, sold a share of his land to John Edye Manning. The land on which 312 Morrison Road Putney stands, Lot 1 of Section 1, was included in the lands acquired by John Edye Manning and his son Charles James Manning on 9 December 1885. John Edye Manning (1831-1909), the son of John Edye Manning (1807-1889) and Fanny Elizabeth Manning, was a prominent Sydney-born merchant (Daley, L. 1967, 'Manning, Edye (1807 - 1889)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 2, Melbourne University Press, p. 202), who was known for his ownership of Parramatta River Ferries, sold to Charles Jeanneret in 1876 (Heritage of Hunters Hill, Hunters Hill Trust, p. 5).

On 18 October 1894 Lots 1-4 of Section 1 were transferred to John’s son Reginald Kerr Manning, a barrister, and Percy Vernon McCulloch, a solicitor who was married to John’s daughter Mabel Augusta. Further transfers within the Manning family saw Claude Manning, also a solicitor and another of John Edye Manning’s sons, become the proprietor of Lots 1-2 as well as Lots 10-15 of Section 1 and a number of lots from Section 2 of Weavers original land grant on 17 September 1895.

The Manning family, one of the wealthiest families in Ryde and its surrounding suburbs, sold part of Lot 1 Section 1 to Thomas Edward Plasto, a hotel keeper, on 1 October 1913. From around this time people began to buy small blocks as home sites and the Putney area began to change into the suburb that it is today. The land which 312 Morrison Road Putney occupies was now defined and contained 15 ½ perches. The 1912 Sands Directory lists 80 households in the Putney area with only 21 homes in Morrison Road between Church Street and Morrison’s Bay. Corner shops, also known as General Stores, were also starting to become common throughout the suburbs of Sydney. Thomas Edward Plasto saw this change as a business opportunity and the shop and dwelling located at 312 Morrison Road Putney were built during his ownership of the land in 1914.

Thomas Edward Plasto was an Irish immigrant who came to Sydney as a youth and began business as a draper at Brickfield Hill. He had a shop at Woollahra and then became a hotel licensee, opening up various hotels around Sydney, including The Steamboat at Ryde. When he died in 1936 he was survived by 15 children. The shop and dwelling at 312 Morrison Road Putney was left to two of his children, Robert William Plasto, a licensed victualler and Cecilia Margaret Plasto, a spinster as joint tenants on 20 June 1936. Neither sibling occupied the property, and it was advertised for lease in The Sydney Morning Herald on 20 February 1937. It was described as a ‘shop and dwelling, brick, iron roof, comprising Shop, 4 rooms, Kitchen and Offices. Let at 30/per week.’ The land itself was ‘about 65 feet 4 inches by about 146 feet 7 inches along Regent Street on the one side, and about 130 feet (irregular) on the other, narrowing to a point at rear’.

Only a few months later on 25 July 1938, the property was transferred from Robert and Cecilia Plasto to Florence Ethel Bassett and her husband George Henry Bassett of Croydon. George was an apiarist (a commercial beekeeper). He and his wife continued to occupy the property until 1943 and then it was leased out once again.

The 312 Morrison Road Putney property was transferred to Reginald Clive Aspery, a Ryde storekeeper and his wife Lorna May Aspery on 24 July 1962. According to the Sands Directory Reginald lived on the property with his wife and worked as a ‘salesman’. Following his death in 1972, Lorna May became the sole proprietor however she sold the property to its current owners, Brian Clifford Arthur Bruce and Dorothy Joy Randall, both consulting engineers and joint tenants on 14 August 1978. Although the property is no longer used as a shop, the house remains occupied through lease.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Commerce-Activities relating to buying, selling and exchanging goods and services (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 dwelling and shop, built in 1914 during the ownership of Thomas Edward Plasto, are of historical significance as a good example of an early 20th century shop and dwelling in Putney and one of few early 20th century shops remaining in the area today. Although no longer used for commercial purposes, the shop and its associated dwelling illustrate the business operation of early 20th century local corner shops.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
The dwelling and shop have historical association with Thomas Edward Plasto, a successful businessman and hotelier, who built the shop and dwelling in 1914.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The shop and dwelling are aesthetically significant as a Federation period shop and dwelling located on a prominent corner.
SHR Criteria f)
The dwelling and shop are a rare local example of a Federation suburban shop with associated dwelling .
SHR Criteria g)
The shop and dwelling are representative of early 20th century local corner shops.
Integrity/Intactness: The dwelling and shop are 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 2012078   
Local Environmental PlanRyde Draft LEP 2011I78   
Local Environmental PlanRyde LEP 2014I7802 Sep 14   
Local Environmental Plan - LapsedLEP No. 1056617 Jan 03 14351
Heritage study     

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Ryde Heritage Study198864Jonathan 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 12012 Paul Davies Pty Ltd  Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Written  Australian Electoral Rolls, 1903-1980
Written  Sands Directories: Sydney and New South Wales, Australia (1858-1933)
WrittenDr. Sascha Jenkins2012Historical research for Ryde SHI Review Stage 1, Paul Davies Pty Ltd
WrittenFlynn, Michael. The Second Fleet: Britain's Grim Convict Armada of 1790 (Sydney: Library of Australian History 1993)
WrittenGregory Blaxell2010Putney surburb history, Dictionary of Sydney online
WrittenMartin, Megan,1998 A Pictorial History of Ryde (Crows Nest, 1998)
WrittenSmee, C.J. and Provis, J. Selkirk, comp.,  The 1788-1820 Association's Pioneer Register, second edition - volume I (Sydney, N.S.W., The Association, 1981)
WrittenSydney Morning Herald Wednesday 8 January 1936 page 91936Obituary:Mr.T.E. Plasto

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: 2340079

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