Engineer's residence (former) | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

Culture and heritage


Engineer's residence (former)

Item details

Name of item: Engineer's residence (former)
Other name/s: Ryde Pumping Station Engineer's Residence (former)
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Residential buildings (private)
Category: House
Primary address: 958 Victoria Road, West Ryde, NSW 2114
Parish: Hunters Hill
County: Cumberland
Local govt. area: Ryde
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
958 Victoria RoadWest RydeRydeHunters HillCumberlandPrimary Address

Statement of significance:

The house has historical significance as the former Ryde Pumping Station Engineer's residence, built circa 1891 and extended circa 1900-1906. The house illustrates the accommodation provisions for senior staff of the Pumping Station in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the alterations to the residence in this period reflecting the changing needs of the resident engineer.. The house has historical association with the Ryde Pumping Station from 1891. The house has aesthetic significance as a circa 1891 single storey residence within substantial grounds, extended with a rear wing circa 1900 and with a first floor in 1906, and now representative of the Federation Queen Anne style.
Date significance updated: 17 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: William Adams & Co. Ltd., State Monier Works, Refshaw & O'Brien
Construction years: 1891-1906
Physical description: A large two storey house with extensive Federation Queen Anne style detailing,, located at the crest of a hil on Victoria Road between the Ryde Pumping Station and the railway reserve. The house is set in landscaped grounds elevated above Victoria Road. The site is demarked by a post and wire fence on top of a brick retaining wall and has a side driveway. The house has a square form with a two storey corner verandah and twin single storey wings at the rear. The hipped roof extends over the verandah and is almost pyramidal in form, with an offset gable to the front facade. The roof is clad in terracotta tiles (imported French Guichard Freres Seon St Henri Marseilles tiles produced between 1890 and 1914 and imported by Wunderlich Bros.), and has exposed overhanging eaves and corbelled brick chimneys. Walls are constructed of tuck pointed bland face brick with a contrasting red brick window head detail. The panelled and glazed entry door is centrally located with an arched fanlight above. A pair of timber sash windows also with arched heads flank the entry door. At the upper level, sets of French doors and highlights access the verandah. Verandah detail comprises turned timber posts with a simple arched valance and simple square timber balusters.

Internally, when advertised for sale in 2012, the residence still retained a number of original fireplace mantelpeices, and other original details including pressed metal ceiling roses and joinery.

To the south east of the original engineer's residence is a brick and corrugated iron privy with original ledged and sheeted doors and vents.

The grounds include two palm trees which date from prior to 1943.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Date condition updated:15 May 12
Modifications and dates: - Built circa 1891 as a single storey residence,
- circa 1900 rear south-east wing added
- first floor added 1906
- post 1943: 1 chimney removed, garage removed, Victoria Road widened, and rear outbuildings removed
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)

The area around West Ryde and Meadowbank was granted to the colonial official William Balmain, a surgeon on the First Fleet, from 1794. He named the property ‘Meadowbank’. This Estate was farmed by John and William Bennett throughout most of the nineteenth century, except for 40 acres that were sold to Major Edward Darvall. William Bennett was a sea captain involved in trade, who appreciated the river frontage. The Darvall property stretched from Shaftsbury Road to Ryedale Road and from Rowe Street to Victoria Road, a total of 360 acres (146 hectares). The Darvall’s built Ryedale House on the site in the late 1850’s, and the family lived there for the next 70 years. The other largest estate in the area, also covering both Meadowbank and West Ryde, was granted to Lieutenant William Kent between 1796 and 1799. Smaller land grants were made in 1798 to Edward Goodin , Michael Connor, Richard Porter and George Patfield. On the edge of the area was also small land grant made to the ex-convict Ann Thorn in 1795. She later married James Shepherd who acquired more land in the area, including William Kent’s original land grant. The Shepherd’s became a notable local family. James’ son, Isaac Shepherd, lived in the Meadowbank section of the Estate and built himself a two-storey sandstone mansion called Helenie. In the 1860s he was a member of the Legislative Assembly.

Shepherd’s Estate was the first subdivision in the area, and lots were offered for auction in 1841. All 23 lots were sold, although an economic downturn meant that development of the sites did not progress quickly. The Meadowbank Estate was first subdivided in 1883, in anticipation of the railway line. The Strathfield to Hornsby line was opened in 1886, and further Meadowbank Estate subdivisions were offered in 1888. Some lots, around Station Street, were sold to professional gentlemen who commuted to offices in the city. The largest land sale, however, was the Helenie Estate to the Mellor brothers. They established the Meadowbank Manufacturing Company in 1890. The site was well situated for both river and rail transport, and they separated some lots for building housing for Company officials. The Company manufactured agricultural implements, and later railway rolling stock and tramcars.

For most of the 19th century transport to and from the Ryde Council area across the Parramatta River was achieved by road and ferry. However, construction began on the Gladesville Bridge in 1878 and it opened for traffic on 1 February 1881. Nearly two years later, the Iron Cove Bridge opened in November 1882. With these two road bridges completed the entire pattern of Ryde's communication with the city altered.

The original railway bridge across the Parramatta River was the Meadowbank Bridge, a lattice girder bridge designed for John Whitton, (Engineer-in-Chief of the NSW Railways between 1856 and 1890). The bridge was competed in August 1886 as part of the original infrastructure for the Main North Line, and the stations along the section of the line from North Strathfield to Hornsby also opened in 1886. The construction of the railway encouraged rapid subdivision and construction in the areas near the railway stations at Meadowbank, West Ryde, Denistone and Eastwood. once land became available for subdivision into suburban blocks.

West Ryde as a suburb did not develop a separate identity to Ryde until the 1920s and 1930s. It was designated as its own postal area in 1926, and the local public school was renamed ‘West Ryde Public School’ in 1930 (originally called Meadowbank). The railway station was not changed to West Ryde until 1945, although the name had been debated for several decades previous to the final change.

The Ryde Pumping Station was built in 1891.
The residence is the original engineer's residence built for the Ryde Pumping Station, originally built circa 1891 as a single storey residence using glazed cream brick. The residence was extended with a rear south-east wing circa 1900 and with a first floor added to plans prepared by the Metropolitan Board of Water Supply and Sewerage, Sydney, in 1906.

The first pumping station at Ryde was built by the Harbours and Rivers Department, and handed over to the newly formed MBWS&S (Metropolitan Board of Water Supply and Sewerage) in 1891. Water was delivered from Potts Hill Reservoir to a balance reservoir at Ryde railway station. From here a pair of 146HP vertical, compound, direct-acting, surface-condensing pumping engines (by J. Watts & Co. Birmingham), lifted 3,400 gal/min of water to Ryde tank and Chatswood, to supply Sydney's northern distribution system.

By 1916 the need to further increase pumping capacity could no longer be accommodated in the existing station. Land on the eastern boundary of the old station was acquired, and a second much larger pumping station built. The new station was completed during 1921 and commissioned on the 15th September. Gradually the new station took over the pumping duties of the old until the old pumping station ceased to operate during November 1930. The old station was used as a store until it was demolished in 1961.

The new pumping station went through continual upgrades and amplifications to raise its pumping capacity. (Station Heritage Listing form for Ryde Pumping Station).

The former Engineer's residence and its site are no longer in the ownership of Sydney Water, having been sold to the NSW Land & Housing Commission in 1986 and more recently to the current owner.

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 Utilities-Activities associated with the provision of services, especially on a communal basis Suburban Development-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The house has historical significance as the former Ryde Pumping Station Engineer's residence, built circa 1891 and extended with a rear wing circa 1900 and first floor addition 1906 The house illustrates the accommodation provisions for senior staff of the Pumping Station in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the alterations to the residence in this period reflecting the changing needs of the resident engineer.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
The house has historical association with the Ryde Pumping Station from 1891.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The house has aesthetic significance as a circa 1891 single storey residence within substantial grounds, extended with a rear wing circa 1900 and with a first floor in 1906, and now representative of the Federation Queen Anne style.
SHR Criteria g)
The house is representative of the Federation Queen Anne style.
Integrity/Intactness: Reasonably intact from circa 1900-1914 (ground floor circa 1891 somewhat altered).
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. Reference should be made to the 2012 CMP in preparing proposals. 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 2010156   
Local Environmental PlanRyde Draft LEP 2011I156   
Local Environmental PlanRyde LEP 2014I15602 Sep 14   
Local Environmental Plan - LapsedLEP No. 105 17 Jan 03 14 
Heritage study     

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Ryde Heritage Study1988144Jonathan 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 2012State Heritage Register listing form for Ryde Pumping Station and site
WrittenArchnex Designs2012Statement of Heritage Impact, 958 Victoria Road, West Ryde
WrittenArchnex Designs2012Conservation Management Plan: 958 Victoria Road, West Ryde

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: 2340116

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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