Rose of Australia Hotel Including Interior | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

Culture and heritage


Rose of Australia Hotel Including Interior

Item details

Name of item: Rose of Australia Hotel Including Interior
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Commercial
Category: Hotel
Primary address: 1-5 Swanson Street, Erskineville, NSW 2043
Local govt. area: Sydney
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
1-5 Swanson StreetErskinevilleSydney  Primary Address

Statement of significance:

The Rose of Australia is a fine example of an Inter-war Art Deco style Hotel designed by architects Prevost and Ruwald which is a prominent element within the streetscape. The site has been continuously associated with the hotel industry since 1878 and provides evidence of the major period of rebuilding of hotels by the brewers in the inter-war period.
Date significance updated: 05 Apr 11
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: Prevost and Ruwald
Builder/Maker: Elvey & Co Builders
Physical description: The Rose of Australia Hotel, a two storey inter - war free classical style hotel, is situated on the corner of Swanson and George Street, Erskineville. The building presents as a two-storey building with cantilevered awning, splayed at the corner, wrapping around the corner along both street frontages, and an octagonal tower on the corner of Swanson & George Streets. Another, rectangular tower terminates the George Street frontage of the building. At ground level the walls are clad in cream and black ceramic tiles in keeping with the period. Above the awning, the walls are dark face brickwork and the joinery painted buff. The eave is corbelled with brackets beneath a terra cotta tiled steeply pitched gabled roof. The corner windows are full height with Juliet balconies with wrought iron balustrades. The roof is terracotta tiled high pitched roof with brick gable ends. The windows are multi-paned timber-framed.

The interior of the ground floor is original to the 1934-36 period with the 1930s room configuration remaining which includes a circular bar in the front area, offices, toilets and staircase to the rear. The walls are finished in a pale green tile and black finishing tile. The doors and bar top are finished in timber. Early directional signs (e.g. ‘Gents’ & 'Ladies') are painted on the walls. Original bar fittings are extant with more recent fittings added over time to upgrade the bar functions. Carpet and furniture date from a later period.

The internal courtyard has been enclosed and connects to the neighbouring shop at No 5 Swanson Street which has been incorporated as part of the hotel.

The first floor originally had six bedrooms with intact ceilings and joinery, but has subsequently been extensively altered, with some remnant nib walls and one fire place remaining.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Date condition updated:09 Jun 05
Modifications and dates: Building Applications 1954, 1956.

Building Application - BA/1998/623 - PROPOSED HOTEL RENOVATIONS (Alterations and additions to ground and first floors). Approved 11-Sep-1998.

Development Application - D/1999/727 - ERECT ILLUMINATED SIGNAGE (Erection of illuminated box-awning signage on exterior of hotel). Approved 09-Sep-1999.

Development Application - D/1999/904 - EXTEND TRADING HOURS TO EXISTING HOTEL (Extend hours 10am to 12mn Monday to Sunday live entertainment. 8pm - 11pm Tuesday, Thursday & Friday & 6pm - 9pm Sunday 12 months trial). Approved 10-Nov-1999.

Development Application - D/2000/1336 - Alterations to existing hotel including internal access ramp and balcony to Swanson Street elevation. Approved 06-Apr-2001.

Development Application - D/2001/641 - Alterations to existing hotel. Approved 01-Oct-2001

Development Application - D/2002/454 - The provision of two shade structures in the licenced zone of council's footpath in Swanson Street. Approved 02-Sep-2002.
Further information: The interior of the ground floor frontage appears largely intact from the 1930's. The bar occupies the main front room and has chamfered corners with cream tiles and a terra cotta gully. The George Street arm of the bar has been foreshortened to accommodate poker machines and returns to the central masonry wall.

The courtyard to the rear of the adjoining building has been enclosed and incorporated as a bistro using contemporary materials and finishes.

At the first floor, the front room dividing walls have been removed to provide an open bar area. Bulkheads have been retained of bulkheads as extant remains of the room layout.

The following assessment details areas and items of building fabric with levels of significance.

Exceptional Significance (A high degree of intactness and easily interpreted)
- Ground floor bar area and bar;
- Wall tiles and pattern;
- Painted directional signs;
- Timber finishes and joinery.

High Significance (A high degree of original fabric and demonstration of the significance. Alterations do not detract from the significance)
- Exterior - street elevations and fenestration;
- Internal extent stair case;
- Ground floor - room layout;
- First floor - extant layout.

During the 1998 work the property lost a degree of significance: the courtyard was developed as an internal dining area, the ground floor store room was removed and the first floor room configuration was removed to provide bar space. The only enhancement apparent was an external colour scheme to the joinery.

(Information sourced from 'Heritage Impact Statement: The Rose of Australia Hotel'. Produced by David Scobie Architects Pty Ltd, December 2000.)

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: Hotel
Former use: Hotel with accommodation


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

A hotel has been licensed on the site since 1878, and a hotel was shown on the site on 1880s Robinsons map. Licensees William Cook (1882), John Hynd (1885), Thomas Lucock (1892), Thomas Troy (1900), Isabella McCanley (1910), Christina McDonald (1920), HS Avery (1948). The architects, Prevost and Ruwald were responsible for a substantial new hotel on the site in 1934, constucted for Tooth & Co. (BA1/1934). The firm designed a number of hotels in the interwar period including the The Great Northern in Artarmon-1930, Bath Arms at Burwood-1937 and the Civic in Goulburn Street-1940.

The hotel designs of the period were generally accomplished and responsive to the times. Sydney was recovering from the Great Depression, which had occurred in 1929-1930 and the breweries were major instigators of change in the hotel business. Architects were employed by corporate clients as opposed to the traditional publican and these clients sought to raise the status of their establishments and to view the premises and business as a whole.

Externally the buildings sought to distinguish themselves with a high degree of architectural style and detail. The new lightweight steelwork was adopted to provide suspended verandahs. The wall finish at ground level was clad in a combination or ceramic tiles, signs and mirror advertising panels.

J.M. Freeland, author of the important work 'The Australian Pub', refers in detail to the changes wrought on existing pubs and new buildings. The key factors including the awning, external and internal tiles are noted in his work and are evident in the Rose.

(Information sourced from'Heritage Impact Statement: The Rose of Australia Hotel'. Produced by David Scobie Architects Pty Ltd, December 2000.)

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Domestic life-Activities associated with creating, maintaining, living in and working around houses and institutions. (none)-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Religion-Activities associated with particular systems of faith and worship The Church-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The site has been licensed since 1878 and has maintained the function of a public house since then.
The existing building has historic significance for its association with the emergence of the economy from the depression and the rise of the Brewers as Hotel developers and managers during this period.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
Associated with prominent architects, Prevost and Ruwald, noted for their work in the period, and brewers Tooth and Co.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
A fine example of an Inter -War Art Deco style hotel, with its corner tower, is a prominent element within the streetscape. The interior of the ground floor public bar is of high aesthietic significance and representative of the design and finishes for Hotels of the period.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The site has provided a social focus for the local community since 1878.
SHR Criteria f)
The buidling is not rare.
SHR Criteria g)
Representative example of an Inter-War Art Deco style hotel found in the inner suburbs of Sydney.
Integrity/Intactness: Very intact exterior, moderately intact interior
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 2012I62514 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: a historical survey of City of Sydney hotels south of Cleveland Street
WrittenDavid Scobie Architects Pty Ltd2000Heritage Impact Statement: The Rose of Australia Hotel
WrittenTanner & Associates Pty Ltd1998Heritage Impact Statement: The Rose of Australia Hotel, Erskineville

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: 2421326

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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