Residential Flat Building "Edelweiss" Including Interior | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

Culture and heritage


Residential Flat Building "Edelweiss" Including Interior

Item details

Name of item: Residential Flat Building "Edelweiss" Including Interior
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Residential buildings (private)
Category: Flat
Primary address: 56 Baptist Street, Redfern, NSW 2016
Local govt. area: Sydney
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
56 Baptist StreetRedfernSydney  Primary Address

Statement of significance:

The building is a lone example in both streets of housing for the comfortably off. The detailing particularly the mansard roof, is unusual for the area and the house provides a startling constrast to an otherwise undistinguished environment.
Date significance updated: 30 Apr 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.


Physical description: An unusual three storey Federation Free Classical style residential flat building, located on a corner site, stuccoed brick with a parapet at the top of the 1st floor, and a metal mansard roof to the top floor, which is contained within the parapet, and which also features metal dormer windows. The side elevation features timber framed double hung windows. The front elevation features
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.


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. There is no written record of the name of the language spoken and currently there are debates as whether the coastal peoples spoke a separate language "Eora" or whether this was actually a dialect of the Dharug language. Remnant bushland in places like Blackwattle Bay retain elements of traditional plant, bird and animal life, including fish and rock oysters.

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. Aboriginal people from across the state have been attracted to suburbs such as Pyrmont, Balmain, Rozelle, Glebe and Redfern since the 1930s. Changes in government legislation in the 1960s provided freedom of movement enabling more Aboriginal people to choose to live in Sydney.

(Information sourced from Anita Heiss, "Aboriginal People and Place", Barani: Indigenous History of Sydney City ) This property occupies part of Edward Smith Hall’s Grant of 185 acres made in April 1822, which comprised land bound by Cleveland, South Dowling, Phillip and Elizabeth Streets. That same year, Hall divided part of his grant into 2 portions of 75 acres. One portion was sold to Solomon Levey in 1822 and the remainder was purchased by Jemima Jenkins. Jenkins portion encompassed the area bound by Cleveland, South Dowling, Phillip and Marriott Streets.

Jemima Jenkins subsequently sold her land to Thomas Horton James who passed it to Frederick Unwin in 1828. The following year, Unwin subdivided his property into large allotments (3 acres) with frontages to Bourke Street and sold them quickly. Unwin had Bourke Street formed with convict labour.

Good water supply encouraged development of industry and nurseries in early settlement, such as Baptists Nursery (from 1830s) west of Bourke street and Aldersons Tannery east at Bourke Street near Maddison Street. Baptists Nursery was the largest single usage. The tannery was a major employer and polluter from the 1850s.

Residential development occurred from 1880 but the major wave occurred after 1890 when the area was subdivided. Industrial and commercial warehouse development occurred in the early twentieth century.

From the turn of the century until the Second World War, new development in the area was predominantly industrial and commercial on a large scale. (History for the Baptist Street Conservation Area, sourced from the South Sydney Conservation Areas Study, Architectural Projects Pty. Ltd. 2003).

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)-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
It is an unique residential establishment for the wealthy at the turn of century.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
It has high aesthetic signficance due to its scale, detailing and unusual form.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The building may suggest the population mix in the area at the turn of the century.
SHR Criteria f)
the building form and detail is unusual for the area which provides a startling contrast to the adjacent buildings.
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 building should be retained and conserved. A Heritage Assessment and Heritage Impact Statement, or a Conservation Management Plan, should be prepared for the building prior to any major works being undertaken. There shall be no vertical additions to the building and no alterations to the façade of the building other than to reinstate original features. The principal room layout and planning configuration as well as significant internal original features including ceilings, cornices, joinery, flooring and fireplaces should be retained and conserved. Any additions and alterations should be confined to the rear in areas of less significance, should not be visibly prominent and shall be in accordance with the relevant planning controls.


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental PlanSydney LEP 2012I127914 Dec 12   
Heritage study     

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenAnita Heiss Aboriginal People and Place, Barani: Indigenous History of Sydney City

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: 2420436

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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