Late Victorian Terrace House Group | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

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Late Victorian Terrace House Group

Item details

Name of item: Late Victorian Terrace House Group
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Residential buildings (private)
Category: Terrace
Primary address: 42-86 Thomson Street, Darlinghurst, NSW 2010
Local govt. area: Sydney
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
42-86 Thomson StreetDarlinghurstSydney  Primary Address

Statement of significance:

42-86 Thomson Street has local historical and aesthetic significance. It is a late Victorian style terrace that extends the entire eastern side of Thomson Street between Liverpool and Burton Streets, and makes an important aesthetic contribution to the streetscape. The terrace is historically significant as part of the pattern of worker's terrace housing in Darlinghurst, although a relatively late example of a common building form in the area being constructed c 1901.
Date significance updated: 31 Dec 09
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 late Victorian style terrace, of brick construction, with a parapet concealing skillion metal roofs behind. The terrace extends the full block on the eastern side of Thomson Street between Liverpool and Burton Streets. There are some Federation influences in elements such as the timber detailing on the front façade and the design of the original front doors. Originally of face brickwork, most of the facades have been painted.

In view of the topography, the ground floor level of the terraces floor is elevated above street level, with access to the front verandahs from flights of steps, originally with simple metal balustrades and sandstone treads, but most of these have been capped with concrete, and simple metal balustrades. At ground floor level each terrace has a single double hung sash window and front door with fanlights. The verandahs are embellished by a timber valence with decorative brackets at each end.

The first floor balconies originally had simply detailed timber balustrades but most of these have been replaced by an assortment of timber and metal balustrades. A pair of timber French doors, with fanlight, opens on to each balcony.

The rear of the group features consistent two storey rear skillion wings.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Date condition updated:09 Jun 09
Modifications and dates: Balustrading to many first floor balconies has been changed.
Further information: Further research is required.

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: residential


Historical notes: This site forms part of the land of the Gadigal people, the traditional custodians of land within the City of Sydney council boundaries. For information about the Aboriginal history of the local area see the City’s Barani website:

The first land grant in the area was 100 acres on Woolloomooloo Bay granted to Commissary John Palmer in 1793. Palmers grant was immediately east of Sydney Common Grounds. To the east, a group of smaller grants were made to important colonists by Governor Darling for private residences. These included Edward Deas Thomson’s "Barham" and James Laidley’s "Rosebank", both believed to be designed by John Verge, in the area between Darlinghurst Road and Bourke Street. Palmer built his residence at Woolloomooloo in 1801. As a farmer and grazier Palmer was a success and he subsequently became one of the pre-eminent land and stock holders in the colony. Palmer added to his holdings by purchasing farms in Surry Hills. He held the position of Commissary General until 1808 after which he returned to England to face an inquiry into the Rum Rebellion. While abroad, Palmer leased his land to Alexander Riley. On arrival back to Australia in May 1814 he found himself in increasing debt.

Upon his return, in order to meet his debts, Palmer sold his Woolloomooloo Estate to Ann Riley, Edward Riley’s wife, in 1822. When Edward committed suicide in 1825, the Estate was tied up with two conflicting wills. After years of litigation, the Riley Estate was eventually divided into seven parcels of land of equal value and raffled amongst the heirs. The Commission appointed to oversee this subdivision needed to create streets that would divide up the seven portfolios of blocks. This task was complicated by the Commission’s desire to confirm T.L. Mitchell’s plan for the streets within the bounds of the Riley Estate - especially Crown and Bourke Streets. The streets within the Riley Estate, including Crown Street, were finally proclaimed in 1848.

The site occupied by the terrace formed part of Block D7 of the Riley Estate. Over the 19th century Block 7 was divided in two by Thomson Street. The area east of Thomson Street between Liverpool and Burton Street, which includes the subject site, was owned by the Burdekin Family until 1899 when it was purchased by Montague Marks and Henry Harris. Montague Marks ( 1844 -1922) was merchant in the city and for many years closely associated with both the Henry Jones IXL Jam factory and the Great Synagogue. Henry Harris( 1840-1923) was the publisher and proprietor of the Hebrew Standard of Australasia , which commenced publication in 1897.

The terrace was completed in 1901 and first entered in Sands Directory in 1902. The terrace was erected as a property investment and let. , This pattern of ownership and occupancy continued until 1963 when the site was subdivided (DP 32355) and individual terraces sold.

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. Residential-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
42-86 Thomson Street has local historical significance as part of the pattern of worker's terrace housing in Darlinghurst, and representing the construction of new housing in the area at the beginning of the 20th century.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
The site is associated with Montague Marks (1844 -1922), a successful merchant in the city linked with the Henry Jones IXL Jam factory, and Henry Harris (1840-1923) a publisher and proprietor of the Hebrew Standard of Australasia, both prominent figures in Sydney's Jewish community.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The group has aesthetic significance as being a representative example of a late Victorian style terrace that extends the entire eastern side of the street between Burton and Liverpool Streets which contributes to the character of the streetscape.
SHR Criteria g)
Representative example of a late Victorian style terrace found within inner Sydney.
Integrity/Intactness: Externally - moderate-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 terrace group 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. Maintain the uniformity of the two storey rear wings.


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental PlanSydney LEP 2012I48514 Dec 12   
Heritage studySouth Sydney 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
WrittenJohn Oultram201542 Thomson Sreet Darlinghurst: Heritage Impact Statement

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: 2421352

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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