Former Cosmopolitan Hotel Including Interior | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

Culture and heritage


Former Cosmopolitan Hotel Including Interior

Item details

Name of item: Former Cosmopolitan Hotel Including Interior
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Commercial
Category: Hotel
Primary address: 11 Charles Street, Erskineville, NSW 2043
Local govt. area: Sydney
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
11 Charles StreetErskinevilleSydney  Primary Address

Statement of significance:

11 Charles Street was built in 1880 as the Cosmopolitan Hotel and its construction provides evidence of the subdivision and subsequent development of the Burren Estate. It was altered c 1910 with a second floor and a verandah added to the design of the well known architect Lindsay Thompson, who designed many hotels in the Federation and Inter-war period. The building is a prominent corner landmark which makes a strong contribution to the streetscape.
Date significance updated: 23 Mar 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.


Designer/Maker: Lindsay Thompson - 1910 addition
Construction years: 1880-1910
Physical description: 11 Charles Street is a late Victorian building with a second floor added in the Federation Free Classical style c 1910. It is located at the corner of Albert and Charles Streets, Erskineville.

It is a rendered brick three storey building with load bearing walls and parapet to the street with a skillion corrugated metal roof behind. The elevation is in two parts with the lower section in plain render with a cantilevered balcony at the first floor levels that appears to have been partly rebuilt with new columns and balusters with cast iron panels inset. The upper storey is divided into plain and banded rendered panels with a cornice at the top of the first floor that marks the original extent of the building. The banded render has a decorative cornice with a plain parapet above with small insets. The plain panels have arched stucco decoration. The building has a splayed corner with the date "1880" inscribed in the render at the first floor..

There is a there storey steel framed verandah at the rear with timber balustrades a small timber pergola. A single storey lean-to fronts Albert Street. There is also a rear yard with a single storey masonry laundry.

Formerly a hotel, it is now a ten room hostel. It has been substantially altered internally to accommodate the hostel. The original stair has been replaced with a concrete stair.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Date condition updated:23 Mar 12
Modifications and dates: c1910 - addition of a second floor, ground floor verandah, single storey kitchen and laundry
Ground floor fenestration has been significantly altered and verandah has been removed.
1990s adapted to provide hostel accommodation.
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: Boarding house
Former use: Hotel


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.

The earliest grants in the area were made to Nicholas Devine, a superintendent of convicts in 1794. 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.

The introduction of the railway line in 1855 made the area easily accessible from the city and marked a new era of greater urban settlement and consolidation.

By 1850s the suburb was developing a mixture of residential and industrial areas. In 1893 the Borough of Erskineville Naming Act was passed, and the area became disinct from Macdonaldtown. By the 1920s the suburb had developed as the home of many workers, many employed locally in brickmaking, bootmaking and hat manufacturing.

In 1880 the Cosmopolitan Hotel was built on the site. It is not listed in pre 1882 Sands but is shown on a 1880s map. The hotel was altered with the addition of a second floor, ground floor verandah, single storey kitchen and laundry c. 1910 to the design of Lindsay Thompson.

According to the Canberra Times on 3rd October 1946, in 1946 the license for the hotel was granted to Miss Dorothy Moya Haligan, the first single woman in NSW to be granted a license.

The building was first tenanted by Department of Housing in 1992.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Commerce-Activities relating to buying, selling and exchanging goods and services (none)-
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 Development-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The former Cosmopolitan Hotel provides evidence of the subdivision and development of the Burren Estate.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
The 1910 addition was designed by Lindsay Thompson who designed many hotels in the Federation and Inter-war period.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
It is a prominent corner landmark building which makes a strong contribution to the streetscape.
SHR Criteria g)
Representative example a former hotel, built in the later Victorian period with c 1910 additions, found in the inner suburbs of Sydney .
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. All conservation, adaptive reuse and future development should be undertaken in accordance with the Australia ICOMOS Charter for Places of Cultural Significance (The Burra Charter). 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 external colour scheme should be appropriate to the Victoiran/ Federation period of the building and highlight the features of the facade.


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental PlanSydney LEP 2012I60614 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
WrittenChristine Edney2006Where have all the drinking holes gone? An hisotrical surey of hotels and similar premises in the city of Sydney Council area South of Cleveland St
WrittenJohn Oultram Heritage and Design2012Heritage Impact Statement

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: 2420559

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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