Terrace Group including interiors and front fencing | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

Culture and heritage


Terrace Group including interiors and front fencing

Item details

Name of item: Terrace Group including interiors and front fencing
Other name/s: No 17 -Tretower
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Residential buildings (private)
Category: Terrace
Primary address: 17-19 Brown Street, Newtown, NSW 2042
Local govt. area: Sydney
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
17-19 Brown StreetNewtownSydney  Primary Address

Statement of significance:

The terrace pair at 17-19 Brown Street has local historic and aesthetic significance. It dates from a key period of development of the Newtown area and the subdivision of the Linthorpe Estate. It is a fine example of a Federation Queen Anne Style terrace pair which together with an adjoining similar period terrace at 21-25 Brown Street makes a strong contribution to the streetscape.
Date significance updated: 22 May 15
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: The site contains a pair of two storey parapeted Federation Queen Anne style terrace houses with a projecting two storey gabled tower elements.

The building has arched entry porches to the ground floor and semi-circular headed windows to the first floor. There is a two storey verandah with decorative cast iron balustrading and frieze. The face brickwork at No 19 has been painted.

No 17 has the original brick and wrought iron front fence whilst the fence at No 19 has been replaced with a timber picket fence on a brick base.

There are single storey rear wings.

Significant internal fabric includes original/early plaster ceilings, cornices and ceiling roses, chimney pieces and stone hearths, timber joinery and the main stairs.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Date condition updated:17 Nov 05
Modifications and dates: The façade face brickwork of No 19 has been painted.
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


Historical notes: This site forms part of the land of the Gadigal people, the traditional custodians of land within the City of Sydneycouncil boundaries. For information about the Aboriginal history of the local area see the City’s Barani website: http://www.sydneybarani.com.au/

The area north of Wilson Street was originally part of Bligh’s 240 acre grant of 1806 which extended to Johnston's Creek and Orphan School Creek across City Road and Parramatta Road to the north. South of Wilson Street lay Nicholas Divine’s Burrin Farm.

In 1794 Acting Governor Grose granted 120 acres to Nicholas Devine, Superintendent of Convicts, who received a further grant of 90 acres from Governor Hunter in 1799 which comprise the body of the suburb of Erskineville and Macdonaldtown. Devine named his estate Burrin Farm after his birthplace in Ireland and built his home in the area in the vicinity of the present corner of George Street and Erskineville Road. After Devine's death in 1830, the estate was cut up and sold by Devine’s assigned convict servant and sole benefactor, Bernard Rochford.

In 1852 Mr John Devine, grand nephew and heir to Nicholas Devine claimed title to the whole of Devine's 210 acres. Thirty defendants fought the case and won. Devine appealed and lost a second case in 1857. Again he was unsuccessful but the holders of the property established a fund and paid him compensation, thereby concluding the celebrated Newtown Ejectment Case.

William Bucknell was a defendant in the Newtown Ejectment case. William and Martha Bucknell purchased part of Divines Estate between Wilson Street and the railway line.
Bucknell’s property extended from Felix Wilson’s The Pines Estate to the east, Wilson Street to the north, just south of the railway line and west to Blackman’s Estate. Auctioneer John Blackman’s land was known as Retreat Paddock upon which Retreat House (c.1845) and Retreat Cottage stood on Wilson Street. Blackman’s Estate ran west to Brown Street and the remainder of the area was Ralph Robey’s Estate. The Retreat was later known as Twickenham House and demolished in 1971 for the Sydney Nursery Training College. The Twickenham Estate was subdivided in 1906. Robey and Blackman were also defendants in the Newtown Ejectment Case.

Robey was a merchant, politician and Company Director, who was elected to City council in 1846. Robey’s Linthorpe House and grounds were situated between Linthorpe and Wilson Streets. Linthorpe House was owned by Mr Robey, then D.P. McEwan. Christopher Rolleston subdivided the estate. The estate was subdivided in stages with the first sales along Wilson Street and Erskineville Road and the last major sale occurring in 1905 after the demolition of Linthorpe House. At this time Herbert Street was formed and Linthorpe Street took today’s alignment. In 1905, Council requested that the Linthorpe House be resumed and dedicated as a public reserve.

The Auction map of the Linthorpe Estate on Saturday 2 December 1905 shows the block of land that is now 17-25 Brown Street as being vacant. Sands Directory first lists in Brown Street between Wilson Street and Linthorpe Street, Isaacs John, "Tretower" and Newell Benjamin in 1910. They are later identified in the 1913 Sands edition as living at No 17 and No 19.This would give a construction date of the building as c 1909.

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]
The terrace pair dates from a key period of development of the Newtown area and the subdivision of the Linthorpe Estate.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
It is a fine example of a Federation Queen Anne Style terrace pair which together with an adjoining similar period terrace at 21-25 Brown Street makes a strong contribution to the streetscape.
SHR Criteria g)
Representative of Federation Queen Anne style in a terrace form found in inner Sydney.
Integrity/Intactness: 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:

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. The face brickwork at No 17 is not to be rendered, painted or coated. When the opportunity arises, reinstate the brick and wrought iron front fence and gate at No 19.


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental PlanSydney LEP 2012I96314 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 View detail

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

(Click on thumbnail for full size image and image details)

Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Local Government
Database number: 2420525

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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