Terrace Group Including Interiors | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

Culture and heritage


Terrace Group Including Interiors

Item details

Name of item: Terrace Group Including Interiors
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Residential buildings (private)
Category: Terrace
Primary address: 553-561 South Dowling Street, Surry Hills, NSW 2010
Parish: Alexandria
County: Cumberland
Local govt. area: Sydney
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
553-561 South Dowling StreetSurry HillsSydneyAlexandriaCumberlandPrimary Address

Statement of significance:

Historically significant and representative of one of the later key layers of development in Surry Hills, the row of Federation era Federation Arts & Crafts style terraces with art nouveau features occupied land previously used as an athletics ground. The terrace is aesthetically significant as a rare group of Federation Arts & Crafts style terraces with art nouveau influenced detailing.
Date significance updated: 13 May 05
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: Three storey Federation Arts and Crafts style terrace house group with steeply pitched mansard slate roofs containing attics, some with dormers, some with large masonry gablets with art nouveau detailing (eg. No. 553), first floor verandahs with timber shingled balustrades and art nouveau timber detailing. The front elevations are originally face brick (some have been painted). Ground floor verandah features timber posts on low brick columns/balustrading with open timber infill to balustrade. Original wrought (not cast) iron Art Nouveau style front fences.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Very intact except for: painting of face brickwork, enclosure of first floor balconies, and alteration of roofing materials on some of the row.
Date condition updated:13 May 05
Modifications and dates: No. 553 was subject to the following alterations: office conversion 1956; enclosure of front balcony 1967; alterations and additions to convert to rooming house 1988; upgrading of boarding house including restoration works 2005.
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 http://www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/barani )

The first recorded listing of 553-561 Dowlling St (the then name of South Dowling St) is in the 1904 edition of Sands Directory. No. 553 is listing at occupied by T.C. Noonan. Prior to this the site was occupied by the Carrington Athletic Grounds. In the City Archives the site of No. 553 is listed as land in 1904 but sold to Thomas C. Noonan for 43 pounds. In 1906 City Archives lists the row 553-561 as being owned by Thomas Noonan, and each of the terraces is noted as being brick, slate, 3 storeys with 8 rooms, the others in the row being occupied by renters, and No. 553 by Thomas C. Noonan. The gross value for each site is given as 65 pounds.

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]
Representative of one of the later key layers of development in Surry Hills, the row of Federation era Federation Arts & Crafts style terraces with art nouveau features occupied land previously used as an athletics ground.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The terrace is aesthetically significant as a rare group of Federation Arts & Crafts terraces with art nouveau influenced detailing.
SHR Criteria f)
A rare group of Federation Arts & Crafts style terraces with art nouveau influenced detailing.
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.


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental PlanSydney LEP 2012I163814 Dec 12   
Heritage study     

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenAnita Heiss Aboriginal People and Place, Barani: Indigenous History of Sydney City
WrittenLen Condon Meriba Pty. Ltd.2005Heritage Report & Statement of Heritage Impact: 553 South Dowling St Surry Hills

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: 2421286

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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