Golden Grove Heritage Conservation Area | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


Golden Grove Heritage Conservation Area

Item details

Name of item: Golden Grove Heritage Conservation Area
Type of item: Conservation Area
Group/Collection: Urban Area
Category: Townscape
Primary address: , Darlington, Newtown ( Refer To Map), NSW
Local govt. area: Sydney


Darlington Rd, Codrington St, Abercombie St, Raglan St, Lander St, Shepherd St, Boundary St, Ivy Ln, Wilson St and Forbes St.
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
 Darlington, Newtown ( Refer To Map)Sydney  Primary Address

Statement of significance:

The Golden Grove Estate has historic significance as the earliest grant in the area and as a representative area of late nineteenth century residential subdivision and late nineteenth century housing. The area developed largely within the period 1880 - 1890, illustrating the influence of the Eveleigh Railway Workshops on the surrounding area. The terraces and streetscapes are substantially intact and have aesthetic value for their harmony and consistency and in their ability to represent working class and middle class housing and community in the late Victorian period.
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.


Designer/Maker: Various
Builder/Maker: Various
Construction years: 1872-1900
Physical description: The Conservation Area predominantly comprises two-storey late Victorian terrace houses which respond to the original subdivision. Terrace housing ranges from grand rows to narrow sweated terraces on Wilson Street including some rare two-storey weatherboard terraces. There are small groups of single storey terrace houses. A fine group of Victorian shops exists on Abercrombie Street, while the Federation period is represented in small groups of terraces, shops and hotels. The area is interspersed with factory buildings mostly dating from the Interwar period.

Forbes Street: Predominantly two storey Victorian terrace development, intact. Some contemporary infill. Detracting public housing at north east corner, diagonal orientation detracts from urban form. Rating A.
Wilson Street: Predominantly two storey Victorian terrace development. Intact. Street plantings lack consistency. Some poor infill development. Rating A.
Wilson Lane: Mix single storey garages, 2 storey Victorian terrace group, intact. Detracting flats and 1.5 / 2 storey garage developments. Rating B.
Abercrombie Street: Mix of 2 storey Victorian terrace and factory, detracting large rear (South) contemporary infill, car park, early weatherboard
cottage (325) Rating B
Golden Grove:2 Storey Victorian terrace group intact, St.Michaels terminates vista (non-contributing). Rating A

Codrington Street:Mixed, side Victorian terraces, commercial development and large scale (3 storey) Post War University development. Several vacant sites. Low integrity. Rating C
Shepherd Street:1 and 2 storey small scale Victorian terrace, 2-3 storey post war flat buildings, detracting University development. Rating B
Ivy Street:Predominantly intact 2 storey Victorian terrace, detracting large scale contemporary residential development. Rating A.
Calder Street: 1 / 2 storey Victorian terrace development intact. Rating A.
Lander Street:Mix 1 and 2 storey terraces, rear Abercrombie Street properties, detracting large scale garages, detracting development at corner Lander and Ivy. Rating A
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Fair / Good

Archaeological potential on redeveloped sections of the Golden Grove Estate by Sydney University.
Date condition updated:11 Jul 03
Modifications and dates: University continues to demolish original development and redevelop amalgamated sites. Industrial and warehouse buildings redeveloped as residential.

Was listed on SSLEP1998 Amendment No 3 as CA 25. At current listing, the boundaries are amended. The premises between Darlington Road and Abrombie St are excluded from the CA. Previous the character of Darlington Rd and Rose St are described as:

Darlington Road:2 storey Victorian terrace group highly intact, wall of Sydney University enhances character. Rating A

rose Street:No original development surviving. Rating C.
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, University
Former use: Residential, 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. There is no written record of the name of the language spoken and currently there are debates as whether the coastal peoples spoke a separate language "Eora" or whether this was actually a dialect of the Dharug language. Remnant bushland in places like Blackwattle Bay retain elements of traditional plant, bird and animal life, including fish and rock oysters.

With the invasion of the Sydney region, the Cadigal and Wangal people were decimated but there are descendants still living in Sydney today. All cities include many immigrants in their population. Aboriginal people from across the state have been attracted to suburbs such as Pyrmont, Balmain, Rozelle, Glebe and Redfern since the 1930s. Changes in government legislation in the 1960s provided freedom of movement enabling more Aboriginal people to choose to live in Sydney.

(Information sourced from Anita Heiss, "Aboriginal People and Place", Barani: Indigenous History of Sydney City )

The first grant of land in the area was 52 acres to William Hutchinson on 31 August 1819. This became known as the "Golden Grove" Estate. The Golden Grove was a store ship in the First Fleet. North-east of Hutchinson's land, Shepherd's Darling Nursery was established in 1827. The origin of the name Darlington is said to be from Shepherd’s Darling Nursery. Shepherd's Nursery is recalled by many of the street names in the vicinity, ie Pine, Myrtle, Ivy, Rose, Vine and Shepherd. A third important grant of land which came to form Darlington was that made to Mr O'Brien in 1855 between City Road and Darlington Road. He disposed of his land in 1857 at the time of the Crimean War, which is commemorated in the names Alma, Raglan and Codrington Streets.

William Hutchinson arrived in New South Wales as a convict in 1799. He was appointed principal superintendent of convicts and public works in 1814. By 1829 he was a prominent citizen and land owner and had a part in numerous business undertakings. In 1829 Hutchinson retired from public service due to ill health. He died in 1846, leaving a large fortune and extensive real estate holdings.

During the first hundred years of settlement Hutchison's grants remained largely unoccupied, the area appears to have been used for paddocks and gardens, with some nurseries.

Hutchinson's grant appears to have been vacant until subdivided as the Golden Grove Estate in the period 1872 - 1884. The estate underwent its major building phase between 1888 and 1893. Development was accelerated by the establishment of the Eveleigh Railway Workshops in 1878 and by this time most of the remaining land, except the nursery, had been subdivided. The original subdivision allotments in the Golden Grove estate were small and were advertised as suitable for railway worker's dwellings.

The site of Eveleigh railway yards was selected in 1875 and resumed three years later, with clearance and development continuing into the 1890s. Residential development in the surrounding area was stimulated by the need for accommodation generated by the establishment of the workshops, which dominated the area. Eveleigh played a significant role in the evolution of the local area, not only through the physical presence of the workshops, but also by its provision of a wide range of employment, the site being one of the largest employers in Sydney at the turn of the century. Additional employment opportunities were offered by the nearby jam factory of Henry Jones and Company.

The tram route ran along Cleveland and Abercrombie Streets, stopping at Wells, Codrington, Shepherd and Golden Grove Streets and along Wilson Street to Newtown. There were plans drawn up at the time to widen Wilson Street to sixty-six feet as it was a major thoroughfare from the City to the south-western suburbs, but the work was not carried out.

There was a rapid growth in the population of Darlington from 1860 to 1900, and by 1900 the density was 77 persons to the acre, making it one of the highest in Sydney. No room for further increases existed in Darlington or other inner suburbs so Sydney's still growing population began to be housed in the further suburbs.

Major changes in the twentieth century resulted in the decline of the importance of the Eveleigh railway yards, with a resultant loss of the workforce during the 1920s. When steam propulsion was replaced by diesel engines, Eveleigh drifted into gradual obsolescence with a further reduction of the industrial workers. After a brief revival of the workshops during the manufacture of parts for the Beaufighter during World War II, the railway site has remained obsolete until the advent of recent redevelopment initiatives.

During the 1920s, as the outer suburbs expanded with the growth and improvement of public transport, the area became less desirable for residential purposes. By the 1940s the houses were considered to be slums.

Prior to the 1940s the University Reserve (now University of Sydney) did not encroach on the original Hutchinson grant. In the 1940s the County of Cumberland Plan designated parts of the Darlington area as a 'special purpose' zone. The resumed areas of the original Golden Grove estate are now occupied chiefly by the University of Sydney's Department of Engineering. The civic heart of Darlington was swallowed up by the University, the council chambers was demolished and Darlington School remains in isolation.

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-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal (none)-
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]
The area has historic significance as a Victorian residential subdivision which developed with the Eveleigh Railway yards, providing housing for railway workers
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
Working class settlement, corner store communities associated with the establishment of the railways and small-scale industry.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The relatively quick development of the area (1880-1890) has resulted in an harmonious and consistent urban fabric, comprising rows of substantially intact predominantly two-storey terrace housing in the late Victorian style interspersed with Federation and Interwar period warehouse development.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
Archaeological potential on redeveloped sections of the Golden Grove estate by Sydney University.
SHR Criteria g)
Representative of Victorian subdivision and terrace house development, circa 1880-1890.
Integrity/Intactness: The area generally has a high degree of integrity, however the area north of Abercrombie Street and west of Codrington Street has been dramatically altered for University uses.
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:

1.Protection of Significance (a) Subdivision- - Retain Victorian subdivision - Do not allow amalgamation of sites (b)Key Period Significant (Contributory) Development: - Retain 1-2 Storey Victorian / Federation terraces and cottages - Retain Victorian Retail Strip - Retain Victorian Shop/Hotel - Retain Scale - Maintain building alignment - Retain form - Retain finishes and details - Reinstate verandahs, front fences, lost detail - Protect intact rear lane - Single storey only to rear lanes. - Additions to rear not to exceed ridge height and retain original roof form - Discourage front dormers - Promote public buildings - Promote retail strip (c)Other Significant Development: - Retain Federation terraces - Do not exceed scale - Retain intact industrial development - Limit redevelopment to existing volume - 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 (Victorian) - Respect building line of significant development - Encourage rendered and painted finishes - Encourage contemporary detail - Limit carparking access from street - Do not allow carparking forward of building line - Wilson Lane flats - encourage 2 storey, 1 room deep residential development to Wilson St. 3.Enhance Significance of Area - Retain street layout - 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 former Darlington Town Centre & Darlington Road - Screen planting to detracting development in large scale contemporary residential infill as 501 Wilson Street, University boundary at Shepherd Street, St. Michaels terminating vista. - Avenue planting to Wilson Street, Abercrombie Street, consider central planting to Wilson Street. 4.FSR and Height Controls Controls to reflect desired future character of area. - FSR and Height Limit on Darlington Road should reflect existing development heritage status. - FSR on Abercrombie Street west of Shepherd Lane should reflect significant (terrace) development ie 1 : 1. - Encourage sympathetic redevelopment of detracting sites by appropriate FSR and Height Controls of 1 : 1 and 6m. 5.Boundary Adjustment - That north west corner of the area (north of Abercrombie Street and west of Codrington) be excluded from the Conservation Area. Darlington Road be identified as a heritage streetscape and its significance be interpreted by University. University prepare a master plan acknowledging the significance of Darlington Road and interpreting the former Civic Centre. 6. Other Recommendations - Contributory buildings should be retained and conserved. A Heritage Assessment and Heritage Impact Statement should be prepared for contributory 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.


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental PlanSydney LEP 2012C1814 Dec 12   
Local Environmental Plan - LapsedAmendment No 3 SSLEP1998CA2528 Jul 00   
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: 2421479

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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