Semi-detached House (35-37 Cook Road) including interiors and front fence | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

Culture and heritage


Semi-detached House (35-37 Cook Road) including interiors and front fence

Item details

Name of item: Semi-detached House (35-37 Cook Road) including interiors and front fence
Other name/s: No 37- Le Voe
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Residential buildings (private)
Category: Mansion
Primary address: 27-37 Cook Road, Centennial Park, NSW 2021
Local govt. area: Sydney
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
27-37 Cook RoadCentennial ParkSydney  Primary Address

Statement of significance:

The site at 27-35 and 37 Cook Road contains a pair of semi-detached Federation Queen Anne style houses demonstrating key aspects of the style and which contribute to the character of Cook and Mitchell Road streetscapes. They read as a largely intact pair from a distance because of their basic form, brick walls and sandstone elements but No 35 has, on closer inspection, undergone unsympathetic alterations to openings and surfaces, and where possible original details should be reinstated.

The site has historical significance as part of the development of 1905 residential subdivision of the Centennial Parklands ands and provides evidence of the early 20th century built form of Cook Road.These dwellings also provide an important contrast to the larger, free standing homes on Martin, Lang and Robertson Roads, and give evidence of the two 'tiers' of development encouraged on the Centennial Park subdivisions.
Date significance updated: 02 Nov 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.


Physical description: A sandstone block wall with engaged piers and open detail to the balustrade runs across the Cook Road frontage of both dwellings.

The dwellings are set up from street level and are approached via paths and stairs. The dwellings were originally designed as mirror images of each other. The walls are of face brickwork on a sandstone base; there is sandstone detailing to the arched ground floor entrance porches and sandstone accents to the first floor. The main roof is hipped and clad in slate with terracotta ridge capping; it continues in an unbroken line over the first floor verandah. There is a forward projecting gable addressing Cook Road on the free standing side of each dwelling. This gable has simple timber bargeboards and finials. The ground and first floor windows beneath the gables have slate covered sunhoods with simple timber supports.

The detailing of the two dwellings differs. No. 37 Cook Road has casement windows (with fanlights) to the front elevation and/or timber framed double hung windows to the side elevation; the first floor verandah has a simple timber balustrade and frieze. The front porch and first floor verandah of No. 35 Cook Road have been enclosed and a lion keystone added to the former. The windows to the front elevation are later wide double hung windows. The side elevation has been rendered and painted and the windows replaced with aluminium framed windows.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Date condition updated:13 Aug 10
Modifications and dates: No 35 has been subject to a number of unsympathetic alterations including:

(a) The ground floor porch and first floor verandah have been infilled
(b) A lion key stone has been added to the ground floor porch.
(c) The original casement windows have been replaced with double hung windows
(d) The original front stairs have been replaced with visually dominant sandstone stairs
(e) The side elevation, visible along Cook Road form the north, has been extensively altered such that it no longer reads as a Queen Anne Style elevation.

Neither dwellings have chimneys.
Further information: The listing applies to the semi-detached pair of terraces. It should be noted that the semi at No 35 is in fact part of a larger lot known as 27-35 Cook Road.

The semi-detached house was first listed as a heritage item under the provisions of LEP 2012 which was gazetted on 14/12/2012.

Further investigation is required to determine to what extent if the unsympathetic alterations to No 35 are reversible.
Current use: residential
Former use: residential


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.

The development of Moore Park through the latter part of the nineteenth century, impinged on its near neighbour, the Water Reserve. Far from being isolated, the area surrounding the Reserve now comprised industrial and residential areas and sites used for the dumping of ‘night soil.’ The increasing intensity of land use denuded the land of its natural vegetation, in turn compacting the soil surface and reducing the ability of the ground to absorb and retain water. By the 1860s, the water drawn from the Lachlan Swamps was being supplemented by water from the Botany Swamps pumped into large reservoirs on the Reserve. Concerns about the quality of Sydney’s only water supply were once again raised. The issue was resolved with the completion of Sydney’s third water system, which piped in water from the Nepean, in 1888. From this time on, the Water Reserve was no longer required to fulfil its intended purpose.

The Water Reserve became available for redevelopment at the time when Sydney was planing its centenary celebrations. In 1887 (Sir) Henry Parkes placed before parliament a bill to provide for these celebrations. Among other provisions, the bill called for the creation of a public park of not less than 640 acres on the site of the former Water Reserve. The Bill was later passed as the Centenary Celebration Act. Henry Parkes foresaw a grand park in the English tradition. Sweeping drives and ‘improved planting’ were to be arranged around the former water reservoirs, which were to be converted into ornamental lakes. The land left over from the creation of the park was to be subdivided and sold to subsidise the construction cost of what was ultimately named Centennial Park.

The land bordering the north west side of the Centennial Park was reserved from sale until 1905. In 1904 Premier J.K Carruthers initiated a move in the Legislative Assembly to allow the land set aside by Henry Parkes to be sold to reduce the debt incurred through the creation of the Park. The sale was hotly contested before being approved as the Centenary Park Sale Act 1904. Approximately one hundred and ninety-three acres of land, in three separate parcels, were vested in the Chief Minister (by Crown Grant) for sale or lease. Cook Road was located within a parcel of land just over thirty-three acres in size and bound by Lang Road, the Agricultural Society’s Ground, Cook Road and Park Road.

The lots fronting Centennial Park along Martin Road, Lang Road and Robertson Road were subject to a building covenant that specified:

• No terrace buildings.
• Not more than one dwelling per lot.
• The materials of the dwelling were to be mainly of brick or stone and the roofing material of slate or tiles, no wooden buildings being permitted.
• The minimum cost of construction was to be £ 12 10s per foot of the frontage and if built on more than one frontage were to be up to the minimum for the largest frontage.
• No stores, dairies or hotels were allowed.
• Dwellings were to be enclosed with an approved fence within one year.

Centennial Park was intended to be more than a suburb composed exclusively of mansions. Less restrictive covenants were placed on allotments not fronting the park in order to ensure a good class of building while giving the ‘man of moderate means a chance’ to build his home near the park. Conditions on other frontages included:

• Not more than one dwelling or two semi-detached dwellings per lot.
• The minimum cost of construction was £10 per foot of frontage or, for semi-detached dwellings, the combined cost was to be £15 per foot of frontage.
• Stores were permitted, but no hotels or dairies.

The above covenants were clearly intended to create a high quality residential suburb. The placing of building controls on land released by public authorities was not without precedent. During the 1820s, Governor Darling had insisted on reviewing all plans for villas built on Woolloomooloo Hill, Sydney’s first residential suburb. His successor, Richard Bourke likewise placed reservations on grants within the exclusive Rushcutter’s Valley. The use of building covenants was not restricted to government-released subdivisions. Land sold contemporarily to the 1905 Centennial Park sales on the privately developed Haberfield Estate, for example, was sold with similarly restrictive building covenants.

The concept of surrounding Centennial Park with residences of a high quality had been part of Henry Parkes’ original vision for the area. Henry Parkes had envisioned a Centennial Park surrounded by ‘elegant mansions with gardens and railing in front’, which, together with the Park, would created ‘one of the most ‘lovely and favourable suburbs in the City of Sydney.’ These residences were to define the boundaries of the park, thereby providing an appropriate setting for its ornamental lakes and drives. The residential precincts of Centennial Park were thus an integral part of the park’s design and appear to have been planed concurrent with the Grand Carriage Way.

Competition for the best-positioned allotments offered for sale in 1905 was fierce:

‘The attendance of buyers was good, nearly 400 people being present. Competition for the choice lots was animated, while land with frontages to Moore Park was in poor demand…’

The low ridges along which Martin and Lang Roads run, along the western perimeter of the Park, provided the ideal aspect for mansions. These western allotments were considered the:

‘…pick of the estate, being situated on the rising ground to the west side of the park, with frontages looking on to the lakes and drives on one side and towards Moore Park on the other.’

Following one the earliest land sales it was prophesised:

‘Intending purchasers are, to a great extent, holding back for the sale of the westerly slopes…These blocks will undoubtedly attracted a good deal of attention, being situated in an elevation portion of the subdivision….’

Within one year of the release of land, twenty-seven houses had been constructed; most of the lots facing Centennial Park had been sold. Sales would continue over the following twenty years. Most of the dwellings were built between 1905 and 1925. The Centennial Park covenants appear to have had the desired effect. Where to Live: ABC Guide to Sydney and Suburbs (1917) listed Moore Park, along with Darlinghurst, Potts Point and Elizabeth Bay, as the ‘best residential portion of the areas controlled by the City Council.’ While many dwellings were architecturally designed, not all were favourably commented on in architectural literature.

Council Records indicate that Cook Road was formed in 1905-6. The subject properties, Nos. 35 and 37 Cook Road are listed as land, owned by Allan Pierson, in the Rate and Valuation Records for Flinders Ward for 1905. Cook Road was first listed in the John Sands’ Sydney and Suburban Directory of 1907. In this year there were 13 listings for the northern side of the road; the southern side was not listed. The first evidence that the dwellings had been constructed is provided by a Supplementary Rate and Valuation Record for 1908. In this year, Nos. 35 and 37 Cook Road are listed as two storey brick houses, with eight rooms and slate roofs. No. 35 was owned by Mrs. E. A. Hart (the name Allan Pierson is crossed out); no occupant is given. No. 37 remained in the ownership of Allan Pierson and was occupied by Wallace Barrack (?). No. 37 Cook Road is first listed in Sands’ Directory in 1910, when the occupant is given as Walter Forsyth. No. 35, however, is not listed until the following year, when occupant is given as Louis Henry Hart. In 1912 and later directories, No. 37 Cook Road is given a name, ‘Le-Voe.’ The owners and occupants of the two dwellings changed over time. Rate and Valuation Records to 1940 demonstrate that Cook Road was characterised by a mixture of tenanted and owner-occupied dwellings.

The 1920s and 1930s were decades of contrasts and contradictions. On one hand, Sydney underwent industrial and population expansion, while on the other there was economic and social depression. The 1920s were an era of subdivision and land sales. More buildings were built in Sydney in the 1920s than in any previous decade of the city’s history, a record not surpassed until the Post World War II boom. The neighbouring Municipality of Randwick boasted the largest population of any municipality outside the City of Sydney from the early 1920s to 1940. The era witnessed the construction of The Bridge, of underground railways, of electricity, the cinema, telegraphy, the aeroplane and a steadily growing admiration for that ‘most skilled and powerful manipulator of the communication media, the United States of America’:

‘In the twenty-five years between the wars the tempo of life was accelerated as never before. The nineteen-twenties were rich, gay and colourful, they were also restless and unsatisfactory. There was plenty of industrial unrest….Money was plentiful… Then the price of wool dropped.’

The domestic housing market was hit hard by the economic depression of the early 1930s. Building approvals by Sydney municipal councils decreased dramatically. By 1931, No. 37 Cook Road had been converted into two flats.

From the depression of the early 1930s:

‘…Sydney (slowly) surfaced again, not in the seeming light of the nineteen-twenties but under the gathering war clouds on the nineteen-thirties….An uneasy prosperity came back…In 1939 so much was brought to an end…or changed, by war.’

‘The depression was over. Money was going around again…Lists of unemployed receded, buildings began to grow.’

Suburban building began the slow climb to improvement from 1932-3.

The Centennial Park residential precinct underwent change during the Post WWII era. Between 1969 and 1974, 675 units, mainly home units, were built in the area. By 1974, bungalows and detached houses accounted for only 13.56 % of the total number of houses. In 1973, an application for a six storey residential flat building was made for Nos. 27-35 Cook Road by Rommel, Moorcroft and Partners Pty Ltd, presumably the adjoining building. No. 37 Cook Road was briefly occupied as a boarding house in the 1980s.

Building Applications from Street cards and Archives Investigator
No. 35:
Unspecified application (1919); Concrete stair, applicant (?) Patterson (1937); Bird Aviary, applicant P. Lewis (1967); Internal staircase, applicant P. Lewis (1967); Erection of six storey home apartments building from 27-35 Cook Road, applicant Rommel Moorcroft Partners P/L (1973); Compliant re condition of premises (1975); Internal renovations to use upper and lower floors as two residential flat units (1976); DA erect residential home units, applicant Torrens Constructions P/L and Progress and Securities P/L (1979); Boarding House Licence (1982-3).

No. 37:
Double garage, applicant L.A. McCoster (1964); Alts. (1929); Compliant re premises (1975); Alterations to rear (1987);

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. Terrace-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The site has historical significance as part of the development of 1905 residential subdivision of the Centennial Parklands and provides evidence of the early 20th century built form of Cook Road.These dwellings also provide an important contrast to the larger, free standing homes on Martin, Lang and Robertson Roads, and give evidence of the two 'tiers' of development encouraged on the Centennial Park subdivisions.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
A pair of semi-detached Federation Queen Anne style houses demonstrating key aspects of the style, which contribute to the character of the streetscape. They read as a largely intact pair from a distance because of their basic form, brick walls and sandstone elements but No 35 has, on closer inspection, undergone unsympathetic alterations to openings and surfaces which diminishes their aesthetic significance.
SHR Criteria f)
The semi-detached houses are not rare.
SHR Criteria g)
Representative example of Federation Queen Anne style semi-detached houses found in the inner suburbs of Sydney.
Integrity/Intactness: No 37 is largely intact externally whilst No 35 has undergone a number of unsympathetic alterations.
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 semi-detached terrace pair 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. Further investigation is required to determine to what extent if the unsympathetic alterations to No 35 are reversible. Where possible original details to the façade and side elevations, in particular, should be reinstated.


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental PlanSydney LEP 2012I9814 Dec 12   
Potential Heritage Item     
Heritage study     

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Heritage Review of Selected Heritage Items and Potential Heritage Items2008 Weir Phillips, Architects and Heritage Consultants  No

References, internet links & images


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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Local Government
Database number: 2420692

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