House Including Interior and Front Fence (97 Victoria Street) | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

Culture and heritage


House Including Interior and Front Fence (97 Victoria Street)

Item details

Name of item: House Including Interior and Front Fence (97 Victoria Street)
Other name/s: Victoria House
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Residential buildings (private)
Category: House
Primary address: 97-99 Victoria Street, Potts Point, NSW 2011
Local govt. area: Sydney
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
97-99 Victoria StreetPotts PointSydney  Primary Address

Statement of significance:

97 Victoria Street has the ability to demonstrate the early development of Potts Point through the subdivision of the original land grant to Alexander Spark and the subsequent building of grand terrace houses for the middle classes in the mid 1800s. It is also significant for being subject of 1970s green bans and representative of the twentieth century history of resident activism and the heritage conservation movement.

Whilst much of the fabric of the building has been replaced over time, the overall form is intact and the street presentation is representative of the Victorian Filigree Style. Together with its immediate neighbour , No 99 Victoria Street, a building of similar construction date, style and size, it is an integral part of the streetscape. Their level of contribution has been reduced slightly by nearby unsympathetic 1980s development.
Date significance updated: 02 Apr 13
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: unknown
Physical description: The building reads as a two storey Victorian Filigree style terrace house from the street but also has basement and attic levels. The façade is of rendered brick construction. There is a two storey front verandah set between projecting end walls and featuring a aluminium balustrade at first floor level and two columns at both ground and first floors.

The main entrance is located at the northern end of the façade and features double timber doors with a wide segmented arched fanlight and side lights. Adjoining the door are three large double hung timber windows with two panes to each sash. These windows are irregularly spaced and sized, and have masonry sills. The verandah floor features stone flagging.

Opening onto the front balcony are three timbers framed French doors with fanlights, and the doors have full length timber shutters. The floor to the balcony is timber and the underside of the roof is unlined.

There is a small front parapet, behind which is a pitched roof within side gables clad in corrugated metal with tall rendered chimneys on the southern side. There are two dormers to both the front and rear roof planes.

The rear elevation is of rendered masonry construction and the basement level is concealed form the public domain by a skillion verandah roof. Windows on the upper floors are timber framed but of different sizes and proportions.

The interior has been extensively altered over time, and there is little physical evidence of the original floor lay out, although the alignment of the cross walls between on the basement, ground and first floor levels is likely to be in the original location. Apart from the external walls, the majority of internal fabric has been replaced c 1980s, including the plaster ceilings and cornice details which are modern and simple in profile, and the timber stairs and joinery. There are no surviving fireplaces, but the fireplace breasts survive.

There is a small front garden with palisade fence and gate. Leading from the entry gate to the verandah are steps finished with quarry tiles.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Date condition updated:16 Oct 12
Modifications and dates: c 1980s - interior substantially reconstructed.
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: Residential


Historical notes: Historical Overview

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.

The first land grant in the area, of 30 acres covering today's Potts Point, was made to Patrick Walsh, an Irish ex-convict, in 1809. Governor Macquarie revoked that land grant in 1822, granting the land instead to Mr Drennan. Later the land was brought back under Crown control for the establishment of huts for local aboriginal people. Governor Macquarie gave the name Elizabeth Town to the area after his wife. After Macquarie's departure, Elizabeth Town was divided into land grants for important public servants who were encouraged to build grand villas. These included Sir John Wylde Judge Advocate, 1822 and Alexander Macleay, Colonial Secretary. The final name of the area Potts Point came from association with Joseph Hyde Potts, Clerk of the Bank of NSW, who purchased six and a half acres in the area.

East of Forbes Street lay several estates that extended down the escarpment from Potts Point including E. Hallam’s grant, Judge Stephen’s grant and the Tusculum Estate. Judge James Dowling received an 8 acre land grant in 1831 bounded by William Street, Dowling Street and Victoria Street and built Brougham Lodge on his property. He allocated some of his grant for the formation of streets such as Victoria Street, Duke Street and McElhone Street. His estate was subdivided in 1846. The line of Victoria Street is shown on Edward Hallens Plan of 1842.

Subdivision of A. Campbell’s Estate occurred in 1849 and included lots in Macleay, Victoria, Brougham and Forbes Street. Brougham Lodge was located on Victoria Street and was subdivided into 22 allotments.

The Tivoli Estate of 1867, the Challis Estate of 1889 and various smaller subdivisions along Victoria Street represent the earliest layer of intensive residential development in the area. Subdivision of the early mansion estates occurred in the early twentieth century with Tusculum Estate 1901, Campbell Lodge Estate 1910, Grantham Estate 1922, and Orwell House Estate 1921. Many of the grand houses of the period remained until the 1930’s when they were replaced by flat buildings. A further group were demolished in the 1960’s , including Tarmons on the site of St Vincent's College. Only four sites with grand villas remain in the precinct today.

During the 20th century, the area evolved into a bohemian enclave populated with Sydney’s artists, writers and other like minded individuals. The unique character of this area was all but lost by the 1960s, as the American soldiers and sailors on rest and recreation leave in Australia during WWII and the Vietnam War encouraged its present character. The area became home to Sydney’s sex industry, was populated with gambling venues and was notorious during the 1980s for its stories of corruption and underworld crime. Recently the sex industry has started to move to the suburbs and the Casino in Pyrmont has removed much of the gambling activity.

In the 1970s Potts Point became the focus of green bans over development plans for Victoria Street which were lodged in October 1971. Many residents on the city side of the street had already moved out, as the principal developer, Frank Theeman's Victoria Point Pty. Ltd. offered them favourable terms. The NSW Builders and Labourers Federation imposed green bans in sympathy with local resident activists, including the murdered Juanita Nielson who lived in Victoria Street. They opposed the demolition of the area's historic terrace housing and there was a protracted battle with the developers until 1976, when the green bans were lifted. A new plan called for the restoration of 22 of the 32 houses in conjunction with a 10 storey complex located to the east behind them.

97 Victoria Street
The site is located on the original land grant to Alexander Spark in 1828. He built a villa, Tusculum, designed by John Verge, which was under construction from 1831 to 1835. The property was acquired by Charles William Roemer, a German born merchant in October 1841. He preceded to subdivide the grant into large villa allotments. In 1842 Roemer conveyed a part of the land, including the subject property to William Carr. It was subsequently re-subdivided and offered for sale as " Part of Tusculum Estate. " The subject property was part of Lot 8 Section 4 of this subdivision. Lot 8 went through several changes of ownership over the following five years. On 21 September 1857, it was conveyed to David Hill.

The 1855 Council Rate and Valuations recorded David Hill as the owner and occupier of the property. This is likely to be an inaccuracy as Hill did not acquire the property until 1857. The property is first listed in the Sands Directory of 1858 -9 and the outline of the building is shown on the 1865 City of Sydney Trigonometric Survey.

David Hill died in 1871 and the property was inherited by Hill's daughter, Mary Dalgarno. She is still listed as living at this address when the last Sands Directory was published in 1932-3. Following Mary's death in February 1932, her four surviving children conveyed No 97 to Isabella McMahon and her husband John Bernard McMahon, a civil servant, on 9 April 1934. Over the following thirty years the McMahons made number of building applications to Council for alterations and additions.

The property was conveyed by Isabel McMahon to Katherine Anne Stibbard a spinster on 27th April 1965. She subsequently sold it to Victoria Point Pty Ltd under developer Frank Theeman. His proposal to demolish a large number of properties along Victoria Street. Including the subject property was met with resistance from local residents and green bans from the Building Labourers Federation. Whilst there was some new residential development No 97 and a number of other terraces were saved.

No 97 Victoria Street became part of Strata Plan 20165 registered in April 1983. It more recently has been separate from this strata plan and is now Lot 6 DP 1156935.

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]
The site has the ability to demonstrated the early development of Potts Point through the subdivision of the original land grant to Alexander Sparks and the subsequent building of grand terrace houses for the middle classes in the mid - 1800s. It is also significant for being subject of 1970s green bans and representative of the twentieth century history of resident activism and the heritage conservation movement.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The façade is a representative example of the Victorian Filigree style applied to a grand house. Together with its immediate neighbour , No 99 Victoria Street, a building of similar construction date, style and size, it is an integral part of the streetscape. Whilst the reading in the street is of a mid - Victorian Filigree Style dwelling, the integrity of the building is low in view of the replacement of most of the original fabric.
SHR Criteria g)
Representative example of a Victorian Filigree style house found in the inner suburbs of Sydney.
Integrity/Intactness: Whilst the reading in the street is of a mid Victorian Filigree Style dwelling, the integrity of the building is low in view of the replacement of most of the original fabric.
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 any surviving significant internal original features 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 2012I117214 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
WrittenWeir Phillips201297 Victoria Street Potts Point: Heritage Report

Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

(Click on thumbnail for full size image and image details)

Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Local Government
Database number: 2421389

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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