Terrace Group including interiors and colonnade at the base of the rear building | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

Culture and heritage


Terrace Group including interiors and colonnade at the base of the rear building

Item details

Name of item: Terrace Group including interiors and colonnade at the base of the rear building
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Residential buildings (private)
Category: Terrace
Primary address: 127-139 Victoria Street, Potts Point, NSW 2011
Local govt. area: Sydney
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
127-139 Victoria StreetPotts PointSydney  Primary Address

Statement of significance:

127 - 139 Victoria Street is a fine example of a Victorian Gothic style terrace that has a strong visual presence within the streetscape of Victoria Street. The roof line provides a distinctive silhouette visible across the Woolloomooloo Basin.

The site provides evidence of the subdivision of the Orwell Estate and subsequent building of grand terrace houses for the middle classes. It is also has historic associations with the accomplished and prolific architect and developer, Thomas Rowe.

The retention of the terrace is directly attributed to the 1970s green bans and resident activists such as Juanita Nielson.
Date significance updated: 12 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: Attributed to Thomas Rowe
Physical description: A two storey Victorian Gothic style terrace house group with basement and attic levels. It has a steeply pitched slate roof with Gothic style gables with fretted barge boards. There is cast iron lace balustrading to first floor balconies and an iron palisade front fence. Windows and doors on the ground floor have squared off rendered head details whilst the window head in the Gothic gables is arched.

The rear verandahs have simple crossed shape balustrade and fretted timber valences. Cladding to the upper rooms is timber weatherboards. Strong rhythm of rear skillion wing, verandahs and colonnade at the base of the group.

Externally, both at the front and rear, the terrace is highly uniform.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Date condition updated:07 Sep 09
Further information: 127-138 Victoria Street is part of Strata Plan, SP 15240, which also includes terraces at 36-50 Brougham Street and 1-6 Rowena Place.

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: 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 from 1788, 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, granted the land to Mr. Drennan, however later brought the land back under Crown control for establishment of huts for local aboriginal people. Macquarie gave the name Elizabeth Town (after his wife) to the area. 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.
The line of Victoria Street is first shown on Edward Hallens Plan of 1842 " shewing the position of the new streets at Darlinghurst."

The Tivoli Estate of 1867, Challis Estate of 1889 and various smaller subdivisions along Victoria Street represent the earliest layer of intensive residential development in the area.

The site falls within the Orwell Estate which was subdivided from the 1850s The current land holding defined by Strata Plan 15240 was basically established at the time of the first subdivision of the Orwell Estate, although initially as two allotments. These two allotments were purchased in 1853 and 1854 by James Evers which were sold again in 1859. During the course of 1876 and 1877. these allotments were purchase and shortly consolidated under Torrens Tile by noted architect, Thomas Rowe. Under his ownership the terraces at 36-50 Brougham Street and 1-6 Rowena Place were constructed in 1883 and the terrace group at 127-139 Victoria Street in 1886. Given Thomas Rowe's ownership of the land at the time the terraces built it would seem likely that he designed them.

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 Juanita Nielson who lived in Victoria Street, opposing the demolition of the area's historic terrace housing and there was a protracted battle with the developers until 1976, when a new plan called for the restoration of 22 of 32 houses with a 10 storey complex behind them and the green bans were lifted.

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]
The site is associated with the subdivison of the Orwell Estate and subsequent building of terrace housing.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
This site has historical associations with architect and developer Thomas Rowe, who consolidated the site, which covers 127-139 Victoria Street, 1-6 Rowena Place and 36-50 Brougham Street, and during which time the terraces were constructed.

The site is also associated with 1970s green bans and resident activists such as Juanita Nielson .
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Aesthetically significant as an externally intact Victorian Gothtic style terrace that has a strong visual presence within the townscape.
SHR Criteria f)
The brick arched structure below the terrace is a rare example of a Victorian brick arcade of substantial scale.
SHR Criteria g)
Fine representative example of Victorian Gothic style terrace found in the inner suburbs of Sydney.
Integrity/Intactness: Externally intact. Interiors less 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. There is to be a consistent approach to any external changes to the terrace to maintain its uniformity.


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental PlanSydney LEP 2012I118114 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
WrittenArchitectural Projects2009127-139 Victoria St, 36-50 Brougham St and 106 Rowena Place - Heritage Assessment and Heritage Impact Statement
WrittenThe Architecture Company Ltd2005Statement of Heritage Impact for proposed alterations at 129 Victoria St

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: 2421396

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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