House "Berthong" Including Interior, Garage and Grounds | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

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Heritage

House "Berthong" Including Interior, Garage and Grounds

Item details

Name of item: House "Berthong" Including Interior, Garage and Grounds
Other name/s: Macleay House, Beauregard
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Residential buildings (private)
Category: Mansion
Primary address: 36 Billyard Avenue, Elizabeth Bay, NSW 2011
Local govt. area: Sydney
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
36 Billyard AvenueElizabeth BaySydney  Primary Address

Statement of significance:

Berthong, built c1886, and formerly known as Macleay House and Beauregard, has historical and social significance for its association with a number of prominent Australian individuals or families and architects over a period of 120 years the Macleays, the Alberts, the Murdochs, Russell Crowe and the architectural firm of Budden and Kent.

It also has historic significance for its association with the thriving pattern of late nineteenth century female education. The villa operated from c 1886 to c1900 as one of the many private Ladies colleges to be established in Sydney at this time. This pattern in turn reflects the increased educational opportunities offered to females during this era and an important means by which single women could earn a respectable and independent income.

Berthong has historic and aesthetic significance as a representative example of the type, style and standard of villa constructed on the waterfront allotments leased from the Macleay Estate during the second half of the nineteenth century. A number of these villas survive along the northern side of Billyard Ave to produce a distinctive pattern of large villa dwellings in garden allotments when seen from Elizabeth Bay. The unusually large verandah that characterises the northern elevation of the villa has been a prominent feature from Elizabeth Bay since at least the 1920s.
Date significance updated: 03 May 10
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.

Description

Construction years: 1886-
Physical description: The main residence is a 2 storey late Victorian villa, c 1886, a rendered masonry dwelling with a series of hipped slate roofs. Its principal elevation addresses Elizabeth Bay which has a wide two storey verandah with timber detailing typical of the Federation period. The villa is a product of 120 years of additions and alterations. Adjoining the Billyard Ave frontage is a c 1911 two storey garage.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Good
Date condition updated:03 May 10
Modifications and dates: The villa has had a history of alterations over time by the various owners to suit their requirements and tastes,

1911 - The purpose built garage was constructed.

2003/.4 Works includes:
• New main entrance to the villa by modifying the entrance to the first floor apartments
• Remove the first floor on the eastern elevation to create a two storey gallery entrance
• Masonry infill panels to the colonnade on eastern elevation removed and new window inserted
• A number of alterations to the floor plan of the villa
• New kitchen and living area to the northern end of the villa
• New bifold doors to existing opening of verandah
• Remoddeling to the first floor
• New landscaping around new main entrance and new flag stone terrace in front of the large verandah
• New bathroom and large window in the garage building and covered stairway to the garage and storage room on the second level
Further information: Heritage Inventory sheets are often not comprehensive, and should be regarded as a general guide only. Inventory sheets are based on information available, and often do not include the social history of sites and buildings. Inventory sheets are constantly updated by the City as further information becomes available. An inventory sheet with little information may simply indicate that there has been no building work done to the item recently: it does not mean that items are not significant. Further research is always recommended as part of preparation of development proposals for heritage items, and is necessary in preparation of Heritage Impact Assessments and Conservation Management Plans, so that the significance of heritage items can be fully assessed prior to submitting development applications.
Current use: residential
Former use: residential

History

Historical notes: The "Eora people" was the name given to the coastal Aborigines around Sydney. Central Sydney is therefore often referred to as "Eora Country". Within the City of Sydney local government area, the traditional owners are the Cadigal and Wangal bands of the Eora.

With the invasion of the Sydney region, the Cadigal and Wangal people were decimated but there are descendants still living in Sydney today. All cities include many immigrants in their population.

Berthong comprises of land once part of Lot 45 and part of Lots 43 and 43 of the third subdivision of the Elisabeth Bay Estate carried out by Sir George Macleay. It was this subdivison that created Billyard Avenue, initially referred to as Billyard Lane. The street was named after W.M. Billyard, agent to George Macleay at the time. The initial designation of the street as a lane reflects its narrow width. Berthong was constructed c 1886 and the first listing in Sands Directory for the villa was in 1887 for a Ladies College under the proprietorship of Mrs Gilder. The first name of the property, Macleay House appears in the following year. The architect of the original villa is not known.

The villa operated from c 1886 to c1900 as one of the many private Ladies colleges to be established in Sydney at this time. This pattern in turn reflects the increased educational opportunities offered to females during this era and an important means by which single women could earn a respectable and independent income.

Land reclamation was carried out along the shores of Elizabeth bay during this period, with two allotments of reclaimed of land being purchased by McArthur-Onslow in 1889 and 1900.

A new lease for the property was granted by JW Macarthur Onslow to EC Nicholson in 1907-8. James B Nicholson first appears in the Sand Directory in 1908 at which time a new name of the property, Beauregard, appears. The name was most likely derived from the spectacular water views from the water afforded from the villa.
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The first council records lf alterations and additions to the villa dated from 1909. the architect is not known. Works included a large bay added to the ground floor on the western elevation. The architectural firm of Budden and Kent designed further alterations to the villa in 1911. This included a vestibule added to the entrance of the eastern side fo the villa and the rear service wing was demolished.

A second building application was submitted to Council for the construction of a garage in the same year,, to the design of a different architect T.P. Sampson. This is an early example of an, architecturally designed purpose built garage.

On 19 April 1912, JW MacArthur - Onslow leased the property to David Forester Gibb, a grazier from Berthtong, near Wallendbeen, hence the renaming of the villa. By 1927 Gibbs had freehold ownehsip of the land. The large verandah that dominates the northern elevation of the villa was built under Gibbs occupancy of the property. .

Albert Investments P/L , associated with Frank Albert, sheet music/harmonica millionaire, acquired the property in 1936. Albert Investments was formed when the highly successful family owned business. J Albert and Son, retired from musical retailing in 1933 to concentrate sole on publishing. Albert Investments was the company used by Michel Francois (":Frank") Albert, to acquire a large number of urban and rural properties, including Berthong.

A boathouse was built on the property by the Alberts, in the same style as Boomerang, to the front and west of Berthong.. In 1940 an additional bay to the boathouse, in the same style as the original, designed by Architects Oakley, Middleton and Freeman was approved by Council ( BA 401/40).

In 1978 the Frank Family sold the site, which included the boathouse and Berthong. The site was subdivided in 1979 creating the irregularity in the current western lot boundary and separating the boathouse from Berthong which is now located within the property known as 34A Billyard Avenue.

The site was strata titled into three parts the following year with one part on each floor of the villa and a third being the garage. Prominent owners since then have included the Murdoch Family ( 1995-2001) and Russell Crowe (2001-2003).

The property was convereted back to a single residence in 2003/4 and a number of alterations were carried out.

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. Residential-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Berthong is a representative example of the type, style and standard of villa constructed on the waterfront allotments leased from the Macleay Estate during the second half of the nineteenth century
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
Berthong is associated with architectural firm of Budden and Kent who carried out alterations to the building in 1911.

It is also associated with a number of prominent persons including the Albert Family ( 1936-1978) , the Murdoch Family who owned the site from 1995-2001 and Russel Crowe who owned the villa from 2001-2003.

Berthong also has associated with the thriving pattern of late nineteenth century female education. The villa operated from c 1886 to c1900 as one of the many private Ladies colleges to be established in Sydney at this time. This pattern in turn reflects the increased educational opportunities offered to females during this era and an important means by which single women could earn a respectable and independent income.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Berthong has aesthetic significance, as part of a group of surivivng waterfront villas along the northern side of Billyard Ave that produce a distinctive pattern of large villa dwellings in garden allotments when seen from Elizabeth Bay. The unusually large verandah that characterises the northern elevation of the villa has been a prominent feature from Elizabeth Bay since at least the 1920s.
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
Berthong contains an early example of a purposed built, architecturally designed garage.
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
Representative example of a later Victorian waterfornt villa.
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:

The villa and garage structure should be retained and conserved. A Heritage Assessment and Heritage Impact Statement, or a Conservation Management Plan, should be prepared for the site prior to any major works being undertaken. Significant fabric and spaces should be retained. Any additions and alterations should be confined to the areas of lesser significance, should not be visibly prominent and shall be in accordance with the relevant planning controls.

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental PlanSydney LEP 2012I57414 Dec 12   
Heritage study     

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
South Sydney Heritage Study1993 Tropman & Tropman Architects  Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenAnita Heiss Aboriginal People and Place, Barani: Indigenous History of Sydney City
WrittenWeir and Phillips2003Heritage Report - Berthong - 36 Billyard Avenue, Elizabeth Bay

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

Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Local Government
Database number: 2420010


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