Burren Estate Heritage Conservation Area | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

Culture and heritage


Burren Estate Heritage Conservation Area

Item details

Name of item: Burren Estate Heritage Conservation Area
Type of item: Conservation Area
Group/Collection: Urban Area
Category: Townscape
Primary address: Refer To Map, Erskineville, NSW 2043
Local govt. area: Sydney


The southern escarpment of the railway lines, Burren St and Erskineville Rd.
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Refer To MapErskinevilleSydney  Primary Address

Statement of significance:

Part of Devine’s Burrin Farm, the Burren Estate Heritage Conservation Area represents both the initial subdivision of Devine’s Estate in the 1830s, and the later subdivision of villa estates associated with the development of the railway and specifically the opening of Erskineville Station in 1884. Terrace house development exemplifies working class housing of the period 1880-1900. Built form responds to gently undulating topography. The area possesses fine streetscape qualities. The Town Hall and retail strip along Erskineville Road provide a civic and community focus.
Date significance updated: 28 Jul 06
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.


Construction years: 1800-1940
Physical description: The conservation area is generally bounded by the railway line to the north, Erskineville Road to the south and Burren Street to the east. It also includes properties on the eastern side of Burren Street from Nos 9- 43 Burren Street.

Part of Devine’s Estate ‘Burrin Farm’ incorporates Thurlow’s Burren Estate subdivision, part of Robey’s Linthorpe House Estate (to the east) and part of Blackman’s Estate (to the north). Original regular allotments have been resubdivided. The area is dominated by an harmonious mix of small scale one and two-storey late Victorian terraces and cottages. Commercial development on Erskineville Road illustrates the change of alignment that occurred c.1940 with Victorian development east of Charles Street and Inter -war development off John and Septimus Streets. The Town Hall and commercial strip along Erskineville Road provides a civic and community focus.

Albert Street:1 and 2 storey intact Victorian development, park, Rating A

Burren Street: 1 and 2 storey intact Victorian housing, park at 89-90; Rating A
Charles Street:1 and 2 storey intact Victorian development, avenue planting. Detracting flat buildings. Rating A
John Street: Predominantly single storey Victorian, mixed character, detracting development, car park to street frontage. Rating B
Septimus Street:1 and 2 storey Victorian, detracting infill development. Rating B
Baldwin Street: Predominantly 1 storey Victorian with mixed character. Garages, flat buildings detract. Rating B
Erskineville Road: Mixed character and scale, Inter-war Town Hall and Erskineville Hotel, Rating C
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Generally good
Date condition updated:27 Sep 12
Further information: The conservation area was previously listed under South Sydney LEP 1998, Amendment No 3 gazetted on 28/7/2000. (CA10).

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, Commercial
Former use: Residential, Commercial, Light Industrial


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 largely decimated but there are descendants still living in Sydney today.

In 1794 Acting Governor Grose granted 120 acres to Nicholas Devine, Superintendent of Convicts, who received a further grant of 90 acres from Governor Hunter in 1799 which comprise the body of the suburb of Erskineville and Macdonaldtown The Burren Estate formed part of the earlier 120 acre grant.

Devine named his estate ‘Burrin Farm’ after his birthplace in Ireland and built his home in the area in the vicinity of the present corner of George Street and Erskineville Road. After Devine's death in 1830, the estate was cut up and sold by Devine’s assigned convict servant and sole benefactor, Bernard Rochford.

In 1852 Mr John Devine, a grand nephew and heir to Nicholas Devine claimed title to the whole of Devine's 210 acres. Thirty defendants fought the case and won. Devine appealed and lost a second case in 1857. Again he was unsuccessful but the holders of the property established a fund and paid him compensation, thereby concluding the celebrated Newtown Ejectment Case.

The Conservation Area comprised two large portions of land belonging to Robey and Thurlow, both defendants in the Newtown Ejectment Case. Ralph Robey was a merchant politician and company director who was elected to City Council in 1846. William Thurlow was a solicitor, also elected in 1843. Robey’s land lay to the west, extending from Erskineville Road to Septimus Street and north to Wilson Street. Robey’s Linthorpe House lay north of today’s Linthorpe Street. Thurlow’s land adjoined Robey’s but stopped short of the railway line. Thurlow’s land was subdivided into wide regular allotments fronting John, George (Charles) and Burrin Streets, with large lots fronting Erskineville Road. North of Albert Street was Blackman’s Estate. Auctioneer John Blackman’s land was known as "Retreat Paddock" upon which Retreat House (c.1845) and Retreat Cottage stood on Wilson Street. Blackman was also a defendant in the Newtown Ejectment Case.

The Linthorpe House Estate was subdivided in stages with the first sales occurring along Wilson Street and Erskineville Road, and the last major sale occurring in 1905 after the demolition of Linthorpe House.

Erskineville Road was realigned and widened in 1940. Green Bans Park in the north west corner of the Conservation Area reflects the struggle for public green space in Erskineville in the late twentieth century.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages Community facilities-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Victorian subdivision associated with the working class housing on Devine’s Estate.
Subdivision of Villa estates, Burrin Estate, Linthorpe House Estate and Blackman’s Estate.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
Working class settlement, corner store communities associated with the brick works and other small scale industry and the development of the railway.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Terrace house development exemplifies working class housing of the period 1880-1900.
Built form responding to the gently undulating topography, the area possesses fine streetscape qualities.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
A local residential focus since the 1880s. Erskineville Town Hall provides a civic focus.
SHR Criteria g)
Representative of working class development of villa estates in late nineteenth century. Erskineville Road represents redevelopment in the Interwar period following road widening and realignment.
Integrity/Intactness: The area is substantially intact despite pockets of intrusive development on amalgamated sites.
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:

General: Contributory buildings should be retained and conserved. A Heritage Assessment and Heritage Impact Statement should be prepared for contributory the buildings prior to any major works being undertaken. There shall be no vertical additions to such buildings and no alterations to the façade of the building other than to reinstate original features. 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. Neutral and detracting buildings should where possible be enhanced. Replacement of such buildings should be in accordance with the infill provisions of the relevant planning controls Specific Management: 1.Protection of Significance (a) Subdivision - Retain small lots - Do not allow amalgamation of sites (b)Key Period Significant (Contributory) Development: - Retain 1 Storey Workers Cottages - Retain 1-2 Storey Victorian / Federation terraces - Retain Scale - Maintain building alignment - Retain form - Retain finishes and details - Reinstate verandahs, front fences, lost detail - Additions to rear not to exceed ridge height and retain original roof form - Discourage front dormers (c)Other Significant Development: - Retain retail development on Erskineville Road - Retain Inter-war Public buildings, hotels and shops - Promote public buildings - Do not exceed scale - Promote retail strip - Prepare policy for redevelopment of industrial sites. 2.Redevelopment of Non Contributing Sites - Encourage reinterpretation of Victorian Subdivision - Respect scale and form of significant development - Respect building line of significant development - Encourage rendered and painted finishes - Encourage contemporary detail - Provide landscape screening - Limit carparking access from street - Do not allow carparking forward of building line. 3.Enhance Significance of Area - Establish/maintain and enhance street planting to unify streetscape - Encourage render/paint finishes to detracting developments - Remove / Discourage reproduction of Victorian detail in contemporary development - Interpret villa estates - Provide landscape screening to detracting sites and railway escarpment. 4.FSR and Height Controls Controls to reflect desired future character of area. - FSR / Height controls appropriate.


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental PlanSydney LEP 2012C2114 Dec 12   
Heritage study     

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
South Sydney Heritage Study1993 Tropman & Tropman Architects  Yes
South Sydney Conservation Areas2003 Architectural Projects P/L  Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenAnita Heiss Aboriginal People and Place, Barani: Indigenous History of Sydney City

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: 2421464

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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