Highbury House - Federation Arts & Crafts style dwelling and garden | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

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Highbury House - Federation Arts & Crafts style dwelling and garden

Item details

Name of item: Highbury House - Federation Arts & Crafts style dwelling and garden
Other name/s: Hopetoun House, Duffhame
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Residential buildings (private)
Category: House
Primary address: 495 Blaxland Road, Denistone East, NSW 2112
Parish: Hunters Hill
County: Cumberland
Local govt. area: Ryde
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
495 Blaxland RoadDenistone EastRydeHunters HillCumberlandPrimary Address

Statement of significance:

The circa 1915 dwelling Hopetoun House has historical significance as one of the first houses built on the Blaxland Estate subdivision at the beginning of the twentieth century, for a retired grazier. The house is illustrative of the beginning of changing land tenure in Denistone from rural to suburban, and is important for gifting its name to one of the adjacent streets (Hopetoun Avenue). Hopetoun House has historical association with George Henderson Snr., retired grazier, for whom the house was built and the Henderson family, an important local family of the Denistone area, who continued to own the property from circa 1915 till the late 1920s. Hopetoun House has aesthetic significance as a fine, representative example of a Federation Arts & Crafts style dwelling, an architectural style which is rare in the Ryde area.
Date significance updated: 27 Sep 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: 1915-
Physical description: A large two storey Federation Arts & Crafts style house, situated on a corner allotment on the corner of Hopetoun Avenue at the crest of a hill on Blaxland Road. The house is set well back from Blaxland Road, and the front garden features several mature trees with a low face brick fence with clipped hedge above. The brick and roughcast stuccoed house has an unusual symmetrical form, comprising a gabled wing with a wrap around verandah at the lower end and double height central gable over the entry. A wing with a hipped roof, abuts at the rear. The roof is clad in slate and features exposed eaves, eyelid dormers (to the rear wing), and rendered brick chimneys. Walls are face brickwork at the lower level and roughcast stuccoed above. The verandah is roofed in corrugated sheet metal and partially infilled with weatherboard. The imposing entry is marked by a projecting balcony at first floor level. The panelled entry door has stained glass side and highlights and is flanked by a pair of double hung sash windows. The name 'Hopetoun House' appears in leadlight above the entry in a panel clad in diagonal timber boarding. Verandah detail includes turned timber posts simple square balusters and fringe detail with fretwork brackets. The house, of double brick construction, consists of 8 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms, 2 dressing rooms, guest powder room, formal living, formal dining, kitchen, laundry, office, sunroom and family room. Original internal features include the staircase, beautiful pressed metal ceilings, old iron ceilings in the kitchen, office and one bedroom. Also retained are the deep skirting boards, wood floors throughout, 3 working fireplaces, one with original marble surround and tiles and two with original wood surrounds, and many multipaned sash windows.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Date condition updated:27 Sep 12
Modifications and dates: Rear brick addition.
Current use: Dwelling
Former use: Dwelling, nursing home, bed & breakfast establishment


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 Denistone consists of a number of original land grants: those to Varnice, Evans and Ternan in 1795 (in the area of Denistone House); grants to William Kent in 1797 and George Patfield in 1798 (the area around The Hermitage) and those to William Broughton and Privates John Stone, Richard Taylor and Lewis Williams in 1795 (modern-day Outlook Estate). Subsequent to these grants, throughout much of the nineteenth century, Denistone was consolidated in the hands of a few families of the colonial elite. On 22 July 1795, 120 acres (48.5 hectares), called Porteous Mount, were granted to John Varnice, Humphrey Evans and William Ternan. Varnice was granted 45 acres (18.2 hectares), Evans 45 acres and Ternan 30 acres (12.1 hectares), but the grants were not subdivided. On August 24, 1795 the Reverend Richard Johnson acquired the property. On 7 March 1800, Johnson sold it to Michael Connor, who transferred to Roger Connor on 12 June 1816.

Gregory Blaxland, a free settler, purchased the 450-acre (182-hectare) Brush Farm Estate in 1806 shortly after his arrival in the colony. This estate covered most of the area south from Terry Road to Victoria Road and Tramway Street and east from Brush Road to Shaftsbury Road. In 1829 he transferred Brush Farm Estate to his eldest daughter Elizabeth and her husband Dr Thomas Forster. Forster expanded the estate by purchasing the Porteous Mount grants of 120 acres, east of his Brush Farm Estate. Forster built an eight-room house which he called Deniston after his birthplace in England. He sold a portion of this land to his brother-in-law John Blaxland, eldest son of Gregory. Around 1842 John commissioned colonial architect John Bibb to build a brick and stone house which he called The Hermitage.

On May 23 1840, Dr Forster leased 'the dwelling house known by the name of Deniston' and 100 acres (40.4 hectares) of land to Major Edward Darvall for a period of 12 years. Darvall was a retired English army officer with strong family connections to the British East India Company. He and his family had arrived in January 1840.

Darvall did not remain at Deniston for the 12 years mentioned in the lease, as the property was again advertised to let in the Sydney Morning Herald on 8 March 1849. Major Darvall purchased other property in the Ryde district eventually settling on a large estate of nearly 400 acres (161.8 hectares) stretching from today's Rowe Street, Eastwood to Victoria Road, West Ryde and from Shaftsbury Road to Ryedale Road. The subdivision of the Darvall estate in the twentieth century also released land that forms part of modern-day Denistone.

After the Darvalls' departure, Deniston House was occupied by D Mackellar and his family. The house was damaged by bushfires in the summer of 1854-1855. ".. the bare walls of that once fine house are all that is to be seen. The mansion and valuable buildings of Mr. Foster (sic) were barely saved from destruction ; the orchards and vineyard were greatly injured.." (from article titled "Parramatta - Dreadful destruction from the bush fires" SMH Monday 1 January 1855, page 8). Following this event, it appears the Deniston estate was in the ownership of J. Blaxland and used for grazing, till 1872, as notices published in 1857 and 1863 confirm J. Blaxland’s ownership and use of the Deniston property at this time, and there are no further notices for letting of the house (presumably due to its damaged state).
Deniston Estate was purchased by Richard Rouse Terry on 9 December 1872, who had followed his brother Edward Terry, owner of Eastwood House, to the Ryde district. Richard Rouse Terry built the stone house known today as Denistone House and resided there for many years. This was a well designed two-storey sandstone building which was completed in 1874. The first written reference to the spelling "Denistone" is in the death notice for an infant son of R.R. Terry in 1875 at "Denistone" (Sydney Morning Herald, 13 February 1875, p.1). After Terry's death in 1898, a number of tenants occupied the home and the property was gradually subdivided.

The Denistone Estate was opened up for sale in 1913. In November 1913 it was reported that "The Trustees of the late Mr. R.R. Terry have instructed Messrs J.E. Green and Co. to offer No. 1 subdivision of the Denistone Estate. There are 169 choice allotments to be submitted, and these are situated but three minutes from the station" (Real Estate Notes of the Week column, Sydney Morning Herald, 19 April 1913, p. 8). Also in 1913, 17 acres (6.8 hectares) of the Denistone Estate, including Denistone House, was purchased by the New South Wales Government for use as a convalescent hospital for men, which later became Ryde Hospital. Richard Rouse Terry's Denistone House is extant. The 2nd subdivision of the Denistone Estate was offered for sale between August and November 1914 (SMH, Saturday 21 November 1914, p. 9). The 3rd subdivision of the Denistone Estate was offered for sale in 1918 (SMH, 6 May 1918, p. 10).

John Blaxland died at The Hermitage on 26 January 1884 and Richard Rouse Terry is said to have been the next owner of The Hermitage and its land, which he purchased from the Blaxland estate. From 1887 to 1903 The Hermitage was leased to various tenants and unoccupied between tenancies.

Pennant Avenue was created with the subdivision of site of The Hermitage with the Highlands Estate subdivision in November 1905, following Ellen Blaxland's death in 1903. The first subdivision of the land took place in 1888 when the Miriam Hill Estate near what was then Ryde railway station (now West Ryde) was subdivided.

There were spurts of subdivision in the area. The first impetus came with the opening up of the railway to Hornsby in 1886 and the increased need for both industrial and residential lots in the area. Eastwood Station (originally called Dundas) opened in October 1886, quickly becoming a busy freight depot for local fruit produce. The arrival of the railway coincided with the deaths of a number of pioneering heads of the 'old families', opening the way for their descendants to subdivide their estates.
In the early decades of the twentieth century, land from estates such as the Highlands and Denistone Estates were advertised. Highlands Estate (1905), was an area bounded by Blaxland, Miriam, Commissioners and Inkerman roads, and it 'unlocked at last, the homestead of the Blaxland family'. Denistone Estate, no 2, (1914) was the slice of land between Blaxland and Denistone roads, immediately to the east and north of Denistone House.

Interestingly none of these subdivision plans refer to the suburb as Denistone. Variously it is Eastwood, Eastwood Ryde, Ryde Eastwood and, for good measure, West Ryde. No doubt the establishment of a railway platform halfway between West Ryde and Eastwood in September 1937, and the naming of it as Denistone, helped with the adoption of the name.

While other estates in the district were subdivided in the last decades of the nineteenth century, Jane Darvall kept the majority of the Ryedale estate intact until the beginning of the twentieth century. The Darvall Estate sold small portions of land throughout the 1880s, including land for the Strathfield to Hornsby rail line, Eastwood Public School, and West Ryde Masonic Hall.

When Jane Darvall died in 1899 the estate was inherited by her only son Anthony William Darvall. The subdivision of the Ryedale estate was begun by him. Housing subdivisions were sold from 1902, and Denistone Estate was subdivided for sale from 1913. The subdivisions focused on land close to Ryde station (now West Ryde).

Anthony William's sons, Edward Roger and George Harrison Darvall, and his son-in-law William Herbert Bean continued the subdivision of the former Darvall Estate following Anthony's death in 1915. Darvall Estates 2 and 3, (1915) northern Anthony Road and Miriam Road in Denistone were part of this. The Outlook Estate was the sixth and last subdivision of the Ryedale estate. The 124 home sites were advertised for private sale in 1929. The building of these houses took place during the 1930s and 1940s. Denistone Station was not added to the railway line until September 1937. (Angela Phippen, Denistone entry, Dictionary of Sydney online).

Built on Blaxland Estate subdivision c 1915. Formerly known as Hopetoun House, the house was built by George Henderson Snr., born on 16 January 1830 at Old Deer, Aberdeenshire, Scotland and his wife Mary Waddell (nee Davidson) born on Peebles, Scotland on 9 August 1859. George Snr. was a butcher by trade who immigrated to Victoria Australia in mid 1850's. He became a large landowner, including "Wrotham Park" on the Mitchell River during the Palmer gold rush in Northern Queensland. George Snr. had previously been married to Isabella Skene who died on 18 March 1889. They had three children George Herbert, Maria and Annie. Mary Henderson was a widow with three children, Edith, Irene and Violet. All these children were to adopt the name Henderson. Following their marriage on 8 December 1896, George and Mary had another three children, George Wallace, Helen and Dorothy. George Snr. died at Hopetoun House on 24 October 1913 and is buried in Field of Mars Cemetery. In 1926/27 Mary Henderson moved to Darling Point and Hopetoun became the home of George Wallace Henderson Jnr. In the late 20's Hopetoun was purchased by the Reverend Victor and Mrs. Clark Duff and became known as Duffhame. In 1966 it was gifted to the Presbyterian Home Trust who added 3 bedrooms and bath to the back of the house and was eventually turned into "grand units for retired ladies". In November 1998 the house was sold at auction to Barry and Toni Garnham. The house, although solidly built had fallen into disrepair. In January 2000, Barry and Toni opened the house, then beautifully restored, as Highbury Bed and Breakfast.

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 Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Naming places (toponymy)-
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 circa 1915 dwelling Hopetoun House has historical significance as one of the first houses built on the Blaxland Estate subdivision at the beginning of the twentieth century, for a retired grazier. The house is illustrative of the beginning of changing land tenure in Denistone from rural to suburban, and is important for gifting its name to one of the adjacent streets (Hopetoun Avenue)..
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
Hopetoun House has historical association with George Henderson Snr. ,retired grazier, for whom the house was built and the Henderson family, an important local family of the Denistone area, who continued to own the property from circa 1915 till the late 1920s. .
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Hopetoun House has aesthetic significance as a fine example of a Federation Arts & Crafts style dwelling.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
No social significance has been identified.
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 Federation Arts & Crafts style dwelling in the Ryde area.
SHR Criteria g)
The dwelling is a fine example of the Federation Arts & Crafts architectural style.
Integrity/Intactness: Dwelling is considered reasonably intact (rear brick addition).
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 Local Environmental Plan 201018   
Local Environmental PlanDraft Ryde Local Environmental Plan 2011I18   
Local Environmental PlanRyde Local Environmental Plan 2014I1802 Sep 14   
Local Environmental Plan - LapsedLocal Environmental Plan No. 10510417 Jan 03 14345
Heritage study     

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Ryde Heritage Study1988104Jonathan 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

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: 2340130

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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