Flat Building "Alexandra Flats" including interior and street fencing | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

Culture and heritage


Flat Building "Alexandra Flats" including interior and street fencing

Item details

Name of item: Flat Building "Alexandra Flats" including interior and street fencing
Other name/s: Marist Brothers High School
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Residential buildings (private)
Category: Flat
Primary address: 280 Liverpool Street, Darlinghurst, NSW 2010
Local govt. area: Sydney
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
280 Liverpool StreetDarlinghurstSydney  Primary Address

Statement of significance:

Alexandra Flats is of historical and social significance for association with Marist Brothers and with Side F/X, an alternative art /performance space who squatted in the building from 1968 to 1981. It is of aesthetic significance as a representative example of the Federation Free Style applied to a school building.
Date significance updated: 23 Nov 16
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 three storey building, originally designed for Marist Brothers High School, but which has been adaptively reused for apartments. Built in the Federation Free Style, this symmetrical building is of brick construction with rendered and sandstone detailing, timber framed double hung windows, timber fretwork to verandahs, and a gabled roof.

In front of the building is a small garden with a number of tall trees. There is a perimeter palisade fence to the Liverpool and Darley Street frontages of the site, which has a brick base, brick piers, sandstone capping and a decorative wrought iron balustrade.
Modifications and dates: c1981 - Building adaptively re-used for apartments
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: School, Alternative art /performance space


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 European invasion of the Sydney region, the Cadigal and Wangal people were decimated but there are descendants still living in Sydney today.

The Marist Brothers High School moved to this subject site in 1911 having being relocated from St Mary's Cathedral and before that from Harrington Street in the Rocks. With the advent of the Wyndham Scheme in the early 1960s, and the emphasis on regional high schools and diminuation of local schools the Marist Brothers School in Darlinghurst was closed in 1968 and staff of the school moved to Pearce in Canberra where the same school colors and motto continue.

Originally intended to be demolished and replaced with a 13 storey building, the scheme fell through and the building then became an alternative art /performance space , Side F/X, home to an ever-changing cast of actors, artists and musicians who squatted in the building. In 1981 SAP Investments converted the building into twelve two and three bedroom units.

(Source: Butel E, and Thompson T, 1984. p 81)

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
6. Educating-Educating Education-Activities associated with teaching and learning by children and adults, formally and informally. (none)-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
Associated with Marist Brothers High School which occupied the site from 1911 until 1968, and Side F/X an alternative art /performance space who squatted in the building from 1968 to 1981.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The main building is significant as a representative example of the Federation Free Style applied to a school building.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The site is likely to have some social significance particularly for the former staff and students of Marist Brothers High School.
SHR Criteria g)
Representative example of a Federation Free Style school building which has been adaptively reused for residential purposes.
Integrity/Intactness: Externally high
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 and front fence are to 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 fa├žade of the building other than to reinstate original features. The face brickwork and sandstone detailing are not to be rendered, painted or coated. 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 2012I35914 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
WrittenButel, E and Thompson, T1984Kings Cross Album

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: 2420924

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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